05.05.21. Birdlog.

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My walk started off in fair weather and then over a period of a hour or so it went from rain/sleet/heavy hail and back to warm sunshine.

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A quick glance over No.6 tank revealed a small group of 35 Black-tailed Godwit, a Common Sandpiper perched in a tree, a small calidris wader that turned into a partial summer plumaged Little Stint (M Giverin et al), 2 Ruff and small numbers of ducks, including a pair of Eurasian Wigeon. A few Common Swift joined up with scores of Barn Swallow and small numbers of House Martin. A male Western Yellow Wagtail dropped in to feed along the watery margins.

There were several hundred Sand Martin over the Canal Pools on No.3 tank where 2 additional Ruff and 4 lingering European Golden Plover were still in the same spot as last week. The ‘phalarope pool’ was devoid of life and when the hail storm arrived so dis plenty of hirundines to dodge the icy artillery. A fine male Western Marsh Harrier flew over and a Common Buzzard did likewise.

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Some interesting cloud formations before the storm hit including this mammatus cloud.

Hail storm over the phalarope pool.

Observers: WSM (images 1-3 and video), Mike Giverin et al). Observer:

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We walked along Lordship Lane and heard many small birds but saw none.  Then up to the ‘phalarope pool’.  There was very little on the pool itself but many Barn Swallow and a few Sand Martin flying above. 

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A Common Buzzard also came very close to us.  Walking back along Lordship Lane we saw several Common Swift and Barn Swallow. 

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May be an image of bird and nature

As an added bonus, it was sunny throughout!  Also very pleased to see that most of the fly tipped household rubbish has been removed!

David Eisner (images 4-7).

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A quick visit along Brook Furlong Lane and then up to Marsh Farm this morning, warblers and finches including 2 Cetti’s warbler, the pipeline was quiet with only 3 Northern Wheatear seen near the cattle grid, I made it back to the car just before the rain and hail.

Observer: Keith Gallie (images 8-11).

02.05.21. Birdlog.

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The pools at Ince were quiet with just a few Mallard and Gadwall with a flyover pair of Common Shelduck seen. A Eurasian Coot chick that only its mother could love was making its way along the ditch to join the rest of the brood, several other coots are still incubating their clutches along the ditch and pools.

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A Little Grebe with 3 tiny youngsters was on one of the pools and automatically dived when it saw me approaching, and then realised its young were left in the open and returned to coax them into the reeds. Cetti’s Warbler, Blackcap, Common Whitethroat, Common Chiffchaff, Sedge and Western Reed Warbler were heard and seen all along my walk.

A Little Egret was in the field alongside the Holpool Gutter with a dozen or more courting Common Shelduck. A few more Little Egret were out on Frodsham Score with many more Common Shelduck. A Northern Wheatear was also noted. Two male Whinchat by the berth.

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The ‘phalarope pool’ was deserted apart from Northern Lapwing, a few Mallard, Gadwall and a pair of Northern Shoveler and then to No.6 tank where more Common Shelduck were joined by Mallard, Eurasian Teal, Gadwall, Tufted Duck and Little Grebe. There were Ruff feeding along the edge of the pool while c25 Black-tailed Godwit were in the deeper water.

The male Western Marsh Harrier flew over Lordship Marsh and Common Buzzard, Common Kestrel and a Sparrowhawk were active in the area.

A Great Spotted Woodpecker left the bank on No.4 tank and landed on a fence post before making its way to the wood alongside the Holpool Gutter. Walking through Goldfinch Meadow LNR I spotted a pair of Eurasian Bullfinch in a bramble patch.

Observer & images: Paul Ralston.

01.05.21. Birdlog.

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A walk around No.6 tank this morning and warblers were singing all around the tank, with the following counts: 5 Blackcap, 12 Cetti’s Warbler, 7 Common Chiffchaff, 27 Western Reed Warbler, 23 Sedge Warbler, 35 Common Whitethroat and 3 Willow Warbler. Also on the walk around the Little Stint was still on the ‘phalarope pool’ with a Little Ringed Plover, Common Snipe and Common Redshank. No.6 held around 350 Black-tailed Godwit with at least one Bar-tailed Godwit, 8 Ruff and a single Common Sandpiper. Approx 8 Barn Swallow and 16 Common Swift were hawking insects above the tank.

Observer: Paul Miller.

Image by Duncan Cowley.

30.04.21. Birdlog.

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Perhaps the best description I have heard of the British climate is from the Australian Cricketer Shane Warne whom described UK weather as “nine months of winter followed by three months of bad weather”.

And so it was on a cold late April evening I stood watching No.6 tank questioning the wisdom of many of the wading birds present heading even further north.

There were just under 250 Black-tailed Godwit close to the track with 17 summer plumaged Dunlin and 2 Ringed Plover feeding busily on the water’s edge. Five Ruff were wandering amongst the Godwit with one bird clearly getting ideas above its station in developing a Gyr Falcon-esque plumage.

