4 Little Ringed Plover and 3 White Wagtail on No. 6 tank early evening (JG).
An evening walk along the south track of No.5 above No.6 tank saw a much reduce number of species and counts. Common Teal totaled 48 birds, while Common Shelduck tallied 57, both Gadwall and Shoveler barely reached double figures. Saving grace were the 27 Tufted Duck on the Splashing Pool.
My walk eventually reached the corner of No.4, 3 and 6 tanks were I met up with Nigel and Heather Wilde. Whilst in conversation our attention was drawn to a pair of the Marsh Harrier overhead and we watched them flying with lazy flapping to the east. Heather was quicker of the draw and fired off some shots with her camera and were surprisingly good considering the light and agility of the harriers.
A small flock of 5 ‘summer’ Golden Plover circled over the grazing fields and dropped to settle immediately low down in the grass with only their heads visible.
Raven are already an iconic Frodsham Marsh bird so it was no surprise to see 20 heading east at dusk, presumably to roost sites further south. A small group of Sand Martin were also noted.
Elsewhere on the marsh the light of the day faded and was replaced by the ambient glow from the many industrial areas surrounding the marsh and caught in the twilight a Short-eared Owl was hunting along Lordship Lane A Water Rail called from a distant reed bed and a Woodcock uplifted from its cover and flew over the path I was walking along.
Finally a pair of Badgers were tending to some house husbandry at a secret location.
Observers: John Gilbody (upper two images),
Nigel & Heather Wilde (and lower image), WSM .
The male Marsh Harrier was again roaming widely across the marsh with some petty harassment from the local Ravens. A Collared Dove is not a common bird on the marsh although one at Ship Street was a typical sighting there.
Three male Wheatear in the horse paddock field just over the bridge crossing the M56 from Marsh Lane in Frodsham.
A Cetti’s Warbler at an undisclosed site was loudly expressive.
Observers: Frank Duff, Arthur Harrison, Sparky, WSM (and images).
The Weaver Sluices had 6 Great Crested Grebe pushed in my the rising tide and a Black Swan flew in to settle on the Weaver estuary.
A change of tack and a watch from Marsh Farm for a change as the tide slowly rolled in on the river beyond the raised banks of Frodsham Score.
A count in excess of 650 splendidly summer plumage Black-tailed Godwit were feeding on the exposed mud of the river, they joined a similar count of Curlew. The birds were eventually edged closer to the secure green banks of the salt marsh and moved there out of sight of FD and myself.
The reed bed close to No.1 tank attracted a pair of Marsh Harrier briefly before drifting away.
Our patience paid off with a female Ring Ouzel on and under an old wooden fence by the landing jetty across the Manchester Ship Canal opposite the farm.
A count of 47 Raven was approaching the big counts of two years ago, they appeared to be having fun, tumbling and sky rolling above the ship canal banks.
A video of the Ring Ouzel here:
Observers: Frank Duff, WSM (and images).
On the Score today one distant Great White Egret also two Little Egret and many Raven there. Several Sand Martin over the Manchester Ship Canal and fishing pools. One Green Sandpiper and 15 Tufted Duck flushed from Holpool Gutter with 25 Mute Swan and two Greylag Goose in adjacent field. Breeding underway at Spring Farm where House Sparrows were noticed to be nest-building and the usual pair of Collared Doves. At least 10 different Chiffchaff heard singing.
Observer: Brian Rimmer
Black Rabbit & White Egret
Away from the marsh and across the river at Pickerings Pasture I managed a brief watch and discovered the ever present Red-breasted Goose on its regular patch at Hale Marsh. A confiding Little Egret on the scrape pool at the southern end of the park and a chance meeting with Rob and Carol both responsible for most of the bird sightings at this site.
Further reports can be viewed and organised visits to Hale Duck Decoy here: http://www.thefriendsofpickeringspasture.org.uk/
Observer and images: WSM
03.04.14. Birdlog & Nature Notes # 32
A 3 mile walk around the perimeter of No.6 tank this evening was a lot of effort for little reward, it was more an exercise for exercise rather than birding. The wind is still in the eastern sector and with visibility restricted by Saharan dust/pollution/mist it was hardly a health walk.
Walking along Lordship Lane and the grass verges were full of flowering Butterbur, this area is always a good place to find this delicate pink spring flower.
Throughout UK, but rarer in central and northern Scotland.
Wet meadows, streamsides, copses.
Best time to see
Further along the track a hunting Fox was not aware of our presence and it was a pleasure watching this much persecuted animal (particularly here on the marsh). During the course of the watch it was observed jumping into the air to drop down on a rodent which it eagerly chomped.
A Marsh Harrier was again present and nearby on the Splashing Pool were 37 Tufted Duck and 6 Gadwall. 16 Raven and a wave of 60 Sand Martin were feeding over No.3 tank.
No.6 tank held the usual assortment of duck with again 100 Common Teal, 6 Shoveler and 80 Common Shelduck.
An oddly patterned lamb with a black saddle back was present on No.3 tank and was worthy of a picture.
Observers: Sparky, WSM (and images).
The Weaver Bend beckoned this evening and with a cool breeze wafting in from the south-east. Ducks were much in evidence with totals of 78 Tufted Duck counted from the Weaver estuary along to the bend were joined by 10 Gadwall, a male and 7 female type Goldeneye on the river. It was good to see 5 Sand Martin in flight over the Redwall reedbed fields.
Several Tufted Duck males were defending their partners from other drakes and allowed close observations from the banks of the Weaver causeway
A distant view of a male Marsh Harrier over No.6 tank this evening.
No.6 tank always has something to offer so 4 Grey Heron, 100 Common Teal, 2 Shoveler and 67 Common Shelduck were to be expected and a male Marsh Harrier gave a fine view quartering the reed beds there. 6 Sand Martin flew through into the wind and the ubiquitous Raven were ever-present.
4 Fieldfare and a solitary Redwing in the hawthorn hedge along Brook Furlong Lane would be soon heading into the wind.
Observer and images: WSM