Frodsham Marsh Birding Review 2015

20.11.14. Barn Owl, Frodsham Marsh. Paul Ralston27.12.15. Short-eared Owl, No.5 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill MortonJanuary 2015.

14.03.15. Barnacle Goose and hybrid partner, No.1 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton

An immature Marsh Harrier lingering from 2014 continued a lengthy stay on the marsh with regular sightings making for a welcome distraction from the unfolding birdathon ahead. Likewise, a wintering Chiffchaff could be found along the tracks of No.5 tank. Stonechats are always a welcome sight from post festive bingeing. A Grey Partridge with some Red-legged Partridge will only get a mention for the fact they were put down for shooting so they shouldn’t really count on anyone’s year listing. On the outskirts of the marsh a Kingfisher was one of two present here and a Treecreeper was a rarity in woodland at the less visited boundaries. With all these small morsels flying about it wasn’t a surprise to see Merlin checking out the menu.

Lapwing were gathering in numbers with 1,000 birds and 600 Golden Plover present with them at times were a couple of Ruff. The 9 Greenshank spotted on Ince Marsh must have surprised the observer. The wintering herd of 28 Whooper and 9 Bewick’s relocated here after spending the first part of the winter out on Frodsham Score. A Barn Owl was notable with it, or another, ranging widely from No.4 tank to the horse paddock on Moorditch Lane.

The Holpool Gutter was a good bet for Green Sandpipers so one at the beginning of the month was expected but a Brambling which was nearby is usually a hit or miss species on the marsh. Frodsham Score is really the best spot to see egrets with both Little and Great White’s a certainty.

The Canada Geese out on the Mersey marshes have amassed an unenviable record herd here so it was no surprise to see other species being attracted to the salt marsh. A flock of Barnacle and Pink-footed Geese stuck around for a few weeks.

The first signs of seasonal change were marked by a ‘sinensis’ Cormorant joining the carbo’s on No.6 tank – a species usually associated with Spring passage here. Mid month saw in a Coal Tit (a local rarity) flew through.

28 Barnacle Geese flew in and raised the question about their origin. It is worth noting a flock over at Hale marsh some years ago contained a colour ringed bird which proved to originate from Svalbard.

A big tide forced some useful shorebirds onto Frodsham Score with 3000 Golden Plover, 8000 Lapwing, 200 Grey Plover, 100 Knot, 10000 Dunlin, 50 Oystercatcher and typically for this time of year 3 scarce Bar-tailed Godwit to be found wintering on the river.

A new female Marsh Harrier and Woodcock (FD) ended the month on a high note.

February 2015.

04.03.13. Stonechat (male), Frodsham Marsh. Stuart Maddocks

A bird that appears ever-present whatever month of the year is our resident female Peregrine, often found surveying her Queendom across the Mersey Estuary.

Sequencing nicely into a new month were the big Whooper Swan herd on Ince Marsh.  The herd included a mixed Mute Swan flock which rose to a combined 67 birds with a Black Swan amongst them! A large herd of Canada Geese on the edge of the river included an incredible 27 Barnacle Goose (birds en route north?). Nearby, 7 Pink-footed Goose were in and out of a narrow tidal gutter.

The female Marsh Harrier reappeared and was joined by a male later in the month. Great White and Little Egrets continued their stay on the river. A Goosander (WSM) on the Weaver Bend was notable. The quieter areas of the marsh held Stonechats and the back waters had Kingfishers.

The swan herd relocated again were 10 Mute, 26 Whooper (6 juvenile and 20 adults) and 9 Bewick’s Swan (adults) to the fields east of Rake Lane.

More Brambling where encountered and a Chiffchaff emerged from hiding – all keenly watched over by the Merlin. Another Chiffchaff along Lordship Lane had all the hallmarks of a grey eastern bird? A once regular bird on the Frodsham and Helsby marshes and now restricted to a passage migrant was a Tree Sparrow (FD).

A good count of 9 Ruff, 6000 Dunlin, 86 Grey Plover, 500 Golden Plover, 600 Curlew, 350 Black-tailed and a solitary Bar-tailed Godwit, 500 Lapwing, 25 Knot and 100 Redshank were all present on the highest tides. With all this shorebird activity it wasn’t long before a marauding Peregrine with its dial set on cruise control flew over the area and caused pandemonium over the river. The best Stonechat count of the winter was of 5 birds together.

