I had an hour to burn up after work so I decided I’d flog the pinata that is my patch on Frodsham Marsh. After taking a peek over the mitigation there was a return to form with birdvoid. So, I retraced my steps to look over No.6 tank. It was surprising to find that the muddy margins of the open water was also absent of any birds?
However, the open water was littered with upward of 1000 Black-headed Gull and hidden in their throng was a smart-looking adult winter Mediterranean Gull. At least something to salvage from my saunter to the marsh this evening. Small flocks of these gulls drifted off inland and included the Med Gull. I followed their course and found where they were heading for. A ploughed field at the junction of Moorditch and Lordship Lanes, the field must have been ploughed earlier in the day because it also attracted 100 Lapwing, 8 Ruff and of course the gulls.
A couple of Chiffchaff were calling from the reedy ditches on No.5 tank but I’m still optimistic about another phylloscopus spp here before these easterly winds change direction. There was a obvious movement of thrushes with both Mistle Thrush and Blackbird present.
Observer and images: WSM.
With all those Yellow-browed Warblers basically dropping out of the trees from Pickerings Pasture out to the furthest reaches of ‘Old Cheshire’ on the Wirral, I foolishly and with a little expectation scoured the lanes from Brook Furlong to Redwall reed bed., Then after drawing a blank I continued along Moorditch Lane out to the upper reaches of No.3 tank and with a couple of Chiffchaff, a solitary Goldcrest and a small flock of Long-tailed Tit later I was losing the will to continue. If we’re going to see a YbW on the marsh then it will have to do so by chance…I’m giving up chasing shadows.
Apart from my fool’s errand I did get a chance to pop my head over the banks of No.6 tank and saw the juvenile Curlew Sandpiper joining up with 5 Ruff and the usual ducks which appeared to lack any counts of Wigeon?
I decided to try for Yellow-browed Warblers along Brook Furlong Lane and headed down there early via the coffee shop as usual. I was heartened to see the first Redwing fly over calling as I walked back to the car. The wind was a fresh SE2-3 and the sky clear blue. Surely the marsh would give up something. After all, we were in the middle of one of the biggest eastern vagrant periods in recent years with hundreds of Yellow-browed’s throughout the country. I parked up at the old log and got ready for a short vigil whilst sipping the coffee. A trickle of Meadow Pipit and the odd alba Wagtail went over calling high up, heading south. Two Swallow hugged the tree tops as they too headed for warmer climes. I wandered down towards Redwall reed bed and the field below the log, straining my ears for the high-pitched call that would give away the position of a Yellow-browed Warbler, but despite straining really hard, there were none to be found, despite Hale and Pickerings boasting birds on the other side of the Mersey for their second day.
There were a few bits and pieces around. 4 Chiffchaff, 2 Goldcrest, an immature Marsh Harrier and 8 Common Snipe, two of which flew over eastwards, the rest flushed from the wet field. Interestingly the photos of the birds showed one with a very pale underwing and one with a dark, heavily barred underwing. Anyway, pressed for time, I headed off back up the M56… but like Arnie, I’ll be back!
Observer and images: Tony Broome.