11.02.16. Birdlog

11.02.16. Short-eared Owl, Manchester Ship Canal at Frodsam Marsh. Paul Ralston (1)

The last hour along the Manchester Ship Canal from Ince Berth. A Grey Wagtail was again feeding near the berth and the Whooper Swan herd was out near the river. There were 2 Great white Egret a long way out on Ince salt marsh where several Great Black-backed Gull and Raven were feeding on a lamb carcasses possibly caught out by the high tide.

11.02.16. Grey Wagtail, Ince Berth, Frodsam Marsh. Paul Ralston (1)

Also noted on the canal were 3 Great Crested Grebe were amongst a large raft of Coot with a few Mallard and Gadwall mixed in. A Short-eared Owl was hunting the canal bank in the fading light and a Little Egret flock dropped into a field by the berth in the near darkness.

11.02.16. Great Crested Grebe, Manchester Ship Canal at Frodsam Marsh. Paul Ralston (1)

Observer and images: Paul Ralston

10.02.16. Birdlog

07.02.16. Raven and GBB Gull, No.1 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Tony Broome (2)

I managed just the hour before dark and it’s now possible to do a little bird watch after work. The sound of bleating lambs on No.3 tank hanging in a chill wind heralds Spring in the air.

A fine evening and watching the sun sliding out of the day over the Growhow works produced an atmospheric Short-eared Owl as it quartered the raised banks of No.6 tank. The Raven numbers are steadily building with sheep carcasses laying about encouraging them to come in from their Welsh stronghold. I countered over 34 birds gorging themselves with a few Great Black-backed Gulls in attendance.

A smattering of aytha ducks were again on No.6 tank with 140 Shoveler all engaged in nuptial display. While nearby several Tufted Duck and c100 Common Teal were present. The Cormorant roost included 4 ‘sinensis‘ birds.

The Starling gathering was impressive with c7000 birds although without any raptors to harass them there wasn’t any murmurations to be seen.

Over on the blue-topped chimney at Weston Point was a Peregrine feeding on its dinner. Leaving the marsh along Moorditch Lane a Sparrowhawk and a female Merlin shot past. A bit late for their supper I thought!

Observer: WSM.

Image by Paul Crawley.

Earlier in the day and on the tide the Great White Egret and 18 Whooper Swan were noted on Frodsham Score by Dave Craven from the Hale side of the river. You can read more about Dave’s day here: http://birdingtheboundary.blogspot.co.uk/2016/02/fire-in-hole.html?m=1

2016 Frodsham Marsh Bird List

2016 Frodsham Marsh Bird List

28.08.15. (juvenile) Peregrine, No.6 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton (3)

A link below to the new bird list.

Frodsham Marsh Bird List 2016.

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This was a very interesting exercise as I was comparing today’s situation with the description that Martin Garner & WSM used in their ‘Birds of Frodsham Marsh’ book which had records up to September 30th 1987 and later ‘The Birds of Frodsham Marsh – Supplement’ (WSM) which covered the period up to 1991. I wasn’t surprised by what I read, but it did bring home just how many of our local birds have declined. A few have increased in number.

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I won’t go into detail, but look at the following: 4000 White-fronted Geese in 1947, Pochard 520 in 1984, Common Buzzard – only 9 records in total up to 1987, Eurasian Hobby, only 8 records, Grey Partridge (wild!) up to 50 breeding pairs, Coot 600 in 1982, Oystercatcher maximum of 10, Little Stint 311, Curlew Sandpiper 170, Common Snipe 300, Woodcock – only one record, Curlew 3000, Collared Dove 250 in one flock, Turtle Dove – annual in small numbers, Cuckoo – common, Eurasian Skylark – up to 60 pairs breeding, Yellow Wagtail – one flock of 200, Whinchat – 5 pairs breeding, Raven – a rare vagrant, 2 records, Brambling a flock of 2000, Greenfinch – flock of 400, Linnet – 50 pairs bred annually, Yellowhammer – Breeding resident and one flock of 70, Corn Bunting – scarce breeding resident – 15 singing males and a flock of 30 in one winter. Compare these records with what we know today!

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Many common names have changed and I’ve used common sense when applying them to the list. We have divers, not loons and Goosanders are not Common Mergansers etc. The order and scientific names have changed to match the current BOURC list which may look weird in places. Look how far apart Spotted and Pied Flycatchers have become.
The status descriptions aren’t scientifically proven. They simply reflect the likelihood of seeing a species on a visit to Frodsham Marsh. We always have a very lethargic bit of fun with a year list and Frank Duff did very well in 2015. I’ve also used a ‘traffic light’ system to indicate what you can reasonably expect to see if you attempt a year list.

