29.10.19. Birdlog.

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A very quick dash down to the marsh after work and after such a glorious sunshine day it leached into the evening with a fiery sunset.

Looking over the pool on No.6 tank and most of the c750 ducks present were Eurasian Teal with much reduced numbers of Northern Pintail and Northern Shoveler.

A couple of Marsh Harrier were coming into their roost with the background chatter of a Cetti’s Warbler.

The evening concluded with a mesmerizing murmuration of 15,000 Common Starling into their roost site.

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No photo description available.

Observer: WSM and images.

27.10.19. Birdlog.

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I was out around No.6 and 4 tanks this morning where I spotted c450 Black-tailed Godwit were resting in the shallow water of No.6 with Eurasian Teal, Mallard, Northern Shoveler, Tufted Duck, Common Shelduck and Northern Pintail and a single Common Redshank being noted. Common Buzzard and Kestrel were numerous and a Sparrowhawk was hunting the finch flocks.

Further out on Frodsham Score saltmarsh were just a few thousand Canada Goose which took to the air as 2 wildfowlers made their way back from the river. Several Little Egret were dotted about the marsh and a large flock of Northern Lapwing and Eurasian Starling were on the alert as a Peregrine cruised by.

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A pair of Stonechat were on the Manchester Ship Canal path the male was sporting a metal ring. On the canal was a Great Crested Grebe out fishing.

The field alongside the Holpool Gutter held a large flock of Eurasian Curlew and Black-tailed Godwit feeding in the stubble and again were watched over by a Peregrine which was sat on its tower at the Growhow Works.

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Another pair of Stonechat were along Lordship Lane and were joined by Meadow Pipit and Reed Bunting one of which was also wearing a leg ring.

I called in to the pools at Ince on my way home which were quiet apart from a few Eurasian Teal and Little Egret but might have been due to disturbance from off road bikes in the area.

Two Skeins of Pink-footed Goose passed overhead and a leucistic Linnet was sat on top of a bush with several other Linnet. Five Collared Dove made a scarce appearance on to the edge of the marsh.

Observer and images: Paul Ralston.

23.10.19. Birdlog.

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This afternoon’s visit featured a few Stonechat to be see around No.6 tank, 2 Marsh Harrier,6 Mute Swan, 7 Common Snipe, c60 Eurasian Curlew in a field along Lordship Lane. A Cetti’s Warbler calling and Raven with  Common Buzzard everywhere.

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Observer: Keith G (images 2-7)

An after work walk at Ince and a look over the Mersey saltmarshes . The pools at Ince held a decent variety  of wildfowl with Eurasian Teal, Eurasian Wigeon, Northern Shoveler, Gadwall, Mallard, Little Grebe, Eurasian Coot and Moorhen with 12 Little Egret and a single Grey Heron. A skein of 20 Pink-footed Goose passed overhead on their way to the estuary where at least c 2000 Canada Goose were waiting their arrival.

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A flock of c500 Northern Lapwing were in the stubble field alongside the Holpool Gutter with several Eurasian Curlew and 6 Black-tailed Godwit. There were more Little Egret dotted about the saltmarsh and 30 Tufted Duck were on the Manchester Ship Canal.

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A single Fieldfare went to roost with several Redwing and Blackbird in the hawthorns by the canal path. An additional 6 more Little Egret were seen heading to roost in the trees near Ince berth.

Observer: Paul Ralston (images 1 & 8-9).

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Like Paul I too made the best of the evening sunshine and made my way to No.6 tank after work. On arrival a flock of 540 Black-tailed Godwit were close to the bank where I was watching from until a marauding Grey Heron upset their slumber and forced the entire flock to relocate some distance away.

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A couple of less nervous Green Sandpiper were chasing each other around the tank but soon settle close by with half a dozen Common Snipe.

