12.02.18. Birdlog.

An after work visit to No.6 tank for the remaining evening light. There was a large gathering of shorebirds present with more Lapwing joining in with c500 already there. Again it is good to see Black-tailed Godwit spending more time here and a count of 230 birds was very encouraging for their continuing pressence. The Redshank flock were busy feeding in amounst the dried out daisy beds. An impressive count of 21 Ruff got me to thinking where on the marshes had they been spending their time this winter.

The usual ducks were scattered about the water but generally c300 Common Teal were sheltering from the brisk cold wind edged up to the daisy beds with 34 Mallard, 175 Shoveler, 348 Common Shelduck, 42 Common Pochard, 7 Tufted Duck and the occasional Pintail.

A couple of Marsh Harrier were spending time quartering the reed beds while a Merlin and Sparrowhawk caused havoc with the roosting wader flocks.

The numerous Raven were flying over heading off to their Welsh roost site and a Stonechat still hangs out on No.5 tank..

Observers: Joe Chester (image 4), Arthur Harrison, WSM (images 1-3 & 5-7).

11.02.18. Birdlog.

Out early morning from Ince and along the Manchester Ship Canal path and around No.4 tank. The weather was cold and wet with a bit of thunder thrown in for good measure. There were numbers of Mallard and Gadwell on the pools at Ince Marsh fields  and 19 Little Egret were feeding near the berth.

Out on the Mersey salt marshes were Common Shelduck and Canada Goose congregated  at the Ince end of the marsh with wildfowlers attempting to make an indent into the geese numbers on the Frodsham Score. 36 Mute swan and 5 Greylag were alongside the Holpool Gutter with Curlew and Lapwing feeding with them.

A clap of thunder put several Grey Heron and a couple of Common Snipe in to the air as I walked between No.4 and No.6 tanks.

The Whooper Swan herd could be seen in the distance on Lordship Marsh and a female Sparrowhawk  flew fast and low along the bank on 4. A flock of Curlew feeding in the stubble field were joined by a flock of Fieldfare and both species were spooked by a Common Buzzard as it looked for a meal.

Back at Ince a mixed flock of Lapwing and Golden Plover were high up after taking fright when a Peregrine cruised by and another Sparrowhawk  was spotted sitting in a thorn-bush.

Three Redshank and a Green Sandpiper were in a flooded field near the new pools .and 5 Grey Heron stood to attention alongside the fence.

Observers: Paul Ralston (images 1-2).

The weather today was good and bad, good as the sun came out now and again but bad because the wind and constant hail showers were terrible.

Not many birds on show this afternoon but there was a Little Egret in the horse paddock field between Brook Furlong and Moorditch Lanes. A couple of Marsh Harrier were over No.3 & 6 tanks.

A few dozen Curlew and Fieldfare on Lordship marsh with a female Stonechat and a Chiffchaff all the way out at the Holpool Gutter feeding with a Pied Wagtail in the stubble field. There is a large herd of Mute Swan on the fields near to the gutter too.

Observer: Paul Crawley (images 3-4).

10.02.18. Birdlog.

A late afternoon trip down to No.6 tank to see what was happening with the ducks on the sludge tank.

The Shoveler flock have again been reduced with an estimate of 164 present today. Other species worthy of note were 46 Common Pochard, 12 Tufted Duck, 71 Mallard, 63 Common Shelduck and c500 Common Teal, so generally not a bad tally.

There was a nice selection of shorebirds out on the receding water edges on the tank at dusk including 174 Black-tailed Godwit, 65 Redshank, 5 Ruff and a c250 Lapwing which included a leucistic bird.

A couple of Marsh Harrier were over the reed beds with the male perched up in a Willow tree for the short period the sun shone.

A Stonechat on No.5 tank was very obliging giving some characteristic postures, while another was less so on No.4 tank. A Cetti’s Warbler could be heard in the distance from the reed bed.

A skein of c200 Pink-footed Goose flew up from the fields by the motorway and headed out to the estuary.

…and Idris and Jacqui Roberts enjoying their walk around No.6 tank with the same skein of pinkies high above.

The same fields had the herd of 16 – 24 Whooper Swan including 8 juveniles so an increase in their number. It was difficult to say how many there were here with swans barely visible behind the hedgerows and away from the main flock.

Observer: WSM (images).

05.02.18. Birdlog.

I had a spare couple of hours this afternoon so I walked around tanks 6 & 4.  Counting crows feasting off a dead sheep carcass included Raven, Carrion Crow and Magpie were ganging up to share the spoils on No.5 tank. A couple of Common Buzzard sat by on the fence waiting their turn.

There were more Raven competing with Great Black-backed Gull, both again feasting on the bounty left by the high tide on the salt marshes.

Ducks were again present on No.6 with Mallard, Shoveler, Common Teal, Common Pochard and Common Shelduck with a pair of Mute Swan adding to the scene.

A fine male Kestrel was sat in a tree along the track while another one hunted nearby. There was a  pair of Stonechat  on the Manchester Ship Canal and a Common Snipe rose from a small reedy pool as I walked close by.

A herd of 35 Mute Swan and 7 Greylag Goose were alongside the Holpool Gutter and nearby a male Merlin was perched on a flat-topped hedge watching a feeding flock of Starling.

