16.09.18. Birdlog.

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The same route as yesterday.  A  gathering group of 18 Little Grebe were on the River Weaver with good numbers of Tufted Duck, smaller numbers of Mallard, common Teal and Common Shelduck all noted. There were 7 Mute Swan including the family from the Canal Pools were feeding close to the bank. A flock of c60 Black-tailed Godwit with 2 Ruff amongst them which flew up river. A Green Sandpiper left the ‘Shooters’ Pool’ and landed on the far bank. There were 2 Common Buzzard which were talon touching high up above the I C I  plant, while 2 Kestrel hunted nearby.

A flock of several hundred Wood Pigeon were circling around looking for a safe to feed with many feeding on the abundant berry crop this autumn.

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A Cormorant caught a decent size flounder and was struggling to swallow it whole.

On to No.6 tank and the shallow waters were again empty apart from a Curlew which left when a Common Buzzard made a low pass over the area it was feeding on. I made it as far as the ‘Secluded Pool’ which was also devoid of bird life but held several different specious of dragonfly. I could see the weather was about to change with rain coming in from the Wirral. I made my way back to the car where a Sparrowhawk was hunting the bank.

Observer and images: Paul Ralston.

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The only other birds worth a mention were Swallow and House Martin passing through, half a dozen Curlew and 40 Black-tailed Godwit passed over me on the track between No.1 and 2 tanks. A Merlin was very busy (I think female due to size but not sure) saw it twice whizzing low, great to watch it flew right past me at one point but sadly no photos of anything and a Peregrine put the spooks up the local Wood Pigeon flocks. Went home feeling a bit Pat and Mick.

Observer: Paul Crawley.

A walk around No.6 tank and a flock of c50 Black-tailed Godwit flew from the tank on arrival. A Yellow Wagtail joined the numerous Alba Wagtail on the cracked mud. The pale morph Common Buzzard was still mewing from the Pumping Station and several Raven were out over on Frodsham Score.

Later in the day on the rising tide flocks of godwit were heading out to Weston Marsh lagoon while several Little Egret and several hundred Dunlin were feeding below the Weaver Sluice Gates.

Observers: Sparky & WSM.

15.09.18. Birdlog.

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An early morning walk along the River Weaver and around No.6 tank.

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My walk started along Brook Furlong Lane where Robin and Wren were in good voice and 3 Chiffchaff were making their way along the hedgerow while a Bullfinch was heard calling but could not be located. A Barn Owl was seen along the lane heading to its roost and a Sparrowhawk was hedge hoping nearby.

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On to the river and 12 Little and 5 Great Crested Grebe were noted with c 60 Tufted Duck several Mallard and Common Teal. A Common Sandpiper was flushed from the river bank and a Kingfisher was heard then seen speeding along the waters. Several small flocks of Curlew were heading inland and a flock of c40 Black-tailed Godwit flew high up on their way towards the Mersey estuary.

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On to No.6 tank empty of bird life at first but later during my watch c100 Black-tailed Godwit were feeding in the shallow water. A Great Spotted Woodpecker was flying up the lane and several Raven were perched on fence posts on No.3.

The ‘Secluded Pool’ again held a Green Sandpiper and the ‘Splashing Pool’ had c40 Shoveler.

Observer: Paul Ralston (images 1-2 & 4).

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Taking over from Paul later in the day didn’t really produce much more than he had seen earlier. There were several hundred hirundines over the west banks of No.6 which mostly contained House Martin. Another or the same Sparrowhawk hunted along the edge of the disused tanks and 3 Kestrel were busy hanging in the wind.

Other birds of note were a Yellow and c30 Alba Wagtail, 5 Common Snipe and small flocks of godwits heading off towards the Gowy during the height of the tide.

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Observer: WSM (images 3 & 5-6).

14.09.18. Birdlog.

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There were 170 Black-tailed Godwit with 8 Ruff and 20 Common Teal on No.6 tank, a juvenile Marsh Harrier flew in and tried to ‘Peregrinize’ them, it didn’t work but 100 godwits and 2 Ruff left in the direction of Gowy meadows.

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After that a Jay with an acorn the size of a golf ball flew over No.6 towards the Manchester Ship Canal then 37 Lapwing came in and stayed for a bit, most of the birds moved on before the end of my 4 hour watch, presumably due to lack of food.

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I had c3 Reed Warbler, c3 Chiffchaff, 4 Swallow, a dozen or more Pied Wagtail and a Kestrel on six as well.

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Whilst I sat getting wet there was a pupa on a leaf and a nymph of the Harlequin Ladybird.

Observer and images: Paul Crawley.

11.09.18. Birdlog.

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From this (birdless) arid No.6 sludge tank…

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…to this (birdless) wet No.6 tank overnight. Time for me to pray to whatever god is fashionable and get some waders back where they belong on the marshes.

I spent a couple of hours wandering the tracks between No.6, No.5 and No.3 tanks this evening but without much success. The avian highlight included one of the juvenile Marsh Harrier quartering the reeds and wooded thickets on No.6 where it dislodged a flock of Wood Pigeon. 3 Common Teal on the secluded pool with another 10 on No.3 were about it.

Large numbers of gulls were circling high over Ince while several hundred hirundines were moving through.

A little earlier Rob Cockbain had a Honey Buzzard heading south-west over Pickerings Pasture but the invisible avian force field kept it well away from here.

Observer and images: WSM.

09.09.18. Birdlog.

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The monthly WeBs count on the River Mersey and surrounding area usually falls on the highest tide of the month and today’s count didn’t deviate from the norm. I wasn’t really expecting much to appear on my count site on No.6 tank because of the lack of water here to attract shorebirds.

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A wait before and after the tide resulted in just 5 Ruff, over flying small flocks of Black-tailed Godwit, 130 Black-headed and 2 Common Gull, 6 common Teal that flew in and immediately flew out and an injured female Shoveler.

We continued our count hoping to find birds on our route around No.6 and a distant Merlin harassing a flock of Starling was interesting for it being the first of the autumn.

A Peregrine was sat on the tall blue topped chimney at Weston Point but apart from those birds listed above that concluded my count for the day…and as Galadriel said “I will diminish and go into the West”.

Observer and images: WSM.

08.09.18. Birdlog.

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It was WeBS count weekend so I set out in the rain and it didn’t stop from start to finish and quite frankly it’s time for some decent waterproof boots and jacket my ‘Berghaus’ gear wasn’t fit for purpose today.

I walked along Brook Furlong Lane where a bedraggled bunch of passerines were attempting to find  sheltered spots deep in the hawthorn hedgerow, they included Whitethroat, Blackcap, Chiffchaff and juvenile Bullfinch.

No.1 tank was a substitute for No.6 tank where 340 Black-tailed Godwit (including many juvenile birds) and 78 Curlew were busy feeding in the long grass (and these birds were still present when I retraced my steps back to Brook Furlong).

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Walking along the River Weaver there wasn’t much to fire up the optic engine with small numbers of Coot, a single Common Sandpiper and Tufted Duck. A prolonged look across the river to the Weaver Sluices was much more productive with 2 Little Egret, c400 Black-tailed Godwit, c100 Curlew, 5 Oystercatcher, 5 Avocet, 143 Redshank, c80 Cormorant, an adult winter Mediterranean Gull and 14 Great Crested Grebe.

Observer and images: WSM.