17.05.15. Wilde About Birds Guest Blog 2
The Day Passed So Swiftly
This morning and well into the afternoon I was out birding at Frodsham Marsh; specifically taking on the monthly WeBS count for the BTO. I started off my count at the Weaver Bend surrounded by reeds and small willows; my ears were filled with the sound of Reed and Sedge Warblers chanting their spectacular songs, perched comfortably on the reed tips getting blustered by the wind, occasionally interrupted by the quick snippet of a Reed Bunting.
Swifts hurled themselves through the air dancing over the river, providing magical views, in fact a feast for the eyes, as they dived and darted above my head. There were hundreds of them and they kept up a great performance for me as I moved alongside the river, where Oystercatchers hunkered themselves down into the banks of the river avoiding the wind which seemed to be affecting everyone. Two Black-tailed Godwits zig-zagged the available mud, probing their long elongated bills deep into a layer of invertebrates, whilst a Wheatear flitted from rock to rock.
Canada Geese and Shelduck bobbed and bounced upon the surface of the water, pushed forward out of sight by the current. Tufted Duck and Gadwall located themselves on the far corner of the bend, escorting themselves one by one to the estuary leaving the river pretty empty, yet still I was obsessed by the sheer quantity of nature every where I looked.
After a fantastic experience down by the ‘bend’ I moved off to my next stop, No.6 tank, and of course the new feature to the marsh, the “Mitigation area”, which so far this year has proven to provide a perfect habitat for wildfowl and wading birds. Avocets sat tight on their nests, whilst Little Ringed and Ringed Plovers busied themselves weaving with some pace across the mud and soil. A small flock of 33 Black-tailed Godwits entered the mitigation area, acting like a magnet to me and fellow birders, showing off their brick-red flame like summer plumage which glistened in the weak afternoon sun despite the cold wind.
Startled by the arrival of the Godwits, a Lapwing patrolled it’s nearby nest, slightly agitated by the feeding waders. The suspicion of an attack soon got too much, and it took to the sky and harassed the Godwits forcing them to take to the air and fly out towards the estuary.
No.6 tank water was starting to evaporate because of very little rain fall, however it still managed to hold an impressive 90 Shelduck, which stood littered throughout the expanse of mud. Whitethroats, Blackcaps, Skylarks and Chiffchaff blended their songs together as my trip came to an end.
As usual, a fantastic birding day out, and I can’t wait to see what the future holds for Frodsham Marsh with all the changes taking place.
Findlay’s daily log included: On the Weaver Bend; 7 Canada Geese, 2 Great Crested Grebe, 8 Cormorant, 12 Coot, 20 Shelduck, 2 Gadwall , 3 Mallard, 200 Swift, 5 Tufted Duck, 50 Swallows, 2 Black-tailed Godwit, 7 Oystercatcher, 16 Black-headed Gull, 5 Mute Swan, 1 Moorhen, 1 Lesser Black-blacked Gull, 2 Herring Gull, 3 Blackbird, 1 Wheatear, 2 Reed Warbler, 2 Sedge Warbler, 3 Reed Bunting, 4 Starling, the Peregrine on the blue-topped chimney, 2 Whitethroat and 3 Wren.
No. 3 tank (mitigation area): 33 Black-tailed Godwits, 4 Avocet, 2 Shoveler, 1 Ringed Plover, 3 Dunlin, 1 Little Ringer Plover. 7 Coot, 1 Oystercatcher, 3 Mallard, 4 Canada Geese, 6 Lapwing, 5 Black-headed Gull and a Wheatear on post behind the tank.
No.6 Tank: 90 Shelduck, 6 Canada Geese, 17 Tufted Duck, 8 Mallard, 1 Mute Swan, 3 Gadwall , 1 Great Black-backed Gull, 1 Grey Heron, 3 Black-headed gull, 4 Lapwing and a Marsh Harrier (male).
Observers: Findlay and Heather Wilde (and images 1 – 2, 4 – 5). More about Findlay here: http://wildeaboutbirds.blogspot.co.uk/
Additionally, a Hobby flew over.
Observer: Alyn Chambers.
A mega thanks to Findlay and Heather for taking time out from their busy lives to cover the WeBS count today. I was otherwise engaged in weekend working and to Alyn for enjoying his hobby…literally (WSM)!
Images 3 & 6 WSM