31.08.21. Birdlog.

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A short walk after work this afternoon at Goldfinch Meadows Nature Reserve, Ince where Gadwall were the most numerous of the ducks, c40 followed by Mallard, Eurasian Teal and 4 Eurasian Wigeon.

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A Garganey hung out with the Mallards, while a Mute Swan dropped on to one of the ponds. A charm of European Goldfinch were feeding on the weedheads and a couple of Barn Swallow where hawking over the ponds.

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Observer and images: Paul Ralston.

A Common Greenshank flew south over Runcorn Docks calling as it went – per WSM.     

30.08.21. Birdlog.

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A morning walk out to No.6 tank between the high tides and a sit overlooking the shallow waters. A flock of c2000 Black-tailed Godwit (31 juveniles), two Bar-tailed Godwit, a Spotted Redshank, 11 Ruff, 210 Common Redshank, c321 Northern Lapwing and a Eurasian Curlew.

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Ducks will be a feature of the coming weeks/months so it was good to see 251 Northern Shoveler, 29 Northern Pintail, 291 Eurasian Teal, 5 Common Shelduck, 34 Mallard and 34 Tufted Duck. Also 35 Little Grebe were scattered across the tank.

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There were 3 Sparrowhawk, 3 Common Kestrel and 4 Common Buzzard hunting the area.

Observer: WSM (images).

29.08.21. Birdlog.

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An autumnal feel to the marsh this morning with a Northern Pintail on No.6 tank and a Eurasian Wigeon on the ‘phalarope pool’. There were hundreds of Canada Goose which had roosted on the water here over night, and left for the estuary as the sun came up. A female Sparrowhawk flushed the waders which contained mostly Common Redshank, Northern Lapwing and a few Common Snipe, later these were joined by c800 Black-tailed Godwit.

The ‘phalarope pool’ held a dozen Eurasian Wigeon, c20 Eurasian Teal, a few Mallard, Gadwall, Northern Shoveler and singles of Common Snipe and some godwits. A juvenile Western Marsh Harrier hunted over No.4 and No.6 tanks.

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A couple more Sparrowhawk were hunting in the area alongside a Common Kestrel. A  brief view of a Northern Wheatear was seen as it flew over No.3 tank.

Onward to Marsh Farm which was quiet apart from a large gull flock following the tractors working the field on No.1 tank. A Peregrine was seen high up over the farm and made its way to the Mersey Estuary.

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I stopped off at Ince on my way home where more Eurasian Wigeon could be found on the pools with Gadwall, Eurasian Teal. Mallard, Little Grebe and Grey Heron in attendance.

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A couple of Brown Hare put on a boxing display before disappearing into the distance.

Observer: Paul Ralston (images 1-5).

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I really wasn’t expecting much on the rising tide as it would barely force much onto No.6 tank on my visit to the marsh after work.

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A large flock of c2000 Black-tailed Godwit (41 juvenile) and a single Bar-tailed Godwit lay on their outside edge. A flock of c400 Northern Lapwing rose into the air as a juvenile Peregrine hurtled through without disturbing the other waders. A flock of c350 Common Redshank, a Green Sandpiper and 6 Ruff and a European Golden Plover. Ducks were back and numbers are rising steadily with 31 Northern Pintail, c300 Eurasian Teal, 121 Northern Shoveler and lesser numbers of the usual suspects.

Observer: WSM (images 6-7).

28.08.21. Birdlog.

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An afternoon walk along the River Weaver where c50 Common Redshank, 6 Black-tailed Godwit, 13 Mute Swan…

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…24 Little Egret, 2 Western Yellow Wagtail, plenty of Pied Wagtail. several Barn Swallow moving south. A large flock of mixed gulls following a tractor by Marsh Farm.

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Observer: Paul Ralston (images 1-3).

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A whiff of eastern promise today from a (Nordic?) Jackdaw at Runcorn Heath Park lake. I haven’t seen this bird for a year, but it has been present since 2016 and is paired with a Western Jackdaw.

Observer: WSM (images 4-5 & video).

25.08.21. Birdlog.

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I arrived at No.6 tank after 2.00pm. There were numerous Black-tailed Godwit mainly roosting. 10 Ruff were scattered and four of them were juvenile birds and a solitary Dunlin was disappointing considering the time of year. All the waders and ducks took flight, but I couldn’t see any raptors and then a huge yellow party balloon landed in the water of No.6 tank. FFS!!! A few hundred Common Redshank and a Common Greenshank were present. Good numbers of Northern Lapwing and Black-headed Gull with a dozen Common Gull.


A solitary Barn Swallow hawked over the bank and a juvenile Common Whitethroat revealed itself. The sunshine was a bit too hot for me!

Observer: Mark (Whipper) Gibson.

(image by WSM)

24.08.21.Birdlog.

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Five Ruddy Shelduck

A look over the Upper Mersey Estuary east of the new bridge revealed a family flock of 3 juvenile and 2 adult Ruddy Shelduck, 5 Pied Avocet and 8 Little Egret.

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The tide had receeded by the time I made it to No.6 tank on the marsh. The flock of Black-tailed Godwit were much reduced in number with 11 Ruff, c100 Common Redshank and a large flock of Northern Lapwing.

