A Little Egret flew west along the ship canal and 2 more fed out on the Frodsham Score salt marsh. A Kestrel was knocked off its perch by a pair of Raven which were looking to cause mischief. Several more Raven were wandering about the salt marsh which is obviously still a drew for their feeding antics. There was just the one Mute Swan with 3 cygnet on the Canal Pools although the other adult and cygnet might have been out of my sight in the reeds.
Another Green Sandpiper with a Common was on a scrape on No.3 tank alongside 6 Common Teal. At the ‘Secluded Pool’ a Grey Heron was sat with another 2 Little Egret, even more Common Teal and 2 Little Grebe were also present. Onward to No.6 tank saw a flock of c500 Black-tailed Godwit with just a few Redshank and Dunlin roosting together in the shallower water. These were joined by 200 noisy Canada Goose.
A Willow Warbler was seen on the bank by the birders watch point and several more Common Whitethroat and Chiffchaff were spotted along Lordship Lane. These small birds drew the attention of a passing Sparrowhawk which was hedgehopping.
Arriving back at Ince and a pair of Peregrine passed overhead and were watched rising high on a thermal.
My last Little Egret was resting on one of the pools at the pig farm and is surely part of a displaced movement of birds away from their breeding/natal colony somewhere in the county?
Observer: Paul Ralston.
Around the Weaver Bend this morning were 2 Green Sandpiper, 4 Common Sandpiper, 1 Ruff, 1 Lesser Whitethroat, 4 Yellow Wagtail and 2 Stonechat.
Over high tide on No.6 tank a Knot and a Ruff joining the Black-tailed Godwit flock and Redshank were with small numbers of Dunlin and Ringed Plover. A Peregrine flew over and a Marsh Harrier was over No.4 tank.
Once the sun came out a few dragonflies appeared, including a Brown Hawker, Migrant Hawker, Ruddy Darter and Common Darter.
Observer: Alyn Chambers.
Achieve images by WSM.
It wasn’t a particularly high tide today but any weekend tides that coincide with a late morning is always worthy of a punt. On arrival the expected Black-tailed Godwit flock had mostly arrived with an estimate of at least 1300 birds. Within the flocks was a significant number of juvenile birds, so I’m assuming that they had a good year up in Iceland (see link below)? The majority kept into a huddled bunch at the edge of the water on the sludge tank but typically a few including 20 juveniles flew over to my position below the northern bank and began feeding. Their constant chattering kept the otherwise nervous juvenile Redshank at bay and they too decided it was alright to settle and feed. That was until the big juvenile female Peregrine bundled through and scattered everything. She returned half an hour later with a Lapwing tightly clutched to her belly in flight and has obviously gain a little finesse since our last encounter. The Dunlin flock were down to c250 with just a handful of Ringed Plover to keep them company and 2 Ruff were the only notable additions.
Common Teal had made a sudden increase with c170 birds present and Shoveler numbers are increasing daily with 34 birds on this occasion.
It was a bit wet and wild out there today.
Observer and achieve image: WSM.
Link to Black-tailed Godwit article: https://wadertales.wordpress.com/2016/12/20/black-tailed-godwits-and-volcanic-eruptions/
An early evening walk around No.6 tank started with the injured Black-tailed Godwit that was feeding by one of the outlet towers alongside several juvenile Common Shelduck and Common Teal. Mallard, Shoveler and Gadwall were also present on the water. A flock of c400 other godwits were feeding in the shallower water with a handful of Redshank and a flock of Lapwing. A few raptors included Common Buzzard, Sparrowhawk and Kestrel were all noted on my walk with a further two Kestrel were hunting side by side over No.4. Along Lordship Lane a large flock of Black-headed Gull fed on the cut crop fields and were joined by 2 Curlew. A late clutch of Moorhen chicks were in a ditch along the lane and a flock of mixed finches were on the bank there.
Observer: Paul Ralston.
Archive image by Heather Wilde.
The smaller flock of c300 Black-tailed Godwit were again feeding and resting in the shallows. A similar number of Dunlin were close by and another flock was on the east side of the tank. Several Redshank and Ringed Plover dropped in to feed and were joined by a Greenshank. There were 3 Common Buzzard and 2 Kestrel active in the area and several Raven passed overhead.
