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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.