A long walk out to the western end of the marshes resulted in some good finds.
I started my walk along Moorditch Lane where a male European Stonechat was perched on the dried grass stalks alongside the track. A couple of Cetti’s Warbler was sub-singing by the horse paddock and numerous Song Thrush and Blackbird were flighty from the bushes and undergrowth.
Looking across the waters of No.6 tank produced a flock of 176 Northern Shoveler, 11 Common Pochard (2 females present), 140 Eurasian Teal (the drakes were wowing the ducks), 63 Tufted Duck, 16 Common Shelduck, 31 Mallard, 19 Northern Pintail with several drakes in nuptial display, 1 Great Cormorant, Water Rail calling and 29 Little Grebe. A distant skein of c100 Pink-footed Goose were high over Helsby and a herd of 16 Whooper Swan ditched down by the dirt track on Godscroft Lane, but were not there later in the day.
No.5 tank had a Common Buzzard, 3 Western Reed Bunting, Common Kestrel, a very tame Mistle Thrush feeding on hawthorn berries.
A Great Spotted Woodpecker was pecking away at something in a wood pile and shortly after it flew to a fence post in an attempt to hide from me . A charm of c50 European Goldfinch and a Lesser Redpoll feeding and bathing in a rain puddle on the track.
Looking across No.3 tank saw c120 Eurasian Teal and 20 Wigeon hiding in the flooded scrapes there. A lone injured Pink-footed Goose was hiding in the tall grass and less shy were 2 Western Cattle Egret bullying the bullocks by the phalarope pool. That small pool had a 1st winter Little Grebe diving in several inches of water (quite comical to watch), 26 Eurasian Teal and 2 Coot. There was 4 European Stonechat and a Common Chiffchaff along the fenceline. Also present were two additional Cetti’s Warbler with more along No.4 tank and Lordship Lane.
A look across Frodsham Score on the rising tide brought out 4 Great and 7 Little Egret, A group of Great Black-backed Gull were roosting on the saltmarsh with additional adults squaring up to a group of beefy Raven gouging on a recently dead sheep.
Looking out to the blue topped chimney at Weston Point and the Peregrine was sat out.
Heading back and a pair of adult Whooper Swan were with their juvenile bird on the flooded fields by the M56 motorway. Out in the distance and the barn roof at Hillview Farm had 10 Collared Dove all lined up (a species that is infrequent to the interior of the marsh).
I’ll try the river tomorrow.
Observer and images: WSM.