24.04.18. Birdlog.

I wrung out a few goodies from a sodding sodden rain-soaked marsh this evening with 42 Whimbrel, 1 Bar & c500 Blacktailed Godwit, 21 Redshank, 89 Common Teal, 260 Common Shelduck, 53 Gadwall, 47 Shoveler, 30 Tufted Duck and 17 Mallard.

The dreary conditions at least brought in a few hundred Swallow and Sand Martin which were feeding low over the water.

A Marsh Harrier dropped in at dusk while a Peregrine flew over the roosting flock of godwit and headed north.

A drenched Barn Owl had the indignity of being mobbed by a Common Gull before it gave up hunting and sat it out in a bush.

The rain hasn’t stopped all day but the sun finally made the briefest of appearances with a wink before it squeezed between the horizon and another rain belt moving in.

Observer: WSM and image from FMBB archive.

23.04.18. Birdlog.

I took a walk along Moorditch Lane en route to No.6 tank where a couple of passerines drew my attention to a pile of discarded wood. The two Wheatear were busy chasing each other in and out of the wood stack before finding the manure heap more to their liking.

Looking across No.6 tank into a brisk cool wind blowing in from the south-west revealed the open water full of ducks with 340 Common Shelduck being the highest number here for some time. A flock of 93 Tufted Duck was impressive even though the Shelduck stole the quack show. A selection of numerous Common Teal, Mallard and Gadwall were higher than usual.

My main attention was drawn to a flock of c1300 Black-tailed Godwit busy feeding in the thigh deep water and hidden in among them was a couple of Bar-tailed Godwit before pealing off in small flocks to the estuary. A partial summer Knot and 4 Ruff were a nice diversion. Redshank numbers have dropped considerably with only 23 birds noted.

A quick sprint to look across the mitigation pools on No.3 tank revealed a few more Black-tailed Godwits, Shoveler and Common Teal. A drake Wigeon with two females was an interesting partnership.

A female Marsh Harrier drifted in from the Mersey estuary to join a second bird. A pair of Peregrine were like bookends on the lip of the blue topped chimney over at the Weaver estuary at Weston Point.

Walking back the low heavy cloud and periods of rain brought down c200 Swallow with lesser numbers of Sand Martin.

A view of the Welsh hills from Frodsham Marsh with the only splash of sunlight this evening.

I even managed to relocate the  up and down pivot screw that fell off my cursed Benro tripod!

Observer and images: WSM.

22.04.18. Birdlog.

Out early this morning with the sounds of Spring in full swing. There were Blackcap, Chiffchaff, Willow Warbler singing in the first few hundred yards of leaving my car at Ince village. Walking towards the Manchester Ship Canal and both Sedge and Reed Warbler joined the dawn chorus.

Duck numbers were low on the pools with just a handful of Tufted Duck and Mallard alongside with Coot, Moorhen and a pair of Mute Swan.

The canal path had the first of 3 pairs of Oystercatcher at the berth. Common Shelduck, Gadwall, Common Teal and yet more Mallard and Tufties on the water there.

A pale phase Common Buzzard came off the salt marsh and rested in a tree on No.4 tank where it was mobbed by a Carrion Crow which then turned their attention to the much maligned Raven.

A Wheatear was on the canal bank near to the Holpool Gutter and several more near the canal pumping station. Swallow and Sand Martin were hawking overhead near the canal pools where the resident pair of Mute Swan have nested. A pair of Great Crested Grebe were busy displaying.

A secluded pool held more Tufted Duck with two drake and a single female Common Pochard.

A Whitethroat was watched on the bank and a Greenfinch was a flock of Linnet.

No.6 had good numbers of Shoveler, Common Teal, Mallard, Gadwall and Common Shelduck were noted with 20 Mute Swan on the watery section of the tank.

Along Lordship Lane and even more Whitethroat, Reed and Sedge Warbler were busy drowning each other out with their tunes. A Stoat crossed the lane and disappeared in to the rape seed crop. There was just 3 Curlew in the fields where a couple of weeks ago a flock of c100 were feeding.

A Peregrine was perched on a stack at the GrowHow Works and the Rook colony were busy feeding young in the rookery.

Observer and images: Paul Ralston.

70 lingering Pink-footed Goose on Frodsham Score and 10 Avocet at the Weaver Sluices as seen by Sean O’Hara from Hale (darkside) side of the Mersey estuary.

Observer: Sean O’Hara.

21.04.18. Birdlog.

A walk around No.6 tank in the hot caldron that is Frodsham Marsh in such barmy weather conditions was rewarding.

Six Whimbrel left No.6 tank early morning, with another individual on Lordship Marsh.

A pair of Wheatear were in the north-west corner of the tank and a further 4 were on the pipes of No.1 tank.

Four Marsh Harrier were circling and three Swallow moved through. 6 Ruff were on the mitigation pools on No.3 tank. A Peregrine added to the raptors present today

Between the Weaver Bend and the estuary were 3 Stonechat, 2 Mistle Thrush and a Green Sandpiper.

Returning to No.6 tank for high tide, 4 Knot and a Bar-tailed Godwit joined 1050 Black-tailed Godwits.

Warbler numbers had increased from my previous visit, with numbers across the Marsh of 16 Chiffchaff, 5 Willow Warbler, 13 Blackcap, 1 Lesser Whitethroat, 10 Whitethroat, 3 Grasshopper Warbler, 9 Sedge Warbler and 5 Reed Warbler.

There was a lot of nuptial activity with the coy female ducks acting all shy while the drakes were strutting their stuff in order to impress. Common Teal were inching over the 100 mark while Common Shelduck and Shoveler appear to have selected their respective. A single drake Wigeon cut a lonesome figure.

