31.08.13. Birdlog

31.08.13. Birdlog

31.08.13.  Curlew Sandpipers, No 6 tank, Frodsham Marsh

31.08.13. Curlew Sandpipers and Teal, No6 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton

No 6 tank: Adult and juvenile Black-necked Grebe, Great Crested Grebe, 500 Common Teal, Garganey, 6 Shoveler, 7 Pochard, hybrid Ruddy Shelduck and 18 Greylag Goose.

31.08.13. Garganey, No 6 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Alyn Chambers

On the wader front were 3 juvenile Little Ringed Plover, 15 Ringed Plover,1 Ruff, 4 Black-tailed Godwit, 4 Dunlin, 12 Curlew Sandpiper, 2 Common Sandpiper. The inexperience juvenile Peregrine was frustrating observations by practice hunting over the tank and upsetting the local birdlife. Marsh Farm had a single Whinchat.

31.08.13. hybrid Ruddy Shelduck, No6 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton

Alyn Chambers (Garganey image), Frank Duff, Paul and Brenda Haslam, James Walsh, WSM (other images).

30.08.13. Birdlog

30.08.13. Birdlog

24.03.13. Black-tailed Godwits, Ince. Stuart Maddocks (8)

24.08.13. Hybrid Shelducks, No 6 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton (3)3 Curlew Sandpiper, c700 Black-tailed Godwit, 1 Turnstone, 4 Knot, 1 Ruff, 3 Little Ringed Plover, 2 Common Sandpipers,20 Greylag Geese, 7 Pochard, c500 Teal and a funny looking Shelduck hybrid.

Also noted 1 Peregrine, 17 Raven, 1 Whinchat, 1 Wheatear.

Images: Stuart Maddocks, WSM.

Observers: Tony Disley, Shaun Hargreaves, James Walsh

Marsh Birds

As August finally draws to a close a quick look back at the highlights of an impressive month and a look forward. September is traditionally the time to make your visit  more frequent and hopefully bag a scarce wader or a drift migrant from further east?

A video of the Marbled Duck on No 6 tank taken by Pete Hines 28.08.13.

Marbled Duck (Marmaronetta angustirostris) in Cheshire, UK

27.08.13. Black-necked Brebe (adult), no 6 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Barry Jacks.The (moulting) adult Black-necked Grebe again from No 6 tank. Just shows what a quality lens can produce with detail.

27.08.13. Ruddy Shelduck with Common Shelduck, Frodsham Marsh. Barry Jacks.Above the resplendent Ruddy Shelduck captured by Barry Jacks again from no 6 tank.

Cattle Egret, Frodsham Marsh. Mark Payne (2)

…and ‘The Bird of the Year’ (so far?) is the Cow Egret taken by Mark Payne.




Cattle Egret – New to Frodsham Marsh

Cattle Egret – New to Frodsham Marsh

23.08.13. Cattle Egret, Frodsham Marsh. Pete Antrobus

23.08.13. Cattle Egret, No6 tank. Liam Lamgley and Scott Lees 001After successfully twitching the 1st-winter Citrine Wagtail at Conwy on the 22nd of August thanks to a generous lift off my dad, I arranged to go back the next day with my mate Scott Reid in order to try to obtain some half decent pictures of the bird. When news broke later that evening of a fully winged Marbled Duck at Frodsham Marsh in Cheshire, I was admittedly intrigued. Despite being relegated, probably for eternity, to the doldrums of Category D, I’ve always thought that a wild Marbled Duck might one day be proven by stable isotope analysis or even, dare I hope, by bearing a Spanish ring. If the species was by some miracle proven to occur wild in the UK, then the BOURC would be forced to review and possibly accept past records. In my opinion the bird had fairly decent credentials, occurring in late August when drought induced dispersal from Iberia would be most likely. In other words it was a classic insurance tick and well worth the short detour on route from Stockport to Conwy. I was also intrigued to check out the habitat at Frodsham as despite the array of great birds that have turned up over the years, I’m embarrassed to say that I’ve never paid the site a visit. Little did I know quite how much of an eye opener this visit would be…

