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23.03.20. Birdlog.

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A walk across the marshes today was relativly person free with Jacqui and Idris pausing for a distant exchange of pleasantries.

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Walking along Moorditch Lane and the tunes of singing Common Chiffchaff and the shrill tones of a Goldcrest. Continuing onto Lordship Lane and a couple of Cetti’s Warbler made its presence known.

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I eventually reached my goal and the banks of the Manchester Ship Canal and a scan across the mighty south Mersey marshes. A gathering of c800 Pink-footed Goose were spooked by a passing ship en route to Salford docks.

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There was little else except for several Little and a Great Egret loitering about the place. Numerous Common Raven were seeking out the dead sheep out on the marshes and Common Buzzard were mewing high in the sky.

The walk back to No.6 tank saw Northern Shoveler, Eurasian Teal, Common Shelduck and Gadwall on all of the scrapes and a small party of Pied Avocet were noisily about the site with 3 Black-tailed Godwit.

No.6 tank had its usual species of duck and their numbers hadn’t change since yesterday. The female Long-tailed Duck was again diving in the centre of the flooded tank.

Observer and images: JS & WSM.

While I was self isolating at the extreme ends of the marshes Dave the fungal punk @FungalpunkOMD was busy doing his spot of distance birding and botany observing close to Marsh Farm. He said; I saw 57 bird species – didn’t do full loop and left scope at home so no Long-tailed Duck but Northern Wheatear, 2 Sand Martin (first of the year) and a few flowers in bloom.

 

22.03.20. Birdlog.

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I watched the sunrise this morning while watching a Black Grouse lek on a moor in North Wales before making my way to the south Mersey marshes. Starting and walking around No.6 and No.4 tanks a pair of Common Buzzard were challenged by a Western Marsh Harrier over the reed beds.

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The mitigation pools held more Eurasian Teal, Common Shelduck and Mallard with 15 Black-tailed Godwit feeding amongst them. The first of several Common Chiffchaff was seen on the bank of No.6 and 3 Cetti’s Warbler were heard on No.4 tank.

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My first Northern Wheatear of the year was seen on the Manchester Ship Canal path and 2 Small Tortoiseshell butterflies were on the wing on this fine Spring day. There were hundreds of Pink-footed Goose out on Frodsham Score saltmarsh with Canada Goose and Common Shelduck, 4 Little Egret were feeding in the tidal channels.

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I went back to Ince this afternoon where c80 Black-tailed Godwit were feeding in the flooded shallows with only 5 Little Egret noted, possibly due to off road bikes in the area and the fact that no pigs were out in the fields.

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Observer: Paul Ralston (images 1-6).

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I’ve always taken the opportunity for social distancing particularly in the birding community and today was a beautiful day to practise it once again. A walk around No.6 tank was pretty uneventful with numbers of singing Common Chiffchaff and a couple of Cetti’s Warbler. Common Buzzard were utilising the warm current termals to circle over head and to spar with Common Raven.

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The herd of 21 Whooper Swan were still in the field by Hillview Farm on Lordship Marsh and for the time being looked settled for a week or two.

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No photo description available.

We reached the track that looks over No.6 tank and scoured the ducks on the water. A small flock of 6 Northern Pintail, 54 Northern Shoveler, 200 Eurasian Teal, 57 Tufted Duck, 6 Common Pochard, 7 Gadwall, 10 Common Goldeneye, c100 Common Shelduck and the hide and seek female Long-tailed Duck that was very difficult to locate moving across the flooded water with remarkable ease.

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We did have some social interaction (at the required 2 metres) with Jacqui & Idris Roberts who had seen Northern Wheatear along the pipes on No.1 tank by Marsh Farm, when we arrived there were five birds. The first birds of the year for us and in addition to the bird Paul had seen earlier.

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Sunset over the Mersey Estuary as seen from Weston Village.

Observer: JS & WSM (images 7-12).

21.03.20. Birdlog.

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I was out this morning from Ince and around No.4 tank. A flock of c150 Black-tailed Godwit were feeding in the flooded field with several Eurasian Curlew and joining  the party were c20 Little Egret also foraging in the shallow waters.

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A collection of ducks included Eurasian Teal, Tufted Duck, Mallard and Gadwall with a pair of Mute Swan and a pair of Canada Goose claiming their territory on the pools. A Common Moorhen submerged itself in the ditch with just its bill showing as I walked by.

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A Common Chiffchaff was seen near the Ince berth and a Great Egret was on the saltmarsh with a couple of hundred Pink-footed Goose out by the river.

