The Last Post – 01.05.22. Birdlog.

Greenshank from archive – WSM

A very early start and a walk along Weaver Lane and down to the Weaver Bend with the low water level making it irritable to avoid calling here first. On arrival an adult summer Mediterranean Gull was on the small island with 6 nesting pairs of Black-headed Gull. The testosterone coursing through the loins of this presumed male didn’t deter it from making advances to another pair of displaying Black-headed Gulls. I wouldn’t be surprised to see younger versions of its kind appearing sometime this month?

Many pairs of Pied Avocet had over spilled from their nesting site close by with birds in the act of copulating. A small flock of 13 Dunlin, several Eurasian Oystercatcher and a single Common Sandpiper. Nearby 3 Grasshopper Warbler were singing and a pair of European Stonechat were at the Lum. While amore was evidently in the air a pair of Great Crested Grebe shuffled out of the water onto the small island, mounted, mated, dismounted and returned to their watery mire.

Later I made my way over to No.6 tank with several hundred Black-tailed Godwit and a single Bar-tailed Godwit, a Common Greenshank, 1 Whimbrel, 14 Ruff including a black ruffed male displaying to a nearby reeve. 6 Dunlin and 2 Common Redshank. A Western Marsh Harrier was in the area hunting the banks of the tank (like it did yesterday).

Other birds of note were 3 Common Swift.

Observer: WSM (& JS who could only manage putting up with birding for the afternoon period).

As this is the final posting from me and sad to see the ending of the bird blog, and I’m sure it means a lot to many people and not just people from this part of the world its been a pleasure to have been a small part of it.

I started this morning around No.6 and No.4 tanks before moving on to the Weaver Bend. Walking up the ramp to No.6 tank and the first of many Common Whitethroat broke into song before it flew to an elderberry bush. It then sat next to a smart male Whinchat which moved to a small reedbed close by.

Warblers were numerous during the walk with Blackcap, Common Chiffchaff, Willow Warbler, Cetti’s, Western Reed and Sedge we’re all vocal, two Cetti’s were even brave enough to show themselves!

The 3 Barnacle Goose were still in situ on No.3 tank with the many Canada Goose and Greylags. The male Western Marsh Harrier hunted over the ‘phalarope pool’ scattering all that was on there and the ‘splashing pool’. 

A look over No.6 tank from the south bank produced a flock of c500 Black-tailed Godwit with a white headed Ruff and the Spotted Redshank.

On to the Weaver Bend were several Pied Avocet, 6 Black-tailed Godwit and 2 Common Sandpiper were noted, just a single Mediterranean Gull sat with the black-heads on the island.

Observer: Paul Ralston.

The final post from me and the Frodsham Marsh Birdblog is today, but over the last ten years a lot of people have made their contributions and I want to take this opportunity in personally thanking them for their efforts putting pen to paper, or submitting images that have made the read a little bit more memorable and they include: Ted Abraham, Pete Antrobus, Greg Baker, Steve & Gill Barber, Paul Brewster, Tony Broome (who did a sterling job before we fell out), Julia Burgess, Rob Cockbain, Alyn Chambers, Allan Conlin, Paul Crawley, Dave Craven, Paul Derbyshire, Chris Done, Guido D’Isidoro, Frank Duff, Tom Edmondson, Keith Gallie, Martin Garner, Mark (Whipper) Gibson, Martin Gilbert, Arthur Harrison, Shaun Hickey, Ian Igglesden, Liam Langley, Stuart Maddocks, Paul Miller, Elliot Montieth, Sean O’Hara, Mark Payne, Paul Ralston (for being a great supporter of the blog and contributing so much to make it even better), John Rayner, Scott Reid, Jacqui & Idris Roberts, Ray Scally, Barry Starmer, Jane Turner, Graham Thomason, Emily Traynor, James Walsh, Gareth Walker, Don Weedon, Jonathan Williams, Findley Wilde, Heather Wilde, Mark Wilkinson, Phil Woollen, Mark Wotham and finally to Julie who is the light of my life.

It’s goodbye from me Bill Morton aka WSM / @FrodshamBirder

30.04.22. Birdlog.

Grasshopper Warbler from archive – Paul Ralston.

An early start and a walk along Brook Furlong Lane where a singing Grasshopper Warbler was reeling away in the distance. There were plenty of warblers voicing their respective tunes for all to hear.

The River Weaver was extremely low to to the lack of any substantial rainfall this month and all the better to encourage shorebirds to utilise the bare muddy margins to the river. I met AC and he had just seen a Common Swift fly over my head but fortunately it reappeared to spare my blushes. Another 3 Grasshopper Warbler were busy making a noise while both Sedge and Western Reed Warbler were joining in. A nice male Northern Wheatear was along the edge of the water before flying out and landing on a dead tree which washed up mid river. A flock of c240 Dunlin included a colour-ringed bird (I’ll let you know its origins), several Pied Avocet, Eurasian Oystercatcher and 7 Black-tailed Godwit were about. It was interesting to see a small number of Black-headed Gull nesting on the bend’s small island. A big mistake for the gulls when the water level begins to rise again.

