22.05.15. Birdlog

22.05.15. Birdlog

22.05.15. Yellow Wagtails, Ince Marsh. Paul Ralston

A short walk along the Manchester Ship Canal from Ince Berth to the dredging berth this morning produced the following: A Fox with a rabbit firmly held in its mouth was in a silage field near the berth. A couple of male and a female Yellow Wagtail were in the field alongside the Holpool Gutter and the first birds I’ve seen since the crop was sprayed last week.

22.05.15. Dunlin and Ringed Plover, Ince Marsh. Paul Ralston

On to the canal banks and a Mallard, Tufted and Gadwall were on the water with many more Common Shelduck out on the salt marsh. There were more grouped together on No.4 tank.

22.05.15. Grey Wagtail, Frodsham Marsh. Paul Ralston

Sedge Warbler were singing in the reeds alongside the tank with several Blackcap in the bank side bushes with Goldfinch and Linnet also seen. A juvenile Robin was on the fence by the dredging berth and a small flock of Dunlin and Ringed Plover overhead. Sand Martin numbers were low compared to my last visit and looked to have abandoned their breeding attempt on this side of the canal but were still active on the opposite bank.

22.05.15. Red Fox, Ince Marsh. Paul Ralston

Young Mallard and Moorhen were on the Holpool Gutter as was a Grey Heron. Raven and Common Buzzard were feeding on the abundant lamb carcases out on Frodsham Score. 

Observer and images: Paul Ralston

19.05.15. Birdlog (Team Tuesday Birders do Frodsham Marsh)

19.05.15. Birdlog (Team Tuesday Birders do Frodsham Marsh)

19.05.15. Team Tuesday Birders do Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton

Team Tuesday field trip brought them to a very blustery with the threat of rain and sunshine to start their field trip at the marsh on the motorway bridge off Marsh Lane this morning. We followed the track out along Brook Furlong Lane splitting off to follow the edge of Redwall reed bed along the Weaver Causeway to the Weaver Bend alongside the I.C.I tank before retracing our steps back to the motorway bridge and then onto No.6 and No.3 tanks, three and a half hours later and back to the cars for home.

19.05.15. Common Swifts, No.5 tank,  Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton

Brook Furlong Lane rang out to the sound of wind and summer with both Whitethroat and Blackcap being the most notable songsters. The most notable birds seen at the start of the walk were a couple of Red-legged Partridge and presumably birds ‘put down’ by the local shooting group.

Reaching the River Weaver, Reed and Sedge Warblers were keeping a low profile by singing down in the bottom of the Phragmites reed beds with the occasional bird venturing up to see what was going one. On the river hundreds of hirundines and Common Swifts were hawking low over the water and grassy banks providing some stunning views of these aerial birds. There were 4 Great Crested Grebes with 8 Gadwall, 87 Tufted Duck, Oystercatcher, Redshank and a mobile flock of 200 Black-tailed Godwit.

19.05.15. Hawthorn in blossom, No.5 tank,  Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton

Eventually we reached the Weaver Bend where more Tufted Duck and even more Common Shelduck were attempting to find shelter below the banks of Weston Marsh tank. A Common Tern was by far the highlight of the day when one flew in from the north-east and headed straight back out to the Mersey estuary.

Below the banks of The Lum more Gadwall were present and a couple of pullis Lapwing were feeding along the muddy margins of one of the Shooters’ Pools. The paths were swathed in cow parsley and fall by the wayside oilseed rape but due to the cold wind no insects or butterflies were observed!

19.05.15. Avocets mating, Big Sky over Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton

After heading back into the challenging wind we made our way to Moorditch Lane where we continued to bird watch en route. No.6 tank still held a pair of nesting Grey Heron despite the rising water level and 34 Tufted Duck joined the ever-present Common Shelduck. 120 Dunlin were with a flock of 16 Ringed Plover and were sheltering inside the cracked mud.

19.05.15. The Snowdrop sails through No.3 tank,  Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton

The mitigation on No.3 tank had a smaller flock of Dunlin with a handful of Ringed Plover. 6 Avocet were notable here and ended a good watch with good company in not so good weather.

