18.03.15. Birdlog

18.03.15. Birdlog

18.03.14. Ruff and Golden Plover, No.6 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton

The day was generally mild with the feel of a proper Spring day, unfortunately by the time I made it from work to No.6 tank the wind had increased with a bite to it. Ducks were again present on the open water of No.6 tank with 14 Tufted Duck, 2 drake Pintail, 78 Common Teal and a scattering of Common Shelduck. The roost of 180 Golden Plover attracted with them 4 Ruff and 15 Dunlin.

The mitigation area on No.3 tank attracted 23 Common Snipe, 7 Shoveler, 2 Ruff and 16 Common Teal.

18.03.14. female Marsh Harrier, No.6 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton

The female Marsh Harrier took me by surprise as it attempted to catch a Little Grebe from the secluded pool below the bank where I was concealed. By the time my cold fingers grasped the shutter button of the camera it was trailing away in the distance.

18.03.14. Buzzard and Ravens, No.5 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton

A minimum of 40 Raven were gorging on the plentiful supply of mutton on offer, and at this rate it will not be far off before their county record numbers are broken again!

18.03.14. male Stonechat, No.5 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton

A male Stonechat was feeding from the reeds in the south-west corner of No.5 tank and added a splash of much-needed colour.

18.03.14. Chiffchaff, No.5 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton

A Chiffchaff and Goldcrest were calling from the heavily cropped hedges along the tank.

Observer and images: WSM

16.03.15. Birdlog

16.03.15. Birdlog

16.03.15. Golden Plovers, No.6 tank, Frodsham Marsh. WSM (2)

16.03.15. Starlings, Marsh Farm, Frodsham Marsh. WSMAn after work trip to Marsh Farm for the Wheatear reported yesterday, but alas, it wasn’t available or had more likely moved on. A flock of 400 Starlings were feeding from the hay bales left out for the calves. The usual Peregrine looked a forlorn figure hunkered up on the blue-topped chimney. Soon the light turned to ambient glow with patches of rain increasing in severity.

16.03.15. Golden Plovers, No.6 tank, Frodsham Marsh. WSM (3)

I shifted position and in the rain watched over No.6 tank: four Mute Swan, 6 Tufted Duck, a solitary drake Pochard, a pair of Pintail and 87 Common Teal were on the water below the banks. A roost of 210 Golden Plover contained at least a quarter in various stages of summer plumage.


Observer and images & video: WSM

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15.03.15. Birdlog

15.03.15. Birdlog

15.03.15. Whooper and Mute Swans, Ince Marsh fields. Paul Ralston (3)

Out this morning from Ince Berth around No.4 tank and along the Holpool Gutter.

15.03.15. Whooper and Mute Swans, Ince Marsh fields. Paul Ralston (4)

The Manchester Ship Canal held a pair of Great Crested Grebe with many Common Teal, Tufted Duck, Mallard, a single Common Pochard and several pairs of Gadwall. Out on the salt marsh flocks of Canada Geese and smaller numbers of Greylag fed amongst the Ravens and black-backed gulls fighting over the lamb carcases. There were Shoveler and even more Teal with Moorhen, 3 Common Snipe and Coot on the shallow pools along the canal path.

15.03.15. Little Egret, Ince Marsh fields. Paul Ralston (2)Lordship Lane had singing Chaffinch, Dunnock, Song Thrush  and a party of Long-tailed Tit. The stubble fields had displaying Lapwing, 8 Stock Dove, a pair of Kestrel and a Common Buzzard.

Further on and back to the Holpool Gutter the 2 Little Egret were again on the bank and the adjacent field held a herd of 50 swans of which 17 were Whooper Swan. Also present in the same field were 6 Greylag Geese and a pair of Common Shelduck and a flock of Curlew.

Observer and images: Paul Ralston.

138 Golden Plover on No.6 tank this afternoon (1-3 pm) some going into handsome summer plumage. Also Marsh Harrier hunting over reedbed.

Observer: Sean O’Hara.

15.03.15. Wheatear (male), Marsh Farm, Frodsham Marsh. Paul Crawley


A Wheatear was on No.1 tank.

Observer: Paul Crawley (image 4).

9 Ruff on No.6 tank.

Observer: John Gilbody

Two calling not singing Chiffchaff both ends of No.6 tank along the southern banks also a Merlin spotted.

Observer: Jean Roberts.

14.03.15. Birdlog

14.03.15. Birdlog

14.03.15. Barnacle Goose and hybrid CanadaxGreylag Goose, Weaver estuary, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton

Parking my car on Brook Furlong Lane I decided on a hike out to the Bailey Bridge at the eastern end of the marsh. Starting from the horse paddock field along Brook Furlong Lane and stopping beside Redwall reedbed overlooking the River Weaver and Weaver estuary.

