Our walk after #StormPissoff have cleared off from the last two days was much needed and following guidelines and keeping away from people we walked the lanes of Frodsham Marsh.
No.6 tank was still below its best with a female/immature Common Goldeneye still present with c120 Northern Shoveler, 43 Tufted Duck, 4 Northern Pintail and c320 Eurasian Teal.
The pools on No.6 tank were bathed in glorious sunshine and a flock of 101 Black-tailed Godwit contained one bired with a colour ring on its leg. There were hundreds of Northern Lapwng and European Golden Plover rising and falling with various preceived threats from phantom predators. A couple of Mute Swan were on the flooded parts and both Eurasian Teal & Wigeon were plentiful. Also making up the numbers were Northern Shoveler and Mallard. A couple of Western Marsh Harrier were over No.6 tank for a short while before heading out to the south Mersey marshes for a spot of lunch.
Walking out to look over the flooded fields on Lordship Marsh produched 16 Whooper Swan and a couple more Mute Swan. Still hundreds of Black-headed Gull are taking advantage of the works being brought to the surface by the rains of the last two days.
Pink-footed Goose skeins were noted in the area.
Observers: JS & WSM (images 1-4).
A quick visit after work to Ince where the Peregrine was sat on glass works. Two Little Egret with pigs at the farm.
There were two Common Chiffchaff along hedge and nearby a Great Egret was patrolling the salt marsh, with plenty of Pink-footed Goose, Canada Goose and Common Shelduck.
Ditches are overflowing into fields which are under water.
Observer: Paul Ralston (images 5-8).
A Common Kestrel carrying off a vole from the grassy fields on No.5 tank (Image by Phil Barker).
Our daily walk allowence brought us to the marsh for a step along the length of it. A Lesser Redpoll called and landed briefly in a bush on the bank by the track. Further out and on Lordship Lane huge numbers of Black-headed and lesser numbers of Common Gull were following the slurry tanker in the fields by Lower Rake Lane.
The 22 (2 juvenile) Whooper Swan and a single Mute were flushed (literally) by the shit spreader off the fields and back to relative safety of Ince marsh fields.
A look over the salt marshes revealed 7 Barnacle, c500 Pink-footed, a Greylag and c1000 Canada Goose. Up to 4 Great Egret and a few Little Egret were about the tidal gutters.
The ‘splashing pool’ had 32 Eurasian Teal, 17 Northern Shoveler and 7 Mallard which across the way on the mitigation scrapes were Eurasian Wigeon & Teal, Northern Shoveler and more Mallard. A couple of European Stonechat popped up and down from the floor.
No.6 tank still hasn’t recovered the numbers of duck since the freeze last week but had c330 Eurasian Teal, 121 Northern Shoveler, 6 Tufted Duck and a female/imm Common Goldeneye.
I started my daily exercise walk at Brook Furlong Lane this morning where a Song Thrush was singing its melancholy song and a few Redwings were foraging along the lane. Out on the River Weaver were hundreds of Canada Goose and 11 Mute Swan which were on the water with many Tufted Duck, Eurasian Teal, Mallard, Common Pochard, Eurasian Coot and a few Common Goldeneye and Great Crested Grebe they all took to the air as a ship made its way along the Manchester Ship Canal and sent a series of big waves along the river.
Also seen were c30 Common Redshank and a single Common Ringed Plover the first of the year at the waters edge. A flock of c1000 Northern Lapwing in the fields close to Marsh Farm with c80 Black-tailed Godwit, the lapwing flock were their usual nervous selves, and were up in the air every few minutes while the godwits stayed put.
Cheshire Police were on patrol around the marsh hopefully deterring fly-tippers and off road bikers. I stopped off a Ince on my way home to see if the floodwaters had receeded and had attracted any waders or egrets, but only c50 Northern Lapwing were at the edge of the flood with c80 Eurasian Curlew were in a nearby field. Ducks fared better with several Gadwall, Eurasian Teal and Mallard joining the 2 Mute Swan on the pools.
There were 3 Lesser Redpoll moving through the bushes with a mixed flock of tits and Goldcrest. A single Little Egret was feeding with the pigs along Kinsey Lane, Ince and a Great Egret could be seen in the distance on Ince salt marsh.
Observer: Paul Ralston (images 2-4).
