I was out this morning as the sun rose over at the River Weaver at frosham Marsh. There were groups of Curlew flying up river with a single Black-tailed Godwit heading for their feeding grounds on the Mersey estuary. A flock of Tufted Duck were with Common Teal, Mallard, a few Goldeneye and Common Shelduck busy feeding on the water as I passed them by.
A Common Sandpiper was unseasonal for December, but not unusual sitting on the far bank of the Manchester Ship Canal with a dozen Redshank.
The female Red-breasted Merganser cut a lone figure and was still present fishing opposite Marsh Farm alongside a Great Crested and Little Grebe on the waters of the ship canal. There was a mixed plover flock which typically rose up in the air behind the farm as a Marsh Harrier passed by.
A pair of Stonechat were showing well on the fence alongside No.1 tank. I species that seems to take on all weathers.
The Whooper Swan herd could be seen in the distant fields by the foot bridge over the M56 with 5 Mute for company. As I was driving home a Little Egret flew over the A556 through the Helsby to Frodsham road.
Observer: Paul Ralston (images 1-3 & 5 & 7-8 & ).
While PR was taking the early morning shift I made it down to the marshes mid morning starting my walk along Moorditch Lane where hundreds of Fieldfare and Redwing with lesser numbers of wintering Blackbird and Song Thrush were taking advantage of the hawthorn berry bounty. A Cetti’s Warbler throw out its song from thick cover by the ramp track to No.5 tank and was my first for a week or two.
A couple of Stonechat were idly perched on the vegetation by one of the wind turbines on No.5 tank when Arthur Harrison passed by.
The seemingly ever-present Peregrine was again perched up on the blue top chimney at Weston Point, while a female Merlin tried twice to dislodge passerines from the weedy fields but on both occasions failed in its attempts.
Looking across the (ever-expanding) waters of No.6 tank there was a pitiful amount of Common Teal left after yesterday’s exuberance with c230 birds present along with 40 Shoveler. I wonder if their big numbers were weather related?
A huge flock of both Lapwing (c1000) and Golden Plover (c700) exploded from No.3 tank into the air and, a skein of c250 Pink-footed Goose lifted from Frodsham Score when gun shots ringed out from the Ince area. There were good numbers (comparatively) of Curlew feeding in the flooded fields and an additional flock of 100 dropped in. A nice bright male Stonechat was joined by a more drab female by the ‘phalarope pool’ and the ‘Splashing Pool’ had 20 Shoveler present.
A couple of Marsh Harrier one a female and a 1st winter bird were sparring out over the reed beds of No.4 tank and 2 (known to each other) immature Sparrowhawk were sat close together on a scaffolding pipe.
The south-east corner of No.4 tank is a good spot to view the fields that border the M56 at Lordship Marsh and Hillview Farm where the 22 Whooper Swan herd was still munching grass. The herd were still difficult to see properly and if the Bewick’s are with them they will have to be seen on a more favourable view.
Observer: WSM (images 4 & 6 & 9-12).