18.12.16. Birdlog (Part 2)

18-12-16-blue-tit-frodsham-marsh-tony-broomeAfter yesterday’s gloomy, misty and thoroughly murky conditions I was slightly apprehensive about how today would dawn. As it happened I woke to a wintry blue sky interspersed with high streaks of cumulus and a weak sun slowly rising above the horizon to the south-east. Food and flasks prepared and I whisked myself westwards, not even stopping for a latte! I arrived around 09.45 hrs and as I was due to do the Webs count for 14.30 hrs at the fields west of No.4 tank, I headed straight for the track between No.6 and 4 tanks.

18-12-16-lapwings-frodsham-marsh-tony-broome

All the big flocks of thrushes hve long gone and only around 20 Fieldfare and 15 Redwing fed on haw berries along Lordship Lane. Apart from c15 Song Thrush and a handful of Blackbird during the day, they were the only thrush counts. I met Arthur Harrison walking back along the track and we stopped for a chat. Not a lot was the summation. I carried on and parked up by the ramp to the mitigation on No.3. It was a glorious morning with a pale blue sky, not a breath of wind and a bright low sun. Unfortunately that’s the last thing you want for No.6 as it’s in your eyes all the time. I did a brief count of Common Pochard from the east end and got 39.

18-12-16-no-3-tank-frodsham-marsh-tony-broome-6

18-12-16-broome-frodsham-marsh-tony-broomeI also had a look at No.3 and No.2 tanks. Up to 30 Raven, some lined up on adjacent fence posts like the grim-reaper’s very own clean up mob, sat waiting their turn as some shepherd-less sheep got devoured by more corvids on the ground. As many as c2500 Lapwing fed on No.2 with a couple of Golden Plover in amongst them. They would all take to the air in a blizzard every now and again before returning to feed.

There were 3 Song Thrush perched up briefly, uttering their high ‘sip’ calls. Meadow Pipit flew back and forth and a lisping call brought my attention to a Water Pipit coming off No.6. They are frequent across at Hale, and I guess must have been at Frodsham, but they’re rarely pinned down here. I went back to the car and drove around No.6 and onto the track towards the west end of No.4 to count the fields. Gorse was in full flower, a dash of golden-yellow in an otherwise somber back drop. A female Kestrel perched up obligingly, intent on unsuspecting prey beneath her and she ignored me long enough to get a few shots. A flock of 25 Linnet ignored me completely and continued to feed on teasel heads.

18-12-16-song-thrush-frodsham-marsh-tony-broomeAnother stop and a bit of “pishing” brought a few birds close and a chance to use some more memory card up. I sat and ate the salmon sandwiches, a change from cheese butties, but still with soup and crisps. Two quad bikes went past noisily, expensive bits of kit.

18-12-16-lapwings-frodsham-marsh-tony-broome-7

18-12-16-reed-bunting-female-frodsham-marsh-tony-broome-1I finished up and walked out along the Holpool Gutter. 20 Curlew and about 35 Lapwing took off from the field and apart from 4 Whooper Swan, 3 adults and a juvenile, in the distance, there were no other birds at high tide, maybe due to a four-wheel drive parked up on the track in the middle of the fields and a man and his family who were throwing something for their dog.

I walked to a point overlooking the Frodsham Score but by 14.30 hrs it was already going dark, made worse by cloud coming in from the south-west. Out on the Score there was a lone Great White Egret and 3 Bewick’s Swan, the first of the winter, all adults. I headed back to the car, suddenly noticing that I was covered in burdock seed heads, stuck to my Wellington’s in bunches, my fleece, binocular strap and lens cover. It took me ages to de-bur myself. As I got back to the car, two more off-road, two bikes and a car sped past through the mud. I followed slowly and turned off to go around No.6 again, stopping to look at the water. There were a few more waders on including 200 Dunlin which flushed when a noisy family looked over the fence. I didn’t wait for the sunset finale, but chose to head in the opposite direction and the quiet of home.

18-12-16-wren-frodsham-marsh-tony-broome-3

18-12-16-dunnock-frodsham-marsh-tony-broome-218-12-16-great-tit-frodsham-marsh-tony-broomeObserver and images: Tony Broome.

18.12.16. Birdlog (Part 1)

18-12-16-whooper-swans-no-6-tank-frodsham-marsh-alyn-chambersAmong the birds gathered on No.6 tank for high tide today were 5 Whooper Swan, 1 Little Stint, 2 Bar-tailed Godwit, 32 Pintail and 33 Common Pochard.

Also around the Weaver estuary were a Merlin, a Common Sandpiper and a Little Egret and 2 Great Spotted Woodpecker were along the hedgerow along Brook Furlong lane.

Observer: Alyn Chambers (images 1 & 2).

Tony’s update later.