How to Score at Frodsham Score!
With the approach of the wader migration beginning to show signs of movement let me take this opportunity to introduce an often overlooked site and one you should seriously take advantage of. Check the Liverpool tide table online and get there two hours before high water.
Imagine the scene … it’s the first week of September and the skies are blue, with a brisk wind bringing with it the threat of a deepening depression from the south-west. Before you acres of closely cropped grassy salt marsh stretch out 180 degrees ahead. In the distance the Mersey mudflats are slowly covered by an advancing ten metre tide and in the air the song of a Skylark hangs. With a hot flask, sandwiches and wrapped up warm select the best position to sit and view from the raised embankment of No4 tank. With the sunlight on your back and the breeze to your side, the conditions are near perfect to watch the spectacle unfold on the score ahead.
The murky, grey-brown waters of the river move ever closer inshore and in the distance the alternating flashes of a large flock of Dunlin catch your eye, followed by a long line of black and white Oystercatchers and the bubbling cries of Curlew. Suddenly an explosion of roosting Lapwings takes to the wing and, there overhead, a majestic Peregrine falcon folds its wings as it hurtled down towards a flock of panic-stricken Teal and becomes lost in a confusion of birds. Inexperienced sheep grazing by the tide line now find themselves cut off by the encroaching surge and bleat cries of concern as they begin to wade to safety. Relentlessly the water moves forward, filling the channels and forking out on to the marsh, forcing the reluctant roosting birds from their slumber to find security in tighter assembled groups, closer to the banks of the Ship Canal and within scoping distance to you.
On a good day and tide, from a single position you can expect to see over 80 species including 23 species of wader. In recent times both Great White and Little Egrets, Ruddy Shelduck, Great Skua, Osprey, Glaucous Gull, Common and Black Tern have been found. One year I found two Pectoral Sandpipers on the incoming tide … it’s there to be discovered with a little time and persistence.
Park up by the Pumping Station/Splashing Pool and walk along the perimeter of No 4 tank negotiating the ground and vegetation as you go. Find a spot overlooking the score with the raised bank to your right across the ship canal.
Please bare in mind that as of 2018 thia access is no longer available and the whole of No.4 tank is on a private working.
Click link to download a pdf file of the Frodsham Marshes map
(CAWOS Bird News 41 January 1999 & Bird News 47 July 2000)
Tony Broome winter birding the score. He’s that good he needs two scopes! Image and text by WSM