An after work walk down to the river and then onto Marsh Farm finishing off at No.6 tank.
The River Weaver was alive with Canada Goose, Common Shelduck and Tufted Duck but the highlight for me was a drake Goldeneye head tossing to attract 6 of the females present. The piping calls of distressed waders mobbing a couple of Common Buzzard over Weston Marsh tank drew my attention to an impressive record flock of 72 Avocet.
Looking from Marsh Farm out onto the Weaver Sluices produced 3 Avocet, 2500 Black-tailed Godwit, 350 Redshank and scores of Eurasian Curlew.
Brook Furlong Lane had Chiffchaff either singing or calling throughout its length but little else of note.
No.6 tank had again the usual amount of ducks with 44 Tufted Duck being the most obvious. A couple of Marsh Harrier quartering the distant reed beds was compensation for the hike here. A couple of singing Cetti’s Warbler rang out from the banks and a Sand Martin moved ever north.
A Brown Hare was hunkered down in the sedgy marsh.
Observer and images & video: WSM.
A briefer than anticipated visit but still a few goodies on the menu.
A look over No.6 tank featured a pair of Marsh Harrier over the reed beds. Also two Kestrel were hovering in the chilly easterly wind while a lone Sand Martin headed north. The first Willow Warbler and Blackcap of the year were singing loud and proud.
Ducks were much reduced with just 31 Tufted Duck, 4 Gadwall and a smattering of both Eurasian Teal and Common Shelduck. The highlight was a pair of Northern Pintail that flew in, circled the bed and then flew back out again. A lone Ruff was feeding in the thick foliage of the daisy beds while a couple of Common Snipe were dozing in the sunshine.
The Raven flocks again headed south with full bellies to their roost in north-east Wales.
Observer and images: WSM.
I had a short walk around the River Weaver and Manchester Ship Canal this morning.
The sound of Chiffchaff and a Cetti’s Warbler were vocal along Brook Furlong Lane as I made my way to the river. On the river itself were Tufted Duck, Common Shelduck, Eurasian Teal, Mallard, Gadwall and 4 lingering Goldeneye.
There was also many Canada Goose and a few Mute Swan. A flock of c50 Redshank took to the air leaving a Common Sandpiper behind. Several Oystercatcher were piping as the moved up and down the river bank.
A Kestrel caught a small rodent and took it to a post to eat but was forced to flee by a passing Raven.
There was 5 Sand Martin hawking over the ship canal and a pair of Stonechat being on territory and showing well on the fence line.
Observer: Paul Ralston (images).
During the afternoon we took a hike around No.6 tank where c40 Tufted Duck were hanging out with their usual cousins on the sludge tank waters.
A flock of 50 Linnet were in the flooded stubble field alongside Lordship Lane and a Cetti’s Warbler was present. Several Common Buzzard were riding the thermals.
The mitigation had a few ducks with Eurasian Teal and Northern Shoveler being the most dominant.
Another Cetti’s Warbler burst into song by No.5 tank before we headed home.
Observers: JS & WSM.
A long walk out to the farthest reaches of the marshes to watch the gentle tide roll in on a very sunny backed by a north-easterly breeze wafting in Saturday.
There was the usual spring gathering of ducks on No.6 tank with 40 Tufted Duck joining 20 Common Shelduck, 14 Northern Shoveler, 7 Gadwall, 11 Mallard and 2 Little Grebe. A small group of Northern Lapwing also encouraged 4 Common Snipe and 3 Ruff to join them. A group of Meadow Pipit close to the edge of the flood water had at least 2 Water Pipit in their handsome summer plumage alongside them.
I eventually reached the banks of the Manchester Ship Canal and looked across Frodsham Score where the tide inched in filling the tidal gutters before spilling out onto the swarthy grass.
A female Marsh Harrier took advantage of the salt marsh tide flooding the area to look for food. This bird was joined by a very tatty ‘shot out’ winged bird an hour later. The majority of shorebirds were Curlew with several hundred present. A small group of handsome summer Golden Plover were lingerers from the winter along with Redshank and Oystercatcher being noted.
