12.09.17. Birdlog.

We were on the Wirral when I got a call from Frank Duff this afternoon regarding a third hand sighting of a phalarope spp that Mike Giverin had chanced upon two birders (who had visited the Frodder’s earlier) at Burton Mere, confused? The upshot of all of this was that Frank went to the marsh to investigate and eventually relocated the ‘phal’ and it turned out to be of the Red-necked variety (and there are a few rednecks down on the marsh ;O). It took a while for me and Sparky to get to the site and… you know you’re late to the party when Phil Oddy is leaving the bird having twitched it from the badlands of east Cheshire. Red-necked Phalarope video here: https://vimeo.com/233547295

We managed to watch this delicate oceanic wanderer spinning on the edge of the c350 Black-tailed Godwit, 7 Ruff, 4 Ringed Plover and 8 Dunlin. That wrecking ball juvenile Peregrine smashed through the godwit flock like a ten pin bowling session. There wasn’t a wader left with every one of them scattering in various tight panic flocks. After the melee there was no sign of the phalarope and not a lot of anything else. It had still not returned by 17.00 hrs.

We briefly met Luke and he mentioned that there was an adult Gannet out on the River Weaver. When we had traipsed around the eastern sides of both No.5 and No.1 tanks I eventually met Frank who was watching the bird on the far banks of the Weaver estuary  and for all the world dead! Except, it was just asleep and woke long enough to raise its head and flap its wings before going back to sleep again. Gannet video here: https://vimeo.com/233542599

The estuary also had a mixed flock of 200 hirundines with an additional attachment of 8 Common Swift.

Observers: Luke Oszanlov-Harris, Frank Duff, WSM (and video) & Sparky.

24.04.17. Birdlog

After some chores were attended to at home I eventually made my way down to the marsh this evening in glorious sunshine. When I arrived I met Arthur who stoically stood on the banks using the Elder trees as cover from the chilling northerly wind.

The cold northerly was really responsible for the holdup with the godwits heading north. All over the country northbound shorebirds have been gathering and waiting for this weather to change into a favourable direction. And so it was that the Black-tailed Godwit flocks gathered tightly below the northern banks of No.6 tank. Each one attempting to gain some kind of shelter from the piercing wind. Generally it was a real struggle for them to keep their footing and many birds were blown sideways. The leggy godwits were adopting a John Wayne stance to combat the buffering breeze. Legs spread wide and wings bunched and tucked away almost like a gun slinger. Hidden amid the c1500 Black-tail gems were 6 colour ringed birds and 7 Bar-tailed Godwit including two ultra rare summer plumaged birds…a big grin spread across my chops.

Other highlights were 6 winter Knot, 125 Redshank, 30 Avocet, 12 Ruff, with a selection of dandy plumed males and 3 Dunlin. A Curlew Sandpiper was reported earlier by one of the bird information services?

A Marsh Harrier hung in the wind like a kite over the southern banks while hirundines cut through the blow with all the ease that only they can master.

Ducks again included c120 Tufted Duck with 150 Common Shelduck and numerous Common Teal.

A fine birding experience and all I have to do now is thaw out my extremities for Wednesday evenings Free ‘Frodsham Festival of Walks’ Birdwatch which begins starts 6.30 pm on Brook Furlong Lane/Marsh Lane, Frodsham. All are welcome.

Earlier the Peregrine was perched up on the heraldic shields on Ethelfleda railway bridge across the Narrows at Runcorn Bridge.

Observers: Arthur Harrison, WSM (images 1-9).

A Peregrine and a Sparrowhawk was seen and two colour ringed Black-tailed Godwit were spotted by Joe Chester (image 10).

Several Whinchat were with a dozen Wheatear along the fields on Lordship Marsh.

Observer: Graham Manson (image 11).

Gowy Meadows revisited.

Had a walk over to the Gowy Meadows after work this evening and bumped into Paul Lee. Weboth shared multiple Wheatear and at one point there were 5 Whinchat in a line on a fence (you wait all Winter for a chat and five come at once).

Observer: Paul Ralston (image 12).

Swallow video by WSM here: https://vimeo.com/216622652