30.07.18. Birdlog.

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A dash down to the Weaver Bend to catch the tail end of the earlier tide but it didn’t quite work to plan…the water level was much higher than at the weekend so there wasn’t much to look at, apart from an adult Lesser Black-backed Gull swallowing a big Perch whole.

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Relocating to the banks of No.6 tank didn’t fare much better with the Ruddy Shelduck having absconded leaving 10 Common Shelduck to fill the void. Apart from a small flock of Black-headed Gull and two straggly looking Black-tailed Godwit the cracked mud much to absorbed the recent rainfall because there wasn’t much change in the dampness of the patch on the tank.

Three juvenile Marsh Harrier were play fighting over the distant reed bed and a Peregrine was back on the blue topped chimney at Weston Point.

Observers: Arthur Harrison, WSM (images).

29.07.18. Birdlog.

I had a walk around No.6 tank this afternoon where the Ruddy Shelduck was still wrestling in the mud with 4 Common Shelduck, 2 Redshank and a flock of Black-headed and a few Common Gull.

Two Marsh Harrier were in the air together over the reed bed and a Little Egret chanced its luck on what’s left of the secluded pool.

The ‘Splashing Pool’ acted as a surrogate alternative area for c200 Tufted Duck and c50 Mallard. There were 15 Raven which were feeding on something laying in the long grass on No.3 tank (a whiff of mutton no doubt).

There were loads of Common Swift brought down by the heavy rain clouds while more Swallow were passing through.

As I Walked along Lordship Lane a pair of Stock Dove have occupied one of the owl boxes and 3 Brown Hare were chasing each other in fields by the motorway. The reedy ditches had Reed and Sedge Warbler were again feeding their young alongside the lane.

Observer and images: Paul Ralston.

28.07.18. Birdlog.

With the weather finally breaking today a strong fresh south-westerly swept across the marshes with the threat of thunder and rain lurking on the outskirts of the marshes.

I made my way to No.6 tank and settled up on the banks looking across the now damp patch on the sludge tank. The only water to talk about was beneath the decayed tree stumps and a submerged ditch that crossed the eastern edge of the tank. The dead cormorant from yesterday had been removed and presumably a Fox made short work of it.

Apart from a flock of 50 Black-headed Gull the only duck present was the Ruddy Shelduck that performed well (it or another was seen on the Mersey side of the Weaver Sluice Gates). After an hour four Common Shelduck gave the exotic visitor some company. A small flock of 19 Ringed Plover and 4 Dunlin flew in and settled head into the wind on the crusty mud, while a Sparrowhawk spooked everything it flew over.

A juvenile Marsh Harrier joined two other birds high over the western edge of the tank.

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I took a hike out to the River Weaver and then to the Weaver Bend. A flock of c300 Black-tailed Godwit were with 2 Ruff, 40 Redshank, 1 Curlew, 3 Oystercatcher, 4 Avocet, 12 Lapwing, 12 Little and a juvenile Great Crested Grebe. Other species sharing the Weaver estuary included: 30 Common Shelduck, 400 Canada Goose and an adult Lesser Black-backed Gull polishing off an Eel.

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I continued to the ‘bend’ where a smart mixed flock of Black-headed, Common Gull, 142 Black-tailed Godwits (a new colour-ringed bird) and after careful scrutiny the river revealed a partial summer Curlew Sandpiper with a single Dunlin, a summer Knot, 9 Ruff, 21 Redshank, 4 Ringed and a single Little Ringed Plover with a combined (Weaver est included) count of 12 Common Sandpiper. A couple of dead Redshank were laying close together on the waters edge, which was very peculiar.

A few House Martin, Swallow and Common Swift were moving through via the river and both Reed and Sedge Warbler could be found in Redwall reed bed.

Observers: Frank Duff, WSM (images).

Some details of the above colour-ringed Black-tailed Godwit (YY-OO) was an adult male when first caught in NE  on 02.06.04.

🇮🇸 🇪🇸🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿🇳🇱

It commuted between Iceland, Spain, England, Scotland and the Netherlands before I spotted it on the Weaver Bend (WSM).

27.07.18. Birdlog.

A walk around No.6 tank this afternoon.The Ruddy Shelduck is still feeding at the edge of the muddy puddle which is getting smaller by the day. The exotic visitor was joined by 3 Common Shelduck, a Mallard, a flock of Lapwing and some Black-headed Gull. A flock of hirundines included Swallow and Sand Martin feeding up before the big push south and speeding past at waist height. A small flock of Common Swift were noted.

