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04.08.21. Birdlog.

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An early start at sunrise and with the low laying morning mist I wasn’t expecting much visibility on No.6 tank with a veil of fog cloaking the water.

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The rising sun soon peeled away the misty shroud and eventually the flock of c2000 Black-tailed Godwit (one colour ringed bird), 100 Dunlin, 200 Common Redshank, the first Common Greenshank of late summer and then the dapper looking summer Long-billed Dowitcher which performed well with the creeping rays of sun illuminating its salmon pink chest.

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Observer and images: WSM.

03.08.21. Birdlog.

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A summer plumage Long-billed Dowitcher

I arrived at No.6 tank on a glorious morning. No wind, sporadic cumulus clouds rolled across an azure blue sky. I was aware of the small high tides out on the River Mersey
and I was hoping that some waders would be present. Recent visits have been productive with several hundred Dunlin feeding on plenty of prey items over high tide.
Looking over at first ‘viewpoint’ and thousands of waders were present with Black-tailed Godwit with well over 2000 birds in two large groups. A quick scan to see if anything out of the ordinary was present I set up my telescope avoiding the throngs of godwits looking for smaller species which might have attracted a rarer calidris species, but there was only 38 Dunlin. Oh well I thought, then my attention was attracted to a distant point where I find a group of Common Redshank and I spotted a smaller shorebird asleep. Its shape and a dark peachy breast got me thinking…a Red Knot? Then I notice the darker shoulders and wing-coverts. Crikey, I know what you are! I couldn’t get any definition as heat haze at 8.45 am was terrible.

Summer plumage Long-billed Dowitcher. Video by Mark Gibson.

After ten or so minutes the wader stirred and showed a straight longish bill and broad distinct supercilium. Thank you very much I thought. I had contacted Bill and Frank but Bill was at work and Frank had responded to his call and we both closer, and in better light we managed to see more details. A wing stretch  –  a grey underwing, and taking a short flight, a narrow white trailing edge to secondaries, a barred tail and a whitish back and eventually got a view of the tertials which were banded!

Also on No 6 tank were Common Redshank numbering several hundred, 2 Ruff, 2 Little Ringed Plover, the resident Spotted Redshank, a Pied Avocet, about 200 various Duck and 19 Little Grebe.


Hopefully with larger tides and entering autumn another North American will be brought in with the Dunlin.

Keep looking folks!

Observer: Mark (Whipper) Gibson (image 1 and video 1).

Long-billed Dowitcher. Video by WSM.
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I called into No.6 after work where we had great views of the Long-billed Dowitcher through Bill’s scope.

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Hundreds of European Goldfinch and over a thousand Common Starling near to Marsh Farm. A juvenile Northern Wheatear was still on the pipeline across No.1 tank/track. I stopped off on my way home to watch a couple of Brown Hare.

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Observer: Paul Ralston (images 2-4).

01.08.21. Birdlog.

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I walked around No.6 tank and the Weaver Bend this morning. A flock of c2000 Black-tailed Godwit, hundreds Dunlin and Common Redshank.

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A Pied Avocet was on No.6 and a juvenile Western Marsh Harrier, Great Spotted Woodpecker was on No.4 tank and Western Yellow Wagtail fly-catching from the roof of Marsh Farm. A juvenile Northern Wheatear on pipeline of No.1 tank.

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Observer: Paul Ralston (images 1-3 & videos).

I was at home getting myself ready for a visit to the marsh with ‘Sunday Brunch’ on Channel 4 TV when I recieved a tag on Twitter from @Richard_w_1984 who had just seen the Western Osprey on the Weaver Bend.I arrived and walked along Brook Furlong Lane and arrived at the old birdlog at the south east corner of No.1 tank. I looked across to the Weaver Bend and then over to the Weaver Estuary without any sign of the fishing raptor.

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I then looked across to No.1 tank, and the Western Osprey immediately was flushed by a Lesser Black-backed Gull lifted up from the grassy field and flew out to the Weaver Estuary. It circled over the Weaver Sluice Gates before heading back down river and was lost to view. I have put in some hours for this bird over the two weeks it’s been popping over the River Weaver on the marsh since Philip McNally first spotted it.

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A look across the Mersey Estuary produced two Ruddy Shelduck that have been knocking about the estuary for a while now. There were c2000 Common Shelduck, c1000 Black-tailed Godwit, thousands of Black-headed and c50 Common Gull with c34 Great Cormorant.

Observer: WSM (images 4-5).

A message from Gary Powell and the Western Osprey had reappeared for 35 minutes hanging over the Weaver Bend at 12.45pm. Also an adult Yellow-legged Gull.

29.07.21. Osprey over the Weaver Estuary by Paul Ralston.
29.07.21. Video by Paul Ralston of the Osprey resting on No.1 tank.

31.07.21. Birdlog.

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An early morning walk along the Weaver Bend where numerous Barn Swallow, Sand Martin and Common Swift hawking over river. A Peregrine with small morsel for breakfast and a Western Marsh Harrier over Redwall reed bed.