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Green – for Go – and you should definitely see 96 species without too much effort.
Amber – for Get Ready – to add 51 species if you put a bit more time and searching in.
Red – Stop! – you’ve found one of 113 goodies, get out your phone and ring Bill, Tony or Frank!

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It’s all a bit of fun and if you see all green and amber species, you’ll have a fair list, 147 in total. But there are always one or two red species about, so 150+ is possible. There are also many species missing but are potential additions sooner or later…(Black-crowned) Night Heron, White Stork, Glossy Ibis, Killdeer, Greater Sand Plover, American Golden Plover, Spotted Sandpiper, Caspian Gull, (European) Nightjar, (European) Bee-eater, Lesser Spotted Woodpecker, Woodlark, Red-throated Pipit, Yellow-browed Warbler, Marsh Tit, (Red-billed) Chough and Little Bunting?

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It’s the thought of finding a first for the marsh that keeps us going at Frodders. Well, it is me. I think Frank and Bill just turn up for the tea and biscuits!

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Give it a go and send us you total and we’ll add it to our table on the blog.

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Written and compiled by: Tony Broome.

07.02.16. Birdlog

07.02.16. Stonechat, No.1 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Paul Crawley (2) A five-mile hike around No.4 tank today produced the following: c1000 Lapwing with a few Golden Plover, Dunlin, Ruff and Redshank thrown into the mix on the fields opposite the Growhow works by the Ince marsh fields.

07.02.16. Common Buzzard, Frodsham Marsh. Shaun Hickey (1)

The walk along Lordship Lane produced 3 Common Buzzard, 4 Pied Wagtail and a Peregrine flew towards Helsby. A large mix flock of Linnet and c60 Goldfinch, the odd Dunnock and Wren along the hedgerow with a pair of Reed Bunting in the reeds nearby.

07.02.16. Juv Buzzard, Ince fields, Frodsham Marsh. Shaun Hickey (1)

I met Tony at the ‘Splashing Pool’ which held a few Tufted Duck and Mallard, another Peregrine headed out towards the estuary. The rain could be seen coming in from the distance and coming right towards us.

07.02.16. Lapwings, Ince fields, Frodsham Marsh. Shaun Hickey (4)

07.02.16. Kestrel, No.1 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Paul Crawley (1)

There were 2 Kestrel were battling the wind on No.4 tank while a Grey Wagtail, 6 Common Snipe and a handful of Curlew were the highlights there.

Back on Lordship Lane and the Lapwing flock that was present earlier had taken the opportunity in my absence to vacate the area along with the Golden Plover, Redshank and Dunlin but were joined by 4 Common Buzzard.

Observer: Shaun Hickey (images 2-4 & 9).

07.02.16. Stonechat, No.1 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Paul Crawley.

Over on No.1 tank were a couple of  Stonechat on No.1 and No.5 tank. 50 Pied wagtails all over the marsh, it was too windy to count No.6 tank but c30 Curlew over the far side. 3 Fieldfare were also noted. A few Pied Wagtail were again present in the horse paddock fields.

Observer: Paul Crawley (images 1, 5-6 & 8).

A short walk  along the canal from Ince Berth to the Holpool Gutter. A Grey Wagtail feeding by the berth and a Kingfisher flew along the Manchester Ship Canal. A large raft of Coot on the water with even more on the canal bank. There were several Mallard and Tufted Duck which took to the air as I made my way along the path leaving a Great Crested and Little Grebe behind. 3 Mute Swan were on the field with a large mixed flock of Lapwing and Golden Plover with a few Curlew and Redshank amongst them.

07.02.16. Great White Egret, Frodsham Score. Paul Ralston

A Great White Egret with 2 Little Egret sat out on Ince marsh and a flock of 25 more Little Egret were still feeding on the field near the berth as it was getting dark.

Observer: Paul Ralston (image 7 & 16).

07.02.16. Pied Wagtail, Frodsham Marsh. Paul Crawley (2)

After the bright sunshine of the first part of the day it soon reverted back to form and with the clouds rolling in from the west came a period of…yes, you’ve guessed it…rain.

07.02.16. No.4 tank, frodsham Marsh. Shaun Hickey.

Additional No.4 tank and Foundations for the Wind Farm (Shaun Hickey).

07.02.16. No.6 tank, Frodsham Tony Broome (4)07.02.16. No.6 tank, Frodsham Tony Broome (3)07.02.16. No.6 tank, Frodsham Tony Broome (2)07.02.16. No.6 tank, Frodsham Tony Broome (1)07.02.16. Lesser Black-backed Gull (1st winter), No.3 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Tony Broome (1)07.02.16. LBB Gull, No.1 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Tony Broome (1)

Additional information and images (10-15) curiosity of Tony Broome.

