I began my routine exercise walk at Ince this morning where hundreds of Pink-footed Goose flew out from the estuary to their feeding grounds while some birds turned back disorientated by the fog.
The nature reserve pools held decent numbers of wildfowl on the ice free parts with Northern Shoveler, Eurasian Teal and mostly Mallard and Gadwall which made up the numbers.
Onward to the Manchester Ship Canal where more wildfowl were present a female Common Goldeneye were noted. A Western Marsh Harrier was watched hunting the reedbed on No.4 tank and a Little Egret passed overhead towards Lordship Marsh.
The ‘splashing pool’ was ice free at the far end and held yet more Northern Shoveler and Eurasian Teal. Finches were numerous with flocks of European Goldfinch feeding on the teasle headswith Linnet and Chaffinch joining forces to keep an eye out for the Common
Kestrel and Sparrowhawk hunting the marsh.
The Whooper Swan herd has relocated to the fields adjacent to the Holpool Gutter possibly due to disturbance from a trials bike along Lower Rake Lane.
Back at Ince and a Great Egret was noted near the pools and was wearing a darvic ring.
Observer: Paul Ralston (images 4 & 7-8).
I undertook a long walk down to the marshes with a walk along the River Weaver where 21 Common Goldeneye, 140 Tufted Duck, an imm drake Greater Scaup, 71 Common Pochard, c400 Eurasian Teal, 2 Gadwall, 40 Common Shelduck, 11 Mute Swan, 2 Black Swan (Rob Dennett had seen my earlier), a skein of 101 Greylag Goose flew in from the east and settled on the river, by far the largest ever flock here.
A Great Cormorant had to defend its catch of a large fish from both another cormorant and a Great Black-backed Gull.
A few shorebirds were about but the highlight was 3 Jack Snipe flushed from the river bank and no doubt forced here by the over night frost. There were 6 Common Snipe also seen and a flock of c100 European Golden Plover and c400 Northern Lapwing. A skein of c200 Pink-footed Goose flew over from the east and headed to the Mersey Estuary.
A large vessel entering the Weaver Estuary caused a big tidal save that caused all of the ducks to take flight, fortunately they flew and settled closer to where I was watching from.
Two Western Marsh Harrier were over the reed beds at dusk with ‘legoless’ the broken legged bird causing the roosting Common Starling to perform a mini murmuration.
Video of Pink-footed Geese heading to the Mersey Estuary.
Observer: WSM (images 1-3 & 5-6 & 9-16 & video).