One of 20 Ruff present on the marsh this evening.
A model aircraft flyers plane made a crash landing on No.6 tank. If anyone from the model aircraft is reading this then please avoid flying your crafts over the sludge tank. This is migration season and birds that are feeding here during high tide need to replenish their food reserves for their long migration to their wintering grounds. Disturbing birds at their roost/feeding grounds is illegal.
With the afternoon tides steadily losing height over the last few days it was no surprise to not be seeing the volume of shorebirds like earlier in the week. The most dominant birds present on No.6 tank were Common Teal with 400 birds gathered in groups far and wide.
The female type Garganey appeared close into the bank for a short period before melting back into the throng.
The first Pintail of the autumn were upending by some of drainage towers. A selection of other species included 23 Tufted Duck, 4 Shoveler, Gadwall and Common Shelduck.
A Greenshank flew over calling and then settled on the tank with 20 Ruff, 67 Black-tailed Godwit, 6 Redshank, a juvenile Little Ringed Plover, a solitary Dunlin and a solitary Little Stint.
The secluded pool had a few Gadwall and a Water Rail there was tossing up fallen reed stems for food and in turn flushed out a Common Snipe which was dozing nearby.
There were also 3 Little Egret (image below) out on the river and a juv/female Marsh Harrier was knocking about (PR).
Observers: Frank Duff, Paul Lee, Paul Ralston (image 9), David Saunders, Mike Turton, Sparky, WSM (images 1-2 & 4-8).
An early morning scan across No.6 tank from its north-east corner revealed most of the birds present to be rather distant. Attention was drawn however to a small elderberry bush which, being bathed in early morning sunshine, hosted a remarkable 5 Whitethroat, 2 Sedge Warblers and a Chiffchaff. A walk along the top track revealed 2 more Whitethroat, 3 more Chiffchaff, at least 3 Reed Warbler and a couple of Blackcap. Waders in and around the shallow margins totalled 79 Black-tailed Godwits, 22 Ruff, a Common Sandpiper, a Common Snipe, 3 Redshank and around 300 Lapwing. Ducks included 340 Teal, 2 Shoveler, 37 Shelduck and 32 Tufted Duck. A single Little Grebe was also present.
An excursion over to the Weaver Bend proved a little disappointing as the only waders of note were a couple of Black-tailed Godwit. A White Wagtail was on the bend itself and 16 Little Grebe on the estuary. A Hobby swept low over Marsh Lane as I returned to my car. .
Back at No.6 tank, by mid morning there was a small but steady southerly passage of Swallow overhead and a Yellow Wagtail flew east. A young Grey Wagtail was near the towers on the south bank. A few more waders had arrived, including 11 Dunlin and a couple of Ringed Plover, and a further scan of the Lapwing flock revealed an elegant Spotted Redshank. Finally, a Little Egret was flushed from a secluded pool and settled amongst the main wader flock.
Observer: Greg Baker
I arrived on No.6 tank with the tide ebbing out on the mighty River Mersey. Walking to my usual position overlooking the open water and exposed muddy area below there were Black-tailed Godwit flocks beginning to leave the tank and head out back to the river. I was soon settled in position and I didn’t really know where to start looking with all those birds laid out before me. I was not really expecting to see the volume of birds that were present on the tank.
I estimated that there were 230 Ringed Plover, 2000 Black-tailed Godwit (including the flocks noted earlier), 3000 Dunlin which in turn attracted the arrival of 4 Knot (GB), an adult (moulting summer) Sanderling, a summer Curlew Sandpiper, 3 juvenile Little Stint, a Green Sandpiper, 20 Ruff, 650 Lapwing, 4 Curlew and 6 Common Snipe. All in all a very good cache of shorebirds to get really excited about and hopefully more to come in the next few weeks.
The ducks were given second billing (excuse the pun) with 340 Common Teal, 26 Tufted Duck, 4 Shoveler, 34 Common Shelduck (mostly juvenile birds), Mallard and Gadwall noted. The Cormorant roost included 23 birds.
A probable Hobby was seen but giving ‘going away views’ though.
The Sanderling is pictured hiding behind the Shelduck in the image above.
This adult Lesser Black-backed Gull ended up being a substitute parent for these juveniles which was pestering it for food relentlessly.
Walking around No.6 tank PR called in at the secluded pool and presumably relocated the Wood Sandpiper from Sunday and potentially a second bird?
Observers: Gareth Blockley, Paul Ralston (images 9-10), WSM (images 1-8).
Made a trip to the marsh after work and with blue skies and a light westerly breeze it was near perfect light to be watching over No.6 tank and the assembled Black-tailed Godwit and Dunlin flocks below my position.
