Guido’s Guest Blog (06.01.14 Birdlog)

The Silent Menace 

Peregrine. 1 (189)The marsh can be good to excellent in Spring, at times positively dull in Summer, a disappointment these days in the Autumn, but birding Winters on the marsh always have drama.

Upto a thousand Lapwing were on No. 3 tank along with a smaller number of Golden Plover. A couple of hundred metres away from them sat on the grass a female Peregrine staring in their direction. At first a few Lapwing flew over her to investigate, then a few more and eventually word of the silent menace spread and the whole flock took to the air. One or two brazen individuals attempted a half-hearted dive bomb but nothing could stirred the Peregrine who perhaps was trying to pass herself of as a vegetarian. Eventually most of the flock settled down with some flying off to the East.

11.02.13. Merlin and Skylark, frodsham marsh

Nearby a Merlin chased and missed a Starling over No. 5 tank, then settled on a post and got drenched by the now torrential rain. I saw it later pestering a Kestrel.

Both Buzzard and Sparrowhawk were noted and a total of 6 Raven were countered in various locations.

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100 Curlew feeding in a flooded field by Rake Lane and a pair of Little Grebe were in Holpool gutter.

Two Stonechat on the dung heap at Marsh Farm as well as 5 Meadow Pipit. Also 5 Pied Wagtail, a small flock of Linnet and 3 Redwings by the horse paddock. 30 Fieldfare were in a field south of Straight Length Lane.

At the height of the tide as the light was fading and rain was lashing down, I couldn’t even risk opening my car window as several thousand Dunlin started to stream onto No. 6 tank from the river with Knot, Golden Plover, Curlew and more Lapwings.

This shows the continuing importance of the marsh as a roost for wintering waders. Lets hope it stays that way. Nonetheless a good fun day.

Buon anno and Ciao

Guido D’Isidoro.

PS: My son says that he can tell when I have been to Frodsham Marsh when he sees mud on the roof of the car.

Images: Stuart Maddocks. 

27.05.13. Mike Buckley’s Guest Blog

Bank Holiday Monday

Shaun picked me up around 6.15 am and after doing some watering at his allotments, we headed off to Frodsham Marsh. We decided on a different approach this morning and went up towards the Weaver Bend and Marsh Farm. Wren, Rook, Carrion Crow and Chaffinches were the first birds seen there. A Chiifchaff (pictured) sang from an overhead wire, much easier to id that way (thank you).

Sedge Warblers seemed to be all over the place and the mechanical churrs and clicks and whistles had an almost hypnotic effect as you walked along. Great birds all the same and this one came into view very obligingly for a nice photo.

Upon arrival at the Weaver Bend, we could see Canada Geese with goslings, a solitary Oystercatcher, around 20 or so Shelduck and a few Tufties. Overhead a pair of Buzzards put on a great display for us and showed some very agile moves.

It was very quiet on the way to Marsh Farm, but right at the corner before the cattle grid we came across a large flock of Linnets, these two (pictured) hung around on the wires just long enough for Shaun to get a quick snap.

A bonus Lesser Whitethroat was spotted before darting back into cover and a Meadow Pipit ascended up singing its beautiful song. A couple of Skylarks could be heard in the distance and upon arrival at the M.S.C. (Manchester Ship Canal) where the shooting club cross over in their little boat, a family of inbred geese eyed us warily before swimming out onto the canal.

A Great Black Backed Gull made its way up the canal and lots of Swallows and Swifts were hunting right on the far bend. A Meadow Pipit was feeding around the cattle trough, before flying off into the long grass.

The wind was getting quite blustery now so we decided to head up towards No 6 tank and see what we could spot up there.

Well, it was the quietest I think I have ever seen it, a couple of Mute Swans, some Tufted Duck and the odd Mallard were out on the water. A Kestrel hovered in the wind in the distance and did so effortlessly, a joy to watch. A lovely Goldfinch flew onto a nearby post and gave us a tinkling song before flying off like a bolt of lightning, blown on the strengthening winds.

A Chaffinch was pinking noisily and the reason soon became apparent as it wanted us to move on quickly as it obviously had a nest nearby as it had a beak full of insects!!

A couple of Ringed Plovers were on No 6 tank and then we got a brief glimpse of a Hobby, before it flew quickly out of sight, our 1st of the year 🙂 A Little Grebe and some Tufties were on the pool before No 4 reedbed and we managed to get a shot of the male Marsh Harrier as he hunted above the reeds.

