05 & 06.07.20. Birdlog.

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05.07.20. Birdlog.

A brief visit after work and a small amount of birds on No.6 tank barely warrented the visit, but where there are birds, there is a chance.

A small flock of 16 Black-tailed Godwit and 7 Common Redshank made up the shorebirds while 127 Tufted Duck, 4 Northern Shoveler, 31 Mallard, 21 Eurasian Teal and 5 Common Pochard did the same for ducks.

Observer: WSM.

06.07.20. Birdlog.

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I got to the motorway bridge just turned 09:00 had a wet walk to No.6 tank, soon dried off with the fairly strong breeze, there was about 60 Black-tailed Godwit with a couple of Common Redshank and 3 Dunlin, a group of 7 Little Grebe together. And a few Common Shelduck and a good few Northern Lapwing further up from the godwits.

I continued walking to the ‘phalarope pool’ where there was another 7 Black-tailed Godwit and a single juvenile Common Ringed Plover which flew a few yards and landed out of sight, but it moved a wader into my view, it was a Green Sandpiper.

I headed back towards No.6 tank and noticed the godwits had grown in number considerably, I would say about 400 now.

On the way back to my car I saw a sheep with a young one in the field as you get to the bottom of the ramp.

Obsever: Keith Gallie (image 2).

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A big walk of 23 klm down and around the marshes today made for sore feet after it. A look over No.3 tank and the only birds of note were a new family of Gadwall and a fly over Western Yellow Wagtail.

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Things picked up and continuing along the track to the eastern half of No.6 tank was much better with a sizeable count of 1134 Black-tailed Godwit (one colour ringed bird), 2 summer Dunlin, 204 Northern Lapwing, 13 Common Redshank and a fine summer plumaged Greenshank, with another calling off in the distance.

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We carried on our hike along Brook Furlong Lane where the trees and hedgerows were full of song with the occasional Cetti’s Warbler disrupted the peace. My first Ringlet butterfly for this part of the marsh was in the lane below the old birdlog with Large Skipper, Red Admiral, Small Tortoiseshell, Meadow Brown, Wall and Comma butterflies.

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The River Weaver and Weaver Bend had all the ducks with c200 present at two spotsalong the river. A small number of Common Pochard were on the Bend and c1000 Common Swift were hunting over the water. A groupr of Lesser Black-backed Gull had found a dead Roach and each struggles to get it airbourne before one was successful.

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Observers: JS & WSM (images 1 & 3-13).

05.07.20. Birdlog.

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I was out this morning starting at Ince pools which were quiet with just 5 Mallard, 4 Tufted Duck, 8 Eurasian Coot, 3 Common Moorhen,1 Little Egret, 2 Grey Heron. The Barn Owl was again at the box entrance to its summer home.

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Onward to the Manchester Ship Canal path and Common Chiffchaff and Blackcap were always vocal. Looking over Ince salt marsh which was also quiet with just a few Canada Goose, Common Shelduck and a single Little Egret. The Holpool Gutter held 12 Mallard, 3 Eurasian Coot, 1 Little Grebe and a Grey Wagtail with a beak full of insects. There were just 3 Northern Lapwing and a pair of agitated Eurasian Oystercatcher in the field alongside the gutter.

A male European Stonechat was flycatching near to the ‘splashing pool’ and Common Swifts, Barn Swallow and Sand Martin were hawking overhead. The ‘canal pools’ had 4 Mute Swan with 1 pair still sitting tight on their nest. Also 4 Tufted Duck and several Eurasian Coot were present, a single Common Sandpiper and a Little Ringed Plover were at the edge of the pool.

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On a scrape on No.3 tank were two more Common Sandpiper and 3 Little Ringed Plover a single Common Ringed Plover and a Black-tailed Godwit were noted.

as I made my way back to my start a Western Marsh Harrier was hunting over No.4 and a juvenile Eurasian Cuckoo was seen in flight heading towards the ship canal path.

Observer: Paul Ralston (images).