22.08.13. Drake Marbled Teal, No 6 tank, Frodsham MarshWe arrived at Frodsham shortly before 7am and we’re greeted by top Cheshire birder Mark Payne. He had just finished checking the flock of c500 Teal on the main lake with no success. We therefore headed round to the small pool where the bird was seen to roost yesterday evening but drew a blank here as well. As we had plenty of time we decided to head back down the entrance track and check the Teal on the main lake again. After a few minutes Scott located the Marbled Duck and we proceeded to enjoy great views as it headed towards us from the far side of the lake emerging onto the muddy shore in front of us. The bird was truly stunning with its gorgeous marbled plumage and its larger size and sleek structure made it really stand out from the accompanying Teal. The bird posed for a few record shots and showed that it was at least fully winged, stretching before flying off right with a couple of Teal.

Cattle Egret, Frodsham Marsh. Mark Payne (1)Cattle Egret, Frodsham Marsh. Mark Payne (2)We headed back along the track towards the area where it was first found hoping to relocate the bird and achieve better views. As we were walking along the track Scott and I simultaneously picked up a small egret flying towards us from the direction of Frodsham Score. Immediately alarm bells in my brain began to ring; the bird appeared really compact, short-winged and short-legged in flight and I quickly asked Mark if it was just a Little before getting my bins on it. Mark dismissed it as a Little but as soon as I was on it I knew that my instincts had been right! I immediately saw the short yellow bill and realised at once that I was watching a Cattle Egret!!! I quickly expressed this thought to the other two, screaming the words cattle and egret several times in rapid succession. Scott instantly agreed however Mark was a second slow and only caught the arse end of the bird as it headed off over No. 6 tank. We all stopped and stared at each in disbelief for a moment with me and Scott reassuring Mark that the bird definitely was what we were saying. Mark quickly decided this was a bird worth chasing and bolted after it down the track with me hot on his tail. Scott, managing to keep his composure rather more effectively than us, dashed in the other direction to get his camera from the car. I managed to periodically keep track of the bird in flight, giving a running commentary on its position to Mark who was sprinting ahead.

23.08.13. Pissing Cow and Cattle Egret, Frodsham Marsh. Patrick Earith

Fortunately as we reached an area with a good view across the main lake the bird circled round and landed on the scaffolding on one of the water towers. Scope on it and BOOM, there it was a self-found Cattle Egret and a stonking adult summer bird at that! I quickly fired off a (few for the record) phone-scoped shots before allowing myself to relax slightly. Scott soon arrived with his DSLR and after more shots were acquired and the news put out to both locals and the news services, the joy of the find began to wash over me and Scott. When I first picked it up Cattle Egret was one of the furthest birds from my mind and the whole episode goes to show that while you can put yourself in the right place, rarities are always found at unexpected moments, mostly by sheer dumb luck. Apparently the bird was only the 6th or 7th record for Cheshire and only the 3rd twitchable so it was particularly gratifying that almost everyone who wanted to see it managed to catch up with it over the course of its day long stay.

Cattle Egret, Frodsham Marsh. Mark Payne (4)The rest of the day didn’t quite have the same glow to it as we learned that the Marbled Duck was sporting a rather fetching red ring making it an almost definite escape. To add insult to injury the Citrine Wagtail had apparently departed overnight making our trip to Conwy a complete waste of time. Despite these facts Scott and I were still buzzing on the way home as we rehashed the awesome moments when we first picked up the Cattle Egret drifting towards us. Other than a few large shearwaters off Cornwall and a Quail in Norfolk, this is the first rare bird I’ve ever found and it more than lived up to my expectations. That feeling of pure elation at a completely unexpected find truly is the stuff birding dreams are made of. The find also showed the incredible potential of Frodsham to pull in good birds and I can safely say that this won’t be my last visit to the site! A cracking day that I certainly won’t forget in a long time!

