Photo’s from the Score

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The Holpool Gutter as it emerges from beneath the Manchester Ship Canal at Stanlow to re-enter the south Mersey salt marsh. 

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Looking back (west) to Stanlow oil refinery and the hidden delights of the Mersey marshes.

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A panorama view across Frodsham Score.

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The after effects of the tide punching chunks of marsh back onto the salt marsh. It shows the power of these high tides on this fragile ecosystem.

A big thanks to Shaun Hickey for his mobile phone images (he forgot his camera yesterday ;O) .

If you want to get involved with contact these people or drop me a line and I’ll forward your interest to Dermot Smith the Mersey co-ordinator.

15.05.18. Birdlog.

There is a flooded field adjacent to Frodsham Swing Bridge that is attracting quite a few birds this summer. I stopped en route to the marsh to have a look over and although not overly stocked it did have a few interesting species. A breeding pair of Coot have a family brood which they are busy tending to at the moment with a brood of Mallard ducklings also present. It was a surprise to see a pair of Shoveler and two pairs of Gadwall looking settled. Previously Garganey, Little Egret and Avocet have frequented this spot so it’s worth keeping an eye on it, if you are passing.

Contractors were busy reinstalling some meccano pieces to the tall beacon light on No.5 tank and nerves of steel for the two guys who were perched atop of the mast.

No.6 tank was again quiet but the brisk north-westerly wind and bright sunny skies did little for the late Spring migrant rush. A flock of c300 Black-tailed Godwit were lazy out the hot weather in the cooling shallow waters. A small group of Tufted Duck, Gadwall, Mallard and paired up Common Shelduck were also present.

A male and female Marsh Harrier drifted over No.3 tank where a small flock of Black-tailed Godwit lingered for a short while. The presumed two AWOL Barnacle Goose were still hanging out by the shallow pools.

A singing Chaffinch along Moorditch Lane.

Frodsham Hill looking east along Lordship Lane.

Helsby Hill looking south from Lordship Lane.

Mersey Marshes #2

A selection of images from the Mersey Marshes today.

An injured or exhausted Guillemot came in with the tide today, a species normally expected to be found off the Wirral coast but rarely encountered off Frodsham Score/the upper reaches of the Mersey estuary.

There’s usually a larger gull, gull roost at the weekends on the south Mersey salt marshes and monthly WeBS counters get to count them.

Big numbers of Canada Goose are a common feature in the Autumn and Winter months.

Mute Swans fly in from Frodsham Marshes.

Raven need little introduction with numbers high throughout the year. These birds are riding the tide out on the banks of Frodsham Score. The Allan Wilson WW2 gun defence turret is situated at the top left hand corner (with an elder tree growing out of its base).

Images by Shaun Hickey.


february-2017-waders-and-hale-lighthouse-shaun-hickeyA few gloomy wind-swept images taken by Shaun Hickey from the WeBS count on Sunday last. The above picture is of Dunlin flying out to the Hale side of the River Mersey.

february-2017-swans-and-turbines-on-no-4-tank-from-frodsham-score-shaun-hickeyA flock of swans head out to the marsh from Frodsham Score.

february-2017-lapwingsfrom-frodsham-score-shaun-hickeyLapwings disturbed from their resting grounds rise up over the fields of Stanlow.

february-2017-ince-berth-shaun-hickeyThe turbines with Ince Berth alongside the Manchester Ship Canal.

february-2017-pink-footed-geese-from-frodsham-score-shaun-hickeyA skein of Pink-footed Geese string along the sky above the Mersey Marshes.

All images by Shaun Hickey.

Winter Solstice Edition

02-10-16-weaver-estuary-frodsham-marsh-bill-morton-9Now that we’ve finally reached the shortest day and what is effectively the true celebration of this season. I have collected a few images from the last week or so to illustrate the marsh in just a few of its mid winter moods.

Above the power station at Rocksavage is mirrored in the still waters of the River Weaver.


The second image shows the change in weather systems from a cool clear day to the brief period when the Weaver valley and the marsh are shrouded in morning fog. The image above has a curious disruption through the clouds which could be caused by an aircraft flying through the canopy?


