23.06.15 Birdlog

23.06.15 Birdlog

23.06.15. Fighter Jets over Frodsham Marsh. Paul Ralston

A walk around the Weaver Bend this afternoon in the sunshine produced the following: Whitethroat singing on the telephone lines near the M56 bridge and a Moorhen nest building in the nearby ditch with 2 youngsters from the first clutch looking on. 2 juvenile Buzzard sitting on top of a pylon and a pair of Raven with one bird minus its tail feathers overhead.

23.06.15. Shelduck with Shelducklings, Frodsham Marsh. Paul Ralston

Along the path to the river Chiffchaff Reed Warbler and Blackcap were in full song and Reed Bunting feeding young in the reed bed. The male Marsh Harrier flew high over the river and a female Kestrel hunted the fields below. On the River Weaver the 2 Black Swan were amongst the Mute Swan herd and several Shelduck had newly hatched broods and were aggressive in their defence.


Four Avocet were on the opposite bank with a single Black-tailed Godwit and 4 Oystercatcher. Small Skipper, Common Blue and Small Tortoiseshell Butterflies were all seen along the river path.

A pair of fighter jets with landing gear down were heading in to the nearby Liverpool airport.  (probably scrambled to see off some of Putin’s reconnaissance planes;O)

Observer and images: Paul Ralston

22.06.15. Birdlog

22.06.15. Birdlog

22.06.15. Great Black-backed Gull, Weaver Bend, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton (3)

22.06.15. Mediterranean Gull, No.6 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton (4)I was down by the river and a watch from the now famous viewing area at Redwall reed bed as seen on BBC television’s Newsround with its latest presenter (our very own) Findlay Wilde!.

I was bathing in the ornithological treat of hundreds of Common Swifts hawking low over the River Weaver and bill snapping flying insects above the path in front of me. There was over 150 Sand Martin also over the river, but suddenly they all scattered with lots of excited chattering and the result of this commotion? I turned in time to see a 1st summer Hobby race through with the hirundine flock over the Weaver Bend its main target.

The Shelduck numbers are beginning to increase with c 200 birds on the Weaver Bend. Nearby a pair of adult Great Black-backed Gull were keeping an eye on a gaggle of Shelducklings.

Also present here was 12 Great Crested Grebe, a few Black-tailed Godwit and Oystercatcher. A roost of c600 Black-headed Gull held an Avocet.

22.06.15. Mediterranean Gull, No.6 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton (2)

Walking back along Brook Furlong Lane and Frank phoned to say he’d got a 1st summer Mediterranean Gull with the Black-headed Gull roost on No.6 tank. By the time I had walked up from Redwall he had located an adult bird. Four Avocet were also present and nearby 600 splendid Black-tailed Godwit were feeding, preening, bathing and roosting close to the banks in glorious evening sunshine.

The day ended with the ever-present Peregrine perched high above the River Mersey on the blue-topped chimney.

Observers: Frank Duff, WSM (and images)

21.06.15. Summer Solstice

21.06.15. Summer Solstice

21.06.15. Black-tailed Godwits, No.6 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton

A stiff breeze kept the temperatures down but we still wandered out along the tracks of No.5 tank. The busy vehicle movement during mid-week is nonexistent come Sunday and it helps with birds being less unsettled by the noise and dust clouds.

A bloke motoring a quad bike with two children riding pillion (one aged about 2 years) gives you food for thought on the value of parental care?

21.06.15. No.6 tank on the longest day, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton

21.06.15. Painted Lady Butterfly, No.5 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill MortonThe expanse of No.6 tank continues to attract birds so 5 Avocet joined up with the reduced flock of summering Black-tailed Godwit, I thought I caught the call of a Greenshank on the breeze but I wasn’t able to see or hear it again.

A Cuckoo was along the fence line on No.5 tank but was only a one observer bird. Also noted were a couple of Peregrines on the blue-topped power station chimney over and above the Weaver Estuary.

Walking back and a Painted Lady Butterfly looked all the worst for its long flight.

Observers: Alyn Chambers, Frank Duff, Idris and Jacqui Roberts, Sparky, WSM (and images)

20.06.15. Birdlog

20.06.15. Birdlog

20.06.15. drake Gadwall, No.6 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton

I arrived on the marsh to a blanket of low cloud heavy with drizzle. The main body of water on No.6 tank had an increase in the numbers of ducks but I wasn’t prepared for counting 114 Gadwall today!

