08.05.21. (WeBS Count) Birdlog.

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After partially finishing off some artwork at home and finally looking out of the window where the morning rain finally stopped long enough for me to grab my birding gear and head down to the marsh.

Video by Jimmy Mancini

On arrival and walking along the track by No.6 tank a birder (jimmy) ahead of me was filming something up in the sky, following his gaze I lucked in on a Eurasian Hobby drawn in by the hundreds of hirundines and Common Swift overhead.

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A look over No.6 tank and the gathered Black-tailed Godwit flock of 260 birds (later the flock rose to 470) contained 3 Bar-tailed Godwit and the summer plumaged Little Stint. A flock of 61 Tufted Duck, 12 Common Shelduck, 6 Gadwall, a drake and 2 duck Eurasian Wigeon, 12 Mallard and 23 Eurasian Teal. A Grasshopper Warbler was reeling’ away by the junction of No.6/5/3 tanks.

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The Eurasian Hobby reappeared over the Canal Pools per David Bedford.

A couple of Western Marsh Harrier were about the area.

Observer: WSM (image 1-3).

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I started my walk at Brook Furlong after the worst of the rain had stopped. The usual summer warblers were in good voice along the lane and were joined by a pair of Eurasian Bullfinch.

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May be an image of bird and nature

A small flock of Linnet were on the fence along Alder Lane, one bird was wearing a metal NHM ring, but they all scattered when a Common Kestrel showed some interest in their wellbeing.

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A single Northern Wheatear and Whinchat were on the fence near Marsh Farm with several Meadow Pipit present. Canada Goose and Greylag Goose were on the MAnchester Ship Canal and River Weaver with their goslings trying to keep them out of the reach of a Great Black-backed Gull on patrol. Common Shelduck, Mallard, Tufted Duck and Gadwall were all present in small numbers, a few of the Mallard also had young. The river held a pair of Common Sandpiper.

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There were 3 more Whinchat and another Northern Wheatear seen close to the Shooters’ pool and a pair of Pied Avocet flew overhead. A trials bike shattered the peace and quiet as it and a couple of kids on a quad bike made their way along the river path.

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I finished off with a walk around No.6 tank where the male Western Marsh Harrier was sat preening off the rain drops and the Eurasian Hobby was observed over No.4 tank.

Observer: Paul Ralston (images 4-9).

07.05.21. Birdlog.

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We took a hike along the north track that skirts No.6 tank this afternoon where a glance across the water revealed c500 Black-tailed and 6 Bar-tailed Godwit, the lingering adult Little Stint, a single Ruff, a single Common Sandpiper and 4 Northern Lapwing. Four Herring Gull and 3 Black-headed Gull with small numbers of Tufted Duck, 3 Eurasian Wigeon and again small numbers of both Eurasian Teal and Common Shelduck.

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Hirundines are back in force and the numbers of Common Swift have dropped off. A pair of Western Yellow Wagtail flew over and landed on No.5 tank. Arthur Harrison saw a Whinchat below the viewing area where the godwit flock are settled.

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A pair of Pied Avocet were on the mitigation area with some Eurasian Teal, Northern Shoveler and Gadwall. Also seen was a single Little Egret was heading east.

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Observers: JS & WSM (images and video 2-4).

Image 1 by Duncan Cowley.

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Afternoon walk along Brook Furlong Lane where Common Chiffchaff, Willow Warbler, Common Whitethroat, Blackcap and Cetti’s Warbler all made their presence known as I made my way towards Marsh Farm. A male Common Kestrel was hunting the bank along Alder lane and 2 Northern Wheatear were seen along the pipe line, another 3 were near the farm itself.

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A Whinchat was in the reed bed close to the farm and took off over the reeds, I retraced my steps to try and locate it and came across another 7 in total feeding along the fence line. Totting up all the sightings and without duplication there were 13 birds on the marsh today!

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Walking along the River Weaver path and Western Reed and Sedge Warbler were vocal, while Barn Swallow, Sand Martin and Common Swift were numerous hawking over the river.

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Another group of 5 Whinchat were seen along the fence line and in the reeds on the Weaver Bend. A single Pied Avocet and Common Sandpiper were noted on the far bank.

Observer: Paul Ralston (images 5-8).

06.05.21. Birdlog.

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An early start and a walk along the north banks of No.6 tank in warm morning sunshine. I positioned myself overlooking the godwit flock which consisted of c430 birds.

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A thorough scan revealed a non-breeding plumaged Bar-tailed Godwit and the nice summer Little Stint. A couple of Common Sandpiper were present and the tree hugging one was again up in the dead tree in the eastern side of the flooded tank.

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A male Western Marsh Harrier crusing over the flock caused a bit of concern with them. As the flock resettled a second Bar-tailed Godwit and a non-breeding plumaged Red Knot dropped in. The drake Eurasian Wigeon had with him a second duck was his harem is slowly building up. A few Eurasian Teal and reduced numbers of Tufted Duck and Common Shelduck. Also 2 Western Yellow Wagtail.

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A pale biscuit coloured Common Buzzard was sat on the water tower.

Bar-tailed Godwits.

A slow approaching sleet rain storm was heading in from literally the darkside of Hale shore. The weather front brought down hundreds of hirundines and c100 Common Swift. There were singing Grasshopper Warbler along the track between No.6 & No.4 tanks.

Observers: WSM (video & images).

A Common Greenshank was preseent on No.6 tank but rose from its feeding and flew off to the north calling as it went, and likewise was a Whimbrel, 3 Ruff, 1 Little Stint, 9 summer Dunlin, 2 Eurasian Wigeon and 3 Western Yellow Wagtail.