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Ducks were again present with 87 Northern Shoveler, 27 Tufted Duck and 26 Little Grebe. A couple of juvenile Sparrowhawh circling high over the sludge tank put the spooks up the waders present, and this was worsened when a male Western Marsh Harrier had a go at the Northern Lapwing.

Observer: WSM (images and video).

23.08.21. Birdlog.

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Earlier in the day the female Whooper Swan was still hanging out at the slipway on the Sankey Canal, Spike Island, Widnes. ‘Norby’ the Norwegian Black-headed Gull (colour ring L2JC) was back earlier from its summer jaunt to Scandinavia.

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Some after work birding involved 3 Ruddy Shelduck, 9 Little Egret and a Peregrine off Hempstones Marsh, Wigg Island. Aftewards I made my way to No.6 tank, Frodsham Marsh where the tail end of the post high tide roost was slowly peeling off back to the estuary.

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I didn’t see the LB Dowitcher despite extensive searching. but a winter plumaged Bar-tailed was with the hundreds of Black-tailed Godwit flock, a single ‘winter’ Red Knot, c250 Common Redshank, c450 Northern Lapwing, 8 Ruff, A large flock of c150 Northern Shoveler and 31 Little Grebe were also present.

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Observer: WSM (images 1-5).

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An after work walk along the River Weaver where hundreds of European Goldfinch were feeding along Alder Lane and a mass of gulls foraging on flying insects. A pair of Common Kestrel tried their best to ambush the finches but failed.

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A mixed flock of wagtails held at least 15 western Yellow Wagtail fly-catching alongside the river. There were 4 Black-tailed Godwit, 4 Common Sandpiper, several Common Redshank and Northern Lapwing were resting on the bank. 

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Tufted Duck were numerous alongside Mallard, Gadwall and Eurasian Teal.

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Observer: Paul Ralston (images 6-9).

22.08.21. Birdlog.

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Our BTO WeBS count for August was on the rising tide, high tide and falling tide so a lot to get in before it was finished.

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A Peregrine upset the gathering godwits by sending the lot up into the air, then after the pack had been shuffled it was down to number crunching.

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A settled flock of 2580 Black-tailed Godwit included 31 juveniles and a reappearance from one of our colour ringed birds.

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Two winter plumaged Bar-tailed Godwit, a couple of ‘grey’ Red Knot, 245 Common Redshank, 1 Spotted Redshank, the summering summer Long-billed Dowitcher (which kept to the relative safety of the reedy fringe margins to the south bank, 5 Common Ringed Plover, 5 Dunlin, 457 Northern Lapwing and 8 Ruff.

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Ducks included: 151 Northern Shoveler, 170 Eurasian Teal, 24 Tufted Duck, 11 Gadwall, 34 Mallard, 12 Common Shelduck. 8 Common Moorhen, a Grey Heron and a Western Marsh Harrier.

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

I started at Ince today and made my way way alongside No.4 and No.6 tanks. The ponds at Goldfinch Meadows, Ince held 33 Mallard, 20 Gadwall, 8 Eurasian Coot, 4 Common Moorhen, 1 Grey Heron, 5 Little Grebe and a young bird still being fed by its parents.

Onward to the Manchester Ship Canal where many more Mallard including a pure white bird were joined by smaller numbers of Gadwall and Tufted Duck, a single Great Crested Grebe was with them. Out on Frodsham Score salt marsh were thousands of Canada Goose grazing and numerous Common Raven were foraging alongside the Great Black-backed Gull.  A Common Kestrel was doing its best to hunt along the canal path, but was harassed  by a pair of Carrion Crow and then by several Barn Swallow as they passed through. A Western Marsh Harrier was noted out on the salt marsh and it flushed a Little Egret and several Eurasian Curlew from one of the tidal gullies.

The ‘phalarope pool’ held just 4 Black-tailed Godwit and c130 Northern Lapwing, a Common Chiffchaff and a Common Whitethroat were seen along the path.

Onto No.6 and I counted c1500 Black-tailed Godwit were in the shallow water with a Bar-tailed Godwit amongst them. Common Redshank were in decent numbers with a few Ruff and Dunlin noted. A Peregrine made a half-hearted attempt at securing a meal, it flushed the flock which soon settled down again. Several birders were scanning the tank looking for the dowitcher which has been a regular sight on the tank recently.

Observer: Paul Ralston (images 2-4).

21.08.21. Birdlog.

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I set up early for the incoming tide out on the Mersey Estuary. The shore birds were filtering through and soon settled onto No.6 tank. It wasn’t long before the steady rain turned into a torren, and likewise it wasn’t long before the fading summer Long-billed Dowitcher appeared soaked to the skin sitting out the worse of the deluge.

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More waders appeared and included a Common Greenshank, c500 Common Redshank, a winter plumaged Spotted Redshank, c34 Dunlin, 15 Common Ringed Plover, 6 Ruff, 1500 Black-tailed Godwit and c450 Northern Lapwing.

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Ducks included; 131 Northern Shoveler, c50 Eurasian Teal, C245 Mallard, 12 Common Shelduck and 29 Little Grebe.

Raptors noted were Western Marsh Harrier and a Sparrowhawk.

Observer: WSM (images)