A day early for my WeBS count on No.6 tank during the high tide period this afternoon. The pool on the sludge tank is still receding and restricting to the centre of the eastern side. It was interesting to see tops of posts with barbed wire attached and petrified hedgerow stumps exposed for the first time in decades.
A small group of 8 Common Teal was nearly topped by the 14 young Mallard present. A small flock of 7 Common Shelduck headed out to the estuary. there was also 5 Moorhen, 137 Black-headed, a 2nd summer Common and 2 adult Lesser Black-backed Gull.
The only shorebirds in the hot bed of the tank included solitary Ruff & Black-tailed Godwit and just 14 Lapwing. A worn adult Marsh Harrier was drifted in the distant heat haze and a very brief snatch of Cetti’s Warbler song was just about it fr here.
I took a walk down to the Weaver Bend where the high tide on the River Mersey had lifted the water level on the River Weaver slightly and the small sand bank on the ‘Bend’ was covered by water restricting the number of waders present. There were roughly 10 Common Sandpiper, an adult and 2 juvenile Little Ringed Plover, 43 Avocet (including 4 fluffy young) between the ‘Bend’ and the Weaver estuary, 4 Oystercatcher, a single summer Dunlin, c100 Coot, 2 Great Crested Grebe, c1000 Black-headed, 1 Great Black-backed and a single adult Common Gull.
There were plenty of butterflies out on the wing including: Gatekeeper, Red Admiral, Large Skipper, Small White, Small Tortoiseshell, Comma, Peacock, Meadow Brown and a new for me range expansion of Ringlet, which was close to the banks of the Weaver estuary.
Observer and images: WSM.
It was frighteningly quiet on the marsh this afternoon when I walked along the River Weaver and around to No.6 tank.
A Lapwing and 8 Avocet were on the opposite bank with two equally monochrome Oystercatcher. The young of Reed Bunting were moving about in front of me as I walked along the river path and a couple of Reed Warbler are still prolonging summer with their singing. The Weaver Bend sandbank be stricken by industrial noise from the old I.C.I plant across the water and was empty for a change apart from the ever-present Black-headed Gull flock.
No.6 tank lacked a touch of variety apart from a few Common Shelduck and a couple of Common Teal. A single Black-tailed Godwit dropped in amongst the few Lapwing on the cracked mud surface despite a late bout of short-lived rain.
There was a swarm of fearsome tiny toadlets crossing the path as I walked along the track, but not as scary as a pair of released Red-legged Partridge which scurried away.
Lordship Lane was equally less productive except for a Kestrel which was hunting the bank and caught a small rodent. Again Reed Warbler were feeding young still and a returning Curlew passed overhead followed by a family party of cronking Raven.
Observer: Paul Ralston aka Jason Voorhees.
Also a Hobby close by to the Weaver Bend as seen and then a Cetti’s Warbler as heard by Guy Groves.
I took the morning off work and took timeout in the early morning walk to walk around the marsh starting at Brook Furlong Lane. Chiffchaff and Blackcap were busy feeding along in the hedgerow and a family party of long-tailed Tit joined in.
Onward ever onward and the River Weaver Causeway bank produced 2 Common Sandpiper which were feeding with a Redshank and 6 Avocet. Sedge and Reed Warbler are still in song and a Reed bunting pair were busy feeding their youngsters.
The water level is still low with little if no rain washing back into the water courses. The sand bank island situated in the middle of the ‘Bend’ was exposed with many Black-headed Gull adults and juveniles feeding there. Another group of 30 Redshank, 80 Black-tailed Godwit, 2 Ringed Plover, 3 Common Sandpiper, Lapwing and yet more Avocet.
On towards the Manchester Ship Canal and an additional 21 Avocet were in the shallows with 2 more Common Sandpiper, 2 Ringed and a single Little Ringed Plover, 6 summer Dunlin 4 Oystercatcher and several more Lapwing. Common Shelduck and Tufted Duck were on the water with their broods and keeping a close eye on the Black-backed gulls which were overhead. More Common Sandpiper were noted on the Manchester Ship Canal making a total of 15 during my walk. 4 Raven were sharing a Mallard carcase (it makes a change from the dead mutton they’ve been sampling this year) on the canal bank.
The Canal Pools were quiet with just Mallard and Coot present.
On further to No.6 tank beckoned where the water level there has dropped to a fraction of the winter level. there were 8 Grey Heron waiting to pick off the eels that dared to slither from their muddy hiding places. The only waders noted on No.6 were Lapwing, a handful of Mallard and Coot on the remaining water.
