31.05.14. Birdlog

31.05.14. Birdlog 31.05.14. Red-necked Grebe (summer plumage), Weaver Causeway, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton

An early start and a few birders had already seen the Red-necked Grebe: the bird found all the attention too much and kept its head firmly secreted into its back feathers. When it wasn’t sleeping it could be found diving for a variety of fish and amphibians and at times struggled to get down the larger fish. Eventually my perseverance paid off when it swam and settled close to the banks and provided excellent views. Unfortunately that was the time my camera battery ran out of juice and I missed the opportunity of getting some really close images.

31.05.14. Whooper Swan, Weaver estuary, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton

On the Weaver estuary a Whooper Swan was present and may have health issues? Nine Great Crested Grebe, 56 Tufted Duck, a pair of Shoveler, 6 Gadwall and several Common Shelduck made up a mixed bag of ducks. 31.05.14. Avocet in 3D, Shooters' pools, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton

The first born Avocet chick was again with its parents which have kept the first pool free of any other birds apart from a family of Lapwings which have fought for the right to feed there. The second pools saw 50 (1st summer plumaged) Black-headed Gulls, 2 brief Black-tailed Godwit and a single Ringed Plover. The third pool held the second pair of Avocet with two chicks(?). If you have a pair of 3D spectacles then use them to view my experimental image (above) of an Avocet taken today, otherwise take an aspirin your may be having a migraine!

31.05.14. Sedge Warbler, River Weaver at Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton

During the course of the observation the fine male Marsh Harrier drifted in much to the consternation of all of the resident birds.

31.05.14. Greenshank, no.6 tank, frodsham Marsh. Tony Broome

Second billing to the RNG went to the drake Lesser Scaup still present on No.6 tank with a selection of Tufted Duck, Gadwall and two drake and a female Shoveler.

A Greenshank (pictured) dropped in and then went to sleep with the occasional tew tew call.

A Hobby was over Godscroft Lane (PC) and a hovering Common Buzzard was caught on camera by TB over Lordship Marsh in the early evening light.

The Red-legged Partridge count increased by one to two birds along Half Furlong Lane and a Grasshopper Warbler was heard there aswell (AH).

31.05.14. Matsh Orchid, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton

Two of the old deposit tanks held a carpet of Southern Marsh with Pyramidal and Spotted (hybrid?) Orchids emerging and in flower.

Paul Crawley’s video of the RNG from today here…https://vimeo.com/96991643

Observers: Tony Broome (Greenshank image), Arthur Harrison, Colin Paul, Paul Crawley (video), Frank Duff, Paul Ralston, WSM (and images).

30.05.14. Birdlog

30.05.14. Birdlog

30.05.14. Avocets and chicks, Frodsham Marsh. Tony Broome

A big change in the Avocet breeding colony. The single chick pair are now joined by another pair with four fresh from the nest chicks. All of the parents joined forces to give the male Marsh Harrier a good scolding when it ventured to the breeding site.

30.05.14. Red-necked Grebe, River Weaver, Frodsham Marsh. Tony Broome

30.05.14. Lesser Scaup, No.6 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Tony Broome

The Lesser Scaup continues to be found on No.6 tank while across the marsh the ever popular Red-necked Grebe attracted visitors from far and wide.

Elsewhere a Grasshopper Warbler was vocal along Lordship Lane.

Observers: Tony Broome (and images), Frank Duff.

29.05.14. Birdlog

29.05.14. Birdlog

27.05.14. Lesser Scaup, No.6 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Allan Conlin red n grebe 3 copy

29.05.14. Red-legged Partridge, frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton

An evening visit and the eastern corner of No.6 tank beckoned with a clear out of Tufted Duck leaving 10 scattered birds. The Lesser Scaup didn’t seemed bothered and chose to feed alone.

A male Marsh Harrier flew from No.5 tank and wandered ghostlike over No.6 tank’s reedbeds. 23 Raven were spilling out of the marsh and heading south over the hills.

