29.04.21. Birdlog.

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A late start to the day and a walk along the north end of No.6 tank revealed a Little Ringed Plover,couple of Ruff with the rapidly dwinderling Black-tailed Godwit flock. A male Western Marsh Harrier flew through and a fine female Merlin lingered long enough for a view, but not a picture.

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I met Paul Ralston and we both took a hike up to the ‘phalarope pool’ where we bumped into Mark ‘Whipper’ Gibson who had spent the majority of the afternoon watching over No.6 tank earlier, he had seen 3 Bar-tailed Godwit (one frosty individual) with several hundred Black-tails, 8 Ruff and 40 Eurasian Teal.

Little Stint braving the hail storm.

He also had 2 Little Ringed Plover and a neat summer plumaged Little Stint on the ‘phalarope pool’. It wasn’t long before the LRP’s and the stint reappeared followed by a heavy hail storm emitting from across the river at Hale. It was interesting to watch the stint poise in an erect posture reducing its body shape to a tiptoe upright stance, and although the stinging hail was bad enough for us three, it must have been even worse for this little bligter.

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Walking back there was 4 (3 summer northern birds) European Golden Plover hunkered down in a depression in the grass. There were three additional Ruff feeding with a handful of Black-tailed Godwit and 3 Dunlin on the mitigation pools.

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Observers: Mark (Whipper) Gibson, Paul Ralston and WSM (images 1-4 & video).

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A Northern Lapwing by David Eisner (images 5-6) and the pitiful sight of ignorant and selfish people using the countryside like their own sesspit. Hopefully, whoever paid these to take their furniture away will have left idenifing letters for the local authorities and police to investigate.

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A distant Western Marsh Harrier was over the salt marshes (image 7 by Phil Barker).

28.04.21. Birdlog.

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A couple of hours birding along the north bank of No.6 tank and the glorious sight of hundreds of handsomely dressed Black-tailed Godwit feeding close enough to hear their slurping sounds after a bill full of sieved out sludgy mud. Hiding within the godwit flock were two non-breeding plumaged Bar-tailed Godwit, and no less of a handsome bird.

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A scattered group of 8 Ruff were sporting their foppy neck and head plumes, orange, white, black, chestnut and browns, our own exotically plumaged dandies.

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The ducks were overshadowed by the shorebirds and there was no change in species and numbers from my previous visit.

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I continued my walk along the track towards the ‘phalarope pool’ on No.3 tank. A male Western Marsh Harrier was hunting the reed beds at the Canal Pools. The pools on the mitigation had a single russet coloured Ruff with several Black-tailed Godwit, a Little Ringed Plover and Common Snipe.

Observer: WSM (images & videos).

27.04.21. Birdlog.

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Today I completed my first visit of the year to my BTO BBS survey plot on the Frodsham Marshe. The survey area covers a 1km square that stretches from the southern part of No.1 tank, most of No.5 tank, the eastern end of No.6 tank and around Moorditch Lane to Brook Furlong Lane. The survey takes about two hours and just in that one area today’s species count came to 67.

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Female Northern Wheatear.

Highlights of the survey were; 2 Eurasian Bullfinch, 7 Cetti’s Warbler, 9 Common Chiffchaff, 3 Grasshopper Warbler, 9 Western Reed Warbler, 5 Sand Martin, 8 Sedge Warbler, 11 Eurasian Skylark, 3 Barn Swallow, 6 Northern Wheatear, 1 Whimbrel, 13 Common Whitethroat, 4 Willow Warbler and 1 Western Yellow Wagtail.

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Meadow Pipit.

As I was getting to the end of the survey a small weather front came in with a short shower and ahead of it came 4 House Martin and 28 Common Swift, my first of the year for each species.

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Brown Rat

As part of the survey, mammals are counted and this years count of Rabbit were the lowest for many a year at only two. Two Brown Hare were good to see and also 2 Brown Rat were feeding in the Shooters’ fields and proved to be very obliging letting me take their photos.

