30.08.16. Birdlog

29.08.16. Wind Turbines on Frodsham Marsh from Weston Road, Weston.. Bill Morton (3)

A late evening visit to watch over No.6 tank to see the dusk build up of ducks. The whole flooded tank was alive with birds. The sound of whistling Wigeon revealed 7 birds along with 340 Common Teal, 200 Tufted Duck, 12 Shoveler, 50 Common Shelduck, 30 Mallard and 21 Gadwall. Other birds of note were 40 Coot, 21 Moorhen, ! Water Rail and 9 Ruff.

A juvenile Marsh Harrier flew over while the usual Common Buzzard, Kestrel and Sparrowhawk were active this evening. Earlier in the day Steve O’Connell watched a Hobby hawking Dragonflies over the pipeline gate on No.1 tank. He said it was “half an hour of magic!”.

30.08.16. No.6 tank and turbines, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton (3)

There were large numbers of Black-headed Gull flying high over the marsh and the Mersey estuary presumably feeding on emerging airborne ants. High over the marsh Swallow and House Martin were gathering to feast on the flying bug bonanza while Starling are gathering in small parties and I guess it wont be long before they gather for their roosts here.

30.08.16. Sunset over No.6 tank and ducks, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton (1)

Other birds of note included 18 Raven heading south to roost in Wales.

30.08.16. Sunset over No.6 tank and ducks, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton (3)

Observer and images: WSM.

28.08.16. Birdlog

28.08.16. Common Buzzard, Frodsham Marsh. Tony Broome (3)

I decided a day down on the marsh would be in order but at a more leisurely pace and I arrived around 10 am with a couple of lattes from the usual coffee fuel stop at a branded coffee company in the village. It was overcast a fairly still but warm, high grey sky hiding the sun after a night of rain. It soon cleared with a fresh north-westerly breeze picking up and the sun came out to heat the air further and strangely, the 18 c felt a lot hotter.

28.08.16. Michaelmas Daisy, Frodsham Marsh. Tony Broome

A quick look at No.6 tank revealed a lot of water and mostly ducks and gulls. Around 150 each of Common Teal and Shoveler, 2 Wigeon, 2 Common Pochard and 200 Black-headed Gull. 2 Ruff fed closest to the north bank where I was stood but apart from 4 flying Common Snipe and 70 Lapwing which pitched in further to the west, they were the only waders. A car pulled up with birders looking for Wood Sandpiper and Little Stint. They’d heard it was a good place. It may be at times, but not today! There was an air of late summer, that still period where nothing much is moving or showing. The rest of the day would prove to be hard work with little reward. One thing I did notice was the carpet of Michaelmas Daisy/Sea Aster covering a lot of No.6 tank which was covered in swarms of hoverflies and honey bees. There must have been thousands on insects.

28.08.16. Shooters' fields, Frodsham Marsh. Tony BroomeI carried on towards No.3, to see what was on the mitigation area. Rabbits by the side of the track showed signs of myxomatosis, as they did elsewhere on the marsh. I wondered if someone had deliberately introduced it? No.3 was virtually birdless and only redeemed itself in a small way by producing a single Green Sandpiper at the west side. Six Linnet flew past, small parties of Goldfinch fed on thistles and twos and threes of Stock Dove went by.

28.08.16. Common Buzzard, Frodsham Marsh. Tony Broome (4)Common Buzzard were obvious with up to four together over No.5, probably around 12 birds in all, with 2 Kestrel and 2 Sparrowhawk hunting between 3 and 4. There had been a Marsh Harrier (per Arthur Harrison) sighting, but not for me. I looked out over the Frodsham Score but the heat haze was so bad that it made any serious attempt, pointless. As the air heated up mid-afternoon, hirundines filled the sky over No.3 tank. 500+ Swallow and a handful of House Martin, 10 counted, plus 2 Sand Martin, hawked low above the thistles for insects, occasionally perching on docks and other vegetation to take a rest. A few birds but nothing to make the heart hesitate.

