19.09.15. Birdlog

19.09.15. Birdlog

19.09.15. Don Weedon and Tony Broome, No.4 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton

19.09.15. Water Skiers, Weaver Estuary, Frodsham Marsh. Bill MortonIn retrospect this should have been Tony’s guest blog from last week, but he saved the best finds for his visit today.

The morning mist in the Weaver Valley was reluctant to lift and it wasn’t until later on before the warm sunshine began to burn it away. A walk out to the Weaver Estuary was just in time to see several hundred Canada Geese fly in from the east and alight on the river. Unfortunately and immediately a flight of ducks from the direction of the Weaver Sluices was the result of a water sports boat and skier riding up and down the river and disturbing the waterfowl. Another sign of recreational pleasures disrupting the bird life on these marshes.

19.09.15. Raven, Frodsham Score with Hale Lighthouse beyond, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton (2)

Out in the morning heat haze on Frodsham Score was a Great White Egret.

Marsh Farm was eventually bathed in glorious sunshine with passage migrants flying over which included: 7 Redpoll (presumed Lesser), 11 Siskin with singles of Grey Wagtail, 4 Pied and 2 White Wagtail, a small passage of Meadow Pipits and Skylark. A female Sparrowhawk was seen on its way by a tiny flock of Swallow. Two Greenland Wheatear were along the pipe on No.1 tank.

19.09.15. Osprey, No.3 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Tony Broome (2)

Further west and things were developing nicely for Mr Broome when 10 (red-headed) Goosander flew west at 09.40 along the Manchester Ship Canal as seen from the banks of No.4 tank. This was soon followed by an Osprey emerging from the mist and heading south over No.3 tank at 10.25 am.

19.09.15. Sparrowhawk, Frodsham Marsh. Tony Broome

A couple Redpoll (presumed Lesser) flew south high over the tank with two Yellow Wagtail noted moving north and south and a Siskin flew high to the south. Hirundines are not sticking about and a steady trickle of 200 Swallow, 80 House Martin and 20 Sand Martin were notable. Associated with these migrants was 20 Skylark ‘churruping’ their way south. Perhaps, the highlight of the passerine movement was a Coal Tit that paused briefly by the old pumping station for a 30 minute rest. At the same location and presumably part of the passage was a Great Spotted Woodpecker. Collared Doves are an unusual species on the outer marsh and one flew out across the Mersey Estuary, it was again presumed to be a migrant.

19.09.15. Common Teal, Canal Pools, Frodsham Marsh. Tony Broome (2)

Along the Manchester Ship Canal were three Fox cubs enjoying a drink and hiding away from unfriendly eyes. Two Common Sandpiper were also seen here where a Kingfisher was noted.

19.09.15. Merlin, No.3 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Tony Broome (2)

19.09.15. Merlin, No.3 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Tony Broome (1)Apart from the top raptor sighting of the day there was also some good supporting cast to add to the tally. Three Common Buzzard, 2-3 Sparrowhawk, a Hobby soaring and hunting No.4 tank after midday. Three Kestrel one of which chased a Merlin west at 14.00. The Merlin was an early record.

The Tufted Duck numbers on No.6 tank reached a new autumn high with 316 birds alondside 6 Pintail, Gadwall, Common Teal, Common Pochard, Shoveler also in good numbers. A Garganey was flushed from the Canal Pools and flew out to No.6 tank where it was lost in the clumps pf Michaelmas Daisy flower beds.  A further 17 Wigeon were also noted over Frodsham Score.

19.09.15. Vulcan over No.3 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Tony Broome (1)

19.09.15. Vulcan over Marsh Farm, Frodsham Marsh. Bill MortonThe arrival of the Vulcan aircraft en route to the Southport Air Show provided a diversion from the birding mid afternoon when it flew in from the direction of Helsby then over No.3 tank/Marsh Farm before banking over Liverpool airport and heading north-west.

19.09.15. Canada Geese, Weaver Estuary, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton

Butterflies and Dragonflies were also enjoying the sunshine with 20 Small Tortoiseshell, 20 Small White and several Migrant Hawker Dragonflies.

19.09.15. Sunshine over No.6 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton

Observer: Tony Broome (images 4-9) with records from Frank Duff, Don Weedon, Paul Ralston, WSM (image 1-3 & 10-12).

