14.11.12. Birdlog

14.11.12. Birdlog

No 6 Tank as tide came in:  850 Teal, 15 Wigeon, 55 Tufted Duck, 8 Pochard, 850 Golden Plover, 3 Grey Plover, 3 Ringed Plover, 1,550 Dunlin, 3 Black-tailed Godwit, 12 Common Snipe.
On Ince Marshes / Frodsham Score at high tide:  1 Great White Egret, 3 Little Egrets, 6 Whooper Swan, 1,700 Canada Goose, 1 Greylag Goose, 253 Common Shelduck, 16 Oystercatcher, 8 Grey Plover, c5,000 Dunlin, c300 Curlew, 1 Peregrine plus 11 Ravens on the Score embankment.
Elsewhere, 17 Little Grebes and 5 Goldeneye on the Weaver Bend, male Stonechat along the pipes on No1 tank, 300 Redwing and 150 Fieldfare along Brook Furlong Lane.
Merlin at Marsh Farm. Image by Greg Baker.
Video link to this bird by Greg and more of the same on the (Red-eyed) Video category.
Merlin showing well near Marsh Farm.  The deep brown upperparts with an almost chestnut tinge suggest it is a first winter bird rather than a female.
Observer: Greg Baker

Raven about Frodsham Marsh

Colour-ringed Raven.

Colour-ringed Raven annoying a Common Buzzard (centre bird) on No 5 tank. Image by WSM.

Listed below details of this bird from John Lawton Roberts who ringed it.

Thank you very much indeed for sending in the record of a CR Raven at Frodsham to the BTO.

We’ve been colour-ringing nestling Ravens on the surrounds of Ruabon Mountain since 2009 and yours, at Frodsham, is the most distant sighting of one of our birds to date. Black/Orange on left leg, orange/BTO ring on right was ringed by me on 11 April, 2011 in a forest on the east edge of the above moor.

We’ve been studying the expanding Raven population in the above mentioned area since the 1970s, looking at numbers, spacing of pairs and clutch and brood size. The three years of colour-ringing to date (I broke my back in July 2011 and wasn’t able to do any ringing this year) are part of a programme which will hopefully answer questions about dispersal of young, age of first breeding, site and pair fidelity etc.(I’m hoping to enlist the help of climbers next year so that we can resume the ringing.

Numbers of breeding pairs fell slightly a few years ago, this tending to involve the last territories to be occupied. We suspect that this may have been a result of the ‘fallen stock’ law.

A Raven reported as ringed green over yellow on left leg, green on right leg, was reported by a different observer at Frodsham Marsh on 5 November of this year. However, checking my records I cannot find such a combination of rings for any pullus ringed  in our project. Has anyone else seen this bird and has it, to your knowledge, been photographed? We have used the combination in question but on different  legs.

A feeding station near Ellesmere has drawn in several  Ravens from our study in the last three years and hopefully, given the bird’s ability to communicate news about good feeding places to their fellows, Frodsham may do the same. However, this will depend on the regularity with which suitable food becomes available there. (They love large lumps of fat, by the way. As long as they’re cleared up quickly by the birds, I understand that this doesn’t contravene the law).

With all best wishes and thanks, again.

John Lawton Roberts

Check out the Welsh birding at the Ruabon Mountain Black Grouse Hide which is based on the edge of Ruabon Moor at the Llandegla Forest Centre. See the RSPB website for more details on Ruabon. Eds

11.11.12. Birdlog

11.11.12. Birdlog

Dawn rising over No 6 tank.

An immature/female Goosander flew east over No 6 tank, 45 Tufted Duck, 12 Pochard, 6 Wigeon, (m&f) RD and 4 Pintail.

Partial summer plumage Golden Plover, No 6 tank.

Two partial summer plumaged Golden Plover were with 650 winter birds including presumably the bird from Pickerings Pasture. 600 Lapwing, 2 Ruff, 1 Black-tailed Godwit and 600 Dunlin were on the tank for the morning tide and 60 Common Snipe flew from the tank.

12 Raven were present and others were arriving when I left at 8.30 am.

The usual female Sparrowhawk was enjoying an early breakfast until it was disturbed.

At dawn over 600 Wood Pigeons moved through.

Redwings and Fieldfare were present in large numbers along Brook Furlong Lane (old birdlog track) with 100 and 300 respectively. A male Stonechat was along the pipes on No 1 tank. A luecistic Starling was with its more normally coloured cousins at the Ship Street entrance.

Observer: Alyn Chambers, Frank Duff, Sparky, WSM.

All Images by WSM.

