31.03.16. Birdlog

3103.16. Chiffchaff, Frodsham Marsh. Tony Broome (2)

A slow walk along Brook Furlong and then an hour or two at Marsh Farm in the sunshine, looking for migrants. I only had a few hours and arrived at around 1.00pm.

3103.16. Frodsham Marsh. Tony Broome (1)It was great to feel the sun on my face, even though the north-east breeze took the edge off it. Despite a very noisy helicopter going directly overhead, Brook Furlong seemed to have singing Chiffchaff everywhere with at least 12, mostly singing, birds. 2 Siskin went over calling heading north and a female Brambling briefly showed itself in a Hawthorn before flitting across the road and disappearing.

A male Kestrel hunted over the pheasant fields and 4 released Red-legged Partridge fed along the field edges and a large flock of Jackdaws, probably around 60, fed in the Go-kart field.

3103.16. Frodsham Marsh. Tony Broome (3)At Marsh Farm there were Common Buzzard soaring overhead most of the time with 8 birds noted. 4 Sand Martin flew briskly north and disappeared out over the River Mersey towards Hale. Both male and female Sparrowhawk put in an appearance but alas, no Osprey. Ravens squabbled in the blue sky, fighting over territory and mates.

On the way out I stopped by the ramp up to No.6 tank, still closed. A Jay flew over the car and 6 Rook fed in the field alongside the motorway. A Peacock Butterfly flew past and Buff-tailed Bumblebee were numerous, with at least 15 out and about. A nice, but brief excursion.

Observer: Tony Broome (images 1-3).

31.03.16.Pied Wagtail, Marsh Farm, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton

After work and a visit to Marsh Farm to check for migrants and although there wasn’t any obvious new arrivals it did provide some interesting sightings.

31.03.16. Iceland Gull, Mersey Estuary, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton

31.03.16. Great Black-backed Gull (1st winter), No.1 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill MortonA scan across the embankments of the Manchester Ship Canal to the Gantry wall adjacent to the Weaver Sluices was rewarded with a 3rd winter Iceland Gull in with the many hundreds of other large gulls. A 1st winter Great Black-backed Gull was feasting on a dead lamb close to the track on No.1 tank (and a gruesome sight it was too!).

31.03.16. Sunset, Mersey Estuary, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton25 Raven were busily feeding on another sheep carcase out on Frodsham Score while 6 Common Buzzard were having a concerted effort at controlling the newly increased Rabbit population there.

A fine setting sun topped off a cold but good evening bird watch on the marsh.

Observers: Paul Booth, WSM (images 4-7)

30.03.16. Birdlog

30.03.16. male Wheatear, Lordship Lane, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton (3)

A walk around Blakemere, Delamere Forest this afternoon where we spotted 7 Mediterranean Gull still present on the water there.

After our walk at Delamere we called in on Frodsham Marsh to see if there were any migrants about. Walking along the lane from the motorway bridge we were greeted with a ‘Road Closed’ sign at the junction of Moorditch Lane and the ramp track to No.5 tank. This was expected since there have been signs posted at various spots on the route but it shouldn’t cause too much reason for concern if you are visiting the marsh on foot.The walk along Moorditch didn’t produce much in the way of birds except for an increase the number of Chiffchaff which seemed to be singing from several spots.

30.03.16. Fox, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton (2)

We continued until we reached Lordship Lane where a male Wheatear was feeding in the closely mowed field by the model aircraft field. A look over No.6 tank produced a much reduced gathering of ducks. The most prominent species were again the Shoveler with 128 present. Smaller numbers of Common Teal and Shelduck, Tufted Duck, Pintail, Gadwall and Mallard. The Black-tailed Godwit flock were also down in numbers but were still a fairly large group with 60 Golden Plover and Dunlin keeping close to the vegetated area.

A dog Fox was hunting mice in the tall grass out in the fields.

Observers: Sparky, WSM (and images).

29.03.16. Birdlog

29.03.16. Common Buzzard with drake Mallard prey, Moorditch Lane, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton (4)

A quick trek up to Marsh Farm to connect with any Wheatears that may have dropped in. A Common Buzzard was struggling to carry off its victim a recently caught drake Mallard from the fields alongside Moorditch Lane. A walk along Brook Furlong Lane and a female Merlin shot over to fly low over the flooded fields east of No.5 tank before settling on top of the hedgerow there.

