A walk around No.6 tank after the heat of the day had and air-cooled on the marshes. I started with watching a chirping family of House Sparrow feeding by the ditch on Moorditch Lane. A Reed Warbler was busily carrying food in to the vegetation and a Reed Bunting was equally busy alarm calling from the same area.
Onto No.6 and the Common Shelduck were again notable with Tufted Duck, Mallard and Gadwall were also present. A smaller flock of 50 Black-tailed Godwit were feeding along the edge of the north end of the tank. Another 300 birds were gathered close to the tanks northern section. Two pair of Little Grebe were out on the water as were the non-breeding Mute Swan herd. A Lapwing was keeping a parental eye on two well-grown chicks and was kept busy by the corvids that constantly strayed too close. A pair of Avocet joined with the godwit flock and another 10 were with 150 Blackwits on the mitigation pools.
A pair of Canada Goose had a single chick on the secluded pool and another pair of Little Grebe and a pair of Gadwall may have bred locally as well? The male Marsh Harrier drifted over the reed bed and several Common Buzzard lazily drifted over in the sultry evening sky.
I watched as the sun dropped below the horizon over the salt marshes and the Liverpool skyline across the Mersey estuary from Manley Road near Frodsham was a beautiful sight.
Observer: Paul Ralston (images 1-2 & 4-5).
My first Painted Lady Butterfly of the Spring was in a garden at Weston village near Runcorn this evening (WSM images 3 & 6-10).
Images from Hale Shore.
It was too nice of an evening to be stuck indoors so I had a saunter down to the marsh for a look over No.6 tank. The summering flock of Black-tailed Godwit were coming and going with c450 birds busily feeding up. A small cluster of 8 Ringed Plover were testing the patience of a parent Lapwing, and in a losing battle trying to keep one eye on its chick and the other on the smaller plovers which were scurrying around. Presumably the dozen Dunlin that were here the other evening were still here but they were feeding in the shallows with the godwits. A few Redshank were still lingering about. A surprise group of 5 Curlew flew in at dusk and settled down for the night.
Over on No.3 the small band of Avocet were still here and a territorial dispute between a Lapwing and Ringed Plover and Sheep was a complete standoff.
The Marsh Harrier was noted and a loose flock of 34 Raven were making their way inland.
Observer and image: WSM.
An evening watch over No.6 and No.3 tanks. Most of the c550 Black-tailed Godwit were positioned on the southern fringes of No.6 and a smaller section flew in to settle close to the north banks. A small flock of 12 Dunlin included 5 Ringed Plover. Over on No.3 a couple of Ringed Plover were joining the 12 Avocet, 2 Redshank and 3 Black-tailed Godwit which were away from the main action on six.
The duck squadron included: 120 Common Shelduck. 62 Gadwall, c100 Mallard, single drakes of Common Teal, Wigeon and Common Pochard were widely scattered on the extremely shallow waters of the sludge tank. A flock of 47 Tufted Duck were sticking to what is left of the deeper waters.
Far in the distance a male Marsh Harrier was watched drifting over No.4.
The Cetti’s Warbler blurted out its tunes along Lordship Lane and a Kingfisher flew across the road at Frodsham Swing bridge..
A Cockchafer was sat out in the setting sunshine and gave me the opportunity to get up close to capture its best side on my camera. A couple old names for this species include May Bug and Doodlebug. More information here: http://uksafari.com/cockchafer.htm
Observer and images: WSM.
Walking along Moorditch Lane it was surprising to see a car upturned in the ditch. A quick call to Cheshire Police and the switch board confirmed that it had already been reported and all were safe and accounted for from the vehicle.
With the main wader migration nearing its end I wasn’t expecting too much from a watch over No.6 tank but “ne’er cast a clout till May be out” it is said.
A flock of c640 Black-tailed Godwit were either onward to pastures new or here for the summer (the latter I would say). The recent unsympathetic draining of the ‘Ibis Pool’ over at Carr Lane, Hale may have contributed to the increase in numbers of godwit here? Apart from a few Lapwing with various sized chicks there was little else in the way of shorebirds but we’re ever hopeful.
The mitigation pools on No.3 tank had 9 Avocet, 34 Black-tailed Godwit and a solitary Ringed Plover.
Duck numbers are variable at the moment with c100 Tufted Duck, 43 Gadwall, a drake Wigeon, 67 Common Shelduck and the ever-present Mallard pairs were all good value. The highlight of the day was 3 adult Fulvous Whistling Duck (PR) on the Weaver estuary but a passing canoeist caused their premature departure and were last seen heading off to waters elsewhere.
The Marsh Harrier was drifting about the reed beds while a few Common Buzzard were noted.
Another Avocet, 2 Ringed Plover and a Wheatear were also near the river.
Blackcap, Chiffchaff, Willow and Cetti’s Warbler were all vocal along the lanes of the marsh and a Stoat was busy seeking out a meal long the track as we walked back.
Observers: Paul Ralston (images 3-5), Simon Pinder, Jacqui and Idris Roberts, Sparky & WSM (images 1-2).
A drake Garganey was on the mitigation pools of No.3 tank with 7 Gadwall. While on No.6 were 660 Black-tailed Godwit. There was 55 Gadwall including a pair with four ducklings, 2 Shoveler, a drake Common Pochard and a pair of winnowing Little Grebe. There were also 2 broods of Lapwing chicks (two medium and 3 tiny sized) noted.
Observer: Mark (Whipper) Gibson.
Image by WSM.
The last couple of hours of the day taken from Ince and around No.4 tank. There were clear views over to Winter Hill in the evening light. A pity there was little else seen apart from a Greenland Wheatear and a Whinchat keeping each other company near the Canal Pools.
Observer and images: Paul Ralston.
A list of species seen on the marsh today includes: 1 Avocet, 157 Black-tailed Godwit, 67 Gadwall, 16 Lapwing, 48 Mallard, 1 Marsh Harrier, 2 Ringed Plover, 145 Common Shelduck, 12 Shoveler, 27 Tufted Duck and 27 Common Swift.
Observer and images: Joe (Chester).