18.02.19. Birdlog.

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A 12 km stretch of the legs around the marshes today was required after a weekend of work and an opportunity to polish off my Mersey WeBs count to boot.

We arrived on No.6 tank before the high tide out on the Mersey estuary and the count was a little below what I had expected, but counts are counts and wildfowl don’t always conform to expectations. The Eurasian Teal were knocking on the 1000 plus door last week and today I estimated c450 birds. The majority of the flock were remaining concealed in the vegetation and were reluctant to leave it. A small flotilla of 8 Tufted Duck, 3 drake Common Pochard, 21 Northern Shoveler, 18 Common Shelduck and 37 Mallard were the other species present.

The only wader was a single Common Snipe and the only raptors was one each of Sparrowhawk and a Marsh Harrier floating over the reed beds.

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We continued walk and found our first 3 of 13 Stonechat encountered today. A huge flock of c1000 Lapwing high over the Weaver Sluices had c500 Golden Plover leading them along.

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The ebbing tide out on the Mersey estuary had deposited plenty of Pink-footed Goose feeding alongside Canada Goose herds on the salt marshes. Another skein of 280 dropped into the distant Gowy Meadows. A single Great Egret was joined by 3 Little Egret on hiding in the rougher grassy areas. Alongside the outer marshes is the Manchester Ship Canal and its long finger of water had 82 Tufted Duck, 32 Gadwall and 7 Mute Swan on it.

Another Great Egret was in the Ince Marsh fields along with 36 Mute Swan and 300 Curlew.

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A Fox taking a nap was rudely interrupted by a couple of Raven which must have thought it was dead when the gave its bottom a peck…

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..finally, the Fox had enough of this intrusion and walked away with its dignity in tatters.

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The Whooper Swan herd was again hiding behind the hedges in the far fields beyond the blue slurry tank.

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Observers: JS & WSM (images & video).

On the other side of the River Mersey at lunch time a Harbour Porpoise was stranded on the shoreline at Garston, Liverpool. A quick thinking dog walker came to the rescue of this rare (to the Mersey) cetacean and managed to get it refloated.

A big thanks to @birderjack for her images taken of the rescue and obviously to the unknown hero for his helping hand.

17.02.19. Birdlog.

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I spent the last couple of hours of daylight at the Ince end of the marshes. A few hundred Black-headed Gull were feeding in the fields near by the clay shooting range and included one in full summer plumage, also in the field were c30 Pied Wagtail.

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The pools held Mallard, Eurasian Teal, Gadwall, a single drake Wigeon, Little Grebe and a Little Egret.

On to the Manchester Ship Canal and a raft of c80 Coot with more Mallard, Eurasian Teal and a Great Crested Grebe.

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A Peregrine passed overhead and spooked a flock of Curlew from their field alongside the Holpool Gutter. The swan herd was spread out across the field with 5 Greylag Goose and a Great Egret for company.

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A Marsh Harrier was seen perched up on No.4 tank but later made its way to roost on No.6, in flight the tatty wing and trailing right leg were very obvious as mentioned in previous posts.

Observer: Paul Ralston (images 1-5).

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I only managed a brief hour after work but in that short period it still amassed a great number of birds. The highlights were 3 Marsh Harrier circling over the reed beds despite two off-road scramblers tearing around inside the sludge tank. A flock of c350 Eurasian Teal and smaller count of Northern Shoveler were about on the eastern side.

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The Raven push south included a flock of 22 out of c100 birds that I counted, but there were many more moving as I left early.

The Peregrine was sat on the blue topped chimney and a pair of juvenile Common Buzzard were sat along the fence line on No.5 tank.

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Observer: WSM (images 6-11 & videos).

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After I left early Duncan Cowley emerged and secured some great Short-eared Owl images.

16.02.19. Birdlog.

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I started out on my morning walk at Ince where a Barn Owl put on a fine display hunting over a reed bed, unfortunately a camera malfunction missed my opportunity of capturing its form. The pools held a reduced number of wildfowl with smaller numbers of Eurasian Teal, Mallard, Northern Shoveler and Gadwall.

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Onward to the Manchester Ship Canal path where Tufted Duck, Mallard and Canada Goose occupied the cut, while hundreds of Pink-footed Goose dropped on to the salt marshes. Several Little Egret were noted and Raven, Common Buzzards and Great Black-backed Gull numbers were patrolling the area.

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A Bewick’s Swan flew overhead calling and was answered by another that had joined the 30 strong Mute Swan herd alongside the Holpool Gutter earlier. Also in the same field were 3 Great Egret and 5 Greylag Goose.

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A walk out to view the c30 strong Whooper Swan herd on Lordship Marsh found them hidden behind a hedge near the Hillview Farm with 2 Mute Swan tagging along.

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A Brown Hare got up from under my feet and made its way into the next field. Skylark were singing on this Spring morning as were Great Tit and Dunnock.

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Walking along the track between No.4 and No.6 tanks produced Reed Bunting, Goldfinch and a pair of Stonechat which were in the reed beds.