29.03.16. Merlin (female), Brook Furlong Lane, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton.

At the farm the rain clouds rolled in just after I spotted a herd of Whooper Swan out on the salt marsh. There was little of note on the incoming tide and apart from 14 Raven. We decided that strategic departure was required before the black clouds got closer, in the end it wasn’t quick enough. No Wheatears noted.

Observers: Sparky, WSM (and images).

28.03.16. Birdlog

28.03.16. Ruff, No.3 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton (5)After working the Bank Holiday weekend it was with some keenness that I ventured out into the aftermath of Storm Katie. As it turned out there wasn’t much in the way of storm driven seabirds or hoards of advancing northbound migrants either.

28.03.16. Ringed Ploverf, No.3 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill MortonI took on the assault course that is the pot-holed trench tracks along Moorditch/Lordship Lanes to reach the mitigation area on No.3 tank (note to Peel Energy/CHC contractors – pull your fingers out with regard to filling in that pipe-line ditch on the ramp track to No.5 tank and give us our access back).

28.03.16. Ravens in ritual courtship, No.3 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton (5)

28.03.16. Ruff, No.3 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton (42)

When I eventually reached my destination and the shaking from driving subsided, I set up my scope to view the flooded fields of No.3 tank. A few Ringed Plover joined the displaying Redshank along with small flocks of Black-tailed Godwit and Ruff. Also present were scattered Dunlin, Common Teal, Gadwall and Shoveler. A pair of Raven were in mid-flight above the raised banks of No.5 tank using the air currents to produce lift. One bird was carrying a patch of dried grass in a ritual display to its partner. A little later another was having fun pulling the long tail feathers of a male Pheasant. Perched up on the blue-topped chimney was the Peregrine.

28.03.16. Teals, No.6 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton (4)

Over on No.6 tank the water level had risen since my last visit, probably due to the biblical rains we had on Saturday. The birds present included: a single Great Crested Grebe, a few Common Snipe, 6 Wigeon, 4 Pintail, 12 Tufted Duck, 200 Common Teal, and 213 Shoveler. A Common Buzzard was feeding on worms along the track above No.6 tank.

28.03.16. Golden Plover, No.6 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton (2)28.03.16. Golden Plover, No.6 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton (8)

28.03.16. Black-tailed Godwit, No.3 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton (7)28.03.16. Black-tailed Godwit, No.3 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton (3)28.03.16. Black-tailed Godwits, No.6 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton (1)The Golden Plover flock is much reduced but still contained about 300 birds and likewise the Black-tailed Godwit numbers were down numbering 150 birds, mostly sporting their ruddy summer dress.

28.03.16. Ruff, No.3 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton (42)

A Cetti’s Warbler singing from a reed bed was again notable.

Observers: Paul Ralston, WSM (images 1-11).

28.03.16. Meadow Pipit, Frodsham Marsh. Paul Crawley (1)

On the way back there was a male Stonechat between No’s 4 and 6 and a male Sparrowhawk on 4. There were a lot of Curlew on Lordship Marsh between the airfield and the M56 later joined by a dozen or so Black-tailed Godwit and a (released) Red-legged Partridge also in the field next to the airfield. A worm eating Kestrel have a welcomed photographic opportunity (see image).

28.03.16. Kestrel, Frodsham Marsh. Paul Crawley (2)

A report of an Avocet on the Weaver Bend and a Chiffchaff were the only addition to the day.

Observer: Paul Crawley (images 12-13).

27.03.16. Birdlog

06.04.13. Wheatear (male), No 1 tank, Frodsham marsh. Paul Crawley (3)

The first Wheatear of the Spring sprung out on the fields west of No.6 tank. The same two or another pair on and then flew overhead No.5 tank (TB). An additional male was along Straight Length Lane (PC/FD). Just after midday 6 Sand Martin flew east over No.3 tank.