At about five o’clock half of the Godwits peeled off and headed towards the estuary to feed leaving the remaining birds – I imagined – chattering amongst themselves that they wouldn’t be so common as to eat their evening meal so early!!

Just before I left a Western Yellow Wagtail flew over calling and a dozen or so Swifts dropped out of the sky. 

Walking back to my van I was serenaded by Cetti’s, Reed, Sedge and Grasshopper Warbler, Common Whitethroat, Blackcap and Common Chiffchaff. A Water Rail was also heard squealing along the bank.

Observer: Paul Shenton.

Image by Paul Miller.

29.04.21. Birdlog.

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A late start to the day and a walk along the north end of No.6 tank revealed a Little Ringed Plover,couple of Ruff with the rapidly dwinderling Black-tailed Godwit flock. A male Western Marsh Harrier flew through and a fine female Merlin lingered long enough for a view, but not a picture.

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I met Paul Ralston and we both took a hike up to the ‘phalarope pool’ where we bumped into Mark ‘Whipper’ Gibson who had spent the majority of the afternoon watching over No.6 tank earlier, he had seen 3 Bar-tailed Godwit (one frosty individual) with several hundred Black-tails, 8 Ruff and 40 Eurasian Teal.

Little Stint braving the hail storm.

He also had 2 Little Ringed Plover and a neat summer plumaged Little Stint on the ‘phalarope pool’. It wasn’t long before the LRP’s and the stint reappeared followed by a heavy hail storm emitting from across the river at Hale. It was interesting to watch the stint poise in an erect posture reducing its body shape to a tiptoe upright stance, and although the stinging hail was bad enough for us three, it must have been even worse for this little bligter.

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Walking back there was 4 (3 summer northern birds) European Golden Plover hunkered down in a depression in the grass. There were three additional Ruff feeding with a handful of Black-tailed Godwit and 3 Dunlin on the mitigation pools.

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Observers: Mark (Whipper) Gibson, Paul Ralston and WSM (images 1-4 & video).

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A Northern Lapwing by David Eisner (images 5-6) and the pitiful sight of ignorant and selfish people using the countryside like their own sesspit. Hopefully, whoever paid these to take their furniture away will have left idenifing letters for the local authorities and police to investigate.

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A distant Western Marsh Harrier was over the salt marshes (image 7 by Phil Barker).

28.04.21. Birdlog.

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A couple of hours birding along the north bank of No.6 tank and the glorious sight of hundreds of handsomely dressed Black-tailed Godwit feeding close enough to hear their slurping sounds after a bill full of sieved out sludgy mud. Hiding within the godwit flock were two non-breeding plumaged Bar-tailed Godwit, and no less of a handsome bird.

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A scattered group of 8 Ruff were sporting their foppy neck and head plumes, orange, white, black, chestnut and browns, our own exotically plumaged dandies.

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The ducks were overshadowed by the shorebirds and there was no change in species and numbers from my previous visit.

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I continued my walk along the track towards the ‘phalarope pool’ on No.3 tank. A male Western Marsh Harrier was hunting the reed beds at the Canal Pools. The pools on the mitigation had a single russet coloured Ruff with several Black-tailed Godwit, a Little Ringed Plover and Common Snipe.

Observer: WSM (images & videos).

27.04.21. Birdlog.

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Today I completed my first visit of the year to my BTO BBS survey plot on the Frodsham Marshe. The survey area covers a 1km square that stretches from the southern part of No.1 tank, most of No.5 tank, the eastern end of No.6 tank and around Moorditch Lane to Brook Furlong Lane. The survey takes about two hours and just in that one area today’s species count came to 67.

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Female Northern Wheatear.

Highlights of the survey were; 2 Eurasian Bullfinch, 7 Cetti’s Warbler, 9 Common Chiffchaff, 3 Grasshopper Warbler, 9 Western Reed Warbler, 5 Sand Martin, 8 Sedge Warbler, 11 Eurasian Skylark, 3 Barn Swallow, 6 Northern Wheatear, 1 Whimbrel, 13 Common Whitethroat, 4 Willow Warbler and 1 Western Yellow Wagtail.

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Meadow Pipit.

As I was getting to the end of the survey a small weather front came in with a short shower and ahead of it came 4 House Martin and 28 Common Swift, my first of the year for each species.

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Brown Rat

As part of the survey, mammals are counted and this years count of Rabbit were the lowest for many a year at only two. Two Brown Hare were good to see and also 2 Brown Rat were feeding in the Shooters’ fields and proved to be very obliging letting me take their photos.

Observer: Paul Miller (images 1-4).

