24.02.15. Birdlog

24.02.15. Birdlog

24.02.15. Whooper Swans, Spring Farm fields. Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton (1)

We parked up again at Lower Rake Lane in Helsby and walked onto the marsh from there. The sight of a dead Badger on the bridge that crosses the M56 and close to Spring Farm wasn’t a good start to the day. On a more positive note were the herd of 25 Whooper Swan (including 5 juveniles) in fields east of Hill View Farm.

24.02.15. Dead Sheep, Frodsham Score. Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton

Continuing our walk to the Holpool Gutter was uneventful until we reached the mouth of the gutter. We sat out in the bleak wind hunched up in a hollow surrounded by sheep shit savouring a Roy Keane style prawn sandwich and a flask of coffee…only at Frodders!

24.02.15. Cormorant, Frodsham Score. Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton (1)

The tide was only 9.3 metre so was not expected to flood the salt marsh but it would be high enough to provide some interest. Small flocks of several hundred strong Dunlin were wheeling around and soon settled within a 1000 flock of Golden Plover stretched across the area in front of the ‘Old Magazine’ and close up to the Manchester Ship Canal wall. Three Black-tailed Godwit, 120 Grey Plover, 6 Oystercatcher and small numbers of Redshank were really the highlight for shorebirds. The lack of any egrets was interesting but perhaps solved sometime later.

24.02.15. Pink-footed Geese, Frodsham Score. Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton (1)

15 Pink-footed Goose were with the Canada’s on the score and made all the hardship of putting up with the weather conditions worth while.

24.02.15. Golden Plover and Dunlin, Frodsham Score. Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton

24.02.15.Great Spotted Woodpecker, Spring Farm. Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton (2)A Green Sandpiper was in the Holpool Gutter as we walked back and 4 Little Egret were popping out of the field ditches by Rake Lane. I assume all the egrets had enough of their routine on Frodsham Score disrupted by the really high tides and recent strong cold winds and sought shelter at these inland ditches?

There was little of interest along the tracks walking back to the car but a brief glimpse of a Rhea at the back of a small holding required a double take! 30 Redwing and small numbers of Fieldfare were in loose flocks and a healthy chirping group of House Sparrows was good value.

A pair of Great Spotted Woodpecker were chasing each other at the back of Spring Farm.

Observers: Sparky, WSM (and images)

22.02.15. Birdlog

22.02.15. Birdlog

22.02.15. Frodsham Score. Paul Ralston

Out this morning before the high tide and a change in the weather. Curlew and Black-tailed Godwit again on the approach road to Ince Berth with Redwing in the hedgerows. Onward to the Manchester Ship Canal where 7 juvenile Mute Swan were with a large flock of Canada Goose on the waters as was the raft of Coot, a single Great Crested Grebe and a lone Little Grebe.

22.02.15. Male Stonechat, Frodsham Marsh. Paul Ralston

Out on the salt marsh there were more Canada Goose and a party of 10 Pink-footed Goose with just the one Little Egret noted.

A flock of waders took to the air as a Merlin shot through then concentrated on a Starling flock which bunched up only to change tactics and flew in a long line only inches above waters of the canal and disperse into the nearby fields.

23.02.15. Whooper Swans as seen from the M56. Bill Morton (5)

A solitary Mute Swan joined singles each of Bewick’s and Whooper Swan in fields alongside the Holpool Gutter. The rest of the winter swan herd of Whooper Swans had relocated and can now be viewable from fields (Lordship Marsh) by the M56.

Peregrine chasing Wood Pigeon. Nigel Case.

Further on my ramble and a visit to No.6 tank resulted in seeing Mallard, Tufted Duck, Common Shelduck, Shelduck, Common Teal, Shoverler and Common Pochard all of which took shelter below the eastern banks.

Along Lordship Lane a female Peregrine passed overhead in pursuit of a Wood Pigeon and 3 Stonechat sat on the fence by the ‘model flying club’ field.

Observer: Paul Ralston (images 1 & 2).

Additionally, 7 Ringed Plover (first for the year) and 230 Golden Plover came onto No.6 tank during high tide but generally a poor showing considering the mega tide on the river.

Observer: Frank Duff.

Other birds news: The Eastern (infused) Jackdaw was still present at the Park Road lake, Runcorn this morning.

Nigel Case: Image 3.

21.02.15. Birdlog

21.02.15. Birdlog

21.03.15. Peregrine, Runcorn Hill. Bill morton

A big tide out on the River Mersey pushed the shorebirds from their feeding to seek a dry area to roost and brush up before the ebb. In bright sunshine, hail and a cold wind some of them made their way across to No.6 tank.

