30.11.14. Birdlog

30.11.14. Birdlog

30.11.14. Hale Lighthouse from Runcorn Hill. Bill Morton

An early start and a walk beginning at the Ince Berth along the Manchester Ship Canal  and around No.6 tank and back to the berth. A herd of c50 swans out on the salt marsh contained 6 Whooper Swan amongst them.

30.11.14. Curlew, Ince Marsh. Paul Ralston

Over a hundred Curlew were feeding on a nearby field overlooked by Redwing, Fieldfare and Song Thrushes in the hawthorn bushes. Out on the score marsh sat a lonesome Common Buzzard who was king of the corpse and reigning over the Ravens who watched on until the buzzard ate its fill.

30.11.14. Merlin by No.4 tank, Frodsham Marsh.Paul Ralston

Further on to No.6 ltank where large numbers of lapwing were again present with a small number of Golden Plover which exploded into the air as a Merlin powered through. A varied selection of Common Teal, Mallard, Tufted Duck and Pintail were out on the water with a pair of Mute Swan.

30.11.14. Growhow works from Runcorn Hill. Bill Morton

On to Lordship Lane where there were good numbers of Reed Bunting, Linnet, Goldfinch and Chaffinch with a pair of Kestrel hunting the tank banks.

30.11.14. Mersey Estuary from Runcorn Hill. Bill Morton

Returning along the canal path, 4 Little Egret were out on the score. The Merlin was sat in a bush along the path and dropped down and appeared to be feeding on insects from a pile of dung! Presumably, unsuccessful with the plover flocks earlier.


Observer: Paul Ralston (images 2 & 3)

WSM images 1, 4 & 5.

29.11.14. Birdlog

29.11.14. Birdlog

29.11.14. Common Buzzard on No.3 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Tony Broome.

29.11.14. No.6 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Tony Broome.Lapwing were out in force today and numbering 800 present on No.6, 400 on No.3, 400 on No1 tank and 1500 gathered on Frodsham Score. Common Snipe tallied six birds at No.3 and another 2 birds on No.4 tank.

The water level on No.6 tank was great for ducks and no surprise to see 10 Shoveler,150 Common Teal and an assortment of more commoner species. Attracted to this was an adult Peregrine and the immature Marsh Harrier. Also noted were 11 Ruff and 11 Moorhen. Other areas of open water encouraged 18 Coot to the Canal Pools, 10+ ‘Splashing Pool’ and 30+ on the River Weaver. Also at this location was a 1 male and 10 f/imm Goldeneye plus 135 Tufted Duck and 25 Pochard.

29.11.14. Waders on No.6 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Tony Broome.
A solitary Little Egret was on No.3 and 3 birds were on Frodsham Score. Common Buzzard featured birds on No.3, 1 on No.4 and 1 Frodsham Score, 1 Kestrel No.3 tank. 200 Golden Plover on Frodsham Score, plus another 20 present on No.6 tank.
100 Chaffinch were all over and a total of 50 Reed Bunting were widely scattered. 30+ Skylark in the stubble field alongside Lordship Lane. No.3 tank attracted 20+ Meadow Pipit and 3 Grey Wagtail on/over No.6 tank.
Lordship Lane saw in 150+ Jackdaw, 120+ Rook, 20+ Fieldfare with another 22 over Brook Furlong Lane. Also noted by the birdlog were 80+ Redwing.
Observers: Tony Broome (and images), Frank Duff.

28.11.14. Birdlog

28.11.14. Birdlog

28.11.14. Lapwings and Golden Plover, No.6 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton (1)

Friday is a slightly earlier dart day from work so my expectations on anything like a bird watch on the marsh in the evening gloom was more for the Barn Owl than anything else.

28.11.14. Merlin, No.5 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton

A watch over No.5 tank revealed a female Merlin perched on the fence line waiting for supper to arrive.

28.11.14. Lapwings and Golden Plover, No.6 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton (2)Over on No.6 and 10 Ruff were energetically feeding but when the entire 370 Lapwing, 40 Dunlin and 85 Golden Plover flock took to the air they bunched together and rode out the alert down on the ground.

28.11.14. Starlings, No.4 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton

(Didn’t see the Barn Owl after all)

The Starling murmuration was impressive even from a mile away over No.4 tank but bizarrely they appeared to stream out from the reed bed roost and headed out towards Frodsham Score?

