We took an 18 klm round trip to the marsh and around the lanes. It was hard work during this intervening period where the first trickle of non breeding northern shorebirds are just moving south and the excited loose flocks of fledged passerines and worn out adults still attending to their broods.
A large flock of c800 Black-tailed Godwit were bunched together at the Weaver Sluice Gates with hundreds of Black-headed Gull flocks. A Grasshopper Warbler reeled out its mechanical song hile hundreds of hirundines Sand Martin and Barn Swallow were gathering around the north west corner of No.6 tank with occasional trips to drink from the mostly deserted ‘phalarope pool’. A Western Marsh Harrier drifted over and a Sparrohawk moved through.
No.6 tank normally a good spot to add to the day tally looked bereth of life with a smattering of Black-tailed Godwit and 136 Tufted Duck. Other flocks of tufties inclued 34 on the ‘splashing pool’ and 36 on the Weaver Bend.
An early morning walk along by the Manchester Ship Canal and River Weaver then around No.6 tank. There were Willow Warbler and Blackcap seen and heard along Brook Furlong lane and a pair of European Stonechat seen along Alder Lane.
A ship making its way west along the ship canal flushed the first of a dozen or more Common Sandpiper and were seen along the canal and river. Several Eurasian Oystercatcher and Common Redshank were on the river bank with 4 Common Ringed Plover and a single Dunlin being noted.
Onward to No.6 where another Common Sandpiper and a Little Ringed Plover were amongst the small flock of Black-tailed Godwit. 3 Juvenile Western Marsh Harrier and a female were in the air together, and a male was later seen over the marsh. Western Reed Warbler and Cetti’s Warbler were vocal along my walk with several juvenile Common Whitethroat were foraging amongst the vegetation.
The Common Kestrel brood were hanging around the nest site with 3 of them sat on the manure pile.
Prompted by the report in the blog we came today and saw three Common Kestrel off Lordship Lane.
Returning past No 6 tank we saw many Black-tailed Godwit and then a pair of Linnet on No 5.
Otherwise very quiet so I have also attached our final sight, the beluga!
Observer; David Eisner (images 2-5).
Plenty of warblers heard and some seen on my way around No.6 this morning. I stopped at the viewing area hoping to see the Spotted Redshank, but no luck and no luck with the weather when the heavens opened and I couldn’t see anything. I continued along to the mitigation pools where there were about 65 Black-tailed Godwit, a few Eurasian Teal and 2 Common Shelduck. The ‘phalarope pool’ held 2 Eurasian Oystercatcher, 1 Common Shelduck and a few more teal. A distant Western Marsh Harrier over the Manchester Ship Canal.
Onto the slope onto Lordship Lane where I had lunch in the company of Western Reed Warbler and a hunting Common Kestrel. I retraced my way back to have another go for the Spotted Redshank, still no luck, but another harrier flew over scattering everything including about 40 Common Redshank and about 70 Black-tailed Godwit.
I was out this morning along No.4 and No.6 tanks. Not a great deal about but several Western Reed, Sedge and Common Whitethroat were busy feeding their hungry broods in the reeds on No.4. I had just the one Black-tailed Godwitwit with a dozen Eurasian Teal on the ‘phalarope pool’, a further c 100 more godwits with c20 Common Redshank were feeding in the shallows on No.6.
The female Western Marsh Harrier was hunting over the tank and the male was seen over Lordship Marsh. The male Common Kestrel was seen flying towards its nest site carrying a rodent, and 5 juveniles were practice flying around the box.
Observer: Paul Ralston (images 1-2 & 4).
Late morning and we walked along Moorditch Lane where a reeling Grasshopper Warbler evaded being seen but was quite audible notheless. A few Cetti’s Warbler were making their presence known and European Goldfinch families are gathering together to form super flocks.
No. tank had 192 Tufted Duck, a single Northern Shoveler, 24 Eurasian Teal, 14 Mallard and the odd Common Shelduck. Shorebirds were thin in the water but the summer plumaged Spotted Redshank found a friendly bunch of Common Redshank to hang out with against the reeds below the southern banks. A couple of Black-tailed Godwit joined up with 32 Northern Lapwing and a couple of Common Ringed Plover. A fine male Western Marsh Harrier was quartering No.5 tank before edging out towards Frodsham Score. Another bird was seen a little later.
The ‘phalarope pool’ was unusually quiet with a presumbed injured Black-tailed Godwit as seen on previous visits. Family parties of Northern Lapwing, Mallard and Eurasian Coot.