Cattle Egret, Frodsham Marsh. Mark Payne (3)

23.08.13. Cattle Egret, Frodsham Marsh. Colin Davis

Liam Langley

Not a bad first ever visit to Frodsham Marsh for Liam and Scott! Both hopefully will savour a few more memories in years to come and follow this find up with a Squacco Heron next time? Eds.

Images: Liam Langley/Scott Reid, Mark Payne, Colin Davis, Patrick Earith, WSM

27.08.13. Birdlog

27.08.13. Birdlog

15.02.13. Little Egret, Frodsham Marsh. Stuart Maddocks (3)Holpool Gutter to Frodsham Score; 2 Green Sandpiper and female Wigeon along the gutter. While the score had Little Egret and male Marsh Harrier.

Observer: Frank Duff.

Image: Stuart Maddocks.

An evening watch overlooking the exposed mudflats of No 6 tank was well rewarding with 7 juvenile and 2 adult Curlew Sandpiper, 4 adult Little Stint, 50 Dunlin, 154 Ringed Plover and 5 Ruff. During the course of the evening a female Ruddy Shelduck joined up with the Common Shelduck present there.


27.08.13.Marbled Duck, No 6 tank, frodsham Marsh

Other species worthy of attention were 3 Pochard, 43 Tufted Duck, 540 Common Teal, Marbled Duck and a single Black-necked Grebe.

A male Sparrowhawk and a female Marsh Harrier gave fine views.

Observers: Paul Crawley, Nigel Case, Barry Jacks, WSM.

26.08.13. Birdlog

26.08.13. Birdlog

25.08.13At 13.00 hrs temperatures soared to 33c, a female Sparrowhawk circled over No 6 tank ignored by the hundreds of Common Teal, Lapwing, 4 Black-tailed Godwit and Curlew. The Black-necked Grebes were still in the south-east corner of the tank. A Raven heard honking over Frodsham Score and many 100’s of Shelduck on the River Mersey at low tide. A juvenile Kestrel perched along the fence on No 5 tank was keen eared and sharp-eyed in its attempt to locate the small mammals scurrying about below.

Ciao Guide D’Isidoro.

Additionally 4 Ruff and a Curlew Sandpiper seen on no 6 tank by Ruth Elsby,


25.08.13. Birdlog

25.08.13. Birdlog

25.08.13. Black-necked Grebe, No 6 tank, Frodsham Marsh...The adult and juvenile Black-necked Grebe continued to settle in with the 84 Tufted Duck on the eastern margins of No 6 tank. 500 Common Teal and the elusive Marbled Duck also found sanctuary here. 

25.08.13. Black-necked Grebe, No 6 tank, Frodsham Marsh.A Little Egret was noted on Frodsham Score.

The wader roost at high tide was a little unnerving for the Dunlin flocks with a marauding Peregrine Falcon not giving them the opportunity to settle for any length of time. When the birds eventually roosted up 2 adult and a juvenile Curlew Sandpiper and juvenile and adult Little Stint, 3 Little Ringed and 200 Ringed Plover were noted.

Nearby a male Marsh Harrier was sailing over No 4 tank.

The evening flight of Raven from Frodsham Score out toward Frodsham/Helsby Hills and beyond was underway by 6.00 pm with small parties seen leaving the marsh. Residents included six birds in flight over Fox Hill.

Observers: Frank Duff, Ian Evans, Paul Brewster, WSM (and images).

24.08.13. Birdlog

24.08.13. Birdlog (WeBS count)

24.08.13. Curlew Sandpipers, .No 6 tank, Frodsham Marsh24.08.13. Curlew Sandpipers, No 6 tank, Frodsham Marsh24.08.13. Curlew Sandpipers, No 6 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Alyn ChambersWaterfowl featured 408 Common Teal, 43 Tufted Duck, 2 male Pochard, Ruddy Shelduck (and hybrid type), 156 Common Shelduck. Also noted was the adult and juvenile Black-necked Grebe present on the eastern corner of No 6 tank.

