Present over high tide today from No 6 Tank and new in for the autumn was a drake Pintail in eclipse plumage. 154 Tufted Duck and 205 Teal showed an increase over the last week. On the wader front included 100 Dunlin, 2 Little Ringed and 45 Ringed Plover with, 5 Little Stint, 5 Curlew Sandpiper, 3 Ruff, 2 Greenshank and a Black-tailed Godwit.
A Peregrine was present on the mud on No.6 tank and caused some concern amongst the shorebirds. Later a male Marsh Harrier flew over the banks and disappeared over Lordship Marsh.
Weaver Bend: 5 Great Crested Grebe, 26 Little Grebe, 3 Pochard, 342 Redshank and a single Knot, 5 Ruff, 2 Common Sandpiper and 15 Black-tailed Godwit.
A solitary Green Sandpiper was at The Lum.
Additional noteworthy were species, c.700 Swallow, c.400 Sand Martin, c.10 House Martin and c.30 Swift. 2 Grey Wagtail flying low over Redwall Reedbed towards Frodsham Hill.
Observers: Alyn Chambers, John Spottiswood, Sparky and WSM (4.00 pm onwards and images).
A brief watch after work on No.6 tank and after the tide had rolled away on the river. 60 Redshank were gathered on the edge of the water close to the bank below the track on No.5 tank. Also present were 3 Greenshank and 120 Black-tailed Godwit but they were there for only a short period. The godwits took flight and disappeared out towards No.5 taking with them the Greenshanks. What was still present was more than adequate to keep my attention focused.
Above an adult Curlew Sandpiper and below a juvenile Little Stint.
6 Little Stint, an adult Curlew Sandpiper (with small traces of red plumage on the underparts). 3 Ruff (pictured and one bird upper left is ringed on right leg) and a solitary Whimbrel which dropped in for a kip. The locally bred Ringed Plover chick was looking more like the real deal but no parents on view so it buddied up with a juvenile Little Ringed for company.
Other birds making up the numbers were 140 Common Teal, 49 Mallard, 12 Tufted Duck and a white domestic duck that should have stayed on whatever park pond it originated from because the Peregrine was watchful from the blue-topped chimney.
300 hirundines were high above No.5 tank and several juvenile Pied Wagtails were actively feeding and sharing the muddy edges of the wader feeding areas.
N.B. 4 Swift were moving south this morning over Runcorn Hill.
Observer and images: WSM
No 6 Tank (either side of the high tide): 250 Lapwing, 2 Curlew Sandpiper, 3 Little Stint, 2 Greenshank, 1 Ruff, 31 Ringed Plover, 750 Dunlin, a Turnstone and 2 Redshank. 250 (mostly) juvenile Common Shelduck
At just after 11.00 a juvenile Hobby flushed the waders and the proceeded to pursue a lone Dunlin for about 30 seconds before eventually giving up and drifting off to the west.
Weaver Bend: 1 Spotted Redshank, 282 Common Redshank, 1 Greenshank, 1 Knot, 52 Black-tailed Godwit, 1 Green Sandpiper (at the Lum) and 1 Common Sandpiper. Also 6 Little Grebes, 5 Great Crested Grebes, 124 Tufted Duck and 2 Pochard.
A watch over Frodsham Score from Marsh Farm included 625 Shelduck (in view), 1 Yellow Wagtail west over the farm and a flock of c70 Goldfinch.
Observers: Greg Baker, John Rayner (and image), Sean O’Hara.
Later, Sean watched over No.6 tank from 4.30 pm and noted a solitary Little Stint, 2 Ringed Plover, 3 Greenshank and a couple of Redshank. Across the marsh by the Weaver Bend at 7.00 pm: 23 Black-tailed Godwit, 32 Redshank, 3 Ruff and 2 Common Sandpiper.
N.B. I’m keeping a tab on singing Willow Warblers so another three birds sub-singing again on Runcorn Hill this morning (WSM).
Common Teal numbered 140 birds with 8 Tufted Duck, 4 Gadwall and a scattering of juvenile Common Shelduck.
8 Ringed Plover, 23 Lapwing, 2 Ruff (Reeves), 1 Black-tailed Godwit, 5 Greenshank, a Curlew Sandpiper and 6 Little Stint lingered from the tide. One of the juvenile stints stayed whilst the others eventually returned to the river.
