I began my walk at Ince this morning with skeins of Pink-footed Goose passing overhead as I made my way along the lane towards the Ince berth. Thrushes were abundant with Redwing, Fieldfare, Blackbird and a few Mistle Thrush foraging in the hedgerows alongside a few tits like Great, Blue and Long-tailed.
A flock of Chaffinch held several Western Reed Bunting and Common Greenfinch with them, while on the weed seeds numerous European Goldfinch and Linnet fed. The pools had the usual Eurasian Teal, Mallard, Gadwall, Northern Shoveler, Common Moorhen and Eurasian Coot in decent numbers, but were easily spooked as I made my way past them, a couple of Little Grebe and 2 Mute Swan were made of sterner stuff and stayed put.
Out on Frodsham Score salt marsh were 12 Little Egret and 2 Great Egret being noted while on the canal path a pair of European Stonechat were on the bank.
The Canal Pools were quiet with just a few Eurasian Teal and the Mute Swan pair, minus their 2 juveniles from the summer.
Three maintenance boats moved along the Manchester Ship Canal flushing a pair of Green Sandpiper from the canal bank. The ‘phalarope pool’ held c30 Eurasian Teal, a pair of Northern Shoveler and several Gadwall, while just 5 drake Mallard were on the ‘splashing pool’.
Walking back to my car and a couple of Western Cattle Egret (presumably the birds WSM had yesterday) were feeding amongst the pigs and were joined by a Great Egret which eventually moved in to the next field.
Observer: Paul Ralston (images1-6).
I made an early start walking along Brook Furlong Lane to the River Weaver in the morning mist. A full on burst of Cetti’s Warbler as I walked past it gave me tinnitus for a few minutes after. A further less vocal and presumably younger bird was sub-singing from Redwall reed bed shortly after. The lane was full of Redwing, Blackbird and Song Thrush taking advanage of the hawthorn berry bounty. A Common Bullfinch and Common Greenfinch could be heard calling deep into cover.
The River Weaver was typically busy with ducks and 149 Tufted Duck included a few young birds sporting fashionable scaup-like white blazes around their bill base. Eurasian Teal were rather tame keeping companey with the Common Shelduck. The only other duck available to see this morning was a group of 14 Common Pochard but the mild weather isn’t forcing other ducks or species out to the open waters just yet. A flock of 26 Eurasian Coot, 15 Mute Swan and a wintering Common Sandpiper made up the rest.
A look across the Mersey Estuary from the Weaver Sluices produced a small variety of species but a flock of 132 Gadwall was notable with just a single Little Egret and 6 Grey Heron. There were hundreds of Common Shelduck and Eurasian Curlew to make the effort worth while. The edge of the river also noted 4 male and a female European Stonechat.
Marsh Farm was pretty dead with just a solitary Grey Wagtail and a charm of European Goldfinch seen. A large flock of c2000 Northern Lapwing and c250 European Golden Plover erupted from the Weston Marsh lagoon when 3 Common Buzzard circled over their head, one of the buzzard was the white morph that usually resides at Weston Village.
I eventually made my way round to No.6 tank where another 106 Tufted Duck, 7 Common Pochard, 174 Northern Shoveler, 237 Eurasian Teal and 24 Little Grebe added to the counts from earlier in the day.
The ‘phalarope pool’ lacked the birds that Paul had seen earlier with the exception of a male European Stonechat and a couple of Small Tortoiseshell butterflies out in the warmer and sunnier side of the track.
Walking back along Lordship Lane and Moorditch and I spotted an adult Peregrine flew over with a purpose.
Observer: WSM (image 7-10).