It’s that time of month when the BTO duty of counting wildfowl and shorebirds on, over or by the Mersey Estuary.
I settled on the banks of No.6 tank and began my count. The Black-tailed Godwit flock were settled down for their siesta during the first period of my watch. The blustery wind from the north-west made the waders and gulls jittery and once they flew up from their slumber they settled in flocks in the shallow waters. After two or three times of uplifting and resettling the flock remain in an area infront of me.
A scan revealed 4 non-breeding plumaged Bar-tailed Godwit within the 887 strong Black-tailed Godwit flock. There were 4 non-breeding plumaged Red Knot and a small number of Dunlin and 15 Common Ringed Plover. The Pied Avocet flock and breeding pairs totaled 24 birds and with them were 431 Black-headed, 1 Herring, 3 Lesser Black-backed and 6 1st summer Common Gull.
Ducks were absent apart from 7 Eurasian Teal, 24 Mallard and a couple of Tufted Duck. I assume the rest of the ducks have relocated to the Weaver Estuary.
The ‘phalarope pool’ was pretty devoid of ducks with a Reeve being the only new bird here. The Common Redshank pair were still paranoid about anything that even approached their precious youngsters. A couple of Western Yellow Wagtail flew in and out.
Walking back and a Stoat curiosyly watched us before slunking away into the pathside vegatation.
Observers: JS & WSM (images 1-7 & video).
A short walk along the River Weaver in strong winds today where hundreds of Common Swift put on an ariel display over the river and fields flashing past at waist height while the Pied Avocet pairs were kept busy chasing the Great Black-backed Gull adults away from their young. A mass of Black-headed Gull were resting on the choppy waters. There were 10 Mute Swan which flew down the river leaving 8 more behind.
A walk around No.6 tank and 2 Western Marsh Harrier were in the air together the males grey tail stood out from a distance.
An injured Lesser Black-backed Gull caught the attention of a pale phase Common Buzzard which flew down to investigate, after a few attempts the gull managed to get airborne.
There were Reed, Sedge and Cetti’s Warbler still vocal along Lordship Lane. A curious group of four Grey Heron were in the model aircrat field, two standing and two laying flat out on the ground.
There were many more Common Swift were hawking above the bank on No.6 and surely would draw in a Hobby if one was in the vicinity.
A dead Mole lay in the grass which could have been victim of the recent hot weather making the ground hard to penetrate through? Several Marsh Orchids were seen amongst the vegetation on one of the tank.
Obsever: Paul Ralston (images 8-12).