07.01.17. Birdlog (Part 2)

07-01-17-first-lamb-of-the-year-frodsham-marsh-paul-ralston07-01-17-golden-plovers-ince-fields-frodsham-marsh-paul-ralstonAfter stopping off for a chat with WSM in the afternoon I made my way to the Manchester Ship Canal path and along the Holpool Gutter. The mitigation area of No.3 tank and the pools created there held a few Wigeon, Common Teal and Shoveler. A Marsh Harrier passed over the area without disturbing the waterfowl on 3. Along the ship canal path a pair of Stonechat were perched up. Overlooking the salt marsh there was only the usual Canada Geese and a flock of Wigeon werefurther out by the river. A herd of 22 Mute Swan and 4 Greylag Goose were in the same fields and amongst a large flock of Lapwing and Golden Plover, with just a handful of Curlew alongside the Holpool Gutter.

07-01-17-peregrine-growhow-works-frodsham-marsh-paul-ralstonA Peregrine was sat on the tower at the Growhow Works.

Walking back along Lordship Lane and a Kingfisher was seen in the ditch alongside No.4. Looking out across the farm fields on Lordship Marsh the party of swans could be seen through a gap in the hedge close to the M56. I presumed the swans were the Whooper’s from earlier in the week (with the distance and fading light I couldn’t be 100% sure).

The flooded fields at the junction of 4 and 6 held Lapwing, Redshank, Black-tailed Godwit and a few Dunlin.

…and finally the first lamb of the season was on the canal path ahead of me.

Observer and images: Paul Ralston.

07.01.17. Birdlog (Part 1)

07-01-17-little-stint-in-the-mist-no-6-tank-frodham-marsh-bill-morton-5I was thinking about calling this post ‘Waders in the Mist’ because it was foggy when I arrived on the marsh and the only birds you could actually see were a few Dunlin. The birds were feeding at the edge of the reed bed below the bank where I was standing, the rest could only be heard hidden beyond the thick mist. After an hour the fog shifted to the east and the birds began to reveal themselves.


A large gathering of Herring Gull, Great Black-backed, Herring, Lesser Black-backed including a Larus fuscus intermedius, Common and Black-headed Gulls were either bathing or resting up while the fog cleared. Shorebirds included 500 Dunlin, 2 Little Stint (1st winters), 23 Redshank, 170 Black-tailed Godwit, 500 Golden Plover, 780 Lapwing, 100 Curlew and 23 Common Snipe.

Video of Little Stint in slowmo here: https://vimeo.com/198495593


07-01-17-pink-footed-geese-no-6-tank-frodham-marsh-bill-morton-8Ducks can always be relied upon to give a birder something to do and a flock of 23 Common Pochard, 87 Tufted Duck, 18 Pintail, 76 Shoveler, 320 Common Teal, 54 Common Shelduck, 49 Mallard, 6 Wigeon and 7 Gadwall (certainly did give me something to do and that was count them). Additionally, a further 50 Wigeon and 43 Common Teal were on the pools on No.3 tank.

A disoriented skein of 8 Pink-footed Goose flew south but soon turned tail and headed back to the north.

07-01-17-no-6-tank-frodham-marsh-bill-morton-2The sub-adult Marsh Harrier flew in and headed east while later in the day it returned from the east and headed out to No.4 tank. I was watching the Peregrine sat on top of the big blue topped chimney at Weston Point when suddenly not one but two flew out off the chimney rim. They both gained height and disappeared out of sight into the mist. Shortly after the entire flocks of Lapwing and Golden Plover out on the river marshes exploded from their rest and flew up in streams of hundreds of birds and this contined on and off for most of the afternoon.

A recently dead sheep that I spotted earlier this week had been well gutted by the 34 Raven attending to the corpse and many could be seen digesting their meal whilst perched up on the fence line with bellies hanging low.

Observer and images: WSM.