31.12.21. Birdlog.

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The ‘phalarope pool’ on No.3 tank and named after a Red-necked Phalarope that christened it.

A big contrast to the weather we had yesterday with warm spells of sunshine between the heavy clouds rolling in from the south-west.

We walked cockwise around No.6 tank stopping off along Hares Lane where a Green Sandpiper was feeding around the margins of the base of a pylon. A little further along the track and 30 Meadow Pipit rose from the field before alighting in a reedy section besides the track.

A look across from the south west corner of No.4 tank to where the winter swans were by the side of the M56 (Ron Brumby texted me to say he saw 25 swans as he was driving east along the motorway) and certainly the ones I saw were Whooper. Nearby a Common Chiffchaff was contact calling from the willows on No.4 tank.

The ‘phalarope pool’ had c78 Eurasian Teal with numerous Northern Shoveler.

A 1st winter Western Marsh Harrier came in towards dusk and (Alyn Chambers had seen two birds earlier). Ducks included 42 Common Pochard and the rest you can guess.

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As the curtains draw on the end of 2021 we wish all our followers and readers a cracking start to tomorrow.

Observers: JS & WSM (images).

30.12.21. Birdlog.

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Three of the Bewick’s (juv left and 2 adults either side of the Mute Swan).

A mid morning walk clockwise around No.6 tank in the pouring rain (it didn’t stop from start to finish).

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One of two Green Sandpipers in a flooded field by Hares Lane.

A couple of Green Sandpiper were busy feeding along the margins of the increasingly flloded fields adjacent to Hares Lane. There were numerous Chaffinch along Lordship Lane but stopping to look required numerous daps at soaking up the rain from my optics.

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I looked across to the fields by the M56 and the 21 Whooper Swan had with them the family of four Bewick’s Swan, 2 Mute Swan and 35 Pink-footed Goose. A man walking along the edge of the field by the M56 got way to close to the swans and they all lifted from the grass and did a curcuit of the field before the Whooper herd headed out to No.6 tank while the Bewick’s headed straight for the south Mersey marshes.

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Flushed Bewick’s Swan family can’t take no more and head off to the salt marshes.

By the time I had reached the viewing area by No.6 tank the Whooper Swan herd of 21 birds were settled on the water and approached me whilst I was standing on the bank. There were hundreds of Eurasian Teal, c150 Northern Shoveler, 27 Northern Pintail, c70 Mallard, 21 Common Shelduck, 7 Tufted Duck and 24 Common Pochard.

Observer: WSM (images and video).

I met Mark (Whipper) Gibson along Moorditch Lane and he had been down by the river with his observations of 29 Common Pochard, 260 Tufted Duck, 70 European Golden Plover, a Water Rail,a Common Chiffchaff and a Barn Owl.

28.12.21. Birdlog.

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We took a clockwise walk around No.6 tank stopping off to look across Lordship Marsh towards the fields by the M56. The winter swans were present but no obvious signs of the family of Bewick’s Swan as off the last two days.

There was little of note on No.3 tank apart from some a Great Egret being the more noteworthy of my sightings along with Eurasian Wigeon, Eurasian Teal and a Western Marsh Harrier hunting the fields.

A Common Chiffchaff was contact calling from the banks while the roost of harriers numbered four birds.

There were plenty of ducks on No.6 tank with a slight reduction of Common Pochard down to 28 birds.

Observers: JS & WSM (image & video).

The four Bewick’s Swan were still present at dusk – per Steven Nelson.

27.12.21. Birdlog.

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The Bewick’s Swan family here for another day.

A morning walk around No.6 tank with the winter swans still in thier field on Lordship Marsh and nice to see a little extra birding activity with the family of Bewick’s Swan generating an interest.

There was little of interest on No.3 tank apart from 32 Eurasian Wigeon and some Eurasian Teal on one of the pools. A flock of several hundred European Golden Plover were moving about with shooters out and about the marsh and salt marshes.

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A wing tagged Marsh Harrier.