The numbers of Common Teal have increased recently and this evening there were 200 birds scattered far and wide with a couple of Garganey lingering with them. Also noted were the occasional Gadwall, Shoveler and Tufted Duck which helped to pad out the numbers.
The wader flocks were typically separated with the godwits obviously choosing the deeper water and the Dunlin flock taking the shallower margins. Black-tailed Godwits numbered 570 birds while Dunlin managed a respectful 780 birds.
The first juvenile Little Stint of the year were engagingly active on the flock fringe with three birds keeping to the outer edge of the Dunlin flock.
There were 18 Ruff, 6 Common Snipe and a small flock of Redshank at the far end of the pool.
A large flock of 500 Lapwing flew into the tank after joining the gull flock following a tractor along Moorditch Lane..
A Whimbrel was cowering behind a plant tussock (see upper image) which I have seen over the last couple of weeks and I was wondering why it choose to take up that position. It soon became apparent that it had sustained an injury to its breast with a large patch of feathers missing. I can only assume it may have been caught by a raptor and had subsequently escaped from its capture, hence the sheltering timid behaviour. It did come out to feed for a short while before joining two other birds and then retreated back to the comfort of the thick cover when spooked by the Dunlin flock taking to the wing…odd behaviour!
Observer and images: WSM
16.08.15. Birdlog (WeBS Count)
The monthly WeBS count is carried out along the reaches of the River Mersey and at Frodsham there are three areas which are covered: the River Weaver from the Weaver Estuary to the Weaver Bend; Frodsham Score and my patch on No.6 tank.
I’ve been away for the last week and missed the watch over the tide yesterday which produced some cracking sightings. It was with some anticipation that I was settled with Sparky (who would have liked to be still on her break rather than being eating alive by the local clegs) on the north banks overlooking the tank below (FD was watching from the southern bank).
The Dunlin flock were already on site but more flew in to swell their numbers. Over the period of observation we estimated that 3500 birds were present, with these sorts of numbers it was no surprise to find the summer plumaged Curlew Sandpiper. Other sightings included: 120 Ringed Plover, 14 Ruff and 1200 Black-tailed Godwit including 3 colour-ringed birds.
The surprise of the day was finding a Wood Sandpiper in with the Dunlins. A Green Sandpiper kept close to the banks and a Whimbrel was concealed in the vegetation.
A walk out to the Weaver Bend to try and find my lost overcoat from last week drew a blank and that also included the birds. Apart from an adult Great Black-backed Gull and a Common Sandpiper it was a payne birding there.
Three Common Buzzards were circling high over No.6 tank despite the interception by a model aircraft.
No.6 tank looking good in the early afternoon cloudy sunshine.
Observers: Frank Duff, Sparky, WSM (images 1-6).
Out on Frodsham Score a Great White Egret and a Little Egret was observed. A mucky faced Black-tailed Godwit was both a surprise and was surprised to be startled from its muddy meal.
Observer: Paul Ralston (images 7-8).
A species much in the headlines for all the wrong reasons had a welcome greeting (and not a Scottish gamekeeper in sight) on Frodsham Marsh today when a (‘ringtail’) Hen Harrier was present on No.5 tank from midday.
The high tide on the river forced an incredible 2000 Black-tailed Godwit to No.6 tank along with 4 Knot, 50 Ringed Plover and 500 Lapwing. The summer plumaged Curlew Sandpiper was again present and Ruff numbers have rocketed to 29 birds. 3000 Dunlin have shown a dramatic increase over the last week and today’s total will no doubt encourage those seeking much rarer fayre to come join the fun on Sundays river tide., a summer plumaged Turnstone and a lone Bar-tailed Godwit.
Also noted was small numbers of Yellow Wagtail and an additional bit of news concerns a Skua (pale phase Arctic?) out on the river at Hale which was seen to drop in on the Frodsham side, However, despite some searching it couldn’t be relocated.
Observer: Frank Duff.
An evening walk from the Holpool Gutter across the new road through No.4 tank and along No.6 tank produced the following: juvenile Marsh Harrier over 4 with a Sparrowhawk nearby. The Splashing Pool was quiet with a few Tufted Duck, Mallard, Coot and Moorhen present. There were several Chiffchaff contact calling along the track and a small flock of Dunlin flew over towards the river. On No.6 tank were more Dunlin, Curlew, Black-tailed Godwit, Redshank and 3 Ruff which dropped on to the water. Again Common Shelduck were in good numbers with smaller amounts of Teal, Mallard, Tufted and Gadwall.
A ‘ring tail’ Hen Harrier was hunting over No.5 tank and dropped in to the grass to catch a small rodent while a Kestrel was watching from a post nearby. Back along the canal and Raven numbers are increasing out on Frodsham Score and were interacting with a couple of young Common Buzzard.
