21.02.18. Birdlog.

I again took advantage of the increasing evening daylight hours with a visit to the marshes after work.

A quick look over No.6 tank and the open water before heading out to the south-west corner to look out over Lordship marsh. There was a slight increase in the numbers of Tufted Duck from just a few at the weekend to 17 this evening. The Common Pochard flock reached 29 birds with lesser numbers of Shoveler reduced to below a hundred birds. Common Teal were feeding close to the banks and numbered c340 and 46 Common Shelduck are beginning to rise. Several Shoveler and Common Teal were moving out to the flooded fields of No.3 tank.

A small roost of 6 Cormorant included the first sinensis of the year. The only waders present included 173 Lapwing, 16 Redshank and 12 Ruff.

After a while I headed out to Lordship Marsh where the wintering swans produced the 2 Bewick’s Swan with 6 Mute and 22 Whooper Swan and 2 Greylag Goose. The flooded fields close to the M56 motorway had several hundred Curlew which gathered together to head out as the sun dropped below the cloud belt to the estuary.

A huge flock of several thousand Starling headed out to the north and east at dusk.

Observer and images: WSM.

18.02.18. Birdlog.

The marsh was quite good despite the dull weather. No.1 tank had 3 Stonechat (1 male and 2 female) and a pair of Greylag Goose.

Brook Furlong had a pair of Bullfinch and a few Goldcrest with the Long Tailed Tits and Blue Tit.

The dead white bird on No.3 is a Mute Swan, I had a closer look and disturbed a Common Snipe.

There were dozens of Pied Wagtail on the flooded field on Lordship Marsh with a dozen or so Linnet but no pipits when I was there.

The only Raptors were Kestrel dotted all over and a single Common Buzzard on No.6. No.6 had Golden Plover with Lapwing, a Black-tailed Godwit and 2 Redshank.

Observer and images: Paul Crawley.

I saw the Whooper Swan herd on two occasions from my moving vehicle along the M56, heading west this morning and heading east this evening. The birds were in fields between the blue slurry tank and the motorway Also two dead Badger (victims of traffic strikes).

Observer: WSM.

17.02.18. Birdlog.

I started my bird watch from Ince this morning but only got as far as the pools which had the usual Mallard, Common Teal, Gadwall and Coot as the construction traffic was heavy at 7 30 am.

I then made my way to Brook Furlong Lane and walked along to Marsh Farm and then back along the River Weaver. A flock of Redwing were feeding in the horse paddock and a covey of released Red-legged Partridge which crossed the track ahead.

There were two pairs of Stonechat were on the fence along the edge of No.1 tank and a flock of Curlew were near the farm.

On the Manchester Ship Canal were Tufted Duck, Common Teal and Mallard taking shelter from the shooting out on the salt marsh for the last weekend of their season. Just along by the sluice gates on the Weaver estuary were much the same duck species with the addition of Common Shelduck, more Gadwall and a few Common Pochard with 4 Great Crested Grebe and a pair of Oystercatcher.

Frodsham Score was fairly quiet during the period of the receding tide with several hundred Dunlin flying about while 42 Grey Plover were still on the edge of the salt marsh. Also 3 Little Egret in and out of the tidal channels.

The Whooper Swan flock were in the fields near the slurry tank and a few visiting birders were out to see the 2 Bewick’s that have been with them recently.

On the flooded field c50 Pied Wagtail, 45 Linnet a least one Water Pipit and 10 Meadow Pipit fed and were joined by a Green Sandpiper. Both Common Buzzard and Kestrel were hunting along the bank of No.6 and a pair of Stock Dove have claimed one of the owl boxes.

A couple of Chiffchaff were on No.5 tank, 200 Goldfinch and a small flock of 10 Chaffinch were also noted.

At least 34 Raven were busy cleansing up after a flurry of lambing activity.

The mitigation pools on No.3 tank held 34 Common Teal, 12 Shoveler and at least 50 Coot

The sludge tank of No.6 was again crowded with ducks and 342 Common Teal were down on earlier in the week while Shoveler have also been seen their numbers falling gradually with 142. The 20 Common Pochard  (4 females) have split up with the rest joining the Tufted’s on the Weaver estuary. There were 43 Common Shelduck, a pair of Pintail and 101 Mallard.

There were plenty of shorebirds with 540 Lapwing, 54 Redshank, 200 Dunlin and 14 Common Snipe.

A male Marsh Harrier was perched up in its usual watch point and waiting for the females to join him at dusk.

Observers: Paul Ralston (images 1-3 & 5), WSM (image 4).

16.02.18. Birdlog.

You’ve got to fit in your birding when you can, so I made another trip down to the marshes after work. We walked clockwise around No.6 tank but didn’t encounter much until the flooded fields off Lordship Lane loomed large ahead. A small flock of 6 Redshank and the wintering family party of Mute Swan didn’t install much confidence but a mass of white swans beyond the hedge by Spring Farm included a couple of Bewick’s and the ever-present Whooper herd.