No.6 tank had c400 Eurasian Teal, 110 Northern Shoveler, 23 Northern Pintail, 32 Common Pochard, 12 Tufted Duck, 7 Common Shelduck, 76 Mallard and 14 Little Grebe. One of the two Western Marsh Harrier I saw today was the red/orange tagged bird from Broughton Fen in Norfolk. A skein of 23 Pink-footed Goose flew over to the north and several hundred Canada Goose were on No.3 tank.

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A soggy field on Lordship Marsh.

It was difficult to see the winter swans from the south west corner of No.4 tank so we headed off to Smithy Lane, Helsby and got decent views of both species (4 Bewick’s and 21 Whooper) with a couple of Mute Swan for good measure.

After that we drove over to Marsh Lane, Ince and saw 8 Little Egret but no Western Cattle Egret for a change.#

Observers: JS & WSM (images).

26.12.21. Birdlog.

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I took a walk around No.6 tank this morning where the usual ducks were on the water and a few hundred Northern Lapwing were gathered in the margins with a few Black-tailed Godwit.

There were more lapwing on the mitigation pool with just 2 more godwit. Eurasian Teal, Mallard and Northern Shoveler were also present on the pools on No.3 tank with several hundred Canada Goose grazing on the short grass alongside the pools. A couple of Western Marsh Harrier were in the air together over the reed bed on No.6. Also hunting in the area were Common Buzzard and Common Kestrel.

A look over Lordship Marsh and the Whooper Swan herd had grown to 25 birds! But on a closer inspection the 4 new birds were (2 adult and 2 juvenile) Bewick’s  Swan! Also nearby

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Bewick’s family.

were 5 Mute Swan were in the adjacent field.

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Observer: Paul Ralston (images 1-4).

Winter swans.

This always happens when I mislay my mobile phone, so I didn’t get the nod from Paul until later in the afternoon. Anyway, alls well that ends well and a look from the footbridge that crosess the M56 at bottom of Smithy Lane, Helsby (park by the houses at the top to avoid conflict with the residents in the muddy lane) and the family of Bewick’s Swan were slightly detatched from the main body of 21 Whooper Swan herd. A look across the soggy fields revealed a flock of c50 Pied and 2 Grey Wagtail by a drinking trough. Also a pale Common Buzzard.

Observer: WSM (video).   

25.12.21 Birdlog (Christmas Day Edition).

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Cattle and Little Egrets at Ince.

A pre xmas dinner walk along the River Weaver produced a wintering Common Sandpiper, 4 Common Redshank, plenty of Tufted Duck, Canada Goose mallard, Eurasian Teal, c40 Common Pochard, with c150 Black-tailed Godwit heading to estuary.

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Little Egret and pig.

There were 17 Little Egret, 3 Western Cattle Egret were along Marsh Lane, Ince. I checked lanes for grey geese but no sign, only 4 Litlle Egret at Dunham Hill.

Observer: Paul Ralston (images 1-2).

While Paul was walking off his Christmas Eve I was doing likewise along Moorditch Lane. The cold icy south easterly wind cut through the overcoat and turned fingers blue, but without anyone about it was worth the pre festive activities to get out and about this morning.

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One of three Marsh Harriers on No.6 tank.

A look over No.6 tank revealed c600 Eurasian Teal, c170 Northern Shoveler, 31 Northern Pintail, 7 Common Shelduck, 12 Tufted Duck, 1 female Common Goldeneye and 67 Mallard. There were three Western Marsh Harrier over the reed beds containing a golden female and two 1st winter birds. A 1st year male Common Kestrel was also obliging.

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Swimming godwits.
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Black-tailed Godwits looking for somewhere to settle.

A flock of c350 Black-tailed Godwit were looking for a firm area to land on No.6 tank but the place was flooeded so they reorted to swimming with the teal for 20 minutes!

Further along the track and the ‘splashing pool’ had more Northern Shoveler and Eurasian Teal.

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One of the 21 adult Whooper Swans close to the M56 motorway.

Lordship Marsh had the herd of 21 adult Whooper Swan, 3 Mute Swan and 34 Pink-footed Goose literally chilling out in the wind.

Merry Christmas and Good birding in 2022.

Observer: WSM (images 3-6 and videos).

19.12.21. Birdlog.

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Geese in the mist.

