19.07.19. Birdlog.

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An after work walk along the River Weaver tonight with a start at Brook Furlong Lane where Blackcap and Chiffchaff were following a troupe of Long-tailed Tit along the hedgerow.

On the river were several Tufted Duck with their broods of tuftlings while good numbers of Common Swift, Swallow and Sand Martin hawking low over the water. A flock of c25 Greylag Goose were amid the many Canada Goose making their way towards the Manchester Ship Canal.

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There were only 5 Common Sandpiper seen today with 3 Ringed Plover and 4 Redshank which also fed at the edge of the river.

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A dozen Black-tailed Godwit flew out to the Mersey estuary to join c200 others feeding on the exposed mud, a Curlew was heard but not seen.

Two pairs of Avocet were still on gull patrol and chasing any that entered their territory.

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Earlier in the day a Peregrine was seen to mob a Common Buzzard over Stanlow making several stoops to which the buzzard rolled over to meet the falcon with its talons.

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Observer and images: Paul Ralston.

18.07.19. Birdlog.

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Another chance to pop down to the marsh and bumping into Arthur Harrison was a welcome release from the rigours of work.

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A look across No.6 tank had more Black-tailed Godwit than last evening with c300 birds. 37 Dunlin, 46 Redshank, 7 Little Ringed Plover, a single Ruff and a fine summer plumage Red Knot.

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A prowling juvenile Grey Heron managed to catch a duckling and after being harassed by a Black-headed Gull it tossed its head and gulped it down. The poor duckling could be seen struggling on its way down the herons neck.

Observer and images: WSM.

17.07.19. Birdlog.

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I made a visit after work to No.6 tank and as I did the rain started to fall. On my arrival there were hundreds of Common Swift hawking low over the bank and providing excellent views.

An assortment of shorebirds were settled on the sludge tank and a count of 24 Dunlin included a bird in non-breeding plumage. The Black-tailed Godwit flock were much depleted with just 15 birds present.

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A flock of 63 Redshank included a Greenshank and 2 Ruff. An adult Ringed Plover was okay, but 11 Little Ringed Plover (mostly juveniles) was by far the best count for the year. A flock of 130 (mostly juvenile) Starling were busy feeding with the Dunlin on emerging midges and the family party of Yellow Wagtail were still present.

A few Eurasian Teal, Gadwall, two female Tufted Duck and their respective attendant tuflings 5 & 4. A count of 11 Little Grebe must surely reflect a good breeding season for the species here. Mallard ducks with their various sized ducklings could be seen. The Common Shelduck pairs (which were few) had a creche of 30 shelducklings and Coot numbers are still high before they disperse out to the surrounding water bodies.

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A good number of the alien faced flower of the Broad-leaved Helleborine were present at a secluded site.

Observer and images: WSM.

14.07.19. Birdlog.

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I was out this morning around the River Weaver and No.6 tank. A male Sparrowhawk was sat on the roof of a house on Marsh Lane as I made my way on to the marsh itself. There were the usual juvenile Common Whitethroat  and Chiffchaff being noted along Brook Furlong Lane.

Onward to the river and Tufted Duck and Common Shelduck were guarding their broods from the patrolling Great Black-backed and Herring Gull while the Avocet which are made of sterner stuff took the challenge of  the raiders and openly fought their foes.

Shorebirds returning south included Redshank, Black-tailed Godwit and Oystercatcher all were feeding at the river edge, and Common Sandpiper were numerous along the river and Manchester Ship Canal.

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The canal pools held a pair of Mute Swan and the Eurasian Coot had a second brood with still the earlier brood present. A Common Snipe flushed from the pool edge while Common Swift and Sand Martin hawked flies over the fields. Several well grown Avocet chicks were on a hidden scrape alongside c 40 Black-tailed Godwit and 4 Raven were feeding on a sheep carcass nearby.

