I started my birding walk at Ince as the sun came up this morning. The trio of Garganey that have been residing in the pools were down by one to two birds and the usual Gadwall, Mallard and Eurasian Teal for company. A couple of Mute Swan were resting on the bank nearby.
A male Merlin the first of the autumn sped overhead scattering the Linnet and European Goldfinch flocks and was later seen sitting on top of a hawthorn hedge. A Western Marsh Harrier was being buzzed by a couple of Carrion Crow near to the Ince Berth and made its way out to the Frodsham Score salt marsh.
On the salt marsh were 2 Great Egret foraging with several Little Egret in the tidal channels and a flock of c50 Pink-footed Goose were grazing the short grass. In the meantime a small group of swans flew across the Mersey but too far out to get a positive identification.
There were 7 Northern Pintail on the Manchester Ship Canal amongst a flock of Mallard and Gadwall.The sound of rapid wingbeats caught my attention as a pair of Whooper Swan flew past and it appeared they dropped down onto No.6 tank. When I eventually got there, there was no sound of them? Three Common Sandpiper were feeding together on the canal bank and 6 Ruff were noted on the ‘phalarope pool’ with 4 Black-tailed Godwit and several Eurasian Wigeon, Mallard, Eurasian Teal and more Gadwall.
Walking along Lordship Lane and a Cetti’s Warbler blasted out its tune while a Common Kestrel caught a rodent from the bank, and a few Barn Swallow were hawking near the fertilizer plant.
Back at my start at Ince were 7 more Little Egret preening at the edge of one of the pools. The pool that held the Garganey earlier was devoid of ducks with just a Little Grebe and her chick left. The remains of a freshly killed duck probably a teal were on the path.
Observer: Paul Ralston (images 1-3).
I am in work this weekend, but never missing an opportunity to sneak in a little birding after my duties were signed off I made my way to the marsh for a little R & R. No.6 tank again looked good with c1700 Black-tailed Godwit tightly packed in two separate groups. Scanning through their throng revealed a couple of Bar-tailed Godwit, 3 Red Knot and 9 Ruff. The flocks were on edge and would occasionally jump up into the air whenever the jittery Northern Lapwing panic flighted.
Ducks are still a feature and the Northern Shoveler flock were up again with 243 birds. The Northern Pintail rised a good 43 with a reduced number of Eurasian Teal (I assume birds that have arrived for the autumn have displaced to smaller water bodies elsewhere). The Eurasian Wigeon flock from No.3 tank have relocated here with c39 birds and likewise Tufted Duck reached 161 and 1 Common Pochard. The 31 Little Grebe on this tank have tagged along with the tufties and both species have anxiety issues if one of them shifts position on the water.
Observer: WSM (image 4).