A walk around to the Weaver Bend this afternoon and it started with a male Marsh Harrier over Redwall reed bed then making its way towards Marsh Farm.
There were both Reed and Sedge Warbler being noted along with 2 pairs of Reed Bunting along the river path. Good numbers of Common Swift, Swallow, House and Sand Martin were hawking above the river but didn’t entice a hoped for Hobby.
Common Shelduck and Mallard were on the river with their ducklings while Herring and Lesser Black-backed Gull were waiting for a chance to snatch as many as they could. One Herring Gull took a fish from the water’s surface.
Common Buzzard passed over head carrying a young Rabbit and a pair of Stonechat were near the shooters’ pools.
A flock of c150 Black-tailed Godwit dropped on to a mud bank and fed alongside Lapwing, Oystercatcher and a minimum 26 Avocet.
A Blackbird was impersonating a Ring Ouzel was feeding on the lawn when I got home.
Observer: Paul Ralston (images 2-5).
An after work walk along the track that separates No.5 from No.6 tanks and a look over the banks of six revealed an assortment of duck species which included a pair of common Pochard, 24 Tufted Duck, 46 Common Teal, 6 Shoveler, 56 Mallard, some Common Shelduck and quite a few Gadwall.
The muddy margins to the edge of the still receding waters of this sludge tank had a flock of chattering c450 Black-tailed Godwit. The godwit flock eventually gathered themselves together to before heading out to the Mersey estuary for the evening. A Oystercatcher was keeping a close eye of a couple of ranging Marsh Harrier.
Observer: WSM (images 1 & 6-8).
An early evening walk along the River Weaver taking in the Canal Pools and back along to No.6 tank. The two Little Gull from yesterday were still with the Black-headed Gull flock but included a third 1st summer and an adult bird. The Avocet parents were kept busy chasing anything that came near their young and were joined by a pair of Common Shelduck to see off a Common Buzzard that crossed over the river.
The Canal Pools were quiet with just a pair of Gadwall and 2 broods of Coot. The Mute Swan family showed one of the adults is wearing a green darvic ring. There were c100 Black-tailed Godwit which had departed from No.6 and passed overhead on their way to the estuary. A couple of Marsh Harrier were seen over No.6 and a Kestrel was hunting the banks on six.
Observer and images: Paul Ralston.
The first singing Yellowhammer for many a year between the ramp to No.6 tank and the motorway fields at 06.00 hrs. There were 18 Stock Dove in crop fields in the same area as the bunting.
Observer: Paul Miller.
A walk out to the Weaver estuary battling my way through the thick razor-sharp reed leaves and spitting out a mouth full of lacewings and midges, I emerged like the explorer Livingston from the thick foliage to see the River Weaver before me. A large flock of Black-headed Gull were busy feeding over the water presumably picking up insects from the water’s surface. A couple of 1st summer Little Gull were easy to pick out from the gull flock and they both flew up and down the river from the Weaver Bend to the Weaver estuary.
There was lots of duck activity with a few Common Shelduck broods looking like fluffy Everton Mints. I would estimate that there was c200 Common Shelduck on the river this evening and several with small shelducklings. Also 3 Drake and a female Common Pochard, 163 Tufted Duck, 100 Mallard, 67 Gadwall, 4 Little and 2 Great Crested Grebe. A couple of Redshank were feeding along the edge of stony shoreline.
A look around the ‘bend’ brought out a pair of Lapwing with a brood of 6 chicks, a nesting pair of Oystercatcher, 33 Avocet adults with at least six pairs with various sized young, from fluffy chicks to brown and white juvenile birds. It is fortunate for these birds that they have bred on the private side of the river with access restricted to working personnel only. A Little Ringed Plover put in an appearance and 35 Black-tailed Godwit were on the rarely exposed muddy island on he ‘bend’. Overhead numerous Common Swift were brought down by the heavy cloud and freshening NNW breeze.
A walk along one of the lanes and at least 3 Cetti’s Warbler were in full voice. A Fox casually strolled along the lane and a Badger (CB) took the opportunity to take in some sheltered sunshine.
The Black-tailed Godwit flock of c500 on No.6 tank were forced to the wing by a passing Common Buzzard and those that returned soon settled to feed within the sheltered sunny eastern corner. There were a few Black-headed Gull loafing around but an adult summer Mediterranean Gull flew in from the south-east but didn’t stop and headed straight to the Mersey estuary. A pair of Oystercatcher and the remaining Lapwing were often flying at the passing corvids. A female Marsh Harrier flew over from the north and headed towards the motorway.
It was interesting to see the Emirates A380 aeroplane before it disappeared into thick cloud above Rocksavage works en route to exoctic climes.
Observer and images: WSM.
A Barn Owl was spotted flying along the recently mowed fields.
Observer: Colin Butler.
A late start and a walk along Brook Furlong Lane with plumes of black smoke rising from the distant track. When we got to the cause of the smoke it was quickly obvious a pile of burning fly tipping at the side of the track and dangerously close to the ditch reed bed where both Reed and Sedge Warbler had nested. I called the Cheshire Fire Service who were very prompt and attended to the fire within 10 minutes and doused the fire but not without their siren nearly drowned out by a singing Cetti’s Warbler. Another Cetti’s could be heard some distance away.