Observer: Paul Ralston.
Field Grasshopper (Jimmy Cricket) were chirping from the undergrowth lumbering through the grass but were too timid to reveal themselves. I did manage to capture one eventually.
Achieve Images: WSM
Me and my spouse took a hike down to the marshes this afternoon a couple of hours before the high tide on the Mersey estuary. There were c2050 Dunlin already in situ with 447 Black-tailed Godwit occupying the relative shelter below the southern banks of No.6 tank. Within that total was 43 juvenile godwits, so an increase in their numbers but a dramatic decrease in the overall flock from a few days ago. A lot of those birds were resting up regaining some strength and sleeping after their long Icelandic flight. Also many were stretching their wing muscles and chattering away to each other before their onward journey and I assume the bigger flock have either moved on or have relocated, or both? The flightless bird in the eastern corner had a few companions today. A separate roost of 143 Ringed Plover were settled on the much drier ground a short distance from the main godwit and Dunlin roost. A solitary Common Sandpiper, 167 Lapwing and 3 Ruff were the only other waders of interest.
Observer: WSM (archive image).
A few sightings from Sean today included 8 Common Sandpiper on the River Weaver. Over on No.6 tank was 500 Dunlin, 1 Green Sandpiper and a Spotted Flycatcher in trees above the track on No.5 tank.
Observer: Sean O’Hara.
Sparky and myself had a family engagement so afterwards we walked off a little alcohol consumption along the track on No.5 tank. The Spot Fly that Sean had found earlier wasn’t on show and the area of open water and mud on the tank below the track was almost devoid of birds except for a few species of ducks including an eclipse drake Common Pochard. The resident Black-tailed Godwit (wing injury so can’t fly) was again in the eastern corner of the tank, 120 Lapwing and 6 Ruff were the only other birds of interest.
Observers: Sparky and WSM (achieve image).
A walk around No.6 tank early this morning started with a charm of c200 Goldfinch on Moorditch Lane with a Kestrel taking a keen interest. Onward ever onward to No.6 and there were just c300 Black-tailed Godwit resting in the shallow waters with 2 Avocet and 2 Ruff in with them. A few Tufted Duck, Common Teal, Mallard and Common Shelduck were joined by a flock of 20 Shoveler. A large flock of Black-headed Gull were on the water while a flock of Lesser Black-backed and Herring Gull were roosting on the drier mud. A low flying Common Buzzard flushed a Green Sandpiper out of a ditch on No.3 tank. Another flock of Black-headed Gull with several Common Gull were feeding on the cut crop fields alongside Lordship Lane where more finch flocks had gathered with one containing over 200 Linnet!
Observer: Paul Ralston (images from achieve 1).
After work today I made my way to the succulent wader magnet that is No.6 tank. On arrival the afternoon tide was quickly slipping back into the Irish Sea so time and tide were being stretched a little further than they should have been. A colossal gathering of c3000 Dunlin were again present and this time I slowly gathered my patience and systematically worked my way through their bustling numbers. It can be hard going tiptoeing along lines of these birds with the magnification at its ultimate limit. Counting up 2997…98…99…Dunlin! I drew a blank again in finding those two Siberian waifs that I look forward to every August namely the Little Stint and Curlew Sandpiper but 3 Ruff added some variety.
The flock of Black-tailed Godwit were again in big numbers and the level of juvenile birds has increased since yesterday. An adult Hobby spooked the wader flocks and was watched chasing down a Dunlin which it forced high into the sky, then detached the poor wader some distance away from its companions. I don’t know if the falcon managed to catch its prey because they both disappeared from sight. All this activity unnerved the rest of the Dunlin flocks and with the tide well receded they took the opportunity to head back out to the estuary. Just when things looked like they had settled the big blundering juvenile Peregrine wobbled through and flushed the godwits which followed the Dunlin to the relative safety of the Mersey mudflats.
A juvenile Marsh Harrier was quartering the distant reed bed and while I was heading home a juvenile Sparrowhawk was sat on the dusty track. It stayed put long enough for me to get lots of photo’s but alas I have exceeded my WordPress media limit so you’ll just have to imagine the birds.
Observer: WSM (images from achieve 2-3).