A juvenile Smooth Newt was keen to cross the gravel path ahead of us, but not before I got a photo. Butterflies were numberous with plenty of Small Tortoiseshell, tatty Painted Lady’s, Red Admiral and Meadow Brown.
A walk around No.6 tank early this morning and a male Common Kestrel was busy feeding (soon to be) fledge young along Lordship Lane.
The multiply Western Marsh Harrier were busy likewise 18 Common Redshank, although I didnt see the Spotted Redshank but did see c150 Black-tailed Godwit. A couple of Eurasian Wigeon were on one of the mitigation scrapes.
We took a long walk around the marsh with a rest stop at the ‘phalarope pool’ where a couple of sad looking Black-tailed Godwit were also resting. Nearby a fully fledged Northern Lapwing was watched over by its parents with another adult bird still sitting on its nest.
A single Eurasian Teal was providing close views filtering the muddy waters of the pool for tasty morsels. A couple of Western Marsh Harrier cruised over and closeby a hovering Common Kestrel was hanging in the wind above our heads, too busy to be bothered by our presence.
The ‘splashing pool’ had 24 Tufted Duck and a single Northern Shoveler.
A Grasshopper Warbler briefly reeled from a patch of willows on No.4 tank but avoided being seen.
Walking along the track and a couple of drake Eurasian Wigeon were on one of the mitigation pools, but little else to engage our interest.
Further along the track brought us to the lookout spot above No.6 tank where a tight bunched up group of c350 Black-tailed Godwit were shimmering in the heat haze, 20 Common Redshank, 3 Dunlin and the summer plumaged Spotted Redshank were all alongside.
Observers: JS & WSM (images 2-5).
Image 1 by Duncan Cowley.
A walk along Brook Furlong Lane and the River Weaver tonight produced Common Chiffchaff, Blackcap, Common Whitethroat and all still vocal. A pair of Eurasian Bullfinch were traipsing on the telegraph wires.
A small passage of 7 Common Sandpiper perhaps id the start of some shorebirds heading south, 2 Common Ringed Plover, 4 Pied Avocet, 2 Common Redshank and a single Black-tailed Godwit were all on river bank.
I had a look today to see if the Common Ringed Plover were prospecting in field I visited previously. There was no sign but not surprising considering 3 Common Kestrel were standing on ledge of nestbox about 20 yards from the territory of the plovers!
A Lesser Whitethroat was singing and showed briefly in bush on the banks of No.6 tank, along Lordship Lane. At least 5 Western Marsh Harrier were in the area and several food passes was observed. A couple of well grown Northern Lapwing chicks with their parents on the ‘phalarope pool’.
Observer: Mark (Whipper) Gibson.
Image by David Eisner.
An update on the Whooper Swan from Spike Island from the BTO is here:
Ringing Scheme: London Ring Number: XY4488 Species of bird: Whooper Swan (Cygnus cygnus)
This bird was ringed by Christmas & Christmas as age at least 2 years, sex female on 28-Jun-2021 10:00:00 at Widnes, Halton, UKOS Map reference SJ58 accuracy -, Central co-ordinates 53deg 21min N -2deg -40min W accuracy -.
It was found on 29-Jun-2021 time unknown at Spike Island, Widnes, Halton, UKOS Map reference SJ58 accuracy -, Central co-ordinates 53deg 21min N -2deg -40min W accuracy -.
Finding condition: Sight record by non-ringerFinding circumstances: Metal Ring Read In Field.
A nice visit to the marsh and the summer Spotted Redshank was still with the shorebirds on No.6 tank. The pair of Eurasian Wigeon on the mitigation with a Great Spotted Woodpecker in thrown into the mix.
A further selection of warblers were present and still on their respective territories.
A brave Northern Lapwing took on a Common Buzzard that strayed into its territory.
I was out this morning along the River Weaver and then around No.6 tank. There are still
plenty of bird song along the lanes with Cetti’s Warbler seemingly all over the marsh and singing from several locations.
Tufted Duck and Common Shelduck were on the river with their broods being shadowed by the mighty Great Black-backed Gull pair. Again several hundred Canada Goose were grazing on No.1 tank then made their way to the river where a flock of c70 Greylag were bunched together. Pied Avocet were moving along the river and out to the Mersey Estuary with a handful of Black-tailed Godwit following with them. Three or four Common Sandpiper were noted on the river bank amongst several Northern Lapwing chicks and Eurasian Oystercatcher.
Onward to No.6 and c20 Common Redshank, c50 Black-tailed Godwit and 2 Common Ringed Plover were at the edge of the water margins.
