A brief visit after work to No.6 tank unlike yesterday did produce the juvenile Black-necked Grebe that put on a good performance in the choppy waters.
The water level is higher due to a combination of sludge pumping into the tank and recent heavy rains. The wader species have been accordingly affected. Hopefully higher tides might bring them back again. There were 3 Ruff, 15 Common Snipe and c350 Black-tailed Godwit.
The usual species of ducks again included the drake Common Pochard.
Observer, images and video: WSM.
A walk around the River Weaver starting at Brook Furlong Lane where a pair of young Rabbits took cover as a Common Buzzard targeted them.
A flock of c300 European Starling were feeding around Marsh Farm as were c50 European Goldfinch. Some of the last (c80) Common Swift and Barn Swallow were skimming the Manchester Ship Canal and river as the rain started and forced the insects lower down.
30 Common Redshank, 6 Black-tailed Godwit (including one juvenile pictured) and a single Common Sandpiper were at the rivers edge with a small flock of Northern Lapwing. A small number of Tufted Duck, Gadwall and Mallard plus a single Great Crested Grebe were noted.
Observer: Paul Ralston (images).
An after work walk around the perimeter of No.6 tank was pretty uneventful until we were above the flooded section and could see several hundred Black-tailed Godwit, the most prominet duck is by far Eurasian Teal with much lesser numbers of Northern Shoveler, Gadwall, 47 Tufted Duck and 20 Little Grebe. I didn’t see the Black-necked Grebe but considering it is good at hiding in the lush vegetation I wasn’t that bothered.
The big female adult Peregrine was again sat on the lip of the tall blue topped chimney at Weston Point.
Observers: JS, WSM.
I went to the marsh this afternoon and covered Brook Furlong Lane and No.1 tank up to the Marsh Farm. Butterflies included, Speckled Wood, Painted Lady, Red Admiral, Small Tortoiseshell and Common White’s.
Birds were quite scarce but there was a Hobby hawking dragonflies and consuming them on the wing over on No.1 and the River Weaver for 20 minutes before making off towards No.5.
Common Darter were about as was Migrant Hawker. Sad news was the dead juvenile Kestrel by the old log if you get my meaning, no pellet marks (a few weeks ago I passed a man with an air rifle along Brook Furlong) this bird was only a stones throw from one of the turbines?
Observer: Paul Crawley (images 2-6 & 10-11).
I made an evening visit after work and was rewarded with the juvenile Black-necked Grebe which was with c30 Tufted Duck and a Common Pochard.
The Black-tailed Godwit flock included c1000 birds which few in and out during my time there. A couple of Ruff were joined by a handful of Common Redshank. The Eurasian Teal flock numbered 348 birds with no sign of the Garganey from yesterday. A couple of juvenile Pintail were new in and an adult female Peregrine sat out on the blue topped chimney looked huge while one of her off spring hurtled its way over No.6 tank disloding the entire flocks of birds there.
Observers: Paul Ralston and WSM (images 1 & 7-9).
An after work visit to No.6 tank to check out the waders. There was a flock of c1000 Black-tailed Godwit that reduced quickly to 740 birds when the peeled off to fly off to the Mersey estuary.
A couple of Ruff joined with the c500 Lapwing, 20 Common Snipe and odd Common Redshank.
Ducks are always a feature on the sludge tank with c500 Eurasian Teal being present with a single Garganey, 47 Tufted Duck, 27 Northern Shoveler, 10 Gadwall, 31 Mallard and 19 Common Shelduck.
I couldn’t find the Black-necked Grebe but it could well have been hidden in the vegetated margins.
A juvenile Marsh Harrier flew in and c30 Raven could be seen at various places.
A mixed flock of 100 House Martin, 50 Sand Martin, 10 Barn Swallow and 10 Common Swift moved through. A couple of Yellow Wagtail adding to the evening watch.
Observer and images: WSM.
I started my walk at Brook Furlong Lane this morning where Chiffchaff, Blackcap and Willow Warbler were moving along the hedgerow ahead of me. A fine Great Spotted Woodpecker sat above the old log on a telegraph pole and is still quite a scarce bird hereabouts.
The River Weaver was quiet for the time of year with just 12 Canada Goose, 7 Great Crested Grebe and a handful of Tufted Duck cruising the waters. The wader numbers were low with c30 Common Redshank, 4 Black-tailed Godwit and a single Common Sandpiper being the main species.
Along Alder Lane was just a single Raven sat in a tree near to Marsh Farm and 3 Common Buzzard circled overhead.
Onward to No.6 tank and the Black-necked Grebe was on the water at the north end with its attendant flock of juvenile Tufted Duck and c20 Little Grebe cohorts.
The highlight or even lowlight was an immature/female Mandarin sat on a submerged tree stump. A high end flock of 1138 Black-tailed Godwit were again nervous and took to the air a couple of times, but I didn’t notice any predators in the area? There were 25 Common Snipe feeding in the vegetation and a Greenshank was heard calling (another bird was at the scrapes on No.3 tank).