The month ended on a positive note with the herd of 25 Whooper Swan (including 5 juveniles) in fields east of Hill View Farm and 15 Pink-footed Geese on the salt marsh.

March 2015.

14.03.15. Iceland Gull, Gantry wall, Frodsham Marsh. Tony Broome.

A watch from the northern banks of No.4 tank was rewarded with a Marsh Harrier, 5 Pink-footed Goose and a solitary Bar-tailed Godwit.

Also noted on this warm Spring day was a Stoat, a Buff-tailed Bumblebee and 2 Small Tortoiseshell Butterfly. You could be forgiven for thinking that Spring had truly sprung but the Whooper Swan herd could still be found lingering by Spring Farm.

A chance sighting of a very vocal and animated Cetti’s Warbler (FD, WSM) was rewarded with some fine views. Additional birds close by included a Nuthatch, a TreecreeperCoal Tit, 5 Bullfinch, several Jay and a sub-singing Chiffchaff – a reward for those observers that found them considering the rarity value of most of these birds here on the marsh.

A party of 6 Stonechat and a passing Yellowhammer were good finds. The first Sand Martins of the year moved through. Five Avocet settled on No.6 tank.

A 2nd winter Iceland Gull (WSM) picked out from the gull hoards out on the Mersey Estuary was initially spotted the previous week from Hale shore and finally got in range  to scope it from the south side of the river. A little earlier in the day  a Common Crane (WSM) flew in from the west and headed over the Weaver Bend to the east.

The first Wheatear of the year arrived in time to share the marsh with the reluctant Whooper Swan staying put.

Large groups of roosting Black-tailed Godwits were close to a thousand strong with similar numbers of Curlew and scattered flocks Oystercatcher, Grey Plover, Knot, Dunlin and the odd Bar-tailed Godwit. Out on the tide edge were 2 Little Egret and 300 Wigeon.

A partial Eclipse of the Sun on the 20th was a brief diversion from the birding on the marsh. Out on Ince Marshes and Frodsham Score a good high tide revealed 452 Shelduck, 290 Wigeon, 12 Gadwall, c40 Common Teal, 1 Greylag Goose, c200 Canada Geese, 1 Great Crested Grebe and just 1 Little Egret.

