16.03.14. Birdlog

16.03.14. Birdlog

A bird watch from 07.00-09.30. The Green Sandpiper continued to be along the Holpool Gutter. 26 Mute Swan in a nearby field should soon be moving out of the area. Several Common Buzzard and Raven were over No.4 and 6 tanks. A brace of Red-legged Partridge (presumably set down by the shooters) on No.4  tank were noteworthy. The Great White Egret  was seen again in the ditch alongside model flying field on Lordship Lane then flew on to Lordship Marsh. A Kestrel was hunting the banks of No.4 and a Chiffchaff was calling along the same bank. The Peregrine was perched on its look out post at the Growhow works.

Observer: Paul Ralston.

Worthy of note was the report of a Glossy Ibis over the M53 at Stanlow then flying north at 09.30 hrs. This is worthy of note because it’s the species I predict to be the next new bird for Frodsham Marsh. A near miss but there are plenty of records of this species over the last few years in the North-West. Eds

Following these comments I received an email from Alastair Macpherson about an intriguing Glossy Ibis within striking distance.

“I have been reading the Frodsham Marsh bird blog and noticed
that a Glossy Ibis was mentioned seen over the M53, also saying that it didn’t quite get to the marsh area. I presume that a Glossy Ibis has never been seen before on Frodsham Marsh then from this information?

Myself and some friends saw a Glossy Ibis about two miles up the River Weaver from the railway bridge near Frodsham in November 2013. It was on a flooded marshy area visible from the footpaths and took off as it saw us presenting a very good and clear view, and it took off towards Frodsham Marsh itself.

So despite the fact that one has possibly not been seen on Frodsham Marsh before, I think this sighting could possibly imply that it might have been there just not sighted”.

15.03.14. Birdlog

15.03.14. Birdlog (WeBS Count)

15.03.14. Avocets, Weaver Bend, frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton

A count of duck and shorebirds on No.6 tank during the high tide was again rather low-key. However, a count is a count and 84 Common Teal, 23 Common Shelduck, 2 Tufted Duck, 12 Mallard, 12 Shoveler and 7 Cormorant were the only waterfowl present.

300 Dunlin, 45 Lapwing, 150 Golden Plover, 230 Black-tailed Godwit, 54 Curlew and 4 Ringed Plover  made up the rest of the count.

Nearby on No.5 tank were 2 Common Buzzard, 12 Raven, 2 Chiffchaff and a Goldcrest.

The Weaver estuary had 4 Goldeneye, 1 Great Crested Grebe, 12 Tufted Duck, a single Gadwall and 6 Oystercatcher, 5 Avocet watched flying low over the water before heading over the Weaver Sluice gates and to Frodsham Score beyond.

The Weaver Bend held a Little Grebe, 3 additional Avocet, 3 Redshank, 4 Oystercatcher, 4 Shoveler, 48 Common Teal, 28 Tufted Duck and 2 Goldeneye.

The tall blue-topped chimney at Weston Point had the usual Peregrine watching the river below for a short period.

The 5 Whooper Swan were again on Lordship Marsh by the M56 motorway.

Observer and image: WSM

11.03.14. Birdlog

11.03.14. Birdlog

We had a fantastic walk along the tracks of the marsh this evening. Started off looking for the Whooper Swan (reported previously from the birdblog), this resulted in me (GG) securing my first ever Whoopers with 5 birds. The birds were where we expected, close to the M56 motorway. Further along the track we were treated to a sighting of a Short-eared Owl hunting over the raised banks of No.6 tank by Lordship Marsh. The usual suspects were present with both Shoveler, Common Shelduck, Curlew and Common Buzzard adding interest to the walk.

Walking back along the track between No.3 and No.6 tanks I (GG) was astonished, surprised and any other expression that could impress how I felt by  my best ever birding experience of seeing a Short-eared Owl flying within 10 feet of me, it wasn’t concerned by my presence and continued to hunt along the edge of the banks.

Observers: Guy Groves, Pete Malpas

10.03.14. Birdlog

10.03.14 Birdlog

A walk around the sludge tanks started with a herd of 30 Mute and 5 Whooper Swan in fields by the Holpool Gutter, the latter relocating to Lordship Marsh later in the morning. Birds of prey were again out and about this morning with a female Peregrine, several Common Buzzard and then a ringtail Hen Harrier. A possible migrant Chiffchaff in a Silver Birch along the banks of No.4 tank. The warm sunshine brought out good numbers of Small Tortoiseshell Butterflies. Also emerging into the Spring sunshine was a Common Toad.

Observer: Paul Ralston

The wandering Great White Egret found some soul mates in a field with the mornings Whoopers both species watched from Lordship Lane out towards the M56 motorway.