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After work I made my way to No.6 tank to watch the waders there. It was with some surprise to find a handful of Black-tailed Godwit, a single Dunlin, c110 Northern Lapwing and 4 Common Redshank. The Tufted Duck flock was fragmented with a grand total of 119 with 5 Common Pochard, 4 Northern Shovler, 21 Eurasian Teal, 6 Gadwall and 43 Mallard. A small raft of 8 Little Grebe and just one Common Gull in with a few Black-headed Gull made up a below par seesion. A Western Marsh Harrier was harrying things over the reed bed and a Little Egret was hunting the marsh.

The blue-topped chimney at Weston Point had two adult Peregrine.

Obsevre: WSM.

02 & 04.07.20

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02.07.29. Birdlog.

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A short visit after work to No.6 tank produced 146 Tufted Duck, 5 Common Pochard and an assortment of Northern Shoveler, Gadwall and Mallar.

A medium sized flock of Black-tailed Godwit included a colour flagged bird and currently I am still awaiting its life history.

Observer: WSM (image 2).

04.07.20. Birdlog.

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A midday walk along the River Weaver and Manchester Ship Canal. Meadow Pipit were numerous along Alder Lane with small flocks of European Goldfinch and Linnet being noted.

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On to the Manchester Ship Canal the dredger left its berth and turned around at the entrance to the Weaver Estuary displacing the Tufted Duck, common Shelduck and Mallard resting nearby. A flock of 47 Greylag Goose were bunched together on the canal while many Canada Goose were on the river.

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Looking over the Mersey Estuary a mixed flock of mostly  Black-headed Gull with several Lesser Black-backed and Herring Gull were roosting at the waters edge alongside c200 Black-tailed Godwit, 13 Common Redshank and a flock of 125 Pied Avocet were spooked by an unseen threat but soon settled down again.

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Further shorebirds included 37 Eurasian Curlew and 2 Whimbrel were also feeding on the salt marsh. 3 Common Sandpiper were on the River Weaver with a further c30 Black-tailed Godwit, 6 Common Redshank and several Eurasian Oystercatcher. 

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A group of Sand Martin were feeding young sat on a barbed wire fence jutting out into the river.

Observer: Paul Ralston (images 1 & 3-7).

30.06.20. Birdlog.

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An after work visit to No.6 tank produced the summer plumaged Red-necked Phalarope which was mostly feeding, flying, swimming or preening. Some good views were obtained with a Common Ringed Plover sharing a muddy spit for a short while before the plover lost its patience and charged the phalarope pulling out a white flank feather. Not surprisenly the phalarope made a quick getaway swiftly followed by the plover.

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A large flock of Black-tailed Godwit continue to feed on the tank with Common Redshank, Northern Lapwing and a fly over Green Sandpiper. A flock of 110 Tufted Duck had 5 Common Pochard were at the eastern ed of the tank.

Observers: Ian & Ben Igglesden( video 2) and WSM (image 1 -5 & video 1).

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A walk around the River Weaver this evening starting at Brook Furlong Lane where Cetti’s Warbler, Common Chiffchaff, Willow Warbler, Blackcap and Common Whitethroat are still vocal with Blackbird, Song Thrush and plenty of European Goldfinch joining in.

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The European Stonechat pair on Alder Lane have moved back to their original nest site and were showing well. Hundreds of Eurasian Starling were feeding near to Marsh Farm and a flock of Linnet were noted. Barn Swallow and Common Swift were numerous hawking low over the fields.

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Looking over the Mersey Estuary and a large flock of mostly Black-headed Gull were roosting with Eurasian Curlew and Black-tailed Godwit amongst them, but surprisingly no Pied Avocet flock were seen on the mud flats or the Weaver Estuary.

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There were 5 Common Sandpiper dotted along the river bank with a single Little Ringed Plover  and a Common Ringed Plover.

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Obsever: Paul Ralston (images 6-12).

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Spindle Ermine Moth where hundreds were along the bank of No.6 tank. Image by Keith Gallie.

29.06.20. Birdlog.

Arriving on the marsh we met Peter Malpass and his Dad and Uncle along with Guy Groves. They had already been out birding and had spotted the Red-necked Phalarope on No.6 tank and had also seen a Common Tern on the River Weaver and a Green Sandpiper at the ‘phalarope pool’.

