28.09.20. Birdlog.

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A day off work so a mid morning walk around No.6 tank. I started at Godscroft Lane today where a female European Stonechat was present near to the hovercraft field.

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A flock of Linnet were feeding on the weed heads and perched on the blackthorn bushes on the bank, where several Common Reed Bunting and a Cetti’s Warbler was heard close by.

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Onward I went to the ‘phalarope pool’ and a single Little Grebe joined the Eurasian Teal and Mallard on the water. There were 8 Black-tailed Godwit, a single Ruff which shared the bank with a couple of Common Snipe and a Green Sandpiper which dropped in. One of the other scrapes on No.3 tank held a dozen or more Common Snipe and a Dunlin, c30 Eurasian Wigeon and Eurasian Teal being noted.

A charm of c300 European Goldfinch was stripping the thistle heads when a Sparrowhawk tried to ambush them without success, it hovered kestrelesque over the thistles with its long legs ready to seize an unfortunate finch, but it eft hungry. There were waves of Black-tailed Godwit passed overhead on their way to the estuary, possibly disturbed by a predator on No.6.

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

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A large flock of Black-tailed Godwit which had with them a Red Knot.

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Observer: Keith Gallie (images 2-3 & 5-7).

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A walk from lunch time out along Moorditch and Lordship Lanes to share our lunch looking over the ‘phalarope pool’ produced small groups of Eurasian Wigeon, Northern Shoveler and Eurasian Teal. There were 6 juvenile Black-tailed Godwit resting and bathing in this their junior pool. Walking along to watch over No.6 tank and a small flock of c100 Black-tailed Godwit were busy doing doing but did include 16 juvenile birds. A Common Redshank and 2 Ruff were about it for shorebirds.

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The ducks were again plentiful and included c100 Tufted Duck, 3 Common Pochard, c200 Northern Shoveler, 30 Northern Pintail, 100 Mallard and 25 Little Grebe.

Observers: JS & WSM (images 8-9).

27.09.20. Birdlog.

I called in at Eastham to watch the sunrise before making my way to the marsh this morning a skein of 100 Pink-footed Goose flew down river and a Great Black-backed Gull let out an alarm call as a Peregrine passed overhead. A Common Scoter was noted on the River Mersey for good measure.

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Walking along Brook Furlong Lane and 4 Common Chiffchaff were foraging in the hawthorns alongside a mixed flock of tits.

Onto the River Weaver and a Whooper Swan kept company with 7 Mute Swan. A flock of c150 Common Redshank, several Black-tailed Godwit and a single Common Sandpiper were on the river bank. Gadwall, Mallard, Eurasian Teal, Tufted Duck and Common Shelduck were all present in small numbers.

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Looking over the Mersey Estuary and a flock of 50 Pied Avocet were gathered on a sand bank alongside Eurasian Curlew and more Black-tailed Godwit while the Peregrine watched over the marsh from the blue topped tower at Weston Point. Another large skein of Pink-footed Goose were over the river.

Along the path besides the Manchester Ship Canal and European Stonechat were seen and several Meadow Pipit were present.

I stopped off at Ince on my way home and the pools were quiet with a few Gadwall, Eurasian Teal and Mallard seen, along with Little Grebe which was observed trying to drive its chick away from the pool, and repeatedly chasing it as soon as it surfaced. There were 2 Little Egret resting on the bank of the larger pool.

On the ship canal were c2000 Canada Goose on the water while Frodsham Score salt marsh had numerous Little and 2 Great Egret foraging in the tidal channels. A further c250 Pink-footed Goose were settled on the marsh with more skeins dropping in to join them, also noted were 3 Barnacle Goose amongst the flock.

Observer: Paul Ralston (all images).

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An after work visit to No.6 tank where a flock of c1000 Black-tailed included just a single Bar-tailed Godwit. There were 6 Ruff, 2 Red Knot, 9 Common Redshank and several Northern Lapwing.

Ducks included the same species as yesterday with an increase of 52 Eurasian Wigeon.

Observer: WSM .

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Moonrise over Frodsham Marsh by @birderjack 

26.09.20. Birdlog.

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I started my birding walk at Ince as the sun came up this morning. The trio of Garganey that have been residing in the pools were down by one to two birds and the usual Gadwall, Mallard and Eurasian Teal for company. A couple of Mute Swan were resting on the bank nearby.

A male Merlin the first of the autumn sped overhead scattering the Linnet and European Goldfinch flocks and was later  seen sitting on top of a hawthorn hedge. A Western Marsh Harrier was being buzzed by a couple of Carrion Crow near to the Ince Berth and made its way out to the Frodsham Score salt marsh.

