Mersey Tidal Barrage

Mersey estuary by Allerton Oak/Brendon CoxPlease do this consultation and help us to stop a tidal barrier effecting the life of the Mersey Estuary. It will only take a few minutes to complete but could save the estuary and the lives of tens of thousands of waterfowl, shorebirds and other plants and wildlife that exist or in part use the estuary in their everyday lives.

Liverpool City region consultation – http://www.liverpoolcityregion-ca.gov.uk/

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You can cut and paste or utilise these comments if you wish.

I do not want to see the Mersey Estuary used to generate tidal power. A barrage or anything that will interfere with the normal tidal flow of the Mersey will limit the spatial or temporal availability of the mudflats.  This will have a devastating effect on the internationally important birdlife.  The Mersey estuary is the best site in the UK for overwintering dunlin and moulting shelduck.  Both species would be adversely affected by a tidal barrage.

27.07.16. Birdlog

27.07.16. Marsh Harrier (female), No.6 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton (1)A little saunter down to the marsh after work and to check on what’s happening on No.6 tank. The construction of the 14th wind turbine is almost complete over on No.4 tank with another five more to go.

27.07.16. Dulin, No.6 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton (2)

Back to the birding and the water on No.6 tank is finally dropping to a level to encourage waders back and a group of 19 Dunlin including the first juvenile bird, 4 Ruff and 56 Black-tailed Godwits is very promising for the next few weeks (fingers crossed). There were many ducks on the open water with c65 Tufted Duck, 49 Gadwall, 61 Mallard, 12 Shoveler, 23 Common Teal and an assortment of Common Shelduck and their young. A female Marsh Harrier was hunting the south vegetated areas of the tank and looked very much like a Red Kite with its central tail feathers missing.

27.07.16. Black-tailed Godwits, No.6 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton (2)

A party of 5 Yellow Wagtail flew over while one or two juvenile Reed Warbler could still be found in the reed beds below the track. On leaving the area a group of 100 Common Swift dropped in to feed over the fields.

27.07.16. No.6 tank. Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton

27.07.16. Frodsham from the M56. Bill Morton (4)

A view of Trinity Church and Fox Hill beyond.

Observers: Emily Traynor, WSM (and images).

24.07.16. Birdlog

24.07.16, Great Crested Grebes, No.6 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton

24.07.16, Peregrine on the blue-topped chimney from, Frodsham Marsh. Bill MortonIt’s been a river of two halves recently with the good ship ‘Hale and Hearty’ sailing away with all the bird bounty comparing, Unfortunately our leaky old tub the ‘Mary Celeste’ is ploughing a lone furrow and in need of a life buoy. Anyway enough of mixed metaphors.

I just managed to get my WeBS count in after working this weekend. I was also hoping in vain that the ‘ibis’ might find its way to this side of the water during the high tide, but it’s taste is presently favoured to the north side. All said and done there was little in the surprise department far as new birds were concerned. I have listed the species worthy of note below.

A female Marsh Harrier was sat on the fence post bordering the track on No.5 tank but all I managed to see was through the cars rear view mirror before it flipped over the bank. It did reappear later quartering the fields of the tank. There were quite a few Raven loafing about on both No.5 and over on Frodsham Score. A flyover Yellow Wagtail  is typical of their performance this summer and to be honest they’ve not been that regular this summer.

24.07.16, Wigeon (male), No.3 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton (1)

The main aim of my visit was to record the number of waterfowl on both No.6  and the mitigation area on No.3 tanks. A drake Wigeon was on No.3 tank with a few Gadwall and 20 Greylag Goose. Another Wigeon flew in and disappeared into the vegetation on the far side of six. The commonest bird on the water was Tufted Duck which were gathered closely on the eastern side of the tank and thus easy to count  the 243 birds, with the tufties were just 3 Common Pochard. Common Shelduck adults were surprisingly scarce and those here were keeping an eye on the 50 youngsters feverishly feeding up. Gadwall and Mallard both mustered 32 and 54 respectively while Common Teal reached a good 43 birds. A small gathering of Canada Goose were in the flooded daisy beds with the rest out on the Mersey estuary no doubt. There were just 3 Mute Swan today along with an adult and juvenile Great Crest Grebe and 4 Little Grebe out in the open. Shorebirds were thin on the ground with just a single Ringed Plover and 6 Common Snipe.