Observers: Guy Groves, Peter Malpass, Dad Malpass and Uncle Malpass.

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We took a day off work and made a 20 klm walk down to the marshes and along the track to drop in on the second day for the female Red-necked Phalarope that is present on and off at No.6 tank. A flock of several Black-tailed Godwit, 20 Common Redshank, 2 Common Ringed Plover, 2 drake Common Pochard, c100 Tufted Duck and c50 Eurasian Teal. Hundreds of Common Swift were low over the paths and water with a pretty miserable day weatherwise.

Observers: JS & WSM (image 1 & video).

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I called at No.6 after work this evening to be told the phalarope had just left the tank amongst a flock of Northern Lapwing. I didn’t have to wait long before it reappeared at the edge of the pool and I was able to view it through another birders scope. A short while later a Peregrine powered through the wader flock snatching an unlucky bird and taking it to a pylon to pluck and eat in the pouring rain.

Obsever: Paul Ralston (images 2-3).

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Kingfisher sat on a sunken tree on the Weaver Bend by Roger Wikinson.

28.06.20. Birdlog.

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The idea of walking around No.6 tank was soon curtailed with the unseasonal strong cool south-westerly blowing in across the marsh today. We decided to walk along the north track with the bushes providing shelter. All of the spindle bushes were alive with emerging Spindle Ermine Moths from their webby cocoon. Hurrying on and out of the wind we continued to the (apt) ‘phalarope pool’ where a female Mallard with 8 ducklings and a very brief terra firma Little Egret the only recompence for our walk. After a break we headed back with the threat of rain always present.

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At the viewing spot (again sheltered from the wind) above No.6 tank we met Jacqui and Idris Roberts and passed the time of day. Whilst in conversion I still kept my scope focused on the shorebirds below and on the exposed mud and shallow waters.

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A flock of c5-600 Black-tailed Godwit had with them a single non-breeding plumaged Bar-tailed Godwit and a non-breeding plumaged (not Red) Knot. A small flock of Common Redshank, 2 Common Ringed Plover and a petite wader in full breeding plumage…

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…a female Red-necked Phalarope. I immediately put the news out but the waders were very jittery and often took flight circling the tank before resettling. The phalarope always came back to its feeding spot on the edge of the water/muddy margins. Again the whole flock took off again but this time the phalarope could not be relocated (I assume it had gone for a sleep in the grass with the Eurasian Teal). After we left for home the RNP reappeared and showed to those visitors who made the visit to the marsh.

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A small selection of ducks did not contain anything different from the norm and will for now go uncountered. Common Swift again put in a remarkable performance with birds sweeping low over the tank.

The Peregrine was back on her lofty perch on the blue topped chimney at Weston Point.

Observer: JS & WSM (images).

Video of the Red-necked Phalarope by Sean O’Hara.

Video of Red-necked Phalarope by Frank Duff.

27.06.20. Birdlog.

I made my birding start along Brook Furlong Lane where the hedgerows were filled with noisey Cetti’s Warbler, Blackcap, Chiffchaff and the ‘mixed singer’ Willow Warbler at the green box birdlog.

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Walking along Alder Lane and the tame European Stonechat was singing from the wire fence and nearby reedy areas. A large flock of c800 Eurasian Starling were definitely not in the pink.

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Looking out from Marsh Farm out to the Mersey Estuary was very much rewarding with a huge herd of c5000 Canada Goose (there is a WeBS count next weekend, so hopefully a more accurate count can be made) on the distant mudflats.

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Watching the tide roll in brought a lot of movement and displacement of birds from their usual low water activities.

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A small flock of 6 non-breeding plumaged Bar-tailed Godwit were separated from c400 Black-tailed Godwit.

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Several Eurasian Oystercatcher, c100 Eurasian Curlew and a new record count of (208) Pied Avocet with 197 (mixed adults and juveniles) huddled together at the edge of the salt marsh and a further 11 birds on the nearby Weaver Estuary.

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A pair of Egyptian Goose flew from Frodsham Score out to the Weaver Bend and a couple of hours later flew back out again.