16.09.15. Birdlog

16.09.15. Birdlog

16.09.15. Shoveler, Black-necked & Little Grebe, No.6 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton

16.09.15. Black Tern, Weaver Bend, Frodsham Marsh. Mike GiverinWe’re celebrating two whole weeks of Black-necked Grebe attendance on No.6 tank and tonight it was associating with a Little Grebe and like Wesley Snipes said in the film ‘Passenger 57‘ “always bet on black”. So, earlier in the day Mike Giverin found a Black Tern on the Weaver Bend which was twitched successfully by Mr Duff (well done to both). However, it was not available for a viewing when I knocked off work (sad face icon inserted here…).

Frivolity apart, there was a sizable build up of Little Grebe on the Weaver Estuary with a flock of 17 birds and this goes to show a successful breeding season for that species locally. A couple of Common Sandpiper were quarreling on the river edge while Great Crested Grebe and 45 Coot were part of an autumn build up here.

The Peregrine continues to use the blue-topped chimney at Weston Point and was watching lordly across the marsh.

No.6 tank was awash with ducks which included: 254 Tufted Duck, 14 Shoveler, 23 Gadwall, 17 Shelduck, 49 Mallard with 7 Pintail, 12 Wigeon and 120 Common Teal.

Observers: Mike Giverin (image 2), Frank Duff, WSM (image 1)

15.07.15. Birdlog

15.07.15. Birdlog

15.09.15. Black-tailed Godwit, Frodsham Marsh. Paul Ralston

15.09.15. Goldfinch inmoult, No.1 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Paul Ralston

An afternoon walk to see if I could connect with the leucistic Swallow that had been seen in the area yesterday. I started down Brook Furlong Lane where the first of many Chiffchaff were seen and heard. A Goldfinch with a pale head was feeding on the roadside weeds.

15.09.15. Stonechats, No.1 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Paul Ralston

There were 4 Stonechat on the fence by Marsh Farm and two more were in the reeds along the Weaver Bank. A large flock of Curlew sat the tide out on the Mersey bank and were joined by Cormorant and Shelduck. On the River Weaver were a dozen Black-tailed Godwit and a single Common Sandpiper which flew down river as did several Redshank. On to No.6 tank and even more Chiffchaff with at least 2 Willow Warbler were in the Elderberry bushes.

15.09.15. Black-necked Grebe, No.6 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Paul Ralston

The Black-necked Grebe was showing well and spent a good twenty minutes preening close in to the near bank . Alas no sign of the white Swallow.

Observer and images: Paul Ralston

14.09.15. Birdlog

14.09.15. Birdlog

14.09.15. Kingfisher, Frodsham Marsh. Paul Ralston (6)

A short walk along the Manchester Ship Canal from Ince to the Canal Pools on Frodsham Marsh this afternoon. A large flock of mixed gulls which included Black-headed, Common and Lesser Black-back were feeding on a cut wheat field following a muck spreader as it made its way up and down the field.

14.09.15. Great White Egret, Frodsham Score, Frodsham Marsh. Paul Ralston (4)

On the Frodsham Score were two more gull flocks one of which was made up of Lesser and Greater Black-backed Gulls. The Great White Egret was visible in the distance and was quite mobile.

14.09.15. Razzle Dazzle, Manchester Ship Canal at Frodsham Marsh. Paul Ralston (5)

The ship canal waters were sparse with a few Coot, Mallard and a Common Sandpiper disturbed when the Snowdrop Mersey Ferry boat made its way back to Liverpool.

Chiffchaff were in double numbers feeding in the Elderberry bushes along No.4 tank. Several Buzzard, a Sparrowhawk and Kestrel were noted along the path. The Holpool Gutter held a few Tufted Duck, Coot, Moorhen and a single Common Teal and a Kingfisher sped past.

Observer: Paul Ralston (images 1-3).

14.09.15. Leucistic Swallow, No.5 tank, Frodsham Marsh birds. Bill Morton (2)

14.09.15. Leucistic Swallow, No.5 tank, Frodsham Marsh birds. Bill Morton (1)In the early evening we walked out to No.6 tank to attempt to see the Black-necked Grebe on No.6 tank from yesterday (and the previous two weeks), it was not available for comment and didn’t put in a show.  218 Tufted Duck, small numbers of Common Teal, Shoveler, Pintail and Shelduck could be found scattered across the open water.

