22.04.18. Birdlog.

Out early this morning with the sounds of Spring in full swing. There were Blackcap, Chiffchaff, Willow Warbler singing in the first few hundred yards of leaving my car at Ince village. Walking towards the Manchester Ship Canal and both Sedge and Reed Warbler joined the dawn chorus.

Duck numbers were low on the pools with just a handful of Tufted Duck and Mallard alongside with Coot, Moorhen and a pair of Mute Swan.

The canal path had the first of 3 pairs of Oystercatcher at the berth. Common Shelduck, Gadwall, Common Teal and yet more Mallard and Tufties on the water there.

A pale phase Common Buzzard came off the salt marsh and rested in a tree on No.4 tank where it was mobbed by a Carrion Crow which then turned their attention to the much maligned Raven.

A Wheatear was on the canal bank near to the Holpool Gutter and several more near the canal pumping station. Swallow and Sand Martin were hawking overhead near the canal pools where the resident pair of Mute Swan have nested. A pair of Great Crested Grebe were busy displaying.

A secluded pool held more Tufted Duck with two drake and a single female Common Pochard.

A Whitethroat was watched on the bank and a Greenfinch was a flock of Linnet.

No.6 had good numbers of Shoveler, Common Teal, Mallard, Gadwall and Common Shelduck were noted with 20 Mute Swan on the watery section of the tank.

Along Lordship Lane and even more Whitethroat, Reed and Sedge Warbler were busy drowning each other out with their tunes. A Stoat crossed the lane and disappeared in to the rape seed crop. There was just 3 Curlew in the fields where a couple of weeks ago a flock of c100 were feeding.

A Peregrine was perched on a stack at the GrowHow Works and the Rook colony were busy feeding young in the rookery.

Observer and images: Paul Ralston.

70 lingering Pink-footed Goose on Frodsham Score and 10 Avocet at the Weaver Sluices as seen by Sean O’Hara from Hale (darkside) side of the Mersey estuary.

Observer: Sean O’Hara.

21.04.18. Birdlog.

A walk around No.6 tank in the hot caldron that is Frodsham Marsh in such barmy weather conditions was rewarding.

Six Whimbrel left No.6 tank early morning, with another individual on Lordship Marsh.

A pair of Wheatear were in the north-west corner of the tank and a further 4 were on the pipes of No.1 tank.

Four Marsh Harrier were circling and three Swallow moved through. 6 Ruff were on the mitigation pools on No.3 tank. A Peregrine added to the raptors present today

Between the Weaver Bend and the estuary were 3 Stonechat, 2 Mistle Thrush and a Green Sandpiper.

Returning to No.6 tank for high tide, 4 Knot and a Bar-tailed Godwit joined 1050 Black-tailed Godwits.

Warbler numbers had increased from my previous visit, with numbers across the Marsh of 16 Chiffchaff, 5 Willow Warbler, 13 Blackcap, 1 Lesser Whitethroat, 10 Whitethroat, 3 Grasshopper Warbler, 9 Sedge Warbler and 5 Reed Warbler.

There was a lot of nuptial activity with the coy female ducks acting all shy while the drakes were strutting their stuff in order to impress. Common Teal were inching over the 100 mark while Common Shelduck and Shoveler appear to have selected their respective. A single drake Wigeon cut a lonesome figure.

On No.3 tank there were 8 Wheatear including four ‘Greenland’ forms.

The fields on Lordship Marsh still held a herd of 21 Mute Swan.

The above image of the Kestrel releasing a merde bomb with St Laurence Church in the background.

Walking back and the Mute Swan was again in the ditch alongside Moorditch Lane while sat on the telegraph wires was a ringed Kestrel.

Plastic washed up on the Weaver estuary presumably carried here via the Manchester Ship Canal.

The warm weather brought out the butterflies with plenty of Small Tortoiseshell, Peacock and Orangetip.

Observers: Alyn Chambers (images 2), WSM (images 1 & 3-9).

18.04.18. Birdlog.

An after work walk along the edge of No.5 tank overlooking No.6 on the hottest day of the year…so far.

There was a flock of 130 Black-tailed Godwit, 16 Redshank, 1 Ruff and two Dunlin with 6 additional Black-tailed Godwit and 4 Ruff on the mitigation pools on No.3. Ducks included: 61 Tufted Duck, c100 Common Shelduck, c70 Shoveler and c200 Common Teal.

