12.04.18. Birdlog.

A walk around the Weaver Bend early this evening with nothing out the ordinary with the usual suspects of Common Shelduck, Mallard, Common Teal, Tufted Duck, Gadwall and a couple of Great Crested Grebe. A flock of 14 Redshank were at the edge of the river and a Common Sandpiper was close by.

There were four pairs of Oystercatcher noted along the river and Manchester Ship Canal bank and a Canada Goose has decided to make its nest out in the open at the edge of the canal bank where it would be easy pickings for a Fox or Badger. There were several Pied and 2 White Wagtail near to Marsh Farm and a Swallow passed west along the ship canal.

A Great White Egret was seen from the car on the Gowy Meadows as I made my way to and from Frodsham Marsh no doubt the bird seen two days ago and also observed today by Shaun Hickey and Gary Worthington.

Observer: Paul Ralston (images 2-3).

An after work sojourn down and around No.6 tank after work yielded a few goodies with the ever present Linnet flock hanging out in the flooded field on Lordship Marsh off Lordship Lane. There were 10 Pied, 7 White and the first Yellow Wagtail of the Spring. A few Meadow Pipit were less conspicuous.

Walking along the track on No.4 tank overlooking No.6 tank and a late Fieldfare was hiding in a bramble patch. There were 4 Marsh Harrier in the distance with the pale morph Common buzzard resettling on the banks overlooking the mitigation area on No.3 tank. The mitigation pools themselves were less productive than of late with just a handful of both Shoveler and Common Teal. 12 Ruff flew over but headed to No.6 tank.

Over on No.6 the commonest duck were Common Shelduck with many drakes defending their recently acquired partner. Shorebirds were in short supply but 41 Ruff (presumably including the 12 from earlier) were sheltering from the cold north-easterly breeze with c120 Black-tailed Godwit, c100 Redshank and a Common Snipe.

A brief flurry of 10 Sand Martin were moving through and a Cetti’s Warbler burst forth with song.

Observers: Sparky, WSM (images 1 & 4-6).

10.04.18. Birdlog.

After dropping Sparky and her friend off for a girls night out in Chester this evening I headed east along the M56. Approaching junction 14 eastbound and a Great White Egret was feeding in a sedgey flooded field alongside the carriageway.

When I eventually arrived at Frodsham I headed to No.6 tank but the light was fading and my time was limited to seeing a flock of c350 Black-tailed Godwit heading out to the Mersey estuary for the night. A roosting flock of 26 Ruff were spending their evening on the tank. A pair of Pintail were dabbling while 34 Tufted Duck, c200 Common Shelduck and 137 Common Teal.

There were droves of Raven heading inland for their roost and a female Marsh Harrier was perched up before dropping down into cover.

Observer: WSM.

09.04.18. Birdlog.

A morning visit to the Weaver Bend and a pair of Stonechat were busy being a couple. There was also 135 Common Shelduck, 4 Shoveler, 38 Tufted Duck, 18 Common Teal, 11 Gadwall, 7 Goldeneye, 15 Mallard, 8 Oystercatcher, 1 Peregrine, Blackcap and a single singing Willow Warbler.

Observer: Joe Chester.

I took the evening slot after work and just as the rain front swipe in after a glorious sunny day. A Cetti’s Warbler song rang out loud while a Swallow hurtled overhead to the north.

The ducks on No.6 tank are again increasing with c200 Common Shelduck, 51 Tufted Duck, 11 Gadwall, 110 Common Teal, 12 Shoveler and a few Mallard. A small selection of wader species included 10 Knot with one particular bird beginning its transformation into summer. A flock of 54 Black-tailed Godwit also had 120 Redshank, 40 Ruff and 21 Dunlin (a couple of birds in summer plumage).

Over on No.3 tank and the mitigation pools had c650 Black-tailed Godwit but despite a thorough search I couldn’t find any colour-ringed birds. I did find 3 winter Bar-tailed Godwit, 2 Knot and 2 Ruff (one bird in its rusty coloured foppy summer dress). The majority of Shoveler still present on the marshes were on the pools here with 16 Common Teal and one pair in a very aggressive mating ritual.