Steadily on the increase due to the carrion laying about the marshes are Raven with 40 birds about the ship canal embankment enjoying their feast. As I walked back to the car 32 Pink-footed Geese arrived from towards Ince and flew overhead moving south-east (surely the wrong way!).
A White Wagtail and another Cetti’s Warbler rounded off the month.
 April 2015.
10.02.15. Mute Swan, Whooper Swan and Bewick's Swan, Ince Marsh. Bill Morton
An impressive flock of 15 Little Egret in the fields between the Pig Farm and Ince Berth was unexpected. There were 11 Whooper Swan within the herd of 50 Mute’s on the Ince Marsh fields and a single bird was still present mid month. . A pair of Egyptian Geese were found initially on No.5 tank before relocating to Lordship Marsh. A brief look over No.6 tank around lunch time resulted in the first Little Stint of the year. A Cetti’s Warbler shot off a blast of song and a Green Woodpecker (PR) was at the east end of the new excavations of No.4 tank. The first Swallow (2) flew through and on the way out was a female Brambling with a small Chaffinch flock on the track above No.6 tank. Also noted was a White Wagtail with the Pied’s on No.3 tank. A male Ring Ouzel spent the morning along the northern bank of No.5 tank. Marsh Harriers were pairing up and the last of the Merlin moved through.
May 2015.
30.05.15. (male) Red-backed Shrike, No.1 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Graham MansonThe male Marsh Harrier was busy while 8 Avocets moved in. The early highlight was a Redstart (AC) found along Moorditch Lane. Fresh arrivals featured a drake Garganey (FD) and Grasshopper Warblers made their presence known.
Out on Frodsham Score were a couple of late Pink-footed Goose and 3 Little Egret with 17 Raven and a Cuckoo was singing. Two summer plumaged Curlew Sandpiper (WSM) presented themselves to No.3 tank. Nine handsome summer plumaged Dunlin were busy refueling for their next adventure north (included a frosty Greenland bird-WSM) and within their throng was one of the most pristine summer dressed Turnstone ever! One of the highlights of May was a stunning summer Little Stint (WSM) briefly with the Dunlin flock and 4 Turnstone.
A solitary 1st summer Mediterranean Gull and a very late pale-bellied Brent Goose was found by Neil Blood on the Weaver Bend. A Great White Egret was present in the morning on No.3 tank, a welcome surprise after a lengthy period of absenteeism. An Osprey (WSM) headed north; 9 Whimbrel dropped in on the Weaver Bend and the male Marsh Harrier flew over No.6 in a north-easterly direction. Late in the month a Little Gull was on the Weaver Bend and a Sanderling was on the mitigation area.
The very last day of May produced probably the most handsomest of the year’s birds when a faultless male Red-backed Shrike found by Graham Manson and Peter O’Connell  along the wooden fence that borders the pipe line on No.1 tank. Sadly, it only entertained those two very lucky souls.
June 2015. 
03.06.15. female Long-tailed Duck, No.6 tank, frodsham Marsh, Cheshire. Bill Morton (1)
A couple of Peregrine were looking out from the blue-topped chimney and below on the Weaver Estuary there was a summering flock of 500 Black-tailed Godwits. The Cuckoo was attracting the attention of a couple of interested females while over on No.6 tank an out of season female Long-tailed Duck found by Sean O’Hara stayed for just a few hours. A Mediterranean Gull and a Little Gull were good value. A non-breeding flock of 150 Black-headed Gulls brought in a summer Bar-tailed Godwit. The first returning Green Sandpiper was noted and 3 summering Wigeon were not that unusual having a summer retreat on the marsh. Two Sandwich Terns roosting on Hale Marsh (DC) were picked up from Marsh Farm after they woke up and headed back out to the sea (FD,WSM). Both Marsh Harrier and Hobby were viewed from the marsh. A massive flock of 144 Gadwall was the biggest ever count for the marsh. Another Mediterranean Gull put in an appearance in the third week.
July 2015.
14.07.15. juvenile Black-necked Grebe, No.6 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Paul Lee
The month got under way with an incredible 27 Avocet and the arrival of the first Green Sandpiper of the return migration. A thousand summering Black-tailed Godwit and an early Ruff were notable.
A Little Gull and Mediterranean Gulls were present early on with the former staying for a couple of weeks and commuting between the Weaver estuary and Pickerings Pasture across the river. July is always a good time to catch up with ‘reeling’ Grasshopper Warblers and the area south of No.6 tank is traditionally a favourite spot. A small party of summering Wigeon (WSM) put in the occasional appearance.
A summer plumage Knot was a welcome addition to the month and both Great White Egret and Marsh Harriers added a spice of the south.
A young Black-necked Grebe (WSM) was one of several encountered over the following weeks.
The returning northern shorebirds were much in evidence mid to late month and a nearby Red Kite (PR) just missed being in the Frodsham Marsh catchment area. The only Common Tern (WSM et al) of the year showed its self at one of my organised bird walks.
