22.08.16. Birdlog

22.08.16. Wind turbines from No.6 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton (2)

A very quick dash and brief visit to the south-west corner of No.6 tank after work. I just about managed to connect seeing part of a 2000 strong Dunlin flock before half took to the wing and headed out to the estuary on the ebbing tide. Despite this the other half remained long enough for me to search their numbers. Within the Dunlin flock that remained were 134 Ringed Plover, 2 juvenile Little Stint and 21 Curlew Sandpiper which left me to wonder what was in the first flock that departed on my arrival?

22.08.16. Little Stint, Ringed Plover, Curlew Sandpipers and Dunlins, No.6 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton (4)

20.08.16. Juvenile Sparrowhawk, No.3 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton (5)A flock of 300 Lapwing had a juvenile Ruff for company but that was about it.

The juvenile Sparrowhawk that I saw a couple of days ago was still hanging about the fence line bordering the tank junctions.

Ducks again featured the usual species namely Common Teal, Shoveler, Tufted Duck and Common Shelduck.

22.08.16. Grey skies over the Mersey Estuary. Bill Morton (2)

Observer and images: WSM.

21.08.16. Birdlog

31.08.13. Curlew Sandpipers and Teal, No6 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton21.08.16. Common Teal, No.6 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Paul Ralston (1)Out around No.6 tank this morning and a group of Common Teal resting in a dead tree on the bank with a pair of Reed Warbler feeding below them. A juvenile Marsh Harrier went by in the direction of the River Weaver. Several Little Grebe were on the water as were Coot and Moorhen. On the ‘Splashing Pool’ a Kingfisher was doing a circuit around the flooded area and another Reed Warbler was seen. A small flock of waders on the mudflats south end of six were too far out for me to identify with my bins but AC had his telescope on them earlier and helped with the specifics.

21.08.16. Wheatear, No.6 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Paul Ralston (1)

21.08.16. Kingfisher, Frodsham Marsh. Paul Ralston (1)Walking along Lordship Lane the wader flock was spooked by an unseen predator and several Black-tailed Godwit and Redshank flew over followed by a single Little Egret. A female Wheatear was sitting on a drainage tower and a pair of Kestrel were hunting the bank.

Observer: Paul Ralston (images 2-4).

Started this morning at No.6 tank. Out on the water the ducks included 39 Shoveler and 5 Common Pochard. Moving around to the west end of the tank 9 Ruff were present among small numbers of Lapwing and Redshank. A Green Sandpiper dropped in during a shower and the female Marsh Harrier flew through.

The bushes along Brook Furlong Lane held 4 Lesser Whitethroat with the usual Chiffchaff, Blackcap and Whitethroat.

Heading back to No.6 tank for high tide a Greenshank was circling but headed back out to the estuary. At the west end of the tank the wader numbers were starting to build. Mixing with the Dunlin and Ringed Plover were at least 25 Curlew Sandpiper, 2 Little Stint, 2 Knot, 1 Common Sandpiper and a Black-tailed Godwit. Most of these scattered and headed back out to the estuary when a Peregrine shot through.

Observer: Alyn Chambers.

21.08.16. Wader watching spot at No.6 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton

Once a month a collection of volunteers are dispersed out along the north and south banks of the river to collectively count the waterbirds that frequent or pass through the Mersey Estuary and its upper and lower reaches. Today was that time of  month and my patch are the sludge tanks on Frodsham Marsh. After yesterdays shorebird haul and the  reporting on the ‘Frodblog’ post it was encouraging that a couple of keen birders were stationed on the west banks of No.6 tank to sample the delights of Frodsham Marsh.

21.08.16.Kestrel. Lordship Lane, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton (1)

The ducks present on the open water at the eastern end of the tank were not easily visible with many of the Common Teal hiding in the fragrant infused Michaelmas Daisy beds but those that were visible numbered 87 birds. Common Pochard have reassembled their  recent numbers with 12 birds. Common Shelduck, Shoveler, Mallard and Gadwall were also present. Tufted Duck are the bread and butter birds for my countjng and today 134 were gathered with a further 17 on the ‘Splashing Pool’.

Birds of prey were again evident and both female and juvenile Marsh Harrier were seen and a juvenile  Peregrine caused quite a lot of consternation amid those aerial shorebirds which at high tide had gathered in the south-west corner of the tank. Dunlin numbers were lower than yesterday but still in the 1000 mark, 230 Ringed Plover, 2 Knot, a single Black-tailed Godwit, 9 Ruff, 2 juvenile Little Stint, 26 Curlew Sandpiper (all juveniles with the one adult from yesterday), 2 Avocet, 300 Lapwing and 10 Redshank. Not a bad little tally with an obvious nationwide invasion of Curlew Sandpiper which I’m expecting this count to get even higher?

An adult Mediterranean Gull was with a flock of 200 Black-headed Gulls in a recently ploughed field adjacent to Moorditch Lane/M56.