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On the salt marsh were 2 Great Egret foraging with several Little Egret in the tidal channels and a flock of c50 Pink-footed Goose were grazing the short grass. In the meantime a small group of swans flew across the Mersey but too far out to get a positive identification.

There were 7 Northern Pintail on the Manchester Ship Canal amongst a flock of Mallard and Gadwall.The sound of rapid wingbeats caught my attention as a pair of Whooper Swan flew past and it appeared they dropped down onto No.6 tank. When I eventually got there, there was no sound of them? Three Common Sandpiper were feeding together on the canal bank and 6 Ruff were noted on the ‘phalarope pool’ with 4 Black-tailed Godwit and several Eurasian Wigeon, Mallard, Eurasian Teal and more Gadwall. 

Walking along Lordship Lane and a Cetti’s Warbler blasted out its tune while a Common Kestrel caught a rodent from the bank, and a few Barn Swallow were hawking near the fertilizer plant.

Back at my start at Ince were 7 more Little Egret preening at the edge of one of the pools. The pool that held the Garganey earlier was devoid of ducks with just a Little Grebe and her chick left. The remains of a freshly killed duck probably a teal were on the path.

Observer: Paul Ralston (images 1-3).

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I am in work this weekend, but never missing an opportunity to sneak in a little birding after my duties were signed off I made my way to the marsh for a little R & R. No.6 tank again looked good with c1700 Black-tailed Godwit tightly packed in two separate groups. Scanning through their throng revealed a couple of Bar-tailed Godwit, 3 Red Knot and 9 Ruff. The flocks were on edge and would occasionally jump up into the air whenever the jittery Northern Lapwing panic flighted.

Ducks are still a feature and the Northern Shoveler flock were up again with 243 birds. The Northern Pintail rised a good 43 with a reduced number of Eurasian Teal (I assume birds that have arrived for the autumn have displaced to smaller water bodies elsewhere). The Eurasian Wigeon flock from No.3 tank have relocated here with c39 birds and likewise Tufted Duck reached 161 and 1 Common Pochard. The 31 Little Grebe on this tank have tagged along with the tufties and both species have anxiety issues if one of them shifts position on the water.

Observer: WSM (image 4).

25.09.20. Birdlog.

A look across the Mersey Estuary from the Weaver Sluices was pretty productive with 25 Pied Avocet, 120 Common Redshank, small nimbers of Black-tailed Godwit, 250 Eurasian Curlew and c250 Common Shelduck. A small flock of 5 winter swans initally thought to be Bewick’s Swan were after looking at a photograph taken by Phil Barker as they left the river and pasted over Marsh Farm to be whoops!…Whooper Swan.

Frodsham Score had several hundred Canada Goose with 11 Little Egret and one or two Great Egret. Time restraints meant I couldn’t linger longer and if I had I may have added a juvenile Northern Gannet, maybe next time.

Observer: WSM.

Image by Phil Barker.

24.09.20. Birdlog.

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One more visit after work where the volume of birds on No.6 tank were very much reduced and obviously due in part to the falling height of tides. A flock of c700 Black-tailed and a single Bar-tailed Godwit, 7 Ruff, 12 Common Redshank, 50 Northern Lapwing and 14 Common Snipe. Ducks were also out in force with c100 Tufted Duck, 5 drake Common Pochard, C350 Eurasian Teal, c120 Northern Shoveler, 17 Northern Pintail, and several Gadwall.

A Sparrowhawk flew across the open water and none of the waders or ducks didn’t even lift up their heads.

Observer: WSM.

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A walk from Ince to the Holpool Gutter this afternoon started with the 3 Garganey back on one of the pools alongside numerous Gadwall, Mallard and a few Eurasiian Teal.There were 7 Little Grebe dotted about the pools and a pair of Mute Swan were looking settled.

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On to the Manchester Ship Canal path where c1500 Canada Goose were resting on the water with 5 Northen Pintail and dozens of Mallard and Gadwall amongst them, they all took off on mass as 2 wildfowlers and their dogs made their way along the edge of the marsh. A small group of 7 Pink-footed Goose, a Great Egret and a dozen Little Egret were noted on Frodsham Score salt marsh. The gutter held another 2 Mute Swan, several Mallard, Eurasian Teal and again Gadwall.

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Walking back past the pools a further 10 Little Egret were getting ready to roost in the nearby trees.

Observer: Paul Ralston (images).