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A maintenance worker sat in a bosun’s chair whilst working on one of the turbine blades must have had a grand view of the area.

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The ‘Splashing Pool’ held a large amount of Tufted Duck, Mallard with Coot and Moorhen broods alongside them.

A juvenile Marsh Harrier flew from No.6 and over No.3 and it or another was seen over No.4 tank later.

Back along Lordship Lane a Reed Warbler was feeding its fledged brood in the reedy ditch and got me thinking it won’t be long before they edge south with their kit and kin.

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Butterflies were out in force with Gatekeeper, Meadow Brown, Red Admiral, Comma, Small Tortoiseshell and Large White while a few Red Darter being noted.

Observer and images: Paul Ralston.

At about the same time PR was walking the lanes to the west an Osprey flew over the Weaver Bend heading west along the Weaver valley per Andy Moore.

26.07.18. Birdlog.

A later than normal visit to the marsh due to the excessive warm weather we are experiencing over the last few weeks.

I met Arthur on the bridge on Brook Furlong Lane where he was exiting the marsh but not before telling me he had seen Blackcap and Siskin. I made my way out to the track between No.5 & 6 tanks.

Looking over the edge of the banks to No.6 tank and the first bird that came into view was PR’s juv/female Ruddy Shelduck from yesterday. It was still present at dusk and had to run the gauntlet of some aggressive adult Common Shelduck.  There were 14 Common Teal, a steady passage over head of Common Gull and a Carrion Crow attempting to lift a dead Cormorant from the muddy water below the Cormorant roost tree.

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Image may contain: cloud, sky, outdoor and nature

Observers: Arthur Harrison & WSM (images).

25.07.18. Birdlog.

A late afternoon walk along the River Weaver.There wasn’t a great deal on the water today except for a couple of Common Sandpiper along the river bank. There were 5 Black-tailed Godwit, 6 Redshank, c200 Lapwing out on the exposed sand bank.

A surprise was a Ruddy Shelduck which was seen to leave the river and head off to the estuary. Near to the junction of the Manchester Ship Canal was 3 more Common Sandpiper being noted alongside a single Avocet and 10 Ringed Plover.

A flock of Starling put on a mini murmuration as 2 Kestrel which were hunting together.

Another Common Sandpiper was on the canal bank were a Raven was seen trying to hide behind some drift wood and when approached it appeared to be injured. I caught the bird and took it back to the car and then dropped it off at a vet clinic near Cheshire Oaks where hopefully it will make a full recovery.

Observer and images: Paul Ralston.

23.07.18. Birdlog.

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I paid a brief visit hoping for a few waders that may have been dislodged from the morning tide out on the Mersey estuary…I should have stayed in bed instead.

A few Black-headed Gull were lazing about the watering hole that is now the sludge tank pool on No.6. A female and juvenile Marsh Harrier were active in the area…I made a quick getaway to sort out the damage to my car bonnet which was outstanding from my accident in January.

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Image may contain: plant, flower, outdoor and nature

Sometime later and after visiting the garage in Widnes I (we, that is Sparky and me) made my way back to the marsh for a walk in the very warm sunshine around No.6 tank.

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A male Marsh Harrier was hunting Lordship Marsh and the usually dependablet Tufted Duck had encamped on the ‘Splashing Pool’ where c80 were present. No.3 tank had bone dry pools with head height nettles and thistles (good conservation management by the ‘committed’ committee) holding onto the heat of the day.

The reedy ditches along the track on No.5 tank still had singing Reed and Sedge Warbler with juvenile Whitethroat popping out of the bramble bushes every now and then. There were 4 Common Swift feeding over the tank and a dozen or so Raven were loitering about.

Another look over No.6 revealed another Marsh Harrier but the Black-headed Gull flock had given up the ghost and were fast asleep. A bunch of butterflies and a Yellow Wagtail did their best to add a splash of colour to the proceedings. I decided that enough was enough and left the stage for the day.

A view from Weston Village looking south across Frodsham Marsh and out to Helsby Hill…

…from the same position and the river tides edges close to the Weaver Sluices at Weston Point…

…looking slightly to the right from the last image and the disused power station blue topped chimney towers over Ineos Chlor works and looks west to the Mersey estuary.