A distant male and female Marsh Harrier, a Cetti’s Warbler and a male Wheatear were the only other birds noted on a lacklustre birdwatch.

Observer & images:WSM.

16.04.18. Birdlog.

A high tide count from No.6 tank produced 1150 Black-tailed and 2 Bar tailed Godwit with 32 Redshank, 5 Ruff, 8 Knot, Cetti’s Warbler and 2 locally rare Yellowhammer.

Ducks were in evidence and included Gadwall, 11 Mallard, 96 Common Shelduck, 87 Shoveler, 325 Common Teal, 57 Tufted Duck while out on No.3 tank were 36 Coot.

Observer and image: Joe Chester.

My visit was after 4.30 pm when all the godwits had departed back to the expanse of mudflats on the Mersey estuary to feed. There were just a handful of 34 and 4 Redshank still present on No.6 tank.

A short walk over to the mitigation on no.3 had 8 Ruff, 1 Common Snipe, 5 Black-tailed Godwit, a male Wheatear and two pale morph Common Buzzard (one) sat on the fence line and the other watching from the banks of Frodsham Score. A small flock of 15 Swallow and 3 Sand Martin were hawking insects over the Canal Pools.

Observers: Arthur Harrison, WSM.

15.04.18. Birdlog.

Out on a way this morning from Ince and around No.4 tank.  There were 3 Mute Swan on the first pool with a male trying to drive the others away.Duck numbers were low with just 2 Common Teal amidst the Mallard, Tufted Duck and Common Shelduck. Five Little Egret were on the last pool with 12 Coot which were fighting themselves, like they always seem to do during the breeding season.

Onward to Ince Marsh fields where 20 Curlew, 4 Common Shelduck a pair of Tufted Duck and a pair of Greylag Goose added to the line up.

The Manchester Ship Canal had 19 Gadwall, 12 Common Shelduck, a Great Crested Grebe and a pair of Oystercatcher, Both Swallow and Collared Dove flew east along the canal.

A dark looking Fox was seen out on the salt marshes and made its way purposely towards a group of Great Black-backed Gull flock one of which was injured and couldn’t escape, the Fox stood over the gull then turned tail and walk away leaving the injured bird looking confused but relieved. There were more Curlew on the field alongside the Holpool Gutter which had a group of Gadwall chasing each other in flighty circles above.

Lordship Marsh had a flock of 77 Black-tailed Godwit, 15 Curlew and 15 Mute Swan and a Brown Hare bounded through the fields. In the bushes along Lordship Lane were several Chiffchaff and Blackcap were seen and heard and a Green Woodpecker was heard calling near to the Growhow Works where a Great Spotted was drumming in rhythm.

Another Little Egret was on one of the pools and 5 House Martin the first of the Spring were hawking overhead.

Observer: Paul Ralston (images 1-4).

A Mediterranean Gull flew out over Lordship Marsh early this morning within a flock of Black-headed Gulls.

Around midday 4 Yellow Wagtail, 2 House Martin and 6 Swallow flew over No. 6 tank and 6 Knot and a flock of Dunlin flew through but didn’t stop. On the tank were a pair of Wigeon, a Great Crested Grebe and 2 Ringed Plover at the west end. A pair of Marsh Harrier were hunting, with another bird over No. 4 tank. 2 Collared Dove flew along Lordship Lane and a Chiffchaff was building a nest close by. 3 pairs of Blackcap, and a further 3 singing males, were across the Marsh.

Observer: Alyn Chambers.

During the course of the afternoon we took a hike around No.6 tank with a prolonged stop off looking across the flooded fields below the ramp track to the south-east corner of No.4. There were 3 Ringed Plover, a few Redshank and 3 Dunlin including a summer plumage individual. A couple of Yellow Wagtail flew across from No.6 and settled to feed with half a dozen Meadow Pipit and the dwindling Linnet flock.

A couple of Marsh Harrier drifted over while numerous Common Buzzard were occupying all of the air space.

The mitigation pools lacked a lot of the ducks from yesterday with a few Shoveler and Common Teal being present. A couple of Ruff were hiding at the back of the pool, while a pale morph Common Buzzard watched on.