27.03.16. patrol boat HMS Express, Manchester Ship Canal, Frodsham Marsh. Paul Crawley..27.03.16. patrol boat HMS Biter, Manchester Ship Canal, Frodsham Marsh. Paul CrawleyAbove image patrol boat HMS Biter and bottom image the HMS Express both sail along the Manchester Ship Canal below Marsh Farm.

Out on the shallow waters of No.6 tank were 3 Ruff, 250 Golden Plover, 50 Redshank, 100 Dunlin, 600 Black-tailed Godwit with some of these present on No.3 tank. Raptors included a Sparrowhawk over No.3 tank where a female  Merlin was noted. On the Weaver Estuary 3 of the last Goldeneye were still present.

27.03.16. patrol vehicle from MHP, Lordship Lane, Frodsham Marsh. Paul Crawley

Due to the recent anti-social activity concerning off-road vehicles on the marsh the Police have stepped up their presence.

Observers: Tony Broome, Paul Crawley (images 1-4), Frank Duff.

25.01.15. Eastern Jackdaw, Runcorn, Cheshire. Bill Morton (14)

Still present along Park Road by the modal boating lake was the albeit occasional  Eastern (infused) Jackdaw which was  with a Western form. Both have been paired up in the area for a couple of years now and it’s worth popping in to have a look if you’re in the area. Image of the same bird from 2015.

Observer and image: WSM.

26.03.16. Birdlog

23.03.16. Blue Tit, Tatton Park. Bill Morton (2)

The morning started well with a Cetti’s Warbler at an undisclosed site where a Great Spotted Woodpecker, Goldcrest and Jay were noted.

Observer: Frank Duff.

few ramblings from this morning perambulation starting off along Brook Furlong Lane and the usual Blue, Great and Long-tailed Tits with Goldfinch and Chaffinch in equally small numbers but  5 Chiffchaff and the odd one calling.

25.03.16. Gadwall, Frodsham Marsh. Tony Broome  (2)The Weaver Bend had plenty of Tufted Duck, 4 Gadwall c50 Canada’s and 20 Shelduck. Alas, no Goldeneye. Back tracking to Marsh Farm where singing Skylark with Pied Wagtail and Reed Bunting were here and there and a large flock of Curlew was on the nearby No.1 tank.
Out on the Frodsham Score and the Ravens were enjoying the 50 mph winds with the odd Common Buzzard joining in the free ride. A wind sapped Kestrel was trying its best to hover in between gusts. The low tide out on the salt marsh dispersed the birds far and wide and didn’t keep the birds together so most were spread widely.

25.03.16, Common Buzzard, Frodsham Marsh. Tony Broome (15)
A hike to No.6 tank against the wind produced next to nothing apart from our watery eye. The birds that greeted us included several hundred Tufted Duck, Shoveler were everywhere so a rough count of 250 being a conservative estimate. Out on the shallower water were 399 Black-tailed Godwit were scattered with c300 birds joined by 3-400 Lapwing. Common Teal were enjoying the exposed mud as well as the godwits. The Redshank were also fairly common with 15-20 Ruff.

25.03.16. Snipe, Frodsham Marsh, Paul Crawley.

26.03.16. Birder, No.5 tank, frodsham Marsh. Paul Hickey (2)A flock of 80 Golden Plover dropped in showing off their breeding plumage and were preparing for their journey north. Other birds of note 2 Mute Swan, 6 Pintail and a handful of Gadwall.

Another Chiffchaff was along the hedgerow. Back onto Lordship Lane produced more Chiffchaff, Long-tailed Tit, Goldfinch and Chaffinch. More Reed Bunting were present and another Kestrel was hunkering down in a hawthorn bush.

Back to the car and a Coward’s pie was in order a great few hours on a very blustery marsh.
Observers: Robbie Allcock, Paul Kurs, Shaun Hickey (image 5)  & dogs Pip and Tess.
Photograph credits: Tony Broome (image 2-3); Paul Crawley (image 4); WSM (image 1).

