28.04.16. Frodsham Festival of Walks

28.04.16. Frodsham Festival of Walkers, No.5 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton28.04.16. Jackdaw (partial luecistic), Moorditch Lane, Frodsham Marsh. Bill MortonA brief look over the fields by the motorway bridge and a flock of Jackdaw revealed a partial leucistic bird.

I wasn’t expecting many people to turn up for the Frodsham Festival of Walks this evening but at 7.00 pm, 20 hardy souls had gathered on the bridge that passes over the M56 on Marsh Lane. The atrocious rain that had blighted the day appeared to have eased and there was a blue window spreading over from Liverpool (never underestimate the British weather). As we walked along Moorditch Lane we entered No.5 tank up the muddy track overlooking No.6…and then the heavens opened! The flashes of lightning over Liverpool and then Frodsham Hill weren’t very reassuring especially when Findlay was the only person with his lightning conductor (telescope and tripod) to hand. The lightening was closely followed by a hail storm and we resorted to turning our backs to the storm to avoid the stinging hail stones which lashed faces, optics and birds.

28.04.16. Whimbrel, No.6 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Heather Wilde.When eventually the wind, rain and hail moved through we then began to really enjoy the spectacle that was present on the shallow flooded waters of the sludge tank below us. There were numerous Common Shelduck paired up with much smaller numbers of Common Teal, Gadwall and Shoveler. The main attraction was the Whimbrel flocks dropping out of the sky to settle for the night here. A flock of 18 birds were part of 27 birds present with a solitary Bar-tailed Godwit, 50 Black-tailed Godwit, 78 Redshank, 2 Ruff, 120 Dunlin and a Little Ringed Plover.

28.04.16. Frodsham Festival of Walks, No.6 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Heather Wilde.

Dragging ourselves away from the wader feast we continued our walk alongside the mitigation area on No.3 tank which looked good but delivered little. Approaching No.4 tank a female Marsh Harrier was seen in the distance but shortly after it reappeared flying over the banks of No.6 tank and above our heads before it did a quick U-turn and flipped back to resume hunting. A surprise was a Short-eared Owl that appeared over No.4 before flying north. A couple of Swift hurtled through avoiding the advancing rain belt  which was equally hurtling towards us.

No.4 tank had a ‘reeling’ Grasshopper Warbler and along Lordship Lane where a Sedge Warbler was audible.

Observers: Findlay & Heather Wilde (images 3-4), WSM (images 1-2) and the walkers from the Frodsham Festival of Walks.

28.04.16. Swift, No.1 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Tony Broome

28.04.16. Wheatear, No.1 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Tony BroomeTony Broome had a brief visit earlier in the day and managed a few shots of Swift and Wheatear in nice weather.

ASB on the Marsh (update)

I met with Sergeant Ian Wilson from Cheshire Police, based at Blacon and Frodsham, early in the day for a meeting to discuss the birds and conservation of the marsh and disturbance from scramblers and other anti-social behaviour. It was a good hour or so as I explained the work Peel are doing with the wind farm including the mitigation area and how the birds use the flyway between the River Mersey and Frodsham Score and the tanks including No.6 where they feed. Ian used it as an orientation exercise and to get an understanding of the conservation issues facing the marsh especially as it is now the breeding season and how scramblers can do much more damage than they realise. The weather was kind and pale blue skies and sunshine tempted a few birds out, even if the Swifts and hirundines would struggle to feed in only 4c. Not long afterwards the skies darkened and the rain began, getting heavy and persistent in a strengthening westerly wind.

Ian has asked that anyone visiting the marsh and witnessing scrambling or any other behaviour that is anti-social, to contact him on the number below. If possible, take photos and note registrations, but discreetly. Be careful not to place yourself in any confrontational situation or personal danger. Cheshire Police are training officers in rural crime and it will involve conservation issues no doubt. Ian is keen to gather intelligence on anything and as birders, we are in an ideal position to act as the eyes of the police.

Remember as well that Ian Howse from the Port of Liverpool Police and also Steve Turner, the conservation officer from CAWOS, are also keen to keep disturbance at Frodsham Marsh to a minimum, so you can also contact either of them. If on site and you need help for any reason, the security on site is SERVO, just stop one of their security guards.

Written contribution by Tony.

Contacts:

Cheshire Police – Sergeant Ian Wilson 01606 366009 / 07720 997505

Port of Liverpool Police – Sergeant Ian Howse 0151 949 1212 / 0151 949 6929 / 07876 474549

CAWOS – Steve Turner – turner.s@live.co.uk

Frodsham Festival of Walks

26.04.15. Frodsham Festival of Walks, No.3 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton

I am guiding a walk this evening around the marsh for birds.

Venue: Meet on the bridge that crosses the M56 on Brook Furlong Lane/Marsh Lane (accessed at the southern end of Frodsham’s Main Street).

Meeting time: 7.00 pm for a quick start.

The present weather forecast is for rain/showers (top photo from last year) so please wear appropriate clothing for the conditions, stout footwear or wellies and binoculars if you have them. We will be walking over tracks with some uneven ground. Please do not bring dogs on the walk (lambing season is still in progress and sheep wander widely).

Bill.