30.09.18. Birdlog.

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I was out early doors and taking a stroll round No.6 and 4 tanks including Frodsham Score.

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I got off to a good start with a Kingfisher along Moorditch Lane followed swiftly by a skein of Pink-footed Goose heading south.

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Onward to No.6 where c30 Canada Goose were sat with Common Teal, Mallard, Shoveler and Gadwall in the shallow water. The Black-headed Gull flock were joined by c 70 Lesser and Great Black-backed Gull. The 7 Ruff where feeding close to the edge and a Green Sandpiper was also noted. There were  c100 Lapwing and 3 Black-tailed Godwit with another Ruff sat separately.

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The ‘Splashing Pool’ held 20 Shoveler and 6 Gadwall which were spooked when a Common Buzzard checked their shelter out. Onward to the Manchester Ship Canal path and several Raven were displaying over the salt marsh.  A flock of 28 Tufted Duck and a single Great Crested Grebe were on the water and a Common Sandpiper made its way down the canal.

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Frodsham Score came up trumps with 5 Great White Egret (equalling the highest count here) and a single Little Egret were feeding amongst the many Canada and Pink-footed Goose flocks along with 2 Barnacle Goose present.

The fields alongside the Holpool Gutter held several hundred Lapwing and a handful of Curlew. As I was walking back along Lordship Lane there were more Lapwing feeding in the stubble fields with a mixed group of corvids and Stock Dove. A couple of Common Snipe left the ditch alongside No.6 tank.

Observer: Paul Ralston (images 1 & 3-5). Image 2 by WSM.

29.09.96 & 29.09.18 Birdlog.

On this day 29.09.96 I recorded the second highest ever count of Little Stint in Cheshire when a flock which was (under!) estimated to be 250-300 birds. The actual number was probably much higher than 311 with birds departing without alighting and not included in the totals. I only countered those that settled but as you can imagine it was always going to be difficult to extract the exact number. The previous high count was: 22.09.60, an additional count of c350 at Shotton, Clwyd. (Source: The Birds of Cheshire, T.H Bell, p131).

Other birds present included: Lesser Flamingo, Ruddy Shelduck with a Cape Shelduck (type), Merlin and the long staying Black Swan all seen on the River Mersey or Frodsham Score.

Apart from the high stint numbers there was a flock of 2500 Dunlin, 15 Curlew Sandpiper (including a leucistic bird), 5 Knot, 200 Grey Plover, a single Bar-tailed Godwit and 15 Ruff.

Observer: WSM. Image 1 by Brian Rimmer.

29.09.18. Birdlog.

It was with great anticipation that I made my way out from Brook Furlong Lane via Moorditch Lane to look over the now flooded No.6 tank. The usual group of 7 Ruff were still present with a smart flock of 104 mostly juvenile Black-tailed Godwit. A skulking Green Sandpiper was coaxed out of its hiding place when I peered over the edge to look at some Common Teal. 7 Common Snipe were bold enough to feed out in the open in the bright sunshine while 89 Lapwing were crouched together on the margins of the water. Gulls were coming and going with higher than normal numbers of Common loafing Black-headed Gulls for company. The ducks that were present included: 2 Shoveler, 45 Common Teal and a few Mallard.

Continuing my walk along the track between No.6 & No.3 soon featured a juvenile Marsh Harrier that flew overhead and disappeared over the bank.

A look across Frodsham Score was rewarding with the wintering flocks of Canada Goose encouraging the migrating Pink-footed Goose skeins to drop in and feed up. A couple of presumed feral Barnacle Goose were concealing themselves in the Canada flocks. Small flocks of Dunlin and Curlew could be seen in the distance but a little disappointing to see their numbers so low during the high tide. A Great White Egret was shimmering in the heat haze while 7 Little Egret were fairly noticeable. Sitting out on the edge of the salt marsh a Peregrine was bird watching.

No.4 tank had a singing Cetti’s Warbler while the last Chiffchaff and Whitethroat were still hanging around.

Walking back along the track and it was good to find a pair of Whooper Swan settled in a flooded part of No.3 tank.

Butterflies were enjoying the late warmth with Painted Lady, Red Admiral and some smaller White’s being seen.

Observer and images: WSM.

C-R Blackwit

An Iceland born colour ringed Black-tailed Godwit first caught in Moeze, France on 26.02.09 commuted between various countries (and presumably Iceland each Summer) including Holland, France (again), Spain and then Holland (again), Portugal and finally to date on Frodsham Marsh on 20.07.18. #VivelaGodwit

Observer and image: WSM.


