31.05.13. Birdlog

31.05.13. Birdlog

A late Spring scuppered the migration with rare migrants few and far between. Hale scored with both a Pectoral and Wood Sandpiper and Burton Mere continues to establish its self as the place to see and be seen. It may take a year or two but my money is on Frodmarsh coming up with the goods and I hope it’s on my watch!

Tufted Duck, Weaver Bend, Frodsham Marsh. Heather Wilde.

Anyway, Brian Rimmer patrolled the marsh on the last day of May and encountered: Reduced numbers than of recent singing Reed Warbler, Sedge Warbler, Whitethroat, Chiffchaff   along Lordship Lane and the Weaver Bends made for a very quiet day at Frodsham.  Raptors included Buzzard, Kestrel and Sparrowhawk.  2 pair of Gadwall on Weaver estuary. Good numbers of Tufted Duck on the Weaver Bend until a sailing boat scared everything off.  The farmer at Spring Farm informs me that he has Tree Sparrows on his feeders. I’ll have to keep my eyes and ears open-thought I glimpsed a Collared Dove there. 

Image by Heather Wilde.

Wildlife Crime on the Marsh

Wildlife Crime on the Marsh

The recent post about Shrimps although quite funny does show the importance of birders (and non birders ) being aware of our duty to report such matters to the police. Frodsham Marsh is an under watched special place that attracts illegal dumping and vandalism. As Frodsham birders we must report these sort of crimes ASAP. Any live alien species with the potential to establish itself in an environment can have a catastrophic effect in that environment. Below a copy of the Cheshire Wildlife Crime units main points with phone numbers and what to do if we see anything. The more reports we put in maybe they will take the issues of crime at Frodsham Marsh more seriously.

In an emergency always dial 999
Non emergencies – 0845 458 0000
Crimestoppers – 0800 555 111
The responsibility for the enforcement of the laws protecting our wildlife rests with the police service. Wildlife crime takes many forms, some of which involve extreme cruelty.
The main wildlife issues we are actively involved in combating include:
• Destruction of wildlife habitats (shrimps in outflows!!)
• Illegal trapping, shooting, snaring or poisoning of birds or animals (eg Buzzards deaths).
• Badger digging/baiting
• Poaching of deer, game or fish
• Collecting wild birds’ eggs
• Theft of wild plants
• Illegal international trade in wildlife

Cheshire Police sends officers on Wildlife Foundation courses to train them to become Police Wildlife Crime Officers. The officers who complete the course continue to work as regular PCs, but are also specialists in their field who can advise colleagues on wildlife policing.
As a matter of course, all calls received by Cheshire Police’s call handlers on rural issues are passed directly to the trained Police Wildlife Crime Officers.
Cheshire’s specialist wildlife officers also work in conjunction with the National Wildlife Crime Unit to share intelligence with other police forces and agencies. The NWCU provides support for wildlife officers and investigations into wildlife crime around the country.
If you suspect a crime has occurred:
• Do not disturb the scene by moving items or by walking about unnecessarily.
• Do not touch dead animals or birds if you suspect they may be poisoned baits or victims – most of the substances used are extremely dangerous and you may put yourself at risk.
• If possible, video or photograph the scene, or make a rough sketch.
• Write down any vehicle registration numbers – don’t trust them to memory.
• Contact the police as soon as possible.
• Remember that some animals and birds can be legally shot or controlled. Do not interfere with legally set traps or snares or damage hides, high seats or shooting butts.
• Do not put yourself at risk: contact the police.

This reply relates to ALL areas we bird, but more importantly no criticism is implied to anyone, only a reminder to every one of what we should do. Keep this number in your mobile, Crimestoppers – 0800 555 111.

This also includes disturbance by trail motor bikes.

Regards
John Gilbody

Bird Ringing on the Marsh

Perhaps I could remind readers of this blog that members of Merseyside Ringing Group have a long-running programme (since 1954) of ringing birds and nest-recording, including all over Frodsham Marsh (apart from the operational no.6 bed). To those unfamiliar with our activities, sometimes they could appear to be suspicious; but please don’t automatically assume the worst, and particularly please don’t interfere with any nets, traps or nest-recording.

Of course we have all the necessary licences and our work goes to support conservation. Thankfully nowadays in Britain there are far more (legal) ringers and nest-recorders than (illegal) bird-trappers and egg-collectors.

David Norman
Chairman, Merseyside Ringing Group
http://www.merseysiderg.org.uk/

30.05.13. Birdlog

30.05.13. Birdlog

30.05.13. Whitethroat, Frodsham Marsh. Heather Wilde.

A Brown Hare was sheltering in fields east of No 6 tank.

The female Marsh Harrier was out and about hunting Frodsham Score.

No 6 tank: 3 Redshank, 50 Common Shelduck, 8 Tufted Duck, 4 Gadwall and 9 Mallard.

Weaver estuary: A pair of Great Crested Grebe in courtship display. 70 Common Shelduck, 67 Tufted Duck, 2 Shoveler and 10 Mallard. A Grasshopper Warbler was singing from Redwall reedbed. Several hundred Common Swifts were displaying and feeding over the Weaver estuary.

Observers: Paul Crawley, WSM.

freshshrimp01

After yesterdays posting ‘Don’t Scrimp on the Shrimps’  (which were actually Prawns) I managed to get down to where Guido had seen the shrimps yesterday and fortunately they were not a dumped fishmongers leftover stock (as of last year) but a mating assembly of fresh water Shrimps…So apologies if anyone got enraged (like me) but we all have to keep out eyes open for any suspicious activity when we are out and about and especially on Frodsham Marsh (see the following post by John Gilbody).