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On the duck front there were 23 Northern Pintail, 2 Tufted Duck, 16 Common Shelduck, 543 Eurasian Teal, 151 Northern Shoveler and 43 Mallard

An immature Marsh Harrier floated in and soon settled down for the night in the reed bed.

The evening watch concluded with skeins of Pink-footed Goose heading in to the saltmarshes and a prolonged exodus from the marsh of 123 Raven heading to their Welsh roost site in Ruthin.

No photo description available.

Observer: WSM (images 10-13).

21.10.19. Birdlog.

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The evenings are drawing in and the opportunities to pop out to the marsh are slowly dwindling. I made the effort and watched the tank from its southern banks and was soon joined by Paul Ralston who had the same idea after his days work.

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We both watched a gathering of 350 Eurasian Teal, 16 Northern Pintail, 120 Northern Shoveler, 21 Common Shelduck, 46 Mallard and 3 Eurasian Wigeon. A Marsh Harrier was quartering the reed bed while 6 Grey Heron were moving about the area. A few Northern Lapwing joined 2 Green Sandpiper and a dozing Common Greenshank on the only exposed muddy margins of the flood.

A couple of skeins of Pink-footed Goose were flying in from the east and the south to spend the evening on Frodsham Score.

The movement of Raven leaving the saltmarshes for the evening were quite low.

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A fine sunset drew the watch to a close.

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Observers: Paul Ralston, Joe from Chester (images 6-7) & WSM (images1-5).

20.10.19. Birdlog.

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I started my birding at Ince where Eurasian Teal, Mallard, Gadwall, Northern Shoveler and Little Grebe were all on the pools, while a Little Egret dropped in to forage in the field alongside 4 Grey Heron.

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A couple of skeins of Pink-footed Goose passed overhead flying towards the Mersey estuary, but constant gunfire from the clay shoot nearby kept them moving.

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A mixed flock of European Goldfinch and Linnet were busy feeding on the thistle heads and the latter flock included a leucistic bird, which stood out like a sore thumb and was a beautiful looking finch.

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A Stonechat was at Ince berth and took cover when a Kestrel appeared overhead.

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Out on Frodsham Score salt marsh were several Little Egret and 2 Great Egret being noted. The autumn flocks of several hundred European Starling formed a bait ball high up above the marsh when a Sparrowhawk attempted in vain to single an individual out from their numbers. A herd of hundreds of Canada Goose were grazing on the short grass, but no sign of yesterdays Barnacle Goose flock. Another pair of Stonechat were near the ‘phalarope pool’ and the usual resident Eurasian Coot were still present.

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On Lordship Lane were c60 Eurasian Curlew feeding in the stubble fields and a mass of Black-headed Gull were in the cattle fields. There were more Eurasian Curlew feeding in the fields alongside the Holpool Gutter. Returning back at the start of my walk and another Little Egret was feeding with the pigs next to the farm there.

Observer and images: Paul Ralston.

19.10.19. Birdlog.

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I was out this morning before the rain started to fall and made my way along Brook Furlong Lane where a quiet period conjured up a mixed tit flock, a few Chaffinch were following behind as they made their way along the hedgerows. Not a great deal on the river either, just a few Eurasian Teal, Tufted Duck, Gadwall and Mallard being seen.

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A pair of Stonechat were in the reeds along the River Weaver as were several Wren. There were just 3 Black-tailed Godwit and 2 Common Redshank in with a small flock of Northern Lapwing at the river edge.

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Looking over the Mersey estuary and a Great Egret could be seen in the distance along with 3 Little Egret.

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On the Manchester Ship Canal was a Pink-footed Goose in the company of several Canada Goose, and c30 Eurasian Coot, 2 Little Grebe and a single Great Crested Grebe.

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A skein of c180 Pink-footed Goose passed overhead following the Weaver valley and a Peregrine sat on top of the blue topped chimney looking over the estuary.

Another pair of Stonechat were by the shooters’ berth at Marsh Farm with several Meadow pipit and Pied Wagtail.

