Barge à queue noire

01.03.14. Colour-ringed Black-tailed Godwit, Frodsham Score. Bill Morton The colour-ringed Black-tailed Godwit seen on Frodsham Score on 1st March is a French ringed bird and below is its recent history:


Moeze, Prairie de la Tanne.




Bouin, lgune de Bouin




Frodsham Score, Frodsham Marsh

WeBS Sunday Count

WeBS Help Needed

This Sunday is the monthly Mersey Estuary WeBS waterfowl count. This is your chance to get out onto the Mersey salt marshes where no one else can go and contribute to our knowledge and conservation of one of Britain’s best wetlands. Come and join us we need some new birders. email, for more details. Also see the facebook page Mersey Estuary WeBS

WeBS March Count Highlights

14.03.13. Weaver Bend. Bill Morton.

Enclosed details of Sunday’s count from the Mersey Estuary . Thanks to those that braved the cold weather.

Although the weather might not seem like it, Spring is in the air and our count shows many species are on the move. The swans seem to have left the estuary but there are still some Whooper Swan in the fields near the M56 at Frodsham Marsh. Our Barnacle Geese have disappeared and the Canada Geese have shrunk dramatically. Shelduck are still in good numbers while Teal, Wigeon, Pintail and Mallard numbers as you would expect have dropped significantly. We still have at least one Great White Egret which was at Hale Marsh (sorry Toni and Ray Sherlock). Oystercatcher numbers are holding up as are Grey Plover with the highest count this winter, the Golden Plover are in good numbers, but Lapwing in very small numbers compared to last month. Dunlin numbers have dropped as they usually do in March, but Curlew and Redshank are still in good numbers. The Black-tailed Godwits were again impressive with 2,000 in Manisty Bay. Good to see the first Avocet of the year, the first summer visitor? Still some raptors and Ian had a male Hen Harrier fly right in front of him.

The next duck Count is April 14th, meeting at 11am at Stanlow let me know if you come. It is a very low high tide, so places along the north shore and New Ferry might not get covered and so hang onto some good numbers. The will be plenty of migrants about then so keep your eyes peeled. In April 1999 there was a Terek Sandpiper at Frodsham Marsh that used the Mersey Estuary and then in May that year a Broad-billed Sandpiper also turned up, though neither was seen on a WeBS count.

We said we would have a Spring meeting. That is now confirmed. Thursday 18th April Wigg Island, Runcorn at 6.30 until 8.30. Let me know if you are coming so I can get enough biscuits, or just turn up.

Contact Dermot for further details on; if you fancy coming along to the counts. We might even get some gull watching in as they fly passed Wigg Island before the meeting?

Draft agenda: Review of the Winter, Summary of who counts where, how we drum up more counters and where do we deploy them, Relationships with the farmer and wildfowlers, Slide show, bring your own local bird and wildlife photos on a memory stick and we can all have a look at what people have seen.

Dermot Smith (WeBS co-ordinator)

09.03.13. Birdlog WeBS Count

09.03.13. Birdlog WeBS Count

10 Cormorant, 16 Common Pochard, Pintail (male & female) , 31 Tufted Duck, 26 Common Shelduck 13 Wigeon, 43 Mallard, 350 Common Teal, 1 Avocet, 34 Dunlin, 12 Ringed Plover (2 pairs in display) and two pairs of Water Rail calling from the reeds.

Observers: Frank Duff, WSM.

A Chiffchaff on the western banks of No 5 tank. The Raven total is increasing with c 30 birds present on both No 5 tank and the score.

09.03.13. Spring Lambs and Golden Plovers. Bill Morton.

500 Golden Plovers included 4 birds acquiring summer plumage.

2 Oystercatcher and 14 Tufted Duck at the Pumping Station pool. A 2nd summer male Marsh Harrier flew over then moved off to No 4 tank soon after.

Frodsham Score: 4 Little Egret, 70 Pink-footed Goose, 560 Canada Goose, 400 Wigeon, 120 Common Shelduck.

Observer: WSM.

10.03.13. WeBS March Count

10.03.13. WeBS March Count

The Mersey Estuary is one of the best wetlands in Britain for birds. We desperately need birdwatchers to help with the monthly Wetland Bird Survey (duck count). It does involve a long walk. If you are interested in getting involved in Sundays count please send Dermot Smith an email. Contact

The 'short' walk n the WeBS count image by Toni Ray Sherlock

The ‘long walk’ on the WeBS count image by Toni Ray Sherlock

Last month saw another really good count. 3000 Teal, 2000 Black-tailed Godwits, 2 Great White Egrets, 15 Little Egret, 17 Whooper Swans, 1000 Redshank, Dunlin performed well and there was at least 37,000 of them, Merlin and 5 Peregrine, 2 Hen & 2 Marsh Harriers

Image from the Mersey Estuary WeBS on Facebook at!/pages/Mersey-Estuary-WeBS/216178248450013.

10.02.13. Birdlog (WeBS Count)

10.02.13. Birdlog (WeBS Count)

08.02.13. Hen harrier (female), No 6 tank, frodsham Marsh. Mark Payne

The WeBS count was conducted by the more than capable Wilde family Heather, Nigel, Findlay and Harley with assistance by Peter Fearon.

No 6 tank: 1500 Dunlin, 65 Shelduck, 60 Tufted Duck, 4 Mute Swan, 3 Grey Heron, 150 Mallard, 10 Pochard, 20 Wigeon, 25 Teal, 2 Curlew. Hen Harrier (male & female) again from No 6 tank (and additionally the same female was also seen on 8th  by Mark Payne, who also took the image above).

