17.04.14. Birdlog

17.04.14. Birdlog

A bit blowy today but the migrants came thick and fast including a singing Willow Warbler at the Spring Farm garden. Also the first singing Whitethroat at the south-west corner of No.4 tank. The male Marsh Harrier present on No.4. While on No.6 were 4 Avocet,16 Tufted Duck, 24 Common Teal. An additional Avocet at the Splashing pool where it was joined by a Common Sandpiper.

Ravens. Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton

A few Swallows were about and the ever-present real countryside alliance of Raven gathering to cleanse the marsh.

Observer: Brian Rimmer.

Image: WSM

16.04.14. Birdlog

16.04.14. Birdlog

15.04.14. Avocets, No.6 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton

Reed Bunting (male), Marsh Farm, Frodsham Marsh.

6 Avocet on No.6 and 12 Golden Plover on No.5 tank. Didn’t see much else as only a flying visit.

Plenty of other activity with Meadow Pipit and Reed Bunting establishing territories around the farm

Observer: Paul Crawley.

Both the male and female Marsh Harrier were active on the marsh and a female Whinchat was along Godscroft Lane.

Observer: Mark Speight

Image: WSM

15.04.14. Birdlog

15.04.14. Birdlog

15.04.14. Blackbird (male), Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton

Another fine selection of birds available on the marsh this evening with a male Whinchat, 5 Wheatear (Greenland form) and a pair of territorial Swallow present by Marsh Farm. A pair of Bullfinch were in the hedgerows bordering Half Furlong Lane.

15.04.14 Weaver estuary, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton.

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The male Marsh Harrier, Sparrowhawk, Kestrel and Common Buzzard is a good indicator of the amount of prey available. Over on No.6 tank where the 6 Avocet were still lingering there.

15.04.14. Garganey (drake), Weaver Bend, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton

The Weaver Bend and Weaver estuary had a pair of Great Crested Grebe, 37 Tufted Duck, numerous Gadwall and a drake Garganey. 2 Ringed Plover, 3 Little Ringed Plover and 2 pairs of Oystercatcher made up for the lack of other waders.

Observers: Frank Duff, Gary Worthington, WSM (and images).

14.04.14 Birdlog

14.04.14. Birdlog

A walk from the Ince berth along the Manchester Ship Canal around No.4 and 6 tanks gave the following Gadwall, Mallard, Coot and a lone Great Crested Grebe on the canal. Swallow and Sand Martin over head and many Raven over the score.

April 2014. Greylag and Domestic Geese, Frodsham Marsh. Bill MortonOn the Canal Pools a pair of Black Swan. While Canada, Domestic and Greylag in the nearby fields. The Splashing Pool held 33 Tufted Duck, a pair of Little Grebe and Mallard.  6 Avocet on No. 6, while Chiffchaff Reed Bunting were along the banks. A male Wheatear was along Lordship Lane.

On the way back to the car a male Marsh Harrier flew overhead and both Buzzard and Kestrel were also seen.

Observer: Paul Ralston.

FD stopped off briefly at Marsh Farm and found 5 Wheatear there.

Observer: Frank Duff.

I spent the last couple of hours of daylight walking the tracks of No.5 tank above the sludge beds of No.6. Six drake Gadwall were busy pursuing and harassing the attendant females. Several Tufted Duck and Common Teal were already paired up.

As the sun set and Moon rose high in the night sky the 6 Avocet present since the morning found the moonlight enough to continue feeding. Four Pink-footed Goose flew over calling before settling on the salt marsh.

14.04.14. The Moonrise over No.6 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton

The male and female Marsh Harrier were very mobile and ranged widely. At sunset the the low evening light illuminated the colours of the flying male over the golden reed beds making it positively glow.

36 Golden Plover flew into No.5 tank to settle down in the long grass to roost for the night several were sporting their fine summer plumage.

The exodus of Raven was staggered over the hour to sunset as they fly south over the hills. A singing Sedge Warbler on No.6 tank was new in and could still be heard as I walked back.

14.04.14. The Moon from Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton

The full Moon attracted quite a bit of Bat activity with several flying over No.5 tank.

Observer & Images: WSM

12.04.14. Birdlog

12.04.14. Birdlog

12.04.14. Avocet and Teal, No.6 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton

No.6 tank was a little off colour with some monochrome birds adding to the monochrome skies for a long period. 100 Common Shelduck, 24 Tufted Duck and 4 Avocet were the main culprits. When the sun broke through 1 Ringed and 2 Little Ringed Plover made themselves visible.

12.04.14. Little Ringed Plover, 'Shooters Pool', Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton 12.04.14. Marsh Harrier, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton

A male Marsh Harrier looked urgent flying across No.5 tank. Later a female and what I suspect to be a cross dressing male (an interesting article about this type here: http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn21138-zoologger-the-only-crossdressing-bird-of-prey.html#.U0lqRfldX9A ) were calling to each other high over No.5 tank later in the afternoon.

12.04.14. The Shooters Pools, frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton

A walk down to the Weaver Bend to check the Weaver estuary and the ‘Shooters Pools’ adjacent to ‘the Lum’ was rewarded with 2 Great Crested Grebe, 16 Gadwall, 57 Tufted Duck, 2 Mute Swan, a female Marsh Harrier, 27 Redshank, 2 Oystercatcher and a Little Ringed Plover which later leaped across the River Weaver to settle on Weston Marsh tank.