Observers: Paul Ralston, WSM

Earlier in the day PR managed to see 3 Goldeneye on the River Weaver with an assortment of athya species but none in any particularly large counts and the juvenile Marsh Harrier was over No.4 tank.

Observer: Paul Ralston.

Additional bird news: Wintering Chiffchaff and 2 Woodcock on Runcorn Hill.

25.11.14. Birdlog

25.11.14. Birdlog

08.11.14. Marsh Harrier (juv), No.6 tank, Frodsham Marsh

A Green Sandpiper flew east along Lordship Lane. 3 Goldcrest and a Redwing were in the eastern corner of No.6 tank. A male Stonechat was along Moorditch Lane and another male along Brook Furlong Lane where 2 Chiffchaff were feeding. A skein of 72 Pink-footed Geese flew over heading NW. A cream-crowned Marsh Harrier was hunting along the northern edge of No.4 tank at midday.

Observer: Dan ?

Additional bird information concerns a skein of 43 Pink-footed Geese flying west over Runcorn towards Hale Marsh and the wintering Chiffchaff was vocal with the tit flock.

Observer: WSM

24.11.14. Birdlog

24.11.14. Birdlog

x1060 - Copy copy2 Great White Egret together on the Frodsham Score salt marsh with 11 Little Egret near them. There were 2 Stonechat (male & female) in the reeds at No.4 tank and 2 along Lordship Lane. At least 4 Water Rail calling from the tank where 2 Marsh Harrier appeared at sunset.

Observer: Jean Roberts.

Image by Tony Broome.

To anyone who knows Red Rocks, North Wirral…

We have until 1st December to comment on the management plan created by the CWT following our intervention to prevent any further tree and scrub removal last March. If you would like to add your name to the list of signatories please let me know by the 28th. If you have any comments you would like to add, please let me know and I’ll add them, either in the document or as another appendix.

Please forward this to anyone you know who has experience of or interest in the site.

Our draft response to their plan is available here:


The plan itself is here:

With my notes added to it

The Conservation Enhancement Scheme from Natural England is here

and the agreed minutes to the site meeting with NE and CWT is here



Jane Turner

Shared with Dropbox

23.11.14. Birdlog

23.11.14. Birdlog

22.11.14. Whooper Swans, Frodsham Score. Paul Ralston

An early morning walk from Ince berth along the Manchester Ship Canal  and round  No.4 tank and the following were seen: Redwing, Fieldfare and Blackbird were busily engaged with feeding on the hawthorn berries along the canal path. A flock of Mute Swan were joined by 5 Whooper‘s which flew in at daybreak.

22.11.14. Pink-footed Geese, Frodsham Score. Paul Ralston

A skein of 40 Pink-footed Goose passed over high heading south and several Little Egret were feeding on the Frodsham Score. The tables were turned for a change when the Ravens made the most of a carcase while the Great Black-backed Gulls looked on. A Peregrine flew over putting a mass of birds in the air including c800 Lapwing, several hundred Golden Plover and Starlings.

22.11.14. Little Egret, No.3 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Tony Broome.

Lordship Lane attracted more thrushes along with flocks of Linnet, Chaffinch and assorted Tits. The Holpool Gutter was quiet with only a few Common Teal, Mallard and Moorhen to be seen . At least 60 Curlew fed in the field alongside the gutter and the juvenile Marsh Harrier flew by.

Observer: Paul Ralston (images 1 & 2).

Further out along Brook furlong Lane were similar flocks of winter thrushes and a Chiffchaff was by the south-east corner (old birdlog) of No.1 tank.

Observer: Frank Duff.

23.11.14. Illuminated Dunlin, Frodsham Marsh. The Wilde Bunch

Findlay and I went to the marsh today and managed to time it perfectly for the Dunlin flocks. They were all huddled together when we arrived, but a small group took flight and headed off towards the estuary. We didn’t notice what had spooked them but the rest all took flight together flying back and forth across the water on No.6 tank. A stunning and beautiful moment.

23.11.14. Dunlin flock, No.6 tank, frodsham Marsh. The Wilde Bunch.

Observers: Heather and Findlay Wilde (images 4 & 5). For all things Wilde take a look at Findlay’s blog http://wildeaboutbirds.blogspot.co.uk/

Little Egret image by Tony Broome.

