We walked along the lanes of the marsh taking in the herd of 25 Whooper Swan settled in the fields adjacent to the ramp track to No.4 & 6 tanks. A look across the marshes produced c2000 Pink-footed, c3000 Canada and a small herd of 8 Barnacle Goose. A smattering of Little and 6 Great Egret were waiting for the tide to fill the gutters.
The open waters were ice free and numerous Eurasian Teal, Northern Shoveler and Mallard were taking advantage of the fact. There were 2 Western Marsh Harrier over the reed beds while 100’s of both Northern Lapwing and European Golden Plover were making panic flights from No.3 & 2 tanks. Also present were 78 Eurasian Coot on the banks of the Canal Pools.
No.6 tank had c300 Eurasian Teal, c100 Common Shelduck and 40 Common Gull.
The Peregrine was sat on her perch holding sway over the wild mersey marshes.
Observers: JS & WSM (images).
A colour-ringed J7C Eurasian Coot I saw at Widnes Warth Marsh a couple of days ago was ringed at Pennington Flash near Leigh, Greater Manchester on 09.12.20.
I started my walk and WeBs count at Ince marsh fields with 6 Mallard, 63 Eurasian Teal, 1 Common Shelduck, 31 Eurasian Coot, 3 Common Moorhen,29 Eurasian Curlew, 1 Common Snipe, c100 Northern Lapwing alongside the Hulpool Gutter, which also had 6 Great Egret, including a bird with the colour ring in the fields near the pipeline. Four were associating together and 2 more in the ditch that crosses the stubble field.
Also present were 3 Little Egret. A large mixed flock of finches feeding along the bank on No.4 tank attracted the attention of a Common Kestrel which hunted down a meal in the manner of a Merlin. There were 6 Mute Swan and 6 Greylag Goose plus the white domestic type grazing alongside the gutter.
Observer: Paul Ralston (images 1-2).
While Paul was out west we also were counting for the BTO WeBs by walking the lanes around No.6 tank, and with little daring to poke their heads above ground level in another day of strong unforgiving winds. The fields of Lordship Marsh were devoid of any ducks or shorebirds with the area still under the spell of frozen grounds. The only saving grace were the 24 Whooper Swan herd nibbling the grass by the ramp track between No.6 & No.4 tanks. A further herd of 16 Mute Swan were over by Lower Rake Lane with two adding themselves with the winter swan herd.
A look of the top banks of No.6 tank into the shearing wind produced the well marked female Western Marsh Harrier easing its way through the buffeting chill.
It was a time of celebration for myself and my infinitely better half (JS) with 30 years together, so we took the opportunity to stop for a short while from our walk to look over the marshes. There were 100’s of Pink-footed Goose by the river with another Western Marsh Harrier gliding kite like over the salt marshes with flocks of Dunlin, Grey Plover and a single Bar-tailed Godwit edging in with the tide.
A few European Golden Plover were with several hundred Northern Lapwing on No.3 tank and the only ducks were a flock of Northern Shoveler, Mallard and Eurasian Teal on the ‘splashing pool’. Further out by the Canal Pools and a flock of Eurasian Teal were displaced from the waters of the Manchester Ship Canal and flew around before resettling there.
No.6 tank was mostly frozen over with just 5 Mallard and 6 Common Shelduck (which must be my lowest ever WeBs count for this tank). The fields on No.5 tank afforded enough shelter for a modest flock of European Golden Plover to find food for their needs.
A walk out in the eye wateringly cold blast of south-easterly wind whipping through the marsh.
Highlights from my walk included: c100 Common Snpe, 5 Jack Snipe, 12 Dunlin, 25 Common Redshank. a Common Ringed Plover and a couple of ‘sinensis’ Great Cormorant. Ducks were rather thin on the river with 54 Eurasian Teal, 123 Tufted Duck, 27 Common Pochard and the 1st winter drake Greater Scaup finding the waters to choppy and seeking shelter hiding behine a small jetty. Also a chilly Common Chiffchaff was brave feeding along the exposed banks.
A tractor bringing food to the cattle on No.3 tank flushed c500 Northern Shoveler from either the Canal Pools or the Manchester Ship Canal where they flew out to the River Mersey.
The horse paddock had some winter thrushes with Song Thrush, Blackbird and Redwing looking for food on the frozen ground. A Little Egret was hiding in a ditch at the bottom of the bridge that crosses the M56 motorway on Marsh Lane, then flew around and settled in the same ditch, but further along Moorditch Lane.
Observer: WSM (images 1-4).
I had a short walk in the bitter cold this morning from Kinseys Lane and along the Manchester Ship Canal and back via the nature reserve pools. There were good numbers of gulls with mostly Black-headed but several Herring withthem. Also in the area were plenty of corvids feeding in the fields that had recently had the muck spreader over them.