A big barrel chested Peregrine sat out on the blue-topped chimney (pictured above) and watched all the comings and goings on out on the big river.

The skies above No.5 tank were alive with 500 Common Swift feeding above the tree line.

Observer and images: WSM.

21.07.16. Birdlog

21.07.16. Little Grebe, No.6 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton (2)

(Culicoides impunctatus) MidgesI’d rather face a Notch-horned Cleg armed to its teeth (or stylets) than have to run the gauntlet of a surreptitious ambush from the mighty marsh midges (Culicoides impunctatus). My arms are covered with (their nettle sting like) bites and I can’t even say it was worth the effort birding here this evening! All the same and for what it’s worth the usual Tufted Duck/Common Pochard combo were again present on the waters of No.6 tank. Likewise, Common Shelduck parents were still fostering an excess of surrogate chicks with shelducklings in a variety of age creches. A Little Grebe gave some good views as it sat preening on the waters below the banks from where I was watching.

21.07.16. Little Ringed Plovers, No.3 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton (1) The nettle and thistle smothered mitigation site had a small group of 8 Greylag Goose, 10 Gadwall, an adult and juvenile Little Ringed Plover.Flying Ant. Bill Morton

21.07.16. Flying Ant, No.3 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton.There was only 11 Raven moving out from Frodsham Score at dusk. The sounds of Reed and Sedge Warbler are diminishing daily as summer slowly nears its peak. A Yellow Wagtail called from nearby.

There were a few leftover flying ants about which kept the high-flying Swift, Swallow and House Martin up in the evening sky.

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Observer and images (except image 2): WSM.

19.07.16. Birdlog

19.07.16. No.6 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton (3)

The temperature was reading 31.5 degrees and it was a warm and sultry evening walk on the mean tracks of No.5 tank.

19.07.16. No.6 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton (1)

19.07.16. Shoveler, No.6 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton (1)It is difficult knowing where to kick off this post but it’s always a safe bet to begin with ducks. Tufted Duck were numbering 149 birds with 12 Common Pochard, 34 Gadwall, 3 Shoveler, 8 Common Teal and loads of Shelduck and their youngsters.

A Green Sandpiper was calling unseen from the banks below where I was standing but it didn’t break cover. Apart from a couple of Curlew, a flock of Lapwing, the sandpiper was the only decent wader present.19.07.16. Sundown from No.6 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton (1)

Well that was it really, except for a loose flight of 71 Raven heading south from Frodsham Score.

Observer and images: WSM.

Moorditch Lane

17.07.16. Sign on Moorditch Lane, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton (1)

17.07.16. Ditch along Moorditch Lane, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton (4)17.07.16. Ditch along Moorditch Lane, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton (2)17.07.16. Ditch along Moorditch Lane, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton (1)02.05.16. Rainbow over Moorditch Lane, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton (3)A few images of the wildlife-filled drainage channel bordering Moorditch Lane. Moorditch Lane track is one of the oldest thoroughfares on the marsh dating back to the Doomsday book. The lane was used in days of old to access the marshes at both Frodsham and Helsby. In more recent times (pre 1993) it was the main access route to the sludge pumping station.

Images by WSM.

17.07.16. Birdlog

17.07.16. Cuckoo (juvenile), No.5 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton (3)I could almost imagine hearing the song from the Isley Brothers 1974 version of Summer Breeze wafting through my mind as I walked out along the dusty track of No.5 tank. The weather was in glorious form, unfortunately a combination of heat haze, humidity and few birds more or less generated a pleasant summer walk in the breeze.

16.07.16. Wood Pigeons and turbines from Moorditch Lane, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton (3)

17.07.16. Wind turbines, No.6 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton (5)Well, there were a few birds to keep us entertained not least the juvenile Cuckoo that popped up in the scattered Elder bushes on No.5 tank. A few singing Sedge Warbler were still holding territory whilst recently fledged birds from many different passerine species were emerging from trees, bushes, reed beds and grassy meadows.

