Goodbye to the Old and Welcome to the New Year 2014

Goodbye to the Old and Welcome to the New Year 2014

A collection of three images taken at roughly the same time of year (December) and spanning nearly 30 years. How times have changed and 2014 should see more changes to this area.

No 4 tank, cira 1986. Brian Rimmer

The settlement of silt deposit on No. 4 tank has taken many years. First image is of the tank when it was left to settle with the first emergent vegetation taking place c1986 taken by Brian Rimmer.

SE corner of No4 tank 3, Dec'03. Bill Morton

The second image (above) taken 10 years ago this month showing roughly the same area.

31.12.13

The final image shows the same place today but now the tank is covered in Elder scrub and Phragmites reed beds. Last two images by WSM.

 

31.12.13. Birdlog

31.12.13. Birdlog

31.12.13. Linnet and M56 Moterway, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton

A small flock of Linnet after a wash and dryout on wires overlooking traffic on the M56 Motorway.

31.12.13. Frodsham Marsh

The last birding day of 2013 and I was heading down to the marsh at sunrise. Well, when I say sunrise I meant to say all five minutes of it. This was followed by low cloud rolling in and with it loads of slow-moving rain. I kept repeating to myself that we live in a temperate zone on the edge of the Atlantic Ocean and it’s what we should expect in December. The persistent rain was seeping through my waterproofs (Goretex isn’t waterproof) and slowly entering my camera bag. The rain sure was testing my patience and a lot of Anglo-Saxon cursing was filling the air.

It’s all about the birds so No. 6 tank was a duck haven with 300 Common Teal, 100 Tufted Duck, 10 Common Pochard, 12 Shoveler, 67 Common Shelduck and 6 Wigeon.

A quick look over Frodsham Score and peering through the morning gloom I only managed to see 10 Whooper Swan. A couple of Jays failed to lift my damp spirit. A Chiffchaff was calling deep from the reed beds on No. 4 tank.

Over 30 Raven were gathering on No.5 tank at first light.

Observer and images: WSM

Mark Twain once said “if you don’t like the British weather, wait a minute”. Come the afternoon and the clouds rolled back with a beautiful sunny period until dusk.

Frank paid a visit to the east side of the marsh and found a flock of Redpoll and a pair of Bullfinch. 

31.12.13. No. 4 tank and Growhow works at Ince. Paul Crawley

Paul took the late shift with the usual numbers of Lapwing and Golden Plover on No.2 and No.3 tanks. Apart from the birds seen earlier I managed to add the 1cy Marsh Harrier, 5 Redshank and a single Pintail all on No. 6 tank.

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While across the marsh on No.1 tank a Merlin and 2 Stonechat were lingering by the pool near Marsh Farm.

Obserers: Frank Duff and Paul Crawley (final image).

29.12.13. Birdlog

29.12.13. Birdlog

Peregrine. Bill Morton

A lone Ruff was on the flooded grassy areas of No. 5 tank.

200 Tufted Duck flew right over my head from No. 5 and straight out to No. 6 tank in two separate groups. They caught be off guard, I just wasn’t ready for how close and how loud these ducks can be directly overhead. They sounded like a jet and after that I required a roll of toilet paper!

The Lapwing and Golden Plover numbered several hundred strong. The lord and lady Peregrine of Mersey were again perched regal like on the tallest watch tower at Weston Point.

Observer:  Paul Crawley.

Image: WSM

28.12.13. Birdlog

28.12.13. Birdlog

28.12.13. Tractor ralley (who's in need of a tow), Frodsham Marsh. Heather Wilde.

The Wilde’s managed a first trip to the marsh today, but things didn’t get off to a great start with hovercrafts on one side and a vintage tractor rally going around No.6 tank followed by a huge hail storm!
28.12.13. Vintage Tractor Ralley around No. 6 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Heather Wilde.
However, Lordship Lane kept us entertained with a Song Thrush bashing a snail against a rock trying to break it open, all being watched by a bemused looking Pied Wagtail. 
28.12.13. Song Thrush with Snail, Frodsham Marsh. Heather Wilde.
There was a Buzzard in the hawthorn bushes along Lordship Lane,  Redwing were at various points round No. 6 tank. A flyover by about 8 Curlew, a couple of Shelduck near the pipes on the tank and a Kestrel hunting near the ‘Splashing pool’.
28.12.13. Lapwing in flight, Frodsham Marsh. Heather Wilde.
A flock of about 1500 Lapwing took flight from Frodsham Score, we were not sure what had spooked them…
28.12.13. Kestral hunting through the melee, Frodsham Marsh. Heather Wilde.
…but the Kestrel just carried on hovering through the melee as they all flew around him. Nearby a Water Rail was calling.
28.12.13. rainbow over no. 6 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Heather Wilde.
And through it all the rainbow shone done on the pot of gold that is ‘Froddie Marsh’.
28.12.13. Phragmities at Dusk, Frodsham Marsh. Heather Wilde.
Observers and images: Heather, Nigel, Findlay and Harley (The Wilde Bunch).