A Garganey was fresh in late in the month and likewise an adult summer Little Stint. A very rare bird in terms of its occurrence was a Green Woodpecker (SO, AC) by the ramp onto No.5 tank. It or another was seen several days later by No.4 tank. A new Black-necked Grebe (WSM) appeared and stayed for a few days. A Spotted Redshank was a welcome addition late in the month.
The month ended with a new Garganey.
August 2015. 
Ruddy Shelduck_edited-1
The Garganey continued its stay into August and was joined by a Ruddy Shelduck which was picked up by Master Findlay Wilde. Out on the Mersey Estuary the Great White Egret lingered. A Green Woodpecker put in the briefest of appearances.
The sight of 2000 post breeding/young Canada Geese was a sight to behold as they flew off to the river at dusk.
Three new Ruddy Shelduck (WSM) joined the Common Shelduck throng on No.6 tank. An early ringtail Hen Harrier (FD) spent a few hours quartering No.5 tank mid month. Return wader migration was building up nicely with a fine selection of northern breeders.
A fine Wood Sandpiper (WSM) joined in with the waders present on No.6 tank with 1200 Black-tailed Godwit and a splendid summer Curlew Sandpiper. The first juvenile Little Stint (WSM) appeared on the 14th. Two new Wood Sandpipers (PR) were found on the secluded pool. A Hobby hurtled through mid month. The 27 strong Ruff flock attracted another Spotted Redshank which lingered for a couple of months.
Early autumn is a time of change and the first Pintail (WSM) arrived on 20th with another Garganey. A Yellow-legged Gull (FD) was new in on No.6 tank.
A new force awakens (to steal a much hyped film of late) with the likes of Findlay Wilde and a visit on 22nd by another young padawan in the guise of Elliot Monteith. Elliot joined Bill for his first ‘proper’ visit to Frodsham Marsh. A new Ruddy Shelduck (was a tick for Elliot) and we discovered/rediscovered a Spotted Redshank on No.6 tank which was a good introduction to the marsh for Elliot.
The next day a Redstart (AC) showed briefly to one observer along the south banks of No.4 tank. The 24th was a good day when a juvenile Pectoral Sandpiper (WSM) revealed itself to three people but unfortunately not to a wider audience.
Late in the month another Hobby showed to one lucky observer and both the Wood Sandpiper and Spotted Redshank were still available for viewing on No.6 tank. The month ended with the first returning Golden Plovers.
September 2015.
06.09.15. Fulmar, Weaver Estuary, frodsham Marsh. Alyn Chambers (2)
A firm favourite for many was the almost ever-present Wood Sandpiper which was hiding on No.6 tank. A Hobby and Black-necked Grebe (WSM) were new in for the month. A juvenile Little Gull was by the Weaver Sluice Gates on the Weaver Estuary.
The Wood Sandpiper was again present with a good bevy of other summer and juvenile sandpipers.
A highlight of September was a sickly Fulmar found by Allan Conlin flying over the Manchester Ship Canal before relocating on the Weaver Estuary close to Marsh Farm. Two Great White Egrets were again out on the southern Mersey marshes and a couple of Hobbies were noted. A luecistic Swallow (WSM) dropped in on No’s 5 & 6 tank during a rain deluge before sailing away into the sky.
A Black Tern (Mike Giverin,FD) spent an afternoon on the River Weaver by the Bend but didn’t linger into tea time.
The Hobby was seen again and the first Merlin of the autumn passed through and was seen off by 3 Kestrels. A Garganey was flushed off the Canal Pools with a group of Common Teal. The same observer (AMB) watched an Osprey fly through to the south and 10 Goosander fly west along the ship canal.
A new Black-necked Grebe (WSM) appeared late in the month and a Cetti’s Warbler (WSM) sang from the corner of No.6 tank.
October 2015.
05.10.15. Common Crane, No.3 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill MortonThe month began with 300 Tufted Duck on No.6 tank. A couple of Common Cranes found by Sean O’Hara spent two days on No.3 tank before moving out to Frodsham Score at dusk. Then an adult winter Mediterranean Gull came in for a pre-roost bathe before moving off to the gull roost on the Mersey Estuary. The first skein of Pink-footed Geese moved south and the Cetti’s Warbler resurfaced.
13 Avocets and 4 Great White Egrets were out on the salt marsh. A partial summer plumaged Red-necked Grebe found by Shaun Hickey & Paul Kurs spent a very elusive 6 days by the Weaver Causeway. The first Whooper Swans settled on the Mersey marshes for their lengthy stay but no juveniles were noted. The Red-necked Grebe was joined by a pair of Mandarins (Don Weedon) and are presumably birds from further up river?
The Spotted Redshank reappeared when the water levels on No.6 tank dropped. There was a red-letter day on the 15th when a Great Grey Shrike (Paul Miller et al) spent a couple of days in and around fields east of No.5 tank and on its first day it shared the area with the Red-necked Grebe. Such is the magic of Frodsham Marsh!
