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.
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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).
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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.
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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.
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14.06.15.  Chiffchaff, Frodsham Marsh
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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.
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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.
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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.
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Not a bad morning at all.
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Elsewhere across the marsh: 1 female Marsh Harrier
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 Observers: Heather (images 1-3), Nigel & Findlay Wilde.
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14.06.15.  Bar-tailed Godwit, No.3 tank, Frodsham Marsh
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Also note on the mitigation of No.3 tank was a Bar-tailed Godwit with 20 Black-tailed Godwit and the black ruffed Ruff.
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14.06.15.  male Ruff, No.3 tank, Frodsham Marsh
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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.
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Observer: Alyn Chambers (images 4-7).

Adventures in biological recording – June (Part 1)

Tigerlily blue

My adventures in biological recording for this month have so far included going on a Invertebrate recording event with Cheshire Active Naturalists, seeing my first Water Vole and a touch of Bat Surveying!

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Cheshire Active Naturalists are a group of professional and amateur naturalists that provide training (only £30 a year!) in a variety of natural sciences to members, the great thing about this group is having the opportunity to learn new skills in a relaxed environment with people who are extremely knowledgeable about what they are teaching and not forgetting that the yearly membership fee is very good value for money for the scope and amount of courses on offer. So far since joining I’ve had the opportunity to attend courses on conducting Phase One habitat surveys and using the extremely useful but difficult to get your teeth into book – “The Vegetative Key to the British Flora”.

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