31.07.17. Birdlog

A selection of sightings from the marsh today included: 28 Little Grebe, 36 Common Teal, 40 Mallard, 17 Common Shelduck, 12 Lapwing, 2 Common Sandpiper, 21 Black-tailed Godwit, 8 Common Gull and 110 Black-headed Gull.

Observer: Joe from Chester.

Video of Common Sandpipers here: https://vimeo.com/227779617

Image and video by WSM.

30.07.17. Birdlog

I started at Brook Furlong Lane this morning where a Brown Hare made its way along the lane ahead of me and a covey of (captive released for shooting) Red-legged Partridge followed behind. On to the River Weaver and just a few hundred Sand Martin were left from yesterday with many of them perched in the reed bed.

c50 Redshank were on the river bank with 4 Oystercatcher and a single photogenic Dunlin sat for another type of shooting (with a camera). There were 6 Common Sandpiper dotted about the waters edge and the Manchester Ship Canal with 5 Great Crested Grebe on the river with another on the canal. The Canal Pools held a dozen Black-tailed Godwit.

A charm of c100 Goldfinch shadowed a juvenile Kestrel as it made its way over the pools. The male Stonechat tended to 2 juveniles which were perched in a reed bed. The ‘Splashing Pool’ had c50 Tufted Duck and a Kingfisher flew across the pool. A Green Sandpiper was resting at the secluded pool and 2 more Common Sandpiper and a dozen Black-tailed Godwit were back on No.6 tank.

Observer and image: Paul Ralston.

29.07.17. Birdlog

An early morning walk around No.6 tank passing Frodsham Score salt marsh and the Canal Pools. No.6 was very quiet with waders noticeable by their absence with only a single Black-tailed Godwit, a Common Sandpiper, 2 Ringed Plovers and a few Lapwing which were feeding in the shallow water. Duck numbers were also down with many leaving the tank and making their way out to the estuary. A large flock of Black-headed Gull on the water with a roost of c70 Lesser Black-backed were on the dry mud. There were 3 juvenile Kestrel and a Sparrowhawk active around the tank with Common Buzzard and Raven interacting in the summer breeze over No.3 tank.

Sedge and Reed Warbler were feeding their young as seen from the path and a family of Common Whitethroat were in the nettle beds. A pair of Jay could be were heard in the trees on the ramp to six but could not be seen.

A Green Sandpiper was on its usual pool on No.3. The pair of Stonechat were again along the canal path with Swallow, Sand Martin and Common Swift hawking over the Canal Pools. Skylark and Meadow Pipit were fairly common place in the sheep fields closeby. Walking back along Lordship Lane the corn has been cut and bailed with Wood Pigeon and Stock Dove feeding on the leftover grain.

Observer: Paul Ralston (images 2-5 & 10).

I didn’t managed to get down to the marshes until mid morning so dipped on bumping into Paul. My walk out to the Weaver estuary took in the track along Brook Furlong Lane where the hedgerows were bouncing with birds most being juveniles of many species. Reed, Sedge and Willow Warbler, Chiffchaff, Blackcap, Long-tailed and Blue Tit and a family party of Bullfinch were all noted.

The River Weaver was alive with Sand Martin ahead of a rain front moving north and an estimate of c800 birds with 500 Common Swift and lesser numbers of Swallow. All of these aerial feeders were flying low over covering both the river and the adjacent fields on No.1 tank. A Wheatear was also present along the pipes there.

A couple of Peregrine were hopping on and off the tall blue topped chimney at the entrance to the Weaver sluices.

The Weaver estuary had 400 Black-headed gull and a good proportion of the huge Canada Goose herd that generally winter just over the Weaver sluice gates. A flock of 143 Tufted Duck and 30 Mallard  were also were present. 54 Redshank, 3 Common Sandpiper were with a male Ruff and 40 Black-tailed Godwit did their best to hide a sleeping Fulvous Whistling Duck. This exotic escape wildfowl was joined by a second bird 30 minutes later and is presumably two of the three that were here a couple of months ago?

Walking back I decided to see what No.6 tank might have on the build up to a tea time tide. On arrival a flock of 98 Black-tailed Godwit were busy feeding up while another Ruff joined the Lapwing flock and over the course of my watch Dunlin numbers increased from one bird to 81. A couple of Common Sandpiper were typically squabbling below the bank where I was watching from and were given the cold shoulder by an adult and juvenile Little Ringed Plover.

