16.04.15. Birdlog

16.04.15. Birdlog

16.04.15. Frodsham Marsh. Paul Ralston (5)

Out and about this morning for a short walk along the Manchester Ship Canal from Ince Berth to the dredging berth .

16.04.15. Frodsham Marsh. Paul Ralston (7)

Several Swallow over Ince Berth with one sat on the telegraph wires and then a singing Chiffchaff in the hawthorn bushes. 2 Wheatear were sat on the canal bank and a Sedge Warbler sang in the reed bed alongside No.4 tank where the female Marsh Harrier was being mobbed by a pair of Lapwing. Out on the salt marsh were a couple of Little Egret which were sat at opposite ends of the marsh and both had the company of a Grey Heron. Sand Martins were prospecting along the canal and 2 to 3 Common Sandpiper were noted.

16.04.15. Frodsham Marsh. Paul Ralston (3)

A male Blackcap was at the dredging berth as was a White Wagtail. Gadwall, Mallard, Common Teal and Common Shelduck were all on the canal and were disturbed by a police boat making its way west on the canal. Only Mute Swans on the field by the Holpool Gutter.

Observer: Paul Ralston (images 1-3).

16.04.15. Common Sandpiper and Teal, No.3 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton

16.04.15. Golden Plovers, No.6 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton (1)

Taking over from Paul for the evening watch I made my way along the track above No.6 tank and bumped into Frank and Arthur. A splendid assembly of 43 summer Golden Plover were bunched up with a solitary Dunlin along the waters edge. I guess it’s only a matter of days before they up sticks and move north. A small group of 4 newly arrived Whimbrel were dozing in the evening light and several pairs of Lapwing made themselves vocal.

16.04.15. Whimbrels, No.6 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton (4)

A smaller than usual assortment of ducks included Tufted Duck, Common Teal and Shelduck. The Grey Heron pair looked established on their nest. Lets hope the water level doesn’t get any higher or the nest will get waterlogged.

The drier areas of the tank held a solitary Yellow Wagtail, 17 White Wagtail and 7 Wheatear.

16.04.15. Grey Herons on nest, No.6 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton (2)

No.3 tank is attracting  migrants with two Common Sandpiper hopefully the harbingers of things to come. Nearby fresh in Reed Warblers were n song dueling by the secluded pool.

16.04.15. Digger, No.4 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton (3)

Other birds of note were 2 Swallow over the Weaver estuary, 6 Wheatear at Marsh Farm and 2 House Martin over the hill.

Over No.4 tank was a fresh in female Marsh Harrier and had the look of the female from last year? A Peregrine put in a show over the area.

Observers: Arthur Harrison, Frank Duff, WSM (images4-8)

13 & 14.04.15. Birdlog

13.04.15. Birdlog

14.04.15. Swallow, Marsh Farm, frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton

A couple of Chukar were along Brook Furlong Lane and presumably released by the shooters close by. 2 Swallow and a Sand Martin noted flying west.

Observers: Arthur Harrison, Frank Duff.

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14.04.14. Birdlog

14.04.15. Wheatear, No.1 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton

You know when you’re in for a good watch when you don’t move a foot for the best part of an hour. I was rooted to the spot watching a gathering of Wheatear on, along, by and over the pipe line on the southern edge of No1 tank. At least 12 birds were present and an additional 9 more across the Manchester Ship Canal from Marsh Farm.

A pair of Swallow look to be the birds that normally set up territory at the farm with display and bonding already in progress. Small numbers of Pied Wagtails were about but a flyover Yellow Wagtail was a first for the year.

The Peregrine was again sat preening high up on the blue-topped chimney.

Eventually, I dragged myself away from the action to take a look over No.6 tank. I met Barry Jacks and Nigel Case there briefly and we watched, a solitary Little Egert, 110 Common Shelduck, 67 Common Teal, 1 Little Ringed Plover, 2 Ringed Plover, c30 White Wagtail, 24 Pied Wagtail, 54 Meadow Pipit and another 9 Wheatear.

Over on No.5 tank more Wheatear could be found with birds scattered across the fields and brought the evening total to at least 50 birds.

14.04.15. Ruff, No.3 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton

A last visit of the day to No.3 tank where there were 3 Ruff, a Ringed Plover, 6 Shoveler, 2 Gadwall and 23 Common Teal.

