31.06.19. Birdlog.

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I walked from Ince and then around No.4 tank this afternoon where the pools were quiet with just a few Mallard, Gadwall, single Common Shelduck, a pair of Mute Swan and a pair of Little Grebe.A  Coot and Moorhen were noted with their broods feeding in the ditch along the track.

On to the Manchester Ship Canal path and Canada Goose numbers are building up on the salt marshes with several hundred seen. A single Great Crested Grebe several Tufted Duck and Gadwall were on the ship canal. An Oystercatcher wearing a metal ring sat on the pipe bridge near to the berth.

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Damselflies, butterflies and a single dragonfly were making the most of the warm weather and were active throughout my walk.

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The ‘phalarope  pool’ held c200 Black-tailed Godwit, a pair of Little Ringed Plover, a Mute Swan, 2 Avocet, one of which left and made its way over to another scrape on No.3 tank.

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A Brown Hare crossed the path and fed nearby not taking a great deal of notice of me as I passed close by. Both Kestrel and Common Buzzard were the only raptors noted today.

Observer and images: Paul Ralston.

28.05.19. Birdlog.

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An after work visit to No.6 tank where I bumped into Arthur Harrison. We both watched over the gathering of Black-tailed Godwit which attracted in 30 Ringed Plover, 29 Dunlin and a summer Sanderling. A Marsh Harrier flew in to quarter the reed beds and hundreds of Common Swift, House & Sand Martin and Swallow were all hawking insects over the water.

Observer & image: WSM.

27.05.19. Birdlog.

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The last day of the long Bank Holiday week and another walk around the perimiter of No.6 tank, but not before a short chat with Mr & Mrs Idris Roberts.

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The Common Swift were still hawking insects low over the eastern banks of No.6 tank. A couple of Cetti’s Warbler were again sounding out while numerous Reed Warbler popped up and down the reed stems.

The Spindle bushes along Lordship Lane is now devoid of leaf cover and covered in Spindle Ermine Moth caterpillars and more are along the north track by No.6 tank.

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The area of No.6 tank was devoid of its usual Black-tailed Godwit flock with only a couple of Avocet present.

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No.6 tank is always the number one spot to look across and today the entire flock of c600 Black-tailed Godwit were huddled in various groups with just 18 summer Dunlin with them. The usual Little Ringed Plover was noted as were c40 Eurasian Coot, 20 Gadwall and 130 Black-headed Gull. The non-breeding plumage adult with is sufusion of pale pink to its underparts was again present.

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A Wolf Spider crossing the track with her sac of eggs tucked under her bottom was interesting.

Observers: JS & WSM (images).

26.05.19. Birdlog.

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An early start around the River Weaver then onto No.6 tank this morning.

There were two Brown Hare feeding while I walked on by to the river and another then crossed the lane in front of me.

A sharp blast from a Cetti’s Warbler rang out from the hedgerow and it was soon joined by Chiffchaff, Common Whitethroat and Blackcap.

The river had the usual ducks present with the addition of a drake Common Pochard. There were 4 Avocet, a pair of Ringed Plover and 3 pairs of Oystercatcher noted.

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Two Lapwing chicks were foraging at the edge of the river while the parent bird stood close by.

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The fields close to Marsh Farm were full of Canada Goose and their creche of goslings and the injured Raven seems to be feeding well, but still unable to take flight.

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A ringed (female with male like head pattern) Reed Bunting may have been the bird seen last year?

On to No.6 tank and several hundred Common Swift were hawking over the area, whizzing past at head height hopefully they’ll draw in a Hobby soon. c300 Black-tailed Godwit were feeding in the shallows alongside Common Shelduck, Gadwall, Mallard, Coot and the breeding Black-headed Gull colony.

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A Marsh Harrier was sat in its usual place and a pair of Common Buzzard passed over.

The ‘phalarope pool’ held c30 Black-tailed Godwit, a single Avocet and several Mallard, Gadwall, Common Shelduck and Coot.

Back along Lordship Lane and  the Oystercatcher is still sitting tight with what’s left of the remaining Lapwing, while Reed Bunting and Common Whitethroat fed their broods.

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Both Reed and Sedge warbler were commonplace along the lane and a charm of c40 Goldfinch fed on the weed seeds.

Observer and images: Paul Ralston.

25.05.19. Birdlog.

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A walk out to the ‘phalarope pool’ where a gathering of 119 Black-tailed Godwit were again busy feeding, sleeping and territoral fighting.

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One particular godwit found the presence of a pair of Yellow Wagtail too much and shooed them on their way.

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A couple of Avocet were also present with a pair of Tufted Duck, Mallard  and Coot were their respective broods.

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No. 6 tank had a pair of Marsh Harrier hunting the reed beds while on the eastern fringes were c450 Black-tailed Godwit, 29 Dunlin and 10 Ringed Plover. There was plenty of Common Swift action over the eastern banks with c100 birds forced down by the drizzle.

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Observer: WSM (images and video).

24.05.19. Birdlog.

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I was out from late afternoon around the River Weaver and No.6 tank.

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Brook Furlong Lane was quiet apart from the odd Chiffchaff and Sedge Warbler singing. A Brown Hare was seen sneaking in to one of the ditches as I walked up the lane.

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On to the river and Tufted Duck, Common Shelduck, Mallard and Gadwall were all noted with a single Great Crested Grebe close in to the bank.

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An Avocet fed at the rivers edge and 3 more made their way down river. 3 Ringed Plover and 2 Little Ringed Plover were noted. Two additional Great Crested Grebe were on the Manchester Ship Canal as were several broods of Canada Goose.

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A couple of hundred Black-tailed Godwit were spread out over No.3 tank and were moving off in small groups to the Mersey estuary leaving several Avocet behind.