Looking west from the banks of No.5 tank across the mitigation area of No.3 tank fields to the turbines on No.4.


No.3 tank and the mitigation area . Unfortunately much was expected from this site but as yet it has reaped very little for the time and effort afforded to it.


Looking east along the ancient road that is Lordship Lane looking to Frodsham Marsh from Ince Marsh fields. The old Kamira woods lay to the right of the image.


The flooded fields of Lordship Marsh and Frodsham Hill beyond. Whooper Swans occasionally use the fields to graze when there is little disturbance.


No.5 tank looking east to the turbine substation and the old fence line where hopefully we’ll being seeing Short-eared Owls if the weather turns colder.


No.2 tank just south of Marsh Farm an excellent site for Curlew, Lapwing and Golden Plover.


The steaming plumes of vapour emitting from Fiddlers Ferry Power Station in the distance and the incinerator plant beyond the blue-topped (ex) power station chimney at Weston Point.


A flock of Lapwings in flight and behind the Mersey estuary and the gantry wall that shields the Manchester Ship Canal from Christchurch at Weston Point.


Finally, the omnipresent wind turbines caught in the ebbing sunset over No.6 tank. One of my favourite pictures from the marsh this month is this Tolkienesque image of the dark watch tower of Barad-dûr laying across the (literally) dead marshes.

Images: 1-2 & 11 by WSM and images 3-10 by Tony Broome.

13.11.16. Birdlog

13-11-16-sunrise-frodsham-marsh-tony-broomeWith high pressure over the UK it was forecast to be cold and calm with some sun. They were correct technically. Dawn came with a beautiful sunrise and a pale blue sky and a heavy dew. What a day it would be with weather like that I thought. However, as I got further west along the M56, the greyer the sky became and by the time I got to Frodsham and stopped off for a latte from my favourite venue, it was completely overcast with high cloud, but not a breath of wind. I pulled up at the old log and sipped the coffee out of a Christmas(sy) decorated cup. Nearly that time again! I set off down the lane, disturbing thrushes as I did so and turned sharp left.

13.11.16. Buttonweed, Canal Pools, Frodsham Marsh. Tony Broome

13.11.16. Stonechatr, Frodsham Marsh. Tony BroomeThere were 6 Fieldfare, 15 Redwing, 10 Blackbird and 3 Song Thrush. Ever onward, I headed out up the Weaver. There were workmen in bright orange suits on the other side and the birds were few and those present were jumpy. A pair of Stonechat sat and watched me pass by, ignoring me for the most and dropping down to catch insects every now and again. The ground was carpeted in Buttonweed Cortula coronopifolia in flower, an introduced species from South Africa. The yellow flowers brightened up what was becoming quite a gloomy day.


13.11.16. Common Sandpiper, Weaver Estuary, Frodsham Marsh. Tony BroomeA Green Sandpiper called overhead as it came off Frodsham Score, followed shortly after by a Common Sandpiper which came out in front of me and flew off across the river. Two Grey Wagtail also fed by the water, not far from a small group of waders, 30 Redshank and 11 Black-tailed Godwit. 16 Curlew were roosting on the grass with their heads down, whilst around 200 Dunlin and a single Grey Plover fed on the mud as the tide receded. 7 Grey Heron sat about lazily waiting for the tide to drop lower still.

13.11.16. Cormorantr, Weaver Estuary, Frodsham Marsh. Tony Broome

13.11.16. Cormorant, Weaver Estuary, Frodsham Marsh. Tony Broome

I watched a Cormorant wrestling with an eel for quite a while, before the bird dived and came up with a lump in its neck, obviously having won the contest. The water was flat calm, flatter than I can remember and every bird stood out as they drifted past. I scanned in the hope of something unusual, but it wasn’t to be. 12 Great-Crested Grebe in total, 6 on the river and 6 on the Mersey estuary. One bird was in full summer plumage and a pair were displaying to each other, head-shaking in their rituals.