The female Marsh Harrier was quartering what’s left of the reed beds on No.4 tank and was seen earlier in the day by Moorditch Lane from the M56 (per Paul Crawley).

Observer:and images: WSM.

33 Raven left the marsh at dusk and wandered over the hill to their roost.

Observer: Jean Roberts.

10 & 11.04.15. Birdlog

10.04.15. Birdlog

11.04.15. Digger on No.4 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton

36 Ringed Plover on No.6 tank.

Observer: Jean Roberts.

Some additional local bird news: Several Willow Warbler singing in park on Runcorn Hill. Also, two other birds singing by Blakemere, Delamere Forest. Also seen on the mere were 13 Mediterranean Gulls (including a retarded 1st winter bird, a single 2nd summer and the rest all paired adults). Three birds had leg rings, one was wearing a white coded ring, another had white/metal ring above right knee and the last with metal ring.

Observer: WSM.

11.04.15. Birdlog

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

A stiff westerly wind blew in cold air from the Atlantic and morning rain gave way to cobalt blue skies interspersed with puffy cumulus clouds.

Digger machines ripping out the reed beds on No.4 tank took timeout with work suspended for a weekend break.

11.04.15. Grey Heron, No.6 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton

No.6 tank was pretty quiet compared to previous days and a smattering of ducks included low numbers of the usual suspects. A Grey Heron preparing a stick nest at the base of an old tree didn’t look to have the confidence of it lasting long.

The mitigation on No.3 tank had a Ringed Plover, several Lapwing, 4 Shoveler, 23 Common Teal and a few Shoveler.

11.04.15. 2 White Wagtail, No.4 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton

The south-west corner of No.6 tank had 23 passerines including 8 White Wagtail, 4 Pied Wagtail, a single Chaffinch and 10 Meadow Pipit. A male Blackcap was singing on the banks bordering Lordship Lane along with numerous Chiffchaff..

11.04.15. White Wagtail, No.4 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton

Along the tracks on Ince Marsh fields were a gathering of 150 corvids with mostly Rooks. The Whooper Swan was again present in the heat haze of the Ince marsh fields with a small herd of Mute’s.

11.04.15. Wheatear, Marsh Farm, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton.

11.04.15. Wheatear, Marsh Farm, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton

Marsh Farm was an exposed spot in the unforgiving wind but 5 Wheatear and a couple of Blackbird were more concerned by fueling up for the big push north.

Another male Wheatear was in the horse paddock at Moorditch Lane.

Observers: Frank Duff, WSM (and images).

09.04.15. Birdlog

09.04.15. Birdlog

09.04.15. Red Admiral, No.5 tank, Frodsham Mars. Bill Morton

Male Ring Ouzel along the northern bank of No.5 tank at 06.45 making its way north towards No.1 tank. Perhaps the same bird seen at Hale Head a couple of hours later?

Observer: Pete Marsh.

09.04.15. Heavy machines, No.4 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton

It was a long wait to get to the marsh after work and with the mornings ouzel a distant memory migrant, I concentrated my attention on No.6 tank and the mitigation of No.3 tank.

There were plenty of ducks to keep the note-book filled and with 168 Common Teal, 67 Common Shelduck, 47 Tufted Duck, 7 Gadwall, 14 Mallard and 8 Shoveler they were duly scribbled down.

09.04.15. Golden Plovers, No.6 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill MortonShorebirds included 4 Ruff, 2 Ringed Plover, 14 Lapwing and 12 Redshank. Towards the end of the watch 35 Golden Plover dropped out of the sky and alighted to roost on the waters edge. Just to keep the waders attention sharp a Peregrine flew through and unset the apple cart! A distant harrier over No.4 tank was to far away to be specific on its identity but Marsh appears to be the favourite option.

09.04.15. Stanlow from No.4 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton

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

Over on No.3 tank a small passage of 12 Sand Martin moved through after feeding over the Canal Pools. A Chiffchaff bore a leg iron but still gave out a good “tip tap” rendition in sycamores by the ramp entrance to No.6 tank.

Observer and images: WSM.