The track from the corner of No.1 tank out to the Weaver Causeway is rapidly turning into a mud bath with many birders paying respects to the in situ summer Red-necked Grebe. 4 Great Crested Grebe and 37 Tufted Duck joined it on the water. Nearby the Avocet chick was again about. A Red-legged Partridge was walking infront of my car along Half Furlong Lane.

Observers: Mike Buckley, Gary Chidlow, Chester Birders, WSM (RLP image). Additional images by Allan Conlin.

A link to Mike’s blog with additional RNG images. http://mikebuckleybirding.blogspot.co.uk/2014/05/frodsham-marsh-thursday-29th-march-2014.html?m=1

28.05.14. Birdlog

28.05.14. Birdlog

27.05.14. Red-necked Grebe, Weaver Causeway, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton

The Red-necked Grebe still present on the River Weaver off Redwall Reedbed with several Avocet nearby.

27.05.14. Lesser Scaup, No.6 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton

The Lesser Scaup continued to please with Tufted Duck on No.6 tank. The Tufted Duck are fairly mobile commuting between here and the Weaver estuary so it’s possible we could see both of the Frodsham Marsh rarities together if they continue to stay.

Images: WSM

27.05.14. Birdlog

27.05.14. Birdlog

27.05.14. Red-necked Grebe, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton

In North America the Slavonian Grebe is called the Horned Grebe, so this Red-necked Grebe is having an identity crisis. The grebe continued to be seen off the Weaver Causeway/Redwall Reedbed area. Also present on the river was 34 Tufted Duck, Gadwall, and 4 pairs of Great Crested Grebe.

The Avocet chick is growing fast and looks well with two doting parents to bully away any interlopers is always a good start for this once wayward youngster.

Observers Allan Conlin, John Gilbody (wagtail image), Steve Williams, Patrick Earith, WSM (all other images).

The Weaver estuary is usually filled with ducks and tonight was not exception with mostly Tufted Duck. A Ringed Plover, Avocet and a flock of 150 Black-tailed Godwit were noted.

27.05.14. Yellow Wagtails, Lordship Lane, Frodsham Marsh. John Gilbody

27.05.14. Shoveler pair, Shooter' pools, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton

I took a hike around the tracks bordering No.6 tank and despite a flyover Yellow Wagtail and a chorus of Sedge Warblers to keep me company was little reward for the effort exerted. 14 Raven were still hanging about on No.3 tank but with the lush growth of grass there it was difficult to see what they were feeding on.

Further along the track I eventually made it to the eastern corner of six and found the drake Lesser Scaup asleep.  I guess with all the paparazzi about it’s tiring being a co-star on the marsh. A mixture of duck species featured Common Shelduck, Tufted Duck, Gadwall, Shoveler and a drake Pochard. Met Gary Powell for a birding chat before setting for home.

26.05.14. Birdlog

26.05.14. Birdlog

26.05.14. Lesser Scaup (drake), No.6 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton

I got to the marsh at 6.00 am and immediately relocated the drake Lesser Scaup feeding along with Tufted Duck. Also present was the male Marsh Harrier and hundreds of Common Swift hawking insects at head height and providing very intimate views.

Lesser Scaup (upper image) showing the white inner wing-bar.

26.05.14. Lesser Scaup, No.6 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton

Image showing small black nail on bill tip.

26.05.14. Lesser Scaup (drake), No.6 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton

Image showing the peaked rear crown and coarse vermiculations on back. In the morning sunlight the purple head sheen was really evident.

26.05.14. Lesser Scaup and Tufted Duck, No.6 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton

Image shows size comparison with Tufted Duck.

26.05.14. Lesser Scaup (drake), No.6 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton


26.05.14. Lesser Scap (drake) on Frodsham Marsh. Frodsham Marsh Birdblog

Click on the Vimeo link above to see video of the bird (WSM).