23.09.20. Birdlog.

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A quick dash down to No.6 to cover the high tide spill over on the tank. Already in situ were the best part of 2000 Black-tailed Godwit. After scrutinising through their numbers I manage to count 18 juveniles and a colour ringed bird, the latter was the same bird present here on 02.08.20. Its history is here:

YY-GH was ringed as an adult and has been recorded since at:

 07.01.19 Evoa, Tagus Estuary, Setúbal, Portugal.

11.04.19 Alhos Vedros, Tagus Estuary, Setúbal, Portugal.

02.08.20 Frodsham Marsh, River Mersey, Cheshire.

23.09.20 Frodsham Marsh, River Mersey, Cheshire.

Also present were 8 Bar-tailed Godwit, 14 Common Redshank, 2 Greenshank, 9 Ruff, 1 Red Knot and 53 Northern Lapwing.

A good pre-roost of 70 Common Gull, c400 Black-headed Gull, 1 adult Herring and 3 juvenile/1st winter Lesser Black-backed Gull.

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Ducks were again the second main feature with 267 Northern Shoveler, 18 Gadwall (a couple of drakes courting ducks), 67 Tufted Duck, 6 Common Pochard, 31 Northern Pintail, 350 Eurasian Teal. A flight of 20 Pink-footed Goose flew in from the south-east to spend the evening out on the Mersey salt marshes.

Just as the sun sank below the western sky the first of five Western Marsh Harrier came into roost and put on a fine performance.

Observer: WSM (images).

22.09.20. Birdlog.

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I took a stroll along Brook Furlong Lane and around the River Weaver after work this afternoon. A mixed party of tits mostly Long-tailed Tit with several Blue and Great Tit made their way along the lane with a couple of Common Chiffchaff close by.

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Looking over the Mersey Estuary with the tide already coming in and waders were numerous feeding close to the tide line. Eurasian Curlew, Common Redshank, Black-tailed Godwit, Dunlin, Eurasian Oystercatcher, Red Knot and c70 Pied Avocet were noted and being watched over by a Peregrine sat on the blue topped tower. On the Weaver bank a further c250 Common Redshank and a single Red Knot foraged on the shoreline. There were decent numbers of Gadwall, Eurasian Teal and Mallard were on the water with c300 Canada Goose. A group of 5 swans, 4 Mute and a single Whooper Swan were noted on the river. The Whooper Swan parted company with the Mute’s and joined the goose herd.

Observer: Paul Ralston (images 1-2).

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An after work visit to No.6 tank is getting less available with a 19.15 sunset but this time the low cloud rolled in mid afternoon and it got dusk like when I arrived at my spot on the marsh. Immediately a flock of c2000 Black-tailed Godwit with birds peeling away from the start to roost on the estuary. Looking through their numbers revealed a single frosty summer Dunlin, 26 Red Knot (mostly juvenile birds), a single Ruff, 2 Greenshank, 10 Common Redshank, 127 Northern Lapwing, 17 Common Snipe and 8 juvenile Bar-tailed Godwit. After an hour the whole godwit flock exploed into the air to avoid an attack of an unseen predator. Those that felt safe to remain included the 2 Greenshank, 4 Bar-tailed Godwit and a handful of Black-tails.

Ducks were very conspicuous with 187 Northern Shoveler, 31 Northern Pintail, c300 Eurasian Teal, 20 Mallard, 1 female and 5 drake Common Pochard and 31 Little Grebe.

Observer: WSM (image 3).

20.09.20. Birdlog (WeBS Count).

Our monthly BTO WeBS count had counters scurrying along the banks of the River Mersey and some inland sites to record the autumn movements of shorebirds and wildfowl that find the estuary a vital lifeline for their journey onward or to stay here for the winter months.

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High tide on the Mersey Estuary.

The duck numbers are down on recent visits, so I stopped off at the pools at Ince marsh fields where 4 Mallard, 21 Gadwall, 5 Eurasian Teal, 7 Little Grebe, 18 Eurasian Coot, 7 Common Moorhen, 1 Grey Heron, 2 Mute Swan, 2 Northern Shoveler, but typically no sign of the recent 3 Garganey. I carried on my walk to the Holpool Gutter where 8 Gadwall, 7 Common Moorhen, 4 Mallard, 4 Eurasian Coot and a Common Kingfisher was seen speeding along the gutter.

Looking over Frodsham Score salt marsh as the tide came in and displaced numerous Little Egret and 2 Great Egret were fishing in the channels, joined by hundreds of gulls. Eurasian Curlew and Common Redshank were feeding at the water’s edge.

Onto the ‘phalarope pool’ and surprienly a juvenile Garganey was present amongst the Eurasian Teal, Northern Shoveler, Gadwall and Mallard resting or foraging on the pool. There were 3 Common Snipe and 2 Black-tailed Godwit also seen.

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Over at Weston Point an adult Peregrine was sat on the blue topped chimney and another at the fertilizer plant watching across the marsh.

Dragonflies were out in force making the most of the hot weather and Barn Swallow were busy feeding up over the pig farm at Ince.

Observer: Paul Ralston (images 1-3).

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A build up of the high tides over the last week produced a monster 10m one today. No.6 tank was again the focus of my attention. The big flock of c2000 Black-tailed Godwit was cut short by the inconsiderate overflying one of their smoking battle of Frodsham model aircraft over the deposit tank.

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Anyway, those godwits that remained tallied c500 birds and within their midst were 3 Bar-tailed Godwit, 9 Ruff, 2 Common Greenshank, 3 Red Knot, 32 Common Snipre and 120 Northern Lapwing.

Ducks were mostly gathered on the eastern sector of the water and 161 Tufted Duck, c200 Northern Shoveler, c400 Eurasian Teal, 29 Northern Pintail, 14 Eurasian Wigeon, 4 Common Shelduck, 14 Gadwall and 78 Mallard. Also present were 7 Common Moorhen, 7 Eurasian Coot and 24 Little Grebe.

The mitigation area on No.3 tank included 14 Black-tailed Godwit, 45 Eurasian Wigeon, 14 Northern Shoveler and a Western Marsh Harrier.

Observer: WSM (images 4-5).

19.09.20. Birdlog.

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A walk around No.6 tank and along the Manchester Ship Canal path as far as the Holpool Gutter this morning. Several hundred Canada Goose had roosted on No.6 overnight and left as the sun came up leaving c800 Black-tailed Godwit which had a few Ruff and a Curlew Sandpiper amongst them.

There were were 6 Mute Swan which passed overhead and a short while later a single Whooper Swan flew east over No.3. On the ‘phalarope pool’ where 3 Ruff, 5 Common Snipe and a single Black-tailed Godwit foraged at the edge of the pool, while Eurasian Wigeon, Gadwall, Mallard and Eurasian Teal gathered on the pool.

A pair of Common Sandpiper flew side by side along the ship canal and several Little Egret, 3 Great Egret and 6 Grey Heron were feeding in the tidal channels on the Frodsham Score salt marsh. A blast from a Cetti’s Warbler was heard from the bank on No.4 where Common Chiffchaff and a Lesser Whitethroat were seen in the elderberry bushes. Walking back along Lordship Lane with Barn Swallow were hawking over the recently cut fields and a Sparrowhawk was hunting the many finch flocks in the area.

Observer: Paul Ralston (images 1-4 & 8).

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I took my hike out to the west end of the marsh and after taking up position I watched the rolling tide fill the tidal channels then spread its messy mocha coloured fingers caressing the green swath of salt marsh grass.

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All this wateryness produced small flocks of Dunlin, Red Knot, Grey Plover (including a smart summer plumaged bird), numerous Eurasian Oystercatcher, hundreds of Eurasian Curlew, 3 Great Egret and several Little Egret. A couple of Peregrine, and a male and a juvenile Western Marsh Harrier were keeping a check on proceedings.

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A look over No.6 tank where c2200 Black-tailed Godwit, 2 Greenshank, 1 Red Knot and 6 Ruff. Ducks were in plentiful supply with 161 Tufted Duck, c200 Northern Shoveler, 52 Northern Pintail, 31 Eurasian Wigeon, c100 Mallard, c340 Eurasian Teal and 21 Little Grebe.

The ‘Biter’ training vessel sailed along the Mnachester Ship Canal en route to Salford Quays.

Observer: WSM (images 5-7 & 8-10).

17.09.20. Birdlog.

A look over No.6 tank produced 5 Ruff with a urther 3 on No.3 tank. Also present were 25 Pink-footed Goose flying over.

Observer: Mark (Whipper) Gibson

A little walk out to the ‘phalarope pool’ at the far south west corner of No.3 tank and the tew tew calla of some Common Greenshank could be heard . A chillout group of Northern Lapwing with 17 Eurasian Teal and 7 Black-tailed Godwit. A juvenile and an adult Western Marsh Harrier floated over barely disturbing the ducks on a splendid late summers evening. Groups of godwits were heading to No.6 tank from the direction of the Mersey Estuary.

A walk back and a loo over No.6 tank produced 4 Ruff, c1000 Black-tailed Godwit, c200 Northern Lapwing and the usual assortment of incoming migrant ducks.

Observers: JS & WSM.