14.03.15. Barnacle Goose and hybrid partnerl, Weaver estuary, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton

There were plenty of ducks to keep my interest level ticking over with, 5 Great Crested Grebe, 23 Goldeneye with all the drakes (7) in courting mood. 134 Tufted Duck, 4 Common Pochard, 8 Gadwall, 34 Mallard and 100 Common Teal bringing up the numbers.

A Barnacle Goose out on the river was in the mood for love so without any of its own kin it paired up with a Canada x Greylag Goose and was seen later in the day with the Canada’s on No.1 tank and still paying close attention to his partner within the herd…There goes the neighbourhood!

14.03.15. Goldeneye drake, Weaver estuary, Frodsham Marsh. Bill MortonI continued following the course of the river towards the Weaver Bend taking in the Shooters’ pools en route. The only distraction was 8 Black-tailed Godwit and I guess the pools were having a breather before the main action next month?

Walking around the I.C.I tank was uneventful at the start with no passerine migrants on offer. The highlights were the fields east of the tank. Frodsham and District Wildfowlers have been working on the fields and have created two large scrapes for their own use. In the meantime, it will no doubt attract spring migrants and summer breeders soon. This area is primed and you are all cordially invited to drop in on your next visit and pull the biggy out of the bag here.

14.03.15. Common Crane, Weaver estuary, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton

Continuing around the tank and walking by the Bailey bridge only served to remind me of the Spotted Crakes that once appear there. Alas, the area doesn’t get the coverage that it deserves. My reminiscing was short-lived when a bugle sound from the sky above the Weaver Bend draw my attention to a Common Crane flying overhead, it continued its flight with a couple of hoots before disappearing to the north-east. No local birders about today Arthur Harrison had been on the marsh earlier but Duffy was carless for the afternoon and Broomey was enjoying the delights of the seafront at New Brighton and its American visitor. It wasn’t a Frodders tick for Frank but Tony would have been keen to have seen it.

Video of Crane here: https://vimeo.com/122878843

14.03.15. Stonechat, Weaver Bend, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton

A male Stonechat was by The Lum reed bed and worked its way along the fence line until it was lost in the vegetation to the Shooters’ pools. A courting pair of Brown Hares were being coy between the grassy tussocks.

Marsh Farm is traditionally a good spot for summer migrants but again it didn’t produce the goods.

14.03.15. Iceland Gull, Frodsham Score Banks,l, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton

A heavily cropped pic of the Iceland Gull out on Frodsham Score Banks.

14.03.15. Iceland Gull, Gantry wall, Frodsham Marsh. Tony Broome.

I set my scope up overlooking Frodsham Score with the intention of checking the gulls on the gantry wall. After a short period my scoped sweeped up a 2nd summer Iceland Gull out on the mudflats from Frodsham Score Banks.It dawned on me that the boys were ‘off site’ and they both needed it for their patch lists. I sent a text and made calls out to rally the troops and eventually Broomey arrived and filled his boots with a minute to spare. On the other hand, Frank was out in the sticks and like a damsel in distress he sent up a Batman signal in despair. I can’t bare to see a grown man cry so I duly obliged and went to collect him from his home and then chauffeured him to the marsh. He jammed onto it with seconds to spare before it took flight and headed out to the salt marsh and was lost to view!

Observer: WSM (images 1-6).

Tony Broome (image 7).

Additional info: 8 Ruff on No.6 tank per Arthur Harrison.

Gowy Meadows this morning

18.01.15. Frodsham Marsh from Helsby Hill. Bill Morton (2)_editedSometimes we include some areas just outside but local to Frodsham Score, Frodsham, Helsby and Ince Marshes. Shaun and Robbie (after drying out their socks) sent this report from the Gowy Meadows just up the M56 from here this morning.

The wetland marshes attracted a Little Egret, 3 Common Snipe, a pair of Shoveler, 40 Common Teal and 16 Tufted Duck. Birds of prey featured a Sparrowhawk, 2 Kestrel one of which was showing a Merlin the nearest exit. Further out a Peregrine was over Stanlow.

A pair of Stonechat were either wintering birds or part of a countywide passage which is undergoing at the moment. Other passerines pairing up included Reed Bunting and 2 pairs of Mistle Thrush. A small flock of Skylark, 20 Linnet and a Great Spotted Woodpecker.

Observers: Shaun Hickey and Robbie Allcock.


12.03.15. Birdlog

12.03.15. Birdlog

12.03.15. Kestrel, No.2 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton (4)

Dull weather conditions with the threat of rain didn’t put me off from dropping in on the marsh after the working day. I made my way up to Marsh Farm and looking over the ebbing tide on the river there were hundreds of Black-tailed Godwits, Curlew, Dunlin, 23 Oystercatcher and Shelduck.