After the drama of the fire a Cuckoo could be heard singing across the fields of No.1 tank and obviously the same bird Frank Duff had heard earlier in the day. The Avocet broods were still on the Weaver Bend with some adults rising to warn off patrolling gulls.
Lordship Lane was quiet but a singing Lesser Whitethroat was in the hedgerow by the blue slurry tank.
A walk back and around No.6 tank was sweltering under the fierce sun today. There were 3-4 Marsh Harrier moving about the area. A pair of Oystercatcher flew over calling excitedly.
The Coot family on the semi-damp ‘phalarope’ pool had their brood out for a swim.
No.6 tank had the summering flock of c500 Black-tailed Godwit which were in the heat haze distance, if there was anything else with them it would have been difficult to find it. The ducks are increasing daily with c10 Common Pochard, 9 Shoveler, 24 Tufted Duck, 20 Common Teal and the usual assortment of Mallard, Gadwall and Common Shelduck.
A few butterfly’s were out on the wing with several Painted Lady’s and Large Skipper.
The perils of walking across the sludge tank was all to obvious with a deceased Sheep being the victim of a mud pit.
Observers: Sparky, WSM (and images).
The was little change from the last couple of visits although Sean O’Hara found the first three fledged broods of Avocet on the Weaver Bend. It was fortunate for the Avocets to have chosen a strictly secure site on the opposing side of the River Weaver to nest this year.
No.6 tank had an increase of duck species and numbers with 14 Common Teal, 6 Common Pochard, 17 Tufted Duck, c100 Mallard, 34 Gadwall, 45 Common Shelduck and a drake (out of season) Wigeon. A mother Moorhen had 5 fluffy sooty coloured cotton buds on legs close to the edge of the reeds while an adult Great Black-backed Gull was seen on its way by a couple of Avocet.
The Black-tailed Godwit flock numbered around 600 birds on No.6 but with birds coming and going it was difficult to get a true count. A Ringed Plover and 2 Avocet were again present on No.3 tank. A male Marsh Harrier disrupted the flock of godwits hiding on the ‘shitigation’ area while a female made her presence known. Just when the rain began to fall a steady movement of c100 Common Swift glided over from the Canal Pools and flew close overhead to the south-west.
Observer and images: WSM.
A four mile hike via Moorditch Lane to No.5, No.6, No.3 & No.4 tank.
There was only 3 drake Common Pochard still present on No.6 tank from last evening with an assortment of lazing aythea’s. A flock of 732 Black-tailed Godwit were scattered widely at the western edge of the shallow pool on the sludge tank with a solitary Bar-tailed Godwit still lingering with them. They eventually peeled away back to the estuary during the evening.
The overgrown/dried out mitigation pools hid a few ducks on the back pools but apart from visiting Ringed Plover and 2 preening Avocet the area was left to the blanket of encroaching nettles and thistles (…and breath!).
Although Frodsham Marsh is rich in a high density of commoner breeding warbler species the absence for the second year running of Cuckoo is worrying. It would be nice to hear or see one before they head back. A Yellow Wagtail flew over adding a dab of summer colour.
It was typical of the way the wind direction can change as of last evening it was in the north-east and this evening in completely the opposite direction.
Observers: Sparky & WSM (images 1-3)
A few additions to the days birding on the marsh include: A Cetti’s Warbler and Marsh Harrier and a selection of butterflies which included: Speckled Wood, Meadow Brown, Small White, Peacock, Red Admiral, Painted Lady and Green-veined White’s. A Brown Hawker Dragonfly was seen at two separate locations.
Observer: Paul Ralston (images 4-7).
A trundle along the edge of No.5 tank failing to avoid the brutal biting Clegs out mugging from the long grass.
A look over No.6 tank with the water level still receding and combined with the heat of the day I saw 3 Black-tailed Godwit, 60 Mallard, 7 Tufted Duck, 3 Common Teal and 3 drake Common Pochard cooling off on the muddy spit at the east end of the sludge tank. A further 3 drake Common Pochard (normally scarce in summer), 12 Tufted Duck, 4 Common Teal and 3 Shoveler were lazing out on the water.
A flock of 412 Black-tailed Godwit were on the distant edge of the water with a non-breeding plumaged Bar-tailed Godwit in tow, the latter has been here all year so I assume it’ll stay with the other summering godwits. A Little Ringed Plover was calling off in the distance while over on the ‘shitigation’ an additional flock of 220 Back-tailed Godwits were spooked from their cover by a maurading male Marsh Harrier. A couple of Avocet were watched preening on the drying out pool but didn’t linger and flew off to the estuary when disturbed by Sheep roaming freely here.
There was plenty of passerine activity but the highlight was a handsome male Yellow Wagtail.
Butterfly activity included some Painted Lady with on refusing to budge from the path ahead of me.
A set aside strip of wildflowers sowed along the edge of a field east of Hale lighthouse added a much-needed splash of colour to one of the best walks (Hale Park woods to Within Way) in the whole of Cheshire. I know I’ve walked the majority of routes in Cheshire.
Observer and images: WSM.