19.05.15. Avocets mating, No.3 tank,  Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton

19.05.15. Avocets mating, No.3 tank,  Frodsham Marsh. Bill MortonAfter the group left I continued to watch over the area and typically as the last person disappeared into the day, out popped the male Marsh Harrier quartering the reed beds on No.6 tank. The ‘Snowdrop’ ferry boat sailed through on its way to Eastham Locks and looked odd with Avocets in the same scope view.

19.05.15. male Marsh Harrier mobbed by Lapwing, No.6 tank,  Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton

Observers: Team Tuesday https://ttbirders.wordpress.com/ and WSM (and images).

17.05.15. Wilde About Birds Guest Blog 2

17.05.15. Wilde About Birds Guest Blog 2

The Day Passed So Swiftly

17.05.15. Swift, Frodsham Marsh. Heather Wilde
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.

17.05.15. Swift, Frodsham Marsh. Heather Wilde
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.

16.05.15. No.3 tank, frodsham Marsh. Bill MortonCanada 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.

17.05.15. Black-tailed Godwit, No.3 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Heather Wilde
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.

27.04.13. Common Shelduck in flight over No 6 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Heather Wilde.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.

07.05.15. Little Ringed Plover, No.6 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton (2)

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

16.05.15. Birdlog

16.05.15. Birdlog

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


Mitigation, No.3 tank.

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

The secluded east pool.

3 Little Egret flying west over Marsh Farm.

Observer: Frank Duff.

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

The secluded west pool.

After work visit didn’t produce anything further to what had been seen earlier in the day except for 6 Avocet, a Ringed Plover and the usual duck species present on No.3 tank. A Little Ringed Plover kept out of the wind by sheltering in one of the secluded pools on No.6 tank.

16.05.15. Wheatear, Marsh Farm, frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton

Marsh Farm was a little under par with 3 Greenland Wheatear on a rubble mound. Several hundred Common Shelduck were out on the Mersey mudflats while 120 Black-tailed Godwit were feeding below the Weaver Sluice gates. The male Marsh Harrier flew over.

Observer and images: WSM

15.05.15. Birdlog

15.05.15. Birdlog

15.05.15. Sedge Warbler, Weaver Bend, Frodsham Marsh. Paul Ralston.

15.05.15. Brown Rat, Weaver Bend, frodsham Marsh. Paul Ralston.

An early morning walk around the Weaver Bend. A Brown Rat had the warblers in an agitated state as it made its way along the path to the river. There were plenty of Swift hawking overhead with smaller numbers of Swallow.

On the river Common Shelduck were in an aggressive mood with several fights taking place while drake Tufted Duck were ganging up on any of the available female they could find. Also on the river were Gadwall and a pair of Common Teal. A Great Black-backed Gull made a failed attempt to take a young Coot off the water. The Shooters’ Pool held more Tufted Duck, Shoverler, Gadwall and again Common Shelduck with Lapwing and their chicks in the nearby fields. Reed and Sedge Warbler were a common sight on the path along the river with Whitethroat and Reed Bunting.

15.05.15. Little Egret, Frodsham Score, Frodsham Marsh. Paul Ralston.

Today I gave No.6 tank a wide berth because of construction traffic which was heavy and I called in at Ince Berth where 2 Little Egret could be seen out on the salt marsh.

Observer and images: Paul Ralston.

A Great White Egret was present in the morning on No.3 tank, a welcome surprise after a lengthy period of absenteeism; 9 Whimbrel on the Weaver Bend and the male Marsh Harrier flew over No.6 in a north-easterly direction.

Observer: John Kirkland.

During the evening the Great White Egret relocated to No.6 tank. The first Painted Lady Butterfly of the summer here was spotted.

Observer: Frank Duff.

14.05.15. Birdlog

14.05.15. Birdlog

14.05.15. Little Ringed Plover, No.3 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton

After work trip to No.3 tank for a look over the mitigation area and work on the infrastructure of roads onto No.5 tank continues in earnest.

Birds present on No.3 tank included 9 Avocet a new high total this year 2 Little Ringed and a pair of Ringed Plover. I had a raptor which came in from the west with the sun behind it and managed to lose it behind a belt of trees but managed to get some shots of it. Having had a little time to mull over the images I’m slightly perplexed to its identity but it looked good for something special…for a while?

Anyway, several hundred Swift were hawking over Frodsham Score with Swallow to add to their numbers.