The mitigation on No.3 tank is basically a nettle bed with just a corner available for the intended species i.e Lapwing. A Ruff and a few Lapwing didn’t stay around for long with the steady turnover of people enjoying a walk around the marsh today. Unfortunately whenever the Lapwing flock resettled they were flushed again by the next group of people passing by.

17.07.16.Little Grebes (juvenile), No.6 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton (7)Out on No.6 tank the ducks present very much reflected the same species as yesterday along with a juvenile Great Crested Grebe was a healthy supply of parent and juvenile Dabchick.

17.07.16. Reed Bunting (male), No.5 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton (18)

The begging calls of juvenile Common Buzzard chasing their parents high in the sky filled the air and one particular bird was attracting the unwelcomed attention of a Kestrel.

17.07.16. Sign on Moorditch Lane, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton (2)

A day of little activity from the birds and their “managed habitat” on No.3 tank and of course we birders.

Cuckoo video: https://vimeo.com/175145279 

Observers: Tony Broome, Paul Ralston, WSM (video and images).

16.07.16. Birdlog

15.07.16. Blue-topped chimney from Runcorn Heath. Bill Morton (1)A mornings bird watch and there were 5 Avocet and a Ruff, a flock of Dunlin and Ringed Plover which were present towards the west end of No.5 tank until a juvenile Peregrine flew through (presumably the bird PR saw later?).

The flock of Black-tailed Godwit were on the mitigation area along with Lapwing, another Ruff and a single Golden Plover. A juvenile Cuckoo was also in the area.

Observer: Alyn Chambers.

A short walk around No.6 and a brief look over the Frodsham Score from the corner of 4 tank this morning. Both Reed and Sedge Warbler were active in the ditch alongside Lordship Lane and the Goldfinch were flocking together after what appeared to be a successful breeding season. There were 2 Kestrel hunting the bank keeping the Goldfinch and Linnet on the move. There were at least 4 Common Buzzard in the area. Hundreds upon hundreds of Canada Goose and smaller numbers of Greylag with there white domestic companions were at the river’s edge.

16.07.16. Peregrine (juvenile), Manchester Ship Canal, Frodsham Marsh. Paul Ralston (4)

A juvenile Peregrine flew past along the bank then went out over to the score putting fear in to the lapwing flock out there.

14.07.16. Peregrine, Ethelfleda railway bridge. Bill Morton (1)Another Peregrine was perched up on the blue-topped chimney and a third was on Ethelfleda railway bridge that runs parallel to the road bridge that crosses the narrows at Runcorn. A large number of swifts were heading west along the canal  and were followed by Sand and House Martin. Several family groups of Raven were back and forth over the Manchester Ship Canal after having their fill of marsh mutton. At least 3 Chiffchaff were observed by the ‘Pumping Station’, while a Great Crested Grebe was present on the water there. The Canal Pools held Little Grebe, Mallard and Tufted Duck with Skylark singing overhead.

16.07.16. Black-tailed Godwits, No.3 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Paul Ralston (2)

A flock of Black-tailed Godwit and Lapwing with a couple of Dunlin in attendance were resting at the mitigation area on No.3 tank. Meanwhile, No.6 held 200 Common Shelduck, 40 Mallard, 180 Tufted, 30 Gadwall and just a few Common Teal with more Little Grebe and a single Great Crested Grebe. There were several juvenile Grey Heron fishing in the flood water. A Chiffchaff was again calling by the north ramp track and a Sedge Warbler was feeding young nearby. The occasional flava wagtail flew over but they didn’t stop. A steady stream of Common Swift descended with the rain and joined several hundred hirundines over the south banks of six.

16.07.16. Common Swift, No.6 tank. Bill Morton (8) Observers: Paul Ralston images 2 & 4, WSM (images 1 & 3 & 5).

…and finally a small milestone but a big thanks to you and your continued support in taking the time to read through our sightings. Today we reached 300,000 views.

Frodsham Marsh Wind Farm in Photos #11

09.07.16. turbines, No.6 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton (2)

Above are the turbines and in the background are the Growhow works.

