I paid a vist to Ince after work and the field at the start of the track has flooded, the recent three out four days worth of rain attracted an impressive 46 Little Egret, 2 Great Egret, a single Eurasian Curlew, 2 Mute Swan and the usual ducks. A Common Chiffchaff was contact calling along the lane and now represents the sound of autumn.
On the Frodsham Score salt marsh were Canada Goose and a flock of grazing Pink-footed Goose with a flock of c300 Northern Lapwing and c20 European Golden Plover amongst them.
All records from No.6 tank: 2700 Canada Goose, 620 Black-headed Gull, c30 Common Gull, 370 Northern Lapwing, 12 Little Grebe, 1 Little Egret, 1 Peregrine, 5 Common Pochard, c170 Northern Shoveler, 30 Mallard, c160 Eurasian Teal and 145 Tufted Duck.
I was out this morning starting my birding walk at Ince where several Little Egret were dotted about the ponds and fields. There were two birds feeding amongst the cattle which got my hopes up, but were only Little Egret. A Great Egret passed overhead and was later seen preening near to the pool by the screen hide. A selection of Mallard, Eurasian Teal, Gadwall and Northern Shoveler were all,present in decent numbers; a pair of Mute Swan were also noted. A Common Kingfisher was heard and then seen speeding along the ditch.
On next to the Manchester Ship Canal path from which small flocks of Northern Pintail were seen flying over Frodsham Score salt marsh and a couple were on the canal with a mixed flock of Mallard and Gadwall. Three more Great Egret were seen with several Little Egret feeding in the tidal channels.
There were 4-5 Brent Goose with the Canada Goose.
A mass of geese were seen feeding in the stubble fields alongside the Holpool Gutter where c700 Pink-footed Goose were with Mallard and Northern Pintail feeding with them, a separate flock of several hundred Canada Goose were at the other end of the field and contained 3 Barnacle Goose and some Greylag Goose. A flock of c50 Eurasian Curlew and a handful of Black-tailed Godwit were foraging alongside them.
A Peregrine flew over scattering a flock of Rook, Carrion Crow and Western Jackdaw.The ‘splashing pool’ held a few more Eurasian Teal, Mallard, Northern Shoveler, Gadwall and 5 Little Grebe, while the ‘phalarope pool’ held just a few Northern Lapwing and a single Black-tailed Godwit, 4 European Stonechat were on a fence on No.3 tank with a large charm of European Goldfinch and Meadow Pipit nearby. Several Eurasian Skylark were moving about the area. The Mute Swan pair with their 2 remaining cygnets had the canal pools to themselves. Back at my start and a flock of c40 Barn Swallow and several House Martin were busy feeding up in the warm sunshine.
Observer: Paul Ralston (images 2-8).
A quick look across No.6 tank revealed all of the ducks and godwits sheltering in the south-west corner of the (now) flooded pool. An impressive tightly packed flock of c2000 Black-tailed Godwit. The Northern Shoveler flock reached c150 birds with 125 Tufted Duck and 11 Common Pochard. A Merlin zipped through No.3 tank per Jacqui & Idris Roberts.
We took a long stog out to the western end of the marshes with a look over the rising and falling tide out on the mighty Mersey Estuary. The big flocks of Pink-footed Goose that Paul had seen earlier were hiding from my view point but smaller skeins flew in and landed on Frodsham Score where a couple of Barnacle Goose were busy munching the swathy grass. Several smallish flocks of Eurasian Wigeon were on the edge of the tide and salt marsh. Shorebirds were displaced from the refuelling activity and Dunlin were making impressive swirling flocks. A flock of c30 Eurasian Oystercatcher with 42 Grey Plover, 3 Bar-tailed Godwit and 100’s of Eurasian Curlew. Watching from the sidelines was an immature Peregrine with a Western Marsh Harrier flushing things from the rogh grass and a Common Buzzard bothered by the young Peregrine.
A damp walk around No.6 tank this morning where good numbers of wildfowl were present with Northern Shoveler beinf the most numerous duck species, followed by Eurasian Teal, Mallard and Gadwall. There were smaller numbers of Common Pochard, Common Shelduck, Eurasian Wigeon and Northern Pintail noted.
A flock of c700 Black-tailed Godwit were resting in the shallows with a few Common Redshank amongst them.
Walking along Lordship Lane and c1000 Canada Goose were feeding on the stubble fields with a flock of 40 Black-tailed Godwit dropping down to feed with them. Also seen were c30 Common Snipe while 3 Pink-footed Goose passed overhead, but didn’t join them. Several hundred gulls and Eurasian Starling tried to settle with them with the snipe but were spooked by light phase Common Buzzard and a pair of Sparrowhawk hunting in the area.
A flock of c25 Barn Swallow were hawking over No.6 and a female European Stonechat was on the bank where Linnet, European Goldfinch and Western Reed Bunting were numerous.
