29.10.18. Birdlog.

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I paid a visit after work to No.6 tank with little less than the hour to play with it was a tight squeeze.

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A flock of c500 Common Teal were keeping to the edges of the vegetation while a small flock of Lapwing were joined by 17 Black-tailed Godwit.

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The occasional Common Snipe dropped in during my observation and the first signs of Starling roost began with c5000 dropping into the reed beds when the sun dropped below the gas works. Other birds were seen heading to the east past the Weaver estuary.

Observer and images: WSM.

28.10.18. Birdlog.

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A big hike around the marshes today with a walk along Lordship Lane where a flock of 124 Curlew were feeding in the lush grassy fields. The distant fields by Spring Farm had a herd of 12 (3 juvenile) Whooper Swan but they kept their distance and were difficult to get any photo’s off.

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Further out on the Ince Marsh fields there were several hundred Lapwing with c500 Golden Plover and a single Dunlin keeping a low profile in the emerging green fields.

Frodsham Score during the high tide can bring birds in close but the height of today’s tide wasn’t high enough to push them from the river’s edge. A distant Great White Egret kept to the lush vegetation while its much smaller cousins were scattered widely. Canada Goose herds could be found all over the salt marshes but I couldn’t muster up any Pink-footed Goose today.

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A couple of motor boats (not the one pictured) were powering around the river off the score marsh and dislodged hundreds of Common Teal and Wigeon while several hundred Dunlin were also finding it hard to seek a safe refuge. A distant dead sheep brought in an attendant posse of Raven but an adult Great Black-backed Gull made them wait while it gorged itself on the flesh.

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A Green Sandpiper was sheltering under the bank of the edge of the Manchester Ship Canal opposite No.4 tank.

Walking along the track between No.5 & No.6 tank didn’t produce much to write about but 7 Whooper Swan (adults) looked new in much ‘whooping’ going on. I assume these were different to the herd on Lordship Marsh? A flock of c200 Common Teal were on the sludge tank with a few Shoveler keeping them company.

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Three Peacock Butterflies were the only vestige of the long gone Summer left today.

Observers: Sean O’Hara, Sparky & WSM (all images).

27.10.18. Birdlog.

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I was out this morning with a start and a short walk along the River Weaver. The Curlew and Black-tailed Godwit were flying inland to their feeding grounds somewhere along the Weaver valley. Those birds that were present on the river included; Common Shelduck, Shoveler, Common Teal and Mallard all present on the water. The winter herd of Mute Swan were sat at the river edge and the Manchester Ship Canal junction.

A male Stonechat was sat in the reed bed with a Common Snipe inconspicuous beneath its perch.

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On to No.6 tank c100 Common Teal were on the shallow waters with c400 Lapwing and c40 Great Black-backed Gull. The Lesser’s were spooked when a Common Buzzard left its perch on the bank but the Lapwing and Common Teal took no notice and carried on feeding.

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Goldfinch and Linnet were joined together (safety in numbers) and were feeding on the weed heads alongside my walk route. On to the Manchester Shop Canal path and a look over the Frodsham Score where 4 Great White Egret and several Little Egret were seen amongst the hundreds of Canada Goose gatherings. Raven and Great Black-backed Gull were feeding on a sheep carcase while a Common Sandpiper sat on the far bank.

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The fields along the Holpool Gutter held c2000 Lapwing and c1,000 Golden Plover which may be part of the flock seen at Pickering’s Pasture over at Halebank which contained an American Golden Plover a couple of days ago.

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Walking back along Lordship Lane and the group of 5 Whooper Swan (seen from the M56 19th by WSM and 20th by SH) dropped in to the fields near the M56 but where hidden from sight behind the hedges. I stopped off at Helsby on the way home and could see the group in the distance from there.

Observer and images: Paul Ralston.

20.10.18. Birdlog.

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Stepping out early doors for a ramble around No.6 and 4 tanks and to see this sunrise illuminating the eastern sky above Moorditch Lane.

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There were plenty of ducks on No.6 tank with mostly Common Teal and Mallard but with a supporting cast of Wigeon, Pintail, Shoveler, Gadwall and Tufted Duck.

Rabbits are still breeding with a doe and young seen on the pathways on the approach to the ‘Secluded Pool’ which held a few more Common Teal and Mallard with a single male Shoveler. A little further on and the ‘Splashing Pool’ had more Common Teal, Mallard and 20 Shoveler.

Walking along the Manchester Ship Canal path provided sightings of a Cormorant with Great Crested Grebe fishing side by side and a group of Tufted Duck as well.

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Frodsham Score salt marsh had a large roost of Great Black-backed Gull which were sitting out the tide while 4 Great White and several Little Egret were moving about the marsh.

The fields alongside the Holpool Gutter held c1000 Lapwing, 20 Curlew but no sign of the Golden Plover flocks that has been there recently.

