We started our 12.5 km walk from Marsh Lane, Frodsham taking in firstly at Moorditch Lane where winter thrushes and the resident Mistle Thrush pair were busy guarding their hawthorn bush with its heavy crop of berries. The Fieldfare and Redwing will eventually move into the crop when the weather and berry supply begins to get lean.
A look over No.6 tank showed up 4 Mute Swan, 42 Common Pochard, 41 Tufted Duck, 87 Northern Shoveler, 12 Northern Pintail, c400 Eurasian Teal, 30 Mallard and 4 Gadwall. A small number of Common Snipe and Northern Lapwing were also present.
The ‘phalarope pool’ and the ‘splashing pool’ had 110 Eurasian Teal, 16 Mallard, 7 Northern Shoveler and a single female Northern Pintail.
We continued our walk joining up with Lordship Lane and its very muddy tracks. A herd of 31 Whooper Swan (4 juvenile) were oppoite Lower Rake Lane, presumably they’ll move over to Spring Farm in due course. A flock of c100 Eurasian Curlew and a ringed Black-headed Gull were also nearby.
After spending some time in this area we made our way back for a picnic at the ‘phalarope pool’, and the first of several skeins of Pink-footed Goose heading back from their inland feeding grounds (in south Cheshire?). I estimated their combined numbers was c1500 geese, and all heading into the south Mersey marshes at dusk. Two pairs of European Stonechat were ‘stane chacking’ along the fence line boardering No.3 tank.
A final look over No.6 tank revealed a Black-headed Gull roost that included a briefly bathing adult winter Mediterreanean Gull, 5 adult & 1 juvenile Whooper Swan back lit by a rich pinky sun setting between two slices of cloud. A female Western Marsh Harrier was quartering the reed beds and a Common Chiffchaff contact calling from the banks below me.
I found a wasp nest a few days ago at Spike Island in Widnes but the back end of it had been gnawed away by a rat. The front end was perfect and displayed the ingenious construction.
Observers: JS & WSM (images).