26.12.13. Birdlog

26.12.13. Birdlog
21.12.13. Juvenile Whooper Swan, frodsham Score. Bill Morton
Frodsham Score continues to have the monopoly of birds with 18 Whooper Swan wintering off the old magazine landing platform. A 1cy Marsh Harrier and Peregrine put in appearances. Observer: Frank Duff.
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25.12.13. Ship Canal, Score and River Mersey. Bill Morton
Paul wrote: I spent a few hours above the ship canal at Marsh Farm where I saw 6 Little Grebe, 13 Tufted duck, 5 Redshank, 5 Mute Swan, 1 Common Sandpiper and a Peregrine on the blue-topped chimney which kept the hundreds of Golden Plover and Lapwings busy along with the Curlews and Starlings.
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Resting up on No. 5 tank were the ubiquitous Lapwing and Golden Plover, while Curlew and a single Redshank have small supporting parts. During my watch they all filled the sky when spooked by 3 Buzzard flying in formation. Apart from the usual Shoveler and Common Teal among the gulls there were 3 Pintail and another solitary Redshank on No.6 tank.
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The fields on Lordship lane near the pony field had flocks of berry marauding Fieldfare and Redwing.
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Observer: Paul Crawley.
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I thought I would try something different so a walk from Frodsham Bridge to the Weaver Bend: 3 Mute Swan including a youngster, 50 Mallard, 5 Redshank, 10 Blackbird, 15 Chaffinch, 20 Blue and a single Coal Tit produced a mixed bag of birds.
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Observer: Lee Lappin

25.12.13. Birdlog

Christmas Day

25.12.13. Buzzard, No. 3 tank. Bill Morton

I’ve always found that Christmas Day is the best day for me to bird Frodsham Marsh. Most people would be busy or getting ready for the big food bonanza in the afternoon. I snuck away armed with a stocking full of enthusiasm and not a lot of expectation. The distant low hum of tyre on tarmac traffic on the M56 was lessened by the holiday. The silent guns were not ringing in the air and the lack of model aircraft droning in the sky above the deposit tanks made for an excellent undisturbed bird watch. I could clearly hear all the Meadow Pipit and Skylark flying overhead and the whistling Wigeon on the river.

25.12.13. Wigeon flock on the edge of Frodsham Score. Bill Morton.

Unfortunately the serenity extended to No. 6 tank with the lack of birds there. 100 Common Shelduck, 96 Common Teal, 20 Mallard and 3 Common Pochard were the only birds of note.

25.12.13. Gun turret on Frodsham Score. Bill Morton.

A World War Two gunning turret with a tree growing through it on the banks of the Manchester Ship Canal/Frodsham Score. 50 metres further east (right) of this image was a gathering of 31 Raven sat around looking for trouble!

I decided a walk up to the corner of No. 4 tank and its views across to Frodsham Score could be potentially rewarding? This proved the right decision, 24 Mute and 19 Whooper Swan. 2 Little Egret and a flock of grass chomping Wigeon numbering 300 birds on the edge of the salt marsh. The Wigeon were eager to keep leap frogging each other to get the best of the lush grass there. Several small (100+) Dunlin flocks, Curlew and 39 Black-tailed Godwit added to the watch. Nearby a calling Chiffchaff at the north-east corner of the tank remained unseen unlike a decoration of 240 Goldfinch acting like baubles perched on the old Elder trees there.

On No. 3 tank there were c2,000 Lapwing and the Golden Plover numbers were approaching 7-900 birds. On one occasion the whole flock panic-stricken rose into the air and made for a grand spectacle. A further 1000 Lapwing were present on No. 5 tank.

The ever present pair of Peregrine were watching their festive lunches from the chimney at Weston Point below on the score, while a Merlin was presumably responsible for the plovers anxiety.

25.12.13. People on Helsby Hill from No. 4 tank, frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton.

This image was taken whilst I was scanning the hill tops from the back of No. 4 tank. A group of Christmas Day friends at the trig point on Helsby Hill. They appear to be enjoying the views over the Mersey and Weaver valleys.