25.03.16. Birdlog

25.03.16. Meadow Pipit, Frodsham Marsh. Paul Crawley (2)

25.03.16. Stonechat, Frodsham Marsh. Paul Crawley (2)A really great day to be birding out and about in North Cheshire. We walked out from Marsh Lane along the track of Moorditch and Lordship Lanes hoping to find our first summer migrants on the marsh this Spring. Eventually, we were encamped on the banks of No.4 tank watching the 9.2 metre tide slowly edge its way up river. There wasn’t much movement on the salt marsh to keep the scope hot, but there was a few lingering winter species enjoying the bright light and warm sunshine. These included 67 Pink-footed Goose and 13 Whooper Swan. A Peregrine was sat out on a piece of drift wood but didn’t cause much concern (other Peregrines were seen at Marsh Farm and on a pylon close to the go-cart fields). Small numbers of Little Egret were tidal channel hopping with the ubiquitous Canada Goose scattered far and wide. The River Weaver had 3 male and 4 female Goldeneye sharing it with a couple of Common Pochard.

25.03.16. View to Winter Hill from No.4 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton25.03.16. Goldfinch, Frodsham Marsh. Paul Crawley (2)Retracing our steps we stopped to check the birds on No.6 tank which as always doesn’t disappoint. A gathering of 1000 Black-tailed were taking advantage of the much lower water level on the tank. Also present were 100 winter plumaged Dunlin looking all grey and nondescript (just wait, hopefully they’ll start to look good before they move north). The Redshank flock contained 50 birds with 9 Ruff, 600 Golden Plover (several in beautiful summer plumage) and the occasional Common Snipe to bolster their numbers.

25.03.16. Gadwall, Frodsham Marsh. Tony Broome  (1)

25.03.16. Oystercatcher, Frodsham Marsh. Tony Broome  (4)The open water had 178 Shoveler, 3 pairs of Wigeon, 10 Gadwall, 34 Common Shelduck, 6 Pintail,  150 Common Teal, 78 Tufted Duck and 56 Mallard. No.3 tank had 3 Ringed Plover while across No.2 tank a Oystercatcher was feeding on worms along the track from Marsh Farm.

Other birds of note: 4 Avocet were on the Weaver Bend with another 16 on Frodsham Score. 30 Raven including a pair performing their aerial courtship flight high above with 7-10 kettleing Common Buzzard soaring above and a Sparrowhawk flying north over No.3.

25.03.16. Chiffchaff, Frodsham Marsh. Tony Broome (6)

The smaller perching birds (passerines) include: 2 singing Chiffchaff – old log and No.5 tank, a female Stonechat close to the old log area, a late Redwing and a migrating Coal Tit at No.3-6 tanks.

25.03.16, Skylark, Frodsham Marsh. Tony Broome (10)

A few Small Tortoiseshell Butterflies, Ladybirds and Buff-tailed Bumblebees were on the wing.

25.03.16, Starlings, Frodsham Marsh. Tony Broome (18)

Observers: Tony Broome (images 5-9), Paul Crawley (images 1-2 & 4), Sparky, WSM (image 3).

24.03.16. Birdlog

24.03.16. Merlin, Frodsham Score. Paul Ralston.

An afternoon walk along the Manchester Ship Canal from Ince Berth to No.4 tank with an eye open for Spring migrants alas none were seen.24.03.16. Whooper Swans, Frodsham Score. Paul Ralston.

My watch started well with a Kingfisher on the ditch leading to the berth and then 8 Whooper Swan out on the salt marsh. 24.03.16. Pink-footed Geese, Frodsham Score. Paul Ralston.

flock of c 60 Pink-footed Goose were dotted about Frodsham Score amongst the many Canada’s. 20 Mute Swan were in the field alongside the Holpool Gutter. A collection of Mallard, Gadwall, Common Teal, and Common Shelduck were on the ship canal and a Merlin crossed the water to land on a post with 12 Coot sitting under the post it had settled on and they decided it was too close for their comfort and they retreated back to the safety of the water. Several Raven were in the area and a pair of Common Buzzard sat in the bushes on the bank of No.4. Back at the car and the Kingfisher was seen again speeding away along the ditch.

Observer and images: Paul Ralston

Wind Farm in Photos #1

20.03.16. No.4, Frodsham Marsh from Helsby Hill. Bill Morton..

20.03.16. No.4 and No.6 tank, Frodsham Marsh from Helsby Hill. Bill Morton Lordship Marsh/Lane and the silage tank (top image) in the foreground with the ramp track leading from the lane to No.4 tank with No.6 tank (centre right & upper image).The 2nd image also showing one of the canal sludge pipes (at the south-west corner of No.6 tank).

