10.02.15. Birdlog

10.02.15. Birdlog

10.02.15. Helsby Railway Station. Bill Morton

A change of tack today and parking up in Lower Rake Lane close to Helsby railway station gave us the opportunity to check out an area that would normally get neglected…the lanes leading onto Helsby Marshes. Spring Farm fields held 100 Fieldfare with House Sparrows being abundant in the area.

10.02.15. Whooper Swans (juvs) and Bewick's Swan, Ince Marsh. Bill Morton.

Rake Lane was low-key so we continued to the fields west of No.4 tank (Ince  Marsh). A resident wintering swan herd was again viewable from the Holpool Gutter with a total of 45 birds. In the flock were 10 Mute, 26 Whooper (6 juvenile and 20 adults) and 9 Bewick’s Swan (adults).

10.02.15. Mute Swan (juv) andBewick's Swan, Ince Marsh. Bill Morton (2)

10.02.15. Mute Swan, Whooper Swan and Bewick's Swan, Ince Marsh. Bill MortonWalking along the course of the gutter and a Chiffchaff was in the reedy banks. 60 Linnet, 45 Chaffinch and 120 Goldfinch added to the tally.

Frodsham Score was shot over today by the wildfowlers with 6-7 shooters out there. With all this activity most birds were well scattered but despite this there was a huge flock of 600 Golden Plover, 300 Lapwing and smaller flocks of Dunlin.

10.02.15. Sheep and lamb, Frodsham Score, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton

Upwards of 4 Little Egret were moving about and 2 Great White Egret were distant and well away from the firing of guns.

Walking along the east track of No.4 tank and looking across to the flooded eastern side of six we countered 100 Common Teal, 12 Shoveler, 200 Lapwing, 40 Redshank and 10 Dunlin. A Bullfinch was in the elder trees bordering No.4 tank.

Observers: Sparky and WSM (and images).

Secret Six

Secret Six

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

No.6 tank at noon as viewed from the eastern corner.

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

An area of No.6 tank which perhaps doesn’t get much coverage is the secluded pool that hides behind the bank between six and No.3 tank. The best area to watch is the parking bank at the junction of tanks No.3-5-6.

21.09.13. Knot (juv), No 6 tank, Frodsham Marsh

Birds to be expected are usually the ones you least expect to find on such a small pool and can include:Little Egret,  Avocet, Little Stint, Green, Wood and Curlew Sandpiper, plus shorebirds like this juvenile Knot which are flushed off the river by the big tide. Greenshank are often found hiding in the pools and at times in double figures.

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

In Spring as good a place to find a Garganey as anywhere else on the marshes. With its isolation it often gets overlooked by birders but with the coming Spring it looks set to attract something a little more entertaining?

18.04.13. Marsh Harrier (male), No 4 tank, frodsham Marsh

The pools often attract the attention of passing raptors and it is not unusual to see the Marsh Harrier quartering the reed beds and in a good owl year, a place for Shorties to hunt the banks at dusk.

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

The willow trees bordering the reed bed are slowly encroaching this corner of No.6 tank and will eventually take over. The image above shows how habitats at Frodsham Marsh and in particular on the sludge beds are often made unintentionally and go on to attract wildlife.

28.07.14. Water Rail, No.6 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton

This pool generally fills with rain water during the winter and slowly evaporates throughout the summer to leave an area suitable for those secretive water birds like the Water Rail. It is also a havern for Reed and Sedge Warblers in the Spring and Autumn and wintering Chiffchaff.

22.08.13. Drake Marbled Teal, No 6 tank, Frodsham Marsh

The pools biggest ‘goodie’ (for 24 hours at least and before its true origin was revealed, when it flash a leg to the crowds to reveal a fetching brightly coloured red ring) was a Marbled Duck discovered here in 2013.

07.02.15. Penquin, No.6 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton

Do what the penguin says…No.6 tank is both private and a working site please keep off the banks and don’t flush the birds.