28.08.16. No.3 from No.4 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Tony Broome

I had a look on the river but there was no sign of yesterday’s Little Gull, just lots more Black-headed Gull. The field below the old log was being cut but two old tractors. It’s the first time I’ve seen that field cut and wondered why? I also drove up to Marsh Farm but birds were few. More Raven brought the day’s total to 10. It was low tide and I looked across the sandbanks towards Hale Lighthouse where, earlier in the day, DC had watched a Nuthatch depart out across the river towards Frodsham Marsh… which would have been a mega here but  disappeared into the haze on his side and never reappeared on the south side of the water.

28.08.16. , No.3 tank and thistlesFrodsham Marsh. Tony Broome

What struck me about No.3 tank/mitigation area was the complete lack of management (see image above). I thought the plan was to prepare it with livestock and mowing machines to produce short turf so that migrant and wintering waders had somewhere to feed. The lined water holes are useless, their banks too steep or the water too deep, the thistles are too high and too extensive and the long grass uneaten. The only real scrape, closest to the road was virtually dry and as usual birdless. A very disappointing affair considering how much Peel Energy had promised the local community, RSPB, CAWOS, local birders et al

Observer and images: Tony Broome.

27.08.16. Birdlog

27.08.16. 1st summer Little Gull, Weaver Bend, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton

27.08.16. Green Sandpiper, Ince Marshes. Paul RalstonA walk from Ince Berth and around No.4 tank this late morning. There were 3 Little Egret which were out on Frodsham Score and a large flock of gulls mostly Black-headed but a few Common Gull with them were noted. Several Great Black-backed were sharing the mutton with a few Carrion Crow and Raven. Also seen was a pale phase Common Buzzard which was sat by the Pumping Station. Two Green Sandpiper were on the scrape by the ‘Splashing Pool’ and 200 Goldfinch fed on the thistles. 3 Kestrel were in the air together over No.4 and a Sparrowhawk flew past.

27.08.16. White and Hoverflies, Frodsham Marsh. Paul RalstonLeaving the marsh on the track to Ince some mitigation work by the pig farm has created a couple of pools and scrapes one of which held another Green Sandpiper, Common Teal, Moorhen and Grey Heron. There were plenty of butterflies about including Large White, Small Tortoiseshell and a couple of Painted lady butterfly.

Observer: Paul Ralston (images 2-3 & 6).

27.08.16. Kestrel and Frodsham Hill from Frodsham Marsh. Paul Ralston

27.08.16. Great Black-backed Gull, Weaver Bend, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton.

I took a walk from Brook Furlong ending up fighting my way through the impenetrable jungle that is the track that runs below the old birdlog at the eastern side of No.1 tank. It was obvious that few feet have trodden this way for some time and after negotiating the hidden ankle trapping bramble briers, razor-sharp Phragmites blade edges, face height spiders webs complete with angry-looking spiders, water droplet laden Willowherb and then having to swat off midges and pestering Noon flies, I eventually emerged (red-faced) onto the embankment of the Weaver Causeway. After wiping the sweat, dust, webs and an assortment of face and optic hugging creepy crawlers from my person and regaining some composure, I set up the scope and almost immediately out on the River Weaver was a 2nd calendar year (1st summer) Little Gull (hooray for the river!). The Little Gull spent most of the time riding the flow of the water before swimming back to repeat this procedure. It was later found perched up on the banks of the Weaver Estuary giving some really good views and was dwarfed by an adult Great Black-backed Gull perched on a bouy. A couple of Kingfisher flashed past with one shooting into a Willow Tree on the river bank. Little Gull video 

27.08.16. Green Sandpiper, Ince Marshes. Paul Ralston

27.08.16. Spider spp, Weaver Bend, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton (1)27.08.16. Frog, No.1 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill MortonThe Weaver Estuary had a few Black-tailed Godwit with the odd Redshank, 1 Ruff and 3 Common Sandpiper. Other birds of note here included: 3 Great Crested and 14 Little Grebe. Some of the Canada Goose which have exceeded 10,000 birds on the Mersey Estuary spilled out onto the Weaver and they could be seen crowed along the gantry wall opposite Weston Point.

