20.10.19. Birdlog.

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I started my birding at Ince where Eurasian Teal, Mallard, Gadwall, Northern Shoveler and Little Grebe were all on the pools, while a Little Egret dropped in to forage in the field alongside 4 Grey Heron.

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A couple of skeins of Pink-footed Goose passed overhead flying towards the Mersey estuary, but constant gunfire from the clay shoot nearby kept them moving.

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A mixed flock of European Goldfinch and Linnet were busy feeding on the thistle heads and the latter flock included a leucistic bird, which stood out like a sore thumb and was a beautiful looking finch.

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A Stonechat was at Ince berth and took cover when a Kestrel appeared overhead.

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Out on Frodsham Score salt marsh were several Little Egret and 2 Great Egret being noted. The autumn flocks of several hundred European Starling formed a bait ball high up above the marsh when a Sparrowhawk attempted in vain to single an individual out from their numbers. A herd of hundreds of Canada Goose were grazing on the short grass, but no sign of yesterdays Barnacle Goose flock. Another pair of Stonechat were near the ‘phalarope pool’ and the usual resident Eurasian Coot were still present.

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On Lordship Lane were c60 Eurasian Curlew feeding in the stubble fields and a mass of Black-headed Gull were in the cattle fields. There were more Eurasian Curlew feeding in the fields alongside the Holpool Gutter. Returning back at the start of my walk and another Little Egret was feeding with the pigs next to the farm there.

Observer and images: Paul Ralston.

19.10.19. Birdlog.

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I was out this morning before the rain started to fall and made my way along Brook Furlong Lane where a quiet period conjured up a mixed tit flock, a few Chaffinch were following behind as they made their way along the hedgerows. Not a great deal on the river either, just a few Eurasian Teal, Tufted Duck, Gadwall and Mallard being seen.

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A pair of Stonechat were in the reeds along the River Weaver as were several Wren. There were just 3 Black-tailed Godwit and 2 Common Redshank in with a small flock of Northern Lapwing at the river edge.

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Looking over the Mersey estuary and a Great Egret could be seen in the distance along with 3 Little Egret.

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On the Manchester Ship Canal was a Pink-footed Goose in the company of several Canada Goose, and c30 Eurasian Coot, 2 Little Grebe and a single Great Crested Grebe.

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A skein of c180 Pink-footed Goose passed overhead following the Weaver valley and a Peregrine sat on top of the blue topped chimney looking over the estuary.

Another pair of Stonechat were by the shooters’ berth at Marsh Farm with several Meadow pipit and Pied Wagtail.

No photo description available.

A juvenile Great Black-backed Gull was very much dead on the canal path and a closer look of its legs revealed a metal ring, which will be sent off to the BTO for its history details.

The Canal Pools had c30 Northern Shoveler, 8 Gadwall and a single drake Common Pochard, and further over on one of the scrapes were more Northern Shoveler, Mallard and a flock of c30 Black-tailed Godwit and 6 Common Snipe being noted. Another pair of Stonechat were near the ‘phalarope pool’ which held 14 Eurasian Coot, 2 Gadwall and 2 Mallard.

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The sand extraction area on No.6 tank had several Raven and Carrion Crow which sat on the sand piles.

Shooting was taking place on Lordship Marsh which kept a mixed flock of Eurasian Curlew and more godwits mobile.

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A look over No.6 tank and there was no sign of the godwit flocks, but 2 Green Sandpiper were in with the Northern Lapwing.

Observer: Paul Ralston (images 1-7 & 9 & 19).

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I made my way along the track to look across Frodsham Score for the afternoon tide. There were thousands of Canada Goose and a closer scrutiny revealed 150 Pink-footed Goose and surprisingly 36 Barnacle Goose. There were 7 Little Egret scattered widely and small flocks of Eurasian Wigeon were on the tide edge. It was surprising that shorebirds were not present.

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The Peregrine was sat on the chimney at Weston Point and a Marsh Harrier was quartering the salt marsh. A large gathering of ‘big’ gulls included at least one adult Yellow-legged Gull.

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Walking back I made a point of checking the flooded maize fields on Lordship Marsh where a small flock of Black-tailed Godwit were feasting on worms, while hundreds of Black-headed and very much smaller counts of both Lesser Black-backed and Herring gull were following a shit spreader in the fields by the farm.

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One notable feature of my walk was the 7 Cetti’s Warbler (presumably some young birds) attempting their new calls/songs in a variety of habitats.

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Another Marsh Harrier was hunting the reed beds of No.6 tank, and a flock of c450 godwit were chilling out close to the banks that I was looking from. A Greenshank was snoozing with a few Northern Lapwing and teal. Ducks included 19 Northern Pintail, 47 Northern Shoveler, 439 Eurasian Teal, 41 Mallard and the odd Common Shelduck.

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Walking back along Moorditch Lane and a cloud of feathers drifting across the field very close to the eastbound carriageway of the M56 draw my attention to an adult Peregrine culling the mass of Wood Pigeon by one. It later abandoned its meal to take position from a pylon nearby and subsequently made forays out to ambush more pigeons.

Observer; WSM (images 8 & 10-18).

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15.10.19. Birdlog.

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We both decided an after our repective days work we would independently called in to see what was occurring on No.6 tank. On arrival a flock of 143 Northern Shoveler, 12 Northern Pintail, 300 Eurasian Teal and 17 Tufted Duck greeted us. A couple of Mute Swan were still present and upto 12 Little Grebe were hanging out with the tufties.

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There were no Black-tailed Godwit flock, but 2 Green Sandpiper, 2 Ruff, a calling Golden Plover and 6 Northern Lapwing.

