11.11.18. Birdlog (Lest We Forget).

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I started at Kinsey Lane, Ince today where a large mixed flock of Linnet, House Sparrow, Meadow Pipit and Pied Wagtail were attempting to eek out an existence while the much larger Curlew were feeding in and out of the grazing sheep. The lane leading to Ince Berth held an increasing nomadic flock of Redwing, Blackbird and Song Thrush with smaller numbers of Fieldfare. A pair of Sparrowhawk were targeting the finch and thrush flocks and caused a lot of activity from them.

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The pools held 15 Gadwall, 10 Common Teal, 2 Shoveler, 2 Mute Swan, 1 Little Grebe, 1 Little Egret and a Grey Heron along with 10 Common Snipe moving between the pools.

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Onto the Manchester Ship Canal path and 7 Whooper Swan made up of 4 juvenile and 3 adult were at the edge of the Frodsham Score salt marsh where a single Great White Egret and several Little Egret were on the marsh with another Great White seen later flying along the canal and dropping down behind the bank adjacent to Marsh Farm.

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The fields alongside the Holpool Gutter had c2500 Lapwing, c700 Golden Plover, 8 Mute Swan (one wearing a green darvic ring) and several Curlew and c100 more on Lordship Marsh later.

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The Whooper Swan herd could be seen in the distance near the M56. A flock of c100 Pink-footed Goose were grazing with the cattle on No.3 tank, while the ‘Splashing Pool’ could only muster 3 Mallard.

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Back along the canal path and a pair of Stonechat sat in the brambles and a very pale Common Buzzard passed overhead. The ‘Score’ was quiet with wildfowlers seen leaving the saltings with their morning bounty of Canada Goose. Out at the river edge there were flocks of Dunlin moving with the high tide and masses of Starling creating a living carpet moving about the salt marsh.

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A Green Sandpiper was in the company of 2 Redshank tucked in along the canal bank.

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Observer and images: Paul Ralston.

Video from the WeBS count of a shimmering flock of Dunlin by Shaun Hickey.

10.11.18. Birdlog.

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A lot more shoe leather was used up again today with a walk out to the Weaver estuary to cover for the one of the WeBS counters absence.Image may contain: ocean, sky, outdoor, water and nature

Redwall reed bed held a couple of Stonechat with another bird (male) on the pipes that cross No.1 tank.

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There was an impressive count of 22 Great Crested Grebe with the first (10) Goldeneye of the autumn/winter by the wooden jetty. The (132) Tufted Duck were in three groups and one group had 5 drake Common Pochard for company. There were also 9 Mute Swan, several Gadwall, 6 Moorhen and 17 Coot. A Common Sandpiper hung out with c56 Redshank, c300 Lapwing and 17 Black-tailed Godwit on the marshy margins.

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A watch over Frodsham Score from the Weaver Sluice Gates and the incoming tide on the Mersey marshes brought 15 Little Egret with 5 attendant Great White Egret and 12 Grey Heron. All these along with the Black-headed Gull flocks made short work of any voles or fish that may have been forced out from cover with the flooding water. There were several thousand Dunlin swirling around in the distance with a few hundred making landfall close to the edge of the Manchester Ship Canal, c400 Curlew, c150 Golden Plover, c100 Redshank and 2 Oystercatcher. No Knot, Grey Plover or wintering Bar-tailed Godwit was unusual.

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Walking back along Brook Furlong Lane and small numbers of Redwing and Fieldfare were in the hawthorn hedgerows.

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There was a much reduced count of aytha on No.6 tank with 286 Common Teal, 23 Shoveler and just the 5 Mallard. Further out over the reed beds a ringtail Hen Harrier was sparring with one of three Marsh Harrier. I assume the ringtail was the same bird which frequented Woolston Eyes and Hale as well today?

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Three Common Buzzard flew over together while a couple of Kestrel were actively hunting. The usual Peregrine was sat aloft the blue topped chimney at Weston Point.

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Before I set out it was unseasonal to hear and see a singing Chiffchaff in my yarden this morning.

Observer and images: WSM.

08.11.18. Birdlog.

A good selection of birds from the meagre light that was available in the 30 minutes of birding after work this evening. A ringtail Hen Harrier dropped immediately into its roost while 2 Marsh Harrier took a more leisurely pace before coming into roost. There were 6 Ruff that concealed themselves within a roosting flock of c400 Lapwing.

The fields by Hill View Farm still hold on to the wintering herd of 14 Whooper Swan.

As the light faded c8000 Starling flew in and circled the area before dropping in their reed bed roost (1000’s more heading east).

Observer and image: WSM.

Earlier in the day Sean O’Hara watched 320 Pink-footed Goose drop into No.3 tank.

05.11.18. Birdlog.

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A day off and a short walk along the River Weaver. A few Redwing were foraging along Brook Furlong Lane while a nearby Kestrel was watched eating a small rodent on top of its telegraph post perch. A flock of c1000 Starling were feeding near to Marsh Farm and several Raven were about the farm buildings.

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There were 2 Great Crested and 4 Little Grebe fishing in the Manchester Ship Canal, also present was a wintering Common Sandpiper also on the estuary. A group of 10 Meadow Pipit were feeding in the rocky shoreline. A herd of 14 Mute Swan were on the Weaver estuary alongside good numbers of Common Teal, Tufted Duck, Mallard, Gadwall and Common Shelduck.

