Recent Short Films

Youtube videos

A short video of the Great White Egret on Frodsham Score.

A 2.45 minute video of part of the Starling roost and their entrance into the Canal Pool roost.

A female Merlin.

The Cattle Egret at the Canal Pools.

Above videos by Paul Ralston and taken over the last week from the marsh.

http://vimeo.com/114590411

Sunsetting over Frodsham Marsh by WSM.

 

Cattle Egret #2 for Frodsham Marsh

Cattle Egret #2 for Frodsham Marsh by Tony Broome

13.12.14. Track on No.5 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Tony Broome

An early start and out of bed for 6.30 am, made the toast, sandwiches and coffee for another days birding Frodsham Marsh. I was hoping to be on site for 8am … wrong! My car was full of work stuff from a busy week and had to be emptied, that was once I’d got into the car! I couldn’t open the doors, the temperature being -4c and the car door frames were completely frozen shut! The pitfalls of working in all weathers and terrain. A little perseverance and eventually I was heading west. The roads were like glass and even the M56 hadn’t been gritted, my wheels sliding on a couple of occasions.
I stopped off at Costa Coffee in Frodsham (other coffee outlets are available…eds) and got my usual take-out latte fix with orange syrup (well, it is Christmas!). It was unusually busy…but I realised it was me that was late…being after 9 am. I drove over the motorway bridge at Marsh Lane, turned left and headed for No.6 tank to do the walk that I’ve decided suits me at the moment. The open water on the tank was virtually empty with ice covering most of it, a small number of Common Teal and Lapwings were huddled at the far side in what little water was open. It had warmed up, being a balmy -2c.

13.12.14. track to No.4 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Tony BroomeI began to walk along the track towards No’s 3 and 4 tanks. A small group of five Ruff flew in from the west and disappeared over to the far side. I finally approached the western end of No.3 when I suddenly realised, I needed Wellington’s. The boots were warmer but a pair of wellies would have suited a bash of bog trotting looking for Jack Snipe. Muttering, I turned and went back to the car, making the decision to drive around to No.4 tank and off the marsh for a comfort and coffee break in Church Street. The day seemed to be rushing past me and I hadn’t done anything yet. Returning back to the marsh I meet Arthur Harrison by chance and after exchanging pleasantries and enquiring about the other Frodsham regulars, I wondered where there were? No sign of Frank, who, it turned out, had slipped on the ice and injured his thigh and elbow quite badly. Also, no sign of Bill either?

13.12.14. No.3 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Tony Broome
The tracks were virtually undrivable, the pot holes full of deep water, but I was just glad to had arrived at last to the corner of No.4/3 and 6 tanks. I walked out to my favourite view-point, the north-east corner of the tank overlooking Frodsham Score. I put my rucksack down and got the toast and coffee out before scanning the Score. It was a fabulous spot, offering virtually a 360 degree view. The swans and geese were a long way to the west and the tide was out.

There were thousands of Lapwings and Golden Plovers which periodically erupted into a blizzard of birds as unseen raptors ambushed them out amongst the creeks. I stood and took it all in, munching on the toast and marmalade, savouring the peace and isolation. There was always something to see and my intention was to wander around any flooded marshy patches and to wait for the Starling roost.

13.12.14. Cattle Egret, Canal Pools, frodsham Marsh. Tony Broome
The wind was from the west but felt very cold, even as the temperature went into the positive side of zero degrees. I pulled by snook higher to cover my nose, tightened the drawstring on my gloves and put my hood up. It was going to be a long, very cold afternoon. I idly counted the cattle on No.3 and casually scanned towards Marsh Farm through my binoculars and immediately noticed a small white shape in the distance flying towards me. A gull? No, too white. Oh, an egret, probably a Little, but it looked ‘odd’. Somehow the wings looked shorter and it had a stiffer wing beat. Maybe not. I watched it come towards me. Alarm bells started to ring, especially as it suddenly veered towards the cattle and dropped in amongst them. Little’s didn’t do that! I swiveled the scope towards it and peered expectantly at the bird and couldn’t believe my eyes, it was indeed a Cattle Egret! I watched, feeling a sense of mild euphoria. I’d missed the first one for Frodsham Marsh last year and it was great to actually find my own instead. Logic told me that it was probably the Burton Marsh bird wandering further afield. I took off my gloves and got my camera out.

