31.01.15. Birdlog

31.01.15. Birdlog

31.01.15. Runcorn bridge, Winter Hill from Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton

31.01.15. Welsh hills from Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton

With a stiff wind all the way from the arctic it was a cold time birding the marsh today and this was probably reflected by a lack of active birdlife.

The duck on No.6 tank were bunched together in the centre of the water with 78 Common Teal, 16 Shoveler, 45 Mallard and a solitary drake Pintail. 30 Redshank were the only waders noted.

The mitigation area of No.3 tank attracted 340 Golden Plover and 470 Lapwing but their wait for the receding river tide only lasted as long as the activities of the shooters in the area. The plovers aren’t particularly bothered by the presence of Common Buzzard but an irritated Kestrel was and soon gave the raptor short sharp thrift.

31.01.15. Hale lighthouse and plovers from Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton

Frodsham Score was a bleak and overly exposed site, a couple of Little Egret and a small bunch of distant Whooper Swan could be forgiven for finding whatever shelter from the wind they could muster. A herd of 1200 Canada Geese were made of sterner stuff with most on the marsh at the edge of the river.

31.01.15. Curlew and Lapwing, Lordship Marsh, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton

31.01.15. Marsh Harrier (female), No.4 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton

A female Marsh Harrier was hunting the reed beds of No.4 tank and 30 Raven were benefitting from the excess carrion present.

Along Lordship Lane a pair of Stonechat were on the fence wires while a flooded field behind the model aircraft field attracted 47 Redshank, Curlew and loads of Lapwing. Shortly after an adult male Peregrine zipped over the farmland fields before disappearing over Moorditch Lane.

31.01.15. Welsh hills from Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton

Observer and images: WSM.

30.01.15. Birdlog

30.01.15. Birdlog

30.01.15. Bewicks, Whooper and Mute Swan, Ince Marsh. Paul Ralston.

A walk from Ince Berth and around No.4 tank in between showers this afternoon. Curlew and Black-tailed Godwit were again on the approach road to Ince Berth as were the large flock of Redwing, Fieldfare and Blackbirds. Frodsham Score was quiet with only 2 Little Egret, Common Shelduck, Common Teal, and Mallard to be seen. Two Kestrel were hunting the canal path and a Common Buzzard was hunting ‘kestrel’ style in the strong wind. On to the path between No.4 and 6 a Sparrowhawk shot by on the lookout for a meal and put a mixed flock of finches and tits to rise into the air.

30.01.15. Little Egret flying passed the Growhow works, Ince Marsh. Paul Ralston.

Along Lordship Lane more Curlew and Lapwing were on the stubble fields with 3 Common Snipe while a Little Egret left Holpool Gutter alongside Rake Lane. The fields adjacent to the gutter held a flock of 40 swans: A Bewick’s, 22 Mute and 18 Whooper but no sign of the usual accompanying Greylag Goose which is often with them. A female type Marsh Harrier was hunting the gutter and the banks of No.4 tank and as was another Sparrowhawk.

Observer and images: Paul Ralston.

25 & 26.01.15. Birdlog

25.01.15. Birdlog

Marsh Harrier and Merlin were noted by Arthur Harrison today and an excellent Dunlin murmuration video was captured by Shaun Hickey over Mount Manisty during the WeBS count.

26.01.15. Birdlog

25.01.15. Eastern Jackdaw, Runcorn, Cheshire. Bill Morton (14)

25.01.15. Eastern Jackdaw, Runcorn, Cheshire. Bill Morton (7)At first light a visit to Heath Park lake off Park Road, Runcorn resulted in getting some good views and images of the Eastern (influenced) Jackdaw that has been present since mid December 2014. It is fairly obvious to see the bird as the light breaks (before it flys away when disturbed by dog walkers) feeding with Western Jackdaws by the litter bins at  the parking bay. Although the pictures show well the silvery white neck collar other images highlight the pale hood effect and in reality the collar spurs are more obvious than the pics show.

26.01.15. Cormorants, No.6 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton.

Walking along Moorditch Lane we disturbed a Little Egret and a Cormorant from the ditch alongside both of which soon departed to safer fishing spots out on Lordship Marsh and No.6 tank respectively.

The ducks on No.6 tank were fairly low-key but nonetheless featured 12 Shoveler, 67 Common Teal, 17 Mallard, 16 Tufted Duck and 7 Common Shelduck. The Cormorant tree held a sinesiss Cormorant with several white-headed birds.

The blue-topped chimney provided a handy perch for the usual Peregrine and other raptors included a Kestrel and 3 Common Buzzard.