07.-2.16. Raven, Frodsham Marsh. Paul Crawley.

An unkindness of Raven at dusk.

06.02.16. Birdlog

06.02.16. Common Buzzard, No.5 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton

06.02.16. Common Buzzard, No.5 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill MortonA right old miserable day it was as far as the weather was concerned. It didn’t really stop raining from start to finish but with a weeks work under the belt and a Saturday free to go birding even the weather couldn’t put me off.

I started off watching the duck from the east side of No.6 tank and between wiping the rain drops from spectacles, bins and scope and repeating the process time after time I managed a fair old count. The Common Pochard (and 40 present) are in the news with regard to their dwindling numbers and I’ve been sending my counts to http://www.ducksg.org/ for their records. A gathering of Tufted Duck included 52 birds with an additional 12 at the Splashing pool noted later. There was a pair of Pintail, 34 Gadwall, 100 Mallard and 145 Shoveler present with 200 Common Teal hiding in the flooded daisy beds. I met PR who was on his way back to Godscroft and his car and we both enjoyed a chat and he told me about a Marsh Harrier over on No.4 tank.

06.02.16. Lapwings and a Ruff, No.3 tank, frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton

After filling my boots with ducks I walked over to No.4 tank in the hope of seeing the harrier and tried to ignore the persistent rain. Stopping off at the extensively flooded No.3 tank it was good to see c1000 Lapwing gathered with a couple of hundred Golden Plover, the occasional Dunlin, 4 Redshank and a Ruff.

06.02.16. Lapwings, No.3 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton

The Lapwing flocks were edgy and frequently took flight. Eventually I got to my destination and looking out to Frodsham Score gave me the opportunity to immerse myself in watching out on the river and marshes. A Chiffchaff momenterally drew my attention to its presence in ushes close to the bank by calling.

It was good to see the tall white duke aka Great White Egret strutting its stuff in one of the tidal gutters while the smaller  Little Egrets were busy flying about. The herd of Whooper Swan are staying further out on the salt marsh along with a couple of presumed Icelandic Greylag Goose in close attendance.

The many hundreds of Canada Goose out on the score included a flock of c100 Pink-footed Goose, 100 Wigeon and a few scattered groups of large gulls.

06.02.16. Linnets, No.3 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton

Walking along the tracks on No.4 tank I flushed a Water Pipit that rose from the ground calling before flying high. It disappeared without returning over and down onto the flooded No.3 tank. A good size flock of 200 Linnet were good to see in their energetic bouncy flight.

06.02.16. Ravens, No.5 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton

Returning back to Moorditch Lane and the Ravens were everywhere in the fields, on the marsh and just generally hanging about waiting to clear up the sheep and lamb carrion that is surely about to provide a feast for them.

Observers: Paul Ralston, WSM (and images).

05.02.16. Birdlog

05.02.16. Starling murmuration, No.3 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton (4)

We managed the last hour of daylight walking along Moorditch Lane where there were 54 Pied Wagtail feeding in the horse paddock and a brief view of an owl which disappeared without trace. 05.02.16. Starling murmuration, No.3 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton (26)

05.02.16. Ravens, No.5 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton (7)No.5 tank had ewes feeding lambs and a couple of malnourished sheep needed some attention while overhead 20 Raven gathered over the track before heading south for the night.

Making our way along the track on No.5 tank to see the Starling gathering with many perched up in a tree on the bank. The flock were bathing on the flooded fields on the mitiagtion area on No.3 tank before finally gathering in a flock of c7000 and departing to the east.15.08.15. Raven, Frodsham Score, Frodsham Marsh. Paul Ralston (1)

The water on No.6 tank was its most flooded with the water extending further out to the west. A good size gathering of duck included: 47 Mallard, 27 Gadwall, 230 Common Teal, 34 Common Pochard, 34 Tufted Duck and roosting up on the tree were 12 Cormorant including a couple of ‘sinensis’ forms.

05.02.16. Ravens, No.5 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton (4)

Observers: Sparky, WSM (images 1-3 & 5).

Image 4 by Paul Ralston.

04.02.16. Birdlog

04.01.16. Little Egrets, Ince Berth. Paul Ralston (5)

04.01.16. Little Egrets, Ince Berth. Paul Ralston (1)A short walk today along the Manchester Ship Canal from Ince Berth in the last hour of daylight and the Little Egret flock has increased to 25 birds and looked set to roost in the trees by the berth .

A Grey Wagtail was on the ship canal path and only the Mute Swan herd could be seen on the salt marsh but the Whooper Swan flock may have been close in to the bank and out of sight . A few new-born lambs were seen on the Frodsham Score with several Raven patrolling the area.

Observer and images: Paul Ralston