Setting the scene on the incoming tide was a pair of Great White Egret tiptoeing their way along the tide line with Little Egret in a supporting role. A female Merlin was again poised and set for the enviable passerine glut.
3000 Golden Plover, 8000 Lapwing, 200 Grey Plover, 100 Knot, 10000 Dunlin, 50 Oystercatcher and typically for this time of year 3 scarce Bar-tailed Godwit for the marsh.
Observer: Frank Duff.
A really refreshing afternoon at the marsh. We parked up at the same time as Frank who was heading off to the score for high tide. No.6 tank stayed surprisingly quiet considering it was a big high tide. Maybe the large amount of shooters were putting the birds off. Anyway, the numbers for the count were: 100 Dunlin, 1 Curlew, 300 Grey Plover, 300 Golden Plover, 10 Redshank, 1 Black-tailed Godwit, 100 Lapwing, 6 Common Gull, 3 Great Black-backed Gull, 8 Black-headed Gull, 7 Herring Gull, 7 Shoveler, 3 Cormorant, 3 Tufted Duck, 30 Common Teal, 40 Mallard, 4 Wigeon, 2 Common Shelduck, 3 Grey Heron and a solitary Moorhen .
Other birds spotted throughout the day included a Marsh Harrier hunting for most of the afternoon across the No.6 tank reeds. A very pale phase Common Buzzard spent over an hour sitting in the grass on No.5 tank, a Sparrowhawk did a flyby and a Kestrel was hunting over the new wetland area on No.3 tank. A large flock of Linnet flew by and settled in a tree alongside us for a while. A flock of at least 50 Pied Wagtail were feeding on the mud at the edge of the water on No.6 tank. Redwing and Fieldfare were plentiful and the Starlings were starting to group as were packed up for the day.
A pair of Great Black-backed Gulls were feasting on the sheep carcass along with several Ravens. On the way out we stopped to watch a pair of Stonechat sitting up high in the reeds at the edge of No.5 tank.
Thanks to: Nigel, Heather (and images), Findlay and Harley Wilde aka the Wilde Bunch for covering the WeBS count for me.
A ‘trektellen’ count between 07.19 – 09.20hrs at Marsh Farm was without any obvious movement. Lots of hirundines and Swifts fed over the fields. 700 Swallows, 100 House Martin, 400 Sand Martins and 100 Swifts.
Yellow Wagtails totalled ten birds, there was a single Grey Wagtail, 4 Pied Wagtails and a pristine juvenile White Wagtail that sat on the fence next to me but flew before any photos could be taken. Meadow Pipits were more obvious than of late with 10 birds feeding around and about, a feeding flock of 600 Starlings flew west and a female House Sparrow sat on top of the hay stack.
A count on the high track between No.6 and No.4 tanks between 10.00-15.00 hrs produced a south-westerly movement of Common Buzzard which totalled 16 plus one flock of 8 which I took to be local birds. A lone Greenshank overflew calling several times, there were six Kestrels around at any one time and a big juvenile Peregrine skimmed my position and looked at me as it went past!
Passerines included two juvenile Whitethroats and a juvenile Reed Warbler, which, along with 7 Chiffchaffs, a Wren, a Chaffinch, a Blackcap and a Great Tit, all fed in one Elderberry bush.
Observer and images: Tony Broome.
The high water brought in 3 Little Stint to No.6 tank (Frank Duff).
There’s always something to see at Frodsham Marsh and if the birding is a little slack then there’s the big ships that sail through the marsh via the Manchester Ship Canal which will hold your interest before the birding picks up.
The large haystack at Marsh Farm is a great wind barrier and often attracts migrating birds to shelter from the rain and wind. It was early doors and a ‘trektellen’ count from and over the farm started at 09.50-10.30 hrs: A flock ahead of heavy rain featured 800 Swallows, 300 Sand Martins, 50 House Martin, 50 Swift, a solitary Yellow Wagtail and 23 Lapwing heading south-west.