6000 Dunlin, 86 Grey Plover, 500 Golden Plover, 600 Curlew, 350 Black-tailed and a solitary Bar-tailed Godwit, 500 Lapwing, 25 Knot and 100 Redshank. With all this shorebird activity it wasn’t long before a marauding Peregrine with its dial set on cruise control flew over the area and caused pandemonium over the river.

Observer: Frank Duff.

Image: WSM

20.02.15. Birdlog

20.02.15. Birdlog

20.02.15. Marsh Harrier (female), No.6 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton (3)

An earlier dart from work and a couple of hours birding before him upstairs closed the curtains for the day. A large gathering of Lapwing on No.6 tank numbering 1500 were with 340 Golden Plover and 243 Dunlin all stayed beyond sundown.

20.02.15. Lapwing and Golden Plover, No.6 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton (1)

Ducks were gathered to spend the night on the water at No.6 tank and included 12 Cormorant, 10 Pochard, 14 Tufted Duck, 2 Gadwall, 12 Mallard, 17 Common Shelduck, 234 Common Teal and a drake Pintail.

20.02.15. Common Buzzard, No.5 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton (4)The Marsh Harrier was out over No.4 tank quartering the reed beds there. A Sparrowhawk caused a bit of consternation with the local Redshank and at least two pale morph Common Buzzard were on No.5 tank.

20.02.15. Stonechats, No.5 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton (2)

There were five Stonechat together on the fence line dividing No.5 tank and I guess it wont be long before they make their move to a heathland or moorland across the country?

Observer and images: WSM.

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Other news: A Chiffchaff was on Runcorn Hill  today.

20.02.15. Great White Egret and Grey Heron, Frodsham Score. Paul Ralston.

A little belated but some additional sightings from Frodsham Score earlier today. Two Great White Egret, 4 Little Egret and Grey Heron.

Observer: Paul Ralston (image 5).

19.02.15. Birdlog

19.02.15. Birdlog

19.02.15. View of Frodsham Score from Ince Marsh. Paul Ralston (1)

An hour over the high tide today produced the following: 9 Ruff feeding with Curlew on the approach road to Ince Berth with Redwing and Fieldfare in attendance. On to the Manchester Ship Canal bank and flocks of Linnet, Goldfinch and a flock of mixed tits were moving along the path.

19.02.15. Frodsham Score, Frodsham Marsh. Paul Ralston (5)

The herd of Whooper and Mute Swan numbers were down to 34. Out on the salt marsh the farmer was making an attempt to get the ewes and lambs to high ground with several attempting to swim to safety from the tide.

19.02.15. Tree Sparrow, Ince Marsh Marsh. Paul Ralston (3)

19.02.15. Great White Egret, Frodsham Score, Frodsham Marsh. Paul Ralston (4)

One, probably two Great White Egret were out on the waters edge with several Little Egret with great numbers of Dunlin, Golden Plover, Lapwing and Redshank taking to the air as a Peregrine passed by. On the way home through Ince several hundred Black-tailed Godwit fed by the Pig farm and along Kinsey Lane both House and Tree Sparrow sat in the hedgerow with Grey and Pied Wagtail in the fields along the lane.

Observer and images: Paul Ralston

16.02.15. Birdlog

16.02.15. Birdlog

16.02.15. Starlings and Ryanair, No.3 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton

16.02.15. Golden Plover, No.5 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton

An after work visit and a walk around the tracks of No.6 tank. A large gathering of c1000 Lapwing were roosting up on the water margins of the sludge bed with smaller numbers of Golden Plover, 30 Redshank, 100 Common Teal, 12 Shoveler, 24 Common Shelduck, 2 Gadwall and 7 Tufted Duck.

The mitigation area held both Redshank and Common Teal. There were c30 Raven feasting on three dead sheep in the fields. Starlings were gathering in flocks before they streamed out to the east and I guess the large reed beds of Woolston Eyes?

16.02.15. Common Buzzard, lordship Lane, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton

16.02.15. Ditch along Moorditch Lane, Frodsham Marsh. Bill MortonOut over the reed beds of No.4 tank was the female Marsh Harrier presumably settling down for the night.

Along the Lordship Lane were 3 Common Buzzard including a dark morph bird. A Kingfisher was in the broad ditch at the junction of Moorditch and Lordship Lane.

The winter thrush flock continue to feed on the flooded horse paddock field on Moorditch Lane,

Observers: Sparky, WSM (and images).