A Marsh Harrier was over No.4 tank followed shortly after by 12 Raven heading off to roost beyond the hills of Frodsham and Helsby..
Hirundines were moving in a south-westerly direction in small groups and a male Yellow Wagtail dropped in for a bath.
A few Speckled Wood and Red Admiral Butterflies were about the tracks alongside No.6 tank.
Observers: Don Weedon, WSM (and images).
N.B. Earlier in the day three sub-singing Willow Warbler were on Runcorn Hill (WSM).
The awful weather didn’t deter some birders from making the pilgrimage to see the waders on No.6 tank, so it was no surprise that the first Curlew Sandpiper of the Autumn finally made it to the marsh when a juvenile paid a visit. Also present and an increase in numbers was an adult and 5 juvenile Little Stint. In a similar vein a juvenile Golden Plover dropped in to join the 12 Lapwing, 800 Ringed Plover, 3 Greenshank, 4 Black-tailed Godwit and 700 Dunlin. The only addition to the normal duck species were a few Shoveler. The wind blew in a SE 3-4 for most of the time with thick drizzle occurring later in the day didn’t dampen the spirits of those fortunate to see the variety and not considerable volume of shorebirds present.
Five Common Swift were over the M56 where it crosses the River Weaver at dusk (WSM).
Observers: Tony Broome (and image), Frank Duff.
Nature Notes # 43 (24.08.14.)
I haven’t written a NN # for a while and Mr Broome’s contributions have been more than welcomed and very informative.
A walk with Sparky about the forest paths and hills at Delamere and attempting to avoid the popular Gruffalo crowds discovering their own nature notes. We choose the steep path to Pale Heights were a young migrant Wheatear flew from the track by the cow field and rested up on a fence for a while. A couple of Raven were also present but generally the wind direction and warm sunshine put paid to any obvious migration.
Butterflies were still enjoying the fine summer with a bright Brimstone feeding on a dandelion flower. Several Peacocks, Red Admiral, Green-veined White and Speckled Woods caused further direction distractions.
The emergence of Stinkhorn fungi ‘eggs’ were beginning to push through the beech wood leaf litter. A small cluster of one type of Coral fungi and a patch of Amanita pantherina aka Panther Caps growing by the pathside were surprisingly intact considering their close proximity to the pathside. The latter species is considered to be widespread but we didn’t expect to see it so early in the season.
.Swallows and House Martin were still hunting low over the fields and several juvenile Willow Warblers, Chiffchaff and Blackcaps joined up with a fairly large roving tir flock from the trees adjacent to Black Lake.
Dragonflies and Damselflies attracted a few people to linger by the lake with a curious Southern Hawker paying close attention to its admirers. Black Darters are usually tame when they are about and this trip was a good one with several posing for photographs by the bench. Azure, Emerald and Blue-tailed Damselfies in nuptial pairing also added to an excellent morning ramble here.
The Blackberries are ripening up well in the forest at the moment. All in all a great time of year to go out and collect some of the natures bounty (just need to wash the little buggers first).
Observers: Sparky, WSM (and images)
A ‘trektellen’ count between 07.19 – 09.20hrs at Marsh Farm was without any obvious movement. Lots of hirundines and Swifts fed over the fields. 700 Swallows, 100 House Martin, 400 Sand Martins and 100 Swifts.
Yellow Wagtails totalled ten birds, there was a single Grey Wagtail, 4 Pied Wagtails and a pristine juvenile White Wagtail that sat on the fence next to me but flew before any photos could be taken. Meadow Pipits were more obvious than of late with 10 birds feeding around and about, a feeding flock of 600 Starlings flew west and a female House Sparrow sat on top of the hay stack.
A count on the high track between No.6 and No.4 tanks between 10.00-15.00 hrs produced a south-westerly movement of Common Buzzard which totalled 16 plus one flock of 8 which I took to be local birds. A lone Greenshank overflew calling several times, there were six Kestrels around at any one time and a big juvenile Peregrine skimmed my position and looked at me as it went past!
Passerines included two juvenile Whitethroats and a juvenile Reed Warbler, which, along with 7 Chiffchaffs, a Wren, a Chaffinch, a Blackcap and a Great Tit, all fed in one Elderberry bush.
Observer and images: Tony Broome.
The high water brought in 3 Little Stint to No.6 tank (Frank Duff).