A Rosy Starling New to Frodsham Marsh.

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After a morning keeping an eye on fledging Peregrines on the other side of the River Mersey I decided to pop over to Frodsham Marsh to check out the Eurasian Starling flocks as there has been a big influx into the UK of Rose-coloured Starlings. I headed straight out towards Marsh Farm to find a large mobile flock of starling on the road which I slowly followed as they moved towards the farm. There was no obvious sign of any rosy coloured birds. I stopped at pipes that cross No.1 tank and immediately as I got out of my car I saw a flash of pink as the flock moved further up the road. That was Frodsham Marshes first ever and unmistakable adult Rose-coloured Starling!  The starling flock remained mobile but I had some great scope views over the next few hours as more birders arrived to enjoy the ‘pink stink’.

Observer: Sean O’Hara.

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I got a call off Sean whilst I was at work about his excellent discovery on No.1 tank, but it was an agonising hour and half before I could make the trip down after I had finished for the day.

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On arrival a small cluster of birders including Sean were scoping the starling flock hiding mostly in the tall grassy field. It wasn’t a long wait before I could see the Rosy Starling emerge from the flock but obscured at the base of the wire fence. Slowly the numbers of birders began to rise, not unlike the countrywide invasion of the species. It was a much valued addition for all those present for their Cheshire tick list. The flock contained c500 birds mostly juveniles and were unsettled and frequently took to the wing. During one of these sorties the entire flock flew out to the farm building and eventually settled on the corregated roof.

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Walking up the path to get a better view I got my telescope on its full magnification and the rosy pastor could be seen with its wings stretched out and the white nictating eye membrane being quite obvious. It appeared to me that this irruptive migrant was tired and was in deed of some rest. It later flew out to the sheep pens across the Manchester Ship Canal to feed and sleep with the other birds. After this the entire flock fragmented and I last saw it flying with a much smaller flock out to the banks of the Weaver Estuary.

Looking across to the Weaver Sluices I counted 23 Grey Heron fishing the receding tide and 2 Little Egret. A flock of 16 Pied Avocet were on the estuary mudflats.

Observer: WSM (images).