Observer: Paul Miller (images 1-4).

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May be an image of wading bird and nature

We took a short walk out along Moorditch Lane to the ‘phalarope pool’ below the eastern edge of No.4 tank. A look across No.6 tank and the Black-necked Grebe has looked to have moved on, while 34 Tufted Duck, 43 Northern Shoveler, 64 Common Shelduck, 5 Whimbrel, 6 Ruff, c500 Black-tailed Godwit and a single summer plumaged Dunlin were seen.

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May be an image of wading bird and nature

A look across the mitigation pools on No.3 tank revealed 3 additional Ruff with one sporting an oathish Borisesque headdress. There were many Black-tailed Godwit and a few Eurasian Teal and Northern Shoveler. A handsome male Western Marsh Harrier flew across the tank and an equally handsome white morph Common Buzzard was nearby. A group of 5 Northern Wheatear were along the fenceline to the sounds of Common Whitethroat, Sedge and Western Reed Warbler announcing a new summer of love.

Observers: JS & WSM (images 5-6).

Image 7 by Phil Barker.

26.04.21. Birdlog.

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I picked out 5 Ruff on No.6 tank among the Black-tailed Godwit along with good numbers of Common Shelduck, a female Western Marsh Harrier flew from No3 over the water. There was decent numbers of Cetti’s Warbler, Common Chiffchaff, Willow Warbler, Common Reed Bunting, a couple of Blackcap, I heard 2 Sedge Warbler, but only saw the one.

Not much on the mitigation pools. The ‘phalarope pool’ was quiet with a pair of Northern Lapwing, 1 Common Snipe, a few Eurasian Teal and Mallard

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Back along Lordship Lane there were good numbers of Linnet. I noted what seemed to be 5 pairs of European Stonechat, and a Grasshopper Warbler was reeling louder than I have heard one that’s because it was only about 6 feet away from me I stood there for about 15 mins hoping it would show itself, it did eventually but so briefly I didn’t manage a photo.

In all a cracking morning.

Observer and images: Keith Gallie

25.04.21. Birdlog

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My morning walk took me around tanks 6 and 4 where warblers were out in force. A Cetti’ s and a Grasshopper Warbler were at the junction of Lordship Lane and Hare’s Lane. Both Sedge and Western Reed Warbler were numerous along the way. A Common Whitethroat and Blackcap were also seen.

No.6 tank has 3 Ruff and 2 Common Sandpiper with a couple of hundred Black-tailed Godwit. A drake Common Shelduck joined the many others fighing over the ducks, and the Tufted Duck taking their lead were also displaying. On the water were Mallard, Eurasian Teal and Gadwall.

The mitigation pools on No.3 tank held a few more Black-tailed Godwit while the ‘phalarope pool’ held 2 Little Ringed Plover, a Common Snipe, c20 Black-tailed Godwit and a Common Redshank.   

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A scan over salt marsh produced a small group of 9 lingering Pink-footed Goose on the edge of the river. A male Western Marsh Harrier was hunting over the area.

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Interestly a Mallard decided to lay an egg in the middle of the path in front of me (must be the effect I have on the birds?). There were more Cetti’s, Sedge and Western Reed Warbler were noted. A vixen Red Fox crossed the path then back tracked as it saw me approaching. A pair of Common Kestrel were copulating in the middle of a field along Lordship Lane.

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Onward to Ince and more Cetti’s, Common Whitethroat and Blackcap were present. The pair of Garganey were on one of the pools, but are more mobile. 

Observer: Paul Ralston (images 1-5).

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A walk across the marsh this morning, notable sightings included 9
Ruff on No. 6 tank, a Whinchat moving between No.3 & No.6 tanks and 2
Little Ringed Plover on the ‘phalarope’ pool. A flock of 11 Whimbrel
with a Bar-tailed Godwit dropped down to the salt marsh and a Northern Wheatear was on the pipes on No.1 tank.