14.09.15. Leucistic Swallow sketch, No.5 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill MortonThe highlight was the grounding of c 500 hirundines during a period of continues rain. The flocks consisted of mostly Swallow, with lesser numbers of House and Sand Martin. A flock of a hundred Swallow perched on the brick drainage tower on the south side of No.6 tank suddenly rose and with them was an obvious leucistic bird. Despite the flock wheeling around in the rain this abnormal Swallow was clearly apparent in the gloom. It was relocated several minutes later perched on the wire fence before hawking for insects with several other birds low over No.5 tank. Apart from its obviously pale plumage the head parts were like those of a normal Swallow. The under wing coverts and a patch on the rump were a darker biscuit brown. A truly odd individual and well worth seeing on the marsh tonight.

Observers: Roger Wilkinson, Sparky, WSM (field sketch and images 4-5).

A link to a similar bird seen in Gloucesterhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-gloucestershire-34223915

13.09.15. Tony Broome Guest Blog 3

13.09.15. Tony Broome Guest Blog 3

13.09.15. Chiffchaff, Frodsham Marsh. Tony Brome (4)

13.09.15. Chiffchaff, Frodsham Marsh. Tony Brome (1)I fancied a walk around in the sunshine with a view to taking a few snaps with the first DSLR I’ve owned since my old Nikon 300 in the seventies.

How technology has moved on! I used Kodachrome 25 in those days, a transparency film that two weeks to process in a laboratory somewhere before dropping through the letterbox. Out of 36 transparencies, you were lucky if there was a single good picture.

Fast forward to today and a new Canon with a telephoto lens, a superb motor-drive and instant results… There’s a lot to learn, so I’m still a novice but enjoying the challenge.
13.09.15. Chiffchaff, Frodsham Marsh. Tony Brome (2)I started off at the old birdlog and walked around the Weaver Bend. The familiar call of Chiffchaff filled the bushes with the odd one singing every now and again.

Next to the old log is a beautiful old apple tree with small red apples clinging to the branches. Lit up in the sunshine it looked so rustic. Two of the Chiffchaffs dropped into it and began to chase each other around, occasionally perching out on the branches. I estimated around 20-25 Chiffchaff throughout the day.

13.09.15.Starlings, Frodsham Marsh. Tony Broome.Relatively few hirundines seemed to be left. 150 Swallow, 30+ Sand Martin and maybe 10 House Martin over the tanks. The only sign of viz-mig were 4 Meadow Pipit south in pairs.

13.09.15. Whinchat, No.1 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Sean O'Hara.
The Weaver Bend had 2 Common Sandpiper, a Ruff, 100+ Redshank and a few Black-tailed Godwit. I stood in the sunshine, sheltered from the cool SW breeze… I thought it was meant to be warm!

13.09.15. Stonechat, No.1 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Sean O'Hara.

I wondered back to the old log where Frank and Alyn turned up and we headed for Marsh Farm to see what Frodsham Score had in store. Just before the farm, a fine Whinchat sat up on the top of the bushes and a few Stonechat remained on the pipes, found earlier in the week.

13.09.15. juCommon Buzzard, Frodsham Marsh. Tony Broome (1)
Raptors were much in evidence. Common Buzzard were all over the tanks with four in a party the largest single count during the day. Difficult to count, there was probably somewhere between 15 and 20 birds. 10 Kestrels, 1 Sparrowhawk, at least one juvenile Peregrine and a single Hobby over No.4 tank made up the rest of the sightings.

13.09.15. juvenile Peregrine, Frodsham Score, Frodsham Marsh. Tony Broome (3)

One juvenile Peregrine over the Score chased a feral pigeon relentlessly for five minutes or so until finally grounding it and presumably lunching on it.

13.09.15. Ravens, Frodsham Score, Frodsham Marsh. Tony Broome.

The Score held small numbers of waders as high tide approached, although most were hidden from view. 100+ Black-tailed Godwit, 150+ Redshank and 350+ Lapwing were counted very approximately. 9 Wigeon flew west.