Observer and images: WSM

Images of Frodder’s

A selection of images from Frodsham Marsh of late and one or two from the summer of 2013. I’ll add some more over time so check the category on the right of the blog Images of Frodder’s.

21-10-12-dusk-over-no-6-tank-frodsham-marsh. bill morton

A tranquil scene of industry and wilderness.

 

Lordship Lane

Lordship Lane with the banks of No. 6 tank to the right.

15.05.13. Lordship Lane, Frodsham Marsh

The other end of the track from the above image and the junction with Lordship Lane.

Weaver estuart from Weston. Bill Morton. May 2013.

The Weaver estuary from Weston Road with the industrial plant of Ineos Chlor.

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Grassy hay bales at Marsh Farm.

14.05.13. Ship at the Weaver estuary, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton.

These ocean-going vessels have to take a tight left hand turn as they negotiate the Weaver estuary and the Manchester Ship Canal.

27.07.13. ICI sphere, Frodsham Marsh

The ‘Big Golf Balls’ storage container at Ineos Chlor. Any workers out their can tell us their real purpose?

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A serene summer scene with the sun slowly sliding low in the sky and illuminating this Elder tree on Frodsham Score.

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Big skies and big colours over Frodsham Score

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An oily winch alongside the ship canal presumably to haul in the dredging pipes?

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It never ceases to amaze the lengths and distances these numpty’s go to fly tip in our countryside. They are usually paid to dump in a domestic refuge site by a householder believing they will use a legitimate location. Generally these people will pocket the money and dump it in areas which are out of sight. Eventually when the illegally dumped items are collected any identifying envelopes with names and addresses will receive the fine.

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Weston Point and the watch tower of the power station chimney at Weston Point and the sentry lookout for our resident Peregrines.

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A view over No. 6 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton

No. 6 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill morton

A view over No. 6 tank in a variety of angles and taken a few days ago.

All above images by WSM.

22.12.13. Incoming tide at frodsham Score. Dermot Smith.

A rising tide on 22nd December 2013 flooding the salt ,arsh. Image by Dermot Smith

22.12.13. Weaver sluices from frodsham Score. Dermot Smith

Frodsham Score at its eastern end. Image by Dermot Smith

22.12.13. Dunlin flocks, Frodsham Score. Dermot Smith

22.12.13. Incoming tide, Frodsham Score. Dermot Smith.

22.12.13. Waders and ducks, Frodsham Score. Dermot Smith.

22.12.13. Frodsham Score birds on incoming tide. dermot Smith 22.12.13. Wildfowl at Ince Marshes, Dermot Smith

Dunlin flock wheel around looking for a safe refuge and a variety of geese and duck during the high tide on Ince marshes and Frodsham Score. Images by Dermot Smith.

Mersey into the MSC at Ince Marshes. Andy Ankers.

Andy Ankers shocking image from (05.12.13.) the day of the River Mersey tidal surge breaching into the Manchester Ship Canal.

22.12.13. Tidal damage at Ince Marshes, Dermot Smith. 22.12.13. Tidal damage at Ince Marshes, Dermot Smith

Debris stranded after the big tidal surge on 5th December. It was at this and several other points on the salt marsh where on an exceptional tide the River Mersey breached the banks and flowed into the Manchester Ship Canal. Images taken on 22nd December 2013. Images by Dermot Smith.

If you fancy a sense of isolation with wild creatures on the edge of a real wilderness but with the comforting background of Liverpool, the Welsh hills and Hale lighthouse, then join Dermot and the gang. You will be helping to contribute to the BTO’s WeBS counts once a month from a selection of locations along the banks of the River Mersey. Check out this facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Mersey-Estuary-WeBS/216178248450013

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22.12.13. Birdlog

22.12.13. Birdlog

I went to Parkgate to see that Yank Pipit and had a Look at Frodsham on the way back.

22.12.13. Fieldfare, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton

There were large numbers of Lapwing c 1000 on Frodsham Score from Marsh Farm in spite of two wildfowlers who were there with their dogs. Golden Plovers again present on No. 3 tank low down to avoid the brisk wind. A small flock of Meadow Pipit and 3 Raven were at Marsh Farm. No. 6 tank saw in 130 Curlew, 20 Fieldfare, 8 Redwing and a scattering of Goldfinch, Chaffinch and Reed Bunting. A quiet period (not counting Arthur’s squeaky new knee).

Ciao Guido D’Isidoro.

22.12.13. Easyjet and Peregrines, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton

A pair of Peregrines were perched on the blue-topped chimney at Weston Point and must have provided some crippling views for the pilots and passengers arriving back in blighty.