A flock of 18 Gadwall were on the Manchester Ship Canal. The ‘Canal Pools’ held a pair of Mute Swan and several Tufted Duck, 4 Pied Avocet were seen in flight with a flock of Eurasian Wigeon and Northern Shoveler which collectively dropped down onto one of the scrapes.

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The sound of Eurasian Skylark singing and a Meadow Pipit performing its parachute display flight were long overdue. Both Common Raven and Common Buzzard were plentiful in the area, but no sign of any Northern Wheatear as yet. A Cetti’s Warbler was singing near to the ramp between No.6 and No.4 tanks and the Whooper Swan herd could be seen in their usual area, but the Mute Swan herd has relocated to the field alongside Lower Rake Lane.

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Walking back and close by my car were 4 Little Egret feeding again amongst the pigs.

Observer: Paul Ralston (images 1-7).

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I was in work today so it wasn’t until later that I had the opportunity in paying a visit to the marsh. The chill wind whipped in from the east and finding shelter was difficult, but I snuggled down in a hollow to count the ducks on No.6 tank. There were 111 Common Shelduck which entertained with paired up birds aggresivley courting conflict with their neighbours.

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A small group of more sedate Eurasian Teal chose the vegeated areas and a scattered gathering of 78 Tufted Duck included the female Long-tailed Duck busy tending to her plumage and picking a scrap with a feisty Little Grebe.

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A steady passage of Common Raven were heading to their roost and in the distance the Whooper Swan herd was where Paul had seen them earlier.

Observer: WSM (images 8-11).

20.03.20. Birdlog.

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I made a sunrise visit to No.6 tank with the morning sun peeping out from a belt of clouds on the eastern horizon bathing the reed beds in a warm glow. It was icy cold on my hands but a quick scan got the focusing finger warmed up.

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A group of 4 whooping Whooper Swan were curious of me on the bank and swam closer calling as they did (wildfowl must have an affinity with me). The female Long-tailed Duck was tucked in close to the south bank pulling dried grass from the banks. A handsome drake Common Goldeneye was joined by some female friends. 

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A Western Marsh Harrier was sat taking in the morning rays of sunshine and later flapped around the reed beds. A Cetti’s Warbler was blurting a tune from a bramble patch and Common Chiffchaff were singing widely this morning.

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After work I made a return visit and drove to Marsh Farm for returning migrants but alas that drew a blank. Looking across to the Weaver Sluice Gates on the River Mersey side of them did produced c65 Pied Avocet working together sifting through the murky waters with vigorous head swaying.

Observer and images: WSM.

18.03.20. Birdlog.

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An after work visit saw me on the banks of No.6 tank looking over the expanding lagoon. A flock of 81 Tufted Duck, 6 Common Goldeneye, female Long-tailed Duck still in situ, 11 Mallard, 4 Gadwall, 24 Common Shelduck, 4 Common Pochard and 9 Eurasian Teal.

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The lame-legged Western Marsh Harrier has return to her summer residence and anothet bird drifted over.

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The reedy pool created by hovercrafts on the motor sports activity centre on Godscroft Lane had a single Grey Heron and a feeding Little Egret. The numbers of Raven heading off to their roost are slowly increasing.

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I bumped into Paul Ralston so an update from him hopefully later.

Observer: WSM (images 1 & 4-5).

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A herd of 18 Whooper Swan on Lordship Marsh and no sign of the Mute herd but contractors were working on the nearby turbines.

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A long dead Common Buzzard was on the bank of No.6 tank while a single Black-tailed Godwit was feeding amongst the Eurasian Teal, Northern Shoveler, Mallard, Tufted Duck and Common Shelduck on the scrapes of No.3 tank.

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A pair of Common Stonechat on Lordship Lane.

Observer: Paul Ralston (images 2-3 & 6-9).

16 & 17.03.20. Birdlog.

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15.03.20. Birdlog.

Additional to Paul’s previous report a White-fronted Goose was present with Pink-footed Goose on Frodsham Score.

16.03.20. Birdlog.

130 Eurasian Teal, 60 Eurasian Wigeon, 7 ( one male) Common Goldeneye, 2 Common Chiffchaff, 2 Cetti’s Warbler, 2 Western Marsh Harrier.

Observer: Joe Chester.

A potenial tristis type Chiffchaff was observed at the junction of No.6 & No.4 and Lordship Lane. A short account by its finder Keith Gillie below.

