Nature Notes # 24 in 3D & ED

Nature Notes # 24 in 3D & ED

No you’re not having a migraine but If you have a pair of 3D glasses they would be useful.

30.07.13. Common Stinkhorn in 3 D. Bill Morton

Watch a normal format video of it here…

30.07.13. Common Stinkhorn in 3 D. Bill Morton

Phallus impudicus (Common Stinkhorn)

Very common in late summer and throughout the autumn, this fungus first signals its presence by its foul odour, which often carries a great distance; this is one of the few fungi you hunt by smell! Nearly always connected to dead wood, it often fruits in rings around tree stumps and presents a rather weird sight, usually with large numbers of flies feeding on the slime-covered cap. It is interesting (if rather anti-social) to collect an ‘egg’ of this fungus and hatch it under a glass jar. The whole process only takes a few hours, usually during the night or early morning.

…and the ED bit is...Emerald Damselfly.

31.07.13. Emerald Damselfly, Black Lake, Delamere Forest. Bill Morton

As its name suggests the Emerald Damselfly is a member of the green family of damselflies and it is a common sight right across the whole of the United Kingdom.

30.07.13. Emerald Damselfly (male and female in mating wheel), Black Lake, delamere Forest. Bill Morton

The Emerald prefers shallow bodies of still water with plenty of tall grassy vegetation around the margins and adjoining areas. They may be found on a very wide variety of habitats including bogs, ditches, canals, ponds and lakes.

Emerald Damselfly, Black Lake, Delamere Forest. Bill Morton

It can be seen from late June through to September but is at its best in late July and early August when they are fully mature and at their most vibrant and colourful.

30.07.13. Emerald Damselfly (male), Black Lake, delamere Forest. Bill Morton

The females are all green and have a thicker abdomen than the male and have brown eyes. The males are mainly green but have blue segments on the base and tip of their abdomens. They also have striking bright blue eyes.

Emerald Damselfly, Black Lake, Delamere Forest. Bill Morton

The Emerald differs from other species in that when at rest it nearly always has its wings spread in the dragonfly type pose; where as most other damselflies tend to sit with their wings closed and parallel to their bodies.

30.07.13. Emerald Damselfly (male), Black Lake, delamere Forest. Bill Morton

All images by WSM.

Check out this site for more information on other Damselflies (

30.07.13. Birdlog

30.07.13. Birdlog

30.07.13. Wood Sandpiper, No 6 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton.

A Little Egret flew in at dusk from the east. 3 Dunlin, singles of Common, Green and Wood Sandpiper.

One – two Marsh Harriers were noted.

Common Gulls out numbered Black-headed gulls for the first time this summer with over 200 roosting on the tank.

Again good numbers of non-breeding and breeding ducks included 10 Pochard and the bubbling Ruddy somewhere on the marsh?

Several hundred Swifts were forced to feed along the banks of the tank by the brooding thunder clouds overhead.

Observers: Don Weedon, Frank Duff, WSM (and image).

28.07.13. Birdlog

28.07.13. Birdlog

Tufted Duck (female), Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton

In no particular order is Guido’s sightings from the marsh today: 4 Mute Swan, Canada Geese 100 on No 4 and No 3 tanks, Common Shelduck 400 on the River Mersey at low tide and 20 on No 6 tank. The most I have ever seen here! Mallard , Teal , Pochard and Tufted Duck 50+ in total. Pheasant 2 small chicks, Little Grebe 2, Cormorant 1, Grey Heron 2, Marsh Harrier Male with 2 juvenile birds? Common Buzzard 2, and Sparrowhawk 1 male noted ( other birders saw a Hobby take a swallow close to the ramp before No 6 tank, Peregrine 1 over the Ineos Chlor plant.

Moorhen 1 at small pool on No 3, Coot 4 + chicks, Ringed Plover 10 on No 6 came with the Dunlin and then left. Lapwing 30 +,Knot 1 on No 6 showing fading brick-red belly, Dunlin 200 on No 6 and a Green Sandpiper on track south of tank. Redshank 2 flying over the Score, Black-tailed Godwit max of 44 on No 6, Curlew 200 + on the River Mersey, Snipe 2 over No 4.