A huge flock of Lapwing rose up from the River Mersey during high tide, numbering in their thousands.

Out on Lordship Marsh a pair of Little Egret were feeding in a ditch by the silage tower.

A flock of Fieldfare were feeding in the fields opposite the horse paddock and 3000 Starling flew through en route to their roost.

Observers: Sparky, WSM (all images).

24.01.15. Birdlog (WeBS Count)

24.01.15. Birdlog 

24.01.15. Marsh Harrier, No.6 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Heather/Findlay Wilde.

Setting the scene on the incoming tide was a pair of Great White Egret tiptoeing their way along the tide line with Little Egret in a supporting role. A female Merlin was again poised and set for the enviable passerine glut.

3000 Golden Plover, 8000 Lapwing, 200 Grey Plover, 100 Knot, 10000 Dunlin, 50 Oystercatcher and typically for this time of year 3 scarce Bar-tailed Godwit for the marsh.

Observer: Frank Duff.

(WeBS Count)

24.01.15. GBB Gull and Raven feeding off sheep carcass, Frodsham Marsh. Heather/Findlay Wilde.

24.01.15. Male and female Shoveler, Frodsham Marsh. Heather/Findlay Wilde.

A really refreshing afternoon at the marsh. We parked up at the same time as Frank who was heading off to the score for high tide. No.6 tank stayed surprisingly quiet considering it was a big high tide. Maybe the large amount of shooters were putting the birds off. Anyway, the numbers for the count were: 100 Dunlin, 1 Curlew, 300 Grey Plover, 300 Golden Plover, 10 Redshank, 1 Black-tailed Godwit, 100 Lapwing, 6 Common Gull, 3 Great Black-backed Gull, 8 Black-headed Gull, 7 Herring Gull, 7 Shoveler, 3 Cormorant, 3 Tufted Duck, 30 Common Teal, 40 Mallard, 4 Wigeon, 2 Common Shelduck, 3 Grey Heron and a solitary Moorhen .

24.01.15. Male Stonechat, Frodsham Marsh. Heather/Findlay Wilde.

Other birds spotted throughout the day included a Marsh Harrier hunting for most of the afternoon across the No.6 tank reeds. A very pale phase Common Buzzard spent over an hour sitting in the grass on No.5 tank, a Sparrowhawk did a flyby and a Kestrel was hunting over the new wetland area on No.3 tank. A large flock of Linnet flew by and settled in a tree alongside us for a while. A flock of at least 50 Pied Wagtail were feeding on the mud at the edge of the water on No.6 tank. Redwing and Fieldfare were plentiful and the Starlings were starting to group as were packed up for the day.

24.01.15. Female Stonechat, Frodsham Marsh. Heather/Findlay Wilde.
A pair of Great Black-backed Gulls were feasting on the sheep carcass along with several Ravens. On the way out we stopped to watch a pair of Stonechat sitting up high in the reeds at the edge of No.5 tank.

Thanks to: Nigel, Heather (and images), Findlay and Harley Wilde aka the Wilde Bunch for covering the WeBS count for me.

23.01.15. Birdlog

23.01.15. Birdlog 

23.01.15. High tide on Frodsham Score, Frodsham Marsh. Paul Ralston

A walk along the Manchester Ship Canal overlooking Frodsham Score at high tide which covered the marsh bringing masses of waders such as Dunlin, Redshank, Curlew and Lapwing in to the air as several raptors took advantage of the situation with Peregrine, Merlin, Common Buzzard and Sparrowhawk seen in the area. Hundreds of Canada Geese formed a large raft which held some Pink-footed as well as the mixed swan flock.

23.01.15. Wildfowl, Frodsham Score, Frodsham Marsh. Paul Ralston

23.01.15. Goldfinch, Frodsham Score, Frodsham Marsh. Paul Ralston

23.01.15. Little Egret, Frodsham Score, Frodsham Marsh. Paul RalstonA flock of at least 200 Goldfinch fed on the bankside vegetation and many Skylark left the marsh as the water covered the whole area. Back on the approach road to Ince Berth large numbers of Redwing and Fieldfare fed alongside Curlew and Black-tailed Godwit with 2 Little Egret in attendance .

A single Great White Egret was seen out on the score alongside several Little Egret. Also 28 Barnacle Goose flew in to the marsh.

21.01.15. Barnacle Geese, Frodsham Score. Paul Ralston (1)

Observer and images: Paul Ralston.

19.01.15. Birdlog

19.01.15. Birdlog

19.01.15. View of Winter Hill from Frodsham Score, Frodsham Marsh. Paul Ralston

I spent an hour along the Manchester Ship Canal at midday. Wrens seemed to be in every other bush along the tow path. The Mute Swans were again in the field alongside the Holpool Gutter as was a Little Egret . The mixed swan flock was again on Frodsham Score with many hidden by the canal bank.

