The rendezvous was on Brook Furlong Lane motorway bridge and after a brief visit to see what was on No.6 tank I met up with 63 birders/walkers for the first of two Frodsham Festival of Walks visits to the marshes (the other on Wednesday next week).
After a brief introduction we headed out along Moorditch Lane where numerous Chiffchaff were joined by the flutey sounds of a Blackcap and the cascading song of a Willow Warbler perched up high and competing with one of the wind turbines nearby.
Arriving via the ramp track to No.5 tank I gave an overview of the development and working life of the used and active sludge/silt on the marshes. The first birds we noted were some of the 115 Tufted Duck that were tucked into the eastern side of the tank with a couple of hundred Common Shelduck and 50 Shoveler.
The best part of 1000 Black-tailed Godwit were very tolerant of the huddled hoards perched on the banks above them. The birds were too busy resting up and preening and didn’t seemed to be too bothered, only occasionally did some birds peel off from the main group to head out to the Mersey estuary. Hiding within the godwit flock was the much (locally) rarer Bar-tailed Godwit (another was present later in the day), most walkers managed to get views through my telescope. A scattered group of 16 Ruff contained some handsome males with their neck plumes beginning to bunch out looking ornate particularly in the bright sunshine. There were 11 Knot which were tucked deep within the group of waders and remained mostly out of sight. A few Dunlin, Redshank, Ringed Plover and a distantly heard Whimbrel were other birds noted.
We headed out to the mitigation pools on No.3 tank where several duck species included 5 Wigeon with both Gadwall and Common Teal in residence. The Avocet numbers reached 30 birds with several performing their ritual displays.
Walking back along Lordship Lane and both Whitethroat and Sedge Warbler were singing and one of three Grasshopper Warbler gave their distinctive ‘reeling’ song away to our group. The highlight here was the 6 Wheatear popping up from the ploughed field.
The walk ended with a volley of song from a recent colonist to the Mersey valley…the Cetti’s Warbler.
Observers: 63 walkers from the Frodsham Festival of Walks and WSM (images 1-5).
5 Wheatear at Marsh Farm included at least one Greenland form. A Reed Warbler was singing on No.6 tank and the Curlew Sandpiper put in a brief sighting on No.6 tank.
Observer: Frank Duff.
Out on the Weaver estuary there were 6 Common Sandpiper. 3 Ringed Plover included one particular colour banded bird ringed as adult 01/09/12 at Llanfairfechan, and recaptured there on 04/09/16. Both times it was in active primary moult, so likely to have wintered in North Wales, presumably now heading back towards breeding grounds (notes supplied by Stephan Dodd). A Grasshopper Warbler was ‘reeling’ near to the model aircraft field this afternoon. There were 3 Common Whitethroat, 3 Wheatear and 2 Cetti’s along the dusty lanes of Frodsham Marsh.
There were plenty of butterflies out today including the most numerous Orangetips. Also noted Small Tortoiseshell, Green-veined White and Peacock’s.
Observer: Paul Ralston (images 8-11)
Additional images: Colin Butler (6-7).