A potential rarity in the form of a small race Canada Goose (AMB) shared the score with several hundred Western Canada’s on 18th. Other birds of note included: a Rock Pipit (AMB), Cetti’s Warbler and a late Swallow (WSM). On the 21st the first autumn Short-eared Owl put in an appearance. The bizarre sight of a flock of 9 Egyptian Geese (WSM) that flew in from the east stopping briefly for a refresh before heading almost immediately to the west was notable.
Another Marsh Harrier was spotted and again another Mediterranean Gull stopped off to bathe.
The last day was good and produced Mediterranean Gull, Goldeneye, Hen Harrier (AMB, WSM), 2 Common Scoter (DC et al), 5 Great White Egret (DC et al). Tony Broome plucked out a Richard’s Pipit which headed south. However, the Spoonbill (DC, II) that was tantalizingly close, but out of sight below the embankment of Frodsham Score was close but not close enough.
November 2015.
01.11.15. Long-eared Owl, No.5 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton
The new month started off just like the end of October. A Long-eared Owl (WSM) was perched out on a post while Short-eared’s flew around at dusk on 1st. Earlier in the day a Spotted Redshank was present on No.6 tank. A Marsh Harrier, Brambling and a late Wheatear were also about.
The 12th saw Tony Broome find a Water Pipit on the Weaver Estuary and both a Spotted Redshank and Great White Egret were still about.
Another red-letter day on the 16th saw Hale/Within Way/Pickerings Pasture stalwart Dave Craven finding a bunch of rare Mersey Estuary birds with a Great Northern Diver, Red-breasted Merganser, while here Tony and Frank saw 5 pale-bellied Brent Geese. Dave hit back with Kittiwake and a Great Skua from across the river. Other back-up birds included Short-eared Owl, Whooper Swans, Merlin and Great White Egrets. Another Red-breasted Merganser (FD) appeared on 21st.
December 2015.
27.12.15. Short-eared Owl, No.5 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Findlay Wilde.
The month began with a Barn Owl spotted by one of the turbine construction workers early on morning.
Chiffchaffs have been absent this winter probably due to the mild weather we have been experiencing so one along the track on No.5 tank was notable. Short-eared Owls have been prominent at the year’s end and brought a welcome opportunity to get some photographs of them in flight over No.5 tank.
The largest skein of Pink-footed Geese occurred early in December when 400 birds headed east from Hale Head. Canada Geese reached a peak of 2000 birds out on the salt marsh.
The 13th was notable for the impressive counts of Dunlin out on the Mersey Estuary with 68,000 birds counted. These numbers are both a testament to the cleanliness of the river and its importance as a wintering/staging post for these Arctic birds. A Green-winged Teal (FD) was picked out from within a flock of 1-2000 Common Teal and stuck around until 27th before relocating to the Dee marshes.
The Whooper Swan herd numbered 16 birds out on the salt marshes with a couple of Great White and 14 Little Egrets there as well.  A Woodcock (PR) was seen flying over the marsh.
A winter adult Mediterranean Gull (WSM) briefly stopped off to No.6 tank and a Cetti’s Warbler (NW,FW) was quite mobile popping up here and there. A couple of dark-breasted Brent Geese (FD) were spotted from No.4 tank out on Frodsham Score. A Shag first observed from Pickerings Pasture (by DC) was also seen from the Frodsham side (FD) and constitutes the first record this century.
The ever-present Marsh Harrier ended the year as it started quartering the reed beds on No.5 tank.
On the very last day of the old year the Green-winged Teal (FD) decided that it was more preferable at Frodsham Marsh than its two-day stay on the Dee marshes. A couple of Green Sandpiper appeared on the Weaver Bend, a skein of 50 Pink-footed Geese headed south-east and a Stonechat made a visit to the Ship Street entrance.
Compiled by WSM.
12.07.15. Great White Egret, no.6 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton
05.06.14. Common Scoter female), No.6 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton18.08.15. Wood Sandpiper, No.6 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Paul Ralston. (1)
18.08.15. Wood Sandpiper, No.6 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Paul Ralston. (4)
24.08.15. Pectoral Sandpiper (juvenile), No.6 tank (secluded pool), Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton, (2)
Dunlin by Shaun Hickey (6)13.12.15. Shaun Hickey's WeBS count images from Frodsham Score (4)19.10.15. River Mersey and birds. Shaun Hickey (3)19.09.15. Common Teal, Canal Pools, Frodsham Marsh. Tony Broome (2) 13.09.15. juvenile Peregrine, Frodsham Score, Frodsham Marsh. Tony Broome (1)
13.09.15. Chiffchaff, Frodsham Marsh. Tony Brome (4)A selection of images from 2015 (click on image to enlarge): Paul Ralston (images 1 & 17-18); Stuart Maddocks (images 1 & 4); WSM (images 2-3 & 5-6, 7, 11-13, 15-16 & 19); Graham Manson (image 6), Paul Lee (image 8); Elliot Monteith (9); Alyn Chambers (10); Findlay Wilde (14); Shaun Hickey (images 20-22) and Tony Broome (images 23-25).
Observers credited with sightings where stated: Tony Broome (AMB); Frank Duff (FD), Alyn Chambers (AC); Dave Craven (DC); Paul Ralston (PR); Sean O’Hara (SO); WSM (Bill Morton).

