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.
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
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.
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
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?
The 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)
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!
7 Common Teal, 7 drake Pochard, 24 Tufted Duck, 9 Shoveler, 100 Common Shelduck and 34 Mallard made for duck central.
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.
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).
A 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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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: email@example.com
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.
The mitigation on No.3 tank attracted 8 Black-tailed Godwit, 2 Ringed Plover and the fine male Ruff from previous days.
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.
Observers: Arthur Harrison, Howard Arends, Matt Marsh, WSM (and images).