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The Weaver Estuary was alive with stuff including a flock of 56 Eurasian Coot, c78 Tufted Duck, a single each of Common Ringed and Little Ringed Plover, a skittish Green Sandpiper, Pied Avocet (as mentioned above) and several showy Great Crested Grebe.

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A pair of Common Tern were perched up watching the hundreds of Common Swift hawking low over the river.

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A number of hirundines were either perched up resting or still in the activity of nesting.

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Observer: Video & images: WSM.

24.06.20. Birdlog.

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A hour or so after work along the River Weaver.

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The juvenile European Stonechat were flycatching along the river path while Reed Bunting, Sedge and Reed Warbler were all noted with some feeding young in the reeds along the way.

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There were 2 Common Sandpiper and 3 Common Redshank on the river bank and a Western Marsh Harrier crossed the river followed by a flock of Eurasian Starling. An additional c400 were feeding in the fields around Marsh Farm and again nothing shone out from the crowd. A look over the Mersey Estuary produced c2000 Canada Goose on the mudflats and the Pied Avocet numbers were low compared to recent visits.

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Another pair of European Stonechat look to be feeding a second brood on Alder Lane and quite a model pair they are.

Observer and images: Paul Ralston.

22.06.20. Birdlog.

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A day off work and a morning around the marsh starting at the motorway bridge on Brook Furlong Lane which was still full of singing warblers with 2 Cetti’s Warbler was heard and briefly seen. There were 4 European Stonechat chicks which were seen foraging along the river footpath. On the river Tufted Duck, Northern Shoveler, Common Shelduck and Mallard were all still guarding their ducklings from the ever watchful gulls.

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There were 4 Adult Pied Avocet and 2 dependent chicks were on the far bank, a big drop in numbers from recent visits with most birds having moved out to the estuary. The juvenile Great Crested Grebe chicks were again fishing close to the bank as the parent birds were resting out on the river.

There was a build up of Common Swift, Barn Swallow and House Martin.The swifts were flying within inches of me as I disturbed insects from along the path infront of me.

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At the Manchester Ship Canal and Weaver Estuary junction a fledged Pied Avocet and an adult fed at the tide line and made their way over the canal to join the flock feeding in the channel. A flock of 18 Grey Heron were resting on the cropped grass on Frodsham Score salt marsh and a group of c40 Black-tailed Godwit were amongst the waders. A couple of Common Sandpiper were noted as they crossed the canal and a large flock of Eurasian Starling were moving back and forth across the canal but still no sign of the recent rosy with them.

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The pair of Mute Swan have nested on one of the canal pools and are incubating, better late than never and Eurasian Coot is also incubating close by. A pair of Great Crested Grebe attempted to breed but I don’t think they have have been succesful.

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A Little Ringed Plover has joined the wagtail family on the ‘phalarope pool’ and were joined by a pair of Tufted Duck which soon moved to the ‘splashing pool’ to join the 10 Tufted Duck and 8 Mallard already there A Western Yellow Wagtail flew up from the path with a beak full of grubs to feed its young on No.6 tank.

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On No.6 the godwit flock was resting in the grass making it hard to estimate their numbers, a flock of c50 Northern Lapwing took to the air as a Western Marsh Harrier passed by and a Green Sandpiper flushed with them landed a bit closer to where I was watching. A pair of Eurasian Bullfinch were seen on Moorditch Lane.

Observer: Paul Ralston (images 1-8).

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Just like Paul I also booked a day off work and along with JS we walked in from Frodsham Bridge along the River Weaver to the Weaver Bend. The northern banks of the I.C.I tank was alive with Ringlet butterflies with several in chase and display with each other. The variety of butterfly species is increasing with many Comma and Red Admiral becoming evident.

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On the ‘bend’ a small selection of ducks could be seen with a pair of Pied Avocet seeing off the larger gulls that often cross over the river. There were 3 sitting pairs and a pair of Oystercatcher on the out of bounds Weston Marsh tank. Also on that site were 400 Black-headed Gull and c200 Common Shelduck.

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The walk along the Weaver Causeway to Redwall reed bed was uneventful so we carried on along Brook Furlong Lane and through the village and onward to home.