Observer: Alyn Chambers.

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Additional images 6-7 by Phil Barker.

24.04.21. Birdlog.

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I finished my day off with a walk along the River Weaver. Common Chiffchaff, Willow Warbler and Common Whitethroat were vocal along Brook Furlong Lane where a Western Reed Warbler was on territory along the Weaver path.

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A Mallard and her new brood of ducklings were being watched closely by a Grey Heron as they made their way along the river bank. On the shooters’ pool were 3 Common Snipe, 2 Black-tailed Godwit and a single Ruff were being buzzed by a couple of anxious Northern Lapwing, a flock of c40 Black-tailed Godwit flew over heading towards No.6 tank.

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Observer: Paul Ralston (images 1-3).

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We had a quiet day on the track up to Marsh Farm where several European Goldfinche.  Also the usual Northern Wheatear at the end of the pipes, they are using this spot as a stop off en route to their breeding grounds further north. 

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We also saw a Western Marsh Harrier in this area. 

Observer: David Eisner (images 4-5).

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Green-veined White by Phil Barker.

A Whinchat was on No.5 tank – per Frank Duff.

23.04.21. Birdlog.

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A couple of hours around Ince early this evening. Several Little Egret and a single Great Egret were out on Ince salt marsh, possibly 3 more Great Egret made their way across the river towards Hale. 

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A Eurasian Jay was seen to make its way across the Manchester Ship Canal from the salt marsh aswell. Mallard and Gadwall were numerous on the canal and a passing ship woke up a Red Fox from its slumber, it slipped in to a pile of rocks and out of sight.

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There were 2 Northern Wheatear at near the berth with Common Whitethroat and Common Chiffchaff making their presence known. Several pairs of Northern Lapwing are on territory on the stubble fields and were kept busy chasing the many corvids trying to forage nearby. A Eurasian Coot tried to leave its nest without being noticed and disturbed a Water Vole which hid in the bankside vegetation.

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The Garganey pair are still on the pool amongst the many Mallard, Gadwall and Eurasian Teal.

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Observer: Paul Ralston (images 2-7).

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A short(ish) 12 km walk around Tatton Park in full sunhine. The birding was a bit below its best with a drake Mandarin & 2 Common Sands on the main mere.

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A migrant female Northern Wheatear perched up a tree was the highlight.

Observers: JS & WSM (images 1 & 8-9).

#treeshadows

22.04.21. Birdlog.

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A brief afternoon visit in (I can get use to this type of weather) superb Spring sunshine. A walk along Moorditch Lane and the summer warblers were trying to out sing each other, but the Cetti’s Warbler edged it.

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A look across No.6 tank revealed the long staying Black-necked Grebe hangin’ with the Tufted Duck gathering at the edge of the tank. Common Shelduck are now the commonest duck species with much reduced counts of Eurasian Teal, Northern Shoveler and Mallard. A flock of c1000 Black-tailed Godwit were bunched together like a red wall, with 4 Ruff, 2 Common Redshank and a Little Ringed Plover. A couple of Western Yellow Wagtail flew and settled in the long grass on the tank. A Water Rail was calling from the reeds and high over the area was a Western Marsh Harrier.

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Observer: WSM (images).

A later afternoon visit to No.1 tank revealed at least 6 Northern Wheatear fly-catching from the fences around the pipes. The Field Voles were obviously in a disputatious mood as many could be heard squeaking from the grass verge and it was no surprise to see a Common Kestrel watching vigilantly from the telegraph wires above. Also noted was an unorthodox Blue Tit nest in the end of a scrap piece of pipe protruding from the ground! A brief visit to the shooters’ pool produced a Common Snipe and a Brown Hare.

Observer: Paul Shenton.

