06.09.20. Birdlog.

I started at Ince this morning where Gadwall were the most numerous duck on the pools at Ince followed by Mallard, Eurasian Teal and a Garganey. More Gadwall were on the Manchester Ship Canal with several Tufted Duck and 2 Great Crested Grebe.

A Common Whitethroat and several Common Chiffchaff were moving along the canal path and a Common Sandpiper was on the far bank. A flock of 35 Stock Dove were flushed off Frodsham Score salt marsh by a Sparrowhawk. Shooting was taking place on the salt marsh so not a lot to be seen there today.

A few small groups of Black-tailed Godwit passed overhead on their way to the estuary after leaving No.6 tank.The ‘phalarope pool’ held c50 Northern Lapwing and a single Black-tailed Godwit with yet more Gadwall, Eurasian Teal and Mallard.

On No.6 tank there were decent numbers of Eurasian Teal, Mallard, Tufted Duck and Common Shelduck on the water with a minimum of 30 Little Grebe and 2 Common Greenshank amongst the lapwing flock. Several more Common Chiffchaff and 2 Cetti’s Warbler were noted on the bank of No.6.

Observer: Paul Ralston (images 1-2).

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It wasn’t until afternoon before I managed to take a hike along the scrambler bike infested lanes of the marsh. A walk along Alder Lane to Marsh Farm produced an adult Eurasian Hobby dragonfly catching over the farm buildings, then later found sitting on a fence post munching a European Goldfinch. A European Golden Plover could be heard high overhead and the rising tide flushed out the Eurasian Curlew from their muddy home.

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We continued our walk back along Brook Furlong Lane, then along Moorditch Lane to the ‘phalarope pool’ where a dozen Northern Shoveler, 21 Eurasian Teal, several Gadwall and 7 juvenile Black-tailed Godwit. No.6 tank looked impressive with c2000 Black-tailed Godwit, c200 Northern Lapwing, 3 Ruff, 4 Red (not red) Knot, 3 Common Greenshank. Ducks were out in good numbers and fresh arrivals included; 19 Northern Pintail, 9 Eurasian Wigeon with an increase of Northern Shoveler to c230, 31 Tufted Duck, c300 Eurasian Teal and 45 Mallard.

Another 2 Eurasian Hobby were on No.5 tank (observer Gary Powell).

Observers: JS & WSM (images 3-4).

05.09.20. Birdlog

I started my birding along Brook Furlong Lane this morning where a Cetti’s Warbler was heard and a couple of Common Chiffchaff followed a party of Long-tailed Tit through the bushes.

Onward to the River Weaver where 5 Mute Swan, c150 Common Redshank, c20 Black-tailed Godwit, 2 Common Sandpiper and c60 Northern Lapwing were at the river’s edge. Not a great deal on the river with regard to ducks with just c40 Tufted Duck, a few Mallard, Gadwall and Eurasian Teal, plus c60 Eurasian Coot and 4 Great Crested Grebe. A small flock of c20 Dunlin which flew down river and over to the Mersey Estuary to join the Black-tailed Godwit and Eurasian Curlew foraging at the edge of the tidal channel.

A single Eurasian Hobby sat on a fence post near to Marsh Farm and a Common Buzzard crossed the Manchester Ship Canal flushing the waders along the Weaver Estuary. There were 2 Northern Wheatear noted on No.3 tank and a pack of Common Raven scavenged on a sheep carcass.

Looking over to No.6 tank and c450 Black-tailed Godwit were gathered in the shallow water with 3 Common Greenshank amongst them. The godwit flock was flushed by a young Peregrine who put in repeated strikes at the flock without any luck. The falcon turned its attention to the ducks on the water and tried to take a Mallard from the surface but failed again. The other wildfowl didn’t seem to disturbed by the falcons presence and it left hungry but wiser.

There were 3 Ruff amongst the c50 Northern Lapwing and c30 Gadwall were on the ‘phalarope pool’.

Barn Swallow were hawking over the recently cut grass on Lordship Marsh and a flock of c80 Canada Goose fed on the stubble fields.

Observer and images: Paul Ralston.

03.09.20. Birdlog

I had an hour or so along the River Weaver this afternoon. Common Chiffchaff could be heard contact calling to each other along Brook Furlong and the family group of 3 Eurasian Hobby were hunting near to Marsh Farm.

Further out on the Mersey Estuary were 6 Pied Avocet were feeding in the tidal channel alongside several Eurasian Curlew, Black-tailed Godwit and Common Redshank.

