Christmas Eve

24.12.14. Great White and Little Egret, Frodsham Score, Frodsham Marsh. Paul Ralston

A morning festive ramble out along the Manchester Ship Canal up to the Canal Pools and back. The Great White Egret was with 2 Little Egret and could be found opposite the Ince berth. At least 18 Little Egret seen throughout the morning with a group of 7 birds on the Frodsham Score and 2 Whooper Swan were with a Mute out on the salt marsh there.

24.12.14. Whooper Swans, Ince Marsh -  Frodsham Marsh. Paul Ralston

A party of 16 Whooper’s included 2 juveniles were in a field next to the Holpool Gutter and were led on to the marsh by a small grey goose!

24.12.14. Golden Plovers, Ince Marsh -  Frodsham Marsh. Paul Ralston

Large numbers of Lapwing and Golden Plover took to the air disturbed by wildfowlers who were coming off the marsh with several Canada Geese in their grasp. Settled on the waters of the Manchester Ship Canal were 4 Great Crested Grebe while a Green Sandpiper flew over.

A Chiffchaff was heard calling on the banks of No.4 tank. Returning back to the start of my walk, a large flock of Curlew panicked when a Merlin shot past in pursuit of a Mistle Thrush.

24.12.14. Curlews, Ince Marsh -  Frodsham Marsh. Paul Ralston

Observer: Paul Ralston (and images 1-4).

24.12.14. No.6 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton

I managed a walk out to the corner of No.5-6 and 3 tanks a couple of hours before dusk and didn’t really see a lot about. What I did see I’ll share with you and that included from No.6 tank: 92 Common Teal, 12 Mallard, 3 Shoveler, a pair of Pintail and 6 Tufted Duck.

24.12.14. Starling in Lapwing roost, No.6 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton

A smallish roost of 120 Dunlin and a Starling settled in the edge of the water with 90 Lapwing at dusk was strange?

24.12.14. Dunlin, No.6 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton

A Chiffchaff was calling from the south west corner of No.5 tank and a Merlin shot through as I was walking back. Not much of a Starling roost this evening and I’m sure the strong westerly had a lot to do with that.

Observer: WSM (images 5-7).

For further snippits of info and pictures pop over and like

Siberian Chiffchaff

I thought you might be interested in this Chiffchaff that Andy Humphreys came across on Runcorn Hill LNR on Sunday 21st December in area of heathland called ‘The East Quarry’. The bird was bathing in a small pool and was also heard to call several times a distinct Bullfinch like “peep”.

21.12.14. Siberian Chiffchaff, Runcorn Hill. Andy Humphreys (3)The bird by call ticks the right box for an Eastern Chiffchaff but some of the plumage features falls into that shadowy area of a grey Chiffchaff. Note the all black bill, complete absence of any green or yellow on mantle and head, grey mantle, pale super and almost white underparts. There is a faint ‘double’ wing bar (a little odd) caused by the pale tips to the greater and median coverts. The cheeks are also pale or appear so from the photographs. There is the Bonellis Warbler like effect caused by the contrast between the mantle and the yellowish colour on the closed wing and a faint trace can be noted on the tail.

21.12.14. Siberian Chiffchaff, Runcorn Hill. Andy Humphreys (1)

There are three collybita race present elsewhere on the hill and these can be heard at any time of the day. Incidently, I did hear the what sounded like a tristis “peep” calling yesterday by the bowling greens in the formal park.

If you decide to pay a visit over the next few days then any comments and/or photographs would be welcomed. I have included a map of Runcorn Hill where Andy spotted the “Chiffchaff”. The access is best from the car park off Highlands road and then walk east or through the hill walks to the East Quarry (see map below).

Runcorn Hill Map (3)

Also of interest was a Nordic Jackdaw with the 73 Common Jackdaw on the football fields on Park Road last week and worth having a look for.