A group of 5 yellow billed ‘winter’ swans were too far out on Ince marsh for specific identification, but a yellow billed egret was much closer and revealed itself to be a Great Egret, there were 7 Little Egret for good measure.
Raven were very much out in force and a big gold medal to our conservation hero the farmer for providing so much food for them.
A muddy Fox was flushed by the advancing tide and made a quick retreat to safer ground.
Observer and images: WSM.
An after work trip to No.6 tank was well rewarded with the ringtail Hen Harrier flying in taking a rest before heading out to Lordship Marsh.
The usual Marsh Harrier perched up on its branch encouraged another bird which flew straight through. The first of 3 Short-eared Owl included a very confiding bird sat in an area of flattened reeds.
The first of 2 Swallow flew north over the sludge tank and several Sand Martin skimming the water. A Cetti’s Warbler sang out and 3 Water Pipit were in the water sodden area before flying up calling.
A male Wheatear on the flying club field along Lordship Lane.
Observers: Paul Ralston (image 6), Duncan Cowley(images 7-8) and WSM (images 1-5 & video).
Duncan added 8 Common Buzzard over the banks with additional raptors spotted being Merlin and Peregrine.
I parked on the M56 bridge on Brook Furlong Lane before walking along lane out to The Weaver Bend this morning. The hedgerows were alive with Chiffchaff singing and chasing each other. A Cetti’s Warbler was heard hiding away from sight.
On the River Weaver were numerous Common Shelduck, Mallard, Tufted Duck and Canada Goose being noted with smaller numbers of Gadwall with Eurasian Teal and 2 Goldeneye lingered a little longer.
There were 4 Avocet, 8 Oystercatcher, 1 Common Sandpiper and c30 Black-tailed Godwit on the river bank. 14 Mute Swan made their way towards the Manchester Ship Canal. Several Raven were feeding on a sheep carcases and a Common Buzzard sat on a post waiting its turn to gorge on its meat.
On to No.6 tank were more Chiffchaff calling from trees alongside the ramp track. A couple of Marsh Harrier were high up over the reed bed. Several Eurasian Teal, 20 Mallard, 40 Northern Shoveler, 64 Common Shelduck, 40 Tufted Duck and 10 Gadwall were all present on the water and a flock of c80 Black-tailed Godwit passed overhead on their way to the Mersey estuary. c100 Eurasian Curlew were feeding on No.3 tank’s mitigation pools and more Eurasian Teal, Northern Shoveler, Mallard and Lapwing.
Out on the Frodsham Score salt marsh were several hundred Pink-footed Goose feeding close in to the edge of the marsh but took to the air and moved out towards the river. The Ince marsh fields had 23 Mute Swan in their usual place and another herd could be seen out by the river but to far to identify.
Walking back along Lordship Lane a flock of Linnet feed in the stubble field and were ambushed by a Sparrowhawk. Also noted 6 Reed Bunting were on territory along the lane.
Observer: Paul Ralston (images) and additional counts by WSM.
A few highlights of my wanderings today.
Starting this morning along Lordship Lane, a Green Sandpiper and a Common Snipe were by the western ramp to No.6 tank with a Great Spotted Woodpecker and 2 Jay towards the Growhow Works.
4 Water Pipit were on No. 6 tank along with a Marsh Harrier and a Redpoll spp flew over.
A walk to the Weaver Bend produced 14 Avocet, a male Wheatear, 5 Goldeneye, 2 Mistle Thrush and a pair of Stonechat.
The pipes of No.1 tank held a female Wheatear and another pair of Stonechat.
Observer: Alyn Chambers.
I made an after work visit with a walk around No.6 tank. The highlights were 3 Short-eared Owl, 3 Marsh Harrier and a ringtail Hen Harrier.
Ducks were very much in evidence with pairs bonding and drakes squabbling for the attention of their future mates.
Again Chiffchaff were singing from all areas and a Cetti’s Warbler joined in for good measure.
Observer: WSM (images & video).