My BTO WeBS count at Ince today in less than ideal conditions. There were 11 Mallard, 63 Eurasian Teal, 4 Northern Shoveler, 5 Eurasian Coot, 4 Common Moorhen, 3 Mute Swan and 6 Little Egret. Many Pink-footed Goose could be heard leaving the south Mersey marshes but not seen due to the fog.

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Little Egret and wagtail.

A mixed finch flock on the Manchester Ship Canal path held 4 Common Bullfinch and a single Eurasian Greenfinch. Also c20 Gadwall were on the canal amongst a herd of Canada Goose. There were 3 Mistle Thrush foraging on the stubble field. With only 6 Little Egret at the pig farm, but a clay shoot was in progress nearby and presumably reduced their attendance here.

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Greylag Geese.

I checked for geese along Cryers Lane but no luck at the usual spot, although c150 Greylag Goose were in the fields along Hobs Lane and a large flock of c1000 Pink-footed Goose were seen on the Gowy Meadows.

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Observer: Paul Ralston (images 1-5).

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Marsh Harrier disturbing Shoveler from their hiding place.

I made my WeBS count yesterday due to a prior arrangement. I did make a visit after the tide where the low laying fog almost smoothered the wind turbines and the Pink-footed Goose skeins that were disorientated could be heard yelping above the blanket of mist. We walked along Moorditch Lane which eventually lead to the ‘phalarope pool’.

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A small group of Eurasian Teal and Northern Shoveler could be seen but not in any great numbers, the same could be sai of the ducks on No.6 tank with c150 Northern Shovler, 349 Eurasian Teal, 4 Tufted Duck, a drake Common Pochard and a female Common Goldeneye.

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Marsh Harrier and ducks.

A Stonechat was along the fence on No.3 tank while nearby a 1st winter Western Marsh Harrier flushed what duck were hiding to rise and head off to the nearby No.6. A Little Grebe looked out of place of the ‘phalarope pool’ with small numbers of Black-tailed Godwit heading off to the flooeded fields on Lordship Marsh. 

May be an image of outdoors and text that says "MANCHESTER SHIP CANAL CO. FRODSHAM DEPOSIT GROUND No. 6 SITE LICENCE 61754 ENVIRONMEN ENTAGENCY NORTH-WEST REGION (SOUTH AREA) TEL. NO.0800807 NO. 0800 060 24-HOUR OPERATION PRIVATELAND M LAND ÛGR"
Signage on No.6 tank.

Observers: JS & WSM (image 6-9).

18.12.21. Birdlog.

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Whooper Swan.

A morning walk around No.6 tank taking in a WeBS count of the waterfowl on the marsh. A small cold weather movement of Fieldfare and Redwing were hanging about Marsh Lane.

Looking across No.6 and No.3 tanks and 1 Cormorant, 1 Pink-footed Goose, c850 Canada Goose, 43 Eurasian Coot, 13 Common Moorhen, c550 Eurasian Teal, 154 Northern Shoveler, 1 Northern Pintail, 141 Mallard, 4 Common Shelduck, 1 female Common Goldeneye, 6 Tufted Duck and a drake Common Pochard. A Common Snipe, 76 Black-tailed Godwit

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A Western Marsh Harrier was over No.4 tank and later in the day a second 1st winter flew in from the Weaver Bend. A calling Common Chiffchaff was on the banks of No.6 tank while Chaffinch, Pied Wagtail and Eurasian Skylark were in the flooded fields on Lordship Marsh. Ten Mute Swan and 21 Whooper Swan were also out on the marsh.

Observer: WSM (images 1-3).

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Common Buzzard image by David Eisner.

16.12.21. Birdlog.

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We took a brief walk out along Moorditch Lane and looked over No.6 tank from its eastern end until dusk. Duck numbers have dropped dramatically with 342 Eurasian Teal, 129 Northern Shoveler, 7 Northern Pintail, 9 Tufted Duck, 6 drake Common Pochard, a female Common Goldeneye and 31 Mallard.

Three Western Marsh Harrier flew in at duck which included a golden spangled female and 2 1st winters. A skein of 70 Pink-footed Goose headed over from the south and dropped down onto Frodsham Score.

Observers: JS & WSM (image).