I started my walk at Ince where 4 Western Cattle Egret were with 3 Little Egret foraging around the porkers at the pig farm down on Kinsey Lane at Ince. There was also plenty of Pied Wagtails action in the area today.
Winter thrushes were abundant all over the place and a Short-eared Owl checked the bushes near to Ince berth for the unwary. Out on Frodsham Score salt marsh were several more Little Egret and a single Great Egret.
A huge flock of c1000 Northern Lapwing took to the air and a flock of c200 European Golden Plover flew timidly west. There were hundreds of Canada Goose grazing on the score grass and a skein of c100 Pink-footed Goose dropped down to join them.
The flock of c300 Eurasian Curlew were in the stubble fields alongside the Holpool Gutter with 3 Mute Swan, one wearing a green darvic ring CN13 and thanks to @SwanwatchUk for the origin of this swan which is here: CN13 was ringed as a male cygnet on 12-10-05 at Daneside Country Park, Congleton, Cheshire and was last seen at Pennington Flash, Greater Manchester on 22/7/2020.
A look over Lordship Marsh and there was more Eurasian Curlew feeding, but no sign of the Whooper Swan herd. I saw 3 pairs of European Stonechat along the Manchester Ship Canal and gutter.
Back at Ince and the pools held a mixed flock of ducks made up of Eurasian Teal, Mallard, Gadwall, Northern Shoveler with 4 Mute Swan, 2 Little Grebe, several Eurasian Coots and Common Moorhen.
Shortly after I made my way to No.6 tank where a single Whooper Swan was keeping company with a juvenile Mute Swan.
Paul Ralston (images 1-9).
I gave the old legs a stretch today birding a circular 10 km walk in wonderful wall to wall sunshine (for a change) early this morning. Starting along Moorditch Lane and its winter thrushes actively feeding in the damp grass of the pony paddock. A Cetti’s Warbler rang out its tune above the din of the nearby M56 motorway,
A Common Chiffchaff was back at the ramp track between No.5 & 6 tanks with a small party of Long-tailed, Blue and Great Tit flock. Looking across to the open water and 3 Mute Swan were joined by a solitary Whooper Swan which after a good preen duly fell asleep. While I was watching the ducks a skein of 71 Pink-footed Goose flew over from the direction of Frodsham Hill. There was a lot of shot gun activity over by Brookfurlong Lane this morning, so I expected most of the Tufted Duck to have vacated the Weaver Estuary along with all the other species there, apart from 21 Common Pochard and 2 Tufted Duck dropping in that was that for that theory.
A nice gathering of c500 Eurasian Teal were flushed out of cover in the daisy beds and settled on the water with 132 Northern Shoveler, 36 Northern Pintail (drakes in their elegant head flicking display), 45 Common Shelduck, 6 Gadwall, 63 Mallard, 29 Little Grebe and 14 Eurasian Coot. The female Western Marsh Harrier was posing on a small shrub out in the reed beds.
My next port of call was the pools on No.3 tank where 67 Eurasian Teal, 27 Eurasian Wigeon, 14 Northern Shoveler and 11 Mallard were partially obscured by the vegetation.
A look across Frodsham Score had a rich vein of birds with the ever present Canada Goose herd attracting 7 Barnacle Goose by the rivers edge. A skein of c450 Pink-footed Goose headed in from the east and settle down and away from the canada’s. Distant shimmering flocks of Dunlin could be seen over at Stanlow with a small party of Eurasian Oystercatcher. A fine adult Peregrine was sat on one of the fence posts out on the marsh, when it eventually decided to vacate the post it sent hundreds of Northern Lapwing into the air with 26 European Golden Plover. Adding to the raptor theme was a Common Buzzard and a female Merlin which weighed into the glut of shorebirds.
The usual Great Black-backed Gull v Common Raven tussles over the dead sheep carcasses left over from the last ‘big’ tides continues without relent. Several Little Egret were about with 5 Great Egret making a good showing.
Walking past the GrowHow factory and a nice dark morph Common Buzzard flew over head followed by a bevy of murerous crows. The usual herd of Whooper Swan were not to be seen today, although shooting was agin heard in close proximitry to their usual grazing field. A few European Stonechat enlightened the walk with several flocks of Linnet and Chaffinch causing me numerous stops to check their company.
Observer: WSM (images 10-14).