13.12.14. Cattle Egret, Canal Pools, frodsham Marsh. Tony Broome

The egret was on the edge of the herd and still a long way off so my first efforts were very record shot-ish. I began to make phone calls to the locals. Bill didn’t answer so I sent him a text. Frank didn’t answer either. Arthur did…and I believe he, immediately left his lunch on the table, Marie Celeste – like and headed back to the marsh. Frank called me, nursing his sore limbs from his fall earlier. However, the painkillers had began to work and a Cattle Egret on his local patch was too much of a temptation for him to stay house-bound and he too hobbled into his car and drove down. No reply from Bill again as I called. Where was he? Eventually, I got a strange text back asking me if I was on the marsh today? None of my attempts had reached him and he was about as far east as you can go, along the River Weaver. I text him back. ‘Cattle Egret on No3’….to which I got an even stranger reply back…’Seriously?’ ….but was then on his way in no particular hurry as always.

13.12.14. Cattle Egret, Canal Pools, frodsham Marsh. Tony BroomeAfter all this messaging I’d almost forgot about the Cattle Egret and when I tried to relocate it, it wasn’t there anymore! I scanned in desperation. Had it flown off? The others were heading my way as I searched. It suddenly walked out of the grass and into the open. Phew! It was still here. I crept closer and hid on the back side of a small mound by the ‘Splashing Pool’ and managed to get some better photographs. It hardly ever stopped moving and I missed the best shots when my battery ran out and I had to change it, cursing as I dropped it into the grass. My hands were freezing.

13.12.14. Cattle Egret, Canal Pools, Frodsham Marsh. Tony Broome

The egret had an interesting way of feeding. It would deliberately goad the cattle, walking up to them and standing in front of their noses, which seemed to irritate them and they chased it. Then it would stand nearby, neck extended and waving from side to side while keeping its head perfectly still, whilst it fluffed up its crown feathers. It was bizarre to watch and I can’t say I’ve noticed it before. It would then run around the rear of the cattle and pick up prey items. It also fed out in the open away from the cattle, following a strip of disturbed earth through some sheep. Bill and I watched it as it caught and gulped down a vole, probably a Short-tailed Field Vole, a nice fulsome meal.

13.12.14. Cattle Egret, Canal pools, frodsham Marsh. Tony BroomeTypically, the Cattle Egret, a small white egret with a pronounced jowl. The bill was orangey-yellow, the cere pale yellow-green and the eye pale yellow with a dark iris. The short, stocky legs and feet greyish possibly with a pinkish tone in places. Overall it was all white with just a hint of a peach or apricot wash around the crown, jowls and breast.

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As Bill and I watched it, it moved into the canal pool area and we lost sight of it around 3.15 pm. We didn’t see it fly but I guess with the cattle being out on No.3, it will stay around. Unfortunately Paul Ralston turned up just after it moved out of sight, but the bird looked settled and I guess during the course of its stay those who want to add it to their Frodsham Marsh list will catch up with it. I returned to my car and topped the coffee flask up with boiling water from my mobile primus stove and then returned to the watch where we stood in the falling temperatures, eating chocolate bars in eager anticipation of the forthcoming Starling murmuration that would be treating us to a show.

13.12.14. Starlings, No.3 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Tony Broome
Dusk fell as we waited and as the Starlings began to arrive, we were treated to a spectacular sunset. They swirled around in various flocks, one numbering thousands, which enveloped the cattle on No.3 like some dark cloak as they landed for one last feed before bedding down. Interestingly, the birds roosted in several different areas, making me wonder if they changed their roost nightly in an attempt to outwit the waiting raptors. All in all, a very enjoyable day on the marsh.

13.12.14. Starlings over No.3 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Tony Brome (3)
Tony Broome (and images).

14.12.14. Birdlog

14.12.14. Birdlog

14.12.14. Whooper Swans, Frodsham Score, Frodsham Marsh. Paul Ralston

Stepping out this morning from the  Ince berth as far as No.6 tank. A large herd of mixed swans on Ince Marsh with 15 Whooper Swan amongst four of which are juveniles. Many Lapwing and Golden Plover were spooked by the wildfowlers who were out on Frodsham Score.

14.12.14. female Merlin, Frodsham Score, Frodsham Marsh. Paul Ralston

A female Merlin was sat in a hawthorn and flew in a circle around me several times before landing back in the same bush. The Canal Pools held good numbers of Common Teal, Gadwall, Mallard, Coot, Moorhen and the family of Mute Swan there.

