22.09.12. Birdlog

22.09.12. Birdlog

The eclipse drake Garganey was again with the 400 Teal in the evening, 1 Pintail, 5 Wigeon, 24 Shoveler and 23 Tufted Duck. On the tide 45 Ringed Plover, 30 Golden Plover, 250 Dunlin, 1 Curlew Sandpiper, 1 Sanderling, 1 Turnstone, 8 Black-tailed Godwit and 2 Redshank.

Above image of stricken Dunlin on No 6 tank.

A big female Peregrine hurtled out of the sky to ambush the wader roost and selecting her victim she hit hard and fast. Unfortunately for her and her victim the strike was a glancing blow throwing her selected Dunlin prey spinning into the water. Despite several attempts to retrieve her meal she gave up and left the mortally wounded Dunlin struggling to find dry land. During these attacks the wader was observed diving below the water surface to avoid capture. The luck or lack of it, of the Dunlin was short-lived (very much like its future existence).

Dunlin of subspecies alpina (probably female) with Common Teal, No 6 tank. All images by WSM.

A Great Spotted Woodpecker over No 6 tank and small parties of Siskin, Meadow Pipit and Skylark were part of ‘vismig’ and being noteworthy.

All reports from No 6 tank except for 400 Lapwings over Frodsham Score and a Raven over No 4 tank.

Observers: Paul Crawley, Peter and Richard Nicholls, WSM.

08.10.12. Mersey Estuary Conservation Group Meeting

The Mersey Estuary Conservation Group will be having a general meeting at Pickerings Pasture Visitor Centre off Mersey Road, Halebank, Widnes on Monday 8th October at 2.00 pm. All welcome to attend.

An opportunity to listen to and participate in issues which affect us all who use the river for recreation.

Some points of interest on the agenda include:

Upper Mersey Green Spaces.

MNA’s Osprey nest site proposal.

Tidal power on the Mersey.

Wind Turbines at Frodsham Marsh.


21.09.12. The Fall and Rise of the River Mersey ( Evening Talk)


Meeting Points: The only reliable means of identifying a location in a rural area is by using an Ordnance Survey map with the relevant grid reference. Most sat nav devices use post codes to identify locations but in rural areas a single post code may cover a large area of countryside. We give the grid references and post codes for all places we go to, but emphasise that Ordnance Survey maps are best for finding the precise meeting points.

September 2012

Friday 21st September

The Fall and Rise of the River Mersey, a talk by Bill Morton

Location: Appleton Parish Hall, Dudlow Green Road, Appleton Postcode: WA4 5EQ (Google map)

Time: 7.30 pm for 7.45 pm

Price: Members £2; Non-members £2.50

Telephone: 01925 268770

19.09.12. Birdlog

19.09.12. Birdlog

Evening Watch: 170 Teal, 2 (eclipse) Garganey, 6 Wigeon, 4 Pintail and 30 Shoveler. 8 Golden Plover, 2 Black-tailed Godwit, 28 Dunlin, 11 Knot and 8 Golden Plover. Also present were 15 White Wagtail, 1 Yellow Wagtail, 20 Meadow Pipit and 26 Linnet. All sightings from No 6 tank.

Observers: Arthur Harrison and WSM.

18.09.12. Birdlog & Nature Notes #12

18.09.12. Birdlog

An after work trip to the marsh involved a later than anticipated start. So, at 6.00 pm I drove down to Frodsham Marsh with glorious sunshine beaming through the car window. On site and scope set up and focusing the wheel on the usual teal flock on No 6 tank.

I managed counts of 22 Shoveler, 6 Wigeon, 10 Gadwall and 150 Teal with the Garganey again tucked up within their numbers. 200 Common Gulls were pre-roost bathing before heading out to the estuary. A couple of Redshank and 20 Black-tailed Godwit were also present.

No longer had I began to scan through the flock again when a malevolent rain cloud came through to scupper any further attempt at birding and a retreat home was the best option.

Nature Notes #12

With not a lot to write about and away from birding for a change I thought, snails!

With all this rain it’s ideal weather for a couple of species of snails to savour (with Garlic if your like French cuisine). The Brown-lipped image is from Delamere Forest in August and the White-lipped from Frodsham Marsh this month.

Brown-lipped Banded Snail (Cepaea nemoralis). Image by WSM.

White-lipped Banded Snail (Capaea hortensis). Image by Paul Crawley.

The Brown-lipped Snail is common in a variety of habitats and is abundant at this time of year. Both species get their names from the base of the shell where the body emerges from the it. The White-lipped shares the same type of habitat as the Brown-lipped but tolerates much wetter areas. Check out the links below for further details of both species.



16.09.12. Birdlog.

16.09.12. Birdlog

A Great White Egret flew along Frodsham Score (AC). A Kingfisher flew along the ditch by the P.O.W  bridge on the approach road to No 6 tank. Green Sandpiper, 2 Dunlin and 18 Black-tailed Godwit on No 6 tank were noted and a Water Rail chick was again present. Great Spotted Woodpecker and Jay along the tank tracks on 1 & 5.

Finally a Whinchat was still at Redwall Reedbed.

Observers: Alyn Chambers, Paul Crawley, Frank Duff and John Gilbody.

15.09.12. Birdlog

15.09.12. Birdlog

Frodsham Marsh can be hard work at times and today was no exception!

No 6 tank: 350 Teal. Garganey, 31 Shoveler, 15 Pochard, 43 Tufted Duck, 12 Wigeon and 7 Pintail. A Great Spotted Woodpecker was watched flying along the track on No 5 tank and a Jay was doing likewise on No 3 tank.

Weaver Bend and Causeway: 14 Little and one (juvenile) Great Crested Grebe, 64 Tufted Duck, 14 Redshank, 2 Common Sandpiper and 300 Lapwing.