Observers: Sean O’Hara, Paul Ralston (all images).
Summer plumaged Curlew Sandpiper, a different colour-ringed Black-tailed Godwit, 92 Curew, 1 Whimbrel, 2 Avocet and a female Marsh Harrier.
Observer: Sean O’Hara.
280 Common Teal, 4 Avocet (2 adult, 2 juvenile), 159 Curlew and a single Whimbrel, 45 Black-tailed Godwit and 8 Ruff.
Observer: Sean O’Hara.
A beautiful evening along the track of No.5 tank on a fine summers night was nearly marred by the careless driving by a mini bus driver from the firm who have been given the task of putting up the windmills.
Anyway, I did say nearly, and during the period of observation from 8.15 until 9.15 pm was much better than I was expecting. I dropped in after a days hiking along the north Mersey shoreline from Within Way, Hale where I managed a Greenshank, 15 Ringed Plover and 12 Black-tailed Godwit.
The area of open water and exposed muddy areas on No.6 tank was bathed in illuminating sunshine and the presence of 600 Dunlin were busily feeding with 1200 Black-tailed Godwit and more were arriving when I left at dusk. Also noted were 12 Ruff, 34 Ringed Plover, 100 Curlew and a single Whimbrel,
Three Greenshank flew in for a wash and preen before flying out to the Canal Pools. A Green Sandpiper dropped in at dusk along with 3 Ruddy Shelduck joining the ever-present duck flock here.
There have been no harrier sightings on my previous visit and tonight was no exception but the Peregrine was glowing in the evening sunshine perched on the tall blue-topped chimney.
Four Swift were high over the Weaver Estuary slowly drifting off to the west and small parties of Sand Martin were doing likewise at dusk.
The secluded pool had a few Gadwall, Little Grebe and a noisy Water Rail.
After leaving the marsh I was passing the dual carriageway above the Weaver Sluices and noticed the huge Canada Goose herd sending the night on an exposed mud bank and numbering in excess of 5000 birds.
The day ended with a stunning sun setting behind the Liverpool horizon.
Observer and images: WSM
In a blustery but warm south-westerly breeze we spent the afternoon in a relatively quiet time watching the waders gathering on the exposed muddy margins to the flooded eastern side of No.6 tank.
A gathering of 670 Dunlin were feeding out in the open compared to their recent behaviour of choosing to conceal themselves in the tussocks of vegetation. Although presently there is no sign of any eastern shorebirds, it will be only a matter of time before they filter in.
The numbers of Ruff are continuing to increase with 22 birds noted today.
Black-tailed Godwit are shedding feathers and are looking a bit patchy in places so, of the 540 birds present some looked in perfect condition while some were in transitional wing and tail moult.
There was 6 Common Snipe (Arthur Harrison) seen and these were fairly bold and choosing to feed out in the open with the Dunlin flock.
The Garganey reappeared with a flock of 8 Common Teal and another 100 Teal were with 6 Shoveler on the tank.
A relatively prolonged period of time elapsed before the whole flock of Dunlin and Black-tailed Godwits rose from the tank and as usual the cause of their concern was the big female Peregrine making a couple of sweeps at taking out a wader (top two images). On a couple of dives it even made an attempt at taking a Black-headed Gull. All of which were failed attacks.
There were a few Raven out over No.4 tank and small numbers of both Swallow and Sand Martin were moving into the wind.
Also seen were 2 Comma, 1 Green-veined White, Small Tortoiseshell and several Gatekeeper Butterflies.
Observers: Sparky, WSM (and images).
An early evening walk from Ince Berth up to No.6 tank.
A juvenile Peregrine made a half-hearted attempt at taking out a passing pigeon above the berth and a Little Egret flew west along the Manchester Ship Canal.
Walking along and there were four Green Sandpiper on the nearest dry pool along the canal path. A flock of Starling numbered c500 strong which were feeding in a field by the Canal Pools but were ignored by a Sparrowhawk as it flew by.
A family of Whitethroat were feeding up and storing up fat reserves before the long journey south and a Reed Warbler was sounding off its alarm calls as I walked along the track alongside the track. On six there was Dunlin, Ruff, Redshank, Lapwing, Black-tailed Godwit and a small number of Curlew were close to the bank by the viewing spaces.
Also noted were 2 Little Grebe were amongst the Common Teal, Gadwall, Mallard, Tufted Duck and Common Shelduck were out on the water.
As I was walking back along the track edging No.4 tank there was a Wheatear which sat in a dead bush. A few Swallows were skimming over the reed bed . An adult Peregrine sat on its tower in the Growhow works overlooking Ince Marsh and the development of the wind farm a short distance away.
Observer and images: Paul Ralston