Observer: Mark (whipper) Gibson.

05.05.21. Birdlog.

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My walk started off in fair weather and then over a period of a hour or so it went from rain/sleet/heavy hail and back to warm sunshine.

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A quick glance over No.6 tank revealed a small group of 35 Black-tailed Godwit, a Common Sandpiper perched in a tree, a small calidris wader that turned into a partial summer plumaged Little Stint (M Giverin et al), 2 Ruff and small numbers of ducks, including a pair of Eurasian Wigeon. A few Common Swift joined up with scores of Barn Swallow and small numbers of House Martin. A male Western Yellow Wagtail dropped in to feed along the watery margins.

There were several hundred Sand Martin over the Canal Pools on No.3 tank where 2 additional Ruff and 4 lingering European Golden Plover were still in the same spot as last week. The ‘phalarope pool’ was devoid of life and when the hail storm arrived so dis plenty of hirundines to dodge the icy artillery. A fine male Western Marsh Harrier flew over and a Common Buzzard did likewise.

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Some interesting cloud formations before the storm hit including this mammatus cloud.

Hail storm over the phalarope pool.

Observers: WSM (images 1-3 and video), Mike Giverin et al). Observer:

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We walked along Lordship Lane and heard many small birds but saw none.  Then up to the ‘phalarope pool’.  There was very little on the pool itself but many Barn Swallow and a few Sand Martin flying above. 

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A Common Buzzard also came very close to us.  Walking back along Lordship Lane we saw several Common Swift and Barn Swallow. 

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May be an image of bird and nature

As an added bonus, it was sunny throughout!  Also very pleased to see that most of the fly tipped household rubbish has been removed!

David Eisner (images 4-7).

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A quick visit along Brook Furlong Lane and then up to Marsh Farm this morning, warblers and finches including 2 Cetti’s warbler, the pipeline was quiet with only 3 Northern Wheatear seen near the cattle grid, I made it back to the car just before the rain and hail.

Observer: Keith Gallie (images 8-11).

02.05.21. Birdlog.

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The pools at Ince were quiet with just a few Mallard and Gadwall with a flyover pair of Common Shelduck seen. A Eurasian Coot chick that only its mother could love was making its way along the ditch to join the rest of the brood, several other coots are still incubating their clutches along the ditch and pools.

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A Little Grebe with 3 tiny youngsters was on one of the pools and automatically dived when it saw me approaching, and then realised its young were left in the open and returned to coax them into the reeds. Cetti’s Warbler, Blackcap, Common Whitethroat, Common Chiffchaff, Sedge and Western Reed Warbler were heard and seen all along my walk.

A Little Egret was in the field alongside the Holpool Gutter with a dozen or more courting Common Shelduck. A few more Little Egret were out on Frodsham Score with many more Common Shelduck. A Northern Wheatear was also noted. Two male Whinchat by the berth.

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The ‘phalarope pool’ was deserted apart from Northern Lapwing, a few Mallard, Gadwall and a pair of Northern Shoveler and then to No.6 tank where more Common Shelduck were joined by Mallard, Eurasian Teal, Gadwall, Tufted Duck and Little Grebe. There were Ruff feeding along the edge of the pool while c25 Black-tailed Godwit were in the deeper water.

The male Western Marsh Harrier flew over Lordship Marsh and Common Buzzard, Common Kestrel and a Sparrowhawk were active in the area.

A Great Spotted Woodpecker left the bank on No.4 tank and landed on a fence post before making its way to the wood alongside the Holpool Gutter. Walking through Goldfinch Meadow LNR I spotted a pair of Eurasian Bullfinch in a bramble patch.

Observer & images: Paul Ralston.

01.05.21. Birdlog.

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A walk around No.6 tank this morning and warblers were singing all around the tank, with the following counts: 5 Blackcap, 12 Cetti’s Warbler, 7 Common Chiffchaff, 27 Western Reed Warbler, 23 Sedge Warbler, 35 Common Whitethroat and 3 Willow Warbler. Also on the walk around the Little Stint was still on the ‘phalarope pool’ with a Little Ringed Plover, Common Snipe and Common Redshank. No.6 held around 350 Black-tailed Godwit with at least one Bar-tailed Godwit, 8 Ruff and a single Common Sandpiper. Approx 8 Barn Swallow and 16 Common Swift were hawking insects above the tank.

Observer: Paul Miller.

Image by Duncan Cowley.

30.04.21. Birdlog.

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Perhaps the best description I have heard of the British climate is from the Australian Cricketer Shane Warne whom described UK weather as “nine months of winter followed by three months of bad weather”.

And so it was on a cold late April evening I stood watching No.6 tank questioning the wisdom of many of the wading birds present heading even further north.

There were just under 250 Black-tailed Godwit close to the track with 17 summer plumaged Dunlin and 2 Ringed Plover feeding busily on the water’s edge. Five Ruff were wandering amongst the Godwit with one bird clearly getting ideas above its station in developing a Gyr Falcon-esque plumage.

At about five o’clock half of the Godwits peeled off and headed towards the estuary to feed leaving the remaining birds – I imagined – chattering amongst themselves that they wouldn’t be so common as to eat their evening meal so early!!

Just before I left a Western Yellow Wagtail flew over calling and a dozen or so Swifts dropped out of the sky. 

Walking back to my van I was serenaded by Cetti’s, Reed, Sedge and Grasshopper Warbler, Common Whitethroat, Blackcap and Common Chiffchaff. A Water Rail was also heard squealing along the bank.

Observer: Paul Shenton.

Image by Paul Miller.