21.08.16. Helsby Hill and wheat field from Lordship Lane, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton

21.08.16. Turbines from Lordship Lane, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton (1)Above a couple of images from Lordship Lane with Helsby Hill and a wheat field while a short turn of the head looking east are the wind turbines and the Growhow Works.

Observers: David Bedford, Alyn Chambers, Sparky, WSM (images 1, 5-8).

21.08.16. Frodsham Marsh from Mount Manisty. Shaun Hickey.

Thanks to Shaun Hickey for his image of the turbines over on Frodsham Marsh taken from the Mersey marshes on the WeBS count today.

20.08.16. Birdlog

20.08.16. Juvenile Sparrowhawk, No.3 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton (14)20.08.16. Buff-tailed Bumblebee, No.4 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton (5)The weather forecast was warning of gale force winds with driving rain! After popping my head out of the window this morning apart from a few swaying trees it didn’t look so foreboding. I metaphorically saddled up my birding horse and high tailed it to the marsh (gale force winds and rain weren’t going to deter me today!).

A quick look over the embankment of No.6 tank on my arrival didn’t reveal a lot. A count of 123 Tufted Duck, 6 Common Pochard and 87 Common Teal were wimping out and mostly tucked into the leeward side of the south bank out of the wind. A female Tufted Duck still had very young ducklings on the ‘Splashing Pool’.

20.08.16. female Marsh Harrier, No.3 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton (6)

A juvenile Marsh Harrier was actively hunting the reed beds by the secluded pool and the female replaced it later in the day. A juvenile Hobby was attacking the hirundine flocks that were over the banks between No’s 3, 5 and 6. The big Peregrine must have taken a firm grip perched aloft the blue-topped chimney at Weston Point in the high winds. A few Common Buzzard were loafing on top of several fence posts and a juvenile Sparrowhawk confidingly perched up conveniently for me to grab a photo on a fence along the track on No.3 tank.

20.08.16. Dunlin, Little Stint, Curlew Sandpipers, No.6 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton (19)

I had a change of plan anticipating today’s high tide and the shorebird movement out on the river. I guessed that because of the height of the tide there wouldn’t much land on the salt marshes for them to sit the tide out. The drier area at the south west corner of the sludge tank must surely be utilised by these shorebirds.

20.08.16. Dunlin, Little Stint, Curlew Sandpipers, No.6 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton (4)

I found a position that looked perfect and after making a platform I settled down and waited. It didn’t take too long before the first birds flew in and briefly settled before flying off (typical behaviour for waders here). Eventually they started to arrive in loose flocks of tens and then a couple of hundred. They were mostly Dunlin with some associated Ringed Plover but a flock of 50 Black-tailed Godwit didn’t linger and flew back to the estuary. The birds that stayed soon settled and I began my thorough grilling process systematically working my way through their dense flock of 1500 Dunlin. My first juvenile Curlew Sandpiper of the Autumn gave itself up quickly followed by my first juvenile Little Stint. I counted ten Curlew Sandpiper (including a partial summer adult) and after putting out a tweet I was soon joined by MacDuff and he spotted another five birds which were displaced from a water channel in the centre of the tank. Towards the end of our watch the birds trailed off to the river on the ebbing tide and a juvenile Peregrine practising its hunting techniques (or should I mention its lack of technique) made their departure all the more urgent.

20.08.16. Dunlin, Little Stint, Curlew Sandpipers, No.6 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton (22) It was good to get to see some waders on No.6 tank for a change but how many more shorebirds would we be seeing if the water level was much lower? I’m not even mentioning the poor excuse of a wetland area that is the mitigation on No.3 tank.

20.08.16. Raven, No.4 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton (2)

The Raven are gathering along the banks above the Manchester Ship Canal by the Canal Pools enjoying the turblent air that rises in strong winds here. I counted 30 birds today and I’m sure there will be even more on the WeBS count tomorrow.

Observers: Frank Duff, WSM (and images).

18.08.16. Birdlog

18.08.16. No.6 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton

A watch over No.6 tank and a chat with the Chester boys on their Thursday evening bird walk.

The water level on No.6 tank is irritatingly high and it’s a case of another early August with very few shorebirds to wade through. A lone Common Snipe was flushed out of the daisy beds by a wayward Coot and that would have been the wader highlight if it wasn’t for a dusk fly over Greenshank which circled several times before heading out to the Canal Pools/river after failing to find a suitable shallow spot to feed.

Duck numbers were back to normal and a gathering of 146 Tufted Duck, 12 Common Pochard, 340 Common Teal, Gadwall, Common Shelduck, and Mallard filling the open water. A Water Rail was calling from the reeds below the banks.

A couple of Marsh Harrier were over No.4 tank and are presumed the juvenile birds. Common Buzzard could be found perched up across the marsh while a Sparrowhawk was out on manoeuvres.