A pair of Eurasian Wigeon and a Green Sandpiper were on the mitigation pool and a fine male Western Yellow Wagtail sat on the fence behind the scrape. The ‘phalarope pool’ was devoid of birds apart from the resident Northern Lapwing as the cattle were wallowing in the mud. Linnet, European Goldfinch and Common Whitethroat were busy looking after their fledged young, a Common Kestrel and a Sparrowhawk had other ideas.
Observer: Paul Ralston (images 1-4).
Later in the day we made on way to marsh but after having all four of our tyres punctured by some unseen scrote(s), and subsequently we won’t be parking there anytime soon (incident reported to police).
Anyway, walking along Moorditch Lane and the long drying grass with its parties of European Goldfinch and Linnet had a real sence of summer moving on. A look across No.6 tank revealed a bigger flock of (300) Black-tailed Godwit than Paul had encountered earlier, and hiding with the Common Redshank was the splendid summer Spotted Redshank, 2 Common and 2 Little Ringed Plover.
The Tufted Duck flock had increased from yesterday with 184 birds countered. Also present were 24 Eurasian Teal, 7 Common Pochard and presumably the same birds I saw on the River Weaver yesterday. Three Western Marsh Harrier drifted over and the female look beautiful against the fresh growth of verdant green emerging reeds frones.
The two Eurasian Wigeon were still on the mitigation and a couple of Tufted Duck, a Northern Shoveler and 3 Northern Lapwing were on the ‘phalarope pool’.
An early start from Ince and by No.4 tank this morning. There were Sedge, Western Reed Warbler and Common Whitethroat were busy feeding their broods during my walk. The vegetation has grown making viewing the ponds at Goldfinch Meadows difficult but a few broods of Mallard, Common Moorhen and Eurasian Coot were seen.
I was hoping to see the recent Barn Owl again, but was more surprised to come across a Short-eared Owl in the same area. There were hundreds of Common Swift hawking over the Manchester Ship Canal with several Barn Swallow joining in with them. Common Shelduck are still displaying on the canal alongside Tufted Duck and Gadwall.
A few thousand Canada Goose were out on the river and a single Eurasian Curlew was noted on Frodsham Score salt marsh. Both Western Marsh Harrier were in the air and a food pass was observed. A flock of c200 Sand Martins were feeding over the reeds on No.6 tank.
Walking back to Ince and a pair of Great Spotted Woodpecker were near to the fertiliser plant and a juvenile Water Vole crossed the ditch clutching a reed stem.
Observer: Paul Ralston (images 2-3).
I walked along Brook Furlong Lane and was listening to both a Western Grasshopper Warbler and one of two mixed singing Willow Warbler when Alyn Chambers ambled by.
After a chat and catch up he mention he had seen one possibly two Ruddy Shelduck on both the Weaver and Mersey Estuaries. Than would have been enough considering the month of June but he had aslo spotted a drake Common Scoter on the River Weaver (and later he found a summer plumage Spotted Redshank).
So, armed with all these potential goodies I walk through the head height reeds and grass before I reached the River Weaver. It wasn’t long before the Common Scoter appeared and soon after the Ruddy Shelduck. A selection of Tufted Duck, Common Shelducklings avoiding the averace advances of a pair of Great Black-backed Gull, numerous Pied Avocet chicks/juveniles/adults and Common Swift hawking the banks. A tatty Western Marsh Harrier was patrolling the avocet juveniles on the Weaver Bend.
I retraced my steps and listened en route to No.6 tank to the tunes of Cetti’s, Western Reed, Sedge, Chiifchaff, Willow Warbler and Blackcap. On arrival the shimmering heat haze and close atmosphere made birding hot and sweaty, but again a couple of calling overhead Mediterreanean Gull heading to the River Mersey was cool.
The 250 strong flock of Black-tailed Godwit still had the handsome summer plumaged Spotted Redhank (it’s possible this bird was seen by Arthur yesterday), 24 Common Redshank 2 Pied Avocet, 2 Common Ringed Plover and several recently fledged Black-headed Gull, presumably from the Weston Marsh Lagoon breeding site. A flock of 124 Tufted Duck, 21 Eurasian Teal, 4 Northern Shoveler and many Mallard. I met up with Whipper (who earlier had seen a Green Sandpiper at the Lum) and Frank and a Hobby sped past towards No.5 tank and a Western Marsh Harrier was high over the marsh.
Observers: Alyn Chambers, Mark (Whipper) Gibson, Frank Duff, WSM (images 1 & 4-14).
A brief visit to Spike Island for the summer Whooper Swan and a very tame Grey Heron.