Observer and image: WSM

13.05.15. Birdlog

13.05.15. Birdlog

13.05.15. Whinchat, I.C.I tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton (10)

A short early morning walk from Ince Berth to the Canal Pools this morning. A Wheatear was on the canal bank and Mallard, Tufted Duck and Gadwall were present on the waters edge. The very vocal Reed Warblers were in good voice in the reed beds alongside No.4 tank.
13.05.15. Yellow Wagtail. Ince Marsh. Paul Ralston
A Little Egret was a long way out on Frodsgham Score where 8 Raven fed on another sheep carcase and were joined by 3 Great Black-backed Gull. A pair of Oystercatcher were calling from the pontoon on the canal bank and a Common Sandpiper flew alongside.
13.05.15. Mute Swans, Canal pools, Frodsham Marsh. Paul Ralston
The Sand Martins are nesting on both sides of the canal by the dredging berth and 3 Mute Swan were on the canal pools and several more Wheatear were in the field there. Back by the car 2 pairs of Yellow Wagtail and a Whinchat were in the crop field where the mixed swan flock usually spend their time in the winter months.
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Earlier in the day Paul managed to again find a Garganey drake with a female at Thornton le Moors.
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Observer: Paul Ralston (images 2 & 3).
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13.05.15. Whinchat, I.C.I tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton (25)After work I managed to squeeze in an hour or two on the marsh but changed my route to include the Weaver Bend and the I.C.I tank.
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There were plenty of Tufted Duck on the River Weaver with c100 birds present. A couple of pairs of Great Crested Grebe joined Common Shelduck alongside the tufies.
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A small party of 4 Whimbrel flew cover but split into two groups and another group of 3 birds followed shortly after these birds were heading east while a Little Egret took the westerly option heading out the Mersey estuary. The Weaver Bend had 2 Ringed Plover, a pair of Little Ringed Plover and 3 pairs of Oystercatcher (SO).
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Redwall reedbed hosted a Cuckoo before it flew to the east. Overlooking the dried up shooters’ scrapes below the eastern banks of the I.C.I tank was a fine Whinchat. Also in the hedgerow here was a singing Lesser Whitethroat.
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The scrapes close to the Ship Street entrance below the I.C.I tank (south side) held 4 Lapwing chicks.
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The pipes across No.1 tank had 3 Wheatear but heat haze caused a few viewing issues.
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Observer: WSM (images 1 & 4). Other observers present: Alyn Chambers, Paul Lee.
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The Weaver Bend had a pair of Little Ringed and Ringed Plover.
Another Lesser Whitethroat was singing by the ramp to No.6 tank while a Sparrowhawk was active. 7 Wheatear and a Yellow Wagatil were at Marsh Farm. Over on No.6 tank there was a couple of Little Ringed Plover, 2 Wheatear and a single Yellow Wagtail.
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Observer: Sean O’Hara.
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Belated news from yesterday and seen by Neil Blood: Light Bellied Brent Goose on Weaver Bend this evening plus Hobby.

12.05.15. Birdlog

12.05.15. Birdlog

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

A quick view over No.3 tank this evening didn’t produce anything new but the wind was still blustery and was probably responsible for the birds keeping a low profile. The Avocets are having a big problem with gulls and the 145 1st summer black-head’s were acting like a bunch of kids with time on their hands and are lingering in areas where perhaps they shouldn’t.

12.05.15. male Wheatear, Marsh Farm. Bill Morton  (3)A Marsh Harrier drifted through and secured an entourage of Lapwing to show it the way out. Other raptors included the usual Common Buzzard and the lofty Peregrine on the tall chimney.

No.6 tank had 9 Ringed Plover and a lone Dunlin. Otherwise, a poor showing for shorebirds.

Three Wheatear at Marsh Farm were enjoying the evening sunshine.

12.05.15. Marsh Farm at dusk. Bill Morton (10)

The sun shines on the righteous…(tongue firmly pressed in cheek).

12.05.15. Spotted Flycatcher. Bill Morton

Earlier in the evening I found this Spotted Flycatcher in Runcorn Hill Park.

Observer and images: WSM

10.05.15. Birdlog

10.05.15. Birdlog

10.05.15. Dunlin (frosty headed bird), No.3 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Alyn Chambers

10.05.15. (frosty) Dunlin in flock, No.3 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton (65)

The highlight for one lucky observer this morning was a solitary 1st summer Mediterranean Gull for an hour before departing elsewhere (FD).