Back along Lordship Lane and c40 Curlew and more Lapwing were feeding in the field at the junction with Rake Lane. At the No.4 and 6 tank turn off a dozen or more Reed Bunting were again favouring the Buckthorn bushes with more buntings spotted on the way back to my car.

A Common Snipe, single Ruff and a several Black-tailed Godwit were amongst a Lapwing flock which dropped in to the shallow waters on No.6.

A quiet day for raptors with only Common Buzzard and Kestrel being noted. Still no sign of the winter thrushes which have arrived in other places.

Observer: Paul Ralston (images 1-3).

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There was a female Merlin hunting down the pipes on No.1 tank and 6 Stonechat in various locations around there and the Weaver Bend. A flock of 20 Meadow Pipit fed and bathed on the track near the to Marsh Farm while No.2 had 10 Curlew and 20 Lapwing.

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A Cetti’s Warbler was calling in the reeds for over 20 minutes on the Weaver Bend less than 6 foot from where I was standing but I couldn’t see it. There were plenty of Blackbird and Song Thrush flying down the banks of No.5 next to Brook Furlong Lane.

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Observer: Paul Crawley (images 4-8).

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I hiked along Brook Furlong Lane this afternoon with the intention of working the hedgerows there, unfortunately there was a lot of shooting activity in the fields to the east so most things were keeping a low profile. A couple of Goldcrest, Chaffinch and Bullfinch were bobbing about but nothing to get the juices flowing.

A Cetti’s Warbler blasted out a tune from Redwall reed bed.

A walk along the bank to the ‘Corner’ and a couple of hours sat watching the ebbing tide drain out of the Mersey estuary. The Peregrine was perched on its lofty citadel high above the Weaver estuary. There were 3 (juvenile) Common Pochard and 128 Tufted Duck with 7 Great Crested Grebe for company. Looking out from the bank and the Mersey estuary was full of birds including a tidy flock of c450 Wigeon, 120 Gadwall and several hundred Common Teal.  A few Little Egret were flopping about in and out of channels. The Golden Plover flocks that PR failed to see earlier were sheltering out on the mudflats numbering c400 with c700 Lapwing. There were several hundred Black-tailed Godwit but their true number was difficult to ascertain with birds stretching out towards No Man’s Land (which isn’t visible from my viewing position) and out of sight.

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A lonesome Pink-footed Goose was with Canada’s on the River Weaver but soon got restless and flapped away back to Frodsham Score. A lingering Common Sandpiper took time out from strutting its stuff to fall asleep in the bright warm sunshine while behind me a Skylark filled the air with its song.

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An injured drake Gadwall swimming close by had sustained an injury to its wings and held them over its back while swimming.

Walking back and Marsh Farm was pretty vacant with just a small flock of Linnet and a couple of Reed Bunting feeding on a patch of weedy seeds.

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There were six Ruff feeding in the extreme south-east corner of No.6 tank…

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… while the wide selection of ducks from earlier had vacated the tank there were c100 Common Teal still present and a single Common Snipe.

A skein of 95 Pink-footed Goose were winging their way to the south (and presumably the Dee Marshes) high over the turbines on No.4 tank.

Finally, another Cetti’s Warbler was vocal on No.5 tank and it seems birds have dispersed widely across the marshes today. A couple of Stonechat added to PC’s earlier reckoning.

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A few insects out today including Small Tortoiseshell, Common Darters and thousands of Harlequin Ladybirds.

Observer: WSM (images 9-15).

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This post is dedicated to Roy Taylor who died tragically young yesterday after fighting MND. Roy was a regular birder visiting Frodsham Marsh in the early 1980’s with his dad (Roy Snr). A few years ago and although he no longer lived in the area he paid a visit to the marshes with Tim Cleeves and they found a trip of Dotterels hiding on No.3 tank.

18.10.18. Birdlog.

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A walk around along the River Weaver in bright sunshine after work this evening.

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A Little Egret was fishing on the far bank while a Fox was stalking the many wildfowl at the river’s edge. Ducks featured Tufted Duck, Common Teal, Mallard, Gadwall and Common Shelduck which were all present along with 16 Great Crested Grebe, 12 Little Grebe and 18 Mute Swan.

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A pair of Stonechat were in river bank vegetation and a Kestrel made the most of the fading light and managed to catch a small rodent for its supper.

Out on the salt marsh hundreds of Canada Goose made their way to the estuary and a flock of distant waders were noted.

Observer and images: Paul Ralston.

17.10.18. Birdlog.

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An after work saunter to No.6 tank and a couple of hours spent watching over the tank in brilliant sunshine.