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There were 6 Common Ringed Plover, 2 Common Sandpiper, several Common Redshank, Eurasian Oystercatcher and a single Ruff.

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Also seen along the river was a partial leucistic European Goldfinch in a mixed flockof Linnet and Common Greenfinch.

Observer: Paul Ralston (images 2-4).

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A stroll along Moorditch Lane where the gathering flocks of European Goldfinch are joining up with Linnet. A Cetti’s Warbler was calling while a couple of Western Reed Warbler were still in full voice.

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Sitting on the banks of No.6 tank watching the shorebirds gathering on the muddy margins with the tide out on the Mersey Estuary pushing more and more my way. The suuden rush of wings like arrows over the spindle bushes where I was sitting tight heralded the arrival of a flock of c300 Black-tailed Godwit, they soon joined up with the rest of the flock of 3,000 birds knee deep on the margins of the mud.

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Over time my eye was in with the waders and as I scanned their numbers I managed to eek out 3 then 4 Red Knot, c320 Dunlin with a few fresh juvenile birds, c550 Common Redshank, a single Ruff, 6 juvenile Little Ringed Plover and 10 Common Ringed Plover. The Black-tailed Godwit flock reached a healthy total of c3000 birds and included 3 colour – ringed birds. A juvenile Peregrine flew in and startled the Dunlin which wheeled around until it left, but the godwits weren’t even bothered and just continued to feed while all the action went on above their heads. A juvenile Common Kestrel was trying its best to surpise the Dunlin and a Grey Wagtail on the edge of the reeds, but it wasn’t taken seriously.

A scattered group of Mallard and 12 Eurasian Teal had with them a Garganey which moved around a lot. In the distance a juvenile Western Marsh Harrier was quatering the reed beds.

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

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A young Northern Whearear was on the track by No1 tank – per Oli Bailey (image 8).

30.07.21. Birdlog.

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My morning walk around No.6 tank taking in the Canal Pools. There were reduced numbers of waders on No.6 with most birds out on Mersey Estuary with c150 Black-tailed Godwit, c200 Common Redshank, 1 Pied Avocet not looking to healthy, 3 Common Snipe on ‘phalarope pool’.

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A juvenile Great Crested Grebe and several broods of Tufted Duck on Canal Pools and 3 male Western Marsh Harrier being noted. A Great Spotted Woodpecker was on the fence on No.4 tank.

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Observer and images: Paul Ralston.

29.07.21. Birdlog.

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I finally connected with the River Weaver Western Osprey this morning as it sat amongst the Canada Goose flock and sheep on No.1 tank where it started to hunt along the river. I also watched as it plunged from 100 foot into the river, but missed its target and it later plunged but this time in to the Manchester Ship Canal, but missed again. A Common Kestrel sat on a hay bale and flew at the Osprey calling in alarm, but soon gave up.

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There were hundreds of Common Swift hawking over the river, hay fields and also rushing past me at waist height. A Common Sandpiper and several Common Redshank were on the river bank with Tufted Duck, Mallard, Eurasian Teal, Gadwall and Common Shelduck were all on the river in moderation. A Green Sandpiper was seen on the shooters’ pool and a Western Marsh Harrier was noted hunting over Redwall reed bed flushing a covey of released Red-legged Partridge as it went.

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Later in the day I walked around No.6 tank and much the same as waders as yesterday with c2000 Black-tailed Godwit and hundreds of Common Redshank and Dunlin, 6 Common Ringed Plover, 1 Common Sandpiper and a single Pied Avocet. A Ruff was foraging on the ‘phalarope pool’ with 10 Black-tailed Godwit and c60 Northern Lapwing. The ‘splashing pool’ held c100 Tufted Duck and smaller numbers of Eurasian Teal and Mallard.

Observer and images: Paul Ralston.

28.07.21. Birdlog.

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1560 Black-tailed Godwit, 695 Dunlin, a Whimbrel, a Spotted Redshank, 704 Common Redshank, 1 Ruff, 85 Northern Lapwing, 5 Common Ringed Plover, 30 Eurasian Teal and 135 Mallard. Three Western Marsh Harrier and 2 Grasshopper Warbler on No.4 tank.

Observer: Mark (Whipper) Gibson.

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An after work walk around No.6 tank where c2000 Black-tailed Godwit, hundreds of Common Redshank, c300 Dunlin, a couple of Red Knot, single Common Sandpiper, a single Pied Avocet, Common Shelduck and Tufted Duck with tuflings, 12 Little Grebe and a single Little Egret all on No.6.

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Observer and images: Paul Ralston.