13.09.15. Goldfinch, No.1 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Sean O'Hara.
On No.6 a single Common Snipe was sheltering in the secluded pool. 3 Wigeon, 2 Shovelers, 3 Pintail, a Pochard, 150 Tufted Duck and 100 Common Teal fed on the Sea Aster seeds.

I looked for the Black-necked Grebe but it wasn’t on show.

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Interesting passerines consisted of 4 Yellow Wagtails, 2 Grey Wagtails, and 300+ Goldfinches.

13.09.15. Red-legged Partridge, Frodsham Marsh. Sean O'Hara.

Insects were about in abundance with 10+ Migrant Hawker Dragonfly being the most noteworthy. Butterflies included Peacock, Small Tortoiseshell, Speckled Wood and both Large and Small White.

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It was a pleasant day. Lots to look at and the last of the sunshine before a week of forecasted rain and a lot of pictures to sort through…

Observer: Tony Broome (images 1-4 & 7-9 & 14).

13.09.15. Large Red Underwing Moth, Moorditch Lane, Frodsham Marsh

13.09.15. Large Red Underwing Moth, Moorditch Lane, Frodsham Marsh.Some additional reports included 14 Little Egret and a Great White Egret out on the Mersey marshes. Just before Tony left for home Sparky spotted (and Tony identified) a Large Red Under-wing moth perched up on a metal structure.

A covey of Red-legged Partridge are birds set down by the shooters on to the area east of No.5 tank.

13.09.15. Curlew, Frodsham Score, Frodsham Marsh. Tony Broome.

.We continued our walk onto No.6 tank and the open water was filled with ducks 13.09.15. Black-necked Grebe, No.6 tank, Frodsham Marsh.(as mentioned above) three Cymru birders relocated the Black-necked Grebe as we walked past them and found it was tucked into the bank and obviously avoided detection for most of the day.

Observers: Alyn Chambers, Frank Duff, Sean O’Hara (images 5-6 & 10-11), 3 Welsh birders, Sparky, WSM (images 12-13 & 15).

12.09.15. Birdlog

12.09.15. Birdlog

12.09.15. Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton (9) - Copy

A bit of a mixed bag as far as the weather was concerned today with it starting off dull interspersed with showers and becoming sunny later all backed up by a brisk westerly airflow.

A look along the south banks of No.4 tank looked promising but eventually only produced 10 Chiffchaff, 1 Whitethroat, 2 Blackcap, 7 Greenfinch, 30 Linnet and 50 Goldfinch.

Over to No.6 tank to see what the mediocre high tide on River Mersey would push onto the vacant mud. It was evidently clear that it wasn’t going to be high enough to push anything onto the tank so, ducks were encountered and then countered. 12.09.15. Black-necked Grebe, No.6 tanj, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton (5) - Copy

The winter plumaged Black-necked Grebe was giving close views as it floated by preening, drifting and fishing. There were 5 Little Grebe within the duck numbers which featured: 213 Tufted Duck, 23 Wigeon, 12 Shoveler, 13 Gadwall, 45 Mallard, 7 Pintail and 45 Common Shelduck.

12.09.15. Black-necked Grebe, No.6 tanj, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton (6)

A juvenile Hobby was hunting an impressive hirundine flock numbering 550 birds on, over and across the marsh today. Later in the afternoon it reappeared over Marsh Farm. With the dispersal of the hirundine flocks from earlier the Hobby didn’t have a lot to select from and moved on.

Marsh Farm also provided views of 2 Sparrowhawk and a pair of Peregrines giving the local Ravens a bit of grief. Meanwhile, a Stonechat was feeding along the fence line/pipes on No.1 tank.

12.09.15. View of River Mersey from Marsh Farm, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton (3)

12.09.15. Kestrel, Marsh Farm, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton (2)Out on the river from Marsh Farm the hoped for Kittiwake that Hale birder Dave Craven had found loitering off Hale Marsh was unfortunately, nowhere to be found. Some compensation for missing the seagull were hundreds of shorebirds. The mudflats held: 550 Black-tailed Godwit, 70 Oystercatcher, 130 Curlew, 200 Redshank, 200 Dunlin and 400 Lapwing. Other birds present close to the Weaver Sluice gates where 8 Great Crested Grebe, 19 Cormorant, 1 Grey Heron and Shelduck were taking advantage of the food source here.

