23.09.18. Birdlog.

Out again this morning around the Weaver Bend and then around No.6 tank.

Image may contain: sky, tree, grass, outdoor, nature and water

A Barn Owl was along Brook Furlong Lane as I made my way out to the River Weaver.

A Mute Swan family have now lost one of their cygnets and have been joined by 5 more adults to make a winter herd. There were small flocks of Black-tailed Godwit and Curlew noted flying up river with part of the flock settling at the junction of the Manchester Ship Canal – Weaver estuary. A Common Sandpiper and a Ringed Plover both flew across the river while a Green Sandpiper was at the ‘Shooters’ Pool’. A Sparrowhawk was hunting along the river bank as was a Kestrel. At the canal junction a Peregrine spooked a flock of Lapwing and godwits in to the air, while a Lapwing flock took their frustration out on a Jay crossing the river forcing it to take cover immediately when it could find some.

Image may contain: bird, nature and outdoor

A c200 strong flock of Goldfinch were around Marsh Farm and both Stonechat & 2 Wheatear were on the pipes that cross No.1 tank.

My walk eventually took me to No.6 and while there a skein of c79 Pink-footed Goose flew overhead towards the Frodsham Score. Another much smaller skein of 12 flew over from the east out across the estuary heading west.

Image may contain: bird, sky, outdoor, water and nature

There were further smaller flocks of Black-tailed Godwit feeding in the shallow waters of No.6 and they were joined by 6 Ruff and another Green Sandpiper was noted. Duck numbers have increased with Mallard reaching 23 and Common Teal hitting a dizzy 12.

Image may contain: outdoor, nature and water

A Common Buzzard was seen carrying prey which in turn was mugged by a pair of Raven over No.3. The ‘Splashing Pool’ was quiet with a small flock of Shoveler which commuted between there and the Canal Pools.

A Kingfisher showed well along the Moorditch Lane.

Image may contain: outdoor

A few butterflies like Red Admiral, Small Tortoiseshell and smaller White’s were on the wing in the sunnier spots away from the stiff breeze with darters being obvious.

The pale morph Common Buzzard finally gave itself up to my camera this afternoon whilst I was building a dry stone wall at Weston…resistant is eventually futile.

Image may contain: bird, outdoor and nature

Image may contain: bird

Image may contain: cloud, sky, ocean, outdoor, nature and water

Observer: Paul Ralston (images 1 & 4-6) with additional sightings by Arthur Harrison, Paul Crawley (images 2-3 & 7 & 9-10) & WSM (images 8 & 11).

22.09.18. Birdlog.

Not great but not bad today. There were 41 Black-tailed Godwit, 14 Lapwing, 1 Ruff, Shoveler, Common Teal, Mallard and Pied Wagtail on No.6 tank, a pale Common Buzzard on No.3 with Curlew and Starling flock being spooked by an unseen raptor.

Image may contain: bird and outdoor

Image may contain: bird and outdoor

The pipes and the track up to the Marsh Farm had 3 female Wheatear with a male Stonechat and a few House Martin and Swallow flying through. Goldfinch were all over the marsh in largish flocks with a few Meadow Pipit, a Great Spotted Woodpecker flew over No.6 later on and 2 Jay were by the motorway bridge.

Image may contain: bird

A Mute Swan did its best to take my head off my shoulders.

Image may contain: bird, sky, outdoor, water and nature

Observer: Paul Crawley (images 2-6).

Image may contain: plant, bird, flower, nature and outdoor

The nights are drawing in and with just three hours to kill on the marsh after work today I walked out to the Weaver Bend baring in mind the strong winds and seabirds featuring heavily on the coast locally. In previous years I’ve found Grey Phalaropes on the River Weaver but today was not to be repeated and a Common Sandpiper was the nearest in size I could muster. There were plenty of Tufted Duck with both Gadwall and Mallard to bolster their numbers. A small flock of 8 Great Crested Grebe were tucked up close to the Weaver estuary and both Black-tailed Godwit (132) and Ruff (2) were happily feeding on the sandy beach. A further 40 godwit were on the Weaver Bend.

Walking back along the track bordering the river and a juvenile Whinchat popped out on top of some vegetation and was most welcome being rather scarce on the marshes this year. A juvenile Reed Warbler skulked deep in the reed bed while Chiffchaff were contact calling in the trees.

Wearily I trudged up to Marsh Farm to check the pipes and the viewpoint looking across the Mersey estuary. A very confiding juvenile Wheatear was on the pipes then perched conveniently on the sheep hut nearby.

Looking across the mudflats on the River Mersey and c600 Black-tailed Godwit were widespread with hundreds of Redshank, Curlew and what looked like thousands of Common Shelduck.

Not a bad return for three hours birding after a busy day at work.

Talking of which the Norwegian ringed Black-headed Gull was back for its 4th year at Spike Island, Widnes. Also a Kingfisher in the wet dock at this site.

Observer: WSM (images 1 & 7-8).

21.09.18. Birdlog.

Image may contain: sky, cloud, tree, outdoor and nature

An early morning walk around No.6 tank and what a difference a day makes with the recent heavy rains covering a large part of the tank.

Image may contain: sky, outdoor, water and nature

The Common Teal and Mallard are now back in decent numbers with c40 Black-tailed Godwit feeding in the shallow water alongside 4 Ruff and 3 Redshank on No.6.

A Little Egret secreted itself on the ‘secluded pool’ and c30 Shoveler were on the ‘Splashing Pool’.

Image may contain: plant, flower, tree, sky, outdoor and nature

A charm of Goldfinch fed on the teasel along the path and were kept mobile by a Kestrel hunting alongside. Along Lordship Lane was a mixed flock of Black-headed Gull and Common Gull fed on a seeded field with both Wood Pigeon and Stock Dove with 6 Curlew.

Several Swallow were seen heading south when I made my way back to my car.

Observer and images: Paul Ralston.

16.09.18. Birdlog.

Image may contain: plant, nature and outdoor

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.

Image may contain: bird, ocean, swimming, water and outdoor

Image may contain: swimming, ocean, outdoor and water

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.

Image may contain: sky, outdoor, water and nature

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.

Image may contain: sky, bird, outdoor, nature and water

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

Image may contain: bird, plant, outdoor and nature

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.

Image may contain: cloud, sky, ocean, outdoor, nature and water

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.

Image may contain: sky, plant, tree, outdoor, nature and water

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).

Image may contain: sky and outdoor

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.

Image may contain: aeroplane and sky

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

14.09.18. Birdlog.

Image may contain: sky and cloud

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.

Image may contain: plant, outdoor and nature

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.

Image may contain: bird, plant, sky, outdoor and nature

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

Image may contain: plant, outdoor and nature

Image may contain: plant and nature

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

Observer and images: Paul Crawley.