An afternoon visit to No.6 tank produced 2 juvenile Ruff, 2 Bar-tailed Godwit with an unspeified amount of Black-tailed Godwit in the water replenished No.6 tank after the rain of yesterday.
Observer: Mark (Whipper) Gibson.
A short walk along Brook Furlong Lane, the Manchester Ship Canal and RiverWeaver this afternoon. A charm of c100 European Goldfinch were feeding close to Marsh Farm and a flock of c20 Meadow Pipit were spooked by a Common Kestrel but they settled quickly.
Further out on the Mersey Estuary and more Black-tailed Godwit and Eurasian Curlews fed on the exposed mud, but not in any great numbers. Two military planes flew side by side just low enough for me to get a good view of the cockpit and flew on towards the airport, both pilots visible as they passed overhead.
The Weaver Estuary was also quiet with just a few Eurasian Teal, Mallard, Gadwall and Tufted Duck being present although a raft of c50 Eurasian Coot and c250 Canada Goose were on the water. The Whooper Swan has teamed up with a Mute Swan and both stayed close together as they moved along the river, a single juvenile Mute Swan was feeding close to the edge of 5 Great Crested Grebe.
A day off work so a mid morning walk around No.6 tank. I started at Godscroft Lane today where a female European Stonechat was present near to the hovercraft field.
A flock of Linnet were feeding on the weed heads and perched on the blackthorn bushes on the bank, where several Common Reed Bunting and a Cetti’s Warbler was heard close by.
Onward I went to the ‘phalarope pool’ and a single Little Grebe joined the Eurasian Teal and Mallard on the water. There were 8 Black-tailed Godwit, a single Ruff which shared the bank with a couple of Common Snipe and a Green Sandpiper which dropped in. One of the other scrapes on No.3 tank held a dozen or more Common Snipe and a Dunlin, c30 Eurasian Wigeon and Eurasian Teal being noted.
A charm of c300 European Goldfinch was stripping the thistle heads when a Sparrowhawk tried to ambush them without success, it hovered kestrelesque over the thistles with its long legs ready to seize an unfortunate finch, but it eft hungry. There were waves of Black-tailed Godwit passed overhead on their way to the estuary, possibly disturbed by a predator on No.6.
Observer: Paul Ralston (images 1 & 4 &).
A large flock of Black-tailed Godwit which had with them a Red Knot.
Observer: Keith Gallie (images 2-3 & 5-7).
A walk from lunch time out along Moorditch and Lordship Lanes to share our lunch looking over the ‘phalarope pool’ produced small groups of Eurasian Wigeon, Northern Shoveler and Eurasian Teal. There were 6 juvenile Black-tailed Godwit resting and bathing in this their junior pool. Walking along to watch over No.6 tank and a small flock of c100 Black-tailed Godwit were busy doing doing but did include 16 juvenile birds. A Common Redshank and 2 Ruff were about it for shorebirds.
The ducks were again plentiful and included c100 Tufted Duck, 3 Common Pochard, c200 Northern Shoveler, 30 Northern Pintail, 100 Mallard and 25 Little Grebe.
I called in at Eastham to watch the sunrise before making my way to the marsh this morning a skein of 100 Pink-footed Goose flew down river and a Great Black-backed Gull let out an alarm call as a Peregrine passed overhead. A Common Scoter was noted on the River Mersey for good measure.
Walking along Brook Furlong Lane and 4 Common Chiffchaff were foraging in the hawthorns alongside a mixed flock of tits.
Onto the River Weaver and a Whooper Swan kept company with 7 Mute Swan. A flock of c150 Common Redshank, several Black-tailed Godwit and a single Common Sandpiper were on the river bank. Gadwall, Mallard, Eurasian Teal, Tufted Duck and Common Shelduck were all present in small numbers.
Looking over the Mersey Estuary and a flock of 50 Pied Avocet were gathered on a sand bank alongside Eurasian Curlew and more Black-tailed Godwit while the Peregrine watched over the marsh from the blue topped tower at Weston Point. Another large skein of Pink-footed Goose were over the river.
Along the path besides the Manchester Ship Canal and European Stonechat were seen and several Meadow Pipit were present.
I stopped off at Ince on my way home and the pools were quiet with a few Gadwall, Eurasian Teal and Mallard seen, along with Little Grebe which was observed trying to drive its chick away from the pool, and repeatedly chasing it as soon as it surfaced. There were 2 Little Egret resting on the bank of the larger pool.
On the ship canal were c2000 Canada Goose on the water while Frodsham Score salt marsh had numerous Little and 2 Great Egret foraging in the tidal channels. A further c250 Pink-footed Goose were settled on the marsh with more skeins dropping in to join them, also noted were 3 Barnacle Goose amongst the flock.
Observer: Paul Ralston (all images).