12.04.14. A view from the NE corner of No.5 tank looking toward Helsby Hill. Bill Morton

A view looking south-west towards Helsby Hill. The grassy area was once sludge and a stop off point for thousands of migrating shorebirds before the sludge tank became obsolete and the grass eventually took over.

The towering chimney at Weston Point hosted a ‘big’ Peregrine from mid morning

12.04.14. Wheatear, Shooters Pools, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton

A male Wheatear feeding at the back of the ‘Shooters Pool’ and a Swallow moved through. Chiffchaff were again everywhere and a solitary Blackcap was singing from Half Furlong Lane and another was agitated by something in a tree along Moorditch Lane.

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Observers: Paul Crawley, Frank Duff, WSM (and images).

11.04.14. Birdlog

11.04.14. Birdlog

11.04.14. Blackcap. Bill Morton

My sightings from this mornings walk to the Weaver Bend and back this morning (9 till 10:30);

At least 10 Chiffchaff along Weaver Lane (road onto marshes from Ship Street) along with many Wren and Dunnock singing at full volume.

In the fields around the reed-bed/The Lum: 4 Gadwall, Shelduck (at least 50 in total here and on the river), about 10 Lapwing pairs and 3 (seen, more heard) Skylarks in full aerial performances.

My first male Marsh Harrier on the local patch rose out off the Weaver Bend as I walked along the path,  although the 3 Buzzards keeping it company were certainly less thrilled than I was to see it.

On the Weaver Bend: 2 Oystercatcher, 20 Tufted Duck, 5 Redshank, 1 solitary breeding plumage Black-tailed Godwit, with my highlight being 2 Avocet (having missed the ones from a few weeks ago).

2 Linnets briefly showed in the trees beside the field nearest the motorway on the way home. Shortly followed by 4 Reed Buntings who were having a full on mid-air fight. So embroiled in their battle that they failed to notice me watching them no more than 2 feet away. One even got tangled in a branch, but managed to wriggle himself free after about 30 seconds, only for him to re-join the fight! Never seen such aggressive behaviour between birds of the same species.

Observer: Michael Giverin.

Later in the day a female Marsh Harrier was over No.6 tank while 4 Ringed Plover were being territorial there. Blackcap singing from the hawthorn hedge joined the Chiffchaffs. 2 Wheatear were on No.1 tank and the first Swallow of the Spring joined 5 Sand Martin over the P.O.W bridge along Moorditch Lane. .

Observer: Paul Crawley

Image: WSM

10.04.14. Birdlog & Nature Notes # 33

10.04.14. Birdlog & Nature Notes # 33

Three Wheatear today on the pipes across No.1 tank, 5 Gadwall and one Great Crested Grebe on the Weaver Bend. A Great spotted Woodpecker was about Lordship Marsh. There were plenty of singing Chiffchaff and also 3 singing Blackcap heard otherwise no other migrants seen.

Observer: Brian Rimmer.

Nature Notes # 33

The woods around North Cheshire are bursting with the competitive tunes and variations of different bird song. A Willow Warbler was singing in a park in North Widnes this morning and every other open space appears to have a Chiffchaff in every tree. It might just be that we’re more aware of these birds after such a lousy Winter, but I have a thought that their numbers are higher than is usually expected this year?

10.04.14. Murdishaw Valley, Runcorn. Bill Morton

Stopping off after work at a couple of local woodlands produce a fine selection of Spring flowers and a few surprises to boost a flagging birders midweek fix.

Above a scene from early Spring with Lesser celandine beginning to smother the edges of this woodland stream and a Badger set tucked in nicely beside the tree.

10.04.14. Marsh Marigold, Murdishaw Valley, Runcorn. Bill Morton

Marsh marigold, also known as Marsh Gold, is one of Britain’s most ancient native plants. It may have been growing here since before the last Ice Age and, after the retreat of the icecaps, it proliferated across the watery landscape. It is a spectacular-looking plant, with large rich yellow flowers, each with five petals, and shiny green, heart-shaped leaves borne on long, smooth hollow stems. Notes from Arkive (see link at bottom of this post.

The upper image shows the golden colours of the marigold contrasting with the inky black waters of a woodland pool.

10.04.14. Lesser Celendine, Murdishaw Valley, Runcorn. Bill Morton

Further along the Manchester Ship Canal and away from Frodsham. I was in the right place at the right time when a Kingfisher basically flying along the waters edge, it didn’t see me and was totally unaware of my presence as I stood on a water culvert bridge. It flew just below where I was standing and gave me the opportunity to see this bobby dazzler light up the canal’s murky black waters with its electric blue colours.

A pair of serenading Great Crested Grebe were more concerned with the thoughts of courtship to be bothered by me and both drifted close by. 20 Gadwall gathered on the canal with the males calling and chasing the females.

Highlight of the watch was a second calendar year (or 1st Winter in old money) Iceland Gull flying over the ship canal. 3 Raven getting mugged by 16 Carrion Crow at the back-end of Wigg Island was only what they deserved.

10.04.14. Murdishaw Valley, Runcorn. Bill Morton

More from the Arkive links here: www.arkive.org/

Observer and images: WSM