The Weaver Estuary was quiet with Eurasian Coot being the most numerous bird on the water with a small number of Eurasian Teal, Mallard and Tufted Duck, also 4 Great Crested Grebe and a single Mute Swan were noted alongside c100 Common Redshank, c30 Black-tailed Godwit and 2 Common Sandpiper.

One of the Eurasian Hobby had relocated to a post alongside the river and was buzzed by a Common Kestrel.

Observer and images: Paul Ralston.

A walk around a rather quiet the marsh today. Highlight were 4 distant Greenshank. A few Common Raven, 1 Common Buzzard and 3 European Stonechat towards Marsh Farm.

Observer: @StephenSeahawk

01.09.20. Birdlog

Not a lot about on No.6 tank this evening apart from c400 Northern Lapwing and c150 Black-tailed Godwitwit. A small group of 5 Ruff and 6 Black-tailed Godwit were on a flooded section of a field along Moorditch Lane and a Northern Lapwing with a broken wing hid in the ditch as I passed by. A further flock of c80 Canada Goose were feeding in the same stubble field.

Observer and images: Paul Ralston.

31.08.20. Birdlog.

A walk around the River Weaver this morning starting at Brook Furlong Lane and 2 Cetti’s Warbler could be heard along in the vegetation alongside the track. A little further on and there were 2 adult and 1 juvenile European Stonechat on the fence along Alder Lane. A flock of 15 Common Raven were lined up on a fence waiting their turn to feast on a sheep carcase.

In the mean time on No.1 tank a European Hobby chose a much delicate morsal whilst hunting over a thistle covered field, transferring insects from talons to beak its bill. A Sparrowhawk was picking on the finch flocks in the same field.

Looking over to the Mersey Estuary and more Common Raven were foraging on the salt marsh and a couple of Common Buzzard were riding the thermals, calling as they gained height. At the river edge were c50 Great Cormorant were resting with c30 Eurasian Curlew feeding alongside c12 Pied Avocet, 5 Great Crested Grebe (fishing in the tidal channel) with many Common Shelduck being noted.

A flock of c400 Common Redshank were flushed off the Weaver Estuary by several canoeists enjoying their bank holiday sunshine and the partial leucistic Canada Goose was enjoying its amongst a group of Canada Goose on the river.

Observer and images: Paul Ralston.

30.08.20. Birdlog.

Today I spotted six species of raptor which included Common Buzzard, Common Kestrel, Sparrowhawk, Eurasian Hobby, Western Marsh Harrier and Peregrine putting in an appearance.

I made my start with 4 Little Grebe and one pair with a recently hatched chick on the pools at Ince, alongside several Gadwall which were displaying with drakes chasing ducks and showing aggression to other males.

On the Manchester Ship Canal path were 2 Western Yellow Wagtail and a single Whinchat were on the far bank and 2 Common Sandpipers flew along the canal. A Red Fox was watched hunting rodents on the Frodsham Score salt marsh leaving the sheep carcasses to the corvids and gulls.

Onto the ‘Canal Pools’ and the Mute Swan pair have 2 well grown cygnets and with them were several Eurasian Coot, Mallard and Eurasian Teal were also noted.

The Eurasian Hobby put on a fine display catching dragonflies and craneflies and eating them on the wing. The ‘phalarope pool’ was very quiet with just 2 Northern Lapwing and a single Black-tailed Godwit, a big reduction from recent visits.

On No.6 tank were the rest of the c1000 godwit flock which were disturbed by low flying model planes flying over the tank repeatedly. Eurasian Teal, Northern Shoveler, Mallard, Gadwall and Common Shelduck were on the water in decent numbers, and they were disturbed by another model aircraft but soon settled again.

A male Western Marsh Harrier was hunting the fields along Moorditch Lane then over to No.6 flushing the already  stressed waders. A male Sparrowhawk hunted over the reed beds, while Common Chiffchaff were moving along the bank with a flock of Long-tailed Tit. A Cetti’s Warbler sang half-heartedly and was seen moving from one bush to another with a family group of Western Reed Warbler which were foraging in the reeds at the bottom of the bank. Another Sparrowhawk, a female was hunting the finches on No.4 bank following them deep into the cover. Overhead a Peregrine drifted over the area, but took no interest in the Wood Pigeon scattering before it.

Back at Ince and a Little Egret settled on one of the pools and 3 more passed overhead. There were 2 Great Spotted Woodpecker calling as they passed over high.

Observer: Paul Ralston (images 1-6).

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Eurasian Hobby.
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Images 7-9 by Keith Gallie.