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May be an image of wading bird and nature

We took a short walk out along Moorditch Lane to the ‘phalarope pool’ below the eastern edge of No.4 tank. A look across No.6 tank and the Black-necked Grebe has looked to have moved on, while 34 Tufted Duck, 43 Northern Shoveler, 64 Common Shelduck, 5 Whimbrel, 6 Ruff, c500 Black-tailed Godwit and a single summer plumaged Dunlin were seen.

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May be an image of wading bird and nature

A look across the mitigation pools on No.3 tank revealed 3 additional Ruff with one sporting an oathish Borisesque headdress. There were many Black-tailed Godwit and a few Eurasian Teal and Northern Shoveler. A handsome male Western Marsh Harrier flew across the tank and an equally handsome white morph Common Buzzard was nearby. A group of 5 Northern Wheatear were along the fenceline to the sounds of Common Whitethroat, Sedge and Western Reed Warbler announcing a new summer of love.

Observers: JS & WSM (images 5-6).

Image 7 by Phil Barker.

26.04.21. Birdlog.

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I picked out 5 Ruff on No.6 tank among the Black-tailed Godwit along with good numbers of Common Shelduck, a female Western Marsh Harrier flew from No3 over the water. There was decent numbers of Cetti’s Warbler, Common Chiffchaff, Willow Warbler, Common Reed Bunting, a couple of Blackcap, I heard 2 Sedge Warbler, but only saw the one.

Not much on the mitigation pools. The ‘phalarope pool’ was quiet with a pair of Northern Lapwing, 1 Common Snipe, a few Eurasian Teal and Mallard

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Back along Lordship Lane there were good numbers of Linnet. I noted what seemed to be 5 pairs of European Stonechat, and a Grasshopper Warbler was reeling louder than I have heard one that’s because it was only about 6 feet away from me I stood there for about 15 mins hoping it would show itself, it did eventually but so briefly I didn’t manage a photo.

In all a cracking morning.

Observer and images: Keith Gallie

25.04.21. Birdlog

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My morning walk took me around tanks 6 and 4 where warblers were out in force. A Cetti’ s and a Grasshopper Warbler were at the junction of Lordship Lane and Hare’s Lane. Both Sedge and Western Reed Warbler were numerous along the way. A Common Whitethroat and Blackcap were also seen.

No.6 tank has 3 Ruff and 2 Common Sandpiper with a couple of hundred Black-tailed Godwit. A drake Common Shelduck joined the many others fighing over the ducks, and the Tufted Duck taking their lead were also displaying. On the water were Mallard, Eurasian Teal and Gadwall.

The mitigation pools on No.3 tank held a few more Black-tailed Godwit while the ‘phalarope pool’ held 2 Little Ringed Plover, a Common Snipe, c20 Black-tailed Godwit and a Common Redshank.   

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A scan over salt marsh produced a small group of 9 lingering Pink-footed Goose on the edge of the river. A male Western Marsh Harrier was hunting over the area.

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Interestly a Mallard decided to lay an egg in the middle of the path in front of me (must be the effect I have on the birds?). There were more Cetti’s, Sedge and Western Reed Warbler were noted. A vixen Red Fox crossed the path then back tracked as it saw me approaching. A pair of Common Kestrel were copulating in the middle of a field along Lordship Lane.

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Onward to Ince and more Cetti’s, Common Whitethroat and Blackcap were present. The pair of Garganey were on one of the pools, but are more mobile. 

Observer: Paul Ralston (images 1-5).

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A walk across the marsh this morning, notable sightings included 9
Ruff on No. 6 tank, a Whinchat moving between No.3 & No.6 tanks and 2
Little Ringed Plover on the ‘phalarope’ pool. A flock of 11 Whimbrel
with a Bar-tailed Godwit dropped down to the salt marsh and a Northern Wheatear was on the pipes on No.1 tank.

Observer: Alyn Chambers.

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Additional images 6-7 by Phil Barker.

24.04.21. Birdlog.

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I finished my day off with a walk along the River Weaver. Common Chiffchaff, Willow Warbler and Common Whitethroat were vocal along Brook Furlong Lane where a Western Reed Warbler was on territory along the Weaver path.

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A Mallard and her new brood of ducklings were being watched closely by a Grey Heron as they made their way along the river bank. On the shooters’ pool were 3 Common Snipe, 2 Black-tailed Godwit and a single Ruff were being buzzed by a couple of anxious Northern Lapwing, a flock of c40 Black-tailed Godwit flew over heading towards No.6 tank.

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Observer: Paul Ralston (images 1-3).

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We had a quiet day on the track up to Marsh Farm where several European Goldfinche.  Also the usual Northern Wheatear at the end of the pipes, they are using this spot as a stop off en route to their breeding grounds further north. 

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We also saw a Western Marsh Harrier in this area. 

Observer: David Eisner (images 4-5).

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Green-veined White by Phil Barker.

A Whinchat was on No.5 tank – per Frank Duff.