Our daily constituional walk took in the monthly BTO WeBS count, so a walk along Hare’s Lane to avoid the numbers of day walkers led us along Lordship Lane. The flooded fields adjacent to Lower Rake Lane attracted hundreds of Black-headed and lesser numbers of Common Gull. The fields at the Growhow works had two swan herds one of 22 (2 juvenile) Whooper and 11 Mute Swan, 2 Greylag Goose and a Great Egret joining the swans, because it wanted to be one added to the flavour.
A look across Frodsham Score salt marsh included sightings of 4 Great and 7 Little Egret with the usual mass of Canada Goose, 7 Barnacle Goose and some Pink-footed Goose on their periphery. These birds were augmented by skeins of pink’s coming in from the south numbering hundreds during our walk. The first spring lambs could be seen out on the score banks.
Walking back and the fields of No.3 tank had skittish flocks of both Northern Lapwing and a tidy flock of c750 European Golden Plover. Ducks were still few but I managed to count 27 Northern Shoveler, c100 Eurasian Teal and 14 Mallard. A Lesser Redpoll flew over the ‘splashing pool’ and disappeared out across No.3 tank.
Looking across No.6 tank and with 121 Northern Shoveler, 231 Eurasian Teal, 14 Common Shelduck, 7 Tufted Duck and 14 Northern Pintail. A Western Marsh Harrier was loafing over the area.
Another essential exercise walk on the marsh was made cut but still rewarding with birds seen en route.
A look up to the Weaver Estuary where the immature drake Greater Scaup was still present, a flock of c350 Tufted Duck, 71 Common Pochard, c20 Common Goldeneye, c500 Eurasian Teal, 51 Mallard, 7 Gadwall and several Common Shelduck. Also c200 Common Redshank were roosting during the high tise on the grassy tussocks with 4 European Stonechat bouncing around the banks..
The Peregrine was again perched up on her lofty bue topped tower.
I started todays exercise at Ince where a pair of Mute Swan were on the flooded field and when it eventually thaws it will attract more waders and egrets once again. A mixed flock of c60 Eurasian Teal, Mallard, Northern Shoveler and Gadwall, plus a single Little Grebe on the ice free parts of the various pools.
A skein of Pink-footed Goose could be heard but not seen as they made their way to Frodsham Score to join a more visible Great Egret foraging on the marsh close to the Manchester Ship Canal, and joined by a Little Egret.
A herd of 11 Mute and 22 Whooper Swan were on the field alongside the Holpool Gutter, but were not mixing together and sensibly social distancing. A Western Marsh Harrier drifted over flushing a flock of c40 Northern Lapwing. Another flock of c150 Linnet with European Goldfinch were feeding on the banks of No.4 tank.
I made my way towards Kinsey Lane, Ince where the pig fields are situated, a Sparrowhawk flew low over the fields flushing several Wood Pigeon and Eurasian Curlew on its way.
There were 2 Little Egret, one of which had a bloodied head injury and competed against 3 Grey Heron for the grubs unearthed by the pigs feeding. A flock of c50 Common Snipe were again in the stubble and 2 Common Chiffchaff were in the same area as previously.
Out on Inch salt marsh the tide came in and a mass of Dunlin were moving up and down the River Mersey and were kept mobile by a Western Marsh Harrier in hunting mode, another harrier was noted crossing the ship canal.
Hundreds of Common Shelduck, Mallard and Canada Goose were spread about the marsh and a dog Red Fox marking its territory as it went along, and trying to ambush unwary prey. A further 3 Great Egret and several Little Egret were feeding in the tidal channels as the tide pushed small fish along with it.
Observer: Paul Ralston (images 2-5).
Like Paul we took our one daily form of exercise by walking the lanes of Frodsham Marsh. Walking up to the junctions of Moorditch-Lordship-Hares and Godscroft Lanes would normally be uneventful, but if there was a convenient phonebox to change into my super hero(n) costume I would have. The reason for my marvel capers was because I found an injured Grey Heron with a broken leg, after which I contacted the RSPCA from my phone (which took a while to make my way down from caller 15 to caller 1), but eventually I got through and after giving directions I was assured that an officer would be present as soon as one was available…fair enough. We gave them our contact number and continued our trek.
A Kingfisher flew along the ditch beside Lordship Lane and then over the bank of No.4 tank.
A look across the fields at Ince marsh and the 22 (2 juvenile) Whooper and 11 Mute Swan were still present.
