08.04.21. Birdlog.

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Our walk took us along Moorditch Lane and then onto the north side of No.6 tank. A busy day with birders enjoying the benefits that the marsh has to offer.

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The 3 Black-necked Grebe were still sheltering from the blustery westerly below the bank with c150 Northern Shoveler really into their territorial drake posturings.

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A flock of c600 Black-tailed Godwit were along the edge of the watery margins of the flooded tank. A single Ruff worked its way along the shore line.

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Western Marsh Harrier were present in the area and Common Buzzard were drifting on the edge of the Manchester Ship Canal. Small skeins were moving about and resettling out by the river.

Observer: Roger Wilkinson.

Images 3-4 by David Eisner.

Black-necked Grebes on a blustery No.6 tank.

Observers: JS & WSM (images 1-2 & 5 & videos).

Elsewhere the Water Pipit and the Western Yellow Wagtail were again in fields alongside Lordship Lane, but ploughing of these fields is underway and it’s a matter of time before the these birds are forced away from this spot.

All three Black-necked Grebes.
Drake Shovelers prancing about the water.

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06 & 07.04.21. Birdlog.

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O6.04.21. Birdlog.

The moulting Water Pipit again entertained many including the ladies from across the water. Also the buttery Western Yellow Wagtail and a Little Ringed Plover.

Observers: Gill Griffiths & Ann Thomson.

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07.04.21. Birdlog.

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A buttery yellow wagtail
Nice to get over to Frodsham Marsh for the first time since …a long time ago. Great views of Water Pipit but a bugger to get a picture of ….just have to make do with a Western Yellow Wagtail that was with it.
There were 3 Northern Wheatear on pipeline that crosses No.1 tank.
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The 3 Black-necked Grebe were still on No.6 tank.

Observer: Sean O’Hara (images 3-4).

Images 1-2 by Paul Miller.

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An after work visit starting my walk at Ince and then by No.4 tank. The usual ducks plus the Garganey pair were on the pools at Goldfinch Meadows local nature reserve. Several Little Egret were around the pools and ditches. A couple of Eurasian Coot nest were seen with the birds incubating their clutch. A female Western Marsh Harrier flew over the pools and made its way towards the marsh.

Out on the salt marsh several hundred Pink-footed Goose are still lingering before making the way north. Ducks like Gadwall, Mallard and Common Shelduck were on the Manchester Ship Canal with 7 Mute Swan and many more Common Shelduck were scattered about the marsh.

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Onwards to the Frodsham Marsh where c50 Black-tailed Godwit ,4 Ruff, a Common Snipe, a single Common Redshank and a pair of copulating Little Ringed Plover were noted. A couple of Western Marsh Harrier was hunting over the reed beds.

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A look over the stubble field alongside Lordship Marsh, but no pipits or wagtails were present, just a Common Redshank with an injured leg, and another Little Ringed Plover plus several Northern Lapwing. There were c40 Eurasian Curlew were feeding on Lordship Marsh. A Common Raven was vocal and very territorial over the woods .

Observer: Paul Ralston (images 5-7).

05.04.21. Birdlog.

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I arrived at dawn in a bitterly cold wind veering round to the north and the threat of heavy ladened clouds heading over. Fortunatley the clouds rolled away and bright sunshine filled the Weaver valley. The three summer plumaged Black-necked Grebe that were here yesterday afternoon were still about and gave me excellent views diving between the Tufted Duck and Common Shelduck.

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A flock of a few hundred Black-tailed Godwit kept close into the lea of the northern bank and it was possible to pick out a colour ringed bird and a single Ruff was feeding closeby. One of two Western Marsh Harrier were about the area and several Common Buzzard drifted back and to.

I walked around No.6 tank noting a smaller flock of Black-tailed Godwit and some Eurasian Wigeon in and on the scrapes on No.3 tank.

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I eventually reached Lordship Lane and met a couple of Sandbach birders and we scanned for the Water Pipit on the damp stubble field. It took a while but one of the two appeared and produced some really close views.

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I retraced my steps and headed home for some lunch.

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Observer: WSM (images 1-3).

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Additional images (4-6) by Phil Barker.

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I called into Ince after work this afternoon and the pair of Garganey were showing well on one of the pools at the Goldfinch Meadows LNR. Several Barn Swallow were hawking overhead in the cold north wind and 3 Little Egret were also present.

