01.05.17. Birdlog (Part 2) & NN #58

I thought this mornings watch by Joe from Chester couldn’t get any better considering the volume of marsh terns sweeping across Cheshire  (how wrong could I be).

Myself and Sparky decided to spend some of Bank Holiday Monday walking the trails of Delamere Forest. When we arrived it seemed that all the world, its wife and kids had come up with the same idea (that Gruffalo in the forest has got a lot to answer for ;O). Renegotiating our route we walked out to the former Eddisbury Fruit Farm on Yeld Lane in the hope of seeing some of the lingering Waxwing that were reported yesterday. Drawing a blank we were just about to turn tail and wander back into the forest when the trilling calls lured us up the lane to a tree where the flock were sat out in the open.

The birds were still gorging themselves on the fermenting apples still bubbling away on the floor of the  orchard. Going by the methane haze hanging above the tree you can only imagine the wind swaying the branches (and I’m not talking about the breeze). The highlight was the bizarrely unique experience of trilling Waxwings and a singing male Cuckoo in the distance…surreal!

While we were in the forest I received a text from PR who was out on the marsh and kept me abreast of the Black Tern situation on the Weaver Bend…they were still there!

When you have a partner who isn’t remotely interested in birding it can take a lot of diplomatic negotiations to persuaded them that a Black Tern is of paramount importance. If that doesn’t work, falling to your knees and sobbing uncontrollably usually does the trick!

We had a lovely walk in the forest with a Redpool flock and a Crossbill heard. When Paul sent me another text saying that there was now 14 terns we delayed a visit to the local supermarket and was on the Weaver Bend in the blink of an eye.

On arrival Sparky was the first to spot the Black Tern flock hawking over the ‘bend’ while a Lesser Whitethroat was singing from the eastern banks of the I.C.I tank. Although the lads on scrambler bikes could have been a bit more thoughtful (as if).

Other birds noted this afternoon included: Swift, Cetti’s Warbler and 2 Marsh Harrier per Shaun Hickey, Gary Worthington.  Also spotted from the Hale side of the estuary was an Arctic Tern flying alongside Frodsham Score plus 4 Black Tern leaving the Weaver estuary and a Little Gull by the sluice gate close to Marsh Farm Farm. Observers: Dave Craven & Ian Igglesden.

Paul was situated on the bank watching the terns and we both took loads of photographs while they were unconcerned by our presence. During the course of our watch more birds joined those already present and another 16 were added. At the last count 32 birds were on the river.

Nature Notes #58

Paul had witnessed earlier in the day the spectacle of a Stoat killing a young Rabbit and managed to capture the moment on his camera.

Observers: Frank Duff, Mike Turton (image 1), Paul Ralston (images 5 & 7-13), Sparky, WSM (images 2-4 & 6).

01.05.17. Birdlog (Part 1)

The morning tide encouraged an Arctic Tern, 240 Black-tailed Godwit, Bar-tailed Godwit, 130 Dunlin, 2 Knot (including a summer plumaged bird), 15 Ruff, 2 Ringed Plover, 14 Redshank and 24 Whimbrel.

2 Black Tern and 4 Common Sandpiper on the Weaver Bend.

Observer: Joe from Chester (images 1 & 2).

A morning visit to the marsh in the hope that maybe a Black Tern had got lost from the various other locations in Cheshire and somehow wandered here drew a blank. Walking along Moorditch Lane did however produce a singing Lesser Whitethroat rattling out the other tunes of Spring. It was obvious all of the above were no longer present except for the Blackwits and Ruff.

Looking out from the view-point above the north banks of No.6 tank enabled me to see a wide span across the water and reed beds. A flock of mostly non-breeding plumaged Black-tailed Godwit were below the south banks but they all rose in panic from a threat which I couldn’t fathom out what? Part of the flock peeled away off to the estuary while the other 200 settled below where I was watching from.

The group of 13 Ruff (mostly males) flew around the sludge tank with a dainty Reeve leading them but resettled again below my observation post. They included the males I’ve nicknamed ‘Mr White’ and the handsome ‘Agent Orange’. Some of these females are in for a treat when these two bad boys get a lekking.

Avocet were on the mitigation area while a couple of Little Ringed Plover were busy chasing each other. In the distance the young male Marsh Harrier did a circuit before drifting off to the east.

Observer and images: WSM (images 3-4).

Image 5 by Paul Miller.