17.08.19. Birdlog.

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An early morning walk along the River Weaver and Manchester Ship Canal followed by a walk around No. tank.

There were c300 Canada Goose on the river with Tufted Duck, Mallard, Gadwall and Eurasian Teal. A flock of c80 Common Swift were high up over the river with Barn Swallow, House and Sand Martin were also hawking the embankment and fields.

A flock of 30 Great Cormorant flew down the river and c50 Common Redshank and a handful of Black-tailed Godwit were at the rivers edge with 3 Common Sandpiper were noted.

Out on the Mersey estuary was a gaggle of c200 Common Shelduck drifting along the channel on the out going tide with more on the sand banks, also Eurasian Curlew, more Black-tailed Godwit and Northern Lapwing.

There were 7 Great Crested Grebe on the ship canal and a flock of 150 Black-tailed Godwit flew over head towards No.6.

On the Canal Pools a couple of Carp were feeding on the surface with just a few Moorhen and Eurasian Coot were present.

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A couple of Greenshank passed over my head and dropped onto a scrape on No.3 tank where they stayed feeding as I passed by. The ‘phalarope pool’ had Canada Goose, 8 Gadwall and 2 Black-tailed Godwit resting.

A charm of c200 European Goldfinch were feeding on the thistle heads seeds with a smaller number of Linnet feeding alongside them.

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On to Lordship Lane a flock of c30 Common Snipe dropped in to a flooded area to join a Green Sandpiper which was already feeding there.

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No.6 tank had c500 Black-tailed Godwit and Common Redshank huddled in the shallow water. Ducks included Northern Shoveler, Eurasian Teal, Mallard, Common Shelduck and Tufted Duck were all present and the Black-necked Grebe was again with a group of Little Grebe.

Observer: Paul Ralston (images 1-6).

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I made a visit after my Saturday work session was over and immediately made the pilgrimage to No.6 tank for a fix of birding. The Black-tailed Godwit flock had increased to 830 birds with c500 Northern Lapwing, 4 juvenile Ruff, 7 Dunlin and 23 Common Redshank.

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Looking through the ducks that were dabbling within the godwits revealed a juvenile Garganey keeping its distance from the main body of Eurasian Teal. The Black-necked Grebe was performing well riding the choppy waters at the eastern side of the tank.

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Butterflies were much in evidence with Painted Lady, Red Admiral, Gatekeeper, Speckled Wood and Small White’s being obvious. Several Black-tailed Chaser, Ruddy Darters and Migrant Hawker added some slight diversion.

Observer: WSM (images and videos 7-11).

15.08.19. Birdlog.

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The tides are a little bit more favourable for my after work visit to No.6 tank. A message from Mark (Whipper) Gibson diverted my attention to the south-east corner of No.6 tank where the Black-necked Grebe was performing nicely.

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A large flock of c1000 Black-tailed Godwit included 3 juvenile Ruff, 148 Common Redshank, 8 Common Ringed Plover, 1 Common Sandpiper, 160 Dunlin and c500 Northern Lapwing.

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A female Marsh Harrier flew through spooking the godwits from their slumber.

Observers: Mark (Whipper) Gibson, WSM (images 1-9 and video).

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Sparrowhawk flight sequence images by Nigel Case.

14.08.19. Birdlog.

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I’m making the most of this light evenings of late summer before the autumn draws in and takes the after work light away.

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I walked along the track to watch over No.6 tank, but my attention was drawn to the c400 Common Swift hawking over the spindle bushes that line the embankment above No.6. The swifts were joined by lesser numbers of Sand Martin, and a great spectacle it was.

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I eventually looked over the open water and exposed mud where c550 Black-tailed Godwit were sharing it with c600 Northern Lapwing, c67 Redshank, 104 Dunlin and 2 juvenile Ruff.

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Observer and images: WSM.

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A leucistic juvenile House Sparrow from a garden feeder in Runcorn, Cheshire. Image from a video by Dave Kennedy.

13.08.19. Birdlog.

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After work I made my routine visit to the marsh stopping off first at No.6 tank. Walking along the track on No.5 tank I could see a flock of 500 Black-tailed Godwit heading out in a tight flock to the Mersey estuary. I sat down on the bank facing to the south side of the tank without any waders to look at. After 15 minutes a few Northern Lapwing returned and these were soon followed by a small flock of Dunlin, Redshank, 200 Black-tailed Godwit and the first juvenile Ruff of the autumn.

A male Marsh Harrier flew in and out again and I bumped into Jacqui and Idris Roberts who had earlier seen a Merlin.

I continued my birding at the old bird log at No.1 tank where eventually the juvenile Cuckoo popped its head out of the vegetation long enough for a full view. It made several more brief appearances and may have been joined by another but neither appeared together. A juvenile Kestrel and the first juvenile Wheatear of the year was along the pipes.

Phil Oddy had covered the Weaver Bend and estuary but failed to see either the Ruddy Shelduck or the Egyptian Goose.

Observers: Arthur Harrison and WSM.

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The above photo could show a second bird at the left hand side of the fence?

Images by Keith G @outwivcamera 

12.08.19. Birdlog.

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A Keith G saw the juvenile Eurasian Cuckoo on the fence on No.1 tank but a Kestrel chased it and it flew over to No.5. Also a Little Egret over Lordship Marsh.

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I did a trip then around No.6 and noted Sedge (adult and juvenile) and Reed Warbler also a female Reed Bunting.

Butterflies included Red Admiral, Comma, Whites, Gatekeeper, Painted Lady and Small Tortoiseshell. I had a scan with binoculars over No.6 and noted Lapwing, Black-tailed Godwit and Dunlin but I didn’t have my scope as I was carrying too much already so couldn’t see the Black Necked Grebe.

