05.03.16. Birdlog

05.03.16. Curlew, Lordship Lane, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton (1)

A watch over Frodsham Score was rewarded with distant views of a Great White Egret hiding in the rough marsh grass. A flock of 87 Pink-footed Geese were along the marsh edge close to the water line with a lone Barnacle Goose loitering on the periphery of the group. The Whooper Swan herd was too far out on Ince salt marsh for a real count. Generally a below par performance by the birds, although a ‘low’ high tide wasn’t going to push much closer in today.

05.03.16. Frodsham Hill from Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton

A huge gathering of Black-headed Gull that flew in for a bathe after spending much of their time in the flooded fields close to the motorway were notable. Also present were the county high flock of 178 Shoveler and with them 26 Pintail which is a good count on the marsh these days. The Common Pochard have reduced in numbers with just 14 birds and c250 Common Teal continue to like the flooded daisy clumps.

The usual gathering of several hundred (nervous) Lapwing included several hundred Golden Plover including a few sporting black bellies and a lone Ruff.

05.03.16. M56, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton

A view across the M56 motorway looking north-west to the raised banks of No.5 tank.

A Curlew count along Lordship Lane revealed 80 birds and a sizable movement headed out to and settled on the river. Their numbers have been increasing lately and are birds preparing for the big push north.05.03.16. Golden Plovers, No.6 tank, Marsh Farm, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton (2)

Ewe and lamb, Paul CrawleyA watch from Marsh Farm was a bit hit and miss with the Peregrine pair watched preening on the tall chimney standing high above Weston Point. Out on the Mersey Estuary were 7 Avocet, 120 Oystercatcher, 400 Curlew, 50 Redshank and small numbers of Dunlin.

05.03.16. Buzzard and Pheasant, No.3 tank, Marsh Farm, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton (11)One of the features of the day was the sight of a Common Buzzard sat up on a fence post on the mitigation area of No.3 tank. It was feeding on worms when a male Pheasant walked beneath the post it was sat on. The buzzard didn’t even give the game bird a second glance (a lesson here).

The Starlings gathered again in fields adjacent to the farm with another impressive flock streaming out and over Runcorn Hill.

05.03.16. Starlings, No.2 tank, Marsh Farm, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton (2)

05.03.16. Fieldfare Moorditch Lane, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton (2)

05.03.16. Starlings, No.2 tank, Marsh Farm, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton (8)

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A small flock of Fieldfare and Redwing were in the hawthorn bushes along Moorditch Lane in the last sunlight of the day.

An incredible movement of gulls pouring into the Mersey Estuary at dusk is bewildering to watch and with the Starling flocks over head it is difficult at times to find a point of concentration. Two young(ish) birders over at Hale covered it nicely tonight. Read about it here: http://birdingtheboundary.blogspot.co.uk/

Observers: Tony Broome, Frank Duff, WSM (images 1-4 & 6-9). Image 5 by Paul Crawley.

04.03.16. Birdlog

04.03.16. Pink-footed Geese on Frodsham Score, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton (4)

A late afternoon walk along the Manchester Ship Canal from Ince Berth. Driving past the Pig Farm and the field along the track held many Curlew and at least 20 Mallard feeding on the sodden ground. On to the ship canal and a good scattering of Gadwall, Common Teal, more Mallard and a large raft of Coot were out on the water. Frodsham Score salt marsh continues to hold onto the flock of Pink-footed Goose amongst the many Canada Goose with Common Shelduck and even more Curlew noted. 04.03.16. Birds on Frodsham Score, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton (5)

04.03.16. Birds on Frodsham Score, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton (6)A flock of Golden Plover flew low over the canal and out on to the marsh where Raven and Great Black-backed Gulls were patrolling for the many carcasses left out there. The swan herd also had 3 Greylag Goose companion back on the field alongside the gutter. A carpet of Starling could be seen feeding on the salt marsh before heading to roost. Winter Hill was white with snow in the distance and stood out against the skyline. Back at the start of my walk and c30 Little Egret were feeding in their regular field before taking to the trees for the night.

Observer and image: Paul Ralston.

There were 2 Great White Egret on the score marsh and/or out on the estuary this pm period and a group of 5 Avocet that flew in and pitched in the gutter by the the Weaver Sluices were typically Spring migrants  per Dave Craven.

03.03.16. Birdlog

03.03.16. Starlings over Marsh Farm, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton (50)

Over the last week or two Dave Craven and Ian ‘Iggy’ Iggsden have been picking up an increasing number of north bound white-winged gulls passing Hale Head and Within Way at dusk over on the north banks of the Mersey Estuary. I thought I’d give it a go after work but looking via the south bank from Marsh Farm.

03.03.16. Starlings over Marsh Farm, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton (40)

03.03.16. Starlings over Marsh Farm, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton (42)When I arrived after work I had an hour and a bit to play with so after sensibly parking up at the farm I set up my scope. The first spectacle to greet me was a huge flock of Starlings gathered on the banks of Frodsham Score across the Manchester Ship Canal from the farm. There must have been 20,000 birds getting a last feed in before their flight to roost (presumably) on Runcorn Bridge. During the course of the hour birds started to gather from all directions. I have witnessed Starling flocks in various numbers in this area on many occasions but the spectacle of these birds was truly awesome. I would estimate that there were in excess of 50,000 and as the smaller groups glued onto other smaller groups and in turn latched onto much bigger parties they streamed out in a funnel out over Weston Point. It was gobsmackingly brilliant to watch. A Merlin perched up on a fence by the farm was similarly gobsmacked because she didn’t even make an attempt to attack them!

03.03.16. Starlings over Marsh Farm, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton (74)

Anyway, this wasn’t the reason why I subjected my car to the bone jarring pot holes on the way along Brook Furlong Lane. I had come to watch the gulls pour through the narrows at Runcorn and filter out into the estuary. There were thousands upon thousands of them flooding in with Black-headed, Common, Lesser Black and Greater Black-backed and Herring Gulls. During the time I was there three separate adult Iceland Gulls flew in and pitched down on a sand bar close to the area adjacent to the gantry wall opposite Christchurch. A remarkable period of observation condensed into 30 minutes before I tried to squeeze as much light from the gloom through the objective lens on my scope before the darkness cloaked the day.

Observer and images: WSM