High tide brought in an impressive 1500 Ringed Plover, 3 Little Ringed Plover, 3 Sanderling, 1 Turnstone, 1 Knot, Black-tailed Godwit, 11 Ruff,  2 adult Curlew Sandpiper, 500 Dunlin, 1 Little Stint, single Green Sandpiper and 15 Common Snipe. It was inevitable that raptors would be in tow and an adult male Peregrine (with prey) and both male and juvenile Marsh Harrier to No 6 tank duly obliged.

A juvenile Common Tern didn’t linger and passed through on its way to the river.


Observers: Frank Duff, Alyn Chambers, WSM.

Frodsham Score had notable concentrations of Shelduck with in excess of 700 birds and with them was a Ruddy Shelduck vieing for attention. This bird later flew to No 6 tank.120 Oystercatcher roosted on the edge of the salt marsh, 33 Black-tailed Godwit, a single Golden Plover and small parties of Dunlin fluttered about. A Little Egret was feeding in the tidal gutters and presumably the same bird alighted with the Dunlin a few hours later on No 6 tank. 22 Raven over the banks of the MSC were eagerly harassing any large bird en route to the marsh.

Observer: WSM

The Marbled Duck (colour ringed on left leg and potentially ringed on right? per FD) was again present spending time in the centre of the tank and eventually sought solitude on the edge of the reed beds. A couple of interesting articles supplied by James Walsh on ringing/tagging/status of Marbled Duck.

http://www.ebd.csic.es/andy/Ardeola04.pdf  http://www.planetofbirds.com/anseriformes-anatidae-marbled-duck-marmaronetta-angustirostris .

…and finally perhaps the last word on this bird which although a diversion from normal sightings really points to the duck being from a captive origin. Below is a letter received by James Walsh from Andy Green. Thanks to James the ‘dead-eyed birding detective’ in first not taking the normal assumption and secondly for pursuing Marbled Duck origins in Spain.

Hi James,

Nice to hear from you. You might also want to look at this other paper:


Although there have been releases of marbled teal in Spain in recent 
years, and it is possible that someone has used a colour ring, I think 
it much more likely that such a bird is an escape from a collection 
somewhere in northern Europe. I think using colour rings to mark birds 
in collections is standard practice.

Best wishes,

Andy Green

Butterflies noted today included a Brimstone near to No 4 tank, a female Common Blue and numerous Small Tortoiseshell, Peacock and Red Admiral.

Images: Upper two WSM and lower Alyn Chambers. Perhaps not the egret that most wanted to see today but this Little Egret left Frodsham Score to settle on No 6 tank. A distant view of two and a record shot showing the red belly colour of the Curlew Sandpiper.

23.08.13. Birdlog

23.08.13. Birdlog 23.08.13. Cattle Egret, Frodsham Marsh. Mark Payne Cattle Egret and Marbled Duck (red ring on left leg) on No 6 tank with 500 Common Teal and the Cattle Egret moving to fields east of Lordship Marsh from early evening. 2 (1 juv & moulting adult) Black-necked Grebe, Ruddy Shelduck and a drake Ruddy Duck. A male Ruff, 3 Greenshank, 500 Dunlin, adult Curlew Sandpiper and a Little Stint added contrast here to a thrilling 24 hours. Image: Mark Payne. 23.08.13. Pissing Cow and Cattle Egret, Frodsham Marsh. Patrick Earith Image: Cow and Cow Egret. Patrick Earith. Very short video of the Cow Egret by WSM https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=187353308112201

…and the finders account via his blog here…http://liamsbirding.blogspot.co.uk/ Observers: Liam Langley, Scott Reid et al