No 5 tank: 15 Raven, 500 Lapwing, 150 Golden Plover and 4 Redshank

Notes: Peregrine flew across from No 6 tank to No 5 tank and spooked and lifted all the birds

Lordship Marsh: Little Egret in gully and along the north side of No 6 tank was a charm of 100 Goldfinch. Towards the end of the day they spotted a Barn Owl hunting along the ditch where the egret had been earlier and a sizable flock of roosting Starlings (see image below).

Observers: Heather, Nigel, Findlay and Harley Wilde with Peter Fearon.

Murmuration of Starlings by Findlay Wilde.

You can read more about Findlay’s birding day on the marsh:

2 Marsh Harrier were present on Frodsham Score today during the WeBS count and were the reason for the extremely large number of Lapwings being put up. At one stage there were the 2 Harriers, 2 Peregrines and a Buzzard in the same area! The Peregrines were very active. 2 Great White Egret on Ince Marsh.

Observer: Ian Coote

Also present on the Weaver Estuary were 20 Goldeneye and the first Oystercatcher on the river of the year.

13.01.13. Birdlog.

13.01.13. Birdlog.

12 Little Egret and a single Great White Egret (the latter was watched flying along the ship canal by the observer), 30 Whooper and 7 Bewick’s Swans, 2000 Canada Goose, 15 Pink-footed Goose, 500 Wigeon, Numerous Golden Plover and 2 Grey Plover, 5 Oystercatcher, 500 Dunlin, 6 Black-tailed Godwit and 3 Bar-tailed Godwit. An adult  Yellow-legged Gull on the score made for an overall impressive watch.

Additionally, a Chiffchaff was along the Holpool Gutter west of No 4 tank and 3 Lesser Redpoll in Alder trees at the old fertiliser plant.

Observer: Frank Duff.

Dunlin flock with Stanlow Point in background. December High water counts WeBS. 2

No, it’s not the Great African Plains with vast flocks of Red-billed Quelea but an impressive shower of Dunlin on the Mersey Marshes during the December WeBS counts. Over 35,000 Dunlin are out there! .

Dunlin flock with Stanlow Point in background. December High water counts WeBS

If you fancy a similar experience and help count them at the same time drop Dermot Smith an email at; and have a chat. Below Common Teal forced by the rising tide to seek fresh feeding waters.

Toni Ray Sherlock Teal out of the 'gutter'.

All images by Toni Ray Sherlock.

15.12.12. Birdlog (WeBS Count)

15.12.12. Birdlog (WeBS Count)

15.12.12. No 6 tank, Frodsham Marsh. WSM.

Above: No 6 tank and a view looking west to Stanlow.

Below: Dunlin leaving after high tide.

15.12.12. Dunlin flock over No 6 tank. WSM.

Duck numbers were looking good with 462 Common Teal, 24 Common Pochard, 12 Tufted Duck, 68 Mallard, 16 Shoveler, 10 Common Shelduck and 5 pairs of Wigeon.

15.12.12. Dunlin flock, Frodsham Marsh. WSM.

Dunlin ‘blizzard’ on No 6 tank.

High tide on No 6 tank was really dramatic with 12 Ringed Plover, 200 Grey Plover, 94 Knot, 4,600 Dunlin, a single Bar-tailed Godwit, 120 Curlew, 2 Redshank and chaperoning the assembled throng was a persistent female Merlin upsetting the roosting flocks.

15.12.12. Merlin and Dunlin flock, No 6 tank, Frodsham Marsh. WSM.

A Merlin playing skittles with the Dunlin and Grey Plover flock.

No 3 tank held 890 Lapwing and 700 Golden Plovers and for a change only one shooter today!

Raven numbers appear down on previous weeks perhaps the present high tides will bring some fresh sheep carcasses on the Score?

The Weaver Estuary was good for Goldeneye with 6 males and a mixture of 11 immature/females making up the remainder. 10 Little Grebe, 50 Common Teal, 10 Pochard and 6 Tufted Duck made up the rest.

15.12.12. Waxwing, Frodsham Marsh. WSM.

15.12.12. Brook Furlong Lane and Waxwings, Frodsham Marsh. WSM.

Brook Furlong Lane and Waxwings.

Highlight of the day was finding a flock of 25 Waxwing along Brook Furlong Lane at around 2.00 pm. One or two of them were engaging in fly-catching sorties from the telegraph wires along the old birdlog track. New marsh birds are few and far between for me so, a worthy and much welcomed box ticked off! Arthur managed to get down to see them before they moved out towards the Ship Street end.

Hopefully, other birders will connect with them tomorrow? I know one who’ll be keener than most, Frank!

Observers: Arthur Harrison, WSM.

All images by WSM.

Mersey Mudlarks

Mersey Mudlarks

Dunlin flock with Runcorn Bridge from Mount Manisty. Dermot Smith

Runcorn Bridge and Fiddlers Ferry Power Station with Dunlin flock over Mount Manisty, Stanlow.

Dunlin from Frodsham Score. Dermot Smith

The same flock wheeling in tight formation with Weston Point behind.

Dunlin flock with Weston point in background. Dermot Smith.

Can you estimate the number in the flock? If you have the patience then the WeBS team are looking for your time. Just one day a month for a couple of hours to fill in the gaps in coverage all along the banks of the river. If you are interested drop Dermot Smith (who is co-ordinating the counts) an email, or find the Mersey Estuary WeBS on Facebook at!/pages/Mersey-Estuary-WeBS/216178248450013.