No.6 tank from 10.40-14.00 hrs: A male Marsh Harrier was perched on the grassy field of No.5 and then a little later over No.6.tank. Also noted were 30 Black-headed Gull, 12 Common Gull (with 56 there at 16.50hrs). An adult moulting Mediterranean Gull flew off high to the south at 11.24 hrs. Note: Green ring on left leg below knee, metal ring on right leg above knee. It is possible this bird is from Hamburg, Germany where this colour combination occurs but obviously without the letter or number code it would be difficult for curtain?
Also present were 24 Redshank, 300 Dunlin, 150 Ringed Plover, 9 Black-tailed Godwit, 2 Little Stint, 2 Greenshank, 1 Turnstone, a juvenile Spotted Redshank, 12 Lapwing, a Common Buzzard and a juvenile Peregrine. Finally here a count of 40 Pied Wagtail.
Nearby No.4 tank had 4 Common Buzzard, 2 juvenile Willow Warbler in fresh green and primrose yellow plumage, 13 Chiffchaffs, 20 Long-tailed Tit and 6 Ravens.
The Splashing Pool still had a pair of Little Grebe plus with a small chick. The secluded pool on No. 6 also had a Little Grebe pair with a bigger sized chick.
Observers: Tony Broome (and images), Frank Duff.
It took a while for this little critter to emerge from the wood (so to speak) hence the post title, Sacré bleu being a French curse!
Extracts of an email from Jenny Gill who co-ordinates sightings of colour-ringed Black-tailed Godwits. This one is from No.6 tank on 14.08.14.
We’ve had quite a bit of discussion about this sighting and we are now pretty sure that the flag on this one must be Orange (thanks to Pete for finding a photo to confirm that ON-YRf has smaller rings and the Rf is indeed on the right leg, as it should be). The flag is therefore likely to be a stained orange, which is a bird ringed in France.
Thanks to everyone for detective work on this one!
Previous locations of this bird are as from details listed below and include: date & time of observation, country and location, observer, latitude/longitude, habitat and where available flock size.
26/01/2009 NA FR PORT-DES-BARQUES monportail nord Pichard, A 45,930 -1,070 NA NA NA
10/04/2009 NA NL OUDERKERK-SUR-L’AMSTEL landje van Geijsel Van Grieken, G 52,280 4,920 NA NA NA
10/01/2010 NA FR PORT-DES-BARQUES estuaire charente Leuchtmann, M & Blanc, JF 45,950 -1,070 NA NA NA
17/01/2010 NA FR PORT-DES-BARQUES estuaire charente Leutchmann, M & Blanc, J-F 45,950 -1,070 NA NA NA
13/02/2010 NA FR PORT-DES-BARQUES estuaire charente NA 45,950 -1,070 NA NA NA
19/07/2010 8:00 FR MOEZE le mornay Jomat, L 45,880 -1,080 NA NA 100
22/07/2010 NA FR MOEZE reserve naturelle Lelong, V & Loriol, A 45,880 -1,080 lagune NA 370
28/07/2010 NA FR MOEZE reserve naturelle Jomat, L 45,880 -1,080 lagune reposoir 120
05/09/2010 16:00 FR MOEZE reserve naturelle Lelong, V & Cuvier, Z 45,880 -1,080 lagune reposoir 2100
06/09/2010 16:00 FR MOEZE reserve naturelle Aubry, P & Parisien, A 45,880 -1,080 lagune reposoir 2000
12/09/2010 NA FR MOEZE reserve naturelle Lelong, V 45,880 -1,080 lagune reposoir 600
16/12/2010 15:00 FR PORT-DES-BARQUES estuaire charente Rousseau, P 45,950 -1,070 vasière reposoir 3000
17/12/2010 13:00 FR PORT-DES-BARQUES estuaire charente Lelong, V 45,950 -1,070 vasière NA 3000
11/08/2011 19:00 FR MOEZE reserve naturelle lelong, V 45,880 -1,080 lagune reposoir 3000
07/09/2011 13:00 FR PORT-DES-BARQUES estuaire charente Lelong, V 45,950 -1,070 vasière alimentation 1130