14.12.14. Cattle Egret, Canal Pools, Frodsham Marsh. Paul Ralston

The Cattle Egret was in amongst the cattle over towards Marsh Farm. A Water Rail was seen and heard along the track by No.6. Back along the Manchester Ship Canal good numbers of both Blue and Great Tit were mixed in with Goldfinch, Chaffinch, Redwing and Fieldfare. On the ship canal were 4 Little Grebe and a young Great Crested Grebe was also present.

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Observer and images: Paul Ralston.

 

13.12.14. Birdlog

13.12.14. Birdlog

13.12.14. Goldeneyes, Weaver Bend, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton

A ramble down to the Weaver Bend was fairly productive with No.6 tank’s open water frozen most of the duck from there relocated out on the river. 120 Common Teal, 67 Tufted Duck, 4 Pochard and 24 Goldeneye stuck close to the jetty because shooters were along the banks of No.1 tank.

13.12.14. Fieldfare, Brook furlong Lane, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton

13.12.14. female Reed bunting, Redwall reedbed, Frodsham MarshA female Stonechat was frequenting the marshy area by the estuary entrance and small numbers of Reed Buntings were in Redwall reedbed including a very grey individual. Several hundred Redwing and Fieldfare were feasting on the hawthorn berries along Brook furlong Lane.

Two Little Egret flew over the Shooters’ pools before disappearing over the pylons at the CEGB pools.

13.12.14. Cattle Egret, Canal Pools, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton

I received a belated text message from TB who had found a Cattle Egret an hour earlier on No.3 tank so without too much undue concern I slightly quicken my pace and headed up to that direction.

13.12.14. Barn Owl, Moorditch Lane, Frodsham Marsh. Bill MortonStopping off to find a Barn Owl  roosting up in a hawthorn tree close to the horse paddock along Moorditch Lane (just on the marsh from the motorway bridge). Arthur and Frank managed to connect with it as they were leaving the marsh.

A Chiffchaff was calling along the reedy track to No.3 tank.

When I eventually got to the corner of No.4 tank and meeting up with Tony it wasn’t long before the Cattle Egret reappeared from the eastern end of the pools. The egret was plaguing the cows and attempting to shift them from their standing position, so they would disturb prey beneath their feet. The ploy worked really effectively when it caught a vole from the grassy bank.

Taking a 180 degree turn and we managed to secure a Great White Egret out on Frodsham Score and several Little Egret, making it a three egrets in less than a minute. Other birds of note out on the marshes included 34 Pink-footed Goose, 34 Swans mostly Mutes but probably c20 Whoopers a bit more distantly. Another highlight was watching a Buzzard poncing onto a grazing Rabbit from an Elder tree then carrying it away below the bank on the river side.

13.12.14. Golden Plover flock, Mersey estuary, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton

Shorebirds are always worthy of attention here and a flock of c8000 Lapwing attracted another flock of c1000 Golden Plover (part of the flock pictured above) and these in turn attracted a Peregrine. The Peregrine didn’t take to the Merlin present and proceeded to attack the smaller falcon in flight. A little embarrassing we thought for the Peregrine being out maneuvered by it’s more agile cousin.

13.12.14. Marsh Harrier, No.4 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton

The young Marsh Harrier over No.4 tank at dusk.

13.12.14. Sunset over  No.4 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton

A sunset to equal any we have experienced over the years from the marsh was a fitting backdrop for the mass arrival of Starlings over No.4 and gathering over No.3 tank.

The Starlings appeared to drop into the reedbeds on No.6 tank with other flocks choosing to use No.4 tank and the Canal Pools. We estimated that there were in excess of 10,000 birds but hard to get a true count by part of the flocks gathering over No.6 tank and out of sight for us. The young Marsh Harrier was present during the roost but didn’t appear to show much interest in the goings on.

Observers: Tony Broome, Frank Duff, Arthur Harrison, Paul Ralston, Alyn Chambers, WSM (and images).

10.12.14. Birdlog

10.12.14. Birdlog

10.12.14. Waves on Frodsham Score. Paul Ralston

An afternoon walk along the Manchester Ship Canal and out to No.6 tank produced  c70 Linnet feeding on flower seeds close to the Growhow works where many Curlew were present in nearby fields. A Grey Wagtail with a number of Pied were alongside the recently dredged ditch. From the canal path the usual flocks of Redwing and Fieldfare in the hawthorn bushes with more Fieldfare  flew in from Frodsham Score.

