22.05.17. Birdlog

An evening watch over No.6 and No.3 tanks. Most of the c550 Black-tailed Godwit were positioned on the southern fringes of No.6 and a smaller section flew in to settle close to the north banks. A small flock of 12 Dunlin included 5 Ringed Plover. Over on No.3 tank a couple of Ringed Plover were joining the 12 Avocet, 2 Redshank and 3 Black-tailed Godwit which were away from the main action on six.

The duck squadron included: 120 Common Shelduck. 62 Gadwall, c100 Mallard, a single drakes of Common Teal, Wigeon and Common Pochard were widely scattered on the extremely shallow waters of the sludge tank. A flock of 47 Tufted Duck were sticking to what is left of the deeper waters.

A male Marsh Harrier was watched distantly over No.4 and A Cetti’s Warbler blurted out its tunes along Lordship Lane.

A Cockchafer was sat out in the setting sunshine and gave me the opportunity to get up close to capture its best side on my camera. A couple old names for this species include May Bug and Doodlebug. More information here: http://uksafari.com/cockchafer.htm

Observer and images: WSM.

21.05.17. Birdlog

Walking along Moorditch Lane it was surprising to see a car upturned in the ditch. A quick call to Cheshire Police and the switch board confirmed that it had already been reported and all were safe and accounted for from the vehicle.

With the main wader migration nearing its end I wasn’t expecting too much from a watch over No.6 tank but “ne’er cast a clout till May be out” it is said.

A flock of c640 Black-tailed Godwit were either onward to pastures new or here for the summer (the latter I would say). The recent unsympathetic draining of the ‘Ibis Pool’ over at Carr Lane, Hale may have contributed to the increase in numbers of godwit here? Apart from a few Lapwing with various sized chicks there was little else in the way of shorebirds but we’re ever hopeful.

The mitigation pools on No.3 tank had 9 Avocet, 34 Black-tailed Godwit and a solitary Ringed Plover.

Duck numbers are variable at the moment with c100 Tufted Duck, 43 Gadwall, a drake Wigeon, 67 Common Shelduck and the ever-present Mallard pairs were all good value. The highlight of the day was 3 adult Fulvous Whistling Duck (PR) on the Weaver estuary but a passing canonist caused their premature departure and were last seen heading off to waters elsewhere.

The Marsh Harrier was drifting about the reed beds while a few Common Buzzard were noted.

Another Avocet, 2 Ringed Plover and a Wheatear were also near the river.

Blackcap, Chiffchaff, Willow and Cetti’s Warbler were all vocal along the lanes of the marsh and a Stoat was busy seeking out a meal on the track as we walked back.

Observers: Paul Ralston (images 3-5), Simon Pinder, Jacqui and Idris Roberts, Sparky & WSM (images 1-2).

19.05.17. Birdlog

A drake Garganey was on the mitigation pools of No.3 tank with 7 Gadwall. While on No.6 were 660 Black-tailed Godwit. There was 55 Gadwall including a pair with four ducklings, 2 Shoveler, a drake Common Pochard and a pair of winnowing Little Grebe. There were also 2 broods of Lapwing chicks (two medium and 3 tiny sized) noted.

Observer: Mark (Whipper) Gibson.

Image by WSM.

14.05.17. Birdlog

A late afternoon visit to see what the tide on the Mersey estuary could conjure up resulted in nul points.

A flock of 154 Black-tailed Godwit and a couple of Redshank were really the shorebird highlight. I can always rely on ducks whatever the time of year and the saving grace was the aytha genus. A pair of Common Pochard and a drake Pintail were perhaps the more uncommon species for this time of year. Tufted Duck reached a peak of 147 with most paired up. 64 Gadwall, 224 Common Shelduck, c100 Mallard, 4 Common Teal and 7 Shoveler made up the rest.

A female Marsh Harrier was very active moving around the area while several Common Buzzard were drifting over.

The Cetti’s Warbler was singing from a couple of separate locations on the marsh.A couple of Greenland form Wheatear were notable but generally it felt like there was a lull in the movements of migrants.

Fresh Water Shrimp video here:

Following Paul’s comments yesterday about the shrimps I went to have a look myself. The outflow culvert from No.6 tank produced several thousand Fresh Water Shrimps gathered in one of the channels.

Observer and images: WSM.

A female Whinchat seen this am on path from old birdlog tothe Weaver Bend.

Observer: John Taylor.

13.05.17. Birdlog

I started today along Brook Furlong Lane with the tunes of Chiffchaff, Willow Warbler and Cetti’s filling the leafy byway. Onward and the river beckoned where good numbers of Common Swift, Swallow and Sand Martin were darting over the water. Several Common Shelduck males were fighting over their suitors while a number of drake Gadwall were chasing a single female.

Waders were scarce on my visit to the estuary with only a Ringed Plover seen.

While I was sat on the river bank a couple of Brown Hare passed by closely followed shortly after by a third one.

Retracing my steps I ended up at No.6 tank and another Cetti’s Warbler was heard and both Reed and Sedge have already claimed their territorial patches. A pair of Common Pochard were with the Tufties.

The Coot nest on the Holpool Gutter now holds a clutch of young but these were being closely watched by a Common Buzzard which was sat on the bank nearby.

Back along Lordship Lane a flock of Stock Dove fed alongside the Rook and Jackdaw flock feeding on the newly seeded crop fields. There were more Reed and Sedge Warbler singing in the ditch and they were joined by a few pairs of Reed Bunting. The drainage ditch alongside No.6 was full of Fresh Water Shrimp which attracted the attention of a Grey Heron.

Observer: Paul Ralston (images 2-5).

I (AC) totalled 76 species from my 9 hours on the marsh today: 21 Mute Swan on No. 6 tank with another 2 on River Weaver, Greylag Goose, Canada Goose, 211 Common Shelduck, 54 Gadwall, 12 CommonTeal, 114 Mallard, A drake Pintail was on the River Weaver while on No.6 12 Shoveler, Tufted Duck tallied 67 and a pair of Common Pochard were present.

On No.1 there were 4 released Red-legged Partridge and several Pheasant.

Two Grey Heron on No. 6 tank while a Little Grebe was at the ‘Splashing Pool’, Great Crested Grebe – 3 on River Weaver and 1 on Manchester Ship Canal. There were two Marsh Harrier over No. 6 tank with a Sparrowhawk, Common Buzzard noted. The usual low numbers of both Moorhen and Coot were again on No.6 tank.

Just a single Avocet on the Weaver Bend and 9 on the Mersey estuary. A solitary Oystercatcher joined the protective Lapwing parents guarding 8 chicks on the No.6 and two Ringed Plover flew in for a short sortie.

The Curlew which is generally scarce this time of year reached 4 on No. 6 tank this early morning. The Black-tailed Godwit flock reached 254 with a Whimbrel, 3 Redshank and 23 Dunlin a Greenshank circled yhe tank before heading back to the river which were all on No.6, while the Weaver Bend had a Common Sandpiper.

A Dunlin fell victim to a Peregrine on No. 6 tank which put the frighteners on all of the other waders here. A small flock of Black-headed Gull were also on 6 with Greater, Lesser Black and Herring Gull in small numbers.

A passage of Common Swift were hawking over the north bank of six while a couple of Kestrel were hovering nearby.

Other birds of note: Cetti’s Warbler – 3, 5 Song Thrush,  3 Whinchat – 3 by Redwall Reedbed and 2 Wheatear  by Marsh Farm and a Grey Wagtail on Weaver.

Observers: Alyn Chambers (image 9), WSM (images 1 & 6-8).