20.06.15. drake Shoveler, No.6 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton

7 Common Teal, 7 drake Pochard, 24 Tufted Duck, 9 Shoveler, 100 Common Shelduck and 34 Mallard made for duck central.

20.06.15. Black-tailed Godwits, No.6 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton

194 Black-tailed Godwit were present on the flooded areas on the tank and several Ringed Plover were about but obscured by the tall vegetation. The Barnacle Goose was again with the Canada Goose flock.

20.06.15. female Marsh Harrier, No.5 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton

A male Marsh Harrier was again quartering the reed beds while a female was over No.5 tank and later passing through Marsh Farm. A Hobby zipped passed briefly before disappearing over No.5 tank (PR).

20.06.15. Barnacle Goose, No.6 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton

Sandwich Terns and Black-headed Gull roost at Pickerings Pasture, June 2015. Dave CravenA tweet from Dave Craven over the river at Pickerings Pasture had us racing to Marsh Farm and with our scopes we were very fortunate in picking up the four Sandwich Tern heading back out of the Mersey Estaury…A nice find by David and Frank owes you (a pint) for finding it and me for relocating them for his Frodders tick!

20.06.15. Bee Orchid, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton

A small blanket of Southern Marsh Orchids were in flower at the end of Moorditch Lane/Lordship Lane and a few stalks of Bee Orchid were found at another location.

20.06.15. BaRobber Fly, Moorditch Lane, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton

A Robber Fly spp caught its prey and conveniently perched close by to suck out its innards.

Observers: Paul Ralston, Frank Duff, WSM (images 1-5 & 7-8).

Image 6 by Dave Craven.

18.06.15. Birdlog

18.06.15. Birdlog

18.06.15. Swifts, Weaver Bend, Frodsham Marsh (3)

Stepping out down to the river bank overlooking the Weaver Estuary and the place was wall to wall with Common Swift. I estimated that there were c 2500 birds hawking high over the Blue-topped chimney at Weston Point, the Weaver Estuary all the down to the Weaver Bend and beyond.

18.06.15. Black Swans, Weaver Bend, Frodsham Marsh (2)

Down on the Weaver Bend were 37 Mute and a pair of Black Swan. Shorebirds included 43 Black-tailed Godwit, 4 Avocet, 2 Oystercatcher and a single Ringed Plover. Ducks were again in good numbers with Tufted being the most abundant species. Several Great Crested Grebe 2 Great Black-backed and 300 Black-headed Gull.

18.06.15. Balck Swans, Weaver Bend, Frodsham Marsh (4)

A Peregrine was sat on top of its usual power station perch and, it or another (adult male) was hunting the Starling flocks feeding over at Weston Marsh lagoon.

Just to give a flavour of the Swifts this evening a short video taken looking across to the Weaver Estuary here: https://vimeo.com/131132564

Observer and video/images: WSM.

BBC Newsround birding Redwall reed bed with Findlay: http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b05y6855/newsround-19062015

Wind Farm – Habitat Creation and Management Group

Wind Farm – Habitat Creation and Management Group July meeting

Cheshire and Wirral Ornithological Society have appointed David Norman as their representative to attend Peel Energy’s Habitat Creation and Management Group. I am not a member of CAWOS but I have been involved with the birds of (and birding) Frodsham Marsh for a lot longer than those who wish to shape its future. I have also been involved with the HCMG group since the first meeting last year and along with Frank Duff and Tony Broome we have attempted to voice the views of people who actually birdwatch the marsh. We have also contributed considerably to the data of the area in no small way over four and a half decades.

These are the times to act and not react to decisions made on your behalf by people who don’t have yours and our interests in mind. We are seeking the opinions of birders that actually bird watch the marsh and intend to make your views known at future HCMG meetings, if I am able to attend or not.

You can contact me via email: mudlark1@live.co.uk

16.06.15. Birdlog

16.06.15. Birdlog

16.06.15. Barnacle Goose, No.6 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton

The flooded sludge tank of No.6 was again alive with ducks which included 120 Common Shelduck, 7 drake Pochard, 2 drake Common Teal, 120 Tufted Duck, 30 Gadwall and 40 Mallard. A Grey Heron was stalking the shallows while on the drier ground and with the Canada Geese was our old friend the Barnacle Goose with his mate (Princess Fiona). Also present was a pair of Little Ringed Plover. Three Little Egret flew over and continued disappearing out over towards Ince Marsh and the female Marsh Harrier was very active over the area.