A distant Marsh Harrier floated over the tanks and Raven numbers were again high with 130 counted.

Observer: WSM (images).

08.04.18. Birdlog.

Highlight from this morning was a male Ring Ouzel along the path between No. 3 and No. 6 tank.

The Weaver Bend held a Green Sandpiper and 2 Common Sandpiper. Further towards the Weaver estuary were 14 Goldeneye and a pair of Stonechat.

A female Marsh Harrier was over No. 6 tank, 2 Swallow and 8 Sand Martin moved through and a single Dunlin joined a handful of Redshank.

4 Fieldfare were along Moorditch Lane, 2 Jay were moving around Brook Furlong Lane and 16 Avocet were out on the Mersey estuary.

Across the Marsh were 17 Chiffchaff, 3 Willow Warbler, 3 Blackcap and 3 Cetti’s Warbler.

Observer: Alyn Chambers (image 1).

Additionally there were 3 Willow Warbler in Redwall reed bed and several Wheatear along the fence line on No.3 tank.

Observer: Paul Miller.

I took a walk around No.6 tank at lunch time with the morning mist clearing into a fine afternoon. The juvenile Mute Swan was still in the ditch along Moorditch Lane and there were several Reed Bunting being active along the bank alongside. A flock of Black-tailed Godwit were watched to dropping in to the wet field by the blue tank slurry tank on Lordship Marsh and on closer inspection it revealed 14 Ruff and several curlew feeding with them. A Lapwing drove away a Common Buzzard from its territory then mobbed a passing Raven to boot. The Mute Swan herd was again near Spring Farm and 2 Marsh Harrier were seen over the distant sludge tanks.

On the mitigation pool were Common Teal, Shoveler, Gadwall, Mallard plus many Coot and a small number of Black-tailed Godwit also present.

The bushes along the track held several Goldcrest and Chiffchaff with Long-tailed, Blue and Great Tit adding to the passerine totals.

Observer: Paul Ralston (images 3-4).

After an enjoyable walk around Hale shore with Chester RSPB I eventually made my way over to Frodder’s for a late after spot of more birding. We walked around No.6 tank and added 5 White Wagtail in the flooded fields of Lordship Lane, a kettle of 12 Common Buzzard over No.4 tank with 2 Marsh Harrier drifting over.

No.6 tank had a small number of waders and ducks including: c60 Tufted Duck, 21 Ruff and a Whimbrel.

Observers: Sparky & WSM (images 2&5).

Today sees the blog reaching 400,000 views.

07.04.18. Birdlog.

A short walk this morning from Ince and around the Holpool Gutter. There were 3 Little Egret feeding in front of the Pig Farm and a small flock of calling Curlew passed overhead. A pair of Mute Swan were on the first pool with Mallard, Common Teal, Tufted Duck and Common Shelduck being noted on the adjacent pools along with a single Redshank.

A Fox was sitting on its haunches watching me walk on by then slinked away into the ditch but reappeared 100 yards away and then ran across the field.

On to the Manchester Ship Canal path and a Chiffchaff was calling, while 40 additional Curlew left the salt marshes to settle in a field alongside the gutter. There wasn’t much to report from here as the ditch had recently been dredged with the vegetation still bare on the banks.

A flock of Pied Wagtail with a Grey Wagtail in tow was on the path near to the GrowHow Works. The rookery at the plant was busy with birds incubating on their nests and typical arguments over territory taking place unabated. A Green Woodpecker was heard calling and was immediately answered by another bird, then both of them calling simultaneously for a period.

Walking back to the pools and a Little Egret was foraging while 3 Little Grebe were fighting each other in the reeds.

Observer: Paul Ralston (images 2-3).

Pacing to and fro in my house while it was raining continuously outside was pretty frustrating so, I fired the car into action and headed head first into the deluge.

Walking along Brook Furlong Lane with my intention of seeing some Wheatear on and along the pipes that cross No.1 tank but apart from a few released Red-legged Partridge there wasn’t much to keep my interest.

I headed over to the River Weaver where a flock of 70 Tufted Duck were busy in their nuptial displays and the piping of several Oystercatcher kept the noise level up. There were still several Goldeneye present and three drakes were busy impressing the females. There was just the one drake Scaup left from previous visits and this bird is here for its third weekend, presumably it will be on its way soon.