Further on and the salt marshes produced 5 Barnacle Goose with the 100’s of Canada Goose herds.
Several egrets were about and two Peregrine included one sat on a post and a female was perched on the edge of the River Mersey. Also present were 43 Grey Plover and c70 Eurasian Oystercatcher.
No.3 tank had several hundred European Golden Plover and c30 Black-tailed Godwit with numerous Northern Lapwing.
No.6 tank was mostly unfrozen with ducks keeping close to banks and out of the freezing breeze. Back on Moorditch Lane and a return call from the RSPCA officer to say she was on the marsh, but couldn’t find the spot where the heron was orginally located. After giving her directions we all converged on the spot (keeping our distance) and the heron was located and safely secured, placed into a box for transportation to Stapely Grange wildlife hospital near Winsford for an unknown fate?
Observers: JS & WSM (images1 & 6-13).
Like a giant dandelion clock the turbines blowing off plovers. She plovers me, she plovers me not.
A large skein of c5000 Pink-footed Goose passed over Stanlow heading east this morning a change in direction and numbers (2000) from yesterday when there were yesterday. A look over the salt marsh at high tide and a mass of Dunlin were moving about the tide line many settling by the mouth of the River Gowy.
After work a quick visit to Ince on my daily exercise routine produced a single Little Egret with the pigs at the pig farm on Kinsey Lane and a flock of c150 Northern Lapwing and c80 Common Snipe were foraging in the stubble. There were two possibly four Common Chiffchaff noted feeding at the bottom of a hedge and c40 Pied Wagtail and a single Grey Wagtail were also foraging in the stubble.
Out on Frodsham Score and Ince salt marsh was a Western Marsh Harrier that at on a piece of driftwood with a couple of hundred Common Shelduck feeding close by, and 2 more Little Egret and a single Great Egret were present. A party of 4 Eurasian Curlew joined forces and drove away a couple of Carrion Crow off the marsh.
Observer and image: Paul Ralston. Paul is now now twitter: @PaulRalston17
A Green Sandpiper was below the new bridge at Wigg Island, Runcorn (WSM).
Took my daily walk along the River Weaver this morning, but the change in weather means the birds from yesterday have moved on with no sign of the Greylag herd of the fancy decorative Black Swan pair. There was however a decent number of ducks, but alas mostly on the far side and thus to distant for scrutiny. The Tufted Duck, Eurasian Teal, Common Pochard, Mallard, Common Shelduck, Gadwall and Common Goldeneye were all present with several Great Crested Grebe and plenty of Eurasian Coot. A herd of c300 Canada Goose and 10 Mute Swan were on the river with more Canada Goose out on the estuary.A flock of Dunlin were huddled together at the edge of the River Mersey with Eurasian Curlew and Common Redshank feeding close by 2 Little Egret joining them.
The fields close to Marsh Farm held a mixed flock of several hundred Northern Lapwing and European Golden Plover with Fieldfare, Song Thrush and Redwing foraging amongst them.
No.6 tank still had a covering of thin ice and the Eurasian Teal were crowded together at one end but were flushed by a Common Buzzard looking for any signs of weakness in their flanks. A Little Egret was sat in the field alongside Hares Lane and another Common Buzzard sat on a post agitating the Common Moorhen in the ditch below.
Observer: Paul Ralston (images 1-2).
Our daily walk routine took us around No.6 tank along the tracks avoiding other walkers.
A Peregrine flew over and caused a bit of bother with the plovers feeding in the fields. Another bird (female) was sat on top of the blue topped chimney at Weston Point.
There wasn’t a lot more to add to what Paul had seen earlier but a couple of Western Marsh Harrier coming in from the Mersey Estuary with c3000 Pink-footed Goose moving to Frodsham Score at dusk from the direction of the Dee Marshes was unexpected considering their movements recently. 400 European Golden Plover, Water Rail. Cetti’s Warbler and a Common chiffchaff were the only other distractions on our hike.
I began my routine exercise walk at Ince this morning where hundreds of Pink-footed Goose flew out from the estuary to their feeding grounds while some birds turned back disorientated by the fog.
The nature reserve pools held decent numbers of wildfowl on the ice free parts with Northern Shoveler, Eurasian Teal and mostly Mallard and Gadwall which made up the numbers.
Onward to the Manchester Ship Canal where more wildfowl were present a female Common Goldeneye were noted. A Western Marsh Harrier was watched hunting the reedbed on No.4 tank and a Little Egret passed overhead towards Lordship Marsh.