Don’t Scrimp on the Shrimps

The Prawnbroker

Autunm 2012. Kingfisher Paul Ralston......

Last Autumn Arthur Harrison was telling me a story about a birder (Paul Ralston) he met on the marsh who had photographed a Kingfisher in a drainage ditch and down to a few feet along Lordship Lane by the SE corner No.4 tank.

2012. Discarded Shrimps at Frodsham Marsh.

A stock of Prawns dumped into a water course on the marsh.

The bird was watched feeding on live Prawns! It was not until I got the photographs from Paul that I really believed Arthur’s story. Apparently the Prawns had been dumped (by  a fishmonger?) that day because most of the Prawns were still alive in the drainage ditch and provided the Kingfisher with a ready supply of fresh food.

Autunm 2012. Kingfisher, Paul RalstonAutunm 2012. Kingfisher. Paul Ralston

Autunm 2012. Kingfisher. Paul Ralston...The story would have ended there but tonight I received an email from Guido about a similar incident in approximately the same area as last year involving an outflow duct filled with.. Shrimps and again presumably the same thoughtless trader dumping his live stock into an alien environment?

“I got there at 7:00 am . 10 degrees and very wet! Nothing of note other than a Fox near Brook Furlong and lots of ‘live’ Shrimps, (yes Shrimps!) in one of the outflows from No 6 tank. A guy had told me last year that he had seen someone dump shrimps there and that subsequently he saw a Kingfisher in that spot . I thought that this fellow must have smoked too much of that Moroccan stuff . I guess I was wrong.”

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Ciao from Guido D’Isidoro.

All images by Paul Ralston.

29.05.13. Birdlog

 29.05.13. Birdlog
29.05.13. Dunnock Frodsham Marsh. Heather Wilde.
A slightly damp trip to the Marsh tonight delivered a beautiful Dunnock waiting to welcome us. Swifts were feeding all along the Lordship Lane side of No 6 tank. An unkindness of Ravens in the fields behind the airfield (at least 20 of them).
A fleeting glimpse of the Marsh Harrier a over the tank. A Coot feeding a single chick in the Splashing pool.
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Approx 60 Shelduck dotted around No 6 tank and a pair of Gadwall feeding together.
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The smaller pool within No 6 tank hosted 1 Redshank, 2 Shelduck and 10 Tufted Ducks.
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Observers: Heather & Nigel Wilde.

27.05.13. Mike Buckley’s Guest Blog

Bank Holiday Monday

Shaun picked me up around 6.15 am and after doing some watering at his allotments, we headed off to Frodsham Marsh. We decided on a different approach this morning and went up towards the Weaver Bend and Marsh Farm. Wren, Rook, Carrion Crow and Chaffinches were the first birds seen there. A Chiifchaff (pictured) sang from an overhead wire, much easier to id that way (thank you).

Sedge Warblers seemed to be all over the place and the mechanical churrs and clicks and whistles had an almost hypnotic effect as you walked along. Great birds all the same and this one came into view very obligingly for a nice photo.

Upon arrival at the Weaver Bend, we could see Canada Geese with goslings, a solitary Oystercatcher, around 20 or so Shelduck and a few Tufties. Overhead a pair of Buzzards put on a great display for us and showed some very agile moves.

It was very quiet on the way to Marsh Farm, but right at the corner before the cattle grid we came across a large flock of Linnets, these two (pictured) hung around on the wires just long enough for Shaun to get a quick snap.

A bonus Lesser Whitethroat was spotted before darting back into cover and a Meadow Pipit ascended up singing its beautiful song. A couple of Skylarks could be heard in the distance and upon arrival at the M.S.C. (Manchester Ship Canal) where the shooting club cross over in their little boat, a family of inbred geese eyed us warily before swimming out onto the canal.

A Great Black Backed Gull made its way up the canal and lots of Swallows and Swifts were hunting right on the far bend. A Meadow Pipit was feeding around the cattle trough, before flying off into the long grass.

The wind was getting quite blustery now so we decided to head up towards No 6 tank and see what we could spot up there.

Well, it was the quietest I think I have ever seen it, a couple of Mute Swans, some Tufted Duck and the odd Mallard were out on the water. A Kestrel hovered in the wind in the distance and did so effortlessly, a joy to watch. A lovely Goldfinch flew onto a nearby post and gave us a tinkling song before flying off like a bolt of lightning, blown on the strengthening winds.

A Chaffinch was pinking noisily and the reason soon became apparent as it wanted us to move on quickly as it obviously had a nest nearby as it had a beak full of insects!!

A couple of Ringed Plovers were on No 6 tank and then we got a brief glimpse of a Hobby, before it flew quickly out of sight, our 1st of the year 🙂 A Little Grebe and some Tufties were on the pool before No 4 reedbed and we managed to get a shot of the male Marsh Harrier as he hunted above the reeds.

On the walk back to the van, we added a couple of Reed Buntings to the list

Amazingly, we spotted two Marsh Harriers over Boostings Wood, this is the first I’ve heard of them being in this area and all the more exciting due to the fact I only live about 10 minutes away 🙂 we tried to get further views by cutting through the Wood, but could not relocate. Blackcap, Goldcrest and Song Thrush were heard and a Common Sandpiper was spotted on the far bank of the M.S.C.

We got this shot of a huge tanker was being pulled towards Eastham Locks by a small tug boat, before calling it a morning and heading home, just in time as the rain started about 12.15.

Observers: Mike Buckley, Shaun Hickey (Photos).

Not a bad day’s tally for Mike and Shaun considering my evening visit was a washout with 3 Ringed Plover and low flying Swifts over thr track being the highlight. WSM

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For more of Mike’s birding adventures check him out at