We paid a visit to Delamere Forest today with a stop off at Blakemere where hundreds of screaming Black-headed Gull also contained 5 adult summer plumaged Mediterranean Gull within their numbers. A solitary Common Crossbill flew over at Black Lake and numerous Common Chiffchaff and a singing Common Blackcap were singing.
Later and a look over Frodsham Marsh from a higher elevation produced c400 Common Redshank, Common Ringed Plover, several Eurasian Oystercatcher, c140 Pied Avocet. a Western Marsh Harrier, c800 Pink-footed Goose, 8 Little and a Great Egret.
An afternoon walk out along Hares Lane and for the first time in recent weeks there was no sign of the Green Sandpiper and the last lingering Whooper Swan was in the shimmering haze by Hillview Farm.
There was time to sit and watch over the ‘phalarope pool’ where several squabbling Black-tailed Godwit with a single Ruff. Numerous Eurasian Teal, a few Gadwall, Northern Shoveler and nesting Eurasian Coot and Northern Lapwing. Small skeins of Pink-footed Goose were moving about from Frodsham Score and circling overhead. A pair of Western Cattle Egret were in the fields with the cows on No.3 tank and were still there at dusk.
No.6 tank was thriving with ducks being mostly Common Shelduck and Northern Shoveler, also Eurasian Teal, a few Northern Pintail, 24 Tufted Duck and more Gadwall. A male Western Marsh Harrier was hunting the reed beds. Also 5 additional Ruff from the one bird seen earlier.
A pair of Peregrine were perched high on the lip of the blue topped chimney. Below the falcons was a a gathering of c140 Pied Avocet and possibly a similar number stretching out of my sight. A flock of c900 Common Redshank and hundreds of Black-tailed Godwit.
An early morning on the marsh saw Common Ringed Plover, 2 Black-tailed Godwit, 6 Eurasian Oystercatchers were on the River Weaver, Several Eurasian Skylark were on high singing. Common Raven were cleaning up the carcasses about the marsh. Both Buzzard and Common Kestrel being noted.
A single Ruff was on No.6 tank while just 2 Whooper Swan were by Lower Rake Lane. T
here were numerous Common Chiffchaff and Cetti’s Warbler seen and heard. A report of pair of Barn Owl at Ince?
A dawn walk along Moorditch Lane revealed a Brown Hare on its march through the marsh fields and Chiffchaff were busy filling the morning air with their tunes. Looking over No.6 tank with a plethora of ducks mostly Tufted Duck, Northern Shoveler and Eurasian Teal. A few lingering Northern Pintail in pristine breeding plumage. Many Black-tailed Godwit were feeding in the pools.
The area of mitigation on No.3 tank had a few scatterings of ducks with a Ruff and Pied Avocet present. The drake Garganey was here for its third day and looking splendid too. A finely plumaged male Western Marsh Harrier hunted the reedy fringed ditches while Common Raven headed back to Wales for a rest bite.
The Whooper Swan herd were again in fields close to the west bound carriageway of the M56.
Looking out over the area close to the Weaver Sluices produced 3 Grey Heron, 2 Little and a Great Egret.
Butterfies seen today were Small Tortoiseshell, Peacock, Brimstone and a male Orangetip.
A dawn raid with a look firstly across No.6 tank with its assortment of ducks and a few Black-tailed Godwit. A couple of Western Marsh Harrier were in the area and Common Buzzard circled together overhead.
The ‘phalarope pool’ didn’t have yesterdays Garganey so a change of plan required a visit to look over the salt marshes. Hundreds of Pink-footed Goose were well scattered across the swarths of grass with a single Great Egret and a few Little Egret.
A return to the ‘phalarope pool’ had a Little Ringed Plover, several Black-tailed Godwit, 5 Common Snipe and after a few hours wait Gary Worthington dropped by and the drake Garganey emerged from its hiding place to swim to a muddy island and promptly fell asleep again. Both Pied and White Wagtail dropped into the pool for a feed before flying away.
The Whooper Swan herd have reduced down to 17 birds so their time here is dwindling fast. The Green Sandpiper was again in its favourite pool off Hare’s Lane.
Observers: JS & WSM (image).
A lunch time visit to Ince where Gadwall, Eurasian Teal, Northern Shoveler, Tufted Duck, Mallard, a pair of Mute Swan, 2 pairs of Little Grebe, vocal Common Chiffchaff and Cetti’s Warbler. Also a Common Reed Bunting with metal ring, a couple of Peregrine on a local factory and a Mute Swan on nest on the Gowy Meadows.
A dawn start before work at West Bank, Widnes. The two Peregrine were again in the area with a mixture of ages, plumages and sizes of Herring Gull and the main find was Steve Tomlinson’s recent 2nd winter Caspian Gull. I could see Frodsham Marsh way in the distance and a short flight away we would make a warm welcome for it.
A day spent on Frodsham Marsh and a little out of my comfort zone being from Liverpool. All in all a day at one of the best birding sites around. The Whooper Swan herd of 22 birds were joined by a Western Cattle Egret in the same field on Lordship Marsh close to Hillview Farm. A couple of Green Sandpiper and a Little Ringed Plover on the ‘phalarope Pool’, the latter was the first report of the year for this summer visitor. The birding made both time and effort rewarding and it was nice being local.
The female Whooper Swan continues to be paired up with a cob Mute Swan at Spike Island – per WSM.