12.03.15. Lambs at Marh Farm, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton (2)

Marsh Farm had a flock of 1000 Starlings gathering in the grass and then streaming out towards the east. No.2 tank was alive with the sounds of bleating lambs and a ewe was tending to twins which had only recently been born.

12.03.15. Stonechat, No.1 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton (3)

A Stonechat was along the fence line on No.1 tank and 14 Fieldfare were in the recently cut hedgerow along Brook Furlong Lane.

The highlight from No.6 tank in the gloom of the evening were 2 Little Egret, 2 male and a female Pintail, 8 Tufted Duck, 87 Common Teal, 8 Ruff and a single Black-tailed Godwit.

Observer and images: WSM.

11.03.15. Red Kite, Runcorn Hill. Bill Morton (5)

11.03.15. Red Kite, Runcorn Hill. Bill Morton (10)

Additional news concerns this Red Kite which flew over Runcorn Hill yesterday.

10.03.15. Birdlog

10.03.15. Birdlog

10.03.15. Golden Plovers, No.6 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton (7)

After work and a trip to the marsh until sunset to check the area and its birds out. Work commences with some gusto on grubbing out the hedgerows along No.5/6  and No.4 tanks and a site office at the junction of No.4 tank and Lordship Lane seems to mean business with these turbines.

10.03.15. Boat sailing under No.3 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton (2)

10.03.15. Cormorant, No.6 tank, frodsham Marsh. Bill MortonMy expectations were ambitious compared to the reality of what was on offer: 14 Shoveler were on the open water along with 87 Common Teal, a drake Pintail, 2 Tufted Duck and 4 Mute Swan. Shorebirds present on the water edges were in very low numbers with just 67 Golden Plover and 89 Lapwing.

A ship sailing along the Manchester Ship Canal looked odd with just the mast and the Union Flag poking out from beneath the surrounding land.

10.03.15. Cormorant, No.6 tank, frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton

The sun setting over No.6 tank provided some back-lit Cormorant silhouettes.

Observer and images: WSM.

08.03.15. Birdlog

08.03.15. Birdlog

I started this morning at Marsh Farm in the pouring rain. A female Sparrowhawk flew through and 4 Avocet were out on the estuary.

08.03.15. Avocets on No.6 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton
After moving around to No.6 tank at midday for the high tide. On the tank were:
2 drake Pintail, 7 Pochard, 10 Shoveler, 15 Tufted Duck and 30 Shelduck. The wader roost included: 3 Bar-tailed Godwit, 58 Black-tailed Godwit, 10 Grey Plover, 75 Golden Plover, 50 Lapwing, 35 Redshank, 400 Dunlin and 21 Ringed Plover. The 4 Avocet from earlier also joined the roost there.
08.03.15. Avocet, No.6 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill MortonLater, whilst watching over the mitigation area, a Sand Martin made its way west into the wind.
Observer: Alyn Chambers.
08.03.15. Ravens over Frodsham Score, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton
Later in the day we took the mantle from Alyn and decided on a walk around No.6 tank with a slight diversion to the north-east corner of No.4 tank. Looking out from this view-point you couldn’t miss the plethora of Raven out on the raised banks between the Manchester Ship Canal and Frodsham Score. There were at least 30 birds tumbling and flight tagging each other over the old gun turret.
08.03.15. Frodsham Hill and No.6 tank from No.6 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton
08.03.15. Raven and Common Buzzard, No.3 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton
A Peregrine and Common Buzzard joined in the action and caused the Ravens to react with some vigour. Another Peregrine was sat out on the Blue-topped chimney above Ineos Chlor works at Weston point.
No.6 tank held some of the same species that Alyn had seen earlier except for a Marsh Harrier that sailed through. A couple of Stonechat were at each end of Lordship Lane and a Kingfisher sat tight in one of the outflow ducts by Moorditch Lane.
Observers: Sparky, WSM (and images).

The Views of and from Frodsham Marsh

The Views of and from Frodsham Marsh

07.03.15. CEGB area, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton (12)

Frodsham Hill (Overton Hill) stands above Frodsham and marks the begining or end of the Sandstone trail that runs like a crookered backbone through the Cheshire Plain and shuddered to a halt at Whitchurch on the Cheshire/Staffs border. Thirty four miles of some of the finest Cheshire scenery.

07.03.15. CEGB area, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton (7)

The main railway line from Manchester to Chester runs through Frodsham and the bridge made of sandstone and its arches cross the River Weaver on the outskirts of the marsh.