31.12.15. Birdlog

31.12.15. Birdlog

19.12.15. Green-winged Teal, No.6 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton (2)

A skein of 50 Pink-footed Goose flying over junction 12 of the M56 looked likely to settle on Frodsham Marsh but they separated and one set headed east while the other continued south.

Observer and image: WSM

After a couple of days away to the Dee marshes the Green-winged Teal reappeared on No.6 tank with its cousins.

A couple of Green Sandpiper dropped onto the Weaver Bend before the afternoon rain set in and a Stonechat was by the entrance to the marsh from Ship Street.

Observer: Frank Duff.


If you are out and about tomorrow on the marsh help yourself to copying the map above or download it to your phone.

Happy Birding for 2016 from the team on Frodsham Marsh.

29.12.15. Birdlog

29.12.15. Birdlog

29.12.15. Stonechat, Frodsham Marsh, Marsh. Findlay WildeA female Stonechat, 14 Curlew were present on No.6 tank while 14 Lapwing were on No.3 tank. Also noted 2 Kestrel, 2 Buzzard and Pied Wagtail scattered across No.6 with a Grey Wagtail with them.

Observers: Nigel and Findlay Wilde (image 1, 4 & 8).

29.12.15. Golden Plovers, Ince Marsh. Shaun Hickey

A Short-eared Owl was along the banks of No.4 tank where a young Marsh Harrier was also seeking out food. Other raptors included 3 Kestrel and .6 Buzzard. The fields west of the tank held c1000 Golden Plover, c2000 Lapwing and 60 Curlew.

The flooded fields attracted 5 Grey Heron and 4 Little Egret.

A large tit flock contained Long-tailed, Blue and a couple of Coal Tit probably 30 birds in all. A scattering of Linnet and Goldfinch along with 6 Mistle Thrush and just a hand full of Redwing.

Observer: Shaun Hickey (images 2 & 5).

29.12.15. Great Crested Grebe, MC, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton

Curlew by Findlay WildeWe did a five-mile hike this afternoon to attempt to cover more ground than usual. Despite a thorough search and a combination of shooters lined along the edge of Frodsham Score birds were few in variety but impressive in quality.

The watch from No.4 tank over Frodsham Score on the rising tide featured a single Great White Egret, 8 Little Egret, 16 Whooper Swan, 600 Golden Plover and 2000 Lapwing. There were tens of thousands of Dunlin in their really impressive ‘Mersey Snake’, that is long lines of murmurating birds stringing out into a serpent like form. I think we are blessed to have this natural phenomenon our door step and something which should be appreciated more than it is locally.

Ince Marsh. Shaun Hickey

The usual murder of crows were scavenging off the mutton carcases out on the marsh with the occasional Common Buzzard vying for their spoils.

29.12.15. Merlin (female), Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton

29.12.15. Merlin, Frodsham Marsh. Bill MortonA female Merlin was perched along the score marsh fence and then relocated to its favourite perch by the Manchester Ship Canal path.

The impressive flocks that Shaun had seen earlier were relocated on the salt marsh and provided a good diversion from attempting to see the immature Shag which Mr Craven had spotted from Within Way across the river. However, it must have been flushed by the tide because we couldn’t find the bird from our advantage point.

Little Grebe by Findlay Wilde

Despite a thorough scan of the 500 Common Teal on No.6 tank we couldn’t locate the Green-winged but a text from Duffy to say one was at BMW was probably the reason why we couldn’t find it?

Other ducks present included: 42 Common Pochard, 12 Tufted Duck, 12 Gadwall and 12 Shoveler.

Observers: Sparky, WSM (images 3, 6-7).

