05.03.17. Birdlog


05-03-17-otter-female-moorditch-lane-frodsham-marsh-john-gilbody-2As I was a passenger with Sparky driving her car west along the M56 this morning. I spotted the herd of Whooper Swan which were again present close to the blue slurry tank on the marsh.

That would have been the highlight for my birding day if it wasn’t for Ian Igglesden texting me a message around midday. He had just been shown…an Otter! It had been present alive in a culvert in a ditch beside Moorditch Lane. I eventually made it to the marsh and arrived and met Shaun O’Hara, we had a brief chat before he headed off to see the shrike. I was looking forlornly at the vacated culvert standing in a steady drizzle without binoculars and occasionally glancing up to see a distant group of birders enjoying the Great Grey Shrike. I had resigned myself to the big dip! Just as desperation gripped I received a mobile call from Iggy. Shaun had telephoned him and asked if he would rely a message to me stating that the Otter was refound and that I should look up the lane were Shaun was standing waving his hands! This was my second unexpected tick of the weekend and to boot the shrike was hovering over the field like a drone aka a drone shrike.


05-03-17-otter-female-moorditch-lane-frodsham-marsh-john-gilbody-3The Otter was asleep on the top of the bank but every so often it would lift its head to peer around. It was obvious that it had a problem opening its eyes but otherwise appeared healthy. The animal eventually stood up and gamboled away out of sight into a ditch between the fields. Apparently a Manchester birder had first spotted the Otter swimming in the ditch adjacent to the ramp track to No.5 tank but it some settled on the banks close to the culvert. It would often enter the culvert and occasionally fall asleep on the reedy covered bank below its watching admirers.

Observer: WSM.

Otter video 1 below by Ian Igglesden here:


Otter video 2 by WSM here: https://vimeo.com/207007427


A watch over No.6 tank produced c200 Black-tailed Godwit which flew in and landed and I was delighted to pick out 3 Bar-tailed Godwit amongst them. This was my second Frodsham Marsh tick of the day! They were present during 11.30 – 12.30. Two flew back out to the estuary with 150 of the Blackwit’s before I left but one flew and landed much closer with the remainder of the flock. There were 2 Avocet, c30 Dunlin, c30 Redshank and a pair of Pintail.

A Chiffchaff was calling a lot from the bank and then showed in the bushes. No song was heard.

Observer: John Spottiswood.

Additionally there were 780 Golden Plover over No.3 tank per Mark (Whipper) Gibson.

Davis Wilson’s Great Grey Shrike video here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/532171363504043/#

The Great Grey Shrike was again present on the field beside Hares Lane and drew in many birders from far and wide and it was good to see people enjoying this very showy bird.

Dave Craven’s Great Grey Shrike video here:


Images: 1 by Ron Brumby; 2 & 4 by John Gilbody; 3 & 5 & Otter 2 video by WSM.