31.01.21. Birdlog.

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A Great Spotted Woodpecker was drumming at Kinseys Lane this morning and at least 3 Common Chiffchaff were along the hedgerow with Chaffinch, Western Reed Bunting, Meadow Pipit and Grey Wagtail noted.

A look over Ince salt marsh looked quiet with just a few Pink-footed Goose, Canada Goose and Common Shelduck present with small skeins of Pinks dropping onto the marsh during my walk. A Great Egret sat out on Frodsham Score and another passed overhead and was seen to drop down near the flooded pools. A Peregrine struck fear into the Northern Lapwing and Common Starling flocks foraging on the marsh, but it only made a half hearted attempt to secure one before making its way to a perch on the fertiliser plant.

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A herd of 21 Whooper Swan and 16 Mute Swan were grazing alongside the Holpool Gutter and 2 Common Snipe were flushed as I walked by.

Several Rook were checking nests at their rookery and a pair of Common Buzzard were displaying.

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Three Great Egret were feeding together in a field near to the screen pool at Ince and on checking my pictures at home revealed it was the same colour ringed bird from a previous visit.

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The egret flew overhead and appeared to drop down near to the pools A flock of c150 Eurasian Curlew were feeding alongside a flock of Black-headed Gull in a field alongside the service road to the Growhow Plant and a single Little Egret was in amongst the pigs at the farm.

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Observer and images: Paul Ralston.

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A pair of Common Goldeneye over the River Weaver by David Eisner.

30.01.21. Birdlog.

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A cold wet walk this morning started with a seeing Little Egret in the field adjacent to the pig fieldon Kinsey Lane, Ince and hundreds of Pink-footed Goose were heading south overhead. A further 3 Little Egret were foraging along a flooded pathway with Mallard, Eurasian Teal, Northern Shoveler and Gadwall were present in decent numbers. A handful of Tufted Duck were on the pools with a pair of Mute Swan flew in to join them.

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A look over the salt marsh produced a few hundred more Pink-footed Goose were grazing and more geese dropping in from the east.

There were 5 adult and a single juvenile Whooper Swan were amongst a dozen or so Mute Swan alongside the gutter, a further 15 Whooper Swan were grazing in a different part of the same field.  A female European Stonechat was noted along the path aswell.

The flood on the Gowy Meadows had a flock of c150 Northern Pintail which dropped in to join the Eurasian Teal, Northern Shoveler, Mallard and Eurian Wigeon on the water.

Observer and images: Paul Ralston.

29.01.21. Birdlog.

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Our daily walk was along Moorditch Lane and a look over No.6 tank. A quick scan over the open water on the sludge tank revealed 6 Little Grebe, 7 Mute Swan, 207 Tufted Duck, 21 Common Pochard, c500 Eurasian Teal, 173 Northern Shoveler, 9 Northern Pintail and 2 female/immature Common Goldeneye. A couple of Cetti’s Warbler were calling from scrubs on the bank.

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No.3 tank had c1000 Northern Lapwing with c400 European Golden Plover rising and falling with them.

Skein after skein of Pink-footed Goose winged in from the south west and yelped their way to Frodsham Score. I estimated that there were c5000 geese.

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I’ve been nurturing a rowan sapling I got from Trees for Cities in Manchester a while back and I always intened to put it in place where my old friend Martin Garner’s ashes are scattered. Today I got the opportunity and planted it overlooking the Weaver Bend one of his most treasured places to bird.

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No description available.
No description available.

Observers: JS & WSM (images).

28.01.21. Birdlog.

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We took our daily excursion to the marsh today with a walk along Hares Lane and Lordship Lane and at the end of the latter we found the 16 strong Whooper Swan herd in fields nearby. A dashing female Merlin took on a flock of Linnet and lost then headed off over No.4 tank. Also seen was a Lesser Redpoll.

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A look over Frodsham Score and hundreds of Pink-footed Goose were sharing the salt marsh with hundreds of Canada Goose. A small cluster of 6 Barnacle Goose were almost lost within the numbers of the previous two species. There were three Great Egret and very low count of Little Egret. A Western Marsh Harrier was sat on the marsh tearing at its latest afternoon treat, and another was over No.4 tank. Upwards of 6 European Stonechat were busy feeding along the banks with the occasional burst of a Cetti’S Warbler tune ringing out.