10.12.14. Dunlin, Frodsham Score. Paul Ralston

The score was alive with Lapwing and Golden plover with flocks of Dunlin on the edge of the marsh which had white horses crashing over the banks from the whipped up River Mersey. The Mute Swan herd contained only a couple of Whooper’s seen but more hidden from sight no doubt? The Canal Pools were quiet with only 3 Shoveler and the family of Mute Swan, Coot and moorhen. I stayed for the evening Starling roost which was in excess of 10 000 individuals which eventually settled on No.4 tank.

Observer & images: Paul Ralston

07.12.14. Birdlog

07.12.14. Birdlog

07.12.14. Sparrowhawk, Ince Marsh. Stuart Maddocks.

I decided to take my Mum for a tour of the marsh this afternoon. It was wild old day with a bit of everything thrown in, rain, hail, strong wind and finally some sunshine. The highlight of the day was a Goldcrest by the Pig Farm at Ince by the start of the track and some stunning views of a sheltering or possibly an ambushing Sparrowhawk just taking it all in as Linnet and Goldfinches found it hard to settle on a stormy day.

Observers (and image 1): Stuart Maddocks (and Mum).

 

07.12.14. Tony on No.4 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Tony BroomeAfter a night of heavy rain and NW gales, the morning began with a strong N Westerly and heavy showers with rainbows. With a temperature of only 4c, it felt bitterly cold. A brighter late morning and afternoon saw stronger gusts and the temperature rose to a balmy 5c. Without gloves, fingers froze and it was difficult to search for birds out on the Score as the tripod shook.

07.12.14. Rainbow over No.5 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Tony Broome

07.12.14. Rainbow over No.5 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Tony Broome

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No.6 tank was a busy place with 30 Herring Gull, 40 Black-headed Gull, 70 Common Gull, 1 Great Black-backed Gull. 17 Redshank, 1 Grey Plover, 200 Lapwing, 8 Shelduck, 200 Teal, 4 Shoveler, 19 Curlew, 1 Grey Plover, 2 Common Snipe, 300 (long-billed) Dunlin and 9 Ruff were settled on the water and bare mud.

07.12.14. Dunlin, No.6 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Tony Broome
The flooded muddy areas on No.3 tank encouraged 100 Lapwing, 1 Dunlin and a solitary Curlew.

07.12.14. Frodsham Score, Frodsham Marsh. Tony Broome
Frodsham Score: 120 Oystercatcher, 1000 Dunlin and 4 Common Snipe.

07.12.14. Motorway traffic from No.6 tank, Frodsham Marsh Marsh. Tony Broome
The image above shows vehicles on the M56 approaching junction 12 (east bound) and in the foreground is the open water on No.6 tank.

An influx of wintering Song Thrush numbered c20 at various areas, 60 Redwing and a Sparrowhawk was along Brook Furlong Lane.

07.12.14. No.6 tank, Frodsham Marsh Marsh. Tony Broome
Out on the River Weaver were 8 Goldeneye and 6 Gadwall.

06.12.14. Starling roost over No.4 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Tony Broome

No.4 tank: 3 Common Snipe flew out of the tank and an estimated 10-15,000 Starlings gathered for the evening roost. Also noted a Kestrel and Sparrowhawk joined the melee. Further over by Lordship Lane there were 300 Fieldfare, 100 Redwing and a Stonechat was close to the model aircraft field.

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The Lum fields attracted a Barn Owl at 16.40 hrs which was seen hunting over the rough grassland and phragmites in the dark (presumably the same bird noted midweek hunting in the daylight).

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Observer: Tony Broome (images 2-10).

06.12.14. Birdlog

06.12.14. Birdlog

06.12.14. Blue-topped Chimney, Frodsham Marsh. Bill MortonA cold start to the day (and because I’m doing other stuff tomorrow), I thought I’d start my birding day doing the WeBS count on No.6 tank during the high tide. A combination of model aircrafts zipping overhead (big boys with their small boys toys) and partially frozen water on the tank didn’t bode well for the watch. The lowlights being 12 Shoveler, 14 Mallard and 104 Common Teal.

06.12.14. Stonechat (male), No.5 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton

A pair of Stonechat was perched on the rough verges to the track on No.5 tank and posed long enough for a portrait or two.