Black-headed Gull 20 + and 2 juveniles, Herring Gull, Lesser Black-Backed Gull 10 on No 6, Great Black-Backed Gull 6 on No 6, Stock Dove 2, Wood Pigeon, Swift ( many over the Score and the track to No 6), Skylark 2 on No 6, Sand Martin 2 at Marsh Farm and Meadow Pipit 2 Lordship Marsh, Grey Wagtail 1 female Holpool Gutter chasing Buzzard !!

Sedge warbler 3 ( still singing ), Reed Warbler on No 6, Magpie 10 +, Carrion Crow 12 +, Raven 1-2 on the Score, Starling 30 +, Linnet 6 +. Goldfinch 10.
An  excellent day but sadly no Mongolian Sand Plover !!!

Ciao Guido D’Isidoro

Quite an exhaustive list by Guido.

Frank Duff also noted some of the above and added male Ruddy Duck, 200 Swift and hirundines and 2 Common Sandpiper.

Image: WSM.

27.07.13. Birdlog

27.07.13. Birdlog


A Green Sandpiper, Turnstone and Dunlin on No 6 tank.

Observer: Frank Duff.

Across the marsh at the Weaver Bend were 4 Oystercatcher, 60 Black-tailed Godwit, 1 Whimbrel, 20 Redshank, 4 Common Sandpiper, 1 Dunlin, 2 Ringed and Little Ringed Plover.

The female Marsh Harrier was mobbed by a Buzzard over the river and continued on her way west and a pair of Raven were cronking loudly nearby.

Passage of Swallows moving south east with a flock of 150 plus hundreds of Swifts feeding over Weston Point/Weaver estuary.

Observer: WSM.

Additionally No 6 tank still attracted some of the more commoner species with Tufted Duck, Shelduck and Canada Geese being evident.

Observers: Harley and Heather Wilde, Shaun Hickey and Keith

Image: Heather Wilde.

Nature Notes #23

.25.07.13. Green-veined White, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton27.07.13. Butterfly path south of ICI tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton25.07.13. Comma, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton
The Summer of the Butterfly Boom 
27.07.13. Cinnabar Moth, ICI tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton
Birders visiting the marsh all made comment on the profusion of butterflies out and about today. The rising temperatures (my car read 36 degrees at 16.45) in the calderon that is the marsh attracted a bloom of these winged painted palettes. Notable was the Gatekeeper (I countered 300 along the track south of the I.C.I tank) with reduced numbers of Small Tortoiseshell, and Meadow Brown following up behind. Large, Small, Green-veined Whites. Peacock, Comma, Red Admiral, Large Skipper and Six-spot Burnet Moth adding to the colour swash.
Probably the best spot to get close photographs is along the Ragwort covered track south side of the I.C.I tank (access from Ship Street, Frodsham).

25.07.13. Birdlog

25.07.13. Birdlog 25.07.13. Common Tern, Weaver Bend, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton. After work I made it down to the Weaver Bend and estuary to look for a potential Red-breasted Merganser. Unfortunately despite an extensive search I came up with a blank. 25.07.13. Tufted Duck and brood, Weaver Bend, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton. However a cracking selection of ducks and waders made the effort worthwhile. There were at least five large creches of shelducklings and c5 broods of Tufted Ducks with one brood of 16. 3 pairs of Little Grebe had juveniles in tow and 12 Great crested Grebes including juvenile birds. Follow link to see short video-  25 July 2013 22:07 25.07.13. Tufted Duck female with duckling, Weaver Bend, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton. Highlights was 2 very mobile and eventually photogenic Common Tern and an adult Yellow-legged Gull on the Weaver estuary and bend. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA A male Marsh Harrier was over the Weaver Bend and the Peregrine was sentinel like on the blue-topped chimney (opposite image). On the wader front were 6 Oystercatcher, 10 Common Sandpiper, 21 Redshank and 67 Black-tailed Godwit. Observer and images: WSM

24.07.13. Birdlog

Birding Frodsham Marsh (Warts and All)

17.07.13. Lapwing (juvenile), No 6 tank, Frodsham Marsh

When you do the whole marsh and see only 3 Magpies its time for a couple of cold beers ! Nonetheless I braved the 29 degrees midday heat and managed to see/hear the usual finches and warblers and a few Reed Bunting, but only two Lapwing, two Raven, one Buzzard, two Greylag Geese, three Pied Wagtail one Kestrel and one Sparrowhawk. Lots of Swallows and many Swift particularly over Frodsham Score.