08/09/2011 13:00 FR PORT-DES-BARQUES estuaire charente Lelong, V 45,950 -1,070 vasière alimentation 400
15/09/2011 8:00 FR YVES reserve naturelle Lelong, V 46,040 -1,060 lagune reposoir 2500
07/10/2011 12:00 FR PORT-DES-BARQUES estuaire charente Lelong, V 45,950 -1,070 vasière alimentation 2800
08/10/2011 12:00 FR PORT-DES-BARQUES estuaire charente Lelong, V 45,950 -1,070 vasière alimentation 3000
09/10/2011 13:00 FR PORT-DES-BARQUES estuaire charente Lelong, V 45,950 -1,070 vasière alimentation NA
13/10/2011 17:00 FR YVES reserve naturelle Babin, G 46,040 -1,060 lagune reposoir 4600
20/10/2011 13:00 FR PORT-DES-BARQUES estuaire charente Rousseau, P & Lelong, V 45,950 -1,070 vasière reposoir 2500
21/10/2011 13:00 FR PORT-DES-BARQUES estuaire charente Lelong, V 45,950 -1,070 vasière alimentation 4200
22/10/2011 13:00 FR PORT-DES-BARQUES estuaire charente Lelong, V 45,950 -1,070 vasière reposoir 1700
23/10/2011 13:00 FR PORT-DES-BARQUES estuaire charente Rousseau, P 45,950 -1,070 vasière reposoir 4700
25/10/2011 14:00 FR YVES reserve naturelle Babin, G 46,040 -1,060 lagune reposoir 3200
02/12/2011 13:00 FR PORT-DES-BARQUES estuaire charente Rousseau, P 45,950 -1,070 vasière alimentation 3000
11/12/2011 15:00 FR PORT-DES-BARQUES estuaire charente Rousseau, P 45,950 -1,070 vasière reposoir 800
21/12/2011 15:30 FR PORT-DES-BARQUES estuaire charente Lelong, V 45,950 -1,070 vasière alimentation NA
29/12/2011 12:00 FR PORT-DES-BARQUES ile madame Rousseau, P 45,960 -1,110 vasière alimentation NA
06/01/2012 16:30 FR PORT-DES-BARQUES estuaire charente Lelong, V 45,950 -1,070 vasière alimentation 3900
02/02/2012 14:00 FR PORT-DES-BARQUES estuaire charente Lelong, V 45,950 -1,070 vasière alimentation 2000
05/02/2012 17:00 FR PORT-DES-BARQUES estuaire charente Lelong, V 45,950 -1,070 vasière alimentation 2200
19/02/2012 13:30 FR PORT-DES-BARQUES estuaire charente Jomat, L 45,950 -1,070 vasière reposoir 800
07/03/2012 9:00 FR PORT-DES-BARQUES estuaire charente Lelong, V 45,950 -1,070 vasière alimentation 800
29/04/2012 12:00 IS ALFTAFJORDUR NA Alves, J 66,020 -22,97 vasière NA NA
22/08/2012 18:00 FR MOEZE reserve naturelle Jomat, L 45,880 -1,080 vasière reposoir 2000
29/08/2012 14:00 FR MOEZE reserve naturelle Jomat, L 45,880 -1,080 lagune reposoir 3500
02/10/2012 NA FR YVES reserve naturelle Laubin, A 46,040 -1,060 lagune reposoir NA
16/01/2013 16:00 FR MOEZE reserve naturelle Rousseau, P 45,880 -1,080 prairie alimentation 600
23/01/2013 13:30 FR PORT-DES-BARQUES estuaire charente Lelong, V 45,950 -1,070 vasière alimentation 3500
07/02/2013 13:00 FR PORT-DES-BARQUES estuaire charente Lelong, V 45,950 -1,070 vasière alimentation 3000
20/02/2013 NA FR PORT-DES-BARQUES estuaire charente Rousseau, P 45,950 -1,070 vasière reposoir 1000
30/10/2013 16:30 FR PORT-DES-BARQUES estuaire charente Jomat, L 45,950 -1,070 vasière alimentation 1500
14/08/2014 18:00 GB FRODSHAM frodsham marsh farm, WS Morton, 53,296 -2,757 lagune reposoir NA (it was actually on no.6 tank but i guess that was lost in translation-Sacré bleu)
If you see any Black-tailed Godwits with colour rings/flags send details to Jenny Gill at mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org
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Shorebirds saw an increase in c2000 Dunlin and 1200 Black-tailed Godwit, 300 Curlew, 1 Little Egret down river and a juvenile Peregrine keeping an eye on things.