06.12.14. Merlin, Frodsham Score. Bill Morton

After the disappointment of the count on No.6 tank I thought I’d salvage something from the day and spend my time watching the receding tide on Frodsham Score. After an initial poor start the appearance of a Great White Egret started to warm my enthusiasm. Ten Little Egret, one particular bird within touching distance of a female Merlin perched on posts made for an odd combination. An adult male Peregrine was sat in the short marsh grass, while an immature bird shot over No.4 tank. Further afield the big female was watching aloft the blue-topped chimney overlooking the Mersey estuary.

06.12.14. Lapwing and Golden Plover, Frodsham Score. Bill Morton

Hundreds of waders were moving about with surprisingly small flocks of Black-tailed Godwit. 120 Grey Plover, 5 Knot, 40 Oystercatcher and several hundred Dunlin were along the tide line. 4,000 Lapwing were joined by c 340 Golden Plover which found security close to the roosting Great Black-backed Gulls.

The usual gathering of hundreds of Canada Geese were out on the salt marsh. Detached and some distance away was a herd of 28 Whooper Swan with 14 Pink-footed Goose in close attendance. A flock of 34 Stock Dove joined the feeding Curlews out on the salt marsh.

At the Holpool Gutter where it joins the sluice gates into the Manchester Ship Canal is an area which doesn’t get the coverage that perhaps it deserves. I disturbed a couple of Green Sandpiper from the gates and they flew around calling before ditching into the gutter and out of sight.

The Raven numbers were much reduced and small numbers were seen on the score. A calling Rock/Water Pipit hurtling up the ship canal was probably the bird which had been seen/heard over the last few weeks. Out on the ‘Splashing Pool’ a Kingfisher broke the silence and flew across losing it’s self in the reeds there. The cold weather forced a few flocks of Redwing and Fieldfare onto the marsh and typically Song Thrushes were feeding in the rough areas adjacent to the track along No.3 tank.

06.12.14. Sunswt and Starlings, No,4 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill MortonA few people joined me on the banks of No.6 tank to watch the evening Starling spectacle and not to disappoint an estimated 10,000 birds twisted and turned their way through the crimson sky. Unlike the previous evening they chose to ditch down onto No.4 tank denying us the opportunity to watch them disembark for the night…still there’s always another night.

A couple of Water Rail called away from No.6 tank as I was walking back in the dark.

Observer and images: WSM

05.12.14. Birdlog

05.12.14. Birdlog

05.12.14. Starling murmuration, No.4 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton

A late and short walk from the model aircraft flying field to the corner of No.4 tank to watch the Starling roost. A pair of Stonechat on the fence alongside the flying field and a Kingfisher in the ditch alongside No.6 tank. The ‘Splashing Pool’ held small numbers of Common Teal, Mallard, Coot, Moorhen and a pair of Little Grebe. The Canal Pools had 4 Mute Swan (2 adults 2 juvenile) and more Teal, Tufted Duck, Mallard, Coot and Moorhen plus 3 Common Snipe.

05.12.14. Starling murmuration, No.4 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton

The Starling numbers built up to ten thousand and then split over No.4 tank and the Pumping Station reed bed. Walking back along Lordship Lane the Barn Owl was again hunting the banks of six with many Lapwings flying overhead in the dark to their feeding grounds.

Observer: Paul Ralston.

05.12.14. Starling murmuration, No.4 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton

Friday’s early dart from work and any advantage in getting to the marsh in good time and light was effectively redundant after we got jammed in with the traffic heading down to Frodsham. When we eventually got there at 4.00 pm I was eager to get to No.4 tank but the distance and fading light put paid to that idea, so we stood on the banks of No.6 tank with the full moon hanging over the evening traffic on the M56 and illuminating the marsh below.

05.12.14. Starling Luna murmuration, No.5 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton

The Starlings was immediately viewable from the eastern end of No.6 tank when we arrived and some excellent murmurations were made even better when a Marsh Harrier emerged from beneath the flock to cause much consternation. Paul’s count mentioned earlier was partially obscured by his position on the marsh so I would say you can double the 10,000 birds from the views of the entire flock we got, whatever the numbers a great sight.

The word spectacular for this wildlife event is an understatement, but it’s worth making your own judgement by taking the opportunity to come and join me to view it for yourself. I’ll be at the north-east corner of No.4 tank Saturday 6th December for the roost (see map below) so if you fancy watching the murmurations up close and very personal you are more than welcome.

Frodsham Marsh Map

Park on the motorway bridge on Marsh Lane. Take the road bearing left onto the marsh and follow it until you reach a dirt track (ramp) and walk along this track for roughly a mile and meet me there (see map above).

