26.10.13. Birdlog

26.10.13. Birdlog

26.10.13. Raven, No 3 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill MortonA watch before the rising tide was fairly productive with 2 Barnacle amid the 500 Canada Goose present. A Whooper Swan with the Mute’s was not totally unexpected but it cut a lonesome figure without its usual companions.

4 Little and 2 Great White Egret were more than welcomed back to the fold after their summer recess.

Shorebirds were thin on the ground with 400 Lapwing, 4 Grey Plover, 40 Curlew and a single Green Sandpiper.

No 3 tank pulled in a Short-eared Owl before the pheasant shooters began their ‘sport’.

No 6 tank was again poorly Aythea represented with 300 Common Teal, 4 Shoveler, 7 Mallard and 11 Tufted Duck. The female Ruddy Duck resided at an undisclosed location.

Several Buzzards watched crossing the river between Hale and the score marsh was interesting behaviour. Meanwhile, the ‘old faithful’ Peregrine was surveying the vista from her usual watch tower.

Raven numbers were again healthy with c 24 birds scattered across the score and No 5 tank. Skylark were noted heading south in small flocks.

26.10.13. Blackening Wax Cap, no 4 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton

3 Migrant Hawker Dragonflies patrolling the track above No 6 tank and a good selection of (Blackening?) Wax Caps on the short turf alongside a badger track on No 4 tank.

Observers: Frank Duff, WSM (and images).

21.10.13. Birdlog

21.10.13. Birdlog

Starling roost, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton

Evening light fades fast at this time of year and it’s also the time when thousands of Starlings gather at dusk to roost in the reed beds or build up the courage to take on the flight to Runcorn bridge.

Late Autumn and early winter are probably the best times to watch the murmurations of Sturnus vulgaris on the marsh. Large flocks can be seen whipping up coordinated pulsating plumes of synchronised flight patterns. So it was that Frank countered in excess of 2,000 Starlings over No 5 tank this evening. Hopefully these flocks will triple in size over the next few months?

Also noted were 12 Snipe and 250 Lapwings.

Observer: Frank Duff

Nature Notes # 29

Nature Notes # 29

A Sunday stroll with Sparky through the forest of Delamere and a chance again to see autumn’s fungal hoard. Today we found 29 stalks of Fly Agaric (with slug damage to several of them) and a pretty impressive display of bolette’s with Suede and Brown Birch being new for us. The mature burst Earth/Puffball  reminds me of the Ridley Scott film ‘Alien’ where John Hurt’s character Kane gets introduced face to facehugger with the Alien egg.

20.10.13. Earth Ball, Delamere Forest. Bill Morton

Apart from the obvious fungi, a flock of 8 Crossbill flying over Dead Lake and later this flock or another flew over the Caravan Park off Station Road. Only other thing of note was a female Black Darter also at Dead Lake.


Pictured from top to bottom:

Earthball, Collared Earth Star, False Chanterelle (?), Angel’s Bonnet, Dark Honey fungus, Armillaria oystoyae, Brown Birch Bolette, Brown Birch Bolete or just possibly roseofractum or similar, Wrinkled Club, Fragile Brittle Cap, an unidentified fungi and Fly Agaric.



OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAFungi, Delamere. Bill MortonOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA20.10.13. Wrinkle Club, Delamere Forest. Bill Morton


20.10.13. Fungi selection., Delamere Forest. Bill Morton

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA20.10.13. Fly Agaric, Delamere Forest. Bill Morton

2 Great White Egret and a pale-bellied Brent Goose on Frodsham Score/Ince Marshes per WeBS counters.

Thanks to http://www.thewildsideoflife.co.uk/ for some corrections.


19.10.13. Birdlog (WeBS Count)

19.10.13. Birdlog (WeBS Count)

19.10.13. Grey Plover and Lapwing, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton

A 9.4 m high tide brought in to No 6 tank 185 Golden Plover, 287 Lapwing, 40 Grey Plover, 2 Dunlin, 4 Ringed Plover and a single Knot. Waterfowl numbers were 324 Common Teal, 54 Common Shelduck, 2 Common Pochard, 14 Tufted Duck, 34 Shoveler, female Ruddy Duck, 10 Gadwall and 10 Mallard.

19.10.13. Raven, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton

A build up of Raven over the last week brought counts of 36, 46 and 10 birds to Frodsham Score, No 1 and No 5 tanks  It was obvious there was some overlap with numbers here but it was estimated that up to 50 birds were present. Also noted on No 5 tank were 15 Carrion Crows joining the Ravens. The rookery alongside the M56 saw several Rooks in display (bizarre and presumably a bit of communal bonding going on there?).

A Great Spotted Woodpecker was with the roving tit flock along the track above No 6 tank. Small numbers of passerines moving south east included Siskin, Skylark and Meadow Pipit but none of which were in any high counts or continues passage.

Also noted were 2 Migrant Hawker patrolling the track above No 6 tank and a distant Small Tortoiseshell Butterfly making its way over the Sea Aster clumps also on the tank.

Observers: Frank Duff, WSM (and images)

Wigg Island supplement

19.10.13. Lost Lagoon, Wigg Island. Bill Morton

19.10.13. Kingfisher, Wigg Island. Bill Morton

19.10.13. Harlequin Ladybird, Wigg Island. Bill Morton19.10.13. Harlquin Ladybird and Alder Beetle, Wigg Island. Bill Morton19.10.13. Alder Beetle, Wigg Island. Bill Morton

Towards the end of the day I called into Wigg Island’s ‘lagoon’ to see what was happening to the site. A good selection of waterbirds included two flocks of ten Wigeon sitting out the tide on the river, 4 Little Egret were dancing with gulls in the ebbing tidal gutters.