28.09.18. Birdlog.

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An early dart from work and a walk around No.6 tank. There didn’t appear much to hold my interest overlooking the sludge tank but a flock of 43 Lapwing, 42 Common Teal, a few Mallard and Black-headed Gull were present. On further scrutiny a flock of 7 Ruff were busy feeding on the eastern edge.

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The ‘Secluded Pool’ was barren but the yelping calls of moving Pink-footed Goose alerted me to a skein passing through from the north. These were followed by 3 other skeins looking for a safe refuge on Frodsham Score (if they manage to be left alone). A Kestrel took umbrage to a passing Sparrowhawk and a short but violent tussle ensued before the ‘sprawk’ was sent packing.

The ‘Splashing Pool’ was quite but a few Shoveler were lingering in a peaceful corner.

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Lordship Lane was alive with Linnet flocks joining together over the maize stubble fields.

A far bit of other wildlife were enjoying the early autumn sunshine with Common Darter, hawkers, Red Admiral and Painted Lady on the wing. A lethargic and dehydrated Common Toad needed a bit of encouragement and was coaxed to a safer haven than the dusty track it was mummified on.

Observers: Sparky & WSM (images).

25.09.18. Birdlog.

An after work walk around the perimeter of No.6 tank produced 7 Ruff, 67 Lapwing, 43 Common Teal, small flock of Black-headed Gull and 32 Mallard. A couple of Raven were harassing one of three Kestrel that were seen tonight.

The ‘Splashing Pool’ had a small flock of Shoveler and Mallard.

A juvenile Marsh Harrier was over No.3 and then moved out to No.4 tank.

A Grey Wagtail was in Moorditch Lane and numerous corvids were busy feeding in the maize stubble fields off Lordship Lane.

Observers: Sparky & WSM (and image).

23.09.18. Birdlog.

Out again this morning around the Weaver Bend and then around No.6 tank.

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A Barn Owl was along Brook Furlong Lane as I made my way out to the River Weaver.

A Mute Swan family have now lost one of their cygnets and have been joined by 5 more adults to make a winter herd. There were small flocks of Black-tailed Godwit and Curlew noted flying up river with part of the flock settling at the junction of the Manchester Ship Canal – Weaver estuary. A Common Sandpiper and a Ringed Plover both flew across the river while a Green Sandpiper was at the ‘Shooters’ Pool’. A Sparrowhawk was hunting along the river bank as was a Kestrel. At the canal junction a Peregrine spooked a flock of Lapwing and godwits in to the air, while a Lapwing flock took their frustration out on a Jay crossing the river forcing it to take cover immediately when it could find some.

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A c200 strong flock of Goldfinch were around Marsh Farm and both Stonechat & 2 Wheatear were on the pipes that cross No.1 tank.

My walk eventually took me to No.6 and while there a skein of c79 Pink-footed Goose flew overhead towards the Frodsham Score. Another much smaller skein of 12 flew over from the east out across the estuary heading west.

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There were further smaller flocks of Black-tailed Godwit feeding in the shallow waters of No.6 and they were joined by 6 Ruff and another Green Sandpiper was noted. Duck numbers have increased with Mallard reaching 23 and Common Teal hitting a dizzy 12.

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A Common Buzzard was seen carrying prey which in turn was mugged by a pair of Raven over No.3. The ‘Splashing Pool’ was quiet with a small flock of Shoveler which commuted between there and the Canal Pools.

A Kingfisher showed well along the Moorditch Lane.

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A few butterflies like Red Admiral, Small Tortoiseshell and smaller White’s were on the wing in the sunnier spots away from the stiff breeze with darters being obvious.

The pale morph Common Buzzard finally gave itself up to my camera this afternoon whilst I was building a dry stone wall at Weston…resistant is eventually futile.

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Observer: Paul Ralston (images 1 & 4-6) with additional sightings by Arthur Harrison, Paul Crawley (images 2-3 & 7 & 9-10) & WSM (images 8 & 11).

22.09.18. Birdlog.

Not great but not bad today. There were 41 Black-tailed Godwit, 14 Lapwing, 1 Ruff, Shoveler, Common Teal, Mallard and Pied Wagtail on No.6 tank, a pale Common Buzzard on No.3 with Curlew and Starling flock being spooked by an unseen raptor.

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The pipes and the track up to the Marsh Farm had 3 female Wheatear with a male Stonechat and a few House Martin and Swallow flying through. Goldfinch were all over the marsh in largish flocks with a few Meadow Pipit, a Great Spotted Woodpecker flew over No.6 later on and 2 Jay were by the motorway bridge.