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The fields and scrapes of No.3 tank didn’t have the big numbers of Northern Lapwing of the previous weeks and duck numbers were low.

A look over No.6 tank produed 207 Tufted Duck, a drake Common Pochard, a imm/female Common Goldeneye, 100 Northern Shoveler and a small amount of Northern Pintail and Eurasian Teal. Presumably all of the ducks have returned to flooded fields, ponds and rivers nearby.

A Peregrine was feeding on its supper on top of the blue chimney at Weston Point.

Observers: JS & WSM (images 1-3).

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No description available.

Roger Wilkinson took a hike down to the River Weaver and saw 31 Common Goldeneye, 39 Common Pochard, 200 Tufted Duck, 9 Mute Swan, 6 Eurasian Wigeon, 20 Eurasian Teal, 3 Great Crested Grebe and 3 Great Cormorant (including a white headed bird). Also in the area were 3 Cetti’s Warbler.

Below are four links which are additional birding sites and include Frodsham Marsh and four sites within 5 miles of it.

Frodsham Marsh on birding place. eu: https://www.birdingplaces.eu/en/birdingplaces/united-kingdom/frodsham-marsh

Wigg Island, Runcorn: https://www.birdingplaces.eu/en/birdingplaces/united-kingdom/wigg-island-runcorn

Runcorn Hill: https://www.birdingplaces.eu/en/birdingplaces/united-kingdom/runcorn-hill

Spike Island, Widnes: https://www.birdingplaces.eu/en/birdingplaces/united-kingdom/spike-island-widnes

24.01.21. Birdlog.

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I started my walk at Godscroft Lane this morning with large flocks of Linnet and European Goldfinch were feeding on the bank off No.6 tank with another flock of Chaffinch, Western Reed Bunting and Pied Wagtail feeding in the stubble field nearby.

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A Common Kingfisher searching for open water along the tarack on Lordship Lane with the junction of No.4 andNo.6 tanks. A pair of Mute Swan were in the field alongside the Lower Rake Lane and were joined by 6 more as I walked by. Common Kestrel and Common Buzzard were noted sheltering from the snow showers in the trees and bushes during my walk.

Several skeins of Pink-footed Goose passed overhead on their way to their feeding grounds while a skein of Canada Goose made their way to the Frodsham Score.

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As I neared the pools at Ince (which have merged into one pool) a Eurasian Woodcock flushed from the path and disappeared over the hedge and out of sight. Shoveler Eurasian Teal, Mallard, 2 Mute Swan, several Common Moorhen and Eurasian Coot were on the flood water and 2 of the coot were having a territorial dispute amongst the reeds. A Cetti’s Warbler was again singing from the reed bed.

On the Manchester Ship Canal and a raft of 55 Eurasian Coot with several more dotted about the cut and bank were noted with a few Mallard and Tufted Duck were on the water. A few hundred Pink-footed Goose were moving about on the Frodsham Score with many Canada Goose grazing on the short salt grass. A Great Egret and a Grey Heron stood close together the egret hunched up against the cold and snow. A male Peregrine sat on a piece of driftwood watching the Common Starling and plover flocks feeding close by.

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Back alongside the gutter and a pair of European Stonechat have stayed put during the cold spell and were searching for grubs along the fence line. The herd of 16 Whooper Swan joined the Mute’s alongside the gutter.

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Observer: Paul Ralston (images 1-6).

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A later start to our walk this afternoon along Moorditch Lane to the ‘splashing pool’ and back. No.6 tank is starting to freeze over again and most of the ducks were hanging out on the western part of the open water. A male Merlin darted through No.3 tank where numerous Northern Lapwing and a few European Golden Plover sheltering there. A Western Marsh Harrier flew over to join another on No.6 tank.

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A large female Peregrine was off the pumping station and another adult was sat on a plyon by the motorway bridge at Marsh/Moorditch Lane.

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Observers: JS & WSM (images 7-9).

23.01.21. Birdlog.

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A shorter walk today and a visit to the River Weaver opposite Redwall reed bed and a fine flock of 26 Common Goldeneye.

