26.02.18. Birdlog.

A bitterly cold day turned into a much colder evening watch from Marsh Farm. Looking out towards the river there was plenty of shorebirds to keep the interest level above the red with c200 Curlew, c340 Dunlin and 29 Avocet at the Weaver Sluice gates.

The Starling roost measured into the hundreds and a flock of Fieldfare moving through from across Frodsham Score.

Observers: Frank Duff, WSM (image).

A good selection of uncommon birds noted over the weekend including: 20 Common Pochard, c1000 Pink-footed Goose, 3 Great White Egret, c10 Little Egret, Merlin, Peregrine, 3 Marsh Harrier, Avocet, Green Sandpiper and 2 Water Pipit.

25.02.18. Birdlog.

Walking out with a spring in my step on a Spring like morning with my first port of call being Ince. The pools in the fields there produced the usual Mallard, Common Teal, Gadwall and a couple of Little Grebe. There was also 6 Little Egret on the fringe of one of the pools.

A few Fieldfare were foraging in the fields by the Ince Berth but were finding the ground too frozen and they struggled.

On to the Manchester Ship Canal path where Tufted Duck, Mallard, Common Teal, many Coot and 2 Great Crested Grebe were on the water.

Out on Frodsham Score salt marsh were 610 skein (upper image) of Pink-footed Goose part of c1000 that rose into the air en masse and then resettled again when Fox disturbed them from their grazing. The 25 Mute Swan and 6 Greylag were alongside the Holpool Gutter and a mixed flock of Curlew, Lapwing & Golden Plover were flying overhead.

A Sparrowhawk was flushed alongside the dredger berth and took off with a prize which looked to be a Starling? There were more Lapwing and Golden Plover were by the Canal Pools with a flock of Wigeon were grazing near by.

Onward to No.6 tank which was partly frozen, the ducks present were much the same as yesterday including: Shoveler, Common Teal, Mallard, Common Shelduck with Tufted and Common Pochard. Also on the edge of the water were several Redshank were on the ice even joined the ducks in the water and were swimming with the Common Teal.

Walking back along Lordship Lane there was a dozen Black-tailed Godwit which passed overhead and a female Stonechat was sat in the reeds by the model flying club, one of several seen during the walk.

The Whooper Swan herd had moved closer to Spring Farm as there was a group of Wood Pigeon shooters taking a hit in the area. The Curlew took to the air as the shot rang out in the area.

Finally back at Ince and a Great White Egret was flushed from a ditch near to the incinerator plant and dropped in to the field near to the Mute’s.

Observer and images: Paul Ralston.

One of the two Water Pipit present on Lordship Marsh performed well this afternoon and were captured by John Gilbody.

Finally a flock of 35 Avocet (the first of the year) were hanging out by the Weaver Sluice gates on the muddy banks of the Mersey estuary.

Image may contain: outdoor, water and nature

Observer and image by Toni Ray Sherlock.

24.02.18. Birdlog.

Stepping out to some glorious blue skies on a weekend birding day is something that hasn’t happened much this year. There was a keen brisk cold south-easterly sweeping across the marshes today.

A look across the open water on No.6 tank saw the c200 cowering Shoveler sheltering from the cold (pussies) wind, the 40 Common Pochard were much braver occupying the middle area with a few Tufties and c100 Common Shelduck. The Common Teal flock were bunched up along the western edge of the water with just the 2 Pintail present. There were more Shoveler, Tufted Duck and Common Teal on both the Canal Pools and the mitigation pools on No.3 tank with 50 Coot.

A look over the flooded fields of Lordship Marsh revealed two Water Pipit with a Stonechat on the fence line, numerous Meadow Pipit, Linnet and Pied Wagtail were also present.

The distant fields had just 15 (5 juvenile) Whooper  and a solitary Bewick’s Swan. The first 3 Ringed Plover of the year have returned to the marshes.

A look across Frodsham Score and the Mersey salt marshes where a big flock of c1000 Pink-footed Goose seeking sanctuary after the shooting season  ceased last week. There were still small skeins of pinkies waffling in as I was leaving.

A Great White Egret popped out of a tidal gutter long enough for me to grab a photo. There were a few Little Egret but they kept further out by the river’s edge. A large murmuration of several thousand Dunlin could be seen over the mudflats.

The Raven parties are really enjoying the lambing season with many birds clearing up the still borns and dead ewes. The perfect recycling machine and much better than throwing carcasses into a landfill. A female Marsh Harrier drifted over from Hale and was joined by another high over No.6 tank.

The Weaver estuary had 20 Goldeneye.

A second look over No.6 produced an increase in Shoveler and adjacent to the sludge tank on No.5 was the first Golden Plover showing their summer plumage.

A selection of images from the marsh today.

Observers: Alyn Chambers, WSM (images 1-13).

I walked around No.6 this evening as the sun went down. Shoveler, Common Teal. Tufted Duck, Mallard and Common Shelduck were all accountered for. A roost of Lapwing, 30 Redshank and a few Ruff were noted.

A couple of Marsh Harrier over the reed beds with one tatty looking individual which looked very much like a bird from Woolston Eyes NR seen earlier today per D Bowman.  Numeorus Raven were passing overhead on there way to their welsh roost.

A small number of Fieldfare went to roost in the silver birches on 6.  The Whooper Swan herd increased from earlier with c21 seen by the blue slurry tank as I made my way off the marsh through Helsby.

