23.09.17. Birdlog.

An afternoon tide out on the Mersey estuary didn’t bring in an expected arrival of Dunlin with just two birds noted on the marsh today. That wasn’t a good start but the arrival of 3 Little Stint certainly brought the spirits higher. A total of 31 Ruff was quite impressive and these were freely moving around No.6 tank and taking up a more sedate position were 5 Common Snipe, 400 Black and just a single juvenile Bar-tailed Godwit on the edge of the flock. A fidgety flock of Lapwing were up and down like a yoyo.

A Great White Egret joined the ducks and waders for a short period but it didn’t settled and flew off to the south-east. The same or another was seen from Marsh Farm out on the Mersey estuary earlier.

The female Marsh Harrier was active in the western side of the tank while both Peregrine and Hobby were nearby.

Ducks were also present with 98 Tufted Duck, 14 Pintail, 10 Wigeon, 248 Shoveler, 4 Gadwall, a few each of Mallard and Common Shelduck with Common Teal reaching c230 birds.

Emerging from the reed bed below our position was a Water Rail.

There was a small passage of passerines moving south with Swallow, Skylark and Meadow Pipit being the most obvious. A big flock of 30 Raven were moving around the Canal Pools. No.1 tank had 3 Stonechat, Yellow Wagtail and elsewhere and 3 Jay, 1 Goldcrest, Common Whitethroat were seen.

Paul Ralston carried on his walk taking in the Canal Pools where there were c20 Black-tailed Godwit on one of the scrapes on No.3. The pools didn’t offer much really with a few Tufted Duck and a pair of Mute Swan. There were 3 Kestrel hanging in the air together and a large number of Raven over the Manchester Ship Canal and Frodsham Score salt marsh. The ship canal held more Tufted Duck, Mallard, Common Teal and 4 Great Crested Grebe.

A cargo ship heading east along the canal flushed out a Green Sandpiper from the bank and a family of 4 Stonechat were in a reed bed on the bankside. Two more Kestrel were over No.4 and a Sparrowhawk shot through. Several Little Egret were out on Frodsham Score and a Collared Dove made its way across the marshes.

I eventually found my way to a the flooded field alongside Lordship Lane where there were 8 more Black-tailed Godwit and a Common Snipe were and a party of Raven made their way over Helsby Hill to roost in Wales. 

Observers: Alyn Chambers, Paul Crawley (image 3), Paul Ralston (images 5-8), Mike Turton, WSM (images 1-2 & 4).

21.09.17. Birdlog.

A flock of 320 Black-tailed Godwit on No.6 tank always attract other waders to drop in or joined them. The group of 480 Lapwing had found the relative safety of the godwits pressence suitable for their need of roosting and preening but there was low numbers of Dunlin (7) and Redshank () but two juvenile Curlew Sandpiper were more than welcome.

Ducks can be relied upon to make up the numbers with Mallard reaching 23 while Pintail have increased markedly to 29 birds. Also 9 Common Shelduck, 135 Shoveler, 70 Common Teal and 68 Tufted Duck were present.

Observer and image: Joe from Chester.

19.09.17. Birdlog.

A quick after work bird watch from the north banks of No.6 tank. A flock of 450 fidgety and nervous Lapwing were scattered when they saw the juvenile Peregrine fly through, but it didn’t stay and I watched it loafing around over Fox Hill before drifting off over Frodsham. Soon after the birds had settled most of the Lapwing flock left the area while a reduced flock did a few circuits before resettling on the edge of the expanding water level of the tank. Some of the flock of 25 Ruff departed with the Lapwing but 15 stayed and were joined by the first juvenile Little Stint of the autumn.There was a small group of 21 Black-tailed Godwit and some Redshank shuffling around.

A Water Rail peeped its body out of the reeds long enough for me to capture it in the digital format.

Ducks were well represented with 15 Pintail, 3 Wigeon, 6 Gadwall, 12 Mallard, c200 Common Teal, 21 Common Shelduck, 134 Shoveler and 24 Tufted Duck.

Apart from the Peregrine watched earlier the ducks got a little startled when a Hobby tore the air above them. A Raven drew my attention when it was bothering a Marsh Harrier at the west end of the tank and they were lost from sight as they flew over the mitigation area of No.3 tank.

Observer and images: WSM.

17.09.17. Birdlog.

An early start for the morning tide which turned out not to be too significant.

A quick look at the phalarope pool as it’s now known at the west end of No.3 tank produced a few Common Teal. Further east and the dwindling scrape pools had a single Green Sandpiper which typically did one when it caught sight of me. The main hightlight was the calls of Pink-footed Goose sounding out overhead as scattered flocks were moving around the estuary and a combined count was in excess of 200 birds.

No.6 tank had more water on it than previous visits due to the deluge of rain we’ve been experiencing over the last week or so. A flock of c250 Black-tailed Godwit had numerous juvenile birds and a lone summer plumaged adult was flapping its wings vigorously for about 5 minutes. There were 10 Ruff, 300 Lapwing and a single Common Snipe to add to the shorebird numbers.

The Lapwing were a bit skittish and a scan across the reed beds revealed a juvenile Hobby perched up on a tree stump preening away. Hobby video here: https://vimeo.com/234228235

The ducks have made a bit of a come back with 158 Shoveler, 3 Pintail, 6 Wigeon, c200 Common Teal. 14 Mallard, 2 Gadwall and just a handful of Common Shelduck.

Observer and images: WSM.

16.09.17. Birdlog.

A visit during the high tide period and a flock of 200 Black-tailed Godwit were on No.6 tank and I bumped in to Mike from Runcorn who picked out a single Golden Plover and Curlew Sandpiper with his telescope along with several Ruff in attendance alongside a flock of Redshank.

Two skeins of Pink-footed Goose passed overhead  with one flock heading north and the other heading east. Good numbers of Raven were noted with several feeding on fallen (dead)stock on No.3 tank.
A flock of c100 Golden Plover were watched leaving No.5 tank towards the Mersey estuary.
There were a flock of 50 Linnet in dead trees to the east of the marshes.

Observers Paul Ralston (images), Ron Brumby.


15.09.17. Birdlog.

A quick visit after work saw me watching 7 Curlew, 4 Black-tailed Godwit and a Sparrowhawk on and over the flooded field alongside Lordship Lane. The Red-necked Phalarope was not on its pool but was located on another scrape a short distance away but not visible from the lane itself. A flock of c300 Black-tailed Godwit with several Ruff, Redshank and a few Dunlin which were in the shallow waters of No.6 tank. Ducks included Shoveler, Common Shelduck, Mallard, Common Teal and Gadwall and were all present in good numbers.

Observer: Paul Ralston.

14.09.17. Birdlog

A message this morning from Elliot confirmed that the Red-necked Phalarope was still in residence with 6 Black-tailed Godwit on a small pool (adjacent to the ‘Splashing Pool’) at the west side of No.3 tank, it attracted a steady stream of admirers throughout the day.

A Marsh Harrier was watched drifting through the wind turbines on No.4 tank while a Peregrine was a brave soul perched on aloft the blue topped chimney at Weston Point with its chest broad into the high wind.

I eventually made it back to the marsh after a visit to New Brighton with Leach’s Petrel and Grey Phalarope noted. The buffeting wind made it difficult at times but generally No.6 tank had 200 Black-tailed with another 263 by the Weaver Sluices. Ducks were gathered closely with the godwits and included 161 Shoveler and 134 Common Teal.

Further to the east of Frodsham Bridge and a couple of Garganey were spotted on a small pool.

Observers: John Rayner, Elliot Monteith, Gary Worthington, Sparky & WSM (and images).