23.11.14. Brambling, Tatton Park. Bill Morton (2)Additional bird information from elsewhere in Cheshire: 12 Brambling feeding on Beech mast along the ‘avenue’ at Tatton Park.

Observers: Sparky, WSM.

22.11.14. Birdlog

22.11.14. Birdlog

22.11.14. No.4 tank (west side and the Holpool Gutter,  Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton

22.11.14. Dunlin roost, No.6 tank   Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton

A 9.2 metre tide out on the river had me settled on the banks of No.6 tank with a roosting flock of c4000 Dunlin fidgeting on the edges of the flooded tank. A small group of Golden Plover dropped in with the usual assembly of c500 Lapwing and the 11 Ruff present look like there are here for the winter.

The rough grassy and reedy edges alongside the track attracted a Chiffchaff which was difficult to locate.

Observer: WSM.

22.11.14. Makeral Sky, Frodsham Marsh. Tony Broome.

Walking out to the NE corner of No.4 tank led to a meet up with the lads. An impressive count of 14 Little Egret were popping in and out of the tidal gutters and two (widely separated) Great White’s were also noted on Frodsham Score. There were 11 Whooper Swan which loosely associated with 23 Mute Swan on the salt marsh. Several hundred Wigeon out on the river and several thousand Canada Geese were on both sides of the water. 23 Pink-footed Goose were also on the salt marsh with the Canada’s and a juvenile Marsh Harrier barely bothering any of the birds as it flew along the tidal edges out there.

22.11.14. Dunlin roost, No.6 tank   Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton

Shorebirds were another main feature with 5000 Dunlin, 46 Grey and (220) Golden Plover, c10,000 Lapwing, 230 Curlew, 78 Oystercatcher and 230 Black-tailed Godwit being notable.

Water Rails were calling from several different locations on the marsh totaling 6 birds. A Rock/Water Pipit flew over and 70 Linnet were tantalizingly too far away to identify any Twite out there. A mobile Kingfisher was below the banks on the canal and it or another was on the ‘Splashing Pool’. A Siskin flew south, while a Grey Wagtail was on the banks of the ship canal. Further over on the marsh 25 Fieldfare and 2 Redwing were along the hedgerows along Brook Furlong Lane.

Observers: Tony Broome (and image 3), Frank Duff, WSM.

22.11.14. Peacock Butterfly, No.4 tank, frodsham Marsh. Bill MortonIt’s only a month away from the winter solstice and a Peacock Butterfly was a surprise sunning itself along the grassy track before the corner on No.4 tank.

After leaving Tony and Frank to continue their watch elsewhere I made the decision to walk the perimeter of No.4 tank with the intention of reaching the Growhow works.

Walking west alongside the Manchester Ship Canal 2 Green Sandpiper flew along the water to the east. There was very little of note along the course of the Holpool Gutter except for a Grey Wagtail and a couple of Mallard.

22.11.14. Starling roost with Marsh Harrier above, No.4 tank   Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton

Negotiating the water-filled, pot holed track from the Growhow works to Lordship Lane was bad enough on foot so I don’t recommend anyone bringing a vehicle this far unless you have a ‘Landie’. I eventually found a good spot on the muddy track between No.4 and 6 tanks and (metaphorically) pulled up a seat to watch one of natures free big screen spectaculars. After a short wait the Starlings began to arrive and assemble over No.4 tank, soon after the sun slid below the horizon. Small groups of tens were followed by groups of hundreds and they rapidly joined forces to form a huge herd of thousands. Typically for the species roost flocks they soon started their sky ballet, pirouetting, twisting, splitting, reforming, spiraling and at times pulsating as one gigantic mass. All in all a thoroughly entertaining show and I had it all to myself.

22.11.14. Merlin, No.4 tank, Frodsham marsh. Bill Morton.

With this amount of free food on offer it was no surprise to see a Merlin take advantage of the situation and pluck one for a night-cap. The young Marsh Harrier (seen earlier) sailed through causing the Starlings to do a flock shimmer in an attempt to confuse the raptor (featured in image #5). If all this birds of prey activity at the roost wasn’t enough to shred a Starlings nerves, then the appearance of a Sparrowhawk gliding its way through to grab a less agile bird. It was this bird that tipped the balance and forced the rest of the flock to drop into their reed bed roost sooner they perhaps they would liked. I estimated there were c10,000 birds in this evening roost and hopefully as the winter progresses their numbers may increase.

