A day off and a late morning walk from Ince to Rake lane. The 3 Western Cattle Egret were joined by 6 Little Egret and a single Grey Heron foraging amongst the pigs along Kinsey Lane. There were c20 Common Snipe and several Eurasian Curlew feeding on the stubble fields alongside many Pied Wagtail.
Out on Frodsham Score salt marsh and 5 Great Egret and a skein of c300 Pink-footed Goose moved near to the River Mersey. A flock of 33 Eurasian Coot and a single Great Crested Grebe on the Manchester Ship Canal, while Sparrowhawk, Common Kestrel and Common Buzzard hunted along the canal banks.
Another c200 Eurasian Curlew were on the stubble alongside the Holpool Gutter with 7 Mute Swan, the herd of 32 Whooper Swan were grazing in the field adjacent to Lower Rake Lane. A pair of European Stonechat and several Common Reed Bunting with one wearing a metal ring were on the track alongside the GrowHow plant.
Back at Ince and a decent selection of ducks were on the pools with Mallard, Eurasian Teal, Gadwall, Tufted Duck, Northern Shoveler, Eurasian Wigeon noted with 2 Little Grebe, 4 Mute Swan and several Eurasian Coot and Common Moorhen.
Observer: Paul Ralston (images 1-6).
While Paul was at the western end of the marsh we walked along Moorditch and Lordship Lanes where the last crop of hawthorn hedgerows were getting abattering and soon these winter wanderers will have striped our bounty bare and move on to hedgerows new. Small numbers of Black-headed Gull were feeding in the flooded fields and the c30 Whooper Swan herd could just be seen where Paul had seen them. A small skein of 100 Pink-footed Goose flew over from Frodsham Hill and much later a single goose flew over calling eagerly.
The ‘splashing pool’ had 46 Eurasian Teal, 21 Mallard, 4 Gadwall and 14 Northern Shoveler, nearby the ‘phalarope pool’ supported just two Eurasian Coot. The further pools had smaller counts of both Northern Shoveler and Eurasian Teal with 3 Grey Heron. A Common Buzzard flew over close to the resting flocks of everal hundred Northern Lapwing which joined forces to mob the buzzard off their roosting grounds. A smaller number of European Golden Plover were also in the area. A single male European Stonechat was perched up by the cattle feeding in their field.
We met Jaqui & Idris Roberts who had seen the single Whooper Swan on No.6 tank and this could be the same bird that arrived on 27th September and joined up with a small herd of Mute Swan herd. When we arrived the whooper swan was still there with 3 Mute Swan. All of the ducks were sheltering from the cold south south-east wind blowing across the marsh. I countered 341 Eurasian Teal, 36 Northern Pintail, 131 Northern Shoveler and small numbers of Common Shelduck and Mallard. A Cetti’s Warbler sounded off the last rpost and we duly left for home.
An unseasonal patch of Teasel was flowering along the track between No.4 & 6 tanks.
Observers: JS & WSM (images 7-8).