16.06.15. Little Egrets, No.6 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton

16.06.15. Black-tailed Godwits and Ruff, No.3 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill MortonThe mitigation on No.3 tank attracted 8 Black-tailed Godwit, 2 Ringed Plover and the fine male Ruff from previous days.

16.06.15. Reed Warbler, No.63 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton

A couple of Peregrines kept everything else on their toes with some fine aerial acrobatics above the area. A Green Sandpiper was flushed out of hiding and flew out over No.5 tank.

16.06.15. Starlings, No.3 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton

Observers: Arthur Harrison, Howard Arends, Matt Marsh, WSM (and images).

Design by Committee

Design by Committee

This is your opportunity to make a difference to the habitat at Frodsham Marsh, one of the county’s premier sites for birds.

CAWOS, along with other members of the Habitat Creation and Management Group (Natural England, RSPB, Cheshire Wildlife Trust, Cheshire West and Chester Council), has been asked to make suggestions for habitat creation at Frodsham Marsh associated with the windfarm development.
CAWOS Council has decided to invite CAWOS members to have their say.

The key points of the development for bird habitat, which have been included as (legally-binding) conditions in the planning permission, are (for the lifetime of the windfarm, assumed to be 25 years):
– No.6 bed will continue as the operational Ship Canal dredging deposit bed and will be kept wet as a result
– No.3 bed will have several scrapes, seasonally flooded, aimed at attracting waders and ducks and hoping this will minimise the numbers using the east and west ends of the site where the turbines are
– No.4 bed will be maintained as a reed bed including managing it to prevent succession to scrub
– The grass fields over no.2 and no.5 beds will be maintained in a condition favourable for wintering wader species

But the details are not specified in the planning permission and are, to some extent, open to discussion, so we are inviting CAWOS members to put forward suggestions for habitat creation. Some work was started already in winter 2014-15, including removal of most of the scrub from
no.4 bed and digging several scrapes in no.3 bed; the southern ones are believed to be working well with groundwater, but the northern ones do not yet retain water and will be lined with a suitable geotextile material.

Several ideas for extra work have already been proposed, including:
– removing all trees, bushes, fences etc around or within no.3 bed so there are no perching posts for predators, especially to benefit wintering and breeding waders
– sowing no.3 bed with a suitable meadow-grass mix, with cattle/ sheep grazing to keep the grass short
– enhancing the ditch system alongside the track at the south side of
no.3 bed with planting of (more) reeds to create a continuous long narrow reedbed for birds (and water voles etc?)
– including islands in one or two of the scrapes on no.3 bed, to be covered with small shingle
– changing the drainage system on no.4 bed so that it becomes a wet reedbed rather than dry as at the moment … 100+ha of wet reedbed would be amongst the largest in the country and ought to hold Bittern, Water Rail, Bearded Tit etc as well as Marsh Harrier, provided that they tolerate the turbines overhead

But other proposals are welcome. Heavy machinery and manpower is available, so, think big! The agreed work will mostly take place in August and September this year, following discussion at the Habitat Creation and Management Group meeting on 14 July.

Please send your suggestions to David Norman, CAWOS’s representative on the HCMG, at davidnorman@cawos.org, by 30 June.

Brian Dyke
CAWOS Chairman.

Apparently everyone is invited to submit their ideas.

15.06.15. Birdlog

15.06.15. Birdlog

15.06.15. Mozzie and ship canal sigh above No.6 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton (1)

An afternoon amble down to No.6 tank and the mitigation that is No.3 tank. There were clouds of mosquitoes including some on this Manchester Ship Canal signage.

The pools there are gradually drying up and are barely holding the local birdlife but 23 Black-tailed Godwit dropped in from resting up on No.6 tank, 2 Dunlin and a pair of Ringed Plover were along the damp edges.

15.06.15. Mitigation on No.3 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton

15.06.15. Gun Turret from No.3 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill MortonThe secluded pool attracted 24 Gadwall, 12 Tufted Duck and a Little Grebe, As mentioned above the summering flock of Black-tailed Godwit commuted between the two tanks and the Mersey Estuary.15.06.15. male Ruff, No.6 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton (6)

15.06.15. male Ruff, No.6 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton (4)

15.06.15. male Ruff, No.6 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton (2) 15.06.15. male Ruff, No.6 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton (3) 15.06.15. male Ruff, No.6 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton (5) 15.06.15. Wigeon and Canada Goose, No.6 tank, frodsham Marsh. Bill MortonAlso present was the dandy fop male Ruff with 3 Wigeon on the vegetated ground close to the northern banks. 67 Common Shelduck, 3 drake Pochard, 74 Tufted Duck (mostly drakes), 24 Mallard and surprisingly 2 Great Crested Grebe which is testament to the recent pumping of sludge and the increased water level on No.6 tank. A Water Rail was calling in the thick reed beds.