Walking along the track towards the ‘phalarope pool’ a Weasel crossed my path with a small rodent clamped in its jaws. On the pool just 4 Common Shelduck, 4 Gadwall, 2 Mallard and a single Common Snipe were present.
Continuing along Lordship Lane another 2 Weasel were seen chasing each other to and fro across the track. A couple of Yellow Wagtail were heard flying into the maize field.
The sultry hot steamy weather brought out thousands of flying ants which in turn attracted the attention of hundreds of Black-headed gulls swarming over the marsh.
Observers: Paul Ralston (images 1-4 & 7-8), Dermot Smith, WSM (video & images 5-6) & JS.
A quick look over No.6 tank was productive in that it had c1000 Black-tailed Godwit, c400 Lapwing, a scarce Common Pochard and our very own Black-necked Grebe.
Observer and images: Paul Ralston.
A ‘ringtail’ Hen Harrier was briefly on No.3 tank and seen by Arthur Harrison.
It wasn’t immediately obvious as I walked along the track that looks over No.6 tank after my day in work that the Black-necked Grebe was present, so I made my way along to my viewing spot and started to count some of the 1200 Black-tailed Godwit resting up from the rising tide out on the Mersey estuary.
A single Dunlin was small change for the 1000+ that have been here recently. A flock of c60 Common Redshank had with them 5 Ruff and c500 Northern Lapwing.
After satisfying myself that there was no other waders present I started to look through the Eurasian Teal that were scattered far and wide and was eventually rewarded with a fine Garganey that make or make not me the same bird seen previously.
Walking back I stopped off to look again for the Black-necked Grebe and this time it was sat out with 27 Tufted Duck, an eclipse drake Common Pochard and c20 Little Grebe providing a nice comparison with its slightly smaller cousins.
Common Darter, No.5 tank, Frodsham Marsh.
Painted Lady showing underwing.
There were plenty of Black-tailed Chaser, Common Darter and Migrant Hawker on the wing with still many ‘fresh’ Painted Lady Butterflies along my path back home.
Observer: WSM (images and videos).
A Long weekend off ahead and an early start to my marsh walk. The River Weaver was quiet with just the usual Canada Goose flocks being present and likewise Mallard, Common Shelduck and a few Eurasian Teal on the water. There were 2 Common Sandpiper with a few Common Redshank, a single Common Ringed Plover and 5 Black-tailed Godwit were with a flock of c40 Northern Lapwing at the junction of the Weaver estuary and Manchester Ship Canal.
A flock of c60 Common Swift were hawking above the ship canal and Marsh Farm with a smaller number of Barn Swallow and martins.
On the ‘Canal Pools’ were c40 Eurasian Coot, 5 Mute Swan, a pair of Little Grebe were noted. On one of the hidden scrapes were c20 Northern Shoveler, a few Eurasian Teal and Mallard.
Also seen were c30 Black-tailed Godwit feeding in the shallow water, while several Eurasian Skylark were flushed as I walked by. The ‘phalarope pool’ held 6 Gadwall and 2 Green Sandpiper. A charm of c200 European Goldfinch were being kept in the air by a Eurasian Sparrowhawk patrolling the areal.
No.6 tank had a flock of c800 Black-tailed Godwit, c200 Common Redshank which rose as one when a pair of Common Buzzard and another Eurasian Sparrowhawk passed over the tank.
Ducks included Eurasian Teal, more Mallard, Common Shelduck and Tufted Duck with a single drake Common Pochard. Little Grebe tallied 11 birds and the long staying Black-necked Grebe.
Willow warbler and Chiffchaff were feeding near the ramp track and a family group of 7 Mistle Thrush (an uncommon species for the marshes) were feeding in the pony paddock on Moorditch Lane and a Great Spotted Woodpecker flew overhead.
Observer and images: Paul Ralston.
Walking out to No.6 tank this evening I was rewarded with c30 Common Swift again taking advantage of the midges above the track that separates No.5 from No.6 tank.
A couple of flocks containing c1000 Black-tailed Godwit including 11 juvenile birds were immediately obvious. The Common Redshank were feeding below he banks of the south side and numbered 34 with10 Common Ringed Plover, 23 Dunlin, a single Common and 2 Green Sandpiper. The flock of 5 juvenile Ruff fed with Eurasian Teal below my watch point.
The Black-necked Grebe was again in the eastern sector of the tank with 17 Little Grebe and 32 Tufted Duck. A small number of Northern Shoveler and family parties of Gadwall were rough riding the choppy waters.
A flock of 30 Raven flew south during my watch.
A few images from my walk along the Bridgewater canal from Runcorn to Manchester.
Observer: (video and images) WSM.
An after work jaunt down to No.6 tank for a couple of hours birding. On my arrival there were c100 Common Swift zipping low over the tree tops and giving their usual close views.
A flock of c500 Black-tailed Godwit had 21 Common Redshank, 12 Common Ringed and 2 Little Ringed Plover, 20 Common Snipe and 6 Ruff.
Ducks were scattered across a wide area on the water and included 10’s of juvenile Eurasian Teal.
Observer and images: WSM.