A passage of 300 hirundines were moving through mostly being Swallow. The post breeding/juvenile build up of Starling included 500 birds gathering over the mitigation area.

18.08.16. Sunset and gulls, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton (1)

Another splendid currant bun filled the end of the evening as it slipped out of sight behind tomorrows rain clouds far out on the horizon.

Observer and images: WSM.

16.08.16. Birdlog

16.08.16. Sunset over the Mersey Estuary from Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton (21)16.08.16. Black-necked Grebe, No.6 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton (10)I’ve never been one for being premature but on this occasion I’ll have to throw my hands up and admit I was wrong with my assumption that the Black-necked Grebe have departed. I found it bold as brass in the centre of the tank after a couple of hours watching the area this evening. This is the bird that keeps on giving. The Dabchick numbers were well dispersed with fewer than I countered yesterday.

16.08.16. Sunset, Marsh Farm, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton (6)

A partial sun halo was visible over the marsh this evening.

The numbers of Tufted Duck were again knocking on 47 birds with 3 Common Pochard present. It was Common Teal that are by far the commonest species reaching the 160 mark along with much reduced counts of Gadwall, Shoveler and Mallard.

Small recce parties of Black-tailed Godwit flew over but again the water level here is just too high. Later in the evening I noted birds flying in to Frodsham Score from an inland site and I guess it will be the fields adjacent to the motorway? Likewise, Curlew are moving through with 300 birds alighting onto No.6 tank at dusk. A solitary Redshank on six and a Common Sandpiper flushed by a boat was on the Manchester Ship Canal below Marsh Farm were additions.

16.08.16. Kestrel and moon rise, Marsh Farm, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton (3)

The 2 juvenile Marsh Harrier from last evening were joined tonight by their mother and all three were watched play hunting over the secluded pool.

A couple of juvenile Kestrel were at Marsh Farm (one of which is featured above) and the Peregrine spent some time on the blue-topped chimney.

16.08.16. Sheep and Wheatear, No.1 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton (6)

Raven were moving south with a combined count of 30 birds while a Yellow Wagtail and a tucking Reed Warbler were seen and heard. The Wheatear continue to be found along the pipes on No.1 tank and weren’t bothered by the sheep that were feeding between the pipelines.

16.08.16. Sunset over the Mersey Estuary from Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton (31)

A spectacular sunset over the Mersey Estuary tonight.

Observer and images: WSM.

15.08.16. Birdlog

15.08.16. sinensis and Carbo Cormorants, No.6 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton (2)

A fine summer evening to be out and about in the industrial countryside of Cheshire, which leads me to my evening visit to the marsh. There is still plenty of birdlife to be seen on No.6 tank and eventually these birding forays will produce something a little bit more popular with the local birding populace. However, it appears one of the stars of recent weeks may had sought waters new with no sign of the Black-necked Grebe this evening. With the grebe’s absence Dabchick had rallied round and produced a good count of 25 birds with a solitary Great Crested Grebe for company.

The Common Teal are back with 234 birds keeping mostly below the north banks. Along with the usual Mallard, Gadwall and Shoveler were 2 Wigeon, 100 Common Shelduck. 43 Tufted Duck and 5 Common Pochard.

15.08.16. Marsh Harrier, No.6 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton (5)

15.08.16. Marsh Harrier, No.6 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton (14)The two young Marsh Harrier were very active going back and forth over the reed beds but one of them caught a teal and proceeded to de-feather its prey while the other harrier watched on. The patience of the onlooker got the better of itself and after a little tussle and prey mantling the stronger bird forced its sibling away.

15.08.16. sinensis and Carbo Cormorants, No.6 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton (1)The Cormorant roost held 12 birds with 4 ‘sinensis‘ present with the usual carbo’s.

At dusk Curlew began to fly in for the evening with loose flocks of 10-20 birds whilw 11 Black-tailed Godwit circled No.6 tank but again the water level is high and they joined up with a flock of 500 over Frodsham Score.

A small south bound roost flight of Raven was noted while several hundred hirundines were moving south.

Observer and images: WSM.

Several Reed Warbler were feeding their juvenils plus Sedge Warbler,
15 Dunlin, 1 Redshank and ad and immature Little Ringed Plover.

Observer: Mike Cooper.

14.08.16. Birdlog

17,04.16. Marsh Harrier, Frodsham Marsh. Tony Broome. (6)

The juvenile Black-necked Grebe was again on No.6 tank this afternoon along with a female Marsh Harrier and juvenile Mediterranean Gull.

Observer: David Bedford.

13.08.14. Black-necked Grebe, No.6 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Findlay Wilde

A couple of Hobby were over the marsh this morning while the Black-necked Grebe was present on No.6 tank.

Observer: Alyn Chambers.

Image 1 by Tony Broome; Image 2 by Findlay Wilde.