WeBS March Count Highlights

14.03.13. Weaver Bend. Bill Morton.

Enclosed details of Sunday’s count from the Mersey Estuary . Thanks to those that braved the cold weather.

Although the weather might not seem like it, Spring is in the air and our count shows many species are on the move. The swans seem to have left the estuary but there are still some Whooper Swan in the fields near the M56 at Frodsham Marsh. Our Barnacle Geese have disappeared and the Canada Geese have shrunk dramatically. Shelduck are still in good numbers while Teal, Wigeon, Pintail and Mallard numbers as you would expect have dropped significantly. We still have at least one Great White Egret which was at Hale Marsh (sorry Toni and Ray Sherlock). Oystercatcher numbers are holding up as are Grey Plover with the highest count this winter, the Golden Plover are in good numbers, but Lapwing in very small numbers compared to last month. Dunlin numbers have dropped as they usually do in March, but Curlew and Redshank are still in good numbers. The Black-tailed Godwits were again impressive with 2,000 in Manisty Bay. Good to see the first Avocet of the year, the first summer visitor? Still some raptors and Ian had a male Hen Harrier fly right in front of him.

The next duck Count is April 14th, meeting at 11am at Stanlow let me know if you come. It is a very low high tide, so places along the north shore and New Ferry might not get covered and so hang onto some good numbers. The will be plenty of migrants about then so keep your eyes peeled. In April 1999 there was a Terek Sandpiper at Frodsham Marsh that used the Mersey Estuary and then in May that year a Broad-billed Sandpiper also turned up, though neither was seen on a WeBS count.

We said we would have a Spring meeting. That is now confirmed. Thursday 18th April Wigg Island, Runcorn at 6.30 until 8.30. Let me know if you are coming so I can get enough biscuits, or just turn up.

Contact Dermot for further details on dermot.smith71@googlemail.com; if you fancy coming along to the counts. We might even get some gull watching in as they fly passed Wigg Island before the meeting?

Draft agenda: Review of the Winter, Summary of who counts where, how we drum up more counters and where do we deploy them, Relationships with the farmer and wildfowlers, Slide show, bring your own local bird and wildlife photos on a memory stick and we can all have a look at what people have seen.

Dermot Smith (WeBS co-ordinator)

14.03.13. Birdlog

14.03.13. Birdlog

Pretty quiet on No.6 tank (not a single wader present) but 425 Golden Plover were on No.5 tank. Walking along the west side of No.4 tank to view the Frodsham Score, I flushed 2 separate Green Sandpipers from the Holpool gutter. On Frodsham Score itself were 1 Great White Egret, 5 Little Egret, 51 Pink-footed Geese, 760 Canada Geese and 482 Shelduck.

Observer: Greg Baker.

IMG_1421 copy14.03.14 Hen Harrier, Frodsham Marsh. Colin Butler

I came onto the Marsh from Matty Lane and as soon as I drove over the motorway the male Harrier was hunting over the farmers fields, I went to take some photos from the road that runs parallel to the beds when it flew over my head, managed to get a shot through the windscreen. Had a quick drive round, didn’t have much time the only thing of note were some Brambling and an obliging Buzzard.
Observer: Colin Butler.
An after work walk around I.C.I tank and I flushed out 4 Common Snipe from the flooded field below the tank. Further along and below the Bailey Bridge were 14 Goldeneye some of which flew around to the ‘bend”. When I eventually got there the males were giving it all to the attendant females, all head tossing and puffing up their chests. 6 Little Grebe, 74 Common Teal and 12 Tufted Duck were some compensation for the effort.
Observer: WSM
14.03.13. Hedgerow destruction at the Lum. Bill Morton
An entire length of two Hawthorn hedgerows bordering two fields at the Lum have been chain-sawed to ‘improve’ the area. I must be missing something maybe they are doing a worthwhile job and improving the habitat for the benefit of all the wildlife that utilised the hedgerows before they creatively removed it. There are obvious consequences to this action but I’m sure there is a logical explanation for this “conservation” work? More Pheasants perhaps?