The Marsh Harrier was getting a hard time from the resident Raven troupe and almost going unseen without being noticed was a juvenile Whinchat on the fence line across No.5 tank.

Observer: WSM (images 1 & 6-9 & 11- 15).

27.07.17. Birdlog

The two juvenile Marsh Harrier were very active along edge of No 6 tank, good to see one Golden Plover and Green Sandpiper.  Low tide so only four Black tailed Godwit, 180 Lapwing but 98 Dunlin and two Ringed Plover on tank. 30 Tufted Duck, 35 Common Teal and just 14 Common Shelduck.

Observer: Joe from Chester.

After work trip down to the marshes and on No.6 tank was a flock of 500 Black-tailed Godwit which much surely be tide related? The juvenile Golden Plover that was seen by Joe earlier was still present and is an early migrant for this time of year. A few Redshank, 1 Dunlin and a Common Sandpiper were also noted.

A Wheatear was on the pipes along No.1 tank.

Leaving the marsh a female Tufted Duck was in the dike along Moorditch Lane with a flotilla of her fluffy ducklings.

Observers: Paul Crawley, WSM (images).

25.07.17. Birdlog

With all the bling birding happening over on Hale Marsh with this evenings Stone Curlew (finder Mike Roberts) it was back to the days of black and white television transmission here on the south side of the river.

An early evening walk along the River Weaver and then on to No.6 tank. A Collared Dove was in the bushes by the M56 bridge on Brook Furlong Lane which nearly made a rare venture onto the marsh but decided to stay by the farm with a flock of House Sparrow instead.

On the River Weaver there were 6 Great Crested Grebe spotted alongside many Coot, Tufted Duck, Mallard and Common Shelduck. Waderwise there were 5 Common Sandpiper, 4 Oystercatcher and a single Dunlin feeding along the river bank. A small flock of Black-tailed Godwit flew over the river to join more of the same on the Mersey estuary.

Back along Brook Furlong Lane a Kestrel made a pass at a flock of Goldfinch but left without a catch and a juvenile Bullfinch crossed my path. On to No.6 there were again more Tufted Duck with many Mallard, loads of Common Shelduck  and an addition of a handful of Common Teal noted. A scan of the duck flock didn’t reveal last night’s scoter. Both godwit and Redshank were present in small numbers.

Observer: Paul Ralston.

24.07.17. Birdlog

A lazy hazy kind of summer evening with warm sunlight providing a pleasant amber glow to the landscape…waxing lyrical and I’ve not even started with the birds yet.

I was sat on the north bank looking out over the area where the water meets the rapidly drying mud. A smallish group of 30 Redshank, 2 Avocet, 3 Dunlin, 12 Lapwing and a male Ruff still sporting some of its summer wear were settled below my watch point.

A much smaller gathering of c200 Black-tailed Godwit were mostly feeding on the south side of the sludge tank, but even from that distance I managed to pick out a new colour ringed bird. I couldn’t see one of the four colour combo so we’ll see what Jenny Gill can extract from that information and I’ll let you know accordingly. A splinter group of the godwits settled unaware of my presence below the bank and spent a long time in the shallows were gulping up huge volumes of greyish brown mud whilst sifting through it for their food. The bickering calls of 3 Common Sandpiper rung out across the relatively still air.

I was putting off counting the ducks for a change but I was drawn like like a junkie’s addiction to their numbers. Swinging my telescope over in the general direction  of the ducks where the usual c100 Tufted Duck were present with the usual c100 Mallard. A few Gadwall included a few ducklings, the ubiquitous Common Shelduck, 12 Common Teal, 3 Shoveler and a drake Common Scoter! Quite the handsome beast he was as well, quietly assuming an air of blending in but without the obvious requisites. He was still there when I left and looked settle at least for the evening.

Video of the drake Common Scoter here: https://vimeo.com/227642148

The gulls came in for a bathe and a nap before heading out to the estuary for their main roost. The majority were Black-headed with a dozen Common, single adult Lesser Black-backed and an adult Mediterranean Gull.

Apart from a Kestrel the raptors were totally absent and for once the juvenile Peregrine didn’t upset the apple cart with regard to disturbing the waders tonight.

Observer and images: WSM.