22.11.14. Starling roost, No.4 tank   Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton

Thanks to Paul Ralston and Shaun Hickey for keeping an eye on this roost over the last few weeks. If you get the opportunity to see these birds then anytime from 3.45pm on a sun set evening with a windless day is best.

We normally associate murmurations with Starlings, but a roosting flock of 240 Black-headed Gulls were disturbed by a raptor on No.6 tank and they performed a bizarre flight circuit up, over and around No.6 tank all against the neon lights from Frodsham beyond the marsh.

In the light available I managed to count 280 Tufted Duck, 300 Common Teal and 12 Shoveler on the flooded tank. A Barn Owl was hunting the rough grassy areas of No.5 tank and a more vocal second bird screeched over my head in some kind of territorial dispute with the first bird before the light finally succumbed.

Rounding off the day nicely was a medium-sized Bat species flying along Moorditch Lane in the half-light before home finally beckoned.

Starling murmuration on No.4 tank this evening: http://vimeo.com/112587744 (unplugged)

Observer: WSM (video and images 1, 2, 4, 5 & 6)

20.11.14. Birdlog

20.11.14. Birdlog

20.11.14. Barn Owl, Frodsham Marsh. Paul Ralston

A late afternoon walk around the Weaver Bend and along Lordship Lane as far as No.4 tank with a good listing of birds which included the following: 11 Little Grebe in one group on the ‘Bend’ also 3 Mute Swan with one male chasing another out of its territory. A male Stonechat along the Weaver Causeway. Not many duck on the river only small numbers of Shelduck, Mallard and Common Teal and a group of Tufted Duck were further along the river. A single Red-legged Partridge was on the path by the bridge while a Barn Owl was sleeping in a hawthorn bush which may not have been in the best of health? The Starlings put on a good show over No.4 and 6  tanks at dusk and were visited by a Sparrowhawk, Kestrel and young Marsh Harrier .

Observer and image: Paul Ralston

16.11.14. Birdlog

16.11.14. Birdlog

Dawn broke over No.6 tank and one die-hard took up the gauntlet determined to have a good day out on the marsh. Observation commenced at 08.15 – 09. 35 hrs.

16.11.14. Stonechat (female), No.1 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Tony Broome. 16.11.14. Stonechat (male), No.1 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Tony Broome.


3 Cormorant, 3 Curlew, 800 Lapwing, 17 Golden Plover, 50 Dunlin, 5 Ruff, 17 Pochard, 520 Common Teal, 22 Shoveler, 7 Gadwall, 23 Tufted Duck, 6 Common Shelduck, 30 Mallard, 6 Mute Swan,  a single Great Black-backed Gull and to cocktail shake this lot up was an immature Peregrine which flushed everything at 09.10.

Moving out to No.3 tank after the Peregrine aftermath produced  (09.35-10.26): 8 Common Snipe, 5 Pied Wagtail, 14 Meadow Pipit, 14 Reed Bunting and 5 Song Thrush.
16.11.14. Starlings), No.1 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Tony Broome.
16.11.14. Starlins, Moorditch Lane, Frodsham Marsh. Bill MortonNo.4 tank (NE corner, Canal Pools and Frodsham Score) 1026-1145: A single Great White Egret with 2 Little Egret, 7 Whooper Swan, 26 Mute Swan, 5000 Dunlin, 84 Great Black-backed Gull, 1 Kingfisher, 1 Jay, 8 Long-tailed, 3 Blue and 5 Great Tit, 2 Goldcrest, 1 Redpoll spp (flying south) 10 Raven and 13 Jackdaw.
A ‘ringtail’ Hen Harrier was over No.3 and 4 tanks while 25 Chaffinch, 5 Great Tit and 3 Song Thrush were in and around the scrubs.
No.3 tank – Canal Pools: 1 Green Sandpiper (another was on No.4 tank per JR), 3 Common Snipe, 60 Chaffinch, 40 Goldfinch, 15 Coot,
No. 6 tank (12.20-13.00): 20 Chaffinch and a Snow Bunting calling several times in flight from the south-west at 12.41 – 12.43 over the track above No.6 tank and flew north-east over the old bird log parking area.
Weaver Estuary (14.00 – 16.15): 150 Tufted Duck, 3 Goldeneye, 19 Little Grebe, 100 Redshank, 100 Black-tailed Godwit, 1 Grey Plover,  500 Curlew, 30 Meadow Pipit,
2 male and 2 female Stonechat on the pipes on No.1 tank with another male and female at the ‘Point’.
Observer and images (images 1, 2 & 3): Tony Broome.
A couple of (presumably) immature Marsh Harrier was over No.4 tank.
Observers: Mr and Ms Mike Turton.