I left AC and made my way back along Brook Furlong Lane to catch up with the mixed singer PR had seen earlier in the month and AC had relocated this morning. When I arrived the ‘Chillow’ was singing its heart out by the old bird log location. More Common Whitethroat, Cetti’s Warbler and Blackcap were tuning up.

I made my way to No.6 tank and knowing from AC that the summer plumaged Spotted Redshank was still in residence I settled to watch the birds arrive from their high tide enforced relocation to here. The ‘spot red’ was in situ with 11 Ruff, 1 Bar-tailed and c1000 Black-tailed Godwit, a pair of Little Ringed Plover and Eurasian Oystercatcher. Ducks featured several Northern Pintail, numerous Common Shelduck, 20 Tufted Duck, 45 Eurasian Teal and 21 Gadwall.

I continued my walk and found AC’s 3 Barnacle Goose still on the mitigation before they joined some Canada Goose to fly out to the Manchester Ship Canal. A fine male Western Marsh Harrier was hunting the dusty lane of Moorditch while a pair were busy displaying.

Observers: Alyn Chambers and WSM.

Alyn also had 3 Whimbrel, a Common Greenshank, an adult Mediterranean Gull and a Whinchat.

Observer: Alyn Chambers.

An afternoon visit to the Weaver Bend was rewarded with 5 Mediterranean Gull with the small pocket of nesting Black-headed Gull on the island. There were c300 Black and 2 Bar-tailed Godwit on the exposed mud.

A look over to the Mersey Estuary and there were hundreds of Common Shelduck with Eurasian Curlew and Whimbrel being noted.

A single Northern Wheatear was along the pipes on No.1 tank.

Observer: Paul Ralston.

29.04.22. Birdlog.

Whinchat from archive – WSM.

A walk along the River Weaver and bend this afternoon before hand a look over the pipes across No.1 tank produced several Northern Wheatear of which all were females and 2 Whinchat on pipe line.

On the river were 10 Black-tailed Godwit, 1 Common Snipe, an adult Mediterranean Gull, 9 Pied Avocet and 4 Eurasian Oystercatcher on sand bank. Also noted were Cetti’s Warbler, Common Whitethroat, Willow Warbler, Common Chiffchaff, Sedge Warbler, Blackcap and Common Reed Bunting.

Observer: Paul Ralston.

Later in the day and the river lured Frank to its banks where he saw a Whinchat on both No.1 tank and the Weaver Bend,10 Northern Wheatear. A drake Garganey, 1 Common Greenshank, 4 Whimbrel, 3 Dunlin, 2 Bar-tailed Godwit, 20 Pied Avocet and c30 Black-tailed Godwit.

Observer: Frank Duff.

The colour-ringed AHX Eurasian Coot I spotted below Frodsham bridge on 15.04.22 was initially processed at Ellesmere, Shropshire on 23.12.15 was was last reported there before nesting on the River Weaver at Frodsham was 29.10.16.

Observer: WSM.

28.04.22. Birdlog.

A watch on the high tide over No.6 tank was quite rewarding with several Black-tailed Godwit spread widely over the shallow water. Also hiding amongst the hoard of godwits were 7 Bar-tailed Godwit, a partial summer Red Knot, 17 Ruff in various stages of breeding plumage males and one reeve. A Little Ringed Plover was present with the highlight being a splendid summer plumaged Spotted Redshank. A Little Egret dropped in for a short siesta.

A Lesser Whitethroat was singing along Lordship Lane with Common Whitethroat, Blackcap, Willow Warbler, Cetti’s Warbler and Western Reed and Sedge Warbler adding to the cacophony. A few Barn Swallow and Sand Martin were moving through.

A male Western Marsh Harrier wandered through No.4 tank.

Observer: WSM.

25.04.22. Birdlog.

An early walk evening around the Weaver Bend and by the pipelibe on No.1 tank produced 2 Northern Wheatear appeared. A couple of released Grey Partridge and nearby 5 more Wheatear by Marsh Farm.

Along the River Weaver were 7 Common Sandpiper, 2 Little Ringed Plover, a Western Yellow Wagtail and 12 Pied Avocet on the sand bank. A Common Snipe was on the shooters’ and pool 3 male & 1 female European Stonechat was noted.

Observer: Paul Ralston.

24.04.22. Birdlog.

A morning walk along Alder Lane produced 4 Northern Wheatear, 2 (released) Grey Partridge and a handsome male Black Redstart (three of the four records have been along this lane) was favouring the gates and fence by Marsh Farm.

A walk around No.6 tank produced c400 Black-tailed Godwit, 12 Ruff, 2 Common Sandpiper, Eurasian Teal, Common Shelduck and Northern Pintail.