Redwall Reedbed: 2 juvenile Whinchat.

Marsh Farm: 3 Wheatear.

I.C.I (blue-topped) Chimney: 2 Peregrines and a Raven perched atop.

Observers: Arthur Harrison, Pete & Richard (from Warrington), WSM

Butterflies were out in force today with Small Tortoiseshell being more evident than in previous years. Red Admiral (my favourite because it displays the colours of the Mighty Reds from Manchester), Comma and Small Whites were also aloft.

All images by WSM

Birding Nostalgia…It’s not what it used to be

Birding Nostalgia…It’s not what it used to be.

This section celebrates birds from the past and not so distant past.

If you want to share any archive images of birds (of yesteryear) from Frodsham Marsh. I’ll feature them on the site for you. Please email them to me at mudlark1@live.co.uk.

Tony Lovatt captured these Ruddy Shelduck on No 6 tank in September 2012.

Stuart Maddocks scored well a first for the marsh with this Waxwing below the east banks of No 5 tank on 17th November 2012..

Gary Bellingham has found a couple of good rarities at Frodsham in his time and what better than two county firsts: Lesser Scaup and Terek Sandpiper! Not only that he has been on hand to photograph a few special editions to boot.

Terek Sandpiper, Late April 1999. All images by Gary Bellingham.

Summer plumaged Red-necked Grebe, Manchester Ship Canal. 1997.

Lesser Scaup (drake), No 6 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Gary Bellingham.

Colin Davis writes a blog called occasionally Birding St Helens. He took this image of the juvenile Red-backed Shrike which was present at Marsh Farm in early September 2010 and puts the bird in context to its surrounding. Check Colin’s site out at  http://birdingsthelens.blogspot.com/

Paul Crawley is as local as you can get with a house in an enviable location within striking distance of the marsh. Paul is new to nature photography but caused a stir with his image of the ‘Whatwit’ aired for the first time on this blog in the summer.

Black-tailed Godwits including the white-headed bird (upper centre), summer 2012. Image by Paul Crawley.

Drake Mandarin, No 6 tank (and rarer than Hens teeth), only the second record for the marsh. Spring 2012. Image by Paul Crawley.

Great White Egret (one of three seen this year!), No 6 tank. Summer 2012. Image by Paul Crawley.

Gary Worthington is local to Frodsham Marsh and hails from Weston Point. He was one of a young band of keen Frodsham Marsh birders present in the early 1980’s. Most of these lads went onto a career in birding/environmental and they included: Peter Brash, Paul Derbyshire, Chris Done, Martin Garner, Martin Gilbert, John Gunnery, Ian Igglesden, Barry Starmer, Roy Taylor and Alex Weir et al.

White-winged Black Tern (juvenile), Weaver Bend & Estuary, August 1981. Image by Gary Worthington.

Paul Hackett is a local lad who hails from Stockport and was one of the first digi-scopers in the UK. During his exploration of this new photographic technique, he plugged away capturing some of Frodsham Marshes unusual visitors.

03.03.02. American Wigeon (drake), No 6 tank. Image by Paul Hackett.

Lesser Yellowlegs, No 5 tank, 2001. Image by Paul Hackett.

Hooded Crow at Marsh Farm 1996. Image by Paul Hackett.

Steve Young has for many years captured some of the North Wests top rarities and quite a few commoner birds on film so it is no surprise that he’s taken a few snaps of Frodshams finest wading birds. Below are just a few of them.

Stilt Sandpiper, No 4 tank, April 1984. Image by Steve Young.

This American wader was a tick for a lot of British twitchers back in 1984. Although several have been seen since this long stayers sojourn, none can match its enigmatic place in UK ticking.

Collared Pratincole, No 4 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Image by Steve Young.

Baird’s Sandpiper, I.C.I tank, September 1981.

Pectoral Sandpiper, I.C.I tank, September 1981. Image by Steve Young.

Broad-billed Sandpiper, No 5 tank, April 1999. Image by Steve Young (this Broad-billed Sandpiper is featured in ‘Tales from the River Bank’ on this blog).

Red-backed Shrike (juvenile), I.C.I tank, August 1994.

Woodchat Shrike, no 4 tank, September 1996. Image by S Rowlands.

Iain Leach is a Nottingham wildlife photographer who has had a few of Frodsham’s unusual birds published including this Red-necked Phalarope from the Weaver Bend and this breeding flock of Spoonbills on No 6 tank..

Red-necked Phalarope, Weaver Bend, July 1996. Image by Iain Leach.

Spoonbills (attempted nesting colony), No 6 tank. Summer 1996. Image Iain Leach.

Featured below are three species from Tony Murphy.

Red-necked Phalarope (female), 1976. Image by Tony Murphy.

Wilson’s Phalarope, I.C.I tank, Frodsham Marsh.September 1981.

Pectoral Sandpiper (ringed by MRG), I.C.I tank, Frodsham Marsh.September 1981.

All images by Tony Murphy.

Tony Broome was the Cheshire Bird county recorder for a number of years. He has spent more time than he could care to remember birding Frodsham Marsh. Tony has recently rekindled his interest in Frodsham by ticking off the Great White Egret on the Score.

.Stilt Sandiper, No 4 tank, April 1984. Image by Tony Broome.


14.09.12. Birdlog

14.09.12. Birdlog

300 Teal, 8 Wigeon, 6 Pintail, 13 Shoveler, 1 Snipe, 3 Dunlin and 3 Golden Plover.

Observer: WSM

I received an e-mail from Jenny Gill regarding the colour-ringed Black-tailed Godwit present on No 6 tank yesterday. It was ringed as a chick in Northern Iceland this year.

I’ll post the exact location when details are passed onto me.