The stubble fields alongside Lordship Lane held 121 Linnet, 46 Skylark, 13 Reed Bunting and present in the hawthorn hedge near the slurry tank were 12 Fieldfare and 9 Redwing.
Observer: Jean Roberts.

16.11.14. Stonechat (male),Lordship Lane, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton
A walk around No.6 tank at dusk resulted in seeing other Stonechat which included a male and 2 females along the fence line opposite the model aircraft field. Two Chiffchaff along Moorditch Lane and 60 Linnet in the stubble field.
The flooded areas on No.6 tank included most of Tony’s sightings from earlier in the day with the addition of c600 Dunlin roosting with the Lapwing flock.
Observers: Sparky, WSM (images 4 & 5).
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15.11.14. Birdlog

15.11.14. Birdlog

15.11.14. Wader flock over Frodsham Score, Bill Morton

15.11.14. Blue-topped chimney, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton

The Weaver estuary and Bend wasn’t at its best today. However, you have to deal with what’s on offer so, 214 Tufted Duck, 1 drake Common Pochard, 14 Goldeneye, 16 Little and 4 Great Crested Grebe and a Water Rail started the days birding up and running

Observer: WSM.

Further out on the margins of the marsh a Chiffchaff and a Cetti’s Warbler could be heard.

Observer: Frank Duff.

15.11.14. Great Spotted Woodpecker, Brook Furlong Lane, Frodsham Marsh, Bill MortonAlong Brook Furlong Lane and in the Hawthorn hedgerows was a Chiffchaff, 3 Bullfinch, 12 Fieldfare, 68 Redwing and a male Great Spotted Woodpecker.

Observer: WSM

Marsh Farm and the salt marsh across from the Manchester Ship Canal offered a better alternative with 2000 Dunlin, 2400 Lapwing and 120 Black-tailed Godwit. All these birds were flushed by a couple of wildfowlers out on the top banks. After a while and when everything eventually settled down, a Merlin spotted a Meadow Pipit and then gave chase, the aerial combat took some time before we lost both birds below the embankment and it all seemed enviable? A (Lesser) Redpoll flew east over the farm and a Grey Wagtail took time out to perch up.

15.11.14. Male Stonechat, No.1 tank, Frodsham Marsh, Frank Duff

Three Stonechat  (including a nice male pictured above) were along the fence and pipes of No.1 tank and a pair were by the brick pit at Marsh Farm.

15.11.14. Kingfisher, Marsh Farm, Frodsham Marsh, Bill Morton

Along the waters of the Manchester Ship Canal was 21 Little Grebe and nearby a male Kingfisher was perched up.

A drive across the marsh to watch over No.6 tank was well worth the time there when the juvenile Marsh Harrier was watched hunting the western reed beds. The distant barking of a skein of 63 Pink-footed Geese flew in from the north. They flew purposely heading south west towards the Gowy Meadows but did a hand brake turn and circled back on themselves before returning north out to the estuary.

An increase in duck species on the waters of the tank included: 22 Common Pochard, 40 Tufted Duck, 26 Shoveler, 2 drake Pintail. 12 Mallard, 12 Gadwall and 178 Common Teal. Shorebirds featured a solitary Ruff, 230 Dunlin and 470 Lapwing.


Finally, a bird that isn’t particularly common anywhere on the marsh is the Collared Dove. When I was leaving the marsh I spotted two perched on wires by the caravan park, a welcome bonus for the day list.

Observers: Frank Duff (and image 4), WSM (and images 1,2,3, 5 and 6).