Observers: Frank Duff, WSM (Video and images) and thanks to Sean O’Hara for initially finding the bird yesterday.

26.05.14. Red-necked Grebe (summer adult), Weaver Causeway, Frodsham Marsh. Paul Crawley

Sometimes events take on a twist and today did just that. You wait all Spring to join the party (elsewhere in Cheshire and most notably Wirral’s Leasowe) to see a goodie on your local patch and two come along at once!

I was on my way to Delamere Forest with Sparky when Mr Duff sent me a message. someone had seen a summer plumaged Red-necked Grebe on the River Weaver close to the ‘Bend’. A little grovelling on my part and the car swung right opposite Fluin Lane and headed down to Ship Street and then we went on foot to the river.

Red-necked Grebe video here https://vimeo.com/user27084526/videos (Paul Crawley)

A small crowd had gathered in glorious sunshine on the banks by the river taking in a pristine plumaged Red-necked Grebe which spent it’s time dozing with the occasional bouts of showing off.

The Avocet chick was still present while potential new parents called anxiously from another location. The adult Ringed Plover was also noted.

26.05.14. Yellow Wagtail, Frodsham Marsh. Paul Crawley

Back over on No.6 tank the Lesser Scaup was still attracting admirers while a Little Ringed Plover shared the mud with a pair of Oystercatchers. Along Lordship Lane both Yellow Wagtail and Whinchat were available to view.

Observers: FD, Paul Crawley (RNG video and bottom two images), Paul Ralston, Mike Turton, Pete Antrobus, Mark Payne, Sparky & WSM.

After all this excitement we eventually found ourselves walking the perimeter of Blakemere and noted 3 possibly 4 Mediterranean Gull in the raucous Black-headed Gulll colony. A couple of Spotted Flycatcher by the ‘Go Ape’ franchise were new for the Spring for us.

Observers: Sparky & WSM.

25.05.14. Birdlog

25.05.14. Birdlog

25.05.14. Ringed Plover chick, Frodsham Marsh. Paul Crawley

300 Black-tailed Godwit settled on No.6 tank.  3 Yellow Wagtail were again along Lordship Lane while the male Marsh Harrier roamed around freely. The pair of Ringed Plover and their attendant chick were faring well despite the frequent rain falls.

25. 05. 14. Reed Bunting, Frodsham Marsh. Paul Crawley


25.05.14. Green Carpet Moth, Frodsham Marsh. Paul Crawley

Green Carpet Moth.

Observers: Paul  Crawley (images & video), Frank Duff.

All images of chicks posted on this blog were obtained through telescope/long lens from public tracks with no disturbance to birds as is evident from the video below.


I got a late comment drop in the blog in tray this evening and almost to late to react but thanks to Sean O’Hara he found a probable Lesser Scaup on No.6 tank early evening.

He wrote:  Just to let you know, found a drake Scaup with the tufties on No.6 tank this evening, after 4 very wet hrs late afternoon. Possibly Lesser Scaup, slightly smaller than Tufted Duck, and only inner wing bar white when briefly seen. Got some distant photos. Seemed to be settling in for the night so should be there tomorrow am. Sorry I didn’t ring anybody but didn’t have any numbers.

I managed to get there just before the light turned to gloom. I did see the bird and did note it had a suggestion of a peaked rear crown and was same or more likely smaller than Tufted Ducks along side. Difficult to see due to frequent dives and eventually sleeping on far side. So, if you fancy a chance for a Lesser Scaup tomorrow get there before they fly off to the Weaver estuary.

Observer: WSM

Sean O'Hara Sean O'Hara Sean O'Hara

Just received Sean’s images from earlier.

24.05.14. Birdlog

24.05.14. Birdlog

24.05.14. Avocet and chick. Shooters' pools, Bill Morton

You should never underestimate the tenacity of an Avocet chick. I had given up all hope after not seeing the chick for nearly a week. All of that changed today when one of the Avocet parents was contact calling. Shortly after a chick appeared and settled under her body for a snooze. All hell was let loose when a Grey Heron flew over and even the Black-headed Gulls joined in mobbing the offender.