25.07.21. Birdlog.

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I started my day at the Weaver Bend early in morning hoping to connect with the recent lingering Western Osprey, but failed there. However, there were plenty of wildlife to keep me occupied while walking the river path. There were juvenile warblers being plentiful alongside many European Goldfinch, Linnet and 2 European Stonechat that must of fledged nearby. A Weasel the first of three seen during my walk was in a elderberry bush trying to take any unwary bird, but they all knew it was there and kept their distanc. A Peregrine sat on a pylon watching over the river and a Common Buzzard flew over the water clutching a young Common Moorhen which it took to a great height and circled around before drifting south with its prize.

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Black tailed Godwit and Common Redshank were on the sandbank on the Weaver Bend in small numbers and 5 Pied Avocet were on the far bank. Two Common Tern (one ringed) flew in to join the Black-headed Gull flock, but were made to feel unwelcome and left. 

I made my way to Ince for the BTO WeBs count, but with the ponds at Ince alongside the Goldfinch Meadows LNR overgrown and there was very little to be seen. The second Weasel of the day was seen as it crossed the path. Along the Manchester Ship Canal path were more juvenile warblers and finches being numerous. Also hundreds of Canada Goose on the water with a few Greylag Goose and 2 hybrid geese, many more Canada’s were out on the Frodsham Score salt marsh with a couple of Little Egret noted. A Western Marsh Harrier flew from No.4 tank over to the score and was hunting the tidal channels as the tide came in.

The ‘phalarope pool’ was devoid of life, not even the resident Northern Lapwing were present. No.6 tank held over a thousand Black-tailed Godwit, hundreds of Dunlin and Common Redshank, a juvenile Little Ringed Plover and a Ruff  were amongst them.

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Walking back to Ince and the 3rd Weasel of the day crossed my path in front of me. Another Peregrine was seen watching over the marsh from its tower on the fertilizer plant.

Observer and images: Paul Ralston.    

24.07.21. Birdlog.

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I was out early this morning and a walk around No.4 and No.6 tanks. Sedge Warbler, Common Whitethroat and Common Reed Bunting were numerous during my walk. There was still a singing Sedge in song.

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A Western Marsh Harrier drifted over No.4 and on to No.6. A flock of c150 Northern Lapwing, 15 Black-tailed Godwit and a single Common Snipe were on the ‘phalarope pool’ with large flocks of European Starling foraging on No.3 tank. Small groups of godwits were passing overhead making their way to the estuary while on 6 Common Redshank outnumbered the godwits with at least 300 Common Redshank feeding in the shallow water A Ruff, Dunlin, Common Ringed Plover and Common Sandpiper were also noted. 

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A Hobby flew over the tank, but didnt cause any disturbance as it was challenged by a Common Kestrel and left the area immediately. There were two (ringed) juvenile Common Kestrel dropped on to No.6 and were joined by the adult female while the male hunted overhead.         

Observer and images: Paul Ralston.

24.07.21. Birdlog.

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I was out early morning and a walk alongside No.4 and No.6 tanks. We still have Sedge Warbler, Common Whitethroat and Common Reed Bunting were numerous during my walk, and one of the Sedge was still in song.

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A Western Marsh Harrier drifted over No.4 and on to No.6. A flock of c150 Northern Lapwing, 5 Black-tailed Godwit and a single Common Snipe were on the ‘phalarope pool’. There were large flocks of Eurasian Starling which were foraging on No.3 tank. Small groups of godwits were passing overhead making their way to the Mersey Estuary while on No.6 Common Redshank outnumbered the godwits with at least 300 Common Redshank feeding in the shallow water. A Ruff, Dunlin, Common Ringed Plover and Common Sandpiper were also noted. 

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A Hobby flew over the tank, but didnt  cause any disturbance and when it was challenged by a Common Kestrel it left the area. Two juvenile Common Kestrel dropped on to No.6 and were joined by the adult female while the male hunted overhead.

Observer: Paul Ralston (images 1-3).

While Paul was out to the west both Mark and Will Sixsmith indepenently spotted the Western Osprey flying along the River Weaver before heading back to its unknown santuary to the east.

The Weaver Bend had a flock of 1093 Black-tailed Godwit with 31 Common Redshank, 1 Common Sandpiper and a Common Snipe. There were still small numbers of juvenile Black-headed Gull annoying the adults loafing around. A few Common Gull were also present. A Red Kite (WSM) was seen high over No.5 tank drifting slowly out over Marsh Farm and onward to Frodsham Score.

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A couple of Peregrine were about the area with a Sparrowhawk hunting the starling flocks and c10 Common Buzzard perched on the various pylons.

Mark took up position looking across No.6 tank during the rising tide and managed to spot c2555 Black-tailed Godwit, c600 Common Redshank, 600 Dunlin, Spotted Redshank, 2 Ruff, 2 adult with 4 juvenile Little Ringed Plover, 1 Red Knot, a Wood Sandpiper dropped in calling, 2 juv/female Garganey joined the ducks present and also 2 male Western Marsh Harrier.

Observer: Mark (Whipper) Gibson (video), Will Sixsmith & WSM (image 4).