The ‘splashing pool’ was ice free at the far end and held yet more Northern Shoveler and Eurasian Teal. Finches were numerous with flocks of European Goldfinch feeding on the teasle headswith Linnet and Chaffinch joining forces to keep an eye out for the Common
Kestrel and Sparrowhawk hunting the marsh.
The Whooper Swan herd has relocated to the fields adjacent to the Holpool Gutter possibly due to disturbance from a trials bike along Lower Rake Lane.
Back at Ince and a Great Egret was noted near the pools and was wearing a darvic ring.
Observer: Paul Ralston (images 4 & 7-8).
I undertook a long walk down to the marshes with a walk along the River Weaver where 21 Common Goldeneye, 140 Tufted Duck, an imm drake Greater Scaup, 71 Common Pochard, c400 Eurasian Teal, 2 Gadwall, 40 Common Shelduck, 11 Mute Swan, 2 Black Swan (Rob Dennett had seen my earlier), a skein of 101 Greylag Goose flew in from the east and settled on the river, by far the largest ever flock here.
A Great Cormorant had to defend its catch of a large fish from both another cormorant and a Great Black-backed Gull.
A few shorebirds were about but the highlight was 3 Jack Snipe flushed from the river bank and no doubt forced here by the over night frost. There were 6 Common Snipe also seen and a flock of c100 European Golden Plover and c400 Northern Lapwing. A skein of c200 Pink-footed Goose flew over from the east and headed to the Mersey Estuary.
A large vessel entering the Weaver Estuary caused a big tidal save that caused all of the ducks to take flight, fortunately they flew and settled closer to where I was watching from.
Two Western Marsh Harrier were over the reed beds at dusk with ‘legoless’ the broken legged bird causing the roosting Common Starling to perform a mini murmuration.
Video of Pink-footed Geese heading to the Mersey Estuary.
As part of our daily exercise we walk the length of Moorditch Lane taking in No.6 tank en route to the ‘splashing pool’ and back. The majority was still frozen over with a thin layer of water laying on its surface. A collective flock of c900 Eurasian Teal were present with 29 Northern Pintail, 22 Mallard, 7 Common Shelduck and 17 Northern Shoveler.
The ‘splashing pool’ had a few Eurasian Teal and Northern Shoveler but not a lot de to the area being frozen.
Observers: JS & WSM (images 1-2).
A late afternoon walk around Ince. My walk around Kinsey Lane didn’t produce any egrets in the pig fields, just 2 Grey Heron foraging amongst the handful of pigs left rooting about. Northern Lapwing were plentiful with several Common Snipe amongst them and c30 Pied Wagtail, 2 Grey Wagtail and a charm of European Goldfinch were feeding in the stubble.
Out on Frodsham Score salt marsh were several hundred Canada Goose were by the river with c200 Common Shelduck and Mallard closer to the Mancheser Ship Canal with 3 Little Egret and a single Great Egret bring observerd from the road. The ponds held a mixed flock of c150 Eurasian Teal, Northern Shoveler, Mallard. Gadwall, c30 Eurasian Coot, 2 Little Grebe and several Common Moorhen.
At dusk several skeins of Pink-footed Goose, c700 made their way to the salt marsh for the evening.
We walked down to the marsh as part of our allowed one period of exercise a day.I will highlight the species seen on our walk which avoided contact with other people doing likewise. No.6 tank was completely frozen over with adjacent waters no longer providing a sheltered refuge for wildfowl, presumably they have moved out to both the Mersey and Weaver Estuaries.
The Manchester Ship Canal was partly frozen on some parts that were near to the edges. A single 1 Great Crested Grebe, numerous Great Black-backed and Lesser Black-backed Gull with smaller numbers of Herring and Common Gull. The herd of 22 Whooper Swan had joined a herd of 11 Mute Swan on fields close to the estuary.
The salt marshes had hundreds of Canada Goose with 6 Barnacle and c200 Pink-footed Goose, 4 Great Egret, 5 Little Egret and a fly by WesternCattle Egret flying out to Ince pig farm on Kinsey Lane.
There were two Western Marsh Harrier quatering the reeds on No.6 tank while the weather deteriorated during the course of our walk. A Common Buzzard on No.5 tank watched while European Golden Plover in the field around it.