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There were plenty of Black-headed (265) and Common Gull (51) watched settling on the water for a quick brush up and splash before they eventually headed out to the Mersey estuary for their nightly roost. A bit of a clear out of duck today with 9 Mallard, 453 Common Teal and 16 Shoveler , also 163 Black-tailed Godwit.

Observers: Arthur Harrison & WSM (images).

15.10.18. Birdlog.

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A day off and a walk out to look across Frodsham Score salt marsh.

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The heavy rains of the weekend helped to replenish the water table on No.6 tank. The area of water which has extended help to encourage the build up of c530 Common Teal back for the autumn. There were 27 Mallard, 2 Gadwall, 21 Shoveler, 5 Pintail and 7 Wigeon.

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A Water Rail was squealing from the reed bed at the ‘Secluded Pool’.

The ‘Splashing Pool’ had a further 19 Shoveler and a small number of Mallard.

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After a long walk we settled on the banks looking north across the salt marsh where several hundred Canada Goose were grazing. A skein of Pink-footed Goose flew in and circled the area for a while before settling on the distant river edge. There were 9 Little Egret and 3 Great White Egret were far out on the marsh or tidal gutters.

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A Peregrine was sheltering beneath the lip of the blue topped chimney and Common Buzzard, Kestrel and Sparrowhawk were about the marsh.

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Wildlife highlights included a sentinel standing Stoat who was standing on it hunches and a couple of late butterflies with a tatty Small Copper and a Small Tortoiseshell.

Observers: Sparky & WSM (images).

14.10.18. Birdlog.

A stroll around No.6 tank on yet another wet and miserable morning. The numbers of Common Teal were in good numbers with c40 Mallard and 2 Shoveler in the shallower waters of the sludge tank. A flock of Lapwing were the only waders on the mud although a dozen or more Curlew were on No.3.

A Green Sandpiper was at the ‘Secluded Pool’ with 6 Common Teal. A group of 11 Pink-footed Goose flew over No.6 with a further 3 more following them soon after.

A Chiffchaff moved along No.6 with a flock of Long-tailed and Blue Tit.

20 Shoveler and 5 Mallard were on the ‘Splashing Pool’.

A Peregrine flew over from the Blue topped chimney heading in the direction of Runcorn Bridge.

Observer: Paul Ralston.

A few images taken by Shaun Hickey from last weeks WeBS count showing various areas on Frodsham Score with or without Pink-footed & Canada Goose skeins and Golden Plovers.

13.10.18. Birdlog.

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I was out this wet and windy morning around No.6 and No.4 sludge tanks, the former still in use while the other is a base for wind turbines and reed beds.

A flock of c200 Lapwing took to the air with just 6 Common Snipe with them for company. There was a good number of Common Teal on the waters of No.6 with a few Mallard, 6 Common Shelduck and Tufted Duck. A camouflaged tent bizarrely drifted around the flooded tank and kept the birds, particularly the similarly camo dressed Common Snipe on alert.

The ‘Secluded Pool’ had more Common Teal and a single Black-tailed Godwit with 2 more Common Snipe. On to the ‘Splashing Pool’ which held c30 Shoveler and a few Mallard.

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Out on the Frodsham Score salt marsh were 8 Little and 2 Great White Egret feeding and resting in the tidal channels, while another 2 Little’s were fighting over their respective fishing rights. There were three skeins of Pink-footed Goose seen to leave the edge of the River Mersey and fly inland over the Manchester Ship Canal.

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The fields alongside the Holpool Gutter held hundreds of Lapwing and c 200 Golden Plover, 6 Black-tailed Godwit and several Curlew.

Along Lordship Lane there were more Lapwing and Black-headed Gull feeding on the crop fields and a party of Reed Bunting were in the black thorn bushes at the junction of No.4 and 6 tanks.

Observer and images: Paul Ralston.

12.10.18. Birdlog.

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I didn’t expect to get any birding in after my early dart from work today (3.30pm) but the wind eased (a little) and the rain held back long enough to take a hike along the track between No.5 & No.6 tanks.

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The blustery conditions from a south and south-westerly direction and with careful positioning behind a Spindle bush afforded me shelter (of sorts). Most of the birds present were Black-headed gull with the odd Common and Lesser Black backs. A small gathering of 19 Black-tailed Godwit, 4 Redshank and 14 Dunlin were all facing away from me so not best views. Common Teal, Mallard and 6 Pintail were all sheltering from the wind by sitting close into the southern banks of No.6.

A few Mallard and 18 Shoveler were in the safe harbour of the ‘Splashing Pool’ by the Pumping Station.

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A single Common Buzzard was being mobbed by a Sparrowhawk while an immature male Kestrel was “angin in’t wind” as they say in Bolton over the distant reedy pasture. The Peregrine braved the full force of the mild brooding storm. Finally a female Merlin hurtled across No.3 tank to outwit its quarry on No.5.

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Observers: Sparky & WSM (images).