I decided to walk along Hares Lane that was the scene of a Great Grey Shrike and two Otters (about this time last year) but alas the lane is blighted by fly tipping. The fly-tippers have blocked the track and is presumably here to stop other fly-tippers from tipping? I know it sounds daft but that’s what a reliable source recently told me. Nobody wants to take responsibility for its removal.

Back to what really matters and a pair of boxing Brown Hares were in a field alongside Hares Lane, which was most apt.

The flooded fields off Lordship Lane harboured the usual c20 Linnet with a few Pied and the first White Wagtail of the year. In the distance was a herd of 40 Mute Swan and c300 Black-tailed Godwit.

Walking around to where the salt marshes are at Frodsham Score was very productive. There were c500 Pink-footed Goose still spread widely on the marshes with c200 Common Shelduck. An adult Peregrine flew in and settled close to a group of pinkie’s whilst it devoured its Common Teal dinner. There were a few Little Egret popping in and out of the tidal gutters, but not the Great White Egret that Dave Craven spotted from the Hale side of the river. A distant herd of 8 Whooper Swan could have contained the 2 Bewick’s that DC also saw, but the distance was way to far out.

Walking back along the track that borders No.4 tank and the four Marsh Harrier were out and about while c100 Raven very much made their presence felt. The song of a couple of Cetti’s Warbler rung out from the distance while Chiffchaff were everywhere today.

The mitigation pools on No.3 tank have had a refill after the days rain, so it was pleasing to see a flock of 10 Avocet, 5 Ruff, c600 Black-tailed Godwit busy sleeping and/or feeding in the soggy wet field and a Spotted Redshank calling from the area on No.6 tank but could not be relocated.

There were 43 Shoveler, 21 Common Teal, 43 Tufted Duck and a few Gadwall present as well.

A black thrush perched up on the top of an Elder bush turned to reveal the richly decorated white chest bling of a male Ring Ouzel. It was disturbed by a low flying Raven and was joined by second ouzel and both flew east along the track calling as they went.

No.6 tank was flooded so it was no surprise to see the godwits feeding elsewhere but a flock of c300 Redshank was impressive with 3 Ruff and a tiny flock of Blackwits. The ducks that were still hanging about were: 41 Tufted Duck, 164 Common Teal, 24 Shoveler and 67 Common Shelduck.

Observer: WSM (images 1 & 4-12).

06.04.18. Birdlog.

The mitigation over on No.3 tank had 42 Coot and 53 Canada Goose grazing the short turf with the sheep, 17 Curlew,

A fresh breeze today, but had first 3 Swallow (new for the year) with 7 Sand Martin (new for the year) and a Wheatear to boot. Also a couple of Cetti’s Warbler and Chiffchaff heard.

Additionally, Barn Owl hunting along inner edge of No 6 – behind flock of 28 Ruff, 630 Black-tailed Godwit and 2 Golden Plover with 2 Pintail, this morning.

Also noted: 3 Marsh Harrier, 21 Raven, 72 Common Shelduck, 72 Shoveler, c230 Common Teal and 59 Tufted Duck.

Observer and image: Joe Chester.

Later in the day there were a further 2 Swallow on No.6 along and elsewhere 4 Marsh Harrier and a Bar-tailed Godwit on the pools.

Observer: Gary Worthington.

05.04.18. Birdlog.

A visit to the marshes after a gloriously sunny Spring day. No.6 tank had 47 Tufted Duck, c100 Common Shelduck, 278 Common Teal, 5 Gadwall, 43 Shoveler and 12 Mallard.

Waders were much reduced since my last visit but the 31 Ruff (some attaining their summer plumage) was considerably higher. There were c120 Redshank with smaller numbers of Lapwing and Common Snipe.

Over on the mitigation pools on No.3 tank saw 37 Shoveler, 51 Common Teal and 14 Coot.

There were 5 Marsh Harrier over the marshes and a Cetti’s Warbler singing was a welcome return.

Observer and images: WSM.

The Weaver estuary had 6 Goldeneye and a large flock of Tufted Duck.

Observer: Don Weedon.