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04.04.21. I found this deceased Black-headed Gull at Dutton Flashes near Frodsham. It was ringed as a nestling on 21.06.10 at Baltrum, Ostdorf, Ostfriesische Inseln, Germany. Total distance: 667.85 km (414.99 miles).

21.04.21. Birdlog.

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A late afternoon stroll around No.6 tank revealed a large flock of 1,680 Black-tailed Godwit with the vast majority now in their ‘Officers Tunic’ red breeding plumage. Picking through the ranks revealed 10 Ruff, 3Common Redshank, 2 Little Ringed Plover, a Knot and a Common Sandpiper just before they flew off en masse towards the Mersey Estuary.

There was also a female Sparrowhawk on manouvers, plus a Western Yellow Wagtail flew overhead calling. The Black-necked Grebe gave very confiding views.

Observer: Paul Shenton.

Image 1 by David Eisner.

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An early evening walk along Brook Furlong Land and the River Weaver. A Common Whitethroat was singing from a post at the junction of Brook Furlong and Moorditch Nales. A Cetti’s Warbler, Common Chiffchaff, Willow Warbler and Blackcap were all seen and heard.

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There were 5 Black-tailed Godwit and a Ruff on the shooters’ pool, while 8 Pied Avocet were on River Weaver.

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Observer: Paul Ralston (images 2-4).

20.04.21. Birdlog.

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An early start before the sun poked its head above the eastern skyline and a heavy mist lay over the fields, reed beds and sludge tanks.

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The dawn chorus was an underwhelming affair with Cetti’s Warbler shattering the soft edges to the pink glow creeping over Dutton to the east.

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I walked up to the ‘phalarope pool’ where a ghostly Western Marsh Harrier appeared from the gloom and drifted out over No.6 tank and then to the south. Black-headed Gull flocks were leaving the estuary and flying south east to their daytime colony at Blakemere.

Suddenly and silently a Barn Owl appeared over my left shoulder and settled on the scaffolding pipe that supports the main sludge pipe into No.6 tank. I fumbled to get my telescope up with the usual uncooperative tripod legs refusing a simple command. I eventually got all the components in place, and unsually the owl was still perch in its original spot.

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May be an image of bird and nature

A few phone scope images secured and a reposition to get a better angle, and the owl didn’t budge. After a few minutes the Barn Owl flew a short distance and landed even closer to me than it had before. I was wishing it would stay a bit longer until I got the bird on full magnification, it was then that I noticed a coded ring on its left leg and a leather band around its right leg…an escapee! The part read code was 8(B?)0885007…if think? The bird still present into the afternoon.

The escape Barn Owl allows close approach.
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After spending more time than I had to spare (I was expected in work within the hour) I left the owl still perched up and made my way back, stopping briefly to look at a Common Sandpiper, several Black-tailed Godwit and a pair of Pied Avocet.

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Arriving at the north bank of No.6 tank and the summer Black-necked Grebe emerged from the mist like something from a (former) popular Saturday night 90’s TV show – Stars in Their Eyes, “Tonight, Matthew, I’m going to be…”

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Time is precious before work and all to soon the clock was counting down the minutes into work.

Observer: WSM (images 1-13 & videos).

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May be an image of bird and nature
May be an image of bird and nature

Other images ( 14-16) from later in the day by David Eisner.

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The Water Pipit was on the water line on No.6 tank mid morning. A Grasshopper Warbler singing south bank of No.6, Reed Warbler and Sedge Warbler singing around No.6 and Common Whitethroat numbers well into double figures. A Black-necked Grebe and Common Sandpiper showing well also on No.6. Three Ruff with c120 Black-tailed Godwit on 6 and another 3 on the ‘phalarope pool’ along with two Little Ringed Plover. A Western Yellow Wagtail in the now ploughed field off Lordship Lane.

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Lots of Orange-tip butterfly, Small Tortoiseshell and Peacock on the wing.

Observer: Paul Miller (images 17-18).