A Kingfisher sat on patiently ready to strike if any fish presented a target.

Observer and images: Paul Ralston.

04.11.18. Birdlog.

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A look across Frodsham Score and the Mersey marshes produced 5 Great White Egret scattered widely followed en route (westbound) along the M56 were 14 Whooper Swan still present despite all the fireworks going on overnight.

Observer: WSM

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I started from Ince this morning good where there were good numbers of Redwing and smaller numbers of Fieldfare stripping berries off the hawthorns and were joined by a flock of Chaffinch which were spooked by a passing Sparrowhawk. A Little Egret was fishing in one of the pools alongside a Grey Heron. On the pools were Common Teal, Mallard, Gadwall and 3 Shoveler present alongside the many Coot and Moorhen.

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Onward to the Manchester Ship Canal path and a Merlin sat watching the Starling flock intently while they were perched on a piece of driftwood on the salt marsh, this bird or another was later seen over No.4 tank.

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Several thousand Canada Goose were on the marsh and on the ship canal and small skeins of Pink-footed Goose passed south overhead with c200 more returning and settling on the estuary marshes. Little Egret were moving about the marsh this morning. Raven flocks and Great Black-backed Gull were again enjoying the feast of a couple of sheep carcasses. The local Common Buzzard were sat close by waiting in line.

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A flock of Long-tailed Tit had a Goldcrest accompanying them and a female Stonechat sat in a bush along the Holpool Gutter.

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A walk out to have a closer look at the Whooper Swan herd on Lordship Marsh and there were more winter thrushes feeding in hedgerows by the blue slurry tank. The 13 Whooper’s had 4 juveniles with them and a flock of 30 Curlew fed near by.

As I walked back along Lordship Lane there were a mass of Lapwing and Golden Glover took to the air as a Couple of Common Buzzard tried their luck, one of them was a very pale bird. The Lapwing flock settled back down alongside the gutter but the Golden Plover flock moved on.

Observer: Paul Ralston (images 1 & 3-7).

After my earlier visit I made a second attempt to look across the area and in particular No.6 tank which continues to draw in the birds. The Common Teal flock were again lowered in number than yesterday with c260 with a few Pintail, Mallard and Shoveler.

The waders featured mostly Lapwing with c350 birds, 3 Ruff, 54 Common Snipe.

As the light dwindled a Great Spotted Woodpecker flew over the reed beds on No.6 tank.

Observers: Sparky & WSM (image 2).

03.11.18. Birdlog.

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On the way to the marsh this morning I spotted a Barn Owl dead on the hard shoulder at the junction of the M53 and the M56 another of the Gowy Meadows birds lost to the heavy traffic that cuts through the meadows here.

On to the marsh itself and a shoot was taking place along Brook Furlong Lane and the fields to the east of it. I went straight to No.6 tank which was rather quiet. A couple of Stonechat were noted one at the north end and another at the south end.

A  female Marsh Harrier was hunting the reed bed then drifted over to No.4 where Common Buzzard and Kestrel were noted.

Along the Manchester Ship Canal path and a look over the Frodsham Score salt marsh where c2,000 Canada Goose fed close to the ship canal edge and several Little Egret were dotted about the marsh. A large flock of Great Black-backed Gull were loitering on the marsh and again Raven were numerous with c30 riding the wind over the canal banks. A large flock of Starling out by the river edge were shadowed by a Sparrowhawk.

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The fields alongside the Holpool Gutter again held a few hundred Golden Plover, c2000 Lapwing and Curlew, they were joined by 3 Mute Swan.

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The 14 Whooper Swan were seen in the distance on Lordship Marsh.

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A late hairy caterpillar crossed the lane and looked out of place in the current cold and windy weather.

Observer: Paul Ralston (images 2-4).

Later in the morning I made another visit to No.6 tank attempting to shelter from the brisk wind waltzing through the marshes today. The Common Teal flock had reduced considerably from yesterday but there were still c300 birds present. There were 6 Pintail, 24 Mallard and 4 Ruff.

The female Marsh Harrier caused a bit of consternation with the hundreds of Lapwing circling the area. The big female Peregrine was sat on top of the blue chimney at Weston Point.

A distant skein of 16 Pink-footed Goose headed in from the direction of the Dee marshes.

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A fine male Stonechat was perched up in a swaying elder bush on No.5 tank.

Observer: WSM (images 1 & 5).

02.11.18. Birdlog.

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An early dart from work by 30 minutes certainly helps with the nights drawing in so quickly. I made it with just over an hours worth of birding and bumped into Arthur en route.

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The Common Teal flock have swollen to c800 birds tonight and hopefully it’ll be just a matter of time before the (almost) annual appearance of their North American cousin turns up. Also with them were 28 Mallard, 12 Shoveler and 6 Pintail.

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A gathering roost of 300 Lapwing helped 17 Black-tailed Godwit and 6 Ruff to stay the night.

There were no Marsh Harrier this evening but it was good to get the first ‘ringtail’ Hen Harrier of the coming winter. Also still no Short-eared Owl?

The Starling roost was much poorer than a few evenings ago but they will increase with a cold snap.

Observers: Arthur Harrison & WSM (images).

Earlier in the day a couple of Cetti’s Warbler were at Oxmoor local nature reserve and a Red Admiral was flying about during a warm spell at the same site.