26.05.12. Birdlog (Another bloggers blog)

Bright warm sunny weather with a refreshing strong Easterly wind. Clear skies and good visibility.

2 Black-tailed Godwit, one of which is the ringed bird from late April. It appears to have a swollen knee-joint and is hopping whilst feeding. 4 Avocets, 8 Dunlin, 1 Little Ringed Plover, Whimbrel calling, 49 Mute Swan and the Black Swan present. Pair Pochard, drake Wigeon, 100 Tufted Duck, male Marsh Harrier, 2 Buzzard, Sparrowhawk, 4 Raven, 2 Cuckoo, 2 Yellow Wagtail.

Image by Paul Crawley

Observers: PC, FD, WSM, John Spottiswood

Included below is an account of John’s visit to the marsh and his observations and comments.

For a change I decided to skip Weaver Bend and pay special attention to No.6 tank involving my first ever walk all the way round. 12 Common Whitethroats (11 singing) 6 singing Sedge Warblers 3 Yellow Wagtails Cuckoo heard only 7 singing Skylarks 10 singing Reed Warblers 94 Tufted Ducks 20 Shelducks Male Wigeon Black-tailed Godwit 3 Avocets 5 Gadwalls 3 Ringed Plovers Shoveler 2 reeling Grasshopper Warblers by the lane below No.6. Lesser Whitethroat audible over the fields there towards the M56. For those who remember the glory days when Frodsham was definitely one of the UK’s premier birding sites check out this excellent new blog at https://frodshammarshbirdblog.wordpress.com/ It is still one of the best sites in Cheshire so let’s get out there and see if we can bring in some new glories. Recent years have seen such delights as Buff-breasted Sandpiper and Red-backed Shrike so it can still deliver even though there is a lot less prime habitat and less coverage. The blog also has some recent sightings, a virtual equivalent of the legendary Frodsham bird log, a big notebook with a pen on a piece of string in a metal box nailed to a telegraph pole (it was cutting edge technology back in the day. JS

It certainly was John and it started with me and Martin Garner manually digging a huge hole at the base of the drainage brick tower on No 1 tank in December 1986, to cement the wooden post and box there. It was later relocated to its present site at the south-east corner of No 5 tank.

I think you can find John’s blog on ‘Planet Spottiswood’. Thanks for the plug John. WSM

20.05.12. Birdlog (There she blows!)

Black Swan with 20 Mute Swans on No 6 tank were the highlight .

A sludge pipe burst on No 4 tank this afternoon and sent this blackened Balrog spectre plume 30 ft into the air. I was at work today, but Paul Crawley sent this image and it looks awesome!

One of the side effects of the burst sludge pipe was this …

This event recalls a tale which I remember from the mid eighties…In the days when you needed a pocket full of two pences to use in a phone box. I telephoned former Frodsham  birder Mike Whiteside to tell him about a rare bird at the marsh. After walking miles through Frodsham looking for a telephone box that actually worked. I made the call to Mike’s office and was greeted by his secretary. The message I asked her to pass on to him was, “There’s a Buff-breasted Sandpiper on the I.C.I tank.The message he eventually received was, “There is a burst standpipe at I.C.I. I guess he figured it out, eventually. I have included a photograph of that bird taken and (if memory serves me right) found by Pete Antrobus.

Buff-breasted Sandpiper, I.C.I tank, Frodsham Marsh. 1984. Image by Pete Antrobus.

17 & 18.05.12. Birdlog (Garganey)

Garganey (drake) image by WSM

It’s that man again…Received a text from Paul C about a Garganey he had found on No 6 tank. When I eventually arrived Paul and Mark Payne were exiting stage right. Nevermind, I found the bird in situ feeding along the margins of the flooded pool (see site image below). Managed a few record shots of the bird. Also present were 3 Black-tailed Godwits and some cracking views of Ringed Plovers. Hundreds of Swifts were feeding low over the embankments, riding the warm evening breeze. Finally, a Cuckoo was singing from the fence posts on no 5 tank. The Garganey was still present on 18th.

Flooded pool on No 6 tank looking from the west. Image by WSM.

15.05.12. Birdlog

Grasshopper Warbler image by WSM

A blustery evening saw Julie and I taking an after work stroll around No 6 tank. Due to the strength of the wind most birds were keeping a low profile. A Peregrine swooped low over the tank but couldn’t muster much interest from the nesting birds and duly departed out to the estuary.75 Black-tailed Godwits huddled together to reduce wind drag. A Cuckoo singing from the fence alongside No 5 tank was notable. A Grasshopper Warbler ‘reeled’ away on the lea side of No 6 tank. We bumped into Frodsham stalwart Arthur Harrison before we departed and enjoyed a quick chat.

13.05.12. (Red Kite)

Paul Crawley’s image of a Red Kite soaring over No 6 tank at 8.00 am before drifting west. Followed at 10.45 am by texts from Frank Duff and  Paul with news of a female Ring Ouzel along the pipes on No 1 tank (I was low on birding credit and spent the day with my partner). However, I did get time off for good behaviour and duly secured the Ouzel at 5.00 pm, with 32 Wheatear, including some big chunky Greenland forms. Also noted, 42 Black-tailed Godwits, Oystercatcher and 4 pairs of Tufted Duck on the flooded Redwall meadow. Additionally, a Cuckoo was singing nearby.

Observer: WSM.