Observer: WSM (images)

21.07.18. Birdlog.

A walk around No.6 and 4 tanks from mid morning which started with 5 Ruff on the rapidly diminishing water on No.6. A few Common Teal and Mallard were paddling about in whats left of the shallow pool. A Green Sandpiper was on the secluded pool with a couple of Lapwing for company.

Onward to the Manchester Ship Canal path where a juvenile male Sparrowhawk was perched on a weed stem watching a flock of Goldfinch and Linnet in that area.

A flock of c60 post breeding Lapwing were on the pontoons and 5 Common Sandpiper were seen along the exposed canal bank as the water is low here as well. Another pair of Green Sandpiper dropped in on the opposite bank and several broods of Tufted Duck were on the water. There were c400 Canada Goose resting on the canal with a couple of thousand more out on the Frodsham Score salt marsh.

Common Swift, House Martin and Swallow were feeding overhead while Reed and Sedge Warbler were seen and heard through out my walk.

Observer: Paul Ralston (image 1-3).

An evening visit to coincide with the High (but low) tide out on the Mersey estuary. I stood on the banks of No.6 tank looking across the shallow pool where 19 Ringed Plover flew in and flew out just as quickly. The 5 Ruff were still present from earlier in the day and just 4 Black-tailed Godwit lingered.

A small flock of Black-headed Gull included an interesting leucistic bird with overall paler plumage and having pale washed out primaries and ghosted head markings. The bright red bare parts were quite obvious and stood out compared to the ‘normal’ BhG’s present.

A juvenile Marsh Harrier was watched circling high over Lordship Marsh..

Image 4 by WSM.

20.07.18. Birdlog.

An early dart from work and a walk out and around the Weaver Bend with my start along Brook Furlong Lane where Blackbird and Goldfinch were in song. There were Chiffchaff and Whitethroat seen along with a pair of Mistle Thrush which isn’t a regular thrush on the marshes.

I continued along the rank reedy lane to the River Weaver where a pair of Common Sandpiper made their way up river. A flock of c300 Black-tailed Godwit fed on the sand bank along with 6 Ruff, 2 Oystercatcher and several Redshank.  Small parties of godwit passed over and headed towards the M56. Common Swift and House Martin were in good numbers over the water.

The walk back along the river bank and after a sharp shower was uncomfortably wet and I emerged out at Brook Furlong Lane like a drowned rat. There were several Sedge and Reed Warbler singing half heartedly in the reed bed and a family of Reed Bunting were noted. A male Stonechat sat on a bramble bush by the river bank while another Common Sandpiper made its way down river this time.

Observer: Paul Ralston (image 1). 

I took the opportunity between the end of work and another duty with a walk along the track between No.6 & 5 tanks. There were still Sedge Warbler sub-singing while Reed Warbler were popping up and undertaking short flights between gaps in the reedy ditches.

The air was filled by c100 Common Swift brought down by the persistent rain that started as soon as I emerged from work and didn’t stop until my next duty of the evening commenced. In between was good birding with a welcome return of the south bound march of the early autumn shorebirds. There were 54 Black-tailed Godwit with the first colour ringed individual of this mid summer return passage. A flock of 114 summer Dunlin also included the first juvenile of the year here. Along with the Dunlin came 14 Ringed Plover with a local juvenile Little Ringed Plover wondering where all these birds had come from. A single Redshank in immaculate summer plumage was the only one of its kind present and 7 Ruff must surely have been some of the birds Paul had seen on his visit? A female Marsh Harrier loomed large from No.4 tank but as I mentioned earlier other duties called me away from evening a very agreeable evenings watch.

Observer: WSM (images 2-3).

17.07.18. Birdlog.

After dutifully dropping Sparky and her pal off for a night in Chester I took the opportunity to drop in on No.6 tank and see how the water level is coping with the drought. It is interesting to see that the pool on the sludge tank is even less than it was on my last visit (despite the downpour we had last evening).

A group of species were forced to dabble, roost, feed and float side by side on the water. Common Teal have increased to 39 birds with 9 Common Shelduck, 139 Black-headed and Common Gull which didn’t linger and past straight through. There were 4 Black-tailed Godwit, 14 Lapwing and an adult with two juvenile Little Ringed Plover finding the wetter muddy areas suitable to their needs.

A trickle of Sedge Warbler song emitted from the reed bed while ‘reeling’ from a lone elder bush was a Grasshopper Warbler. A few Raven past over heading to Wales and a flock of Starling were flying around the area.

A Marsh Harrier was loafing in the distance and a dog Fox was doing its stuff in the rank vegation.

Observer and images: WSM.