17.03.18. Birdlog.

Only a brief visit today but had a male Wheatear on pipes was the first of the year with Starling, Raven and Goldfinch in same area plus the Canada’s and a pair of Greylag on No.1 tank. There were a few dozen Meadow Pipits on the model aircraft field and a single Curlew on Lordship Marsh.

The snow was blizzard like for most of my time there.

Observer: Paul Crawley (images).

16.03.18. Birdlog.

A 6 km walk around No.6 tank after work and in glorious evening sunshine. The flooded fields adjacent to Lordship Lane were devoid of birdlife but a couple of adult boys playing with their drones over the fields were probably responsible for this. Further on and the wintering swan herd was numbering in excess of 40 birds but I could only manage 20 Whooper Swan but a lot of birds were hiding behind the hedges.

A little later Whooper’s were seen heading out to the Manchester Ship Canal/Frodsham Score, so maybe the ‘adults’ with their drones may have dislodged the swans?

A Peregrine was over the marsh and disturbed the Curlews out on the fields. The mitigation pools on No.3 tank had a good selection of ducks with 43 Shoveler and 140 Common Teal along with a few Common Shelduck and 23 Coot.

I was surprised to see 6 Whooper Swan trumpting from the water on No.6 tank but they didn’t linger and headed out to the west soon after. A flock of 22 Ruff was a bit of a surprise here aswell. It was interesting to see c400 Common Teal back on the water after the recent lower counts. A flock of 46 Tufted Duck (18 were on the Splashing Pool), 19 Common Pochard and a solitary Great Crested Grebe were also present.

Numerous Raven were heading south for the evening with at least two showing shotgun holes in their primary feathers? The ones that stayed behind were enjoying the glutton of mutton on offer.

A partial leucistic male Blackbird was in a shrub outside the garden centre, opposite the Cenotaph on Greenway Road, Runcorn earlier in the day.

Observers: Paul Ralston (image 3), Sparky & WSM (images 2-4).

11.03.18. Birdlog.

A lovely day to be out and about on the marshes this afternoon. We headed out along Moorditch Lane where a Bullfinch type call from a hawthorn bush produced a Chiffchaff but just a P. collybita and not the expected eastern type (strange call nonetheless).

The flooded fields along Lordship Lane had a herd of 20 Mute Swan and despite my comments from yesterday the Whooper Swan (8 birds) were back again.

Walking through the now bollard entrance to the ramp track (at the south-west corner) of No.4 tank we continued avoiding the fly tipping em route. The fields of No.3 tank had a female Merlin perched on the fence line but if soon flew away towards No.5 tank. Three Mute Swan flew low over the fields and the mitigation pools had 23 Shoveler, 14 Coot and 34 Common Teal.

The open water of No.6 tank also had the remaining Shoveler from yesterday with c130 Common Teal, a pair of Pintail, 12 Common Shelduck, 224 Tufted Duck and 31 Common Pochard. A male Marsh Harrier spooked out the hiding teal from the dried out daisy beds.

Observers: Sparky & WSM (images).

10.03.18. Birdlog.

A yomp across the marshes today staring from Moorditch Lane, Lordship Lane, Holpool Gutter, No.4 tank, Frodsham Score, No.6 tank and Marsh Farm.

Walking along Lordship Lane and the flooded fields on Lordship Marsh didn’t conjure up either the winter swan herd or the wintering Water Pipits. A Redshank with a broken wing was a sorry sight but a flock of 120 Curlew feeding in the fields were encouraging. The only swans present were 14 Mute’s occupying the area where the whooper’s have been present (yesterday) and just maybe they have departed for pastures new?

Another herd of 16 Mute Swan were with 4 pairs of Greylag Goose alongside the Holpool Gutter.

A look across the salt marshes of Frodsham Score were worth the walk after spotting c1100 Pink-footed Goose on the salt marsh edge and hiding within their mass was at least one Barnacle Goose and two dark-bellied Brent Goose. A Great White Egret was channel hopping in the tidal gutters, surprisingly I didn’t see any Little’s today? A female Marsh Harrier flew in from Hale and settled into an area of rough grass. Distantly a Peregrine was at the edge of the river.

A pair of Marsh Harrier were calling to each other above and close to the wind machines. A Common Buzzard was perched up on a dead tree inside the reed bed of No.4 tank and the pale morph is still present by the Pumping Station.

A Stonechat¬†and a Cetti’s Warbler were visible and not visible from the edge of the tank.

Walking along the track alongside No.3 tank and another Great White Egret flew over the ‘Splashing Pool’. The mitigation area was flooded but only a few Lapwing, Common Teal and Shoveler were the only birds of note.

No.6 tank looked a shadow of its former self with most of the Shoveler having departed, I countered only 43 birds and despite the low count it was good while it lasted. A pair of Pintail, c200 Common Teal, 23 Tufted Duck and 29 Common Pochard made up the rest.

There was a gathering of Canada Goose on No.1 tank but the Bar-headed Goose must have slipped off the radar today. There were 3 Stonechat on the pipes across the tank there.

The Weaver estuary again had the majority of Gadwall with 24 male posturing to each other and to the females present.

A look across the Manchester Ship Canal and Frodsham Score to the mudflats on the Mersey estuary produced 9 Grey Plover, 300 Dunlin, 7 Oystercatcher, 12 Black & 2 Bar-tailed Godwit. 2 Knot all ahead of the advancing tea time tide.

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My first Small Tortoiseshell of the year.

Observer: WSM (images).

09.03.18. Birdlog.

A selection of observations from the marshes today: 23 Mute’s, 18 Whooper Swan, 2 Bewick’s Swan, 12 Tufted Duck, 32 Common Pochard, 28 Common Shelduck, 19 Shoveler, 2 Pintail, 18 Mallard, 14 Common Snipe, 14 Redshank, 103 Curlew, 260 Lapwing, 84 Golden Plover, 340 Wood Pigeon, Green Woodpecker, 65 Redwing, 30 Rook and 6 Stonechat.

Observer and image: Joe Chester.

07.03.18. Birdlog.

After work and the bright sunshine of a Spring day beckoned ahead. On arrival the sound of calling Golden Plover could be heard from the muddy margins of the flooded sludge tank. Suddenly the whole shorebird flocks present rose into the air when a Peregrine flew overhead. After the confusion everything resettled and 3 Black-tailed Godwit were meager fare for the watch but GW had seen a Sanderling, Dunlin and a Ruff prior to my visit. There were several Common Snipe feeding in the flooded vegetation with 12 Redshank. he Peregrine made a second visit which was enough for the majority of c300 Golden Plover to exist to the Mersey estuary.

Another Peregrine was sat out on the lip of the tall blue topped chimney at Weston Point. A craggy looking female Marsh Harrier headed in over No.5 tank from the east and was seen on both No.6 and No.4 tanks shortly after.

Numerous Raven were heading to Wales for the night and a Great Spotted Woodpecker was by the ‘Splashing Pool’.

Observers: Arthur Harrison, Gary Worthington, WSM (images).

05.03.18. Birdlog.

A very brief visit after work to Marsh Farm and the surrounding area with little of note other than a flock of 8 Avocet out on the Mersey mudflats. Also gathering in good numbers were Curlew and Dunlin settling down for the night.

The Starling flocks filtered through with several thousand noted.

Out on the Weaver estuary there was a sudden increase of the numbers of 43 Gadwall with several drakes in their nuptial display.

Observer: WSM.