On our approach to the ramp on No.4 a female Marsh Harrier was shortly after joined by another. Towards dusk it was good to see the male interacting with the females over the reed beds.

A massive c10,000 Starling were flying along the Manchester Ship Canal to the east and presumably en route to their roost in the Northwich area?

I made a conscious effort this evening to count the Raven leaving Frodsham Score to their roost site near Ruthin, N Wales. The flocks never exceeded 6 birds and no birds circling round or heading back to the salt marshes the chances of double counting were reduced I countered 133 birds!

Other birds heading in the opposite direction to roost on the score marsh included 80 Curlew and 200 Black-tailed Godwit.

There wasn’t much time or light left to count the ducks and waders on No.6 tank but everything had the same impression as yesterday.

Observers: Sparky & WSM (all images).

15.02.18. Birdlog.

An after work jaunt down to No.6 tank & Lordship Marsh where 2 Bewick’s Swan finally joined the 22 Whooper Swan which had emerged from the old hedgerows on Lordship Marsh (so they were there all of the time). A couple of skeins of Pink-footed Goose were flying west over Helsby Hill and a flock of 112 Curlew lifted from the flooded fields by the motorway to head out to the Mersey estuary for the night.

A Peregrine was perched up on the blue topped chimney at Weston Point and a pair of Marsh Harrier settled down for the evening. A rough count of c50 Raven were heading south to their roost sites in loose flocks.

The wader flocks had already settled in for their roost when I arrived but the setting sun flooded the marsh with a pleasant amber glow and it was nice to stand and count them from the banks of No.6 tank. The birds were gathered closely with 500 Lapwing (including the luecistic bird from last week) 12 Ruff and c300 Black-tailed Godwit.

Ducks were sheltering from the brisk cold westerly and included 123 Shoveler, 39 Common Pochard, 2 Tufted Duck, 34 Common Shelduck, c400 Common Teal and 56 Mallard.

A Great Tit in the hedgerow along No.5 tank was giving a very good impression of a contact calling Chiffchaff (like they sometimes do).

Observer and images: WSM.

12.02.18. Birdlog.

An after work visit to No.6 tank for the remaining evening light. There was a large gathering of shorebirds present with more Lapwing joining in with c500 already there. Again it is good to see Black-tailed Godwit spending more time here and a count of 230 birds was very encouraging for their continuing pressence. The Redshank flock were busy feeding in amounst the dried out daisy beds. An impressive count of 21 Ruff got me to thinking where on the marshes had they been spending their time this winter.

The usual ducks were scattered about the water but generally c300 Common Teal were sheltering from the brisk cold wind edged up to the daisy beds with 34 Mallard, 175 Shoveler, 348 Common Shelduck, 42 Common Pochard, 7 Tufted Duck and the occasional Pintail.

A couple of Marsh Harrier were spending time quartering the reed beds while a Merlin and Sparrowhawk caused havoc with the roosting wader flocks.

The numerous Raven were flying over heading off to their Welsh roost site and a Stonechat still hangs out on No.5 tank..

Observers: Joe Chester (image 4), Arthur Harrison, WSM (images 1-3 & 5-7).

11.02.18. Birdlog.

Out early morning from Ince and along the Manchester Ship Canal path and around No.4 tank. The weather was cold and wet with a bit of thunder thrown in for good measure. There were numbers of Mallard and Gadwell on the pools at Ince Marsh fields  and 19 Little Egret were feeding near the berth.

Out on the Mersey salt marshes were Common Shelduck and Canada Goose congregated  at the Ince end of the marsh with wildfowlers attempting to make an indent into the geese numbers on the Frodsham Score. 36 Mute swan and 5 Greylag were alongside the Holpool Gutter with Curlew and Lapwing feeding with them.

A clap of thunder put several Grey Heron and a couple of Common Snipe in to the air as I walked between No.4 and No.6 tanks.

The Whooper Swan herd could be seen in the distance on Lordship Marsh and a female Sparrowhawk  flew fast and low along the bank on 4. A flock of Curlew feeding in the stubble field were joined by a flock of Fieldfare and both species were spooked by a Common Buzzard as it looked for a meal.

Back at Ince a mixed flock of Lapwing and Golden Plover were high up after taking fright when a Peregrine cruised by and another Sparrowhawk  was spotted sitting in a thorn-bush.

Three Redshank and a Green Sandpiper were in a flooded field near the new pools .and 5 Grey Heron stood to attention alongside the fence.

Observers: Paul Ralston (images 1-2).

The weather today was good and bad, good as the sun came out now and again but bad because the wind and constant hail showers were terrible.

Not many birds on show this afternoon but there was a Little Egret in the horse paddock field between Brook Furlong and Moorditch Lanes. A couple of Marsh Harrier were over No.3 & 6 tanks.

A few dozen Curlew and Fieldfare on Lordship marsh with a female Stonechat and a Chiffchaff all the way out at the Holpool Gutter feeding with a Pied Wagtail in the stubble field. There is a large herd of Mute Swan on the fields near to the gutter too.

Observer: Paul Crawley (images 3-4).