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Also noted were Common Darter and Common Blue Damselfly.

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Observer: Paul Crawley (images 1 & 5-9).

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I made a trip to No.6 tank after work and what was available was much reduced from species and numbers that were present at the weekend.

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There were 350 Black-tailed Godwit, 2 Common Snipe, 40 Common Redshank, c400 Dunlin, c97 Northern Lapwing and 7 Common Ringed Plover.

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A couple of Garganey were dabbling in the shallow water and despite looking for the Black-necked Grebe I drew a blank.

The Marsh Harrier was again quartering the reed beds and the big female Peregrine was sat on top of the blue chimney looking over the Mersey estuary.

Observer: WSM (video & images 10-16).

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An evening walk around No.6 starting from Godscroft Lane. A small flock of Dunlin flew overhead inland and 2 Little Egret also flew over and dropped in on No.6.

The Black-necked Grebe was in with a group of Little Grebe A female Northern Shoveler had a single duckling on the water and the youngster was struggling to keep up with its mother and could likely fall victim to the gulls.

A Marsh Harrier flew over and settled for the night in the reed bed.

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The ‘phalarope pool’ held 8 Gadwall and a single Greenshank feeding alongside a couple of Northern Lapwing.

Observer: Paul Ralston (images 17-18).

Cuckoo and Kestrel images by Keith G.

11.08.19. Birdlog.

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A walk along the River Weaver and then a look over No.6 tank this damp morning. The Common Swift, Sand, House Martin and Barn Swallow passage saw birds feeding low over the river and fields of No.1 tank.

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A flock of c80 Eurasian Curlew were on the Frodsham Score salt marsh with c30 Great Cormorant at the rivers edge. There were c150 Common Redshank, c60 Black-tailed Godwit, 4 Common Ringed Plover, 2 Common Sandpiper and a juvenile Red Knot were resting on the Weaver estuary bank.

The female Ruddy Shelduck and her traveling companion Egyptian Goose were again on the water alongside c40 Eurasian Coot.

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Onto No.6 tank and 2 Chiffchaff were fly-catching in trees by the ramp track. The tank’s Northern Shoveler had a single recently hatched duckling with her. A mass of waders took to the air as a Peregrine powered through their throng putting on a great display while it took a while to settle again only to be spooked by a Common Buzzard.

Observer and images: Paul Ralston.

Fast forward to mid afternoon and RW managed also to get the Ruddy Shelduck and c200 Common Swift over the estuary.

The Black-necked Grebe was again present with 4-5 Little Grebe on No.6 tank.

Observer: Roger Wilkinson.

10.08.19. Birdlog.

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An early morning walk along the River Weaver and than a look over No.6 tank. Raven were busy tussling with both Common Buzzard and Marsh Harrier by Marsh Farm. There were c300 Canada Goose and several Eurasian Curlew feeding in the fields around the farm.

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A further flock of c100 Eurasian Curlew were spooked by an unseen predator. There were 6 Common Sandpiper, c150 Common Redshank, c60 Black-tailed Godwit which were spread out along the Weaver bank.

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The Ruddy Shelduck and  Egyptian Goose were with the Tufted Duck on the river, but both were difficult to approach and moved over to the Mersey estuary as they spotted me from a few hundred yards away.

Onward to No.6 tank were c800 Black- tailed Godwit and hundreds of Dunlin, Ringed Plover and Common Redshank were feeding on the mud.

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A Brown Hare was again present during my walk.

Observer: Paul Ralston (images 1-4 & 9).

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While PR was doing his thing elsewhere on the marsh I was watching over No.6 tank while the leftovers from the morning tide were still present. There were c1000 Dunlin with birds constantly heading out to the river.

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Also c1100 Black-tailed Godwit which included the first 12 juvenile birds of the year. Common Redshank numbered 138 and with them was a single Whimbrel, 5 Greenshank. A juvenile Turnstone was the first of the year and a juvenile Common Gull joined the Black-headed Gull flock.

Ducks were again intermingled with the waders and included 2 Garganey, 30 Eurasian Teal, 14 Northern Shoveler, 12 Gadwall and the lingering juvenile Black-necked Grebe associating with a Tufted Duck flock.

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I walked out along Brook Furlong Lane and took the thickly vegetated track that leads to the river. A few Tufted Duck had with them a single juvenile Common Pochard. The female Ruddy Shelduck and Eygptian Goose that Paul had seen earlier was again present with their carrier Canada Goose flock and 44 Eurasian Coot were additional to c20 on No.6 tank.

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Numerous Black-tailed Godwit and Common Redshank were hunkered down in the buttonweed growing on the Weaver estuary.

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A flock of c100 Common Swift were joined by 100’s of House and Sand Martin hawking insects over the river banks. All this Swift action was watched over by an adult Peregrine. Just a short distance away a juvenile Marsh Harrier quartered the grassy edges to the shooters’ pools.

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One of the juvenile Stonechat was at the Redwall reed bed and was buffeted by the strong south-westerly wind.

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Walking back I paused at the pipes that cross No.1 tank and it wasn’t long before the juvenile Cuckoo was relocated. It was surprising to watch this young bird interacting with what were presumed Magpie juveniles and a juvenile Kestrel. The other birds waiting for the Cuckoo to collect a caterpillar before attempting to steal the hard earned food from the poor thing.

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The Weaver Bend had a Common Sandpiper while nearby a young Little Egret was on the Lum.

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#NN

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An Ichneumon wasp spp from Redwall reed bed.

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I think this is a female Common Darter?

Observer: WSM (video and images 5-8 & 10-25).