18.03.17. Birdlog

Despite the weather forecast predicting a series of periodical rain bouts until 3.00 pm. I decided I should try a long yomp along Brook Furlong Lane to Marsh Farm and then circumnavigate my way around to No.4 tank. I would then trek down to Lordship Lane before retracing my steps and then along to No.3. I would finally stop off at No.6 and then walk back to my car along Moorditch Lane. That was my plan but soon after setting off the rain started to fall, so casting a fist skyward to Zeus I carried on (it continued raining until the following day). It’s not always wise to ignore the weather and by the time I had finish my walk and wrung what birds and my cuffs from the day’s watch I was persistently unsatisfied!

Now that I have purged myself from the rain I can sit here and write about my day. The walk along Brook Furlong Lane produced 3 Redwing in the horse paddock which were on their way out and freshly arrived in was a singing Chiffchaff.

The River Weaver had a few Goldeneye, Great Crested Grebe and some Tufted Duck while the pipes across No.1 didn’t have the expected Wheatear. In fact Marsh Farm and its flooded pool only managed a solitary Little Grebe.

The Peregrine was perched up on the blue topped chimney and the mudflats out on the estuary appeared to have numerous Curlew and Dunlin scattered about. The Raven hoard were still picking the spoils of Spring from the heavily laden bounty in the fields. A Common Buzzard looked miserable as it perched up on a post with all its feathers dripping off rain droplets.

A look over to Frodsham Score included a few Pink-footed Goose, Little and a Great White Egret were spotted in between the rain prisms pitted on my object (or should that read abject misery) lens. It was difficult to keep my optics free of rain today I had forgotten to bring a lens cloth. The hem of my polo shirt was initially the only dry cloth I could use and by the end of the day even that wasn’t dry enough.

Walking between No.6 & 4 I reached the ramp track and looked out over the blue slurry tank in the fields of Lordship Marsh and the 20 Whooper Swan were emerging from behind the hedgerows. The fly tipping I mentioned last week at the top of the ramp track has increased with a fresh load of hedge/tree vegetation dumped. I really hope these idiots get what’s coming to them.

The walk back via No.3 was rewarding in that a selection of ducks have taken up temporary residence on the mitigation pools. Common Teal are pairing up and several pairs of Gadwall, Shoveler and 7 Pintail were being very attentive to each other.

As I have mentioned earlier the constant rain was making the use of my telescope and binoculars redundant. I had one last attempt at shielding my glasses, bins and scope from the rain and I set up behind the bank on No.6 which acquired some protection with the rain now at my back.

A flock 121 Black-tailed Godwit included some stunning rustic coloured plumaged birds. A roost of 200 Redshank flew up when they got spooked and with them was 78 Golden Plover. There was 9 Avocet feeding between the 230 Common Teal present. The Tufted Duck flock had just a single Common Pochard for company.

A day that had potential but the weather gods were not on my side. I did manage to see some pretty decent birds for my troubles but frustrating when you’ve been looking forward to a days birding at the weekend.

Observer: WSM (images 1-5).

A Common and Green Sandpiper were on the pools at Ince and 40 Mute Swan were along the Holpool Gutter. There was 2 possibly 3 Marsh Harrier over No.4 tank. A pair of Stonechat were also along the Manchester Ship Canal  and on the way back to my car there were 20 Little Egret feeding near Ince Berth before going to roost.

Observer: Paul Ralston (images 5-7).