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Onto No.6 tank and c30 Dunlin fed in the shallows and a Whimbrel flew over calling, while a Marsh Harrier sat in the sunshine while and a Cuckoo was calling in the distance.

Observer: Paul Ralston (images 3-7).

An early dart from work and we both set out along Moorditch Lane were the thick scrubs and tree cover hid the many sing Chiffchaff, Blackcap and Common Whitethroat.

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Several out competing Reed and Sedge Warbler were bold enough to ride up the reed stems to project their tunes to each other. A Yellow Wagtail rasped from a nearby field.

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The Spindle bushes had an infestation of the fine Spindle Ermine moth caterpillers.

The female Marsh Harrier was quartering above the reed beds while Common Buzzard and Kestrel were very busy seeking out food for their respective young.

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The ‘phalarope pool’ again had a few Black-tailed Godwit with more dropping in during the course of our observation. Many birds were calling out to interlopers coming into feed. A lot of testosterone coursing through those pumped up bodies. A Little Ringed Plover was having a siesta while an Avocet sat nearby.

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Apart from a few waders present on the mitigation area on No.3 tank it should be stated that this project to provide a breeding ground for Lapwing and a high tide secure feeding and roosting area is 90% nettle beds, so well done to all those involved with not creating an area for the purpose it was set aside for.

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No.6 tank is always worth a punt and 43 summer Dunlin, another Little Ringed Plover and several Black-tailed Godwit. Several ducks were present with a drake Common Pochard being the standout species.

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Common Swift were flying low over the banks of the sludge tank.

Observers: JS & WSM (images 1-2 & 8-17).

23.05.19. Birdlog.

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I left it late for my evening visit to the marsh with the warmth of the day subsided it was a little more pleasant for birding.

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A look over No.6 tank had the look of birds settled on nests or safe guarding their young, but there was a small movement of shorebirds present with both Ringed Plover (7) and Dunlin (26) feeding in the muddy margins of the dead daisy beds.

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A Little Ringed Plover was a resident while a small number of Black-tailed Godwit were far to busy feeding up for their marathon journey north. A Marsh Harrier was seen while Kestrel and Common Buzzard were hanging over the banks.

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I continued my walk to look over the ‘phalarope pool’ on the west side of No.3 tank. A single Avocet joined a few additional Black-tailed Godwit and an adult Little RInged Plover was fairly tame. A couple of Cetti’s Warbler rounded off an end of May feel about the place.

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Observer, images and video: WSM.

20.05.19. Birdlog.

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I was out around the River Weaver and No.6 tank this morning.

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A Willow Warbler was singing its heart out near the old bird log as were many Chiffchaff Common Whitethroat and Blackcap. Sedge and Reed Warbler were again seen and heard in various locations alongside several Reed Bunting.

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On the river the usual ducks and geese and their broods. A pair of Ringed Plover and a noisy pair of Oystercatcher were on territory and 4 Avocet flew down river to join a flock of 20 more out on the Mersey estuary which were feeding in the channel with several Black-tailed Godwit.

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On No.6 were c250 Black-tailed Godwit, 4 Greenshank, 16 Dunlin and several Avocet fed in the shallows a passing Carrion Crow was chased off by a mixed flock of Black-headed Gull, Avocet and Lapwing. Another c50 Black-tailed Godwit were on the ‘phalarope pool’ with a pair of Avocet and a Marsh Harrier passed overhead and settled on its perch. A Cetti’s Warbler was heard along Lordship Lane.

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Ducks were present but in much reduced numbers but Eurasian Coot hit the c60 mark.

Observers: Paul Ralston with some counts by WSM (viseo).

19.05.19. Birdlog.

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A start at No.6 tank this morning where Common Shelduck, Mallard, Tufted Duck, Gadwall and Northern Shoveler were all present alongside many Eurasian Coot, 4 Mute Swan, 4 Little Grebe and c 250 Black-tailed Godwit. A Marsh Harrier was hunting over the reed bed followed by a Common Buzzard and a Kestrel.

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Reed and Sedge Warbler were seen and heard throughout my walk as were several Reed Buntings. Onward to the ‘phalarope pool’ and a dozen Black-tailed Godwit fed in the shallow waters alongside a pair of Avocet and a Greenshank. There were two broods of Mallard seen at the edge of the pool.

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The Canal Pools were quiet with just 3 broods of Canada Goose and not much else, a pair of Mute Swan on the pool haven’t even attempted to breed this season. A hidden scrape held 16 Avocet, Gadwall, Northern Shoveler and more blackwit.

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Walking back along Lordship Lane and a flock of Black-headed and Lesser Black-backed Gull were following a tractor cutting silage. An Oystercatcher was sitting tight with a few breeding Lapwing near to the lane.

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A look over the bank on No.6 tank had a Hobby cruising over the reed bed and a Yellow Wagtail passed overhead and dropped into a field only to fly back moments later joined by another bird.

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I then made my way to Ince to check the pools which were also quiet with just 13 Mallard mostly drakes, 6 Eurasian Coot,1 Gadwall, 1 Little Grebe and 2 pair of Tufted Duck.

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There was plenty of fly-tipping at both entrances to No.6 tank with locks broken in a a fit of pique.

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Observer: Paul Ralston (images) with additional sightings by Paul Crawley (images).

Duncan Cowley was stopped in his vehicle by the Port Police – They informed him the roads are restricted byways, so any car on these roads will be seized! I think this is a knee jerk reaction to recent incidents of fly tipping and a bollard being broken. CCTV mounted at entrance points to the marsh which record vehicles registration would deter fly tippers. It appears to me that it’s another way of restricting access to the marsh for the general public.