19.01.15. Great Whites and Little Egrets, Frodsham Score, Frodsham Marsh. Paul Ralston

19.01.15. Merlin (female), Frodsham Score, Frodsham Marsh. Paul RalstonThe female  Merlin was perched in a hawthorn bush which it has taken a liking to, before flying over the canal and settled on a post there. A pair of Great White Egret were feeding alongside each other out on the salt marsh and followed each other about the area.

Observer: Paul Ralston.

18.01.15. Frodsham Marsh from Helsby Hill. Bill Morton

This aerial image taken yesterday shows the main spots but includes the mixed winter swan flock on the edge of Frodsham Score. Image by WSM.

18.01.15. Birdlog

18.01.15. Birdlog

18.01.15. Bewicks Swans, Frodsham Score, Frodsham Marsh. Paul Ralston.

A walk from Holpool Gutter and around No.4 tank this morning. There were good numbers of Common Teal and Moorhen on the ice-free water with 2 Grey Heron and a single Little Egret on the bank . A Green Sandpiper left the gutter then doubled back to land back on the muddy banks. A female Merlin sat on top of the cropped hedge in the adjacent field keeping an eye on the large finch flock also in the field where a party of 15 Mute Swan were gathered.

18.01.15. Mutes Swans, Frodsham Score, Frodsham Marsh. Paul Ralston.

Along the Manchester Ship Canal path overlooking Frodsham Score a flock of mixed swans mostly made up of Whooper but also some Bewicks and Mute Swans with the attendant Greylag Goose and all were close to the canal bank. On the canal itself a raft of 30 Coot and several Teal were joined by a family group of Mute Swan and 6 Little Grebe.

18.01.15. Frodsham Marsh from Helsby Hill. Bill Morton

A flock of 50 plus Stock Dove were feeding on the raised bank of the score as were several Raven and a single Common Buzzard. The ‘Splashing Pool’ held only 4 Coot and a pair of Little Grebe. A Peregrine was seen to chase a wader but was unsuccessful in its attempt to secure a meal.

Observer: Paul Ralston (images 1-2). Image 3 by WSM.

17.01.15. Birdlog

17.01.15. Birdlog

17.01.15. Frodsham Score, frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton

A bright day from the off with baby blue skies and the looming threat of snow way off to the north. A stiff breeze kept the scarf and hat tightly snuggled in, and out on the marsh birds were hard to find.

17.01.15. Pintail, No.6 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton

No.6 tank was frozen free but the ducks were keeping tight to the banks to avoid the cold wind. 200 Common Teal, 12 Shoveler, 8 Common Shelduck, 18 Mallard and a solitary drake Pintail. A small flock of 14 Redshank were worth a brief scan and further out on the drier areas of the tank feeding on the Sea Aster seeds was a flock of 200 Stock Dove and a roving charm of c300 Goldfinches. Stopping for a while overlooking the mitigation fields on No.3 tank which held plenty of water in the fields but a complete lack of birds apart from 32 Pied Wagtails feeding and bathing here was a little disappointing.

17.01.15. Bewick's Swan, Frodsham Score, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton

A walk out to the Holpool Gutter and views from here out and over Frodsham Score. 9 Bewicks and at least 13 Whooper Swans many of which were hiding behind the banks and it was hard to gauge their numbers.

17.01.15. Great White Egret, Frodsham Score, frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton

17.01.15. Great White Egret, Frodsham Score, frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton

The Great White Egret was very showy today and was present throughout the time I was watching here.

17.01.15. Peregrine, Frodsham Score, Frodsham Marsh. Bill MortonAlso present out on the score marsh was 8 Little Egret and a pair of adult Peregrine, one bird was feeding off a recent kill while its partner watched on from a log nearby. These two or another pair were sat on the Blue-topped chimney later in the day and a female Merlin was far out at Ince marsh.

17.01.15. Pied Wagtail, No.3 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton

5 Twite were heard flying over from No.4 tank while one settled briefly before moving out to the salt marsh.

17.01.15. Wood Mouse, No.4 tank, frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton




A dead Wood Mouse was along the path on No.4 tank and looking at its injuries it had the marks of a Kestrel at work.

Observers: Arthur Harrison, WSM (and images).

14.01.14. Birdlog

14.01.14. Birdlog

14.01.14. A view of the Welsh Hills from Frodsham Marsh. Paul Ralston (4)

Out this morning along the Manchester Ship Canal and by No.4 tank and the Stock Dove numbers have increased with a flock of c100 near the Ince Berth.