Observer and images: Paul Ralston.
An early evening jaunt along the river and past the Manchester Ship Canal where butterflies were aplenty along the river bank with Meadow Browns, Gatekeeper, Red Admiral, Small Tortoiseshell, Ringlet, Large Skipper and several White’s. The water level on the river was low and exposed the sandy banks with many of Black-headed Gull but not much else as a trials bike was on the footpath causing a lot of disturbance. A pair of Avocet were on the far bank still with 3 small young alongside a Lapwing its chick. There were 3 Common Sandpiper also along this part of the river.
Walking towards the ship canal another flock of Avocet included 40 birds with a small number of Black-tailed Godwit, Redshank, Oystercatcher and another Common Sandpiper were at the waters edge with a single Dunlin. At the junction of the ship canal and the Weaver estuary there was a flock of Lapwing and at least 10 more Common Sandpiper were in the same area.
A pair of Raven ever the optimists were keeping watchful eye on a brood of Common Shelducklings.
Observer and images: Paul Ralston.
An early rise with the lark and a first call to the Weaver Bend with the sun rising behind me.
The water level is still higher than it was last week so the big numbers of Avocet have dispersed, those that were present this morning still have small young. Common Sandpiper, Ringed and Little Ringed Plover pushed to the edge of the banks. There were c75 Tufted Duck with many ducklings in tow. A female Marsh Harrier flew over but a very persistent Lapwing got a little to close for its own comfort.
A Brown Hare was along the track off Ship Street.
I relocated to No.6 tank where the shallow and clear water level gave me the opportunity to watch an Eel making slow progress through the gelatinous oozy mud below the surface. There were 4 Cormorant roosting on the dead tree while 5 Grey Heron were stalking the water margins. It was great to see a flock of 643 Black-tailed Godwits feeding unconcerned by own presence but the ever agitated c55 Avocet were a little more cautious. Ruff have increased by two to three birds and fed with a small number of Redshank and a Little Ringed Plover.
A flock of 12 Shoveler is an increase in their numbers with 80 Common Teal also here. Another Marsh Harrier flew in and settled on its favourite perch.
Observer and images: WSM.
Another hot and sultry day birding the hotbed of Frodsham Marsh. A walk out to view the evaporating waters of No.6 tank sludge tank and to see the emerging old decaying hedgerow boundary to the long gone fields that once existed before the tank was constructed.
A scattered flock of 462 Black-tailed Godwit were either wading through the shallow waters or catching up with a snooze in the siesta sunshine. A lone ‘white-headed’ summer Ruff didn’t take to well to the company and soon departed while a pair of Ringed and a single Little Ringed Plover were tripping over the damp patches. Two family parties of Avocet included 2 adults and 3 juvenile & 2 adult and 2 juvenile birds.
Ducks are always a feature no matter what season and the increasing Common Teal flock reached 82 birds, while 34 Common Shelduck and an assortment or scruffy looking drake Mallard were loitering about.
A flock of Black-headed Gull included 4 juvenile birds and a handsome adult summer Mediterranean Gull shimmering in the heat haze.
A couple of Marsh Harrier were drifting widely over the golden fields while Common Buzzard lazily soared on the warm air currents high above the marshes.
What was left of the waters on No.3 tank only attracted a pair of feral Barnacle Goose but not a lot of anything else and the ‘shitigation’ lives on.
The Marsh Farm track (Alder Lane) was full of Sand Martins dust bathing while others were sat on the wires above.
Again plenty of butterflies about with more sightings of Comma today.
Observers: Paul Crawley (5-7), WSM (images 1-4).
An early evening walk along Brook Furlong Lane and around to the Weaver Bend.
The Blackcap and Chiffchaff are still very much vocal along the lane as was Reed Warbler but alongside the River Weaver.
A Marsh Harrier was over Redwall reed bed and c250 Black-tailed Godwit and c40 Avocet, 2 Ringed Plover, 4 Redshank were on the sand bank on the ‘Bend’. Several broods of Common Shelduck of different ages were noted and some males restarting their nuptials. A Tufted Duck female had a brood of 13 ducklings and a Common Sandpiper sat on the bank and watched the water flow by. There were only 2 Common Swift and a handful of Swallow were active over the water.
Butterflies were abundant with Meadow Brown, Small Tortoiseshell, Large Skipper, Comma and Ringlet all out in the third consecutive 30* degree sunshine day.
Observer and images: Paul Ralston.
The current tinder dry weather caused fire outbreaks at a few hill locations today including this fire on Helsby Hill as seen from Frodsham Marsh. Image by Harriet Louise.