I’ve included a selection of images in this post of views from the marsh this evening. They show, heavy machines working on leveling the reed beds on No.4 tank. An interesting yellow smutting emits from a tall chimney at Stanlow and the gold and greens of the secluded pool on No.6 tank.

09.04.15. Secluded pool, No.6 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton

08.04.15. Birdlog

08.04.15. Birdlog

08.04.15. Peacock Butterfly, Weaver Bend, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton

Out this morning starting from Ince Berth and around No.4 and 6 tanks. A flock of Curlew and Common Shelduck in the fields near the berth with a pair of Kestrel overhead.

On to the Manchester Ship Canal towpath with Mallard, Common Teal,Tufted Duck, Canada Geese and Coot on the water with Redshank, Oystercatcher on the banks. Chiffchaff calling all the way round the walk and a single Sand Martin heading west along the canal.

The swan herd was down to 30 birds with just the one Whooper Swan amongst them.

The Canal Pools were again very quite with a pair of Mute Swan and a pair of Canada Goose on the pools with several singing Skylark overhead. The mitigation pool area held Shoveler, Common Teal, Mallard and a pair of Coot fighting on the bank which lasted several minutes, stopped briefly then started again. No.6 had more singing Skylark and Reed Bunting and more Mallard, Tufted Duck, Common Teal and Coot on the water there.

Buzzards and a Marsh Harrier over Frodsham Marsh. Paul Ralston

On to Lordship Lane where lapwings were agitated when a tractor started to plough the field they were nesting in and at least 50 Meadow Pipit rose up and landed in a tree along the lane. Along the Holpool Gutter at least 12 Common Buzzard were riding the thermals and were joined by both male and female Marsh Harrier and a Sparrowhawk.

Observer: Paul Ralston (image 2).

08.04.15. Oak tree, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton

After work and another trip to the marsh but this time making tracks down to the River Weaver. I met Don en route who had seen a pair of Little Ringed Plover on the ‘Bend’. This sighting was more than enough to quicken my pace. When I eventually arrived both birds were in display over Weston Marsh. Also noted was 3 territorial Lapwings that put the frighteners on a Raven that wandered within their firing range.

Both the Weaver estuary and bend was awash with Tufted Duck which I estimated to collectively contain 213 birds. Also present were 3 drake and 3 female Goldeneye. Three flocks of Redshank totalling 64 birds flew in and brought with them a Ruff.

Observers: Don Weedon, WSM (images 1 & 3)

07.04.15. Birdlog

07.04.15. Birdlog

07.04.15. Sunset over No.3 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton

07.04.15. Raven mobbing Common Buzzard, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton

Traveling back from Chester this evening and with traffic building up on the M56, I decided that I’d drive home via Mickle Trafford and drop into Frodders on the way through.

Walking along the track above No.6 tank was quiet and serene considering the noise after the bank holiday scrambler bike joy riding sessions along the pot-holed tracks here

The open waters of No.6 tank was fairly active with waterfowl and these included: 56 Common Shelduck, 23 Mallard, 46 Tufted Duck, 4 Gadwall, 198 Common Teal and a couple of Shoveler.

07.04.15. Common Teal and sunset, No.3 tank, frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton

With the sun slowly edging towards the horizon I took the opportunity in setting up position overlooking the mitigation of No.3 tank which although not overly bird active did attract a few birds which included 23 Common Teal, 6 Shoveler and a Black-tailed Godwit.

It was interesting watching the exodus of Raven from the marsh at dusk. A flock of 23 birds headed out over Helsby Hill followed by singletons numbering 12 birds. A couple looked to be paired up and settled at the base of the blue-topped chimney at Weston Point and may breed there? Another bird took umbrage to a passing Buzzard and harried it off site (see above image).

The Peregrine could be clearly seen on the blue-topped chimney tending to its plumage before roosting there for the night.

Five Swallow were my first of the year and moved purposely north. A passage of 35 Sand Martin also followed them north into the wind but suddenly decided to back track and dropped into the reed bed of No.6 tank to roost.

Observer: WSM (and images).

06.04.15. Birdlog

06.04.15. Birdlog

06.04.15.Rook, Moorditch Lane, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton

Although there are a couple of rookeries on the marshes it is increasingly hard to come across them in their old haunts. A couple of birds have been in and around the horse paddocks by Moorditch Lane.

