16.08.14. Birdlog

16.08.14. Birdlog

16.08.14. Ruddy Shelduck in flight, No.6 tank, frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton

Trektellen Count (07.18hrs-10.16hrs):
A watch from Marsh Farm this morning overlooking Frodsham Score resulted in 5000 Common Shelduck, 3 Ruddy Shelduck (2 males & female type), 2 male Common Scoter (flew west) and 460 Mallard feeding on mudflats.
16.08.14. No.6 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Tony Broome (12)

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.

Passerines included: 100 Swallow, c300 Sand Martin, 4 Yellow Wagtail flying high east then 5 south, 21 Pied/White Wagtail south, 5 Swift west, 1 Grey Wagtail south, 500 Starling around farm and a juvenile Peregrine noted.

Observer: Tony Broome.

16.08.14. No.6 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Tony Broome (7)

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?

16.08.14. No.6 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Tony Broome (4)

16.08.14. Ruddy Shelduck, No.6 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton

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)

09.08.14. Birdlog (Trektellen & WeBS Count)

09.08.14. Ruddy Shelduck, Frodsham Score. Tony Broome.

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.

09.08.14. Sand Martins, Marsh Farm. Tony Broome.

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.

09.08.14. Ruddy Shelduck, Frodsham Score. Tony Broome.

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.

09.08.14. Black-tailed Godwit, Frodsham Score. Tony Broome. 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.

09.08.14. Marsh Farm, Tony Broome

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.

09.08.14. Lancaster Bomber. Tony Broome.

Observer and images: Tony Broome.


WeBS Sunday Count

WeBS Help Needed

This Sunday is the monthly Mersey Estuary WeBS waterfowl count. This is your chance to get out onto the Mersey salt marshes where no one else can go and contribute to our knowledge and conservation of one of Britain’s best wetlands. Come and join us we need some new birders. email, dermot.smith71@gmail.com for more details. Also see the facebook page Mersey Estuary WeBS

WeBS March Count Highlights

14.03.13. Weaver Bend. Bill Morton.

Enclosed details of Sunday’s count from the Mersey Estuary . Thanks to those that braved the cold weather.

Although the weather might not seem like it, Spring is in the air and our count shows many species are on the move. The swans seem to have left the estuary but there are still some Whooper Swan in the fields near the M56 at Frodsham Marsh. Our Barnacle Geese have disappeared and the Canada Geese have shrunk dramatically. Shelduck are still in good numbers while Teal, Wigeon, Pintail and Mallard numbers as you would expect have dropped significantly. We still have at least one Great White Egret which was at Hale Marsh (sorry Toni and Ray Sherlock). Oystercatcher numbers are holding up as are Grey Plover with the highest count this winter, the Golden Plover are in good numbers, but Lapwing in very small numbers compared to last month. Dunlin numbers have dropped as they usually do in March, but Curlew and Redshank are still in good numbers. The Black-tailed Godwits were again impressive with 2,000 in Manisty Bay. Good to see the first Avocet of the year, the first summer visitor? Still some raptors and Ian had a male Hen Harrier fly right in front of him.

The next duck Count is April 14th, meeting at 11am at Stanlow let me know if you come. It is a very low high tide, so places along the north shore and New Ferry might not get covered and so hang onto some good numbers. The will be plenty of migrants about then so keep your eyes peeled. In April 1999 there was a Terek Sandpiper at Frodsham Marsh that used the Mersey Estuary and then in May that year a Broad-billed Sandpiper also turned up, though neither was seen on a WeBS count.

We said we would have a Spring meeting. That is now confirmed. Thursday 18th April Wigg Island, Runcorn at 6.30 until 8.30. Let me know if you are coming so I can get enough biscuits, or just turn up.

Contact Dermot for further details on dermot.smith71@googlemail.com; if you fancy coming along to the counts. We might even get some gull watching in as they fly passed Wigg Island before the meeting?

Draft agenda: Review of the Winter, Summary of who counts where, how we drum up more counters and where do we deploy them, Relationships with the farmer and wildfowlers, Slide show, bring your own local bird and wildlife photos on a memory stick and we can all have a look at what people have seen.

Dermot Smith (WeBS co-ordinator)

09.03.13. Birdlog WeBS Count

09.03.13. Birdlog WeBS Count

10 Cormorant, 16 Common Pochard, Pintail (male & female) , 31 Tufted Duck, 26 Common Shelduck 13 Wigeon, 43 Mallard, 350 Common Teal, 1 Avocet, 34 Dunlin, 12 Ringed Plover (2 pairs in display) and two pairs of Water Rail calling from the reeds.

Observers: Frank Duff, WSM.