All images by WSM except for # 4 by Stuart Maddocks

07.02.15. Birdlog

07,02.15. Birdlog

07.02.15. Shovelers, No.6 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton

Out this morning from Ince Berth around No.4 and No.6 tank. Small numbers of Curlew and Black-tailed Godwit on the approach road to the berth with 2 Jay in the hedgerow. On the Manchester Ship Canal were Common Teal, Mallard, Tufted Duck and 5 Wigeon  joined forces with a raft of c60 Coot and a single Great Crested Grebe.

06.02.15. Pochard (drake), Tatton Park

The fields alongside the Holpool Gutter held the large flock of Mute and Whooper Swan with 2 Greylag Goose and many Curlew and Lapwing mixed in. The path along the canal was teeming with Goldfinch and Linnet flocks with 2 Common Snipe on the bank of No.4 tank.The mitigation pool held a Common Teal, single female Shoveler, 12 Redshank and 1 Ruff with more Linnet and Pied Wagtail on the waters edge

07.02.15. Ravens, No.5 tank, frodsham Marsh. Arthur Harrison

The Raven flock were feeding on another dead sheep on No.5 tank as was two adult Great Black-backed Gull.

07.02.15. Great Spotted Woodpecker, No.4 tank, frodsham Marsh. Paul RalstonOn to Lordship Lane the Kingfisher was in the ditch at the junction of Hare Lane and a male Stonechat on the fence by the model flying field, another pair of Stonechat further along the fence. A Great Spotted Woodpecker was in the stand of trees at the corner of No.4 tank. Back along the canal path 3 Little Egret were out on Frodsham Score.

Observer: Paul Ralston (image 4).

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07.02.15. Merlin, No.2 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill MortonA watch over No.3 tank was rewarding for the number of Common Snipe present, a total of 26 birds alongside 9 Redshank in territorial disputes. These were over watched by a male Merlin over on No.2 tank but was too distant to cause the waders much distress.

07.02.15. Ruff and Redshank, No.6 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton

The WeBS count on No.6 tank was again governed by the amount of ice on the open water and with half of it covered, it was no surprise to see a reduction in the overall numbers. Nevertheless, 128 Common Teal, 8 Shoveler, 13 Mallard, 6 Tufted Duck and 7 Moorhen were to be expected. A handy sized flock of 123 Redshank held 3 Ruff.

07.02.15. Lamb, No.2 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton

The first lambs of Spring were scattered on No.5 and 2 tanks and a brief snatch of Skylark song lifted the spirits.

07.02.15. Ducks on the Weaver Estuary, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton

A walk along the Weaver Causeway to watch the estuary and bend saw the birds which should have been on No.6 tank relocated here and included: 80 Common Teal, 128 Tufted Duck, 21 Pochard, 4 Gadwall, 23 Mallard and 11 Goldeneye. 4 Great Crested and 10 Little Grebe with 44 Coot made up the water bird list.

07.02.15. Golden Plovers, No.2 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton

A flock of 500 Golden Plover with Lapwing on No.2 tank included some birds beginning to show signs of summer with black underparts. A flock of 200 Curlew were on No.1 tank.

Observers: Arthur Harrison (image 3), WSM (images 1-2 & 6-9).

06.02.15. Birdlog

06.02.15. Birdlog

A walk to the river produced a Common Buzzard, Kestrel and a Merlin. Also present was Little Grebe, Great Created Grebe, Goldeneye, Tufted Duck and a Goosander.

Observer: Kevin Price.

06.02.15. Mallard and Black-headed Gull. Bill Morton

Had a wander round earlier and although No.6 tank was a quiet, a small flock of Common Snipe were viewable on the new ground. There were lots of Raven and the Marsh Harrier was a treat as it was hunting over N0.5 then over six. A Little Egret flew as I walked back along ditch to my car along the tank.

Observer: Guy Groves.

A Kingfisher was in the land drain ditch along Moorditch Lane and presumably the same Common Snipe that Guy had seen earlier on the flooded No.3 tank.