Observers: JS & WSM (images 9-11).

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Semaphore Fly (Poecilobothrus nobilitatus) displaying in a puddle along the track leading to the River Weaver.

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Juvenile European Stonechat in Redwall reed bed.

It was a nice morning with a rather fresh a walk along Brook Furlong Lane towards the River Weaver with Common Chiffchaff in my left ear and Cetti’s Warbler in my right ear it was a good start. The mixed singing Willow Warbler near the old logbook was in full song but I didn’t see it, there were Red Admiral, Comma, Meadow Brown, Small Tortoiseshell, and Large Skipper all the way. Where the path forks there was a Grasshopper Warbler reeling had no chance of seeing it. At the river I noted 2 Great Cormorant sat on poles digesting their fish dinner.

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Also 2 Great Crested Grebe and loads of Tufted Duck, a few Common Shelduck with young out in the middle of the water and 2 Mute Swan close in to the river bank, and few hundred Sand Martin.

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As finished taking photos of Northern Lapwing on shooters’ pool I turned round looking over the river and saw a duck flying, I took a few photos but wasn’t sure what it was, but looking at the photo later it became apparent it was a juvenile/female Mandarin (still a rare bird in this part of Cheshire).

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On the way back I also had a male Blackcap peek a booing.

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Another good morning at Frodsham Marsh (the place sells itself).

Observer: Keith Gallie (images 12-21).

21.06.20. Birdlog.

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I made a start this morning along Brook Furlong Lane where the usual warblers were present and vocal. A small group of Linnet and European Goldfinch were feeding on the grass seed heads on No.1 tank with Meadow Pipit sitting on the fence. Another pair of European Stonechat were showing well at the bend in along Alder Lane and a dozen or more Common Raven were feasting on a sheep carcase with 18 more sitting along the fence waiting their turn.

Out on the Mersey Estuary were 3-4000 Canada Goose marching across the mudflats and coming from all directions, it was a strange sight to watch. Again there were decent numbers of Pied Avocet feeding in the channel with a couple of Eurasian Curlew presen. A Common Sandpiper and a single Common Redshank were at the edge of the River Weaver with more Pied Avocet passing up and down the water course. 

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A couple of juvenile European Stonechatuvenile and several juvenile Reed Bunting were noted from Redwall reed bed with Sedge and Reed Warbler feeding young. On the River Weaver were 2 juvenile Great Crested Grebe fishing close to the bank while the parent birds slept. A Eurasian Cuckoo flew past me as I made my way back along the river path and disappeared from my sight. The remains of a Common Buzzard noted on No.3 tank could have been a victim of the turbines or something sinister?

Onto No.6 and an adult and 2 juvenile Little Ringed Plover and 4 recently hatched Northern Lapwing were feeding close together, but froze when 2 Western Marsh Harrier appeared over the reeds.

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Butterflies were again in profusion with the most dominat species being Small Tortoiseshell with Meadoe Brown, Large Skipper, Small White, Comma and a few Painted Lady.

Observer: Paul Ralston (images 1 & 3 & 5).

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‘phalarope pool’ on No.3 tank.

With mid summers day already upon us we decided to take a hike around No.6 tank where we bumped into Paul who more or less had the same idea. A few Linnet and Yellow Wagtail were loitering on the track but apart from a couple of reeling Grasshopper Warbler singing from the eastern edges of No.4 tank it was pretty vacant. The ‘phalarope pool’ was devoid of lifeforms but the ‘splashing pool’ had 24 Tuted Duck sheltering from the brisk breeze.

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A look over No.6 tank was alot better with c450 Black-tailed Godwit and a well grown juvenile Common Ringed Plover. A small group of 6 Common Redshank and 14 Northern Lapwing were also present. Ducks were back with c100 Tufted Duck, 8 Common Pochard, 7 Northern Shoveler, 61 Eurasian Teal, Gadwall and Mallard.

A Western Marsh Harrier was quartering the reed beds and a couple of Little Egret were by the Weaver Sluices.

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Observers: JS & WSM (images 2 & 4 & 6-7).