No photo description available.

A juvenile Great Black-backed Gull was very much dead on the canal path and a closer look of its legs revealed a metal ring, which will be sent off to the BTO for its history details.

The Canal Pools had c30 Northern Shoveler, 8 Gadwall and a single drake Common Pochard, and further over on one of the scrapes were more Northern Shoveler, Mallard and a flock of c30 Black-tailed Godwit and 6 Common Snipe being noted. Another pair of Stonechat were near the ‘phalarope pool’ which held 14 Eurasian Coot, 2 Gadwall and 2 Mallard.

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The sand extraction area on No.6 tank had several Raven and Carrion Crow which sat on the sand piles.

Shooting was taking place on Lordship Marsh which kept a mixed flock of Eurasian Curlew and more godwits mobile.

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A look over No.6 tank and there was no sign of the godwit flocks, but 2 Green Sandpiper were in with the Northern Lapwing.

Observer: Paul Ralston (images 1-7 & 9 & 19).

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I made my way along the track to look across Frodsham Score for the afternoon tide. There were thousands of Canada Goose and a closer scrutiny revealed 150 Pink-footed Goose and surprisingly 36 Barnacle Goose. There were 7 Little Egret scattered widely and small flocks of Eurasian Wigeon were on the tide edge. It was surprising that shorebirds were not present.

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The Peregrine was sat on the chimney at Weston Point and a Marsh Harrier was quartering the salt marsh. A large gathering of ‘big’ gulls included at least one adult Yellow-legged Gull.

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Walking back I made a point of checking the flooded maize fields on Lordship Marsh where a small flock of Black-tailed Godwit were feasting on worms, while hundreds of Black-headed and very much smaller counts of both Lesser Black-backed and Herring gull were following a shit spreader in the fields by the farm.

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One notable feature of my walk was the 7 Cetti’s Warbler (presumably some young birds) attempting their new calls/songs in a variety of habitats.

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Another Marsh Harrier was hunting the reed beds of No.6 tank, and a flock of c450 godwit were chilling out close to the banks that I was looking from. A Greenshank was snoozing with a few Northern Lapwing and teal. Ducks included 19 Northern Pintail, 47 Northern Shoveler, 439 Eurasian Teal, 41 Mallard and the odd Common Shelduck.

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Walking back along Moorditch Lane and a cloud of feathers drifting across the field very close to the eastbound carriageway of the M56 draw my attention to an adult Peregrine culling the mass of Wood Pigeon by one. It later abandoned its meal to take position from a pylon nearby and subsequently made forays out to ambush more pigeons.

Observer; WSM (images 8 & 10-18).

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15.10.19. Birdlog.

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We both decided an after our repective days work we would independently called in to see what was occurring on No.6 tank. On arrival a flock of 143 Northern Shoveler, 12 Northern Pintail, 300 Eurasian Teal and 17 Tufted Duck greeted us. A couple of Mute Swan were still present and upto 12 Little Grebe were hanging out with the tufties.

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There were no Black-tailed Godwit flock, but 2 Green Sandpiper, 2 Ruff, a calling Golden Plover and 6 Northern Lapwing.

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The highlight of the evening was a Short-eared Owl dropping into the reed bed, a Merlin hunting the Meadow Pipit flock coming to roost, an immature Peregrine, 7 Kestrel, 1 Eurasian Sparrowhawk, a male, 2 female and 3 immature Marsh Harrier coming into roost for the evening. The European Starling roost is building up slowly, so much is expected in the late autumn/winter period ahead.

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The sounds of 5 Cetti’s Warbler and contact calling Chiffchaff were also heard.

The evening ended with an exodus of Raven from their feeding grounds on the outer saltmarshes. I guess there were c200 birds moving out to their roost sites inland.

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PR rounded the evening off with a Brown Hare.

Observers: Paul Ralston (images 3-5) and WSM (images 1-2).