25.06.16. Birdlog & Nature Notes #52 (Part 2)

25.06.16. Ringlet I.C.I tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton (11)25.06.16. Common Shelducks, No.6 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill MortonWith the access ramp and track to No.5 tank closed by the dithering wind farm contractors, I decided to watch from the southern banks. As expected most of the birds were pushed against the north banks sheltering from the brisk north-west wind. The air was nonetheless warm so it didn’t detract from the situation but it did afford some crippling low flight views of hundreds of Common Swift zipping past and at times so close you could hear the snapping of their bills.25.06.16. Common Swifts and wind turbines, No.6 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton (38)

25.06.16. Little Egrets, No.6 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton (3)Out on the water there was a good selection ducks and other waterfowl which included: 126 Tufted Duck, 9 Common Pochard, 4 Shoveler, both Common Shelduck and Gadwall with ducklings, 16 Common Teal, 21 Mute Swan, a family party of Canada Goose and 3 Little Egret.

25.06.16. Common Swifts and wind turbines, No.6 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton (26)

The Black-tailed Godwit flock were hard to count as the kept mostly to the emerging vegetation on the margins of the tank but they all rose as one when a predator shot through revealing 350 birds. 14 Avocet were back on the same water with the odd Redshank for company.

25.06.16. Wind Turbines as viewed from the I.C.I tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton (4)

A Common Buzzard flew through with a heavy crop whilst to the right of my position another bird was hovering unconcerned by my presence. The female Marsh Harrier was seen briefly quartering the reed beds on six but didn’t linger for long.

25.06.16. Sand Martin, No.6 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton (8)

It was good to see the Raven families back with c20 birds rolling and tumberling in flight over Frodsham Score.

There’s been a build up of Sand Martin onto No.6 tank this month so 340 birds perched up on the dead stems of last years daisy stalks was a little odd? A short video of Common Swifts zipping past the camera here https://vimeo.com/172243558. Also the image 5 shows a Swift about to swallow a gnat.

25.06.16. Ringlet I.C.I tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton (14)

After a few hours birding on No.6 tank I headed off to bird watch the Weaver Bend and the adjacent I.C.I tank, both of which I have neglected lately. As it turned out I wasn’t to be disappointed. A Grasshopper Warbler ‘reeling’ away in a willow thicket was almost drowned out by the fiddling grasshoppers in the grass on the bank of the tank. Also noted was a ‘rattling’ Lesser Whitethroat with Willow Warbler, Chiffchaff and Blackcap joining the cacophony.25.06.16. Blue Butterfly, I.C.I tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton (1)

25.06.16. Large Skipper, I.C.I tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton (5)

Nature Notes #52 (Part 2)

Butterflies are always a distraction during the high summer months so it was a big thrill to find a few Ringlets on the eastern banks of the I.C.I tank. I texted Frank Duff and he joined me and we found even more, with an estimate of c80 individuals. Also present were Red Admiral, Small Tortoiseshell, a tatty Painted Lady, a female Common Blue, 3 Meadow Brown and 4 Large Skipper. All in all not a bad tally for the day.

29.06.16. Bee Orchid, Wigg Island. Cheshire. Bill Morton (69)

Bee Orchid29.06.16. Marsh Helleborine, Wigg Island. Cheshire. Bill Morton (6)

29.06.16. Marsh Helleborine, Wigg Island. Cheshire. Bill Morton (7)

Marsh Helleborine.

Local to the area and a selection of orchids could be found with Southern Marsh , Bee Orchid and Marsh Helleborine producing fine displays.

Observer and images: WSM.

Nature Notes #52

Yellow Water-lily Nuphar lutea Frodsham Marsh May28th16 0274
Yellow Iris Iris pseudacorus Frodsham Marsh May28th16 9655Whilst I was wandering about looking for insects at the end of May and into June, I began to look at some common species of wildflowers. As with the insects, it is easy to miss the obvious and walk past a beautiful and fascinating world, literally at your feet.
I can recognise families, but it is a long time since I’ve tried to specifically name any wildflowers let alone those growing on the various deposit tanks across the marsh.

Anyway, after noticing sprawling carpets of sky blue and cadmium yellow on No.4 tank, I began to take pictures with the aim of identifying them later. This in itself is a risky strategy as any botanist will tell you. What I had to do was to get down on my hands and knees with a hand lens and a suitable identification guide… but I am not that patient and didn’t have either a book or a lens on me anyway.

Wildflowers No4 tank May16
White Clover Trifolium repens Frodsham Marsh May 28th6 9652The added bonus was that many of the flowers were being visited by insects, there were bumblebees, solitary bees, butterflies and flies, so I enjoyed many hours wandering about in the sunshine looking at their interactions
I have spent a lot of time trying to correctly name the flowers below and I could be wrong, so anyone with other ideas please leave a comment and your correction. However, there was a wealth of information on the internet and many photographs to compare with, so I’m confident most are right. After all, they are meant to be ‘common’!

Red Clover Trifolium rubens Frodsham Marsh May 28th6 9648

I’m not going into the tedious and boring explanation of identification features or habitat requirements, but will just include pictures that show the flowers off to best effect and hopefully show how lovely even those ‘common’ species that are often taken for granted, can be and, just look at some of the names i.e’Dove’s-foot Crane’s-bill’…Wow! What a name! ‘Common Mouse-ear’…’Common Stork’s-bill’…and of course….’Field Forget-me-not’, a name for a flower that dates back to the 15th century and which originated in Germany as the German name for this flower is ‘Vergissmeinnicht’ which is three words, ‘Vergiss mein nicht’, in English, ‘Forget me not’.

Field Forget-me-not Myosotis arvensis Frodsham Marsh May22nd16 9391There is a romantic legend behind the name. In 15th-Century Germany, it was supposed that the wearers of the flower would not be forgotten by their lovers. Legend has it that in medieval times, a knight and his lady were walking along the side of a river. He picked a posy of flowers, but because of the weight of his armor he fell into the river. As he was drowning he threw the posy to his loved one and shouted “Forget-me-not.” It was often worn by ladies as a sign of faithfulness and enduring love.

Common Mouse-ear Cerastium fontanum Frodsham Marsh May22nd16 9401How romantic is that?

Common Mouse-ear
Common Bird's-foot Trefoil Lotus corniculatus Frodsham Marsh May 22nd16 9407
Common Birds-foot Trefoil
Dove's-foot Crane's-bill Frodsham Marsh May22nd16 9405
Doves foot Cranes-bill
Common Stork's-bill Erodium cicutarium Frodsham Marsh May22nd16 9399
Written and illustrated by Tony Broome. Flowers are: Water-lily, Yellow Flag Iris, Wildflowers, White Clover, Red Clover, Forget-me-not, Common Mouse-eared, Birdsfoot Trefoil, Doves-foot Cranes-bill, Common Storks bill.

Southern Marsh Orchid, I.C.I tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton

Southern Marsh Orchid by WSM.