The 1000 strong Black-tailed Godwit flock was still present from yesterday with more Ruff, Redshank and 3 Knot. The same amount of duck were more or less present as of yesterday.

A flock of 170 Jackdaw contained a particularly interesting pale headed bird, some research needed on its ethnicity. A Cetti’s Warbler rounded off our visit with a serenade.

A male Redstart flew in front of us  by railway bridge arch on Keckwick Lane, Moore/Daresbury Firs.

Observers: Sparky & WSM (images 5-7).

14.04.18. Birdlog.

A really pleasant time to be out birding today with plenty of the commoner summer passerines making themselves known. I took a hike along Moorditch Lane where the flutey tunes of a male Blackcap were bursting from the lane side bushes.

I conducted my WeBS count today and a flock of 1004 Black-tailed Godwit were roosting close to the flooded daisy beds with 15 Ruff, 90 Redshank and a couple of Dunlin. It was a little underwhelming but the godwits made up with their numbers. Ducks were in much larger numbers with 49 Tufted Duck, 201 Common Teal, 74 Common Shelduck, 46 Shoveler, 21 Gadwall and 12 Mallard. A few Sand Martin were moving through.

There were many Common Buzzard riding the thermals over many spots with an estimate of 20 birds involved. Three Marsh Harrier were also noted.

The mitigation pools on No.3 tank had 5 Ruff, 7 Black-tailed Godwit, 67 Common Teal, 14 Gadwall, 23 Shoveler and 4 Mallard.

A female Ring Ouzel (per Jeff and Jackie) was in a ploughed field adjacent to the ramp to No.5 tank off Moorditch Lane but it wasn’t available when I walked back after the count. A Cetti’s Warbler was heard singing along the lane (per David from Chester).

Walking along Brook Furlong Lane and another Cetti’s Warbler could be heard in the distance and the lane was full of the song of Chiffchaff, Blackcap and Willow Warbler.

A Stonechat was at Redwall reed bed while Sand Martin were flying north high over head and the adjacent fields had Oystercatcher.

The Weaver estuary and ‘bend’ were full of ducks and again Tufted Duck were prominent with 102 birds, 14 Gadwall, 7 Goldeneye (3 drakes) and 76 Canada Goose.

Observer: WSM (images).

12.04.18. Birdlog.

A walk around the Weaver Bend early this evening with nothing out the ordinary with the usual suspects of Common Shelduck, Mallard, Common Teal, Tufted Duck, Gadwall and a couple of Great Crested Grebe. A flock of 14 Redshank were at the edge of the river and a Common Sandpiper was close by.

There were four pairs of Oystercatcher noted along the river and Manchester Ship Canal bank and a Canada Goose has decided to make its nest out in the open at the edge of the canal bank where it would be easy pickings for a Fox or Badger. There were several Pied and 2 White Wagtail near to Marsh Farm and a Swallow passed west along the ship canal.

A Great White Egret was seen from the car on the Gowy Meadows as I made my way to and from Frodsham Marsh no doubt the bird seen two days ago and also observed today by Shaun Hickey and Gary Worthington.

Observer: Paul Ralston (images 2-3).

An after work sojourn down and around No.6 tank after work yielded a few goodies with the ever present Linnet flock hanging out in the flooded field on Lordship Marsh off Lordship Lane. There were 10 Pied, 7 White and the first Yellow Wagtail of the Spring. A few Meadow Pipit were less conspicuous.

Walking along the track on No.4 tank overlooking No.6 tank and a late Fieldfare was hiding in a bramble patch. There were 4 Marsh Harrier in the distance with the pale morph Common buzzard resettling on the banks overlooking the mitigation area on No.3 tank. The mitigation pools themselves were less productive than of late with just a handful of both Shoveler and Common Teal. 12 Ruff flew over but headed to No.6 tank.

Over on No.6 the commonest duck were Common Shelduck with many drakes defending their recently acquired partner. Shorebirds were in short supply but 41 Ruff (presumably including the 12 from earlier) were sheltering from the cold north-easterly breeze with c120 Black-tailed Godwit, c100 Redshank and a Common Snipe.

A brief flurry of 10 Sand Martin were moving through and a Cetti’s Warbler burst forth with song.

Observers: Sparky, WSM (images 1 & 4-6).