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I next moved on to No.6 tank to see the 3 Black-necked Grebe which were feeding amongst the many wildfowl on the water. A flock of c400 black-tailed Godwit were at the shallow end and more on the pools on No.3 tank. A single Ruff was present with them. A busy day on the marsh with a few birders looking for the grebes and Water Pipit, some had close views of the pipit while others were not so lucky. The Western Yellow Wagtail was on the stubble field with a large flock of Pied Wagtail and Meadow Pipit.

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Observer: Paul Ralston (images 7-10).

04.04.21. Birdlog.

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A great spring morning to be out on the marshes in NW Cheshire and a pair of Garganey were a good start to the walk amongst the Eurasian Teal, Mallard, Gadwall, Northern Shoveler with Little Grebe and a pair of Mute Swan on the pools at Goldfinch Meadows LNR, Ince. Also present were 6 Little Egret foraging at the edge of the screen pool, and 3 Great Egret in the stubble field alongside the gutter.

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Several more Little Egret and a single Great Egret were out on Frodsham Score. Reduced numbers of Pink-footed Goose are still grazing out on the score salt marsh, and surely they must have ichy webbed feet and be ready to move north any time now.

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The ‘phalarope pool’ held c30 Black-tailed Godwit, 4 Common Snipe, 2 Eurasian Oystercatcher, a single Ruff and the usual assortment of ducks. A look over the stubble field for the water pipits was unsuccessful, but 2 Stockport birders put me on to the Western Yellow Wagtail as it passed over and dropped down onto No.6 tank.

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The Western Marsh Harrier put on a display with the sun catching the colours on the wings of the male as it twisted and turned high up, 2 females were present. A Cetti’s Warbler was seen as it moved from bush to bush several more were heard during my walk.

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A pair of Common Buzzard were displaying over the wood near to the incinerator plant and were buzzed by an irate Common Raven which tried its best to move them on.

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Back at Ince and the clay shoot was in full swing with this disturbance causing most of the ducks on the pool including the swans to have moved on. The pair of Garganey were still there but looked nervous and left soon after.

Observer: Paul Ralston (images 1-8).

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Richard W saw the summer plumaged Water Pipit in the stubble field alongside Lordship Lane.

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Male Western Marsh Harrier by Duncan Cowley.

Three Black-necked Grebe on No.6 tank (per Will Sixsmith) and a Red Kite (per Ian Fellows and his wife) was over the ‘phalarope pool’.

I was along Dutton Flaches today enjoying the glorious sunshine and one of the highlights or lowlights if you were a dead Black-headed Gull. I found a German ringed on the dead bird. More on that later (WSM).

03.04.21. Birdlog.

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I started my walk at Brook Furlong Lane this morning where the first of several Cetti’s Warbler was heard drowning out the numerous singing Common Chiffchaff along the lane.

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A Common Raven caught and flew off with what looked like a young rabbit and a very ingenious species at that.On to the River Weaver hundreds of Sand Martin were hawking just above the water while a pair of Great Crested Grebe were displaying. Common Shelduck, Eurasian Teal, Mallard, Tufted Duck, Gadwall,  Mute Swan and Canada Goose were all present in decent numbers.

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No.6 tank was alive with c150 Black-tailed Godwit and a male Western Marsh Harrier hunting the reed bed.

The ‘phalarope pool’ held c30 Black-tailed Godwit, 2 Eurasian Oystercatcher and several Northern Lapwing.  Another Cetti’s Warbler burst out from the black thorn patch along Lordship Lane looking for a fight!

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Observer: Paul Ralston (images 1-4).   

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A brief chat to Paul Ralston on his way out of the marsh. I walked along Moorditch and joined up with Lordship Lane where I met another Paul, this time Mr Miller. We both looked across the damp stubble field which has held some impressive birds in the last few months. It wasn’t long before the first of two Water Pipit emerged with a Western Yellow Wagtail, afew Pied Wagtail and Common Reed Bunting. Paul M had earlier seen hundreds of Sand Martin and 130 European Golden Plover on the Weaver Bend.