A female Merlin was hanging out along the fence line on No.5 tank. Other raptors included a new in male Marsh Harrier, Two displaying Kestrel pairs and a kettle of 6 Common Buzzard.

06.04.15. Golden Plover flock, No.6 tank. Bill Morton

Shorebirds included 6 Ringed Plover, 4 Ruff, 7 Black-tailed Godwit, 54 Redshank, 4 Dunlin and 147 Golden Plover which were resting during the afternoon and then rose to disappear out towards Ince Marsh. 74 Curlew were present over on No.5 tank.

The first Swallow (2) flew through and on the way out was a female Brambling with a small Chaffinch flock on the track above No.6 tank. Also noted was a White Wagtail with the Pied’s on No.3 tank. A Cetti’s Warbler was again present in the sunshine and a Wheatear was at Marsh Farm. A small passage of Meadow Pipit was obvious in the late afternoon with a steady trickle of birds moving north.

Observers: Sean O’Hara, Alyn Chambers, Frank Duff, Sparky, WSM (and images).

05.04.15. Birdlog

05.04.15. Birdlog

05.04.15. Common Buzzard, Tatton Park. Bill Morton

Thought I’d have a potter around the marsh this afternoon. to work off last nights beers in Chester and to discover how the migration was doing? There wasn’t too much – 7 singing Chiffchaff at various locations, two Wheatear and one Green Woodpecker (marsh tick!) at the east end of the new excavations of No.4 tank. 

Observer: Brian Rimmer.

10 Common Shelduck were on the gantry wall all lined up, plus 20 on the Weaver Bend and another 20 on the I.C.I bank. 20 Tufted Duck were at the base of No.1 with 26 Oystercatcher on the Weaver estuary. 6 Mallard were also on the ‘bend’ and 20 Black-headed Gull with a potential Little Gull? There were also 2 Great Crested Grebe and 38 Canada Geese noted.
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Observer: Lee Lappin.
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No.6 tank continues to attract ducks and waders with: 150 Common Teal, 40 Tufted Duck, 42 Shelduck, 10 Mallard, 1 Shoveller, 30 Redshank, 97 Golden Plover and 25 Lapwing.
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Observers: Frank Duff and Lee Lappin.
Image: WSM.

04.04.15. Birdlog

04.04.15. Birdlog

04.04.15. Drake Tufted Duck, No.6 Tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton

A lot of foot work this morning for little reward but we have to take the good times as and when they come. A walk along the track above No.6 tank and out to the mitigation at No.3 tank was more for its health properties than the birds. After that, a tramp over to Lordship Marsh to see if the exotic waterfowl were still about after yesterdays visit draw a blank. The whole marsh had an air of the Mary Celeste about it.

04.04.15. Reed Bunting singing, Lordship Lane, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton

A further extended hike along Brook Furlong Lane via Redwall reedbed and the Weaver Bend fared much better with 200 Tufted Duck, 9 Pochard, 10 Goldeneye, 2 drake Wigeon, 14 Gadwall, 12 Mallard and an assortment of Oystercatcher, Redshank and Lapwing plus 4 displaying Common Buzzard and a over flying Peregrine adding life back to the marsh.

04.04.15. Ruff, No.6 Tnk, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton

Spurred on and encouraged by this,  I continued my walk along Brook Furlong Lane back to No.6 tank where Frank was stationed. Two Little Stint, 6 Dunlin and 5 Ringed Plover were with the 4 Ruff from earlier and presumably the stints, dunlin and plovers had come in with the tide.

04.04.15. Lessr celendine, Moorditch Lane, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton

Ducks on the tank included 167 Common Teal, 8 Tufted Duck, 12 Common Shelduck, 23 Mallard and 4 Gadwall. No.3 tank had nesting Lapwing and 2 Ringed Plover as yet unpaired.

A Peacock Butterfly and Lesser celandine in flower were both in the ditch bordering Moorditch Lane where earlier a flash of azure indicated the presence of a Kingfisher and the first singing Blackcap was heard warbling in the hawthorns close by with an influx of Chiffchaffs.

A Cetti’s Warbler shot off a blast of song at an undisclosed site which rounded off a mixed fortunes kind of day.

Observers: Arthur Harrison, Frank Duff, Idris and Jacqui Roberts, Sean O’Hara, WSM (and images).