Out on Ince salt marsh were more corvids gathered together foraging alongside c5000 Pink-footed Goose and a Little Egret moved east along the canal. A flock of c80 Stock Dove were feeding on the edge of the salt marsh with many sat on the wall at Ince Berth. Mallard, Eurasian Teal, Gadwall and Common Shelduck were present in small numbers on the canal and 4 Mute Swan were in a field near the berth.
The pools were frozen over with a few Eurasian Teal and Eurasian Coot making the most of the ice free ditch, and a flock of c60 Eurasian Curlew flew over calling and looking for a suitable place to feed. The small wood at the entrance to the pig farm held several winter thrushes with Blackbird and Song Thrush searching the undergrowth for something to get them through the cold spell. A Eurasian Nuthatch wedged a hazel nut in a crevice and hammered away at it. A flock of 25 Stock Dove were noted nearby.
I walked along Lordship Lane this morning where several Pied and a pair of Grey Wagtail were feeding alongside the ditch next to the fertilizer plant.
A pair of Lesser Redpoll were feeding on the seed heads with a mixed group of European Goldfinch and Linnet on the bank of No.4 tank. The herd of 26 WhooperSwan and 3 Mute’s were also present on Lordship Marsh and a Common Buzzard was hanging in the cold breeze and was buzzed by a Sparrowhawk.
Eurasian Teal, Northern Shoveler, Mallard and Eurasian Coot were on the ice free parts of the ‘splashing pool’ while hundreds of Northern Lapwing and European Golden Plover were on No.3 tank.
A mass of waders were out at the edge of the Mersey salt marshes and were kept on red alert by a Peregrine on its patrol. Several thousand Canada Goose were on the edge of Frodsham Score with more birds close by on the Manchester Ship Canal a single Greylag with a white domestic companion joining them.
A flock of c 60 Eurasian Coot left the canal to forage on the salt marsh leaving a Great Crested Grebe on the water.
The Goldfinch Meadow pools at Ince held more Eurasian Teal, Northern Shoveler, Mallard, Gadwall and more Eurasian Coot on an ice free part of the screen pool.
A flock of c50 Eurasian Curlew found a defrosted field to probe for grubs while a Great Egret foraged nearby.
Observer: Paul Ralston (images 2-7).
While PR was out and about we walked along Moorditch Lane where the Redwing flock is still feeding in the horse paddocks and a fine Fieldfare was also on the lookout for foos.
The water on No.6 tank was completely frozen and apart from a few gulls loiting on the ice all of the ducks had vacated the area. Numerous European Golden Plover were flying around looking for unfrozen ground.
A look across Frodsham Score was pretty quiet with just the one Great Egret, a few hundred Pink-footed Goose in the distance, scores of murmurating Dunlin on the edge of the river, c100 Grey Plover, 100’s of Common Shelduck and 100’s of Eurasian WIgeon.
Observers: JS & WSM (images 1 & 8-9).
A walk along the edge of the River Weaver revealed Northern Pintail, Eurasian Teal, Northern Shoveler, Common Shelduck, Great Cormorant, Common Redshank and Northern Lapwing.
A long walk today took us around the marshes with 19.74 km, 26789 steps and calories shed 1735 cals.
The Whooper Swan herd were still lingering in fields below the ramp tarck to No.4 & 6 tanks with some Mute Swan. It was interesting to see Eurasian Curlew struggling to find ground that wasn’t frozen to feed on. A brief snatch of Eurasian Skylark song from the fields and Redwing roaming the area.
No.6 tank was complelety frozen so ducks were very low in nimbers with just a few Eurasian Teal and Northern Shoveler. A dead ewe was recycled by the eco-friendly Common Raven while a struggling ewe and her twin lambs were eventually saved by the tenent farmer.
No.5 tank had good numbers of Northern Lapwing with European Golden Plover busy surviving to be bothered by me watching them.
A Common Kingfisher was flushed from a small secluded ditch and a Common Chiffchaff were both close to Frodsham swingbridge.
Our walk in glorious sunshine with a crisp cold snap to the icy easterly wind.
Walking along Moorditch Lane and 4 Lesser Redpoll were with a small group of Linnet.
The herd of 23 Whooper Swan were again in the fields by the ramp track between No.4 & No.6 tanks off Lordship Lane. A little further 15 Mute Swan were a separate herd.
At a sunny spot were 4 Common Chiffchaff fly catching from an elder bush and European Stonechat from their preferred perches.
A look to the north produced 7 Barnacle, c2500 Canada & c2000 Pink-footed Goose with a Great Egret hiding in the grassy marsh. A Western Marsh Harrier flew over head to fly around one of the tanks.
