The pools at Ince were quiet with just a few Mallard and Gadwall with a flyover pair of Common Shelduck seen. A Eurasian Coot chick that only its mother could love was making its way along the ditch to join the rest of the brood, several other coots are still incubating their clutches along the ditch and pools.
A Little Grebe with 3 tiny youngsters was on one of the pools and automatically dived when it saw me approaching, and then realised its young were left in the open and returned to coax them into the reeds. Cetti’s Warbler, Blackcap, Common Whitethroat, Common Chiffchaff, Sedge and Western Reed Warbler were heard and seen all along my walk.
A Little Egret was in the field alongside the Holpool Gutter with a dozen or more courting Common Shelduck. A few more Little Egret were out on Frodsham Score with many more Common Shelduck. A Northern Wheatear was also noted. Two male Whinchat by the berth.
The ‘phalarope pool’ was deserted apart from Northern Lapwing, a few Mallard, Gadwall and a pair of Northern Shoveler and then to No.6 tank where more Common Shelduck were joined by Mallard, Eurasian Teal, Gadwall, Tufted Duck and Little Grebe. There were Ruff feeding along the edge of the pool while c25 Black-tailed Godwit were in the deeper water.
The male Western Marsh Harrier flew over Lordship Marsh and Common Buzzard, Common Kestrel and a Sparrowhawk were active in the area.
A Great Spotted Woodpecker left the bank on No.4 tank and landed on a fence post before making its way to the wood alongside the Holpool Gutter. Walking through Goldfinch Meadow LNR I spotted a pair of Eurasian Bullfinch in a bramble patch.
A walk around No.6 tank this morning and warblers were singing all around the tank, with the following counts: 5 Blackcap, 12 Cetti’s Warbler, 7 Common Chiffchaff, 27 Western Reed Warbler, 23 Sedge Warbler, 35 Common Whitethroat and 3 Willow Warbler. Also on the walk around the Little Stint was still on the ‘phalarope pool’ with a Little Ringed Plover, Common Snipe and Common Redshank. No.6 held around 350 Black-tailed Godwit with at least one Bar-tailed Godwit, 8 Ruff and a single Common Sandpiper. Approx 8 Barn Swallow and 16 Common Swift were hawking insects above the tank.
Perhaps the best description I have heard of the British climate is from the Australian Cricketer Shane Warne whom described UK weather as “nine months of winter followed by three months of bad weather”.
And so it was on a cold late April evening I stood watching No.6 tank questioning the wisdom of many of the wading birds present heading even further north.
There were just under 250 Black-tailed Godwit close to the track with 17 summer plumaged Dunlin and 2 Ringed Plover feeding busily on the water’s edge. Five Ruff were wandering amongst the Godwit with one bird clearly getting ideas above its station in developing a Gyr Falcon-esque plumage.
At about five o’clock half of the Godwits peeled off and headed towards the estuary to feed leaving the remaining birds – I imagined – chattering amongst themselves that they wouldn’t be so common as to eat their evening meal so early!!
Just before I left a Western Yellow Wagtail flew over calling and a dozen or so Swifts dropped out of the sky.
Walking back to my van I was serenaded by Cetti’s, Reed, Sedge and Grasshopper Warbler, Common Whitethroat, Blackcap and Common Chiffchaff. A Water Rail was also heard squealing along the bank.