An after work visit to Ince on the off chance of a recent influx of Garganey in the area might visit the pools? There were Eurasian Teal, Mallard, Northern Shoveler, Tufted Duck, Gadwall, but no Garganey! A Stoat hunting the ditch while 5 Western Cattle Egret behind Cranks Farm which was viewed from Marsh Lane.
I started at Brook Furlong Lane this morning before moving to Ince for my monthly BTO WeBs count. There were several Common Chiffchaff seen and heard during my walk. Also 2 Cetti’s Warbler were heard along the river bank and Common Reed Bunting were on territory. A large flock of winter thrushes were feeding amongst the sheep and were targeted unsuccessfully by a Western Marsh Harrier.
Looking over the Mersey Estuary were numerous Common Shelduck and Pied Avocet which were feeding on the exposed mud with smaller numbers of Eurasian Curlew, Common Redshank and Dunlin present.
I next moved on to Ince for the WeBs count with more Common Chiffchaff and Cetti’s Warbler were heard along the Manchester Ship Canal and Goldfinch Meadows LNR. Two Western Cattle Egret and a single Little Egret were feeding alongside a pig on the canal bank, the cattle egrets flew over to the far bank and were joined by a third bird.
A Great Egret passed overhead and dropped down onto the salt marsh where c2500 Pink-footed Goose were grazing. Pairs of Gadwall were on the canal with the drakes fighting over the females, also a pair of Mute Swans were on the canal and were joined by a third bird which upset the cob and a lot of argy bargy ensued.
The stubble field alongside the Holpool Gutter was very quiet with just singles of Northern Lapwing, Common Snipe and Little Egret noted. My count was as follows; 27 Mallard, 67 Eurasian Teal, 6 Tufted Duck, 6 Gadwall 17 Eurasian Coot, 4 Common Moorhen, 4 Lapwing 1 Little Egret, 4 Western Cattle Egret, 3 Great Egret (flyover), 1 Grey Heron, 2 Little Grebe,15 Common Shelduck 15 and 1 Common snipe 1
Observer: Paul Ralston.(images).
We took a hike along Hares Lane where the wintering Green Sandpiper lingers in the flooded fields there. There wasn’t much else until we reached Lordship Lane where the 25 Whooper Swan were still close to Hillview Farm. A couple of Western Marsh Harrier were about the area with Common Buzzard and a female Sparrowhawk.
A look over Frodsham Score produced still big numbers of Pink-footed Goose with shorebirds riding the edge of the advancing tide. Small numbers of both European Golden and Grey Plover were about. Flocks of Dunlin looked low in number and Eurasian Curlew were also reduced in my count. A Red Fox was entertaining escaping the flooded salt marsh grass.
The ‘phalarope pool’ had Common Snipe, Black-tailed Godwit (including a smart full summer plumaged bird), A drake Northern Pintail looked resplendent in its finery. No.6 tank had Black-tailed Godwit and an assortment of ducks.
Observers: JS & WSM.
Two Northern Wheatear were on No.3 tank – per Lou and Guy.
I spent the whole day walking the tracks around the marsh with some good rewards en route. The period of the rising tide was spent on the banks of No.6 tank where c1000 Black-tailed Godwit were jostling for position along the muddy margins of the south side of the water, keeping as best a position as they could against the strong south easterly wind. A grey Bar-tailed Godwit was in the middle of the crowd while c400 Dunlin, 3 Ruff and 2 Red Knot hunkered down between the godwits legs. A colour -ringed Blackwit was read and hopefully we can get its origins from Jenny Gill (BTO) as soon as she can supply details. A Western Marsh Harrier spooked the flock but they soon settled back to their usual sleeping roost.
Ducks were plentiful with 141 Northern Shoveler, 9 Northern Pintail, 67 Common Shelduck, c350 Eurasian Teal, 12 Mallard, 46 Tufted Duck and 7 Little Grebe. Several gulls were present with a pair of Herring Gull, 3 Lesser Black-backed Gull, 45 Black-headed Gull and 4 Common Gull.
A walk along Lordship Lane produced the herd of 28 Whooper Swan close to Hillview Farm.
A look over the ‘phalarope pool’ had a single each of Pied and White Wagtail, 21 Eurasian Teal, 6 Northern Shoveler, 6 Gadwall, 4 Eurasian Coot and 5 Common Snipe. The other pools on No.3 tank had a similar number of species.
The Green Sandpiper was again along Hares Lane keeping low from the wind.
A look across the Mersey Estuary had a flock of c200 Pied Avocet which were highly impressive and an adult summer Mediterranean Gull flew into the Weaver Estuary from the river. A similar number was seen by Paul Ralston along with 3 adult summer Mediterranean Gull over the Weaver Bend.
I called into Ince where only 4 Little Egret were seen. A Common Chiffchaff calling, teal, Mallard Gadwall Tufted Duck, Northern Shoveler, Little Grebe, Eurasian Coot and Common Moorhen on the pools with 6 Eurasian Curlew over.
I next moved on to the Weaver Bend and the estuary where large numbers of Pied Avocet were out on the mud. A pair European Stonechat, several Common Goldeneye were on River Weaver amongst Tufted Duck, Common Shelduck, Mallard and Eurasian Teal, 2 Black-tailed Godwit, 1 Ruff on shooters’ pool. Three Mediterranean Gull overhead.