A look over on No.6 tank saw in excess of 1,000 Black-headed Gull with 200 on the same ploughed field as the other day.

A couple of Little Egret flew over the old birdlog at a poignant moment.

27.08.16. Spider spp, Weaver Bend, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton (2)A covey of 5 recently released Red-legged Partridge were walking ahead of my car so I won’t be sharpening my ticking pencil just yet (Mr Scally).

A Common Frog was making its way across the lush grass on No.1 tank and there were some big Garden Spiders with webs slung across the path on the Weaver Causeway.

Observer: Frank Duff, WSM (images 1 & 4-5 & 7-9).

I would like to take the opportunity in thanking Pam & Johnny Garner and their lovely family for inviting me to join them in scattering Martin’s ashes on the marsh today. His wish was that his ashes should be shared between Flamborough, Spurn and Frodsham Marsh. It is comforting to know that we have him back at the place where he started his birding. His ashes lay close to the old bird log at the south-east corner of No.1 tank looking east towards the Weaver Bend. RIP MSG.


24.08.16. Birdlog

24.08.16. Wheatear, No.1 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton (3)A couple of hours birding after work and any day with a Curlew Sandpiper in it is definitely a good day. I just made this evenings high (low) tide which wasn’t all it was cracked up to be. Out on the drier south west corner were 4 Curlew Sandpiper, 43 Ringed Plover and 230 Dunlin but little else. An injured Common Teal was sat out on the bare mud and it looked to have a wing injury but unfortunately it lay on the open soft mud and could not be rescued.

The ducks out on the eastern side of the tank featured the usual Tufted Duck, Common Teal, Common Pochard, Cpmmon Shelduck. Shoveler and Gadwall but each species were low in number and barely worthy of counting. A juvenile Common Buzzard was very confiding.

24.08.16. Wheatear, No.1 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton (2)A look over No.1 tank revealed a couple of ‘set down’ for shooting Red-legged Partridge and juvenile male and female Wheatear were along the pipes. At Marsh Farm a small passage of Swallow were heading west along the Manchester Ship Canal and overhead Yellow Wagtail were calling. The Raven were sky dancing over Frodsham Score while small parties of Curlew were flying in for the evening roost. Out on No.3 tank a post breeding/juvenile flock of 500 Goldfinch were bouncing around the Canal Pools

Observer and images: WSM.

22.08.16. Birdlog

22.08.16. Wind turbines from No.6 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton (2)

A very quick dash and brief visit to the south-west corner of No.6 tank after work. I just about managed to connect seeing part of a 2000 strong Dunlin flock before half took to the wing and headed out to the estuary on the ebbing tide. Despite this the other half remained long enough for me to search their numbers. Within the Dunlin flock that remained were 134 Ringed Plover, 2 juvenile Little Stint and 21 Curlew Sandpiper which left me to wonder what was in the first flock that departed on my arrival?

22.08.16. Little Stint, Ringed Plover, Curlew Sandpipers and Dunlins, No.6 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton (4)

20.08.16. Juvenile Sparrowhawk, No.3 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton (5)A flock of 300 Lapwing had a juvenile Ruff for company but that was about it.

The juvenile Sparrowhawk that I saw a couple of days ago was still hanging about the fence line bordering the tank junctions.

Ducks again featured the usual species namely Common Teal, Shoveler, Tufted Duck and Common Shelduck.

22.08.16. Grey skies over the Mersey Estuary. Bill Morton (2)

Observer and images: WSM.

21.08.16. Birdlog

31.08.13. Curlew Sandpipers and Teal, No6 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton21.08.16. Common Teal, No.6 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Paul Ralston (1)Out around No.6 tank this morning and a group of Common Teal resting in a dead tree on the bank with a pair of Reed Warbler feeding below them. A juvenile Marsh Harrier went by in the direction of the River Weaver. Several Little Grebe were on the water as were Coot and Moorhen. On the ‘Splashing Pool’ a Kingfisher was doing a circuit around the flooded area and another Reed Warbler was seen. A small flock of waders on the mudflats south end of six were too far out for me to identify with my bins but AC had his telescope on them earlier and helped with the specifics.