An after work visit to No.6 tank where a flock of c1000 Black-tailed included just a single Bar-tailed Godwit. There were 6 Ruff, 2 Red Knot, 9 Common Redshank and several Northern Lapwing.
Ducks included the same species as yesterday with an increase of 52 Eurasian Wigeon.
I started my birding walk at Ince as the sun came up this morning. The trio of Garganey that have been residing in the pools were down by one to two birds and the usual Gadwall, Mallard and Eurasian Teal for company. A couple of Mute Swan were resting on the bank nearby.
A male Merlin the first of the autumn sped overhead scattering the Linnet and European Goldfinch flocks and was later seen sitting on top of a hawthorn hedge. A Western Marsh Harrier was being buzzed by a couple of Carrion Crow near to the Ince Berth and made its way out to the Frodsham Score salt marsh.
On the salt marsh were 2 Great Egret foraging with several Little Egret in the tidal channels and a flock of c50 Pink-footed Goose were grazing the short grass. In the meantime a small group of swans flew across the Mersey but too far out to get a positive identification.
There were 7 Northern Pintail on the Manchester Ship Canal amongst a flock of Mallard and Gadwall.The sound of rapid wingbeats caught my attention as a pair of Whooper Swan flew past and it appeared they dropped down onto No.6 tank. When I eventually got there, there was no sound of them? Three Common Sandpiper were feeding together on the canal bank and 6 Ruff were noted on the ‘phalarope pool’ with 4 Black-tailed Godwit and several Eurasian Wigeon, Mallard, Eurasian Teal and more Gadwall.
Walking along Lordship Lane and a Cetti’s Warbler blasted out its tune while a Common Kestrel caught a rodent from the bank, and a few Barn Swallow were hawking near the fertilizer plant.
Back at my start at Ince were 7 more Little Egret preening at the edge of one of the pools. The pool that held the Garganey earlier was devoid of ducks with just a Little Grebe and her chick left. The remains of a freshly killed duck probably a teal were on the path.
Observer: Paul Ralston (images 1-3).
I am in work this weekend, but never missing an opportunity to sneak in a little birding after my duties were signed off I made my way to the marsh for a little R & R. No.6 tank again looked good with c1700 Black-tailed Godwit tightly packed in two separate groups. Scanning through their throng revealed a couple of Bar-tailed Godwit, 3 Red Knot and 9 Ruff. The flocks were on edge and would occasionally jump up into the air whenever the jittery Northern Lapwing panic flighted.
Ducks are still a feature and the Northern Shoveler flock were up again with 243 birds. The Northern Pintail rised a good 43 with a reduced number of Eurasian Teal (I assume birds that have arrived for the autumn have displaced to smaller water bodies elsewhere). The Eurasian Wigeon flock from No.3 tank have relocated here with c39 birds and likewise Tufted Duck reached 161 and 1 Common Pochard. The 31 Little Grebe on this tank have tagged along with the tufties and both species have anxiety issues if one of them shifts position on the water.
A look across the Mersey Estuary from the Weaver Sluices was pretty productive with 25 Pied Avocet, 120 Common Redshank, small nimbers of Black-tailed Godwit, 250 Eurasian Curlew and c250 Common Shelduck. A small flock of 5 winter swans initally thought to be Bewick’s Swan were after looking at a photograph taken by Phil Barker as they left the river and pasted over Marsh Farm to be whoops!…Whooper Swan.
Frodsham Score had several hundred Canada Goose with 11 Little Egret and one or two Great Egret. Time restraints meant I couldn’t linger longer and if I had I may have added a juvenile Northern Gannet, maybe next time.
One more visit after work where the volume of birds on No.6 tank were very much reduced and obviously due in part to the falling height of tides. A flock of c700 Black-tailed and a single Bar-tailed Godwit, 7 Ruff, 12 Common Redshank, 50 Northern Lapwing and 14 Common Snipe. Ducks were also out in force with c100 Tufted Duck, 5 drake Common Pochard, C350 Eurasian Teal, c120 Northern Shoveler, 17 Northern Pintail, and several Gadwall.
A Sparrowhawk flew across the open water and none of the waders or ducks didn’t even lift up their heads.
A walk from Ince to the Holpool Gutter this afternoon started with the 3 Garganey back on one of the pools alongside numerous Gadwall, Mallard and a few Eurasiian Teal.There were 7 Little Grebe dotted about the pools and a pair of Mute Swan were looking settled.
On to the Manchester Ship Canal path where c1500 Canada Goose were resting on the water with 5 Northen Pintail and dozens of Mallard and Gadwall amongst them, they all took off on mass as 2 wildfowlers and their dogs made their way along the edge of the marsh. A small group of 7 Pink-footed Goose, a Great Egret and a dozen Little Egret were noted on Frodsham Score salt marsh. The gutter held another 2 Mute Swan, several Mallard, Eurasian Teal and again Gadwall.
Walking back past the pools a further 10 Little Egret were getting ready to roost in the nearby trees.