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After Paul left I took up position watching over No.6 tank. A huge flock of Black-tailed Godwit included a single Bar-tailed Godwit, 2 Ruff, 1 Common Redshank, 10 Northern Lapwing, 16 Common Gull, 124 Tufted Duck, 89 Northern Shoveler, a pair of Northern Pintail, c150 Common Shelduck and several Little Grebe.

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Water Pipit.

Black-tailed Godwits.

Observer: WSM (images 5-8 & videos).

A few odds and sods from early this afternoon. A male Northern Wheatear on No. tank near to Marsh Farm. 

The Weaver Bend was a little more interesting with male Western Marsh Harrier over the Shooters’ Pools. The river itself entertained a female Goosander plus 9 Pied Avocet

Observer: Paul Shenton.

Two Common Ringed Plover, 3 Ruff, a big flock of Black-tailed Godwit, a Western Marsh Harrier and small skeins of Pink-footed Goose moving about.

Observer: Gary Worthington.

02.04.21. Birdlog.

A message from my old birding mate Gary Worthington to inform me of a Red Kite that had flew over his flat on the Runcorn side of the ‘narrows’ from West Bank, Widnes and departed high over to Runcorn Hill at 08.45.

We made an early start with a walk taking in some of the sandstone ridge that is the backbone of Cheshire and 250 million years in its making. I didn’t get the memo from Gary until later of his sighting of the Red Kite, and presumaby if it continued on its southerly course it would have crossed Frodsham Marsh.

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Starting at Runcorn Hill we walked through Weston Village, then through Rocksavage works along Cowhay Lane ( we stopped to look across the Weaver Bend where c134 Pied Avocet feeding on or by the water) which then brought us out by the Runcorn Rowing Club at Rocksavage moorings alongside the Weaver Navigation. Along the way the trees and hedgerows were filled with the sound of Common Chiffchaff and Blackcap and was easy listening compared to the noisy section of the A556 to Frodsham.

Crossing the Weaver Navigation at Frodsham Swing bridge we took a quick scan of the flood meadow by the bridge which produced a few Northern Shoveler and Eurasian Teal.

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Our walk into Frodsham and up through Churchfields (my old childhood home) led us through to Overton and the first bit of incline to Belmont and onto Overton Hill (Frodsham Hill). We got excellent views across the marshes below with a panorama of the Weaver Bend and out west to Ince salt marshes.

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Our next destination was down and up, and down again before climbing up through both Woodhouse and Fox Hills. All in all a glorious day bathed in sunshine with a cool breeze keeping us refreshed. We continued to the designated trail which lead down and onto Tarvin Road, we joined up with the track that lead through some fine Cheshire countryside and we climbed up this scenic route before peaking at the trig point on Helsby Hill. Looking out below us was the area on Helsby Marsh called Lordship Marsh. Looking across the fertilisler plant known as the Growhow Works and a large accipiter raptor with puffy white pants catching a termal and then gaining height to disappear into the atmosphere gave a rare chance to see a Northern Goshawk below and over Frodsham Marsh..

After having our picnic lunch we took the direct trail down to Robin Hood Lane and then onto Lower Rake Lane and a mile trek then to Lordship Lane. There were many families also enjoying the day and few noticed a couple of Water Pipit looking splendid in their moulting into summer plumage beside the path. A Western Yellow Wagtail joined the Pied Wagtail and Common Reed Bunting adding a splash of sunshine to the drab field. A Little Egret flew over from Hare’s Lane and disappeared out on Lordship Marsh.

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A thoroughly enjoyable hike of 28.67 km and a total of 39062 steps in a rural and industrial landscape of NW Cheshire.

Observers: JS & WSM (2-7 images & video) & image 1 by David Eisner.

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A walk from Ince and looking across the salt marshes still had a few hundred Pink-footed Goose with many Common Shelduck present and several Little Egret. A Red Fox was fast asleep in the sun while Gadwall, Eurasian Teal, Northern Shoveler, Tufted Duck, Little Grebe and a pair of Mute Swan on the Goldfinch Meadows nature reserve pools .

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Also a Great Egret flew overhead.

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Observer: Paul Ralston (images 8-10).