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The highlight of the evening was a Short-eared Owl dropping into the reed bed, a Merlin hunting the Meadow Pipit flock coming to roost, an immature Peregrine, 7 Kestrel, 1 Eurasian Sparrowhawk, a male, 2 female and 3 immature Marsh Harrier coming into roost for the evening. The European Starling roost is building up slowly, so much is expected in the late autumn/winter period ahead.

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The sounds of 5 Cetti’s Warbler and contact calling Chiffchaff were also heard.

The evening ended with an exodus of Raven from their feeding grounds on the outer saltmarshes. I guess there were c200 birds moving out to their roost sites inland.

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PR rounded the evening off with a Brown Hare.

Observers: Paul Ralston (images 3-5) and WSM (images 1-2).

13.10.19. Birdlog.

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I was out this morning starting at Ince where a mixed flock of tits, finches and buntings moved along the hedgerow before entering the marsh fields. The pools held 10 Moorhen, 4 Eurasian Coot, 11 Mallard, 15 Eurasian Teal, 23 Gadwall, 2 Northern Shoveler ,1 Tufted Duck and a single Little Grebe.

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A herd of c 80 Canada Goose made their way out to the Frodsham Score salt marsh, and overhead a skein of c130 Pink-footed Goose which flew south. Out on the salt marsh itself were hundreds more Canada Goose which fed on the short grass, while 10 Little Egret fed in the channels. c100 Eurasian Curlew and c400 Northern Lapwing were feeding in the field adjacent to the Holpool Gutter and c80 Golden Plover flew over towards Lordship Marsh.

Redwing and Blackbird flocks were feasting on the abundant hawthorn berries along the Manchester Ship Canal path. A pair of Stonechat were in the reeds along the canal edge. The Raven flock were again attracted to the sand extraction area on No.6 tank with at least 50 sat on the sand hills. There were just two Mute Swan and 10 Eurasian Coot were on the ‘phalarope pool’ with 30 Mallard, 10 Gadwall and a pair of Northern Shoveler were on the ‘splashing pool’.

A Sparrowhawk sped alongside the pool trying to flush the European Goldfinch and Linnet flock feeding close by. A large flock of Eurasian Curlew took to the air when a Common Buzzard landed amidst them as they foraged in the stubble fields on Lordship Marsh.

A Great Spotted Woodpecker flew over No.4 tank towards the canal and c30 Pied Wagtail fed in the stubble field opposite the GrowHow Works and a Grey Wagtail was on the track.

Observer and images: Paul Ralston.

12.10.19. Birdlog.

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A mixed flock of tits contained at least 1 Goldcrest which together made their way through the bushes and away. A male Stonechat was seen in the reeds along the River Weaver. On the river were decent numbers of Tufted Duck, Eurasian Teal, Mallard, Gadwall and a few Common Shelduck.

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A flock of c300 Common Redshank and c50 Black-tailed Godwit were at the river edge and 2 Common Sandpiper were on the far bank of the Manchester Ship Canal. Raven were numerous through out my walk with many playing in the updraft from the canal banks.

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The ‘phalarope pool’ was quiet with just the resident Eurasian Coot parties and Moorhen until a Green Sandpiper dropped in to join them but moved on a few minutes later.

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At least 50 Raven had gathered on the sand reclamation area on No.6 tank and a Marsh Harrier passed overhead on its way out to the Frodsham Score. I heard a Cetti’s Warbler was heard near the ‘splashing pool’.

A flock of c60 Black-tailed Godwit were circling the stubble fields on Lordship Lane looking for somewhere to feed and yet more Raven were feeding on the stubble.

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A look over No.6 and c1000 Canada Goose, c700 Black-tailed Godwit, 12 Common Snipe, a solitary Green Sandpiper and a single Greenshank plus 16 Northern Pintail, 102 Northern Shoveler, 430 Eurasian Teal, 14 Eurasian Coot, 12 Little Grebe, a Ruff and 89 Black-tailed Gull.

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Nosey Cow!

Observers: Paul Ralston (images 1-2 & 5-6) and WSM (images 3-4 & 7).

11.10.19. Birdlog.

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A Cetti’s Warbler were heard all over the marsh today and Migrant Hawker dragonflies again were all over the marsh with a single unidentifiable butterfly. No.6 had a few Black-tailed Godwit and a reported but not seen by me Greenshank, about a dozen Eurasian Curlew were spooked from No.3 and a male Stonechat was on the fence at the junction of No.3, 5 and 6 tanks.

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Raven and 20 Magpie were causing a commotion on No.5 for no obvious reason. The female Marsh Harrier was seen hunting over No.6 a few times. So not many photo’s today but I bumped into PR and then got my weary bones home on the train.

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Observer: Paul Crawley (images 1-3).

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An after work walk around No.6 this afternoon. A group of Raven and a group of Magpie were sat on the fence on No.3 tank and the Magpie flock seemed agitated by something but couldn’t see what? Duck numbers were low compared to recently but still held Eurasian Teal, Mallard, Northern Shoveler, Tufted Duck and Gadwall.

A couple of hundred Black-taied Godwit were in the shallows alongside c100 Northern Lapwing, a juvenile Curlew Sandpiper, 2 Ruff, several Common Snipe and Common Redshank and a single Common Sandpiper.

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A Stonechat sat on the fence on No.6 and 2 more were in the reedbed. Two Marsh Harrier were in the air together and went to roost in the reed bed. Walking along Lordship Lane and a mixed flock of c80 Eurasian Curlew and Black-tailed Godwit fed in a stubble field and a pale phase Common Buzzard sat in a tree watching over them.

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A couple of Brown Hare were noted during my walk as was Paul C. who had already spent a few hours on the marsh.

Observer: Paul Ralston (images 4-6).

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A young Brown Hare as seen by Duncan Cowley (images 7-8).