I started at Rake Lane this morning and a Kingfisher sat on a sluice gate along with a Grey Wagtail wasat welcome by the Hollpool Gutter where it crosses Rake Lane.
Hundreds of Pink-footed Goose passed overhead flying south after leaving the Mersey Estuary and on a much smaller scale was a female Stonechat sat on a fence post. A large flock of European Starling and corvids feeding in the stubble fields. Reed Bunting and Chaffinch gathered in the hedgerow, but sat tight as a pair of European Kestrel hunted in the area. The fields by the gutter had c40 Eurasian Curlew foraging in the stubble alongside Black-headed and Common Gull.
Looking over the Frodsham Score saltmarsh were hundreds of Canada Goose grazing on the short grass with several Little Egret and a single Great Egret.
On the wildlife front a vixen Fox was mouse hunting at the edge of the Manchester Ship Canal and was being trailed by a dog Fox, they both passed within few foot of me then made their way onto No.4 tank where they could be heard calling which attracted another dog Fox, that got wind of me and turned tail and fled suddenly. A single Euraian Oystercatcher is back on territory and sat on the canal bank waiting for its partner to return.
There were 3 Raven sat at the sand extraction area on No.6 tank while a Marsh Harrier hunted the reed bed.
Looking over Lordship Marsh still held onto the Whooper Swan herd were over by the M56 motorway while the Mute Swan were close to Lordship lane and tallied 8 birds. A Common Buzzard was hanging in the air Kestrel like while 2 more Kestrels perched in a tree on the bank of No.4.
Observer: Paul Ralston (images 2-7).
I was on the marsh by mid morning and made the slog out to the banks of the River Weaver were the shooters were about to begin their activities. A flock of 202 Tufted Duck, 32 Common Pochard, 12 Gadwall, 18 Common Goldeneye and finally the female Long-tailed Duck that made a good job at hiding away. My first Eurasian Oystercatcher of the year flew over head calling urgently and the wintering Common Sandpiper flicked across the Weaver Estuary.
A look at the cattle by Marsh Farm again had the 3 wary Cattle Egret and could even be seen from the darkside of the river at Hale. A Stonechat was the only other bird of note here.
My next attention was focused on the saltmarsh of Frodsham Score where several hundred Pink-footed Goose were together by the shooters hut. A leucistic necked goose with the Canada Goose main herd didn’t quite look right. The Little Egret were scattered widely and 2 Great Egret could be seen. The only raptor seen was a big barrel chested female Peregrine sat on the edge of the river watching a conveyor belt of food flying by. There were 4 additional Eurasian Oystercatcher on the edge of the ebbing tide.
I continued by walk and found 23 Whooper Swan in the same fields PR had seen them earlier.
My final destination was to look over No.6 tank where 58 Northern Shoveler joined up with 31 Northern Pintail, 350 Eurasian Teal, 132 Mallard, 24 Gadwall, 2 Common Goldeneye, 14 Tufted Duck and 6 Common Pochard.
A 1st winter Common Gull at Picow Farm Road, Runcorn from 15.01.20 and currently still in the area was ringed near Bergan, Norway 04.08.19. and is currently wintering in the area.
A partial leucistic Canada Goose was with its more ‘normal’ herd at Wigg Island, Runcorn on 21.01.20.
Observer: WSM (images 1 & 8-12).