The’ phalarope pool’ held 8 more Black-tailed Godwit and a Green Sandpiper dropped in but left a short while later.

The Kestrel brood were trying their new wings out by flying back to their nest site.

On No.6 were c30 Redshank and several hundred Black-tailed Godwit fed in the shallows alongside Tufted Duck, Common Shelduck, Mallard and Gadwell were all noted.

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Two Brown Hare were noted during my walk.

Observer: Paul Ralston (images ).

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Additional images by WSM ().

13.07.19. Birdlog.

An afternoon visit to No.6 tank and a couple of female Tufted Duck with their respective 4 & 5 brood of tuflings. Coot were leveling out at c60 birds and the first Common Snipe either local breeder or passage migrant were all present.

The Black-tailed Godwit flock is increasing and c750 birds were gathered on the edges of the shallow waters bordering the dried out vegetation. The female/juvenile Garganey was again with 10 Eurasian Teal.

There was a gathering og Common Swift and Sand Martin riding the wind over the eastern banks.

A family party of Yellow Wagtail were also at the edge of the water.

Observer and images: WSM.

12.07.19. Birdlog.

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I started my walk at Brook Furlong Lane today where Chiffchaff could be heard contact calling from the hedgerow, while a Ringlet Butterfly was seen in the reeds extending its range from the River Weaver.

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The first of two Brown Hare were seen in the meadows alongside the lane and it flattened its body to the ground as a Common Buzzard passed over.

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On the River Weaver a Tufted Duck hid her brood in the reeds and a Hobby was seen in hot pursuit of a Common Swift.

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Common Sandpiper are still in double figures along the river banks and were joined by c50 Black-tailed Godwit and several Redshank including an odd looking bird with legs and bill longer than the other birds.

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Several thousand Canada Goose were out on the Mersey estuary and a male Stonechat was seen near to Marsh Farm.

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Walking back along Lordship Lane and a brood of Kestrel were ready to leave their nest site complete with leg irons. There were c200 Common Swift were hawking over the banks and both Reed and juvenile Sedge Warbler were noted in the ditch.

Observer: Paul Ralston (images 1-6).

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An after work walk around No.6 and an impressive c500 Black-tailed Godwit in shimmering red summer dress wading through the shallow waters of this sludge tank. Small numbers of Redshank, Little Ringed Plover and Ringed Plover were busy stocking up for their respective marathons ahead.

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Perhaps the highlight was a Little Egret that was in with the godwit flock. I can only assume this is a locally bred bird?

There were hundreds of Common Swift about the edges of the tank with Sand Martin keeping low over the water of the sheltered from the stiff breeze in the lanes.

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The ‘Splashing Pool’ had the majority of 68 Tufted Duck and most being drakes under going their summer moult. Adjacent to the ‘Splashing Pool; is the ‘phalarope pool’ named from its first ever rarity, a Red-necked Phalarope a couple of years ago. This pool had an adult and juvenile Little Ringed Plover, no doubt a product from the mating ritual I witnessed earlier in the summer? A small number of Black-tailed Godwit were also present.

Observers: JS, WSM (images 7-9).

11.07.19. Birdlog.

A swift visit to the marsh before the rain sets in produced a Marsh Harrier being mobbed by an Eurasian Hobby over No.5 tank.

No.6 tank was surprisingly alive with stuff including a family party of 5 Yellow Wagtail. Hundreds of Common Swift were hawking low over the eastern embankments while an absence of hirundines was notable. A Green Sandpiper was with the Lapwing flock, while c80 Black-tailed Godwit shared their space with 20 still in summer plumage Dunlin, 30 Redshank, 2 Ringed Plover and 1 adult and 4 juvenile Little Ringed Plover. The ducks were increasing slightly with Eurasian Teal reaching double figures and with them was the first female/juvenile Garganey of the autumn. A small flock of Tufted Duck included their now growing rapidly ducklings.

Observer: WSM (and image).