21.08.16. Wheatear, No.6 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Paul Ralston (1)

21.08.16. Kingfisher, Frodsham Marsh. Paul Ralston (1)Walking along Lordship Lane the wader flock was spooked by an unseen predator and several Black-tailed Godwit and Redshank flew over followed by a single Little Egret. A female Wheatear was sitting on a drainage tower and a pair of Kestrel were hunting the bank.

Observer: Paul Ralston (images 2-4).

Started this morning at No.6 tank. Out on the water the ducks included 39 Shoveler and 5 Common Pochard. Moving around to the west end of the tank 9 Ruff were present among small numbers of Lapwing and Redshank. A Green Sandpiper dropped in during a shower and the female Marsh Harrier flew through.

The bushes along Brook Furlong Lane held 4 Lesser Whitethroat with the usual Chiffchaff, Blackcap and Whitethroat.

Heading back to No.6 tank for high tide a Greenshank was circling but headed back out to the estuary. At the west end of the tank the wader numbers were starting to build. Mixing with the Dunlin and Ringed Plover were at least 25 Curlew Sandpiper, 2 Little Stint, 2 Knot, 1 Common Sandpiper and a Black-tailed Godwit. Most of these scattered and headed back out to the estuary when a Peregrine shot through.

Observer: Alyn Chambers.

21.08.16. Wader watching spot at No.6 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton

Once a month a collection of volunteers are dispersed out along the north and south banks of the river to collectively count the waterbirds that frequent or pass through the Mersey Estuary and its upper and lower reaches. Today was that time of  month and my patch are the sludge tanks on Frodsham Marsh. After yesterdays shorebird haul and the  reporting on the ‘Frodblog’ post it was encouraging that a couple of keen birders were stationed on the west banks of No.6 tank to sample the delights of Frodsham Marsh.

21.08.16.Kestrel. Lordship Lane, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton (1)

The ducks present on the open water at the eastern end of the tank were not easily visible with many of the Common Teal hiding in the fragrant infused Michaelmas Daisy beds but those that were visible numbered 87 birds. Common Pochard have reassembled their  recent numbers with 12 birds. Common Shelduck, Shoveler, Mallard and Gadwall were also present. Tufted Duck are the bread and butter birds for my countjng and today 134 were gathered with a further 17 on the ‘Splashing Pool’.

Birds of prey were again evident and both female and juvenile Marsh Harrier were seen and a juvenile  Peregrine caused quite a lot of consternation amid those aerial shorebirds which at high tide had gathered in the south-west corner of the tank. Dunlin numbers were lower than yesterday but still in the 1000 mark, 230 Ringed Plover, 2 Knot, a single Black-tailed Godwit, 9 Ruff, 2 juvenile Little Stint, 26 Curlew Sandpiper (all juveniles with the one adult from yesterday), 2 Avocet, 300 Lapwing and 10 Redshank. Not a bad little tally with an obvious nationwide invasion of Curlew Sandpiper which I’m expecting this count to get even higher?

The Black-necked Grebe had relocated to the Weaver Bend.

An adult Mediterranean Gull was with a flock of 200 Black-headed Gulls in a recently ploughed field adjacent to Moorditch Lane/M56.

21.08.16. Helsby Hill and wheat field from Lordship Lane, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton

21.08.16. Turbines from Lordship Lane, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton (1)Above a couple of images from Lordship Lane with Helsby Hill and a wheat field while a short turn of the head looking east are the wind turbines and the Growhow Works.

Observers: David Bedford, Alyn Chambers, Sparky, WSM (images 1, 5-8).

21.08.16. Frodsham Marsh from Mount Manisty. Shaun Hickey.

Thanks to Shaun Hickey for his image of the turbines over on Frodsham Marsh taken from the Mersey marshes on the WeBS count today.