On the walk back to the van, we added a couple of Reed Buntings to the list

Amazingly, we spotted two Marsh Harriers over Boostings Wood, this is the first I’ve heard of them being in this area and all the more exciting due to the fact I only live about 10 minutes away 🙂 we tried to get further views by cutting through the Wood, but could not relocate. Blackcap, Goldcrest and Song Thrush were heard and a Common Sandpiper was spotted on the far bank of the M.S.C.

We got this shot of a huge tanker was being pulled towards Eastham Locks by a small tug boat, before calling it a morning and heading home, just in time as the rain started about 12.15.

Observers: Mike Buckley, Shaun Hickey (Photos).

Not a bad day’s tally for Mike and Shaun considering my evening visit was a washout with 3 Ringed Plover and low flying Swifts over thr track being the highlight. WSM

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For more of Mike’s birding adventures check him out at

14.04.13. Birdlog (Findlay Wilde Guest Blog 1)

14.04.13. Birdlog

(Guest blogger Findlay Wilde aged 11 years) http://wildeaboutbirds.blogspot.co.uk/

14.04.13. Findlay Wilde birding Frodsham Marsh

Hi my name is Findlay Wilde and I have been interested in birds for at least five years now, so today I am going to be telling you all about my experiences at Frodsham Marsh.

Ever since my first visit to Frodsham Marsh, I knew it was going to be a special place as the first two birds I saw there were Stonechats. Since that first visit I have been lucky enough to see a huge variety of birdlife; from waders to raptors and even a Hooded Crow!

Everything about the marshes is so enticing, it is always offering me, and probably everyone else that visits, so much wildlife to see and listen to.

14.04.13. Marsh Harrier, No 6 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Findlay Wilde

Today’s visit was fantastic. The first bird to greet us over Lordship Marsh was a stunning male Marsh Harrier. He was hunting along the bank of No 6 Tank. But the best thing today was that the female Marsh Harrier was hunting just a bit further along above No 4 Tank.  We saw lots of Kestrels hunting all round No 6 Tank today, but surprisingly, we didn’t see a single Buzzard.

As we carried on along Lordship Marsh we spotted 20 Shelduck, 50 Curlew and 3 Skylark (although there is now one less Skylark as you will find out later). It was also great to see 5 or 6 Swallows dipping and falling over Lordship Marsh. And all along the edge of No 6 Tank we were treated to the sound of several Chiffchaff.

14.04.13. Male Marsh Harrier, Frodsham Marsh. Findlay Wilde

As we got closer to the pumping pool near No 6 Tank, the male Marsh Harrier appeared again, but this time back in his usual spot over No 4 Tank. He put on such a great show and then all of a sudden swooped down and hopefully caught something tasty as we didn’t see him again until we were leaving.

There were about 28 Tufted Duck in the pumping pool, much more than I have seen there recently. More than one Swallow was flying round the pool and again I could hear lots of Chiffchaffs.

14.04.13.Willow Warbler, frodsham Marsh. findlay Wilde

We walked past the pool and towards the Score, stopping every now and again to check for the Marsh Harriers. When the Ship Canal was just below us, we spotted a beautiful little bird in the bushes which I am 96% sure is a Willow Warbler – have a look at the picture and see what you think. I have gone for Willow Warbler because it was not chiffchaffing and it did not have the dark legs of a Chiffchaff. I am sure Bill will correct me if it’s wrong!

Next stop was between No5 and No6 Tank. Considering it was high tide, there was nothing much to report from No6 Tank other than about 30 stunning Shelducks and a group of about 100 Teal and Gadwall.

14.04.14. Great Black-backed Gull pair, frodsham Marsh. Findlay Wilde.

In the distance, across No5 Tank a pair of Great Black-backed Gulls were snuggled up together, maybe sheltering from the strong winds.

We decided to go along Lordship Marsh one more time before home, and that’s when the Skylark count reduced by 1! As we were sitting watching, the Skylark flew upwards higher and higher from the field and from no-where a raptor shot in (I think it was a Merlin) and took the Skylark in mid-air.

A very dramatic end to another exciting adventure on Frodsham Marsh. The wind and rain must have kept people away, as there weren’t many people about to talk to; something else I really enjoy at Frodsham Marsh, all the helpful birders.

Findlay Wilde.

Assisting Findlay with his sightings and after he went home for his much needed dinner were Frank and Bill who only managed to see 5 Wheatear and 5 Swallow, 4 Sand Martin, 1 House Martin and 14 Fieldfare on or over the pipes on No 1 tank and riding the strong winds over No 6 tank.

Male and female Marsh Harrier over No 6 tank.

100 Curlew in fields along Lordship Lane.

Observers: Frank Duff, WSM.

Additionally the 2 Brent Goose from yesterday reappeared today on the Mersey WeBS count on Frodsham Score.