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Also present were 21 upending Common Shelduck and nearby were 426 Tufted Duck 68 Common Pochard and the immature drake Greater Scaup. A small flock of Common Redshank and a single Oystercatcher. The first summer plumaged Great Crested Grebe of theyear.

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Observer: WSM (images1-3).

No description available.

There were 3 Cetti’s Warbler along Brook Furlong Lane and a female European Stonechat by Redwall reed bed. There were 32 (including 4 drakes) Common Goldeneye on the river and c100 Eurasian Coot. A Water Rail was squelling behind the horse paddock.

The end of an era with the demise of the birdlog that hung on a telegraph pole for 32 years RIP.

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Observer: Gary Worthington (image 4-5).

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I had my walk along the Manchester Ship Canal at Ince this morning. There were 3 or 4 Common Chiffchaff again foraging along the hedgerow with many Pied Wagtail and a single Grey Wagtail feeding in the stubble fields.

Out on the saltmarsh a single Great Egret was feeding in the gutters alongside many Common Shelduck, Pink-footed Goose and Canada Goose. A flock of c100 Chaffinch passed overhead with a Sparrowhawk in close attendance.

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A Common Kingfisher left its perch and sped along the canal stopping at Ince Berth and sat throughout the snow shower. A Peregrine terrorized the Northern Lapwing flock on the marsh then settled on a post to preen.

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The flood water covers the fields where once the pools stood out and 3 Great Egret, 2 Little Egret several Grey Heron. The many Eurasian Teal, Mallard, Gadwall a few Tufted Duck and a single Common Shelduck took advantage of the situation. A Cetti’s Warbler was singing from the reed bed at the screen pool.

Observer: Paul Ralston (images 6-8).

22.01.21. Birdlog.

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Our exercise for today was around the lanes and tracks of the marsh. The herd of Whooper Swan had reduced to 13 birds off Lordship Lane. A Lesser Redpoll was in the bushes on the bank of No.4 tank.

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A look over Frodsham Score produced 7 Barnacle, c1500 Canada and c5000 Pink-footed Goose. Several Little Egret were about and 3-4 Great Egret were noted.

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The ‘splashing pool’ had c45 Eurasian Teal and 31 Northern Shoveler with Eurasian Wigeon and more teal and shoveler on the mitigation pools. A male Merlin dashed passed (AH) and 3 European Stonechat were along the fence line. The cows by the Canal Pools had an attendant Little Egret with them.

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No.6 tank had the usual amount of Tufted Duck, Northern Shoveler, Common Shelduck and Eurasian Teal.

Observers: JS & WSM (images).

21.01.21. Birdlog.

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Our walk after #StormPissoff have cleared off from the last two days was much needed and following guidelines and keeping away from people we walked the lanes of Frodsham Marsh.

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No.6 tank was still below its best with a female/immature Common Goldeneye still present with c120 Northern Shoveler, 43 Tufted Duck, 4 Northern Pintail and c320 Eurasian Teal.

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The pools on No.6 tank were bathed in glorious sunshine and a flock of 101 Black-tailed Godwit contained one bired with a colour ring on its leg. There were hundreds of Northern Lapwng and European Golden Plover rising and falling with various preceived threats from phantom predators. A couple of Mute Swan were on the flooded parts and both Eurasian Teal & Wigeon were plentiful. Also making up the numbers were Northern Shoveler and Mallard. A couple of Western Marsh Harrier were over No.6 tank for a short while before heading out to the south Mersey marshes for a spot of lunch.

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Black-tailed Godwits on No.3 tank.

Walking out to look over the flooded fields on Lordship Marsh produched 16 Whooper Swan and a couple more Mute Swan. Still hundreds of Black-headed Gull are taking advantage of the works being brought to the surface by the rains of the last two days.

Pink-footed Goose skeins were noted in the area.

Observers: JS & WSM (images 1-4).

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A quick visit after work to Ince where the Peregrine was sat on glass works. Two Little Egret with pigs at the farm.

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There were two Common Chiffchaff along hedge and nearby a Great Egret was patrolling the salt marsh, with plenty of Pink-footed Goose, Canada Goose and Common Shelduck.

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Ditches are overflowing into fields which are under water.

Observer: Paul Ralston (images 5-8).

No description available.

A Common Kestrel carrying off a vole from the grassy fields on No.5 tank (Image by Phil Barker).