14.01.14. Grey Wagtail, Frodsham Marsh. Paul Ralston (1)

A Grey Wagtail sat on the telegraph line along the canal tow path and 13 Mute Swan fed in the field alongside the Holpool Gutter with at least 20 Whooper Swan and the single Greylag Goose out Frodsham Score. A Marsh Harrier left No.4 tank and put a couple of hundred Lapwings in to the air as it made its way over the marsh.

14.01.14. Lapwings on Frodsham Marsh. Paul Ralston (5)

Along the track to between No’s 4 and 6 tank was a large flock of finches which were made up of Goldfinch, Linnet, Chaffinch and Reed Bunting feeding on the seed heads of the wayside plants. A female Marsh Harrier drove a couple of Common Buzzard off 6 tank and continued to hunt the area in their absence.

14.01.14. Birds on Frodsham Marsh. Paul Ralston (2)

Back on to the canal a female Merlin was sat in a hawthorn bush and then dropped down on to a piece of drift wood where it sat for a 10 minute preen.

Observer and images: Paul Ralston

Life on Marsh

Life on Marsh

Shaun Hickey (4)

Ewes on the score banks with views of Stanlow Oil Refinery in the distance.

Shaun Hickey (9)

The WWII gun turret on the score banks and never used in anger.

Allan Williams Turret Pillbox formed by a metal turret, which could be rotated through a full 360 degrees, set above a steel and brick-lined pit. It was designed for a machine gun to be fired either through the front loophole which was further protected by shutters, or through the circular opening in the roof in a light anti-aircraft role. According to the manufacturer, it was suitable for Vickers, Bren, Hotchkiss or Lewis machine guns in either a ground defence or anti-aircraft role, or a Boys anti-tank rifle or rifle grenade for ground defence. Weapon change requires selection of appropriate bracket. The army did not favour the design, most were installed at airfields.

The turret was designed by A.H. Williams in conjunction with Colonel V.T.R. Ford and Lieutenant Williamson. Williams was the Managing Director of Rustproof Metal Windows Company in Saltney, Chester where the turrets were produced. The company had been engaged in war work since 1939, mainly manufacturing ammunition boxes for the Admiralty using a patented galvanising process.[85]

The turret had a garrison of two men or, if necessary three men, for whom there were folding seats inside. One man can rotate the cupola which is on roller bearings and requires 15 lb of force to move it.

According to the manufacturer, four men could dig the position out and erect the turret ready for firing in two hours and remove it completely in 30 minutes. Cost about £125.

Nearly 200 Allan Williams Turrets were made and installed, but salvaging of the metal after the war means that only 33 remain. Known survivors include: two at North Weald Redoubt, Essex; one on display at the Imperial War Museum, Duxford (recovered from an Essex village); one at Worbarrow Bay, near Tyneham, Dorset; one at Seacombe, Dorset; one on the seawall at Cley Next The Sea, Norfolk; two at Cockley Cley Hall, Norfolk; one at Bembridge Fort, Isle of Wight; one at Plymstock quarry, converted into a blast shelter for quarrying (now relocated to Knightstone Tea Rooms at the former WWII RAF Harrowbeer Airfield, near Yelverton[88]); one at Exmouth seafront, Devon (re-located from docks); one at Builth Wells war memorial, Wales; two on display at Sywell Aviation Museum, Northampton; and one at RAF Dishforth.

Extract from http://en.m.wikipedia.org/…/British_hardened_field..

Thanks to SH for his detective work. Presumably the are not aware of this, another nearby and the base on Runcorn Hill? I think we’ll let them know.

Shaun Hickey (8)

The shooters hut by Ince marsh looking east to Frodsham Marsh.

Shaun Hickey (7)

Canada Geese on the score marshes cast an impressive sight when they take wing and a Barnacle Goose hiding below.

Shaun Hickey (6)

Ravens have increased considerably over the last few years encouraged here by plenty of carrion out on the score to keep their bellies full.

24.12.10. Weaver estuary, Frodsham Marsh

The River Weaver and estuary are frozen in this picture which was taken in 2010.

24.12.10. No 6 tank, Frodsham Marsh.

No.6 tank frozen and covered in snow. Image taken in 2010.

24.12.10. No 6 tank, Frodsham Marsh

Another shot of the frozen tank.

Sunset over the Mersey. Bill Morton

A sunset image over the River Mersey and Liverpool from Frodsham Marsh.

Images: 1-5 by Shaun Hickey and images 6-9 by WSM.