13.05.13. Marsh Birds
Common Swifts and a single House Martin from the marsh tonight.
Over the Hill
A sandstone ridge runs 33 miles along the edge of Whitchurch on the Cheshire/ Staffordshire border and terminates at Pex Hill (north Widnes).The trail from Whitchurch to Frodsham (or visa versa) is the Sandstone trail which Sparky and I completed in a days walk a few years ago. I would highly recommend anyone with the time and fitness to try to take in at least part of this walk which meanders its way through some of Cheshire’s finest scenery.
There is a reason why I mention this walk which officially starts from the Bears Paw pub in Frodsham (and, not just for a swift pint before the walk starts). The reason is the opportunity to extend the trail by adding Frodsham Marsh in to the start if only to boost the walk bird list.
The views from the hills that lay ahead (or like us to look back on) were 250 Million years in the making and rightly deserve the feeling of an accomplishment starting or ending an epic hike.
Attached are a few images (I took yesterday and yesteryear) of the views from the hills which you can enjoy on the walk. On a clear day the skyline from Helsby and Frodsham hills take in North Wales, Liverpool, Manchester, the Pennines, the Lancashire fells, the Cheshire Plain Jodrell Bank, Winter Hill and at least three Iron Age Hill Forts.
Follow the link below to download a copy of the Sandstone Trail route:
Click the images for a larger version.
11.05.13. Birdlog (WeBS count)
Surprisingly very little to report on the rising tide from No 6 tank. 5 Tufted Duck, 2 Mallard and 4 Common Shelduck being the highlights.
A male Marsh Harrier hunting over No 6 tank was watched over by 5 Ringed Plover and 2 Dunlin. 55 Whimbrel and an additional 30 Ringed Plover over No 1 tank was again notable. 4 Wheatear and 3 Yellow Wagtail also on that tank were sheltering from the strong westerly wind. A steady passage of hirundines and Swifts were moving through to the West along the ship canal.
Observers: Frank Duff, WSM (and image).
Very blustery on the exposed northern edge of No.4 tank sightings included:- Pairs of Greylags, Gadwall, and 12 paired Tufted Duck at the Pumping Station pools. Canal pools: Single Great.crested Grebe, 20 Coot, 15 Sand Martin, 1 Wheatear, 1 Yellow Wagtail newly fledged Canada goslings. 18 Mutes and another pair of Gadwall in a field near Hill View Farm.
Observer: Brian Rimmer.
After work trip to the marsh resulted in a call from Frank that he was watching a Hobby chasing the Swifts over the Weaver Bend and that it was heading in my direction based at the viewing area on No 6 tank. Alas it didn’t show for me but a fine male Peregrine perched on the blue-topped chimney at Weston Point made up for my disappointment. I’m pretty sure the Hobby will reappear soon. Frank also had flocks of hirundines and Swifts totalling 500 birds over the Weaver estuary and other smaller flocks were over No 4 tank heading west along the Mersey corridor.
Observers: Frank Duff, WSM.
It was blowing a hoolie tonight and cold with it and no birders about except Frank on the way out as we were coming over the bridge.
Lordship Marsh and the fields east held 10 Common Shelduck and 30 Mallard joined with an unkindness of Ravens. A Kestrel battling with the wind to hover over its prey and quite frequently it seemed getting fed up and went to sit on the electricity pylons.
Splashing pool – held about 30 Tufted Duck
No 3 tank – Kestrel and Common Buzzard.
No 6 tank – was quiet with the odd Common Shelduck, 4 Mute Swan, most noticeable excellent viewing in the evening sun of both female and male Marsh Harrier hunting together over the reeds.
Track between No 5 and 6 tank were 2 Common Whitethroat and on the ramp down on the way out we saw Sedge Warbler and Chiffchaff singing.
The Wilde Clan (Harley, Findlay and Nigel).
Observers: Paul Crawley (images), Frank Duff, WSM.
A walk from Spring Farm to the Weaver Bend produced 1 Common Sandpiper and 2 Raven, 10 Common Whitethroat,10 Sedge Warbler, 6 Reed Warbler, 6 Chiffchaff-all singing. Also a single Long-tailed Tit at Spring Farm, .
Observer: Brian Rimmer.
A report of Garganey on the marsh?
Remember it’s still migration season and what better way to find your own migrants than joining us on the monthly WeBS count. Ducks, geese and shorebirds have the urge to push north and obviously our river attracts birds refuelling on their journey ahead. If you interested in helping out at the next WeBS Count on the banks of the River Mersey then please send an email to Dermot Smith or visit here Mersey Estuary WeBS | Facebook page.
Next count is this Sunday 12th May, high tide at 13.21
3 Great Crested Grebe on the Weaver Bend, 10 Dunlin, 6 Ringed Plover, 4 Oystercatcher, Avocet, Greenshank on No 6 tank, Whimbrels on Lordship Marsh and off Frodsham Score, male Marsh Harrier and a Grasshopper Warbler (pictured) along Lordship Lane.
The first Orangetip Butterfly of the year on the marsh.
Observers: Frank Duff, Paul Crawley.
In a walk from Helsby Spring Farm to No 6 tank via Lordship Marsh the following were noted: 7 Whitethroat, 5 Sedge Warbler, 4 Chiffchaff, 3 Reed Warbler, 3 Blackcap-all singing plus 8 Mutes and 100+ Tufted Duck No 6 tank.
Observer: Brian Rimmer.
No 6 tank. Image by WSM.