10.05.15. Curlew Sandpiper (summer adults), No.6 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Alyn Chambers

10.05.15. 1st summer Meditteranean Gull, No.3 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Frank Duff (2)

Two Marsh Harrier were out wandering with the usual male joined by a female.

The shorebirds present over the last few days were still lingering and included the two handsome summer Curlew Sandpiper, 34 Dunlin (one of which was frosty looking (alpina wannabe?) , 23 Ringed Plover, a single Black-tailed Godwit and  6 Avocet. One of the Avocet seems to have set up camp next to the neighbour from hell, in the form of a very attentive Common Shelduck and no amount of wing flapping/dragging and calling will it take the hint to just go away!

Wheatear could still be found around and a Whinchat put in an appearance along the fence on No.5 tank.

10.05.15. Whinchat, No.5 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Alyn Chambers

Alyn’s journal for his day reads:

7.5 hours on the marsh today produced 70 species, including:
41 Gadwall – on No 6, Mitigation area and the Weaver
1 Pochard – on the Weaver
6 Great Crested Grebe – on the Weaver
Male and female Marsh Harrier – across the marsh
6 Avocet – on Mitigation area
5 Black-tailed Godwit – 4 on Weaver estuary and 1 on Mitigation area
19 Ringed Plover and 57 Dunlin – on No 6 and Mitigation area
2 Curlew Sandpiper – on No 6 in the morning, single bird returned in the afternoon
1 Peregrine – took a Lapwing chick from No 6
1 Lesser Whitethroat – in trees by SE corner of No 1
1 Whinchat – on No 5
1 Wheatear – on the Score from Marsh Farm
4 Greenfinch – around horse paddock by Moorditch lane

Observers: Alyn Chambers (images 1, 3 & 5), Frank Duff (image 4), Sparky & WSM (images 2)

09.05.15. Birdlog

09.05.15. Birdlog

09.05.14. The Snowdrop sailing past Marsh Farm, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton (4)

A couple of Little Grebe were present on the Splashing Pool while a wandering male Marsh Harrier was seen from No.6 tank and out to the reed bed at Marsh Farm. Another Marsh Harrier a female was also observed. The summer months see a reduction in the sightings of Little Egret so one over No.3 tank was notable.

09.05.14. Whimbrel, No.6 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton

09.05.14. summer Curlew Sandpiper with hybrid MallardxShelduck and a Common Shelduck, No.6 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton (2)Shorebirds came in at various times of the day but the 4 Turnstone that dropped in at No.3 tank were only there for a few minutes. A flock of 23 Dunlin ranging from No’s 3-6 included a larger flock of Ringed Plover. Singles of both Whimbrel and Black-tailed Godwit should really be in double and triple figures at this time of year.

09.05.14. Pied Wagtail, Marsh Farm, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton (1)

Perhaps the highlight of the day was a stunning summer Little Stint briefly with the Dunlin flock.

Today was one of those days when you’re multi-layered up with hat, double coat, over trousers. boots and gloves followed by shorts and t-shirt!.  09.05.15. Turnstones, No.3 tank, Frodsham Marsh Heather Wilde

There were 4 Avocet on No.3 with one bird feigning a wing injury to lure away a trespassing Common Shelduck.

09.05.14. Common Swift, Marsh Farm, Frodsham Marsh. Bill MortonYellow Wagtail flying over and 2 Wheatear lingering at the back of No.3 tank and a Cuckoo over at and along Brook Furlong Lane are always good to spot on the marsh. A passage of hirundines included many Sand Martin, House Martin and c 300 Common Swift feeding low over the water at the ship canal below Marsh Farm in the morning wind and rain.

09.05.15. Ship and Swifts over the MSC. Heather Wilde

Hundreds of Swifts feeding low over a busy Manchester Ship Canal are dislodged as the Anneliese Esseberger sails through the marsh.

sedge warbler by Ray Scally

Observers: Frank Duff, Ray Scally (image 8), Heather & Findlay Wilde (images 5 & 7), WSM (images 1-4 & 6 & video).

The ‘Snowdrop’ sails through Frodsham Marsh video: https://vimeo.com/128117175