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.

WSM.