Observer: Tony Broome.
After a brief respite and onto No.4 tank overlooking Frodsham Score where again a juvenile Peregrine shot through. Following the falcon was a juvenile Marsh Harrier and then shortly after by a juvenile Hobby chasing a passerine over the old magazine site. Several Little Egret were seen and although difficult to get an accurate count we estimated that 4 birds were present.
42 Raven were out and about the marsh and banks bordering the Manchester Ship Canal. A dead cow out on the salt marsh should bring in quite a few others?
High tide was rushing onto the exposed mudflats so a hasty retreat to the comfort of No.6 tank for the tide. 500 Ringed Plover, 800 Dunlin came in dribs and drabs but when they settled they didn’t move around much and made for a thorough scrutiny through the ‘scopes’. Several Redshank, 4 Black-tailed Godwit and 3-4 Turnstone added to the count.
Two Ruddy Shelduck dropped onto the tank for the period of the tide before flying back out to the feeding grounds on the Mersey Estuary
A Little Egret flew over without settling and the watch ended with a Peregrine sat atop the usual spot above the Weaver Estuary.
A Garganey was present briefly on No.6 tank (Colin Davis) and a Crane observed over Hale at midday avoided our detection? Three hours later it or another was over Mold, N Wales.
Observers: Tony Broome (images 2-4), WSM (video images 1 & 5).
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09.08.14. Birdlog (Trektellen & WeBS Count)
This was the start of ‘Trektellen’ at Frodsham Marsh. What is Trektellen? It began as a Dutch ‘vismig’ online site, that is, a visible migration on-line database that birders from across Europe contribute to and the results are published each day on the Trektellen website. ‘Trek’ means migration and ‘tellen’ means to count. There are around 540 sites in eight countries, including about 125 sites in the UK. Anyone has access. Most of the major migration sites in the UK are listed and the nearest to Frodsham Marsh is Hale Head or mostly the lighthouse. Some of the counts carried out by Rob Cockbain and Jeff Clarke have been impressive and RC believes that the Hale birds head south-east, somewhere in the vicinity of Marsh Farm on the south side of the Mersey.
We agreed that, myself and WSM would attempt our own watch and follow-up with counts from Marsh Farm and today was the inaugural count. I arrived at 0735hrs to a perfect August morning. The temperature was a pleasant 14c and crystal clear with a light westerly blowing. Interestingly there was no southwards movement from the direction of Hale lighthouse, but a definite east-west migration along the Manchester Ship Canal, with Swift, hirundine and Wagtails moving, their calls emanating from the sparkling blue sky. In three hours, 49 Swift headed west with a local feeding party of around 80 that stopped by briefly, there were 80 Sand Martin that also went west but around 300 hung around to feed and rest on the roof of Marsh Farm. Ten Yellow Wagtail went west in ones and twos and eight Swallow passed by in a party. So, a modest count for a first attempt. Interesting all the same.
Out on Frodsham Score there were the two Ruddy Shelduck in with around 5000 Shelducks. Waders consisted mainly of Curlew, around 500 and Black-tailed Godwit, possibly as many as 700, but counting them wasn’t easy with them constantly moving about. 200 Lapwing were flushed and flew inland, possibly by the Peregrine as it left the blue-topped chimney.
WeBS Count: No.6 tank had 450 Black-headed Gull, 22 Common Gull, 5 Ringed Plover including a pair with a small chick, and two Dunlin initially before 30+ flew in and out and then seven dropped in and fed. Ducks consisted of 9 Gadwall, 107 Teal, 66 Mallard, 27 Shelduck and just a single female Tufted with seven small young. A lone Black-tailed Godwit fed on the far side.
Another aerial rarity to make anyone look skywards was a RAF Lancaster Bomber (pictured below) flying over the River Mersey.
I finished the day back at Marsh Farm as the tide went out. To the west, the clouds darkened on the distant horizon as ex-hurricane Bertha made full steam towards the UK, predicted to make landfall overnight bringing unseasonably strong gales and heavy rain… Autumn looms around the corner.
Observer and images: Tony Broome.