A Chiffchaff on the western banks of No 5 tank. The Raven total is increasing with c 30 birds present on both No 5 tank and the score.

09.03.13. Spring Lambs and Golden Plovers. Bill Morton.

500 Golden Plovers included 4 birds acquiring summer plumage.

2 Oystercatcher and 14 Tufted Duck at the Pumping Station pool. A 2nd summer male Marsh Harrier flew over then moved off to No 4 tank soon after.

Frodsham Score: 4 Little Egret, 70 Pink-footed Goose, 560 Canada Goose, 400 Wigeon, 120 Common Shelduck.

Observer: WSM.

10.03.13. WeBS March Count

10.03.13. WeBS March Count

The Mersey Estuary is one of the best wetlands in Britain for birds. We desperately need birdwatchers to help with the monthly Wetland Bird Survey (duck count). It does involve a long walk. If you are interested in getting involved in Sundays count please send Dermot Smith an email. Contact dermot.smith71@googlemail.com.

The 'short' walk n the WeBS count image by Toni Ray Sherlock

The ‘long walk’ on the WeBS count image by Toni Ray Sherlock

Last month saw another really good count. 3000 Teal, 2000 Black-tailed Godwits, 2 Great White Egrets, 15 Little Egret, 17 Whooper Swans, 1000 Redshank, Dunlin performed well and there was at least 37,000 of them, Merlin and 5 Peregrine, 2 Hen & 2 Marsh Harriers

Image from the Mersey Estuary WeBS on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Mersey-Estuary-WeBS/216178248450013.

10.02.13. Birdlog (WeBS Count)

10.02.13. Birdlog (WeBS Count)

08.02.13. Hen harrier (female), No 6 tank, frodsham Marsh. Mark Payne

The WeBS count was conducted by the more than capable Wilde family Heather, Nigel, Findlay and Harley with assistance by Peter Fearon.

No 6 tank: 1500 Dunlin, 65 Shelduck, 60 Tufted Duck, 4 Mute Swan, 3 Grey Heron, 150 Mallard, 10 Pochard, 20 Wigeon, 25 Teal, 2 Curlew. Hen Harrier (male & female) again from No 6 tank (and additionally the same female was also seen on 8th  by Mark Payne, who also took the image above).

No 5 tank: 15 Raven, 500 Lapwing, 150 Golden Plover and 4 Redshank

Notes: Peregrine flew across from No 6 tank to No 5 tank and spooked and lifted all the birds

Lordship Marsh: Little Egret in gully and along the north side of No 6 tank was a charm of 100 Goldfinch. Towards the end of the day they spotted a Barn Owl hunting along the ditch where the egret had been earlier and a sizable flock of roosting Starlings (see image below).

Observers: Heather, Nigel, Findlay and Harley Wilde with Peter Fearon.

Murmuration of Starlings by Findlay Wilde.

You can read more about Findlay’s birding day on the marsh:http://wildeaboutbirds.blogspot.com/

2 Marsh Harrier were present on Frodsham Score today during the WeBS count and were the reason for the extremely large number of Lapwings being put up. At one stage there were the 2 Harriers, 2 Peregrines and a Buzzard in the same area! The Peregrines were very active. 2 Great White Egret on Ince Marsh.

Observer: Ian Coote

Also present on the Weaver Estuary were 20 Goldeneye and the first Oystercatcher on the river of the year.

13.01.13. Birdlog.

13.01.13. Birdlog.

12 Little Egret and a single Great White Egret (the latter was watched flying along the ship canal by the observer), 30 Whooper and 7 Bewick’s Swans, 2000 Canada Goose, 15 Pink-footed Goose, 500 Wigeon, Numerous Golden Plover and 2 Grey Plover, 5 Oystercatcher, 500 Dunlin, 6 Black-tailed Godwit and 3 Bar-tailed Godwit. An adult  Yellow-legged Gull on the score made for an overall impressive watch.

Additionally, a Chiffchaff was along the Holpool Gutter west of No 4 tank and 3 Lesser Redpoll in Alder trees at the old fertiliser plant.

Observer: Frank Duff.

Dunlin flock with Stanlow Point in background. December High water counts WeBS. 2

No, it’s not the Great African Plains with vast flocks of Red-billed Quelea but an impressive shower of Dunlin on the Mersey Marshes during the December WeBS counts. Over 35,000 Dunlin are out there! .

Dunlin flock with Stanlow Point in background. December High water counts WeBS

If you fancy a similar experience and help count them at the same time drop Dermot Smith an email at dermot.smith71@googlemail.com; and have a chat. Below Common Teal forced by the rising tide to seek fresh feeding waters.

Toni Ray Sherlock Teal out of the 'gutter'.

All images by Toni Ray Sherlock.