16.07.16. Frodsham Marsh Wind Farm from No.6 tank. Bill Morton

From today and the installation of another turbine on No.4 tank.

14.07.16. Black-tailed Godwits, No.6 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton (1)

A flock of Black-tailed Godwit fly out to via the wind farm en route to the estuary.

13.07.16. Frodsham Marsh Wind Farm from Pickerings Pasture. Bill Morton (8)

Five turbines erected on Frodsham Marsh with the width of the Mersey Estuary in the foreground.

13.07.16. Frodsham Marsh Wind Farm from Pickerings Pasture. Bill Morton (5)

13.07.16. Frodsham Marsh Wind Farm from Pickerings Pasture. Bill Morton (3)13.07.16. Frodsham Marsh Wind Farm from Pickerings Pasture. Bill Morton (7)A series of recent images of the wind farm as viewed from across the river along the north shore showing the turbines and their close proximity to the Blue-topped chimney at Weston Point.

17.07.16. Wind turbines, No.6 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton (1)

17.07.16. Wind turbines, No.6 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton (2)17.07.16. Wind turbines, No.6 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton (5)In fine weather the wind mills stand out.

All images by WSM.

14.07.16. Birdlog

14.07.16. Black-tailed Godwits (colour ringed) and Ruffs, No.3 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton (2)

14.07.16. Black-tailed Godwitsand Ruffs, No.3 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill MortonIt was blue skies and fluffy clouds kind of marsh visit with a surprisingly cool feel to the evening air. I met AH along Moorditch Lane and we both eventually en camped on the northern banks of No.5  looking out over the flooded No.6 tank below. Arthur immediately picked out the female Marsh Harrier that was literally harrying the juvenile Coot flock which were feeding in the daisy beds. The Coot typically panicked and kicked up lots of water splashes to discourage the raptor from taking one of them. She soon gave up this hunting tactic and flew out to the south end to drop down out of sight.

14.07.16. Wigeon (drake), No.3 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton (1)

14.07.16. Sun Halo, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton (6)The Tufted Duck were obviously cautious of the harrier and they flocked together into a loose nervous wreak raft. The 300 Common Shelduck weren’t too bothered with all the nervous energy and continued with their upend feeding.  Along with the ‘tufties’ were numerous Gadwall and 5 Common Pochard but the surprise was the first returning drake Wigeon of late summer.

A couple of Water Rail were being noisy in the reed bed below us while equally vocal was a singing Reed Warbler.

As mentioned earlier No.6 tank was flooded and with pumping of sludge into the north-west corner it will still be likely flooded for a while yet. A small flock of Black-tailed Godwit were wheeling around looking for their usual feeding area but they wouldn’t settle and appeared to fly out to the estuary. After Arthur left I walked up to the mitigation area on No.3 tank and it was soon evident that part of the flock of godwits had relocated here. Along with the 100 Black-tails (including a Portuguese colour-ringed bird details below) were 20 summer Dunlin, 3 Redshank and 4 Ruff.

14.07.16. Black-tailed Godwits (colour ringed) and Ruffs, No.3 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton (5)

The returning Raven flock were gathering over Frodsham Score with 20 birds. While I was leaving the Marsh Harrier reappeared and flew overhead and spent some time on No.5 before hunting the reed beds back on No.6 tank.12.07.16. Common Swift, No.5 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton (7)

14.07.16. Sun Halo, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton (4)

A halo sun gave a reasonably good display for the duration of my stay.

There were a few Common Swift dropping down to feed on the descending midges over the tracks.

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A Portuguese colour-ringed Black-tailed Godwit from No.3 tank.
Details of birds history:
15.02.14. Samouco, Tagus Estuary, Setúbal, W Portugal
20.03.14. Oud-Alblas, Molenwaard, Zuid-Holland, S Netherlands
06.04.15. Lawling Creek, Blackwater, Essex, E England
29.08.15. Hortas, Tagus Estuary, Setúbal, W Portugal
14.07.16. Frodsham Marsh, River Mersey, Cheshire, NW England

Observers: Arthur Harrison, WSM (and images).