07.03.15. CEGB area, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton (4)

Sadly all that remains of this once magnificent church isthe imposing and splendid spire of Trinity Church, which was saved from demolition by public donations from the people of Frodsham. In the distance the Indian head dress profile of Helsby Hill rock face dominates the backdrop.

07.03.15. Liverpool skyline from Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton (3)

The impressive skyline of Liverpool across the River Mersey from Frodsham Marsh highlights the old Cathedral and the new Hilton Hotel on the waterfront there.

07.03.15. Lenticular clouds over No.6 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton (5)

Big cloudy skies from above the marsh.

07.03.15.  Lenticular clouds over No.6 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton (2)

Cloud stacks known as lenticular clouds were a feature in the sky today and were noticed from far and wide.

07.03.15.  Lenticular clouds over No.6 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton (8)

A view of the cloud formations from the ramp on Moorditch Lane.

07.03.15. Grubbing out hedgerow on No.5 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton (8)

It was a bit of a shock today to see this tractor with a long arm hedge cutter working along the track on No.5 tank and above No.6 tank. It was engaged in clearing out the treeline in preparation of the ‘Wind Turbines’ expected this year. It had to happen sometime but all this habitat loss brought the same reaction when they started construction of No.6 tank all those years ago, and you are never really prepared yourself when work eventually starts.

07.03.15. Grubbing out hedgerow on No.5 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton (13)

Steel yourself for your next visit here.

17.06.13 . Spindle Ermine Moth caterpillars, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton..

The Spindle bushes above the north side of No.6 tank used to attract millions of Ermine moth caterpillars…no more!

07.03.15. Grubbing out hedgerow on No.5 tank, Frodsham Marsh

What is left of the Spindle bushes.

07.03.15. Grubbing out hedgerow on No.5 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton (6)

The bend in the track at the junction of No’s 6, 5 and 3 tanks.

07.03.15. Grubbing out hedgerow on No.5 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton (2)

Some aggressive pruning!

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

The mitigation area on No.3 tank looking west from No.5 tank.

Above images by WSM.

07.03.15. Paul Ralston (8)

A view of Stanlow by Paul Ralston.

07.03.15. Birdlog

07.03.15. Birdlog

07.03.15. Yellowhammer, Frodsham Marsh.Paul Ralston

I started off along New Pale Road this morning at the water work treatment plant which has been a regular place for Yellowhammer over the years. There were four birds there this morning which is always good to see. Next stop was at the Weaver Bend where the water birds included: Goldeneye, Pochard, Common Shelduck, Common Teal, Mallard and Great Crested Grebe were on the river.

07.03.15. Stonechat, Weaver Bend, Frodsham Marsh. Paul Ralston

A party of 6 Stonechat were on the path by the Bailey bridge with Long-tailed Tit, Redwing and Song Thrush in the hawthorn bushes.

On to No.6 tank where I joined forces with Arthur H and we both saw the Marsh Harrier over the reed bed as were several Common Buzzard and a Peregrine which drifted high up and out towards the salt marsh. The mitigation pool held Common Teal, Redshank and a dozen Common Snipe which dropped into the ditch alongside.

Leaving the marsh along Lordship Lane by the model flying club field another 4 Stonechat were sat out on the fence line.

07.03.15. Long-tailed Tit Frodsham Marsh. Paul Ralston

Observer: Paul Ralston (images 1-3).

07.03.15. Cetti's Warbler, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton

A chance sighting of a very vocal and animated Cetti’s Warbler was rewarded with some fine views (note leg ring). Additional birds close by included a Nuthatch, a Treecreeper, Coal Tit, 5 Bullfinch, several Jay and a sub-singing Chiffchaff – a rewarding morning considering the rarity value of most of these birds here on the marsh.

Observers: Frank Duff, WSM (images 4-5).

07.03.15. Cetti's Warbler, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton

High tide on the river forced a few waders onto No.6 tank with 240 Dunlin, 60 Golden Plover, 343 Lapwing, 2 Black-tailed Godwit and 5 Redshank. Gulls were few in number but included 45 Common Gull, 67 Black-headed, 4 Lesser Black-backed and 3 Herring Gull. 4 Mute Swan, 14 Shoveler, 3 Common Pochard, 12 Tufted Duck, 68 Mallard and 147 Common Teal made up the waterfowl contingent.

Observer: WSM.

A watch from the northern banks of No.4 tank was rewarded with a Marsh Harrier, 5 Pink-footed Goose and a solitary Bar-tailed Godwit.

Observer: Tony Broome.

Also noted on this warm Spring day was a Stoat, a Buff-tailed Bumblebee and 2 Small Tortoiseshell Butterfly.