 

Observer: Paul Crawley

03.03.14. Birdlog

03.03.14. Birdlog

03.03.14. Common Teal and Dunlin, No.6 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill MortonA couple of hours birding in glorious sunshine after work at No.6 tank produced: 140 Common Teal, 3 Pochard, 32 Common Shelduck, 10 Mallard, 30 Shoveler and 14 Cormorant were tucked along the edge of the flooded tank. A single Dunlin in the Teal flock didn’t look well and at the end of my time there it was partially submerged in the water.03.03.14. Helsby Hill from No.6 tank, frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton

At 5.00 pm a ringtail Hen Harrier flew by from No.5 tank across the track in front of me and out over the reed beds of No.6 tank, flushing 43 Common Snipe concealed within the reeds. The female Peregrine was sat aloft the blue-topped chimney at Weston Point, a Common Buzzard buzzed by an agitated Kestrel and a Sparrowhawk chasing a flock of 500 Starling. All these made up for the lack of raptors that I missed seeing on the two days ago.

Observer and images. WSM

02.03.14. Birdlog

02.03.14. Birdlog

01.03.14. Frodsham Score and Black-tailed Godwits. Bill Morton

Observation from 7.00 am till 11 30 am: A Sparrowhawk and Common Buzzard  in the old wood alongside the Growhow Works.

01.03.14. Whooper Swans and a single Mute Swan, Holpool Gutter, Frodsham Marsh. Bill MortonThe  5 Whooper Swan were again associating with 26 Mute’s in fields alongside the Holpool Gutter.

A Great White Egret left the score long before the tide was rising and dropped in somewhere along the gutter? 13 Gadwall, a single Great Crested Grebe and a Greylag x Canada Goose on ship canal.

01.03.14. Waders on Frodsham Score. Bill MortonA pair of Oystercatcher were holding territories on canal bank. With the tide beginning to turn and large flocks of Dunlin and smaller numbers of Black-tailed Godwit flew overhead towards No.6 tank. When I eventually got round to six it was holding good numbers of Shoveler, Tufted Duck, Mallard, Common Teal and Shelduck.

The Lapwing flock were being harassed by a conspiracy of Ravens but a Merlin couldn’t be bothered by collective nouns after failing to catch a Meadow Pipit it was hunting.

Observer: Paul Ralston.

No.6 tank saw 500 Black-tailed Godwit, 50 Grey Plover and 1500 Dunlin roosting up during high tide.

Observer: Frank Duff

01.03.14. Birdlog

01.03.14. Birdlog

01.03.14. Looking East from Frodsham Score, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton

A big tide at Frodsham Score just before midday had me settled in the warm Spring sunshine (all alone), taking in one of Cheshire and Merseyside’s finest wildlife spectacles unfolding before me. The creeping tide gently ushered in the wading birds up close to the ship canal banks. I was standing opposite the old landing platform across from what was once the old ‘Magazine’ building (long succumbed to past tides).

01.03.14. Twite, Frodsham Score, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton

One small group of passerines flew in and perched up briefly on a post and I was surprised to find they were Twite. A good start to the watch.

01.03.14. Little Egret and Sheep, Frodsham Score, Frodsham Marsh. Bill MortonScanning across the salt marsh revealed 4 Little Egret and 5 Grey Heron. I was pretty determined not to spend too much time counting the birds, so all counts are an estimate. Several hundred Canada Goose and Shelduck were riding the tide and an impressive 500 Wigeon were gathered in loose flocks along with 500 Common Teal, surprisingly only a pair of Pintail were noted.

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It’s all about the shorebirds on a big tide and today’s tide didn’t disappoint with, 700 Curlew, 500 Black-tailed Godwit, 10,000 Dunlin, 20 Knot, 200 Oystercatcher, 100 Redshank. Additionally, 170 Black-tailed Godwit and 300 Curlew were nearby on the flooded fields on Ince Marsh. Despite all the birds present raptors were notable by their absence. Numerous Raven on the salt marsh were in courtship disputes, one lucky bird found a Rat swimming to avoid the tidal water. The Raven is a curious and opportune hunter so  the rat had a fight on its claws, the rodent put up a good defence and the corvid soon got bored and moved its attention back to wooing or to be wooed.

01.03.14. Whooper Swans, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton

The surprise from the ebbing tide was a Great White Egret that flew in from nowhere crossing the Manchester Ship Canal and ditched into the Holpool Gutter. I flushed a Green Sandpiper from here along with another Little Egret. 26 Mute Swan in the fields held 5 Whooper Swan, a presumed male was whooping to its mate. A full circuit of the marsh saw me walk back along Lordship Lane (but apart from doing a triple salchow over a gate and ending up in the mud) there was no other highlights until I reached No.6 tank. Small numbers of Common Teal, Shoveler and Mallard on the sludge tank was a bit disappointing.

01.03.14. Summer adult Med Gull, No.6 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton

A different summer adult (more white on forehead than yesterdays bird) Mediterranean Gull was with the Black-headed Gulls. Either this bird or another was in fields at the Lum seen by Simon from Manchester.

01.03.14. Redwing, Moorditch Lane, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton

Fieldfare and Redwing were still lingering in the hedgerows, a Goldcrest was presumably a migrant in the Sycamore trees by the ramp to No.5 tank. Two of the wintering Chiffchaffs were again seen on No.5 and heard on No.4 tank.

The first Coltsfoot flower of the Spring alongside the ship canal and a Weasel scurrying across the path on the ramp to No.5 tank wasn’t hesitant and moved on before a local dog walker passed by.

Observer and images: WSM