13.11.16. River Barge, Weaver Estuary, Frodsham Marsh. Tony Broome


13.11.16. Common Sandpiper, Weaver Estuary, Frodsham Marsh. Tony Broome13.11.16. Kingfisher, Frodsham Marsh. Tony BroomeAnother Common Sandpiper, the second one of the day flew towards me and pitched in under the bank. I tried sneaking up on it but couldn’t find it, but was treated to nice views of a female Kingfisher which hovered and sat about in front of me for some time. An old barge, the ‘Loach’ appeared and chugged past me with an almost perfect reflection in the water. Other than that, 48 Tufted Duck and 32 Coot on the Weaver, along with 20 Goldeneye further towards the Weaver Bend were the only real counts of any description. 27 Pink-footed Goose flew a long way to the west of me and dropped onto the salt marsh. Numbers of Lapwing at my end of the Score were low, with about 250 feeding on the grass.

13.11.16. Meadow Pipit, Frodsham Marsh. Tony Broome

13.11.16. Partial leusistic Blackbird, Frodsham Marsh. Tony BroomeTime for lunch. Another pair of Stonechat sat around in Redwall reed bed along with a small flock of Meadow Pipit. A black thrush with white on its head dived past me and I managed to locate it in a dense Hawthorn. It turned out to be a partially leucistic male Blackbird. I drove around to No.6 and put up a flock of 61 Common Snipe which was a great count considering that they are usually in ones or twos and there were 3 at the west end of No.3 and 2 more in the ‘Secluded Pool’, making 66 for the day. No.6 held a single Little Egret, 2 Dunlin, 2 Ruff and 1 Little Stint.

13.11.16. Cetti's Warbler, Frodsham Marsh. Tony Broome

13.11.16. Little Egret, Weaver Estuary, Frodsham Marsh. Tony BroomeAlyn Chambers counted the ducks, but I didn’t spend a long time there before moving on to No.3, having finished lunch with included a piece of New York deli pie, a food tick for me and well worth it. The day got even gloomier and it began to get dark by 3 o’clock.

The so-called “mitigation” area of No.3 is a jok!. With zero management in place, it is choked by nettles, docks and thistles. Consequently, apart from 60+ Teal, there was nothing else. So much for the promises made by Peel Energy and the people involved with the ongoing work here.

I headed back down No.6 where a Cetti’s Warbler appeared briefly before noisily moving away. An immature Marsh Harrier came off No.4 and disappeared over into the vast bed of phragmites. 10 more Fieldfare went north and another 20 dropped into the silver birch on No.6 to roost. The Starling began to arrive, totaling around 1000, pursued by an adult Marsh Harrier which deftly caught one without really trying and a Sparrowhawk which only panicked the flock and it failed miserably. A single Kestrel didn’t even bother but hovered for small mammals instead.

13.11.16. Pied Wagtail, Weaver Estuary, Frodsham Marsh. Tony BroomeSo not to bad-a-day really. Not much good for photography, but at least a few interesting things. I drank what was left of my coffee saddled up my vehicle and headed back east along the M56 into the darkness!

Observer: Tony Broome (images 1-14 & 16-20)

13.11.16. Merlins, No.3 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Alyn ChambersThe high tide on the estuary was a little higher than yesterday and brought in a better selection of waders to No.6 tank today they included: 1 Grey Plover, 2 Golden Plover and 5 Ruff with Lapwing. 1 Bar-tailed Godwit with 200 Black-tailed Godwit. Also 1 Little Stint and 1 Avocet. 30 Pink-footed Goose flew west and a Cetti’s Warbler was calling from the reeds. A pair of Merlin were on No.3 tank.

Observer: Alyn Chambers (image 15).

13.11.16. Common Sandpiper, Mersey Estuary, Frodsham Marsh. Tony Broome13.11.16. Weaver Estuary, Frodsham Marsh. Tony Broome13.11.16. Weaver Estuary, Frodsham Marsh. Tony Broome13.11.16. Weaver Estuary, Frodsham Marsh. Tony Broome13.11.16. Ducks, Frodsham Marsh. Tony Broome

A few more of Tony’s images from today on the marsh.