Observers: Sparky and WSM (and images).

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02.12.14. Birdlog

02.12.14. Birdlog

01.12.14. Starling murmuration, No.3 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton.

The Starling roost from last evening emerged at dawn but from the reed beds on No.4 tank…the same flocks or another roost? Also by the roost were 227 Chaffinch heading NW on to the site plus at least another 80 similar birds out of hearing range.

In the stubble field off Lordship Lane were 72 Skylark, 17 Reed Bunting, 7 Linnet, 2 Pied Wagtail and a Meadow Pipit. In slurry tank corner there were 182 Fieldfare and 140 Redwing feasting on berries in the bushes. At least 20 Pied Wagtail were at No.6 tank and also a flock of 40 Goldfinches. A Grey Wagtail was by a puddle on the eastern side of No.4 tank. The cream-crowned Marsh Harrier was busy quartering the NE corner of No.4 and NW corner of No.6 tanks.

Observers: Jean Roberts, Pete Marsh 

Stepping out late in the day and a walk out around No.6 tank to watch the Starling roost which didn’t seem as big as previous nights but was good entertainment.

11.06.13. Common Teal, no 6 tank, frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton.Out on the open water were the usual Common Teal, Mallard, Common Shelduck and a pair of Pintail dabbling about. A roving flight of Long-tailed Tit were feeding alongside the path as were many Goldfinch, Linnet and Chaffinch.

Hiking back along Lordship Lane I was fortunate in spotting a Water Vole in the ditch alongside the track.

One possibly two Barn Owls were hunting along the banks of six in the twilight.

Observer: Paul Ralston.

Images: WSM.

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01.12.14. Birdlog

01.12.14. Birdlog

01.12.14. Kestrel (female), No.5 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton

A dull gloomy morning morphed into an even gloomier afternoon, and after spending most it walking around Blakemere, Delamere Forest we decided to call at the marsh and catch up with what was happening there.

A Kestrel was very obliging and sat on top of a bush long enough for me to digi-scope it. The open water on No.6 tank held 500 Lapwing, 1 Ruff and 370 Dunlin with 15 Pochard, 17 Shoveler, 2 drake Pintail, 10 Gadwall and 178 Common Teal also present.

A walk out to the junction of No.6, 3 and 5 tanks was where we set up camp and waited to see what was passing by in the remaining time before the evening light faded from grey to black.

01.12.14. Marsh Harrier (immature), No.6 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton

The wintering immature Marsh Harrier flew in from No.4 tank attracting the attention of a few nearby corvids before the raptor settled on top of a willow tree and spent an hour tending to its feather traits. Another Marsh Harrier (immature/female) drifted through without stopping and a large female Sparrowhawk was perched in a willow shrub waiting for meal time to fly in and short;y after the first gatherings of Starlings began to assemble.

01.12.14. Starling murmuration over No.3 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton

Part of the Starling murmuration gathering before being vacuumed into the pumping station reed bed at dusk.

01.12.14. Starling murmuration over No.3 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton

01.12.14. Starling murmuration over No.3 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton

01.12.14. Starling murmuration over No.3 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton

A bewildering number of Lapwing exploded into flight over Frodsham Score with an estimate of c10,000 birds. The cause of their concern was not immediately evident but nonetheless an impressive spectacle. The spectacle soon got a lot better with part of the Lapwing flock joining the Starlings! Over the last half hour of daylight the Starling numbers got larger and larger with c 20,000 birds streaming in and performing their aerial acrobatics before eventually being sucked into the reed bed at the Pumping Station.

Other birds of interest was the usual departure from the Mersey marshes of Raven heading out to the hills beyond Helsby. A Chiffchaff was contact calling from the reed bed by the secluded pool on No.6 tank was notable.

Walking back along Moorditch Lane and close to the horse paddock a Barn Owl was perched low down in a Poplar tree before flying around for a few minutes and then flipping over No.5 tank and was then lost to view.

Observers: Sparky, WSM (and images).

Additional information concerns two more Chiffchaff on No.4 tank, one in the east and one in the northern corner. Also 16 Winter Moth on the marsh in the car headlights (Lordship Lane to the single-car motorway bridge) and another 20 or so plus Mottled Umber between there and the speed camera turning. Scarce Umber en route to Manley.

Observer: Jean Roberts, Pete Marsh (moths).

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