20.03.16. No.4 tank, Frodsham Marsh from Helsby Hill. Bill Morton (5)20.03.16. No.4 tank, Frodsham Marsh from Helsby Hill. Bill Morton (12)

20.03.16. No.4 tank, Frodsham Marsh from Helsby Hill. Bill Morton (13)

The above images show Lower Rake Lane leading to Lordship Lane and the access track up and across the west end of No.4 tank. Below the centre line of scattered trees lays the Manchester Ship Canal and beyond that is the southern Mersey salt marshes (Frodsham Score) and the River Mersey.20.03.16. No.4 tank, Frodsham Marsh from Helsby Hill. Bill Morton (11)

The centre of No.4 tank with the pale areas showing the bases to the wind turbines and lower parts of the image shows the access track on Lordship Marsh.

20.03.16. No.4 tank, Frodsham Marsh from Helsby Hill. Bill Morton (3)Hill View Farm on Lordship Marsh with No.4 tank and the River Mersey beyond.

20.03.16. No.4 tank, Frodsham Marsh from Helsby Hill. Bill Morton (10)

20.03.16. No.4 tank, Frodsham Marsh from Helsby Hill. Bill Morton (1)

The south-west corner of 4 and the arable land of Lordship Marsh. The bottom image showing the raised base for one of the 21 wind turbines. Hale lighthouse in the background on the north banks of the River Mersey.

20.03.16. No.4 and No.6 tank, from Helsby Hill. Bill Morton.

No.6 tank set in the middle of Frodsham Marsh.

27.02.16. No.4 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton (4) 07.02.16. No.4 tank, frodsham Marsh. Shaun Hickey.

Work on the foundations for the turbine bases on No.4 tank.

01.10.15. Wind Farm turbine bases, No.1 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton (2) 01.10.15. Wind Farm turbine bases, No.1 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton (1)

More bases in position on No.1 tank.

All images by WSM.

20.03.16. Birdlog

20.03.16. Ringed Plover, No.3 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Findlay WildeIt’s been a while since I’ve been to the marsh, so I was really shocked to see the access ramp to No.6 tank totally dug up and inaccessible. So we set off for a long trip right round the tank in the other direction via Lordship Lane.

20.03.16. Pheasant, No.3 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Findlay Wilde

It was quiet most of the way round due to the remote control planes zipping round. A quick look over the far end of No.6 tank showed just how dry that section is, and the only bird life seen there was a couple of Pheasants.

01.08.15. Black-tailed Godwit, No.6 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Heather Wilde (6)

Further round, the ‘Splashing Pool’ was occupied by a few Coot. The mitigation area on No.3 tank held 5 Ringed Plover, Teal, Canada Geese, Mallard and a few more Coot. 4 Raven could be seen and heard in the distance.

The sun was glaring over No.6 making viewing conditions a bit awkward. But the main birds on there were Black-tailed Godwit, about 30 Ruff, a scattering of Dunlin, a single Pintail and more Common Teal. Two Grey Heron were feeding in amongst the godwits.

21.09.14. Common Buzzard, No.6 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Heather and Findlay Wilde.

3 Buzzard were circling over No.3 tank which spooked a big group of Pheasants out of the long grass. So a short, but productive visit, but great to see some waders.

Observers: Findlay and Heather Wilde (images 1-4).

20.03.16. Allan Williams WW2 gun turret, Frodsham Marsh from Helsby Hill. Bill Morton.

While Team Wilde had their actual feet on the marsh, we were taking images of the marsh from Helsby Hill for an update on the wind turbine workings.I lugged my scope/tripod and camera gear up from the village below on a glorious day to be out and about. It is quite interesting to scan the area from the hills for birds down on the river. The Great White Egret and 4 Little Egret, 127 Pink-footed Goose, 11 Whooper Swan and a couple Peregrine were clearly visible in the same area as yesterday with an additional 6 winter swans in the Ince marsh fields.

Observers: Sparky, WSM (image 5).