Ducks were thin on the ground…or water with both frozen over. A small cluster of Eurasian Teal and Northern Shoveler were doing their best to keep one spot of water on No.6 tank free of ice.
The fields of No.5 tank had flocks of both Northern Lapwing and c300 European Golden Plover containing svereal begining their moult into breeding plumage and the lapwing were in the act of their tumberling display flight.
Observers: JS & WSM (images 1-2 & 5-6).
Image 3 by Steve Ingleby and image 4 by Gary Worthington.
Our walk along Moorditch Lane was cut short by a small flock of Redwing, Blackbird and Song Thrush attempting t find food in the frozen fields of the horse paddocks. A brisk cold north easterly whipped throgh the marshes with occasional flurries of snow sweeping in.
No.6 tank had c400 Eurasian Teal, c150 Northern Shoveler and a small number of Mallard. The fields of No.5 tank held onto 100’s of Northern Lapwing with 17 Black-tailed Godwit whirling around and c500 European Golden Plover had a small number attaining their first flushes of summer plumage.
A look over the banks produced 7 Barnacle and hundreds of both Canada and Pink-footed Goose. A lone Great Egret blended in well with the mini blizzard. A female Western Marsh Harrier dropped into join the geese on the marsh and another flew over the tanks.
Observers: JS & WSM (images and video).
Also seen were the herd of Whooper Swan back in the fields below the ramp track between No.4 & No.6 tanks at Lordship Lane per Jacqui & Idris Roberts. The Greater Scaup was spotted by Roger Wilkinson on the River Weaver and a possible Goosander also on the river.
A walk out to Ince and Frodsham Marsh was well worthy for the birds seen en route. A Common Kingfisher flashed across the path by the GrowHow works followed by a Great Spotted Woodpecker flying overhead to a belt of trees.
The fields nearby held 13 Mute and 23 Whooper Swan of which two were juvenile birds. A huge number of Canada,Pink-footed Goose and 10 Barnacle Goose. A couple of Great Egret were knocking about with smaller numbers of Little Egret also noted. A group of 5 Common Chiffchaff found a sunny spot to feed at.
I started my walk at Brook Furlong Lane this morning with Redwing, Song Thrush and Common Starling were feeding in the pony paddock and a mixed flock of tits made their way along the lane.
A pair of Common Raven flew overhead performing several barrel rolls as they went on their way. Onto the River Weaver where a flock of 20 Common Goldeneye with 3 displaying males noted. Good numbers of Common Pochard were by the jetty with Tufted Duck, Common Shelduck, Mallard and Eurasian Teal, but didnt see the Great Scaup which could have been hidden amongst the ducks on the far side of the river. There was just 2 juvenile Mute Swan with the many Canada Goose herd on the water.
A flock of Northern Lapwing and Common Redshank made their way up river and c200 Eurasian Curlew were feeding on the mudbanks on the Mersey Estuary. A herd of c500 Canada Goose were on the field by Marsh Farm with a large flock of Northern Lapwing panicking on a regular basis. Common Raven were on patrol over the lambing fields doing a fine job of cleaning up any waste with 4 Great Black-backed Gull also in attendance. A flock of 23 Common Snipe were seen on No.3 tank and a pair of European Stonechat were along Alder Lane.
I paused at Ince on my way home where a flock of c100 Pied Wagtail, a single Grey Wagtail, many Chaffinch, Western Reed Bunting and at least 1 Common Chiffchaff were feeding along the hedge in the stubble field. Also 3 Great Egret and 5 Little Egret were out on the salt marsh with a flock of c200 Pink-footed Goose. There were hundreds of corvids feeding out on the marsh and a large flock of Northern Lapwing and Dunlin were out by the mouth of the River Gowy.
Observer: Paul Ralston (images 2-3).
While Paul was out doing his thing we were walking the tracks of Moorditch Lane for a much shorter ramble than previous ones. The contractors working on the drainage towers on No.6 tank off for Sunday the ducks took advantage and returned in much smaller numbers. A skein of c100 Pink-footed Goose flew from the north and headed south while others were out on the marsh.
A Great Egret was out on the marsh and newly born lambs were shivering in the cold easterly wind.
Observers: JS & WSM (images 1 & 4).
23 Whooper Swan still in fields off Lordship Lane.
A walk down to the River Weaver rewarded me with sightings of the immature drake Greater Scaup, 171 Tufted Duck, 71 Common Pochard, 22 Common Goldeneye, c200 Eurasian Teal, 21 Gadwall, 6 Mute Swan, 3 ‘sinensis’ Great Cormorant and c100 Canada Goose.
Several Cetti’s Warbler were calling from the reed beds and 2 Common Bullfinch and several Redwing were along Brook Furlong Lane.