21.02.14. Birdlog

21.02.14. Birdlog

11.01.14. Ducks on No. 6 tank, Frodsham Marsh

I was hoping for a spot of birding/walk after work but the weather decided to loom menacingly overhead with the threat of a good downpour imminent.

So along with Sparky I walked part way along the track (No. 5 tank) above No. 6 tank keeping one eye on the blackening cloud ahead and the birds present on the tank below. 200 Common Teal, 30 Shoveler, a drake Pintail and 40 Mallard were tucked into the banks to avoid the brisk south-westerly wind. Also present were 140 Black-tailed Godwit, 5 Raven high riding the up draughts from the bank and a Chiffchaff calling from a nearby reed bed.

We briefly met Paul Crawley and he told us of a Chiffchaff and Cetti’s Warbler he had heard along the eastern track of No. 4 tank yesterday. Alas with the rain beginning to drop heavily I couldn’t persuade Sparky to endure the hike to No. 4 tank and we cut the visit short and raced back to the car.

Observers: Sparky, WSM (and image).

16.02.14 Birdlog

16.02.14 Birdlog

16.02.14. Song Thrush, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton

Went to the marsh from Elton again. A couple of hundred Curlew near the Pig farm. A respite from the rain clearly enjoyed by the birds as several species of the commoner passerines showing themselves on the marsh on this sunny day; Blue Tit, Great Tit, Pied Wagtail, Wren, Robin and Reed Bunting, the Skylark now doing their display flight. A small flock of 10 Redwing and a couple of Fieldfare by the old birdlog and a Stonechat by the dung heap near Marsh Farm.

16.02.14. Ravens, No. 5 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton

Lots of Corvids, including c15 Raven here to take advantage of the recently started lambing season, a sub-adult female Marsh Harrier on No 6 tank, 38 Coot feeding on the grassy banks on No. 3 tank by the Canal Pools. Two sightings of Sparrowhawk (on No. 3 and at Marsh Farm), a Peregrine on the Power Station chimney. I could see several hundred Lapwing in the distance towards the West and over the Manchester Ship Canal, but oddly not one Lapwing or Golden Plover on No. 6 tank in spite of it being high tide? Good numbers of Buzzard with some starting to pair up.

Also noted was a Fox on the Frodsham Score as well as two WeBS counters/birders with binoculars and scope. Did they all swim across or did they share a boat? (Mike and Ian shared a boat. Eds)

Ciao from Guido Isidoro.

Guillemot off Frodsham Score, Frodsham Score. Mike Buckley.The WebS counters scored top drawer with 2 Guillemot on the rising tide close to the Weaver Sluice gates at the eastern edge of the score. A female/1cy Marsh Harrier out on the salt marsh was some reward for all the effort put in by counters doing this work.

Elsewhere on the marshes other counters added a Great White Egret, an additional Guillemot (possibly killed by a Great Black-backed Gull) and a rintail Hen Harrier.

Observers: Ian Coote, Mike Buckley (and image).

A walk along the track above No. 6 tank at dusk was rewarded with a sighting of a ‘ringtail’ Hen Harrier quartering the reedbed on the sludge tank below. 56 Tufted Duck, 28 Shoveler, 6 Common Pochard, 4 Pintail, 12 Common Shelduck was a much improvement from yesterdays assembly and 400 Lapwing roosting up made up for Guido missing them earlier. 16.02.14. Chiffchaff, No. 5 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton.

The Chiffchaff was more obliging along the western end of No. 5 tank but proved difficult to get a photograph (see opposite).

Guido’s Peregrine was still sat  on top of the chimney at Weston Point and a pair of Kestrel were pair bonding.

Observers: Sparky, WSM (images).

15.02.14. Birdlog (WeBS Count)

15.02.14. Birdlog (WeBS Count)

15.02.14. Waves over gantry wall at Weston Point from Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton

The build up to the high tide brought with it some more of the wet stuff and a squall of hail thrown in. It didn’t make for an enjoyable WeBS count on No. 6 tank with almost continuous rain making viewing difficult but not impossible. The picture above shows the waves on the River Mersey crashing over the gantry wall into the ship canal at Weston Point as seen from Frodsham Marsh.

15.02.14. Ducks on No. 6 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton

The ducks on the tank were again keeping close into the bank getting whatever shelter they could get from the strong tidal wind and cold. A drake Pintail was displaying and then mating with a female while an additional 2 drakes were enviously watching on. 6 Tufted Duck, 4 Pochard, 87 Mallard and 448 Common Teal made for a low count.

15.02.14. Dunlin and Grey Plover on No. 6 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton

Shorebirds forced by the rising tide to seek shelter on the sludge tank consisted of 7400 Dunlin, 14 Knot, 10 Redshank, 100 Curlew and 114 Grey Plover. Nearby 430 Golden Plover and 800 Lapwing were in much reduced numbers from previous counts. The waders were no doubt seeking sanctuary elsewhere on the Mersey marshes.

15.02.14. Raven riding the updrafts at  No.  5 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton

Upwards of 17 Raven were riding the updrafts from the west side of No. 5 tank, while a very vocal Chiffchaff was keeping low in the reedy ditches off the track and again on the west side of No. 5 tank.

Observer and images: WSM

08.02.14. Birdlog

08.02.14. Birdlog

08.02.14. Wildfowlers on Frodsham Score.

Despite the cold, the wind and the rain it was a case of buttoning up the coat and grabbing the gloves for a few hours birding on the marsh. First up were the ducks on No. 6 tank and it wasn’t a surprise to see them back on the water, albeit tucked well into the shelter of the banks. 200 Common Teal, 24 Shoveler, 11 Common Pochard, 54 Tufted Duck, 56 Mallard and even the Cormorants were sheltering there.