The River Weaver held 54 Tufted Duck, 4 Gadwall, 6 Oystercatcher and 400 Common Swift.

24.05.14. Common Shelduck. Shooters' pools, Bill Morton

A Wheatear at Marsh Farm must have missed the last train north before the thunder storms of mid-week. It looked bedraggled as it feed in the damp fields by the farm.

Out on the Mersey estuary where a big but scattered assembly of Common Shelduck with 14 Oystercatcher. While 6 Great Crested Grebe and 4 Grey Heron were at the Weaver Sluice Gates. A Whimbrel was calling over the marsh to add to the days bird collection.

24.05.14. Ringed Plover, Frodsham Marsh. Paul Crawley

A Peregrine was over No.6 tank with 250 Black-tailed Godwit settled there. Elsewhere a pair Ringed Plover and there chick stole the show. (see the video of the Ringed Plover parents and their cottonbud on legs chick).  https://vimeo.com/96313905

24.05.14. Whinchat, Frodsham Marsh. Paul Crawley

A Whinchat was along the fence line by Lordship Lane (check video)


3 Fox cubs were active in the daylight and always entertain with the cubbish behaviour (see video here). https://vimeo.com/96310992

Observers: Paul Crawley (images & videos), Frank Duff, WSM (images).

20.05.14. Birdlog

20.05.14. Birdlog

We spent the afternoon walking around Blakemere at Delamere Forest and managed to get 3 adult (pairs?) territorial Mediterranean Gull. One particular aggressive adult almost beheaded a Black-headed Gull that ventured to close to its patch. Also noted was a Cuckoo by the caravan park and the first Stinkhorn fungi of the year.

Observers: Sparky, WSM.

20.05.14. Avocet blurred flight, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton.

A couple of hours birding along No.6 tank and the Shooter’ pools was needed after sorting the back garden out and my reluctant shopping duties.

123 Common Shelduck were present on No.6 tank with 93 Tufted Duck, a single Little Grebe and a solitary Black-tailed Godwit were noted from the west end of the tank.

Across the marsh on the River Weaver were 4 pairs Great Crested Grebe, an additional 33 Tufted Duck and Gadwall. Close by the Avocet pair were obviously distressed and kept flying to and fro across the river calling constantly and with no sigh of the remaining chick it appears they have now lost all of their young!

I ended the day with the lights of Ineos Chlor twinkling in the distance and a Fox hunting the banks of one of the tanks.

Observer and image: WSM

Postcards from the Marsh

Postcards from the Marsh

With the holiday season upon us here are a few images from, near or of Frodsham Marsh this Spring.

Views of,from and by Frodsham Marsh, Spring 2014. Bill Morton

The gateway to the River Weaver and the ‘bend’ beyond.

Views of,from and by Frodsham Marsh, Spring 2014. Bill Morton

The Weaver estuary and the confluence with the Manchester Ship Canal.

Views of,from and by Frodsham Marsh, Spring 2014. Bill Morton

A view of the Shooter’ pools and the Lum adjacent to the Weaver Bend.

Views of,from and by Frodsham Marsh, Spring 2014. Bill Morton

The Blue-topped chimney at Weston Point with the Mersey marshes and the Mersey Estuary.

Views of from and by Frodsham Marsh, Spring 2014. Bill Morton

The Mersey Estuary with the old wooden lock gates propped against the gantry wall.

Views of,from and by Frodsham Marsh, Spring 2014. Bill Morton

The Weaver Estuary.

Views of,from and by Frodsham Marsh, Spring 2014. Bill Morton

Hale lighthouse at dusk.

Views of,from and by Frodsham Marsh, Spring 2014. Bill Morton

An old tractor on Frodsham Score.

Views of,from and by Frodsham Marsh, Spring 2014. Bill Morton

Marsh Farm at Sunset.