03.02.20. Birdlog.

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I started this morning at Brook Furlong Lane where a Song Thrush was in full song and a party of Long-tailed Tit, Great and Blue Tit made their way along the hawthorn hedgerow. Common Buzzard and a European Kestrel were hunting in the area.

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On to the River Weaver where several male Common Goldeneye were displaying to the females and the female Long-tailed Duck was a sleep amongst the Tufted Duck flock and the female Greater Scaup was seen briefly before it disappeared under water and was lost within the flock. A survey boat powered up the Manchester Ship Canal flushing a flock of Common Redshank and a single Black-tailed Godwit. Several Great Cormorant were noted with some in breeding condition showing their white thigh patches.

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At Marsh Farm only 2 of the 3 Cattle Egret were near the farm and c2000 Northern Lapwing which took to the air but soon settled down again. A flock of c80 Eurasian Coot were around the Canal Pools with some grazing around the edge of the water while Mallard, Gadwall and Eurasian Teal were also present. Flocks of Eurasian Wigeon. Northern Shoveler and more Eurasian Teal were noted on the scrapes on No.3 tank.

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Looking over No.6 tank and Tufted Duck were in decent numbers with Mallard, Eurasian Teal, Northern Shoveler and Gadwall in attendance. A ‘ringtail’ Hen Harrier was quartering the reed bed and a Marsh Harrier drifted overhead.

A walk along the Manchester Ship Canal path overlooking the Frodsham Score saltmarsh where several Little Egret fed amongst the Canada Goose and Common Shelduck, Raven were abundant playing in the wind over the score embankment.

A look over No.4 tank produced a Sparrowhawk was perched up. Marsh Harrier, European Kestrel and Common Buzzard were also hunting the area.  A couple of disgorged pellets were on the path and were made up of fur and rodent bones. Rabbits seem to be very scarce in the area not sure if they have been decimated by a virus that’s affected them in other parts of the country?

Observer: Paul Ralston (images 1-7).

I made a half-hearted effort to connect with yesterday’s Eurasian Bittern but that didn’t go according to plan. Nevertheless, there were plenty of distractions from the old birdlog spot at the south-east corner of No.1 tank.

A couple of Little Egret were spotted with a Short-eared Owl working the Weaver Causeway from ‘The Lum’ and out to the Weaver Estuary. Another shortie was seen high above No.6 tank. Back on the fields east of the birdlog and a Common Chiffchaff was making noises from a conifer tree. A flock of 150 Common Shelduck were on the Weaver Bend and several Common Goldeneye could be seen from my spot.

Observer: WSM.

02.02.20. Birdlog.

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I know the Bittern are always tricky to spot but they are a big rarity on Frodsham Marsh and I was really fortunate to see on over the Weaver Bend.

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I had the good fortune to see one was flying abve the height of a pylon heading towards the refinery works by the Weaver Bend, it flew from the direction of Helsby Hill. I didn’t see if it had flushed been from the marsh. I was standing on the lane just down where there is a sharp left (in the direction of the Marsh Farm) where the hawthorn end with the Weaver Bend in front.

I am on a bit of a Cheshire twitch this year (usually get around 160 to 170 species and was looking to see if it was possible to push closer to 200) and to be honest, I was looking for Ringed Plover. I always seem to draw a blank on those in Cheshire. Iit was lovely sitting watching the ducks on the Weaver for an hour.

Observer and images: Andrew Emmerson.