15.06.15. Vechiles on No.5 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton (2)

A female Marsh Harrier was on No.4 tank while the heavy indusrious traffic thundered past kicking up clouds of fine white dust.

Video of Ruff watching the skies then taking a nap here. https://vimeo.com/130812100

Observer (video and images): WSM

14.06.15. WeBS Count

14.06.15. WeBS Count

14.06.15. feamle Marsh Harrier, No.4 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Heather Wilde

It was a cold and murky morning for the WeBS, but the birds didn’t disappoint.
We headed to No.6 tank and the mitigation area on No.3 tank via Lordship Lane where hundreds of Swifts were feeding mixed in with good numbers of House Martin and a handful of Swallow.  There was a fine jet of water spraying out of the grass and covering the road on the approach to the fork in the road just before No.6 which was a bit odd. We couldn’t quite work out where it was coming from, but it was coming out with quite some force (car windows up job).
14.06.15. singing Skylark, No.6 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Heather Wilde
All along Lordship Lane we could hear Blackcap, Sedge Warbler, Whitethroat, Chiffchaff, Reed Warbler and Reed Bunting.  Small flocks of Goldfinch and Linnet were flitting from tree to tree and Magpies were looking on rather snooterly.
14.06.15. Black-tailed Godwits and Ruff, No.6 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Heather Wilde (1)
A female Marsh Harrier was perched in a tree in the far distance across No.4 tank, but it gave a great opportunity to zoom in with the scope and study her properly.  There was also a flyby on No.4 tank from a male and female Cuckoo (is this quite late or not). A Dunnock in the gloom took a bit of ID-ing and I’d be too embarrassed to mention some of the IDs we came up with before a glimmer of sunlight revealed him! A Kestrel was seen heading back towards Frodsham Hill carrying prey, and then shortly after heading back out to the score to hunt again. We saw this repeated several times throughout the morning.
14.06.15.  Chiffchaff, Frodsham Marsh
The Splashing Pool held Tufties, Coot families and a Little Grebe, and 2 Jays flew across the pool and landed in one of the shrubs.
No.3 tank was very quiet with just a few Shelduck, Canada Geese and Coot, but it also held 5 Dunlin, 8 Black-tailed Godwit and a very busy Meadow Pipit.
No.6 tank held the treasures of the day. There were a flock of over 100 Black-tailed Godwit happily feeding until the male Marsh Harrier did the slowest, closest flyby we’ve ever seen. I think we could have reached out and touched him – way too close for the big lens anyway. Well, all hell broke loose as everything took to the sky. The Godwits scattered and it was then that we could see a stranger flying with them. They resettled in 2 groups, with one bird dropping back down in between them; a stunning Ruff in full summer plumage.
14.06.15.  female Gadwall and ducklings, Frodsham Marsh
Highlight of the day. He was splendid. The photos are just record shots as he was way out across the tank in the gloom, but absolutely stunning through the scope. I’m afraid everyone walking past was made to look at him.  4 Avocet were feeding on the far side of No.6 tank and wildfowl included 2 Pochard, 4 Teal and 3 Wigeon. 3 Ringed Plover were feeding in the middle of No.6 and a Little Grebe was on the main body of water.
Not a bad morning at all.
Elsewhere across the marsh: 1 female Marsh Harrier
 Observers: Heather (images 1-3), Nigel & Findlay Wilde.
14.06.15.  Bar-tailed Godwit, No.3 tank, Frodsham Marsh
Also note on the mitigation of No.3 tank was a Bar-tailed Godwit with 20 Black-tailed Godwit and the black ruffed Ruff.
14.06.15.  male Ruff, No.3 tank, Frodsham Marsh
The 2 Black Swan were on the Weaver estuary with 38 Mute Swan, 8 Great Crested Grebe and a drake Pochard with the Tufted Duck. One Avocet and a Little Ringed Plover were on the Weaver Bend. In the area were also a singing Willow Warbler, 3 Greenfinch and a Mistle Thrush.
Observer: Alyn Chambers (images 4-7).