The large flock of Canada Geese has moved to the other side of the Mersey with several hundred lining the bank on the North side . Adult with young Coot, Mute Swan, Tufted Duck and two creches of Shelduck chicks.

Ciao Guido D’Isidoro.

Birding Frodsham Marsh (A Day of Two Halves)

Nigel and I had an amazing evening on the Marsh tonight. We spotted the male Marsh Harrier looking in the sort of state you’d expect trying to keep up with the toing and froing!
24.07.13. Ruddy Duck pair, Frodsham Marsh. Heather Wilde
50 Shelduck (including 2 big broods of chicks), 25 Cormorant, 50 Tufted Duck, 4 Mute Swan,  single Black-tailed Godwit and Lapwing, 500+ gulls of varying types mostly Black-headed and Lesser Black-backed. The Ruddy Duck pair keeping a low profile away from the main action. 

24.07.13. Ruddy Duck, Frodsham Marsh. Heather Wilde
Plenty of hirundines and Swift about over the marsh and at Lordship Lane were 15 House Sparrows, 25 Goldfinch, 2 Reed Bunting, Ravens, and a really stunning Linnet (pictured below).
Observers: Nigel and Heather Wilde
24.07.13. Linnet, Frodsham Marsh. Heather Wilde.

The Big Twitch on the Big Ditch by James Walsh

The Big Twitch on the Big Ditch – Eastham Locks to Salford Docks

The Inaugural Manchester Ship Canal

Bird Race 24.05.13

James Walsh, Shaun Hargreaves, Steve Burke

The Team – James Walsh, Shaun Hargreaves and Steve Burke

Salford 1

Eastham Locks – where the Manchester Ship Canal meets the River Mersey

Salford 2

Sign at Salford Docklands 100 year Anniversary Walkway (1894-1994) 

Salford 3

Manchester Ship Canal Coat of Arms

 Salford 4

The Manchester Ship Canal, also known as “The Big Ditch”

Moore, Moore, Moore

Moore NR signMoore NR signMoore NR sign

We arrived at Moore Nature Reserve at 04.30 hrs with the aim of the day, to record as many species as possible at sites along the Manchester Ship Canal. The first birds of the day were a singing Yellowhammer, Grey Partridge, a dashing Hobby, plus around the woods, lakes & reeds – Great Spotted Woodpecker, Treecreeper, Jay, Bullfinch, Reed Bunting & Greylag Goose.

Great Spotted Woodpecker (ringed)

Merlin Magic

Frodsham Marsh was next up and a Marsh Harrier quartered the reeds, another Hobby & Raven flew through, whilst a big surprise was a male Merlin!

Eyes on the Prize

Thanks to the wonderful chaps @ Woolston, we gained access to this superb reserve, scoring Black-necked Grebes, Pochard & yet another Hobby!

 Salford 5 Hobby at Frodsham, one of 3 birds seen during the MSC bird race (Steve Burke)

 Mersey Parade

The river splashed on the rocks @ Eastham Locks, with very strong winds making birding difficult but a cruising Peregrine, Great Black-backed Gull &  Linnet were additions to the days total.

24.05.13. Red-legged Partridge, No 6 tank, Frodsham Marsh. James Walsh.

One of two Red-legged Partridge on the north track by No 6 tank

Avocet, No 6 tank, Spring, Frodsham Marsh. James Walsh.

Pair of Avocet on Frodsham Marsh (James Walsh)

Frodsham (again) Red-legged Partridge on the number 6 track, Curlews & Wheatear at Marsh Farm, Grasshopper Warbler near the River Weaver and a bonus pair of Avocet on Number 6 tank, and later, relocated on Frodsham Score. This bird is the symbol of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds and a story of nationwide, and regional, conservation success.

Party Time

At Salford Docks a Kingfisher zoomed along the Manchester Ship Canal, whilst at North Wharf the only “birds” (excuse the pun times 50) were the ones dancing around on Captain Salts Party Boat, and the flashing lights and booming house music emitting from the Princess Katherine seemed an appropriately surreal way to round off an educational day of 80 species.

James Walsh

Thanks to Frodsham Marsh Birdblog (, Woolston Eyes (

James Walsh