The juvenile Mute Swan that has been in the gutter alongside Moorditch Lane had shifted position to a ditch along Lordship lane.

Observer: Paul Ralston (images 14-18).

23.02.18. Birdlog.

I was round the marsh this morning and the swans inc 2 Bewick’s were still there when I left at 11.oo am. There was a 1 Green Sandpiper which was flushed along Lordship Lane ditch. there were good numbers of Golden Plover behind mitigation ponds and loads of Raven in fields. On the way to the swans there were approx 100 Pied Wagtail and good numbers of Meadow Pipit and a flock 20+ Linnet.

Observer: John Gilbody.

After an earlier dart from work Sparky and myself took a 6 k hike around No.6 tank this evening in glorious sunshine.

Walking along Moorditch Lane and had a chat with Arthur Harrison the only birds worthy of note was a flock of 70 Redwing presumably displaced by the increasing cold weather edging its way from the east.

The walk was uneventful and slightly disappointing to see that the winter swans have left the fields by Spring Farm, let us hope it’s only for a short period.

A pair of Marsh Harrier were circling high over No.6 tank and small clouds of Raven were jousting for fun and riding the uplift from the banks of the Manchester Ship Canal. The mitigation area on No.3 tank had a few Common Teal and Shoveler with the fields holding onto loose flocks of Lapwing.

The chill wind again brought the Shoveler, 40 Common Pochard and 17 Tufted Duck flock into the south banks while the much hardier 230 Common Teal were close to the north banks. The only shorebirds were 27 Redshank and a flock of c400 Lapwing.

Generally a much quieter evening compared to previous visits but it is good to stretch the legs in the evenings now.

Observers: Arthur Harrison, Sparky & WSM (images).

22.02.18. Birdlog.

A selection of counts and species seen today on the marshes.10 Mute Swan, c60 Pink-footed Goose, 2 Marsh Harrier, 27 Redshank, 46 Coot, 190 Goldfinch, 62 Common Shelduck, 41 Common Pochard, 270 Shoveler, 2 Pintail, 22 Tufted Duck, 45 Mallard, 340 Common Teal, 18 Whooper Swan and just a single Bewick’s.

Observer: Joe Chester.

I made a visit after work and the mild weather conditions of the last few days have now given way to much cooler air with the chilly winds coming from a south-easterly sector.

A quick look over No.6 tank revealed more or less the same species that Joe had seen earlier, so I didn’t linger for too long and made my way out to look across Frodsham Score salt marshes. There were a few Little Egret popping up from the tidal channels but the sight of c500 Pink-footed Goose on the edge of the river was quite evocative in the dusky evening light.

The tide was still too high for the big gulls to settle so they were loafing about on the river edge. There wasn’t anything that drew my attention but there’s still plenty of time to pick out the white wingers in the next few weeks.

A Merlin was flexing its wing muscles out on the Score and forced the entire Lapwing and Golden Plover flocks high over head. The Lapwing flock were exceeding 1000 while the Goldies amassed c500 birds.

The Whooper Swan herd was again where Joe had left them but I did manage to see two Bewick’s.

The Starling flocks were heading east along the ship canal in big numbers, while Raven were heading south for the night.

A couple of Marsh Harrier flew in at dusk.

Observer and image: WSM.

21.02.18. Birdlog.

I again took advantage of the increasing evening daylight hours with a visit to the marshes after work.

A quick look over No.6 tank and the open water before heading out to the south-west corner to look out over Lordship marsh. There was a slight increase in the numbers of Tufted Duck from just a few at the weekend to 17 this evening. The Common Pochard flock reached 29 birds with lesser numbers of Shoveler reduced to below a hundred birds. Common Teal were feeding close to the banks and numbered c340 and 46 Common Shelduck are beginning to rise. Several Shoveler and Common Teal were moving out to the flooded fields of No.3 tank.

A small roost of 6 Cormorant included the first sinensis of the year. The only waders present included 173 Lapwing, 16 Redshank and 12 Ruff.

After a while I headed out to Lordship Marsh where the wintering swans produced the 2 Bewick’s Swan with 6 Mute and 22 Whooper Swan and 2 Greylag Goose. The flooded fields close to the M56 motorway had several hundred Curlew which gathered together to head out as the sun dropped below the cloud belt to the estuary.

A huge flock of several thousand Starling headed out to the north and east at dusk.

Observer and images: WSM.

18.02.18. Birdlog.

The marsh was quite good despite the dull weather. No.1 tank had 3 Stonechat (1 male and 2 female) and a pair of Greylag Goose.

Brook Furlong had a pair of Bullfinch and a few Goldcrest with the Long Tailed Tits and Blue Tit.

The dead white bird on No.3 is a Mute Swan, I had a closer look and disturbed a Common Snipe.

There were dozens of Pied Wagtail on the flooded field on Lordship Marsh with a dozen or so Linnet but no pipits when I was there.

The only Raptors were Kestrel dotted all over and a single Common Buzzard on No.6. No.6 had Golden Plover with Lapwing, a Black-tailed Godwit and 2 Redshank.

Observer and images: Paul Crawley.

I saw the Whooper Swan herd on two occasions from my moving vehicle along the M56, heading west this morning and heading east this evening. The birds were in fields between the blue slurry tank and the motorway Also two dead Badger (victims of traffic strikes).

Observer: WSM.