The ‘phalarope pool’ held a couple of Pied Avocet, Common Snipe, a pair of Eurasian Wigeon and summer warblers every few hundred yards.

Observer: Paul Ralston.

23.04.22. Birdlog.

A late afternoon walk along the River Weaver where a large flock of waders took to the air bunched together as a bait ball doing their best to confuse an unseen predator, they had all settled back down when I reached the Manchester ship Canal bank to look over the River Mersey estuary. Dunlin, Grey Plover, Common Redshank, Black-tailed Godwit and Pied Avocet were all busy feeding on the exposed mud. A pair of Greylag Goose took their brood on to the canal watched over by Great Black-backed Gull pair. At the Weaver junction a pair of Little Ringed Plover had a Dunlin for company. Several Pied and White and Yellow Wagtail were foraging along the river bank. On the exposed sand bank at the Weaver Bend were c30 Pied Avocet and 6 Black-tailed godwit were noted. A female Northern Pintail was on the river with the Common Shelduck, Eurasian Teal, Tufted Duck Mallard and Gadwall. A Little Egret was feeding in the shallow water at the shooters’ pool. Sand Martin were numerous over the canal and river with a few Barn Swallow passing through a single Northern Wheatear was on the pipeline on no.1 tank.

Observer: Paul Ralston.

21.04.22. Birdlog.

We had a pleasant walk in the sun today.  We heard lots of “invisible” warblers but saw almost nothing.  Lots of Black-tailed godwit on No.4 tank.  Otherwise, the ‘phalarope pool’ had a couple of Northern Lapwing, Eurasian Teal and 4 or 5 godwits.  I have attached a scene form the phalarope pool but nothing wonderful.  I wonder where all the usual suspects (buzzard, kestrel,  etc) are hiding?

Observer: David Eisner.

20.04.22. Birdlog.

Little Stint from archive – WSM.

My walk along Hare’s Lane and then a look across No.6 tank where the build up of Black-tailed Godwit was soon underway once I found a good spot to watch them arrive. My count of c2500 Black-tailed (one colour-ringed bird and an individual missing the lower part of its left tarsus) and 4 Bar-tailed Godwit, 34 Dunlin brought with them a single Little Stint (a far cry from the healthy counts of yesteryear). There were 14 Ruff, 7 Common Redshank, a pair of Little Ringed Plover and 4 Common Snipe. The godwits had no sooner settled when their slumber was sent crashing with the arrival of a Peregrine through their masses. The stint decided things were getting hairy and duly left for the Mersey Estuary. A single European Golden Plover settled with the godwits but c200 were disturbed by the rising tide and tail-ended a flock of c5000 Dunlin over the south Mersey marshes. A fine male Western Marsh Harrier didn’t cause any concern to the godwits and hunted freely close by.

I walk out to No.1 tank where 2 male Northern Wheatear were bouncing along the pipes while a pair of European Stonechat were at Redwall reed bed. Brookfurlong Lane was alive with Common Chiffchaff and a single Willow Warbler, Common Whitethroat, Blackcap and a Western Grasshopper Warbler.

There were 2 Barn Swallow over Marsh Lane motorway bridge as I left the marsh.

Observer: WSM.

An early evening visit to the Weaver Bend where 2 pair of European Stonechat, 5 Common Sandpiper, 2 Little Ringed Plover (one wearing a leg ring), numerous Sand Martin, 2 Pied Avocet, Common Whitethroat, Cetti’s Warbler, Common Chiffchaff another dead Mute Swan on river bank (that’s three in all) possible turbine strike?

Observer: Paul Ralston.

19.04.22. Birdlog.

Grasshopper Warbler from archive – WSM.

An early walk down to the Weaver Bend, produced 1 Lesser Whitethroat, 4 Cetti’s Warbler seen at least 15 heard, 2 Sedge Warbler. 10 Common Chiffchaff and 3 Willow Warbler, 2 Blackcap, 2 Western Grasshopper Warbler heard.

Observer: Gary Powell.

On arriving at the marsh I decided to walk along Brook Furlong Lane and as far as the farm hoping for wheatears, there were warblers in the hedgerow all the way along As the pipes came into view I scanned the fence posts, but nothing to see, I did sot a Brown Hare and then 2 (released) Grey Partridge in the same field. European Stonechat and Meadow Pipit for company until I got to the cattle grid. Looking along the pipes and I noticed a Northern Wheatear. A quick walk to the Weaver Bend for a chance of whinchat, then a Whooper Swan flew overhead and a Western Marsh Harrier out towards Weston Point and a Western Grasshopper Warbler reeling near to the shooters’ pool. I headed back towards the car where another ‘gropper’ and a few more Cetti’s Warbler. There were lots of Orange-tip butterflies to be seen, but no whinchats, oh well another day perhaps, so an end to a cracking morning.

Observer: Keith Gallie.

The female Whooper Swan is still present at Spike Island and will be for the foreseeable future – per WSM.