On No.3 tank there were 8 Wheatear including four ‘Greenland’ forms.

The fields on Lordship Marsh still held a herd of 21 Mute Swan.

The above image of the Kestrel releasing a merde bomb with St Laurence Church in the background.

Walking back and the Mute Swan was again in the ditch alongside Moorditch Lane while sat on the telegraph wires was a ringed Kestrel.

Plastic washed up on the Weaver estuary presumably carried here via the Manchester Ship Canal.

The warm weather brought out the butterflies with plenty of Small Tortoiseshell, Peacock and Orangetip.

Observers: Alyn Chambers (images 2), WSM (images 1 & 3-9).

18.04.18. Birdlog.

An after work walk along the edge of No.5 tank overlooking No.6 on the hottest day of the year…so far.

There was a flock of 130 Black-tailed Godwit, 16 Redshank, 1 Ruff and two Dunlin with 6 additional Black-tailed Godwit and 4 Ruff on the mitigation pools on No.3. Ducks included: 61 Tufted Duck, c100 Common Shelduck, c70 Shoveler and c200 Common Teal.

A distant male and female Marsh Harrier, a Cetti’s Warbler and a male Wheatear were the only other birds noted on a lacklustre birdwatch.

Observer & images:WSM.

16.04.18. Birdlog.

A high tide count from No.6 tank produced 1150 Black-tailed and 2 Bar tailed Godwit with 32 Redshank, 5 Ruff, 8 Knot, Cetti’s Warbler and 2 locally rare Yellowhammer.

Ducks were in evidence and included Gadwall, 11 Mallard, 96 Common Shelduck, 87 Shoveler, 325 Common Teal, 57 Tufted Duck while out on No.3 tank were 36 Coot.

Observer and image: Joe Chester.

My visit was after 4.30 pm when all the godwits had departed back to the expanse of mudflats on the Mersey estuary to feed. There were just a handful of 34 and 4 Redshank still present on No.6 tank.

A short walk over to the mitigation on no.3 had 8 Ruff, 1 Common Snipe, 5 Black-tailed Godwit, a male Wheatear and two pale morph Common Buzzard (one) sat on the fence line and the other watching from the banks of Frodsham Score. A small flock of 15 Swallow and 3 Sand Martin were hawking insects over the Canal Pools.

Observers: Arthur Harrison, WSM.

15.04.18. Birdlog.

Out on a way this morning from Ince and around No.4 tank.  There were 3 Mute Swan on the first pool with a male trying to drive the others away.Duck numbers were low with just 2 Common Teal amidst the Mallard, Tufted Duck and Common Shelduck. Five Little Egret were on the last pool with 12 Coot which were fighting themselves, like they always seem to do during the breeding season.

Onward to Ince Marsh fields where 20 Curlew, 4 Common Shelduck a pair of Tufted Duck and a pair of Greylag Goose added to the line up.

The Manchester Ship Canal had 19 Gadwall, 12 Common Shelduck, a Great Crested Grebe and a pair of Oystercatcher, Both Swallow and Collared Dove flew east along the canal.

A dark looking Fox was seen out on the salt marshes and made its way purposely towards a group of Great Black-backed Gull flock one of which was injured and couldn’t escape, the Fox stood over the gull then turned tail and walk away leaving the injured bird looking confused but relieved. There were more Curlew on the field alongside the Holpool Gutter which had a group of Gadwall chasing each other in flighty circles above.

Lordship Marsh had a flock of 77 Black-tailed Godwit, 15 Curlew and 15 Mute Swan and a Brown Hare bounded through the fields. In the bushes along Lordship Lane were several Chiffchaff and Blackcap were seen and heard and a Green Woodpecker was heard calling near to the Growhow Works where a Great Spotted was drumming in rhythm.

Another Little Egret was on one of the pools and 5 House Martin the first of the Spring were hawking overhead.

Observer: Paul Ralston (images 1-4).

A Mediterranean Gull flew out over Lordship Marsh early this morning within a flock of Black-headed Gulls.

Around midday 4 Yellow Wagtail, 2 House Martin and 6 Swallow flew over No. 6 tank and 6 Knot and a flock of Dunlin flew through but didn’t stop. On the tank were a pair of Wigeon, a Great Crested Grebe and 2 Ringed Plover at the west end. A pair of Marsh Harrier were hunting, with another bird over No. 4 tank. 2 Collared Dove flew along Lordship Lane and a Chiffchaff was building a nest close by. 3 pairs of Blackcap, and a further 3 singing males, were across the Marsh.

Observer: Alyn Chambers.

During the course of the afternoon we took a hike around No.6 tank with a prolonged stop off looking across the flooded fields below the ramp track to the south-east corner of No.4. There were 3 Ringed Plover, a few Redshank and 3 Dunlin including a summer plumage individual. A couple of Yellow Wagtail flew across from No.6 and settled to feed with half a dozen Meadow Pipit and the dwindling Linnet flock.

A couple of Marsh Harrier drifted over while numerous Common Buzzard were occupying all of the air space.

The mitigation pools lacked a lot of the ducks from yesterday with a few Shoveler and Common Teal being present. A couple of Ruff were hiding at the back of the pool, while a pale morph Common Buzzard watched on.

The 1000 strong Black-tailed Godwit flock was still present from yesterday with more Ruff, Redshank and 3 Knot. The same amount of duck were more or less present as of yesterday.

A flock of 170 Jackdaw contained a particularly interesting pale headed bird, some research needed on its ethnicity. A Cetti’s Warbler rounded off our visit with a serenade.

A male Redstart flew in front of us  by railway bridge arch on Keckwick Lane, Moore/Daresbury Firs.

Observers: Sparky & WSM (images 5-7).