22.12.13. Merlin, Frodsham Marsh. Paul Crawley

Elsewhere a female Merlin flew past me on No.1 tank roughly 2 foot off the ground and then perched on a post on the bank junction of No. 2 and 5 tanks.

Observer and images: Paul Crawley


					

21.12.13. Birdlog (The Shortest Day)

21.12.13. Birdlog (The Shortest Day)

A day to celebrate with the Winter Solstice finally here and from now on the daylight begin to lengthen.

21.12.13. Whooper Swans, Frodsham SCore. Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton

A walk along the ship canal to view Frodsham Score before the WeBS count on No. 6 tank was again well worthy of the time put into it. A flock of 18 Whooper Swan included a juvenile bird. 81 Pink-footed Goose and a gathering of 2000 Canada Goose made for a raucous cacophony out on the salt marsh. c300 Wigeon and smaller numbers of Common Teal with a half-dozen Pintail were sticking to the tide edge.

The wintering Great White Egret and 4 Little Egret were distant and I wasn’t really that surprised they came any closer without a bigger tide to bring them in.

I flushed a Green Sandpiper from the pools below the northern bank of No. 4 tank and it then headed out to the Canal Pools calling on its way.

21.12.13. Lapwing and Golden Plover, No. 3 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton

A Peregrine went on a killing spree and was forcing the Lapwings into some impressive wheeling murmaratations over the score and a single flock of 500 Golden Plover over No. 3 tank was just as spectacular.

I managed to connect with the 1st winter Marsh Harrier twice today. On the first occasion it flew overhead at No. 4 tank and by the time I struggled to get my camera out of its bag I only managed ‘going away shots’. On the second time I saw it, it was approaching late afternoon and the harrier was quartering the red beds on No. 6 tank before gliding away over to Marsh Farm.

The usual Raven gathering on Frodsham Score and adjacent areas totalled 20 birds. Finch flocks on No. 3 tank included 300 Goldfinch and smaller numbers of Chaffinch. A single Chiffchaff also on No. 3 tank were using the reed beds/trees for cover and feeding. Two other Chiffchaff were together on No. 5 tank. All three were of the nominate form ‘collybita’ but we’re hoping that perhaps a ‘tristis’ will surface sooner or later?

The WeBS Count on No. 6 tank was pretty lacklustre with 67 Common Shelduck, 43 Common Teal, 5 Tufted Duck, 12 Pochard and 12 Shoveler.

Observer: WSM ( and upper images)

21.12.13. Common Snipe, frodsham Marsh. Paul Crawley

A walk around No. 6 tank this afternoon produced, c50 Curlew, 6 Buzzard, c30 Common Snipe in a single flock and a Kestrel.

21.12.13. Raven, frodsham Marsh. Paul Crawley

A solitary Jay on No.4 with a Redwing flyover and 4 Raven performing aerobatics along the south bank of No.6.

Observers: Paul Crawley (and images), Paul Ralston

Old Tom the Birder (part 1)

Tom Edmondson’s photo’s

Les Baird, Hubert Sinar, Tom Edmondson and Frank R Horrocks

Many years ago there was an old chap who used to visit Frodsham Marsh and would regale tales of his early birding visits to the marsh and many other sites (mainly Pennington Flash) in the North West. Tom was a proper old school bird watcher and he would rise an eyebrow over his spectacles if I ever called him a ‘birder’. One thing Tom had was time to spare and share his love of birds and birdwatching . I’m a sucker for such things especially those pioneers of Cheshire birding in the years following the end of the WWII. Tom was a generous old man and would kindly give me copies of photographs and documentation from the marsh during his pioneering days here.

Frodsham Marsh from Helsby Hill. Tom Edmundson

I will post some more pictures during the course of the next few weeks but in the mean time I have included a photograph he took from Helsby Hill c1960. If you right-click and enlarge the image there are a few unfamiliar things that stick out. Firstly, the horizon shows a rural Runcorn with a lack of urbanisation, the towering power station chimney and I.C.I works at Weston Point stand ahead of the Weaver estuary. Secondly, the only deposit tank is No.1 tank and thirdly, the Merseyside Naturalists Association reserve on Weston Marsh is still intact and finally, there is no M56 motorway!

Top picture are Les Baird, Hubert Sinar, Tom Edmondson and Frank R Horrocks.

Tom died on 27th February 2016 aged 93 years. I intend to give Tom a fitting tribute in due course but If anyone knew him and would like to contribute to a post about him please send me an e-mail via contact at the top of the blog.