I dropped in to the marsh this morning on the way back from Manchester airport with ‘Storm Doris’ in full swing! I only managed a quick visit to No.6 tank where the Dunlin and Black-tailed Godwit were taking shelter from the wind and rain with at least 1 Bar-tailed Godwit hunkering down with small numbers of Redshank and Curlew. There was a large flock of Lapwing which were constantly spooked by the strong wind and they found it difficult to settle for too long. The Common Teal, Mallard, Common Pochard and Tufted Duck dropped anchor in a sheltered cove close to the leaside of the banks. Raven and the larger gulls were unperturbed by the storm and fed eagerly while the maelstrom raged all around.
Other birds noted included a petit male Stonechat defied the winds by sitting it out on a fence. A couple of feral Red-legged Partridge which had survived the shooting season crossed Moorditch Lane near the POW bridge. The Whooper Swan herd could be seen alongside the M56 as I made my way through Helsby.
Observer: Paul Ralston.
It’s getting something of a habit but I called in to the marsh this afternoon via a start at Ince where ‘Storm Doris’ had left her mark, with fallen trees and a flooded field. A flock of Pied Wagtail found the waterlogged grass to their liking as did at least 20 Curlew. The Common Teal and Mallard were on the same pools but there was no sign of the pair of Mute Swan that have been a regular feature here recently. A Merlin passed overhead and was seen again later perched on a piece of drift wood out on the salt marsh.
There was a slight increase of Little Egret away from the river and 12 were in a field near Ince Berth. There were several more and a single Great White Egret (see image below) out on the Frodsham Score marsh.
The mitigation pool on No.3 tank held Common Teal, Mallard, Shoveler, Common Shelduck and a single drake Pintail. Meanwhile over on No.6 tank there was much the same with the addition of Common Pochard and Tufted Duck. The waders on six were made up of a mixed flock of Lapwing and Golden Plover with a handful of Dunlin and a single Black-tailed Godwit. The seemly ever-present Marsh Harrier dropped in to the reed bed at dusk and a mass of Starlings were heading for their roost.
Observer: Paul Ralston
64 Shoveler, 6 Pintail, 2 Little Stint, 500 Black-tailed Godwit, 4 Bar-tailed Godwit, 3000 Dunlin, 100 Redshank,50 Lapwing, 1 Ruff, 100 Golden Plover all from No.6 tank at high tide and from Frodsham Score 250 Pink-footed Goose.
Observer: Frank Duff.
As I left my house this morning the omens for a good day ahead were highlighted by the overhead kronking of 3 Raven and a nearby Wood Pigeon sat on its exposed nest was early even for that species. I eventually made my way to the marshes and parked by the motorway bridge on Brook Furlong Lane then walked around No.6 tank. Ducks were unusually low in numbers with Common Teal making up the majority with smaller numbers of Tufted Duck, Mallard, Shoveler and Common Shelduck. A family party of Mute Swan which have been in the area for some time now were still present.
A flock of Black-tailed Godwit took to the air as a Common Buzzard flew over but for a change the Dunlin flock stood steadfast and held their nerve. A female Marsh Harrier was hunting over the reed bed putting a Lapwing flock up into the air and another bunch of Raven were sat on the fence line. I could see the Whooper Swan flock by the blue slurry tank and walked over to get a closer look and then noticed there were a couple of Bewick’s Swan with them and a small flock of Pink-footed Goose further out in the fields. The herd of 10 Mute Swan were again on the flooded field and ended a good birding day.
Observer and all images: Paul Ralston.