Observer: Arthur Harrison.

05.02.15. Birdlog

05.02.15. Birdlog

05.02.15. Redwing, Moorditch Lane, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton

A diffirent route today forsaking the highlight of Frodsham Score for the upper reaches of the Weaver estuary and fields beyond.

05.02.15. Linnet, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton

The horse paddock along Moorditch Lane had a smallish sized flock of winter thrushes feeding on the flooded fields and with the recent dredging of the ditch a sizable flock of Linnet were attracted to its edges.

05.02.15. Redwing and Fieldfare, Moorditch Lane, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton (1)

A walk along Brook Furlong Lane across to Redwall reed bed, the Lum and around the I.C.I tank taking in the Weaver Bend was fairly educational.

05.02.15. Stonechat (male), The Lum, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton (2)Two male and a female Stonechat were flight tagging each other in some kind of prenuptial display in and around the Lum reed bed, and a good distraction from the walk. The Shooters Pools held 20 Meadow Pipit and not a lot of anything else.

05.02.15. Shooters' Scrapes, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton

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A circumnavigation of the I.C.I tank was informative given that recent work on a couple of additional ‘Shooters’ Scrapes’ were in the field below the eastern banks and another area to watch come the Spring. A Little Egret flew over and would had christened the scrapes had it landed there.

05.02.15. Goosander (female), Weaver Bend, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton

05.02.15. Goldeneyes, Weaver Bend, Frodsham Marsh. Bill MortonA couple of pairs of Goldeneye and a female Goosander along with 12 Common Teal, 4 Redshank and 4 Common Snipe were all the ‘bend’ had to offer today.

The Weaver estuary always has something to other and today was no exception, 7 Great Crested and 15 Little Grebe, 23 Common Pochard, 87 Tufted Duck, 2 Gadwall, 14 Mallard and 22 Goldeneye with ten males performing their nuptials to the attendant females.

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

The water on No.6 tank was mostly covered in ice but a few Shoveler and Common Teal chose to linger in a small area of open water. A pair of Stonechat along the reedy edges to No.5 tank made the days tally to five birds.

Observers: Sparky, WSM (and images).

05.02.15. Common Buzzard, Moorditch Lane fields, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton

A Common Buzzard was perched in a bush with the motorway traffic thundering past. and additionally, a Merlin was along Lordship Lane and the usual Marsh Harrier was over No.6 tank.

Observers: Mr & Mrs Idris Roberts ( I know it’s a formal listing but you both wouldn’t want it any other way).

03.02.15. Birdlog

03.02.15. Birdlog

03.02.15. Paul Ralston (2)

An hours walk this afternoon along the Manchester Ship Canal and along the Holpool Gutter. The single Great White Egret was out on Ince Marsh and 2 Little Egret with a Grey Heron were in the gutter.

03.02.15. Paul Ralston (1)

There were  2 Kestrel and a Sparrowhawk over No.4 tank with several Common Buzzard in the area. The Whooper and mute swan flock has risen to 67 birds with a Black Swan amongst them! Another five Mute Swan were out on Frodsham Score. A pair of Gadwall on the canal and 2 Common Snipe on the path back to the car and a Grey Wagtail by the Ince berth.

Observer and images: Paul Ralston

02.02.15. Birdlog

02.02.15. Birdlog

02.02.15. Sun Halo, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton (2)

A quick look over No.6 tanks frozen water really determined where we were heading for today and a 7 mile round trip on foot was called for and a trek out to the Holpool Gutter and the views across Frodsham Score.

02.02.15. Barnacle Geese, Frodsham Score, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton (1)

02.02.15. Great White Egret, Frodsham Score, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton (2)

A large concentration of Lapwing and Golden Plover were facing north into the wind and kept low down while a wheeling flock of Starlings rose and fell like litter in the breeze. There was nothing on the frozen flooded fields of No.3 tank hence the relocation of the plover flock to five.