28.12.15. Birdlog

28.12.15. Birdlog

28.12.15. Stock Doves, Frodsham Score, Frodsham Marsh. Paul Ralston

A walk from Ince Berth along the Manchester Ship Canal during the high tide period was again worth the effort with a Kingfisher, Grey Wagtail and a Little Grebe at the outflow by the berth itself. There was another 2 Little Grebe and a Great Crested Grebe a bit further along the canal. The field alongside the Holpool Gutter held masses of Lapwing and Golden Plover which took to the air when 2 Buzzard passed by.

28.12.15. Whooper Swans, Frodsham Score, Frodsham Marsh. Paul Ralston

The Whooper Swan (14 of 16) present swam along the gutter then walked out to meet the incoming tide on Frodsham Score. A hundred strong flock of Stock Dove fed a the edge of the marsh but couldn’t settle and rose up in to the air every few minutes.

28.12.15. Little Egrets, Ince Marsh. Paul Ralston

The two Great White Egret could be seen at opposite ends of the salt marsh and a small flock of Little Egret were again in the field on the lane to Ince.

Observer and images: Paul Ralston.

28.12.15. Golden Plovers. Paul Ralston25 Little Grebe and 14 Goldeneye were out on the Weaver estuary and 100 Pied Wagtail were by Lordship Lane.

Observers: Frank Duff, Sean O’Hara.

A flock of 200 Black-headed Gull were feeding in the flooded field bordering the M56 opposite Moorditch Lane with one particular 1st winter bird showing blackish primary and secondary feathers in flight (odd melanin infusion on flight feathers I guess?). The flock rose suddenly when a female Merlin shot through and over the motorway.

There was no sign of the Green-winged Teal today so the Common Teal flock were again concealed in the dense vegetation feeding and keeping out of the chill easterly wind. Several Tufted Duck, Pochard, Shoveler, Gadwall and Cormorant (carbo’s) were present at dusk.

Observers: Sparky, WSM.

27.12.15. Birdlog

27.12.15. Birdlog

27.12.15. Short-eared Owl, No.5 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Findlay Wilde.

27.12.15. Waders over Frodsham Score, Frodsham Marsh. Bill MortonThe bright sunshine and crystal clear views were much-needed from the incessant dull, wet and windy conditions of late. The recent big tides on the River Mersey was an incentive to watch over Frodsham Score from No.4 tank today.

The tides edges close to the salt marsh slowly at first then suddenly spilling out across the swathes of short green marsh grass. This is followed by huge masses of silvery white flashes of some of the massive 68,000 Dunlin that have been countered on recent counts. The Dunlin often mesmerise as they fly to and fro in swirling pulsating flocks. Smaller groups gathering together looking for safe shelter to see the tide out.

We also estimated a flock of 4000 Lapwing which were visible by the naked eye from a good mile and a half away high over Ince Marsh.

27.12.15. Waders over Frodsham Score, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton

Other shorebirds noted included 200 Grey Plover, 400 Golden Plover, even more Lapwing and smaller numbers of Curlew.27.12.15. Waders over Frodsham Score, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton

A herd of 16 adult Whooper Swan included no juveniles this winter and was a little surprising (perhaps, a poor breeding season for them in Iceland?). There was no sign of the dark-bellied Brent Goose today but a partially concealed flock of Pink-footed Goose were with the Canada’s.

27.12.15. Merlin (female), Frodsham Score, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton

With this amount of fodder on offer it was not difficult to find raptors in attendance. A female Merlin was sat on the fence line on the score and  later relocated to a washed up tree. The Peregrine was again on the blue-topped chimney and, it or another was sat on the salt marsh on the ebbing tide.

The two Great White Egret chose to spend the tide fishing the Holpool Gutter out on the salt marsh with 10 well scattered  Little Egret.

A charm of 150 Goldfinch along the banks of No.4 tank overlooked a small flock of 40 Linnet on Frodsham Score.

27.12.15. Short-eared Owl, No.5 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton

27.12.15. Short-eared Owl, No.5 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill MortonOn the way back we stopped to watch a couple of Short-eared Owl (3 seen by Rob Creek) put on a fine display with one particular bird performing nicely as it sat perched on a post close to the pot-holed track on No.5 tank.

27.12.15. Green-winged Teal, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton

A hidden flock of 400 Common Teal eventually showed themselves later in the day when they were flushed from the thick daisy beds on the flooded tank. After a thorough grilling the drake Green-winged Teal inevitably appeared in its usual spot close to the northern banks close to the viewing area on No.5 tank. Other species of ducks included an increase of 174 Tufted Duck making a substantial comeback from previous low numbers. 30 Common Pochard are still increasing and bucking a national trend for the decline of this duck. Also noted were 16 Gadwall, 17 Shoveler and 45 Mallard.

An adult winter Mediterranean Gull appeared briefly for a bathe before flying out to the Mersey Estaury.

A Sparrowhawk added to the day tally along with Common Buzzard and Kestrel.

Findlays Short-eared Owl video from No.5 tank: .

For further birding notes from across the boundary check out Dave’s blog here:

Observers: Frank Duff, Nigel and Findlay Wilde (image 1 and video), Idris and Jacqui Roberts, WSM (images 2-8).

Christmas Day 2015

Christmas Day 2015

25.12.15. Green-winged Teal, No.6 tank Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton (1)

Despite the almost continuous rain it was good to get in a full mornings birding while the sprouts et al were being prepared. I walked out to watch the tide washing in and to see what was occurring on the salt marsh (inspired by Paul’s visit yesterday).

25.12.15. Great White Egret, Frodsham Score. Bill Morton - Copy

A herd of 16 Whooper Swan were tucked into the bund wall by the old magazine jetty. 1000 Canada Goose were scattered across the marsh with a couple of monster hybrid birds in tow. Also spotted after a good grilling of the Canada’s was the two dark-bellied Brent Goose. The egret combo featured 8 Little and 2 Great White’s. Wildfowl on the shoreline included a single drake Pintail (nothing like the olden days of the Seventies for that species) and 500 Wigeon.

25.12.15. Lapwings, No.3 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton (17)Shorebirds included several thousand Dunlin in their ‘Mersey Snake’ murmurations, small numbers of Black-tailed Godwit and several hundred Grey Plover but the tide wasn’t high enough to get them in close.

The mitigation is beginning to look like it should look (very wet and flooded). A couple of Common Shelduck and Common Teal shared the area with 4 Shoveler, a single Black-tailed Godwit, Dunlin and 1000 Lapwing but surprisingly no Golden Plover?

25.12.15. Green-winged Teal, No.6 tank Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton (2) - Copy

After the rain started to increase I made my way back to my car and stopping off to watch over No.6 tank. The usual array of ducks included 18 Common Pochard, 7 Tufted Duck, 27 Gadwall, 23 Shoveler, 400 Common Teal and eventually the Green-winged Teal emerged from the emergent Vegetation.

Merry Christmas everyone.

Observer and images: WSM



24.12.15. Birdlog

24.12.15. Birdlog

I23.12.15. Hale lighthouse. Bill MortonMG_1134Good numbers of Shoverler, Common Pochard, Mallard and Gadwall on No.6 tank  with several hundred Common Teal. A quick look through them and I couldn’t locate the Green-winged Teal (despite it still being here) but there were many more in the vegetation. The young Marsh Harrier dropped on to a hen (ssh!) pheasant amongst the reeds on the tank but couldn’t hold on to it and sat sulking at losing its Christmas dinner.

24.12.15. Great White Egrets, Frodsham Score, Frodsham Marsh. Paul Ralston

Out on Frodsham Score and 2 Great White Egret, a Little Egret and a Grey Heron fed together on the salt marsh and were keeping company with the Whooper Swan herd. There were hundreds of Golden Plover and lapwing took to the air as an unseen predator spooked them. With the amount of Golden Plover in the area there could be a chance of an American visitor amongst them? Large flocks of finches were feeding in a number of places on the walk and were made up of Linnet, Goldfinch, Chaffinch with Reed Bunting in smaller numbers.

A skein of Pink-footed Goose flew over from Hale Head out to the southern Mersey marshes.

24.12.15. Whooper Swans, Frodsham Score, Frodsham Marsh. Paul Ralston

Back at the north end of six and a small flock of Fieldfare circled around and came to the attention of a Sparrowhawk which singled them out

Observer and images: Paul Ralston.

24.12.15. Fieldfare, Frodsham Marsh. Paul Ralston

A probable Shag was out on the the Mersey Estuary and thousands of gulls streamed through from 15.45-16.45 this evening.

Observer: Frank Duff