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It was a sunny morning with a cool breeze as I was walking along Lordship Lane with plenty of European Goldfinch moving from tree to tree, a few Redwing to be seen and a Common Chiffchaff was sat at the top of a tree calling close to the model aeroplane club field. A Common Buzzard was high above my head being harassed by 2 Common Raven. A flock of about 40 Linnet flew off over the flooded maize field alongside the lane.
Heading up the incline on the track between No.4 tank and No.6 tanks I paused at the top where I could just make out the Whooper Swan herd in one field and 6 Mute Swan in another field. A distant Western Marsh Harrier flew over No.4 which I didn’t pay too much attention to it because I heard a Cettis Warbler singing, I concentrated on that instead hoping to get a glimpse. I stood in one spot for about 10 minutes with my camera at the ready then there was some movement slightly to my right, I saw a warbler that I wasn’t sure of its idenity and it was gone, after another 5 minutes it emerged again giving a better view I thought it was a Common Chiffchaff though very pale looking. I took about 10 shots on my camera some of which were not good as the bird was partly hidden.
It wasn’t till the next day I had time to upload them to my laptop that I noticed some had come out OK. So, I put one on twitter and tagged @FrodshamBirder to look at and when he replied to say it looked like a Siberian Chiffchaff. The bird made no sound during the period of my sighting and as not be seen since.

Written by Keith Gillie.

A similar observation of a potential Siberian Chiffchaff here: https://wordpress.com/post/frodshammarshbirdblog.wordpress.com/11625

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17.03.20. Birdlog.

Another after work visit and with yesterday’s Siberian Chiffchaff sighting I made my walk around No.6 tank via Lordship Lane. The herd of 23 Mute and 21 Whooper Swan grazing in the fields.

A Western Marsh Harrier was quatering the distant reed bed and seeral Common Buzzard were out and about. A few Common Snipe were flushed from cover and a Brown Hare did its best to concealed itself.

The mitigation scrapes had 27 Northern Shoveler, 147 Eurasian Teal and a few Gadwall.

A look over No.6 tank and it was with great relief to see the female Long-tailed Duck sheltering from the stiff breeze. A flock of 43 Tufted Duck included 6 Common Pochard, 9 Common Goldeneye.

Observers: JS & WSM (image).

15.03.20. Birdlog.

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I started at Brook Furlong Lane this morning where a Common Chiffchaff was seen and heard alongside and a Cetti’s Warbler blasted out as I passed by.

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A Brown Hare was watched grazing the vegetation then slipping away through a hedge and out of site.

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Both Raven and a Common Kestrel were sat on the fence along the pipeline that crosses No.1 tank alongside a pale morph Common Buzzard.  A male European Stonechat was near to Marsh Farm and there were hundreds of Eurasian Starling feeding with the sheep.

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On to the River Weaver and the duck numbers are low compared to recent visits but still held Eurasian Teal, Tufted Duck, Mallard, Common Shelduck, Gadwall, Common Goldeneye and a few Common Pochard. Additionally, 17 Mute Swan and 4 Great Crested Grebe were also present. A flock of c30 Pied Avocet were seen disappearing from view over the bank towards the I C I plant and c 20 Common Redshank moved up river.

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Another Common Chiffchaff was calling near to the Weaver Bend and 2 Little Egret were on the ‘shooters’ pool’.

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I stopped at Ince on my way home and 2 more Little Egret were feeding amongst the pigs and another c25 were around the flooded area. The Barn Owl was again at the entrance to its box. A Western Marsh Harrier was seen by the berth and flew towards the reed beds.

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Out on Frodsham Score saltmarsh was a few hundred Pink-footed Goose were by the river alongside Common Shelduck and Eurasian Curlew. Three Whooper Swan flew east along the Manchester Ship Canal and the Great Egret was in the same field as yesterdaywith its breeding plumes blowing in the breeze.

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Observer: Paul Ralston (images 1-8).

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After I put in a few visits this week to the marshes i made a switch and headed over to Blakemere at Delamere Forest and sheltering under the bosses umbrella I managed to scope the breeding colony of Black-headed Gull there. It wasn’t long when a rather beautiful rosy hued gull (Ross’s like) paired with a much regular looking bird put on a great display.

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A little further revealed a leucistic Black-headed Gull which has been seen at various locations in the north-west this winter.

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A further scan and a displaying pair of Mediterranean Gull gave me a fine observeraton. Finding a mobile phone and managing to reunite it with its owner some hours later was also satisfying.

Observers: JS & WSM (images 9-20).