08.02.14. Lapwing over No. 3 tank. Bill Morton

No 3 tank continued to attract the Golden Plover and Lapwing flocks but with the wind making it difficult to stand let alone keep the scope steady. 08.02.14. Canada geese off no. 1 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton

The fields on No. 1 tank held c800 Canada Goose and a few were already paired up and squabbling before they collectively sprung up and headed off to the Weaver estuary.

The wintering Chiffchaff was again on No. 5 tank sheltering out of the chilling wind at the base of a tree.

08.02.14. Embankment on Frodsham Score. Bill Morton

19th century technology and construction meets 21st century British weather. I had a look at the land slip on the banks of Frodsham Score from Marsh Farm after Guido mentioned it on his post recently. The seemingly never-ending rain is beginning to effect the stability of these banks but there again it always has.

08.02.14. Marsh Farm, Frodsham Mars. Bill Morton

A few images for Farmer Chris at Marsh Farm. Observer and images: WSM

08.02.14. Livestock at Marsh Farm. Bill Morton

08.02.14. Livestock at Marsh Farm. Bill Morton

07.02.14. Birdlog

07.02.14. Birdlog

07.02.14. View from Pale Heights looking south-east over Eddisbury Hill Fort, across the Cheshire Plain and beyond to The Pennines. Bill Morton

A view from Pale Heights looking south-east over Eddisbury Hill Fort, across the Cheshire Plain and beyond to The Pennines.

07.02.14. Meadow Pipit, Pale Heights, Delamere Forest. Bill Morton.

An afternoon stroll through Delamere Forest is always worthwhile and there’s usually something to attract our interest not least the excellent views from Pale Heights.

A notable passage of Meadow Pipit moving through there at midday and a small over flying flock of Crossbill which didn’t linger.

An evening walk along the track above No. 6 tank on the marsh at Frodsham was rewarded with 23 Tufted Duck, 24 Shoveler, 11 Common Pochard, 84 Common Teal and 24 Cormorant. A low flying training helicopter was responsible for disturbing the plover flock on the tank with sizable numbers of Lapwing, Golden Plover and Dunlin circling around for a good half hour.

Upwards of 30 Raven on No. 5 tank were again squabbling with 4 Great Black-backed Gulls and with the corvids superior numbers they were holding their own for a change.

Observers; Sparky, WSM (all images).


06.02.14. Birdlog

06.02.14. Birdlog

Ducks and stuff on No. 6 tank, frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton

I called in at Frodsham late morning with the tide on the river being out. 50 Curlew were in fields south of Lordship Lane. A total of 300 Lapwing (on No. 3 and No. 6 tanks) 200 Golden Plover also on No. 6 tank. A few more Curlews in fields near the farm. A total of 500 Canada Geese on No. 3 and No. 1 tank by Marsh Farm.

A dozen Pied Wagtail, 6 Reed Buntings, a flock of 80 Redwing at the horse paddock below Marsh Lane. A total of 100 Goldfinches in various flocks around the marsh. My first lambs of the year at Marsh Farm. 3 Raven and a Fox (shh!) at Marsh Farm.

I noticed that the banks along the MSC opposite Marsh Farm had collapsed in several places, presumably because of the continuous heavy rain there. It will all be dredged up and poured into No.6 sometime in the future? The drainage ditches along the track between the pig farm and the Growhow works were in the process of being widened and deepened presumably for windfarm access?

Ciao from Guido Isidoro.

After a visit to Delamere Forest it would be remiss to leave out the old faithful so we duly parked up in Frodsham on market day and walked out along the track above No. 6 tank. The weather was dull, grey with a slight threat of rain but fortunately that held off until we were securely heading home.

06.02.14. Cormorant, No. 6 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton

Any road up, it’s all about the birds and I was surprised by the initial lack of birdlife? That was until the grey mass scattered across the tank focused into roosting Golden Plover and Lapwing. I didn’t have the inclination to count them today but an educated guess would say 450 – 500 Golden Plover and 800 Lapwing. A further distant flock of Lapwing flushed from Ince/Manisty area were in excess of 2000 birds and impressive as they were laced across the horizon.

06.02.14. Coomon Snipe, No. 6 tank, frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton

A flock of 30 Common Snipe flew in to settle in the sedgy margins and soon melted away in the vegetation.

18 Raven gathered on No. 5 tank looked bored and ready for trouble as they sat idly on the fence posts.

06.02.14. Common Buzzard. Bill Morton

I remember in the 1970’s the only chance of seeing a Buzzard locally would be crossing the border into Wales. Today I could easily take a tramp around the marsh and get over a dozen birds, by far the commonest bird of prey here.

06.02.14. Shoveler, No. 6 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill MortonNo. 6 tank still held onto a few ducks with 12 Shoveler, the drakes looking splendid in their best bib and tucker plumage. 34 Mallard, 80 Common Teal, 11 Common Pochard and 9 Tufted Duck along with 12 Cormorant made for a woeful gathering. Not everyday is the same.

Observers: Sparky, WSM (and images).

05.02.14. Birdlog

05.02.14. Birdlog

I walked around the marsh today and I saw Dunlin, Common Teal, the usual Lapwing and Golden Plover in good numbers with Common Shelduck and Raven added to the sightings. Without doubt the highlight was a Short-eared Owl on the banks of No. 6 tank by the drainage towers. I still haven’t seen a Merlin here!

Observer: Guy Groves