I started my birding walk at Brook Furlong Lane this morning where a Cetti’s Warbler was proudly proclaiming loud and clear along the lane. Over head a Whooper Swan was seen above the River Weaver calling as it went, but ignoring the 9 Mute Swan and its single compatriot Whooper Swan below it on the river.
The seven Mute Swan left the river and settled on the Mersey Estuary where 12 Pied Avocet were resting on a sand bank with several Eurasian Curlew and Great Cormorant alongside them. Hundreds of Pink-footed Goose were leaving the salt marshes and heading inland to their feeding grounds.
A female European Stonechat posed for my camera on the river bank and a male was seen near to Marsh Farm. There were hundreds of Canada Goose which had spent the night on No.6 tank and then moved out to the Mersey Estuary as I made my way around the tank, the geese encouraged many ducks to follow them.
The water levels are far to high for the waders, leaving just a flock of Northern Lapwing with a single Black-tailed Godwit and Ruff with them. Another Cetti’s was heard along Lordship Lane where many Reed Bunting and Meadow Pipit were foraging in the wet fields. I called in at Ince on my way home and the water had drained from the flooded fields with just 3 Little Egret and 4 Grey Heron being present. A flock of c30 Meadow Pipit were sitting on the phone line and were flushed by a Sparrowhawk.
Observer: Paul Ralston (images 1-4).
While Paul was out this morning we took a drive over to Tatton Park and a mooch around to see what was about. Starting from the Knutsford entrance we walked along the shore of Tatton Mere where a raft of Tufted Duck were with Common Pochard and a drake Northern Pintail.
After finding a fallen tree to sit on, it was time for some lunch and whilst tucking in to a sandwich a skein of c80 Pink-footed Goose flew over heading east.
Once the geese passed over my attention was drawn to a Common Hornet which was flying above a small beech brance supporting a mixture of yellow, golden and green leaves. This solitary hornet was soon joined by another, then another until I counted 12 of these large orange coloured super wasps. It was obvious the hornets were attracted to the beech leaves and what they were feeding on, or gathering I couldn’t see, but they hung around the low branches until I left the area.
A further walk and the first of 3 Green Woodpecker were seen and one particular bird flew from a tree it had been perched in to an area of grassy ant mounds and began to look for food. I managed to get some handheld images through my binocular with my mobile phone and all my images today were done with that process.
Walking back and the sounds of bellowing Red Deer during their autumn rut were loud and resonating across the park, and so intent with their rut they were totally unconcerned by the park walkers standing nearby.
After heading off home we called in at No.6 tank on Frodsham Marsh where the high level of water after the recent periods of prolonged rain had made the tank almost impossible for shorebirds. However, ducks were very much at the birdy forefront and Eurasian Teal numbered c500 with 120 Northern Shoveler, 42 Northern Pintail, 41 Tufted Duck and smaller numbers of Mallard.
Observers: JS & WSM (images 5-8).