18.01.21. Birdlog.

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Our daily walk allowence brought us to the marsh for a step along the length of it. A Lesser Redpoll called and landed briefly in a bush on the bank by the track. Further out and on Lordship Lane huge numbers of Black-headed and lesser numbers of Common Gull were following the slurry tanker in the fields by Lower Rake Lane.

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The 22 (2 juvenile) Whooper Swan and a single Mute were flushed (literally) by the shit spreader off the fields and back to relative safety of Ince marsh fields.

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A look over the salt marshes revealed 7 Barnacle, c500 Pink-footed, a Greylag and c1000 Canada Goose. Up to 4 Great Egret and a few Little Egret were about the tidal gutters.

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The ‘splashing pool’ had 32 Eurasian Teal, 17 Northern Shoveler and 7 Mallard which across the way on the mitigation scrapes were Eurasian Wigeon & Teal, Northern Shoveler and more Mallard. A couple of European Stonechat popped up and down from the floor.

No.6 tank still hasn’t recovered the numbers of duck since the freeze last week but had c330 Eurasian Teal, 121 Northern Shoveler, 6 Tufted Duck and a female/imm Common Goldeneye.

Observers: JS & WSM (images).

17.01.21. Birdlog (WeBS Count)

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I started my daily exercise walk at Brook Furlong Lane this morning where a Song Thrush was singing its melancholy song and a few Redwings were foraging along the lane. Out on the River Weaver were hundreds of Canada Goose and 11 Mute Swan which were on the water with many Tufted Duck, Eurasian Teal, Mallard, Common Pochard, Eurasian Coot and a few Common Goldeneye and Great Crested Grebe they all took to the air as a ship made its way along the Manchester Ship Canal and sent a series of big waves along the river.

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Also seen were c30 Common Redshank and a single Common Ringed Plover the first of the year at the waters edge. A flock of c1000 Northern Lapwing in the fields close to Marsh Farm with c80 Black-tailed Godwit, the lapwing flock were their usual nervous selves, and were up in the air every few minutes while the godwits stayed put.

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Cheshire Police were on patrol around the marsh hopefully deterring fly-tippers and off road bikers. I stopped off a Ince on my way home to see if the floodwaters had receeded and had attracted any waders or egrets, but only c50 Northern Lapwing were at the edge of the flood with c80 Eurasian Curlew were in a nearby field. Ducks fared better with several Gadwall, Eurasian Teal and Mallard joining the 2 Mute Swan on the pools.

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There were 3 Lesser Redpoll moving through the bushes with a mixed flock of tits and Goldcrest. A single Little Egret was feeding with the pigs along Kinsey Lane, Ince and a Great Egret could be seen in the distance on Ince salt marsh.

Observer: Paul Ralston (images 2-4).

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Our daily constituional walk took in the monthly BTO WeBS count, so a walk along Hare’s Lane to avoid the numbers of day walkers led us along Lordship Lane. The flooded fields adjacent to Lower Rake Lane attracted hundreds of Black-headed and lesser numbers of Common Gull. The fields at the Growhow works had two swan herds one of 22 (2 juvenile) Whooper and 11 Mute Swan, 2 Greylag Goose and a Great Egret joining the swans, because it wanted to be one added to the flavour.

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A look across Frodsham Score salt marsh included sightings of 4 Great and 7 Little Egret with the usual mass of Canada Goose, 7 Barnacle Goose and some Pink-footed Goose on their periphery. These birds were augmented by skeins of pink’s coming in from the south numbering hundreds during our walk. The first spring lambs could be seen out on the score banks.

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Walking back and the fields of No.3 tank had skittish flocks of both Northern Lapwing and a tidy flock of c750 European Golden Plover. Ducks were still few but I managed to count 27 Northern Shoveler, c100 Eurasian Teal and 14 Mallard. A Lesser Redpoll flew over the ‘splashing pool’ and disappeared out across No.3 tank.

Looking across No.6 tank and with 121 Northern Shoveler, 231 Eurasian Teal, 14 Common Shelduck, 7 Tufted Duck and 14 Northern Pintail. A Western Marsh Harrier was loafing over the area. 

Observers: JS & WSM (images 1 & 5-7).