10.11.12. Birdlog (counting up)

10.11.12. Birdlog. (counting up)

Frodsham Score was on form again with 2,000 Canada Geese and within their midst was a Barnacle Goose and 2 Small Grey Geese ( both melted into the flock before being identified.

2 Little Egret and a Great White Egret were reward for the long trek to the north-west corner of No 4 tank for views across the Score (with thanks to Guido for a bit of pot-hole driving. AMB, WSM).

View of Mount Manisty on Frodsham Score from the north banks of No 4 tank. Image by Tony Broome.

Immature male and female Goldeneye were on the Ship Canal below No 4 tank. Upwards of 450 Teal, 23 Shoveler, 4 Wigeon, male and female RD and a pair of Pintail on No 6 tank.

Tony Broome with his de-mob coat c1970, birding Frodsham Score today. Image by WSM.

The usual pair of Peregrines was positioned on the tall blue-topped chimney at Weston Point, Several Buzzards were present including a well-marked intermediate individual. A Merlin was on Frodsham Score and a female Sparrowhawk was again active and putting the frighteners on the Starling flocks.

Waders present in the area included flocks of Common Snipe with 20, 15 and 35 in flight over the tank.

3 Water Rails were disputing winter feeding territory below the viewing area on No 6 tank.

Upwards of 40 Raven were present on the marsh today and one particular bird bore colour rings to its legs, left green over yellow and green on right leg, this individual was present on No 5 tank. The other birds were divided between No 5 tank and Frodsham Score.

Fieldfare were evident with flocks of various sizes moving through with a maximum of 53 in one flock. Both Blackbirds and Song Thrush numbers were again in good numbers a combined count of 20 Song Thrushes along the track at No 6 tank was fairly typical for the day.

2 Stonechat near Marsh farm were birds seen in previous weeks.

Observers: Arthur Harrison, Guido D’Isidoro , Frank Duff, Tony Broome (VIP appearance), WSM.

Got an email from John Barber who was watching No 6 tank and said: Several hundred Golden Plover were present around 8.30am, close to the viewing position and in good light. After a few minutes I picked out a bird which looked almost identical to yesterday’s bird at Pickering Pasture ( possibly the same bird ?? ) So I carefully watched it for about twenty minutes, until it finally raised and stretched it’s wings, revealing white axillaries – so this particular bird wasn’t an American Golden Plover.

09.11.12. Am Goldie revisited

09.11.12. Am Goldie revisited

Last night we had a three-way discussion about the reported American Golden Plover at Pickerings Pasture, Halebank, Widnes. Between myself, Frank Duff and Tony Broome. I initially thought that the bird showed a usual amount of white along the flanks and that the photograph recalled the partial summer plumage of a Pacific Golden Plover. But one photograph although interesting can be misleading and begged for some niggling consideration. Tony Broome phoned me and had also came to a similar view and was baffled by the bird. I texted Frank and he also showed interest in the birds identity. Unfortunately work commitments prevented me popping over to Pics today to have a look at the bird but Frank did. He later phoned to say that he thought that the bird may be a late moulting European Golden Plover. His conversation is below.

Went to see the AGP and on reflection and after looking at the available literature I’m not convinced that the bird is not a late moulting European Golden Plover. I saw the underwing and they looked white as the other plovers, bird seemed same size as goldies and didn’t look leggier than any of the others. The day light was poor but I remain to be convinced. The white flanks fit in with ‘Goldie’ moult and don’t fit with AGP.

Field sketches by Bill Morton of two ‘Lesser Golden Plovers’ at Tetney Marshes, Lincolnshire, July 1986.

Although these birds are from late summer they still show what a bird (with retained partial summer plumaged) like the Pickerings Pasture bird could appear like.

If you have the opportunity to go and have a look tomorrow check out its ID features and join in with the discussion. It’s all about learning and gaining experience and all to often birding throws up a curve ball. Eds.

This is the site that covers Pickerings Pasture for directions and more about the work of the volunteers. http://www.thefriendsofpickeringspasture.org.uk/

08.11.12. Birdlog

08.11.12. Birdlog

2 Pintail, 300 Golden plover, 5 Redshank, 2 Dunlin, on No 6 tank and 7 Raven on No 5 tank.

Observer: Arthur Harrison.

Extracts from an email from birders at Pickerings Pasture: Just a note to ask you to keep a look out on the sludge beds at the Golden Plover flock. Today at Pickerings Pasture at about 3.00 pm, amoungst 800 Goldie’s on the sandbanks we had one in partial summer plummage with grey under wings. Fairly certain it is a Lesser. Managed to get some poor photographs. It may return tomorrow pm after the tide, or possibly go on the sludge beds at tide time?

I know where I’ll be birding on Saturday!! Frodsham Marsh.