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Curlew were numerous back at Ince Berth and one of the Great Egret was stood alongside a Grey Heron for size comparison. And finally a Goldcrest was seen in the hedgerow as I got back to my car.

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Observer: Paul Ralston (images 2 & 3-10).

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I went to the marsh at 8.00 am and saw a Stonechat along Alder Lane, lots of new lambs and Raven on No.2 with Curlew but I didn’t count them.

No.6 had a few Eurasian Teal and gulls, a Marsh Harrier was hunting and another circling the far clump of trees after being disturbed by more than 8 Magpie.

Reed Buntings and Meadow Pipit were heard and seen all over the marsh and Skylark were chasing each other on No.5, a pair of Stonechat were at the junction of No.3, No.5 and No.6 tanks.

Observer: Paul Crawley (images 1 & 11).

I wasn’t expecting too much to see on the marsh after I left work at 4.00 pm. On arrival the beautiful warm weather prior to my departure was replaced by thick ominous clouds drifting in from the west.

A look over No.6 tank revealed just 450 Eurasian Teal on the sludge tank with a drake Common Pochard, 3 Tufted Duck, 53 Mallard, 23 Common Shelduck and 31 Northern Shoveler.

The Peregrine was again sat on the blue topped chimney towering high above the Weaver Sluices.

The light had dropped quickly and the first of 4-5 Marsh Harrier dropped into their roost site. The tatty winged bird with a damaged right leg was also with them. The ‘ringtail’ Hen Harrier was a bonus spot putting in a prolonged performance.

09.04.16. Ravens over Frodsham Score, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton (23)

The highlight of the evening was the exodus of Raven from the marshes at dusk.  The flocks of Raven never exceeded five birds but after the last bird flew through the darkness of the day I had counted 177 birds! The second highest ever count here. They had presumably spent their day reaping the Spring bounty on the Mersey Marshes. A perfect recycler of the sick and dead livestock that litter the outer marshes.

I wandered back to my car and a small bat spp was flying around my head and was still hunting when I left.

Observer: WSM  (image 12 & video).

15.02.19. Birdlog.

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Nothing out the ordinary but plenty of Raven feeding on the lambing casualties. A pair of Stonechat in the reeds on No.6 tank. A small number of Shoveler, Eurasian Teal and Mallard on the scrapes on No.3.

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A couple of Kestrel and 4 Common Buzzard noted.

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The Whooper Swan herd could be seen in the distance near to Hillview Farm and a large flock of Lapwing and c30 Dunlin heading inland for the night.

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Observer: Paul Ralston (images 1-4).

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After an early dart from work we decided on a walk around No.6 tank and somehow avoiding PR en route. The Eurasian Teal flock were a bit flighty when their arch nemesis the Common Buzzard sat on its watch tower (the brick drainage tower) on the south banks of the tank. I thought they numbered in excess of c700 birds.

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During the course of our walk at the ‘Splashing Pool’ we watch 4 separate Marsh Harrier coming into roost, one particular bird with tatty wings and what appeared to be a dangling damaged leg. It circled high very close to one of the wind turbines on No.4 tank.

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The Peregrine was perched on top of the blue chimney at Weston Point.

The Whooper Swan herd was took in close to a hedge for the night and 5 swan spp flew in to No.6 tank as the sun set over the yardarm/turbines.

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Observers: JS & WSM  (5-25).

13.02.19 Birdlog.

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Another after work visit to the marshes and a look over No.6 tank. The Eurasian Teal were again in the flooded daisy beds and numbered c750 birds. The Northern Shoveler flocks have increased to 23 birds with 2 Pintail, 18 Common Shelduck and 12 Mallard.

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A female Marsh Harrier was sat on her usual perch but she wasn’t joined by any others this evening. Small groups of Raven were heading south from their day gorging dead sheep on the salt marshes and a couple of them found enough time to harass a Short-eared Owl high overhead. A Sparrowhawk was waiting for the Fieldfare to enter their willow bed roost but it was constantly mithered by a couple of crows.

On my departure at 17.45 featured a Barn Owl hunting the fields along Moorditch Lane.

No photo description available.

 

Observer: WSM (image 1).  All SEO mages by Duncan Cowley.

11.02.19. Birdlog.

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With the evening light good I made it to the marsh after work and managed to fit in an hour and half before the dark settled in.

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The Eurasian Teal flocks are much reduced since the weekend with several hundred still hiding in the flooded daisy beds. A single Pintail, 12 Common Shelduck and 17 Mallard were the only other ducks on the pool.

A Cetti’s Warbler gave a brief blast of song at dusk.

The Marsh Harrier roost included four birds which hung about into the dark. The highlight was a ringtail Hen Harrier which didn’t hang about for.

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The Whooper Swan herd could be seen playing hide and seek in between the hedgerows by Hillview Farm.

A skein of Pink-footed Goose were heading to Frodsham Score for the night while c550 Curlew were an impressive sight as they flew overhead to the Mersey estuary.

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A large disruption of Lapwing rose from high over Frodsham Score.

Observer and images: WSM.