Out on the salt marsh were Lapwing and Golden Plover being their usual nervous selves and several Little Egret and a single Great White Egret were feeding amid the Canada Goose herd busy mowing the short salt marsh grass.

A feature of this winter is the skeins of Pink-footed Goose that continue to flight in during the day and several flew over to Lordship Marsh then turned back to the estuary.

Another pair of Stonechat were on No.4 and a flock of Curlew passed overhead on the way to their to the Score.

The Whooper Swan herd of 13 could be seen on Lordship Marsh near to the M56.

Observer and images: Paul Ralston.

I managed to see the Whooper Swan herd close to the blue slurry tank from our west bound moving car along the M56 this morning. Driving east bound at dusk a Great White Egret was feeding in a flooded field just west of junction 14 also on the same motorway (presumably the bird PC had yesterday as it flew over No.6 tank?)

Observer: WSM.

04.02.18. Birdlog.

I was out early with a 7.00am start and a flock of 100 Golden Plover were flying over No.6 tank, 17 Black-tailed Godwit and small numbers of Curlew were coming in dribs and drabs totaling 12 birds.

A couple of Marsh Harrier also over the tank were good, but a Great White Egret, despite its relatively regular status on the marshes these days was a special moment. A couple of Kestrel were on No.5 and 3 tanks.

Passerines included Stonechat, c30 Redwing and Goldcrest at the horse paddock hedgerows and a female Stonechat frequented No.1 tank.

Observer and images: Paul Crawley.

After my weekend working day was over I managed to squeezed in an hour’s birding before the light died. A count of the ducks on No.6 tank saw 50 Common Pochard, 243 Common Teal, 23 Common Shelduck, 12 Tufted Duck, 56 Mallard and 214 Shoveler.

A few waders were present with c200 Lapwing and 4 Ruff.

A female Marsh Harrier was perched up in a Willow tree before it circled the tank and dropped down to roost. The Raven flock were heading south in loose groups and in excess of c50 birds were involved. Although I wasn’t paying them the attention they deserved the total was probably much higher than my initial count. A Chiffchaff was contact calling from behind my position and a Peregrine circled high over the marshes.

A skein of several hundred Pink-footed Goose were struggling to create a ‘V’ formation as they headed south over Frodsham Hill.

As I headed back off the marsh in the dark a couple of Little Egret were feeding in the flooded horse paddock field close to Brook Furlong/Marsh Lane. These being the closest to Frodsham village I’ve seen to date.

Observer: WSM.

03.02.18. Birdlog.

A mid morning walk from Ince along the lanes of the marshes and around No.4 tank. My observations started with a few Common Teal, Mallard, Gadwall, Tufted Duck, with a pair each of Greylag Goose and Mute Swan on the pools.

A couple of Kingfisher were much appreciated as they moved from one pool to another.

There were 6 Little Egret and a flock of Curlew feeding in fields near the berth. A further 36 Mute Swan and more 5 Greylag alongside the Holpool Gutter. A Marsh Harrier was about hunting over the reed bed between the turbines on No.4.

There were still a few of the Whooper Swan herd seen in the distance on Lordship Marsh. There were several Common Buzzard noted with the usual pale morph bird sat on its post by the dredger berth.

The Raven flock have increased recently and were numerous on the banks of Frodsham Score with Great Black-backed Gull enjoying a surplus of dead sheep. These birds are the most proficient recyclers poliching off the drowned sheep.

As the tide came in over the salt marsh the herons and egrets gathered and joined forces together. A Great White Egret looked majestic against the dreary grey coloured setting with Liverpool’s Anglican Cathedral peeking above the skyline.

A flock of murmurating Dunlin were at the edge of the river and both Lapwing and Golden Plover were typically skittish, flitting into the air at the sign of any threat. A flock of c200 Pink-footed Goose flew in from the south and settled on the salt marsh.

I stopped off at Ince to look across the salt marshes during the height of the tide, which it had covered and a Merlin zipped passed as I stood watching.

The first lamb of the season was seen along the Manchester Ship Canal path and Chris the Farmer complete with life vest was gathering his flock from the marshes at the height of the tide, but it was a day for the rain and grey skies.

Observer: Paul Ralston (images 3-9).

There were 4 Stonechat on No.6 tank with more at Marsh Farm and on No.1 tank. A flock of Fieldfare were moving about the area as well.

Observers: Arthur Harrison and Paul Crawley (images 1-2 & 10-11).

Above is an image (11) taken yesterday from the north shore at Hale looking east towards Frodsham. Image by WSM.

02.02.18. Birdlog.

A clear and sunny end to the day and I had enough time after work to pay a visit to the marshes. A quick count of the ducks on No.6 tank revealed 28 Common Pochard, a small number of both Tufted Duck and Pintail. A further flock of 8 tufties were on the ‘Splashing Pool’. The Common Teal and Shoveler flocks were again reduced in number with 300 & 246 respectively.

A big female Sparrowhawk was laying in wait for the Starling flocks heading to the old Runcorn bridge for the night and 3 Marsh Harrier were at their nightly roost.

The Whooper Swan herd was again present by Spring Farm but the hedgerows prevented a good view of them and their number. A skein of c100 Pink-footed Goose headed in from the east and attempted to settle in the flooded fields alongside the M56 motorway, but a traffic helicopter disturbed them and they eventually headed out to the north.

Observers: Gary Worthington, WSM (image).