Industrial Evolution

Industrial Evolution

11.02.15. No.4 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton

An isolated stunted Elder tree stands with its shoulder to the prevailing westerly winds on the exposed banks of No.4 tank.

11.02.15. No.4 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton

One of the now disused and in disrepair drainage towers is slowly being concealed by the reeds and scrub. In its heyday the tower would have stood tall and helped to reduce the volume of rain water on the active No.4 tank.

11.02.15. Common Buzzard, No.5 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton

The Common Buzzard is one species that have increased dramatically over the last 20 years and is now the commonest bird of prey on the marshes occupying a variety of habitats.

11.02.15. Frodsham Hill from No.4 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton

Frodsham Hill, or Overton Hill, as it is sometimes known, rises to 500 feet (152 metres).

11.02.15. Helsby Hill from No.4 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton

The wooded hills of Frodsham and Helsby are clear landmarks on the Cheshire plain and forms the northern end of the Mid-Cheshire Ridge, a range of sandstone hills that extends southwards to Delamere Forest and Tarporley.

11.02.15. No.3 tank, frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton

No.4 tank is never far from industry but at times it has a unique wilderness and is often a place of solitude for the wildlife that inhabit the marsh. The dence phragmites reed beds are some of the largest in Cheshire.

11.02.15. No.3 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton

The pot-holed track along the southern border of No.3 tank with the distant works of Ineos Chlor across the River Weaver.

11.02.15. No.3 tank and Marsh Farm, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton

A backdrop of industry with Marsh Farm nestled below and the newly created wetland mitigation of No.3 tank. All the surrounding industry evolved because of the Weaver Valley and its proximity to the River Mersey and the sea beyond. That’s something to bear in mind when the wind turbine developers start work here this year. We’re expecting good things to come out of this site in the coming years.

11.02.15. Common Buzzard, Frodsham Score, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton

Another Common Buzzard watches from the old timber left over from the old magazine out on Frodsham Score jetty. A lamb settles in a hollow and the omnipresence Raven scuttles in the distance.

14.02.15. Gun Turret, frodsham Score, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton (1)

A bleak landscape on the raised banks bordering Frodsham Score and the ghost of the rusty Allan Williams Turret Pillbox sits in defence of Weston Point and Liverpool (well, that’s what it was erected fo)r. See here for additional information. https://frodshammarshbirdblog.wordpress.com/2015/01/12/life-on-marsh/

14.02.15. Common Buzzard, Frodsham Score, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton (2)

Finally, another Common Buzzard to polish off this post sits on an old tree growing out of an old sheep pen on Frodsham Score.

All images: WSM.

15.02.15. Birdlog

15.02.15. Birdlog

21.12.14. Siberian Chiffchaff, Runcorn Hill. Andy Humphreys (2)The Woodcock is considered “sport” by shooters but in reality shooters have to stalk them out of hiding or use dogs to flush them from the dense cover they conceal themselves in. Birders don’t have those aids to hand (fortunately), so fieldcraft is needed and a big dollop of luck is really what you require if you want to see one on the marsh. One was seen today at a location that we’ll keep under wraps but it provided a handy year tick for the marshes yearly total.

Present in the same area were 2 Great Spotted Woodpecker and presumably prospecting for a nest site. A grey coloured Chiffchaff in the buckthorn bushes below the southern banks of No.6 tank recalled the ‘Eastern’ Chiffchaff present on Runcorn Hill at the end of last year.

The wild swan herd was again on Ince Marshes.

Observer: Frank Duff.

Image of Runcorn Hill ‘Eastern’ Chiffchaff by Andy Humphreys for illustration purposes only and not actual bird.