01.04.21. Birdlog.

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We took our walk along Brook Furlong Lane where Roger Wilkinson had seen and heard a mixed songster Willow Warbler x Chiffchaff and after relocating it fine views were obtained and a video secured. The lane was full of Common Chiffchaff. Cetti’s Warbler, 2 additional Willow Warbler and 4 Blackcap. We carried on our walk to look across the pipes on No.1 tank. We arrived at the old bird log site and looked across the pipes on No.1 tank a 1st summer male Northern Wheatear was on and off the fence line and proved to be elusive.

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A Barn Swallow flew over head and joined c100 Sand Martin on the River Weaver. Roger’s good fortune continued with a pair of Barnacle Goose on the ‘bend’ and c80 Pied Avocet over the area.

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Walking along Moorditch Lane and more Common Chiffchaff and Cetti’s Warbler were vocal.

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We walked along the north side of No.6 tank where hundreds 2 Barn Swallow, (c400) of Sand and 2 House Martin were either over the open water or above our heads. A Little Egret was perched low down on a tree overhanging the water, but it was the hirundines which made a spectatular event to witness.

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The ducks included: 128 Northern Shoveler, c90 Eurasian Teal, Common Shelduck, Mallard, 28 Tufted Duck and a few Little Grebe. The Black-tailed Godwit flock were tightly packed and I estimaed that c400 birds were hundled together. A single Ruff chose the teal to hang out with.

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The mitigation area had a few Black-tailed Godwit and a Pied Avocet could be heard. A fine Western Marsh Harrier flew over high to the west.

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A long walk out to view the south Mersey marshes revealed 3 Whooper Swan, 7 Little Egret, c700 Pink-footed Goose, c700 Black-tailed and 2 Bar-tailed Godwit, 4 Grey Plover, 50 Eurasian Oystercatcher and c350 Eurasian Curlew. A pair of Great Crested Grebe were in their ritual head shaking display right in the middle of the Mersey Estuary.

A call from that man Roger again and we walked back along Lordship Lane to see his Western Yellow Wagtail in the stubble fields with numerous Pied, but not one of his french grey birds. A Little Ringed Plover was doing its best to hide behind the stubble stalks, without success.

A European Stonechat rounded the walk off nicely.

Observers: JS & WSM (images 1 & 3-4 & 7 & video).

Additional images by Phil Barker (image 5).

David Eisner (images 2 & 6 & 8).

31.03.21. Birdlog.

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Cracking views of the ringtail Hen Harrier over No.6 tank at 11.15am, also Western Marsh Harrier, Sparrowhawk and 4 Common Buzzard per Paul Brewster.

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Some feedback of the silver collared Pink-footed Goose with the code VNU I saw on 27.03.21 and its current wanderings are below (WSM (images 2-3).

Image 1 by Duncan Cowley.

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Thanks to Davis Eisner for his collection of images (4-7) from the marsh today in glorious sunshine.

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A little further west for comfort but these birds originated from Frodsham Marsh and an enjoyable early evening mooch along the Gowy Meadows.

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There were 5 Northern Wheatear, a ringtail Hen Harrier and a Western Marsh Harrier both unting the same area at different times. There were Otter tracks and spraint along the river bank while Eurasian Teal, Northern Shoveler, Mallard, Gadwall, a Common snipe and nesting Mute Swan.

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Observer: Paul Ralston (images 8-11).

30.03.21. Birdlog.

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There were 4 Northen Wheatear on No. tank this afternoon – one on the pipes, plus three near to the farm flycatching from a pile of rubble near the small reedbed. Also 36 European Golden Plover circling overhead.

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Observer: Paul Shenton.

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Also present was a Western Marsh Harrier and Common Buzzard. All images by Phil Barker.

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The long staying ringtail Hen Harrier was seen again this evening. All images by Duncan Cowley.

29.03.21. Birdlog.

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An adult male Peregrine dozing in the middle of No.3 tank with a herd of 115 Pink-footed Geese. An adult female Western Marsh Harrier over No.6 tank reedbed with 7 Little Grebe on the water plus a handful of Sand Martin zipping around overhead.

Also a Stoat shot across Lordship Lane.

Jacqui & Idris Roberts reported the mass departure of our Pink-footed Goose…bon voyage.

Observer: Paul Shenton.

Many butterflies emerged into the warm sunshine with a tatty Peacock, Small Tortoiseshell, Comma and a Brimstone (WSM).

Image by Phil Barker.