12.09.15.Peregrine attacking Raven, Power station Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton (8)

A couple of adult Peregrine were perched up on the blue-topped chimney but when they spotted a local Raven, they both took umbrage to and repeatedly swooped at it both in flight and on the iron works of the power station.

Observers: Frank Duff, WSM (images 1-6 & 10).

12.09.15. Goldfinch flock, Lordship Lane, Frodsham Marsh. Paul Ralston (2)

12.09.15. Reed Warbler, Lordship Lane, Frodsham Marsh. Paul Ralston (2)

A walk around No’s 6 and 4 tanks this afternoon taking in the Manchester Ship Canal and the Holpool Gutter. A Chiffchaff, Sedge Warbler and male a Blackcap were all in the same Elderberry bush by the entrance ramp to No.6 with more Chiffchaffs seen and heard along the walk. The water on six held many Tufted Duck, Common Teal, Mallard with Common Shelduck, Pintail, Wigeon and Gadwell in amongst them. 12.09.15. Sedge Warbler, Lordship Lane, Frodsham Marsh. Paul Ralston (2)

A male Sparrowhawk was hunting the far bank and two juveniles were hunting the hedgerow bordering Lordship Lane hoping for some of a flock of 200 or more Goldfinch. The same birds took to the air as a Kestrel honed in on them. Frodsham Score was quiet but a Great White Egret could be seen in the distance.

The Holpool Gutter held only Coot and Moorhen with 3 Buzzards sitting on the straw bales along the bank. Back along Lordship Lane more Chiffchaff could be heard contact calling and a Kingfisher was in the ditch alongside No.6 tank.

Observer: Paul Ralston (images 7-9)

12.09.15. Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton (17) 12.09.15. Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton (18)

A fridge freezer dumped sometime ago in a ditch along Lordship Lane was adopted and adapted by Mrs Nature. This careless fly tipping of a kitchen appliance is being utilising slowy being converted into a wildflower garden (WSM).

10.09.15. Birdlog

10.09.15. Birdlog

10.09.15. Black-necked Grebe, No.6 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton (3)

10.09.15. No.3 tank (mitigation), Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton (1)After work and the plan was to watch over No.6 tank and attempt to count the ducks there. On arrival there wasn’t much to get me excited so I continued the walk down to the mitigation area on No.3 tank. The tractor was still tilling the soil and work on extracting earth and making earth mounds continues with some gusto and these were scattered across the northern half of the tank. I sure all will come apparent in time? Perhaps with all this tractor and earth tilling it was no surprise to see several hundred Black-headed Gulls following the vehicles course with the expectation of a tasty morsel or two.

10.09.15. No.3 tank (mitigation), Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton (2)

10.09.15. No.3 tank (mitigation), Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton (3)

Retracing my way back to the northern edges of No.6 tank I took up my usual position and watched the waterfowl below. The Pintail flock has increased to 10 birds with 300 Common Teal, 30 Common Shelduck (all juvenile birds), 12 Shoveler, 3 Wigeon, during the course of the evening Tufted Duck began to arrive to roost here from the Weaver Estuary. A small flock of 8 Mute Swan were settled close to the banks and the daisy clumps.

10.09.15. Pintails, No.6 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton

10.09.15. Mallards and Black-necked Grebe, No.6 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton

10.09.15. Little Grebe and Black-necked Grebe, No.6 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton (2)Little Grebe reached a total of 10 birds and the Black-necked Grebe reappeared after a few days absence and its fiery-eye glowed like a ruby in the evening sunshine.

Small numbers of House Martin and Swallow were moving through in flocks.

A female Sparrowhawk was impressive as it flew straight into a cottage hedge and behind the sign Marsh Green Cottages (Marsh Lane) in pursuit of a local House Sparrow. She emerged empty clawed but I’m sure the sparrow didn’t reappear too quickly after that scare and may needed a wet wipe tissue.

10.09.15. Common Snipe (juv), No.6 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton

A Common Snipe was the only wader on the secluded pool which may have been watched out. However, 250 Black-tailed Godwit rose and settled over and on Frodsham Score . Raven are a regular sighting on the marsh and loose flocks were heading south at dusk.

Observers: Paul Booth, WSM (and images).

With all this warm sunshine love was in the air this morning on a local park lake with Mallards courting and cementing their relationships!