14.02.15. Birdlog

14.02.15. Birdlog

14.02.15. Bewick's and Mute Swan, Ince Marsh, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton

14.02.15. Gun Turret, Frodsham Score, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton

Out this morning and through the afternoon taking in No.4 – No.6 tank, including the Manchester Ship Canal, No.6 tank and out along Lordship Lane. The numbers of swans out on the fields of Ince Marsh included 28 Mute Swan, 9 Bewick’s Swan close alongside the Holpool Gutter. In the afternoon 29 Whooper Swan flew in from the fields bordering Rake Lane and settled with the swans already present .
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A single Great White Egret and 6 Little Egret were out amongst the 550 Canada Geese on Frodsham Score salt marsh with 30 Raven and some Great Black-backed Gulls fighting over the spoils of plentiful carrion to be found out there.
14.02.15. Kingfisher, Lordship Lane, Frodsham Marsh. Paul Ralston (1)
A lone Fieldfare was in an Elder tree on No.4 tank but of some concern was (PR) finding a dead female Kingfisher in the outflow along Lordship Lane and considering the mild weather of late rises a few questions to its demise?
A list of recent bird casualties include: Mute Swan, Common Buzzard, Grey Heron and Kingfisher. Although there may be natural causes why these birds died, it is always worth keeping an eye open for people acting suspectiously. For more information on wildlife crime see this link: http://birdersagainst.org/
14.02.15. Marsh Harrier, No.4 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Paul Ralston (2)
Walking back along No.4 tank and the female Marsh Harrier was being mobbed by a gang of Carrion Crow as it tried to hunt over the reed bed. Later in the day it was flushed from its prey from the tracks on No.4 tank and glided out of sight with prey tightly gripped.
14.02.15. Whooper Swans in flight over Ince Marsh, k, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton
14.02.15. Fieldfare, No.4 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill MortonSong Thrush were in full song and Reed Bunting were claiming territory along the lane. Returning back along to the Holpool Gutter and a Green Sandpiper flew of calling as it went and was seen later by the Canal Pools and then the nearby ship canal. Finally. No.4 tank had a Chiffchaff calling from the reed beds. A male Stonechat was along the fence at Lordship Lane while another was frequenting No.3 tank.
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14.02.15. Common Buzzard eating Common Buzzard, No.5 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton
14.02.15. Ruff and Lapwing, No.6 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton
The mitigation area on No.3 tank had the feel of Spring with Redshank, 5 Dunlin, and paired up Common Teal present. A flock of 64 Pied Wagtail feeding in the flooded fields moved to No.6 tank at dusk. A bit bizarrely a Common Buzzard was feasting off a dead Common Buzzard. We can only assume the dead Buzzard didn’t die at the claws of the raptor? There are strange goings on, on the marsh lately!
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No.6 tank held a flock of 1000 Lapwing with several Redshank, 4 Black-tailed Godwit, 23 Golden Plover, 4 Ruff and Dunlin. Out on the open water were 64 Mallard, 14 Tufted Duck, 247 Common Teal, 14 Tufted Duck, 21 Common Shelduck and 23 Shoverler.
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A Merlin was watched briefly on No.5 tank. A Chiffchaff and Goldcrest were along the track on No.5 tank and a Brambling were noted with the Chaffinch flock but proved difficult to relocate.
Observers: Paul Ralston (images 3-4), WSM (images 1-2 & 5-8)). Also additional reports from Frank Duff, Arthur Harrison, Sean O’Hara and Phil Oddy,

11.02.15. Birdlog

11.02.15. Birdlog

11.02.15. Merlin, Manchester Ship Canal, Frodsham Marsh. Paul Ralston

Out and about from mid morning starting from Ince Berth and along the Manchester Ship Canal towpath and around No.4 tank.

11.02.15. Collared Dove, Frodsham Marsh. Paul RalstonA fine selection of birds from the Frodsham Marsh Al a Carte featuring a Great White Egret out on Ince salt marsh with 4 little Egret nearby on Frodsham Score. Many newly born lambs about today with birth casualties from still birth kept the Ravens and Great Black-backed Gulls busy.

A Grey Wagtail was on the path by the berth and a male Bullfinch in the hedgerow was notable. The Goldfinch and Linnet flocks were on the alert as a Sparrowhawk was patrolling the area with 2 Kestrel also seen.

11.02.15. Mute Swan (deceased), Holpool Gutter, Frodsham Marsh. Paul Ralston

There were 4 juvenile Mute Swan on the canal with 2 Great Crested Grebe and the large raft of Coot. On to the Holpool Gutter and a sorry sight of a dead Mute Swan laying in the gutter! A flock of Common Teal left as I walked along.

11.02.15. Merlin, Manchester Ship Canal, Frodsham Marsh. Paul Ralston

The female Merlin was sat in its favoured place while a Collared Dove kept watch from a hawthorn bush. On the path between No.4 and 6 a mixed roving tit flock held a small number of Reed Bunting and several Common Buzzard were contact calling over No.4 tank.

10.02.15. Whooper and Bewick's Swans, Ince Marsh. Bill Morton

Back along the gutter the large swan flock had separated with the flock of Whoopers with at least 3 Bewick’s at one end of the field and the Mute Swan at the other end.

Observer: Paul Ralston (images 1-4).

WSM (image 5)