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A Mute Swan did its best to take my head off my shoulders.

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Observer: Paul Crawley (images 2-6).

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The nights are drawing in and with just three hours to kill on the marsh after work today I walked out to the Weaver Bend baring in mind the strong winds and seabirds featuring heavily on the coast locally. In previous years I’ve found Grey Phalaropes on the River Weaver but today was not to be repeated and a Common Sandpiper was the nearest in size I could muster. There were plenty of Tufted Duck with both Gadwall and Mallard to bolster their numbers. A small flock of 8 Great Crested Grebe were tucked up close to the Weaver estuary and both Black-tailed Godwit (132) and Ruff (2) were happily feeding on the sandy beach. A further 40 godwit were on the Weaver Bend.

Walking back along the track bordering the river and a juvenile Whinchat popped out on top of some vegetation and was most welcome being rather scarce on the marshes this year. A juvenile Reed Warbler skulked deep in the reed bed while Chiffchaff were contact calling in the trees.

Wearily I trudged up to Marsh Farm to check the pipes and the viewpoint looking across the Mersey estuary. A very confiding juvenile Wheatear was on the pipes then perched conveniently on the sheep hut nearby.

Looking across the mudflats on the River Mersey and c600 Black-tailed Godwit were widespread with hundreds of Redshank, Curlew and what looked like thousands of Common Shelduck.

Not a bad return for three hours birding after a busy day at work.

Talking of which the Norwegian ringed Black-headed Gull was back for its 4th year at Spike Island, Widnes. Also a Kingfisher in the wet dock at this site.

Observer: WSM (images 1 & 7-8).

21.09.18. Birdlog.

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An early morning walk around No.6 tank and what a difference a day makes with the recent heavy rains covering a large part of the tank.

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The Common Teal and Mallard are now back in decent numbers with c40 Black-tailed Godwit feeding in the shallow water alongside 4 Ruff and 3 Redshank on No.6.

A Little Egret secreted itself on the ‘secluded pool’ and c30 Shoveler were on the ‘Splashing Pool’.

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A charm of Goldfinch fed on the teasel along the path and were kept mobile by a Kestrel hunting alongside. Along Lordship Lane was a mixed flock of Black-headed Gull and Common Gull fed on a seeded field with both Wood Pigeon and Stock Dove with 6 Curlew.

Several Swallow were seen heading south when I made my way back to my car.

Observer and images: Paul Ralston.

16.09.18. Birdlog.

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The same route as yesterday.  A  gathering group of 18 Little Grebe were on the River Weaver with good numbers of Tufted Duck, smaller numbers of Mallard, common Teal and Common Shelduck all noted. There were 7 Mute Swan including the family from the Canal Pools were feeding close to the bank. A flock of c60 Black-tailed Godwit with 2 Ruff amongst them which flew up river. A Green Sandpiper left the ‘Shooters’ Pool’ and landed on the far bank. There were 2 Common Buzzard which were talon touching high up above the I C I  plant, while 2 Kestrel hunted nearby.

A flock of several hundred Wood Pigeon were circling around looking for a safe to feed with many feeding on the abundant berry crop this autumn.

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A Cormorant caught a decent size flounder and was struggling to swallow it whole.

On to No.6 tank and the shallow waters were again empty apart from a Curlew which left when a Common Buzzard made a low pass over the area it was feeding on. I made it as far as the ‘Secluded Pool’ which was also devoid of bird life but held several different specious of dragonfly. I could see the weather was about to change with rain coming in from the Wirral. I made my way back to the car where a Sparrowhawk was hunting the bank.

Observer and images: Paul Ralston.

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The only other birds worth a mention were Swallow and House Martin passing through, half a dozen Curlew and 40 Black-tailed Godwit passed over me on the track between No.1 and 2 tanks. A Merlin was very busy (I think female due to size but not sure) saw it twice whizzing low, great to watch it flew right past me at one point but sadly no photos of anything and a Peregrine put the spooks up the local Wood Pigeon flocks. Went home feeling a bit Pat and Mick.

Observer: Paul Crawley.

A walk around No.6 tank and a flock of c50 Black-tailed Godwit flew from the tank on arrival. A Yellow Wagtail joined the numerous Alba Wagtail on the cracked mud. The pale morph Common Buzzard was still mewing from the Pumping Station and several Raven were out over on Frodsham Score.

Later in the day on the rising tide flocks of godwit were heading out to Weston Marsh lagoon while several Little Egret and several hundred Dunlin were feeding below the Weaver Sluice Gates.

Observers: Sparky & WSM.