On the ‘lagoon’ 2 Little Grebe, 45 Common Teal, 4 Shoveler, Water Rail, 15 Common Snipe, 1 Black-tailed Godwit, Greenshank (heard) and a very obliging Kingfisher feeding from the pool by the footpath.

Also noted nearby on the Runcorn-Latchford canal spur (by the stone sculptures) were 8 Tufted Duck and a Little Grebe.

Gull numbers were increasing at dusk with several thousand loitering just off the salt marsh before the big push up river to the Mersey estuary.

There was an obvious explosion of Harlequin Ladybirds with loads of them all over the tower hide and smaller numbers of Alder beetles were present. A single Darter spp Dragonfly over the tower hide just before the heavens opened and flooded very thing and everyone making their way back to the car park!

Observer: WSM

17.10.13. Birdlog

17.10.13. Birdlog

16.10.13. Cormorant, Frodsham Marsh. Bill MortonWith a warm day fading behind us and a fine evening watch from the banks of No 6 tank. A couple of butterfly species highlighted the warmth of the day with both Small Tortoiseshell and Red Admiral present.

16.10.13. Ravens, No 5 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill MortonWater birds on No 6 tank included 300 Common Teal, 14 Tufted Duck, 3 Pochard, 7 Shoveler, 4 Pintail and 40 Common Shelduck which were typical fare for the marsh of late.

A calling Water Rail from the depth of the reed beds broke the serene quality of the evening.

The Raven exodus saw 10 birds flying out south at dusk while 14 lingered on the fence line on No 5 tank.

16.10.13. No 6 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill MortonThe Cormorant roost on the remaining dead trees at the eastern end of No 6 tank always provide good photographic opportunities. The birds often sit up with outstretched wings silhouetted against the evening light making for fine images.

Observer and images: WSM

52 Golden Plover over No 6 tank. 6 Siskin and Redpoll over GEGB pools.

Observer: Frank Duff

WeBS Sunday Count

WeBS Help Needed

This Sunday is the monthly Mersey Estuary WeBS waterfowl count. This is your chance to get out onto the Mersey salt marshes where no one else can go and contribute to our knowledge and conservation of one of Britain’s best wetlands. Come and join us we need some new birders. email, dermot.smith71@gmail.com for more details. Also see the facebook page Mersey Estuary WeBS

13.10.13. Birdlog

13.10.13. Birdlog

13.10.13. Pied Wagtail, No 6 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton.

These easterly winds aren’t doing much for birding on the marsh (famous last words). Another below par bird watch on No 6 tank with a small return of 34 Tufted Duck and 2 Pochard presumably from the Weaver estuary. 4 Pintail, 64 Common Teal and 45 Common Shelduck. A Sparrowhawk was hunting the ditches along Moorditch Lane and 14 Raven were over Frodsham Score. A welcome return of the big female Peregrine to the blue-topped chimney at Weston Point.

Observer and image: WSM

12.10.13. Birdlog

12.10.13. Birdlog

12.10.13. Fox and Redshanks, Weaver Bend, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton

12.10.13. Little Grebes, Weaver Bend, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton.A watch on the Weaver Bend and estuary was quite productive with 12 Little Grebe, 12 Coot, 56 Tufted Duck, 4 Pochard, 76 Lapwing, 1 Ruff and 63 Redshank were roosting up while a  Fox scavenging along the river’s edge behind them went unnoticed/ignord.

12.10.13. Ruddy Duck (female), No 6 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton.No 6 tank was again quiet with 45 Common Teal, 7 Pintail, 4 Shoveler and the female Ruddy Duck being present. The usual Water Rail squealing from reed beds here and a covey of 6 (2 adults, 4 juvenile) Grey Partridge makes you wonder where they came from, perhaps set down by the shooting brigade?

12 Raven were out and about on No 5 tank with a similar size flock of Jackdaw shadowing their movements. A Fieldfare brought in Autumn and a Goldcrest was calling along the hedgerow at Brook Furlong Lane.

Observers: Frank Duff, WSM (images and video).

12.10.13. Tthe Lum, Frodsham MarshThe Lum where strange circular bales of hay perched on metal poles? I asked some of the pheasant shooters what they were and they said that they were nesting platforms for Mallards? Apparently the US shooters use them on their wetlands.

11.10.13. Birdlog

11.10.13. Birdlog

11.10.13. Ruddy Duck (female), Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton

Walking into work this morning and the air was filled with ‘seeping’ Redwing…and after work a short trip to the marsh was lean but as always I was keen. No real highlight but the female Ruddy Duck powered her way through the waters to find a roosting spot. If she makes it in 10-11 weeks I’m sure there will be a few admirers (the ministry excluded). 11 Shoveler, 4 Pintail, 30 Common Teal and not a single Tufted Duck?

Several Raven were both notable and audible over No 3 tank.

11.10.13. Devil's Coachman, No 6 tank, frodsham MarshA short video of a Devil’s Coachman along a track on No 3 tank. Some camera noise so it would be wise to reduce the sound and an image of the little bug(ger) getting all feisty with its headlights on.

Observer: WSM (images and video)