Eventually we got to our chosen spot overlooking Frodsham Score with a Sun Halo to make a slight distraction from the birding. The most prominent bird of the day was a solitary and very obliging Great White Egret (and not a single Little Egret which was a big surprise to find).

02.02.15. adult Whooper Swan, Ince Marsh. Bill Morton (1)

The female Marsh Harrier was sat in the lank marsh grass on the edge of the marsh by the tide line and spent time adjusting her dress.

A large herd of Canada Geese on the edge of the river included an incredible 27 Barnacle Goose (birds en route north?). Nearby, 7 Pink-footed Goose were in and out of a narrow tidal gutter. 10 Mute Swan included 4 Whooper Swan but other than this most other species had vacated with the receding tide.

02.02.15. Barnacle Geese, Frodsham Score, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton (3)

Along the edge of the Holpool Gutter a charm of 340 Goldfinch leaped about eager to find a new food source and a largest flock of 129 Linnet hung out in the Elder trees on the banks of No.4 tank.

02.02.15. juvenile Whooper Swan, Ince Marsh. Bill Morton (2)

The fields on Ince Marsh again featured the wild swan flock and carried on a tradition from the last two years where birds would settle here after the New Year period. The herd contained 44 birds with 6 juvenile and 21 adult Whooper Swan and 17 Mute Swan including 6 juvenile birds.

Observers: Sparky and WSM (and images).

01.02.15. Birdlog

01.02.15. Birdlog

01.02.15. Redshank, Frodsham Marsh. Paul Ralston

Out and about early this morning with my usual walk from Ince Berth to the north end of No.6 tank. There were 2 Little Egret and a single Great White Egret out on Frodsham Score  with hundreds of Canada Geese and 5 Mute Swan with many Common Shelduck also about the salt marsh.

01.02.15. Raven, Frodsham Score, Frodsham Marsh. Paul Ralston

01.02.15. Goldeneye (male), Manchester Ship Canal, Frodsham Marsh. Paul Ralston

Meanwhile, on the Manchester Ship Canal were 10 Tufted Duck, 6 Common Teal and more surprising a male Goldeneye which kept company with a Great Crested Grebe. Many Raven looked well fed on the fallen livestock lying about the marsh and were putting on an aerial display and even ganging up on a passing Common Buzzard.

Common Buzzard, Bill Morton

Onward to No.6 tank and a further 3 Buzzards and a female Marsh Harrier were drifting over the reed bed there. A female Sparrowhawk shot below my vantage point overlooking the area on six in an attempt to ambush a flock of Redshank and Dunlin sheltering from the strong wind. Back along the Holpool Gutter and a mixed flock of 44 swans included both  Whooper Swan and Mute Swan (Also c30 Black-tailed Godwit along with Curlew in the same field across Holpool Gutter as the swans per Frances Ipson).

Observer: Paul Ralston (images 1 – 3).

01.02.15. Peregrine, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton

At dusk a walk to the corner of No.6 and 3 tank to look over the mitigation area again resulted in an avian void. Perhaps the disturbance over the weekend will settle down during the week to allow the plovers to return and resettle in the area?

Two men were digging on No.5 tank with a terrier and it makes you wonder who gets to police these activities? If anyone out there is interested check this link for future reference: Birders against Wildlife Crime – BAWC Shooting season for Pheasant, Grey and Red-legged Partridges ends tonight. It will be illegal to shoot any of these species until the autumn.

The Peregrine was sat on top of the blue-topped chimney overlooking the Mersey estuary and a bleak forlorn figure it cut being in the most exposed of places.

01.02.15. The Growhow works from No.6 tank, Frodsham Marsh.  J Sparks.

A concentration of on duck on No.6 tank included a single female Tufted Duck, 213 Common Teal, 12 Shoveler and 112 Mallard. Several Redshank and some Lapwing were beginning to come to roost.

Observers: Sparky (image 6) and WSM (images 4, 5 & 7)

01.02.15. Sunset over No.6 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton