01.12.15. Birdlog

01.12.15. Birdlog

01.12.15. Stonechat, Frodsham Marsh. Paul Ralston (3)

I was out this morning hiking from Ince Berth and around No.6 tank. As I was walking past the pig farm at Ince there were c200 Curlew feeding alongside the pigs in the fields while a couple of Common Snipe flew overhead.

01.12.15. Little Egrets in flight, Frodsham Marsh. Paul Ralston (2)

Two Little Egret were in the ditch alongside the Pumping Station and a few hundred Lapwing and Golden Plover took to the air when a Common Buzzard cruised by. The canal path was full of winter thrushes feeding on the last of the crop of hawthorn berries. Further along the canal a pair of Stonechat were seen on top of a bramble patch with another pair a couple of hundred yards on. The female of this pair was wearing a leg ring.

Along the track on No.5 tank I  watch a small band of Raven were again in dispute with the Great Black-backed Gulls over another sheep carcase and on this occasion they won the spoils.

01.12.15. Common Pochard, Frodsham Marsh. Paul Ralston (1)The open water on No.6 tank contained a large amount of waterfowl with many Common Teal, Wigeon, Mallard, Tufted Duck and smaller numbers of Common Shelduck, Shoveler, Common Pochard  and Gadwall. Along the elder trees were a small Chaffinch flock and a Chiffchaff was nearby.

01.12.15. Great White Egret, Frodsham Score, Frodsham Marsh. Paul Ralston (2)

Taking the track along Lordship Lane and the odd sight of 3 dead Hares dumped at the side of the path. I am not sure where they came from as it’s a long time since I’ve any in the area? The path here also held two more pairs of Stonechat which occupied the area by the model airfield.

01.12.15. Great White Egret, Frodsham Score, Frodsham Marsh. Paul Ralston (1)

Back on the track alongside the Manchester Ship Canal and the Great White Egret could be seen out on the salt marsh with several more Little Egret dotted about the marsh. A flock of swans could be seen in the distance on Ince salt marsh but were to far out to be positive about their identification.

01.12.15. Great White Egret, Frodsham Score, Frodsham Marsh. Paul Ralston (3)

I stopped off at Ince on the way home for a better view of the swan herd and they turned out to be Whooper Swan the same birds from last week, Further out on Stanlow Point and another Great White Egret could be seen.

NB. A Barn Owl has been spotted by one of the contractors in the evenings from No.4-6 tanks.

Observer and images: Paul Ralston

A Mersey Barrage?

Mersey estuary by Allerton Oak/Brendon CoxYou may have seen the signing of Liverpool City Region Devolution Agreement on the news two weeks ago. Here are some points from that agreement.

37.The River Mersey has undergone the greatest clean-up of any river in Europe over the last thirty years.

38.A next step in the river’s recent evolution could be to harness its huge tidal range to produce power for the City Region’s businesses and citizens.

40.Once an economic and environmental case is made, the government will consider the Liverpool City Region scheme on its merits.

You can read the full document here https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/477385/Liverpool_devolution_deal_unsigned.pdf

There have been previous proposals for a barrage, fortunately the economics did not stack up so it did not proceed.  Let us hope the economics are the same this time.  However, rather than relying on that we think we should be doing all we can to influence the debate and get this proposal withdrawn before it gets too much momentum.

We have written to our MP’s to express our feelings about this. If you want to do the same you might mention that the estuary is:

  • Internationally important for its birdlife
  • Designated as a Ramsar site and a Special Protection Area under the Birds’ Directive
  • Is the 14th best wetland in the UK for birds
  • The most important best place in Britain for wintering Dunlin and Shelduck.
  • Also internationally important for black-tailed godwit, ringed plover and redshank.
  • Nationally important for teal and curlew.

These birds rely on the intertidal mud for feeding and any proposal, like a barrage, that will reduce the extent, either in time or space, of the intertidal area will have a very damaging effect on these important bird species.

The Mersey Estuary is a real jewel, although there is much industry surrounding it, the estuary itself is a wild and unspoilt haven for internationally important  wildlife.