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Post Info TOPIC: Moore NR


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RE: Moore NR


Lapwing Lane - two singing Chiffchaff. Party of 6 inc 2 Juv Greenfinch by the Quarry. Single Curlew over.

11 Swallow on Norton Marsh, two Cetti's Warblers, two Reed Bunting and a female Marsh Harrier drifting West alone the Mersey.

17 Curlew, two Little Egret, flock of 240 Lapwing and 462 Black-headed Gull flew off Penketh Bank (disturbed by the Harrier?) and headed looking to land on Richmond Bank.

Seven Great Black-backed Gulls, 118 Lesser Black Back-backed Gulls (~30 sub adults) three Herring Gulls, 108 Lapwing (different flock) and 120 Black-headed Gulls plus three Herring Gulls were on the mudflats opposite Halfway House. At least a couple of thousand gulls (50:50 Large : Black-headed) were on the Sandbank opposite Astmoor Marsh but the rain was really starting to come in and the view was going.



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Quiet today down the East End (from the Eastern Reedbed up to the crossroads with the pools and tip in between). Quite a few Chiffchaff still moving through though, at least six seen.

Strangest sighting was an Embden Goose gander on Birchwood Pool (my Grandfather used to keep these). How the heck that got there with the 67-72 Canada Geese I saw I'll never know. Distinctive red eye ring, crown progression straight to bill angle correct for species, bill colour and being 30% bigger than the Canada Geese on the Island with a distinct upright stance it didn't leave many other options as far as I can remember of domestic geese.

One Common Gull on Birchwood Pool.



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A quick loop around Lapwing Lane and Upper Moss side felt very autumnal today.

Best of the day were two pairs Bullfinch looking beautiful in the sun. A few more Swallows drifting over in singles. The big female Sparrowhawk was on the telegraph poles near Moss Farm with a juv. They took off over Upper Moss side and put up 32 Curlew from the fields. A Cettis Warbler sang away at the bottom of triangle field.

The Tawny Owl was in the daytime roost near the Lapwing Lane Canal crossroads. A visit to Birchwood Pool produced a Buzzard head onto me in the Woods and 47 Canada Geese on Birchwood Pool but little else.



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Saw, driving to Moore near Hatton (via Appleton Resvr back road) an Animal Control Zone sign with details; seems the Pheasant Farms to the NE Hatton have had to had their stock put down from weblinks (DEFRA ref AIV2023/49).

Shame they couldn't have put down all those headless chickens at Creamfields a few weeks ago (joke) that caused us three sleepless nights...........but I was young once so my grumpiness is replaced by being gruntled that young 'uns still have fun as I did.

Anyway, later walked from home to Moore, whilst short in length (basically a lunchbreak) left me very gruntled staying dry between the weather fronts though much disgruntled by Cleg bites in the 30 mins I was around Lapwing Lane and Hide. Clegs seems to go for elbows, neck and knees this year. (Cases of Ticks reported from Runcorn dog walkers in areas of high ferns so be careful of rashes that last a couple of weeks).

Lapwing Lane Pool - flyovers Great Spotted Woodpecker, one Cormorant (+one in roost), seven Swallow South. 41 Coot (+ more would be in bays not visible), 21 Gadwall, one Canada Goose, five Great Tit, six Little Grebe (3 ad, 3 juv), five Tufted Duck (3m, 2f) plus one Mallard and six Moorhen and by the Borehole on Lapwing Lane a Spotted Flycatcher. There was one in June (edit: strike that it was May, was guessing when writing) 30 yards South towards the Ship Canal seen over 4-5 days. Did this individual stay or is it a different bird on return passage?

Buzzard over a few times, Green Woodpecker on the Dog field scrub, Long-Tailed Tits, Blue Tits, Robin, Dunnock, Chaffinches calling, one Chiffchaff, various Gulls mooching in the sky (BH, HG, LBBG).



-- Edited by Andy Slee on Tuesday 12th of September 2023 10:55:22 PM

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Two Chiffchaff singing Eastern Reedbed.

34 Gadwall on Millbrook Pool, plus four more on Pumphouse Pool.

Green Sandpiper still on Pumphouse Pool. Two Teal present and a Grey Heron.

Lot of movement of Woodpigeon about the site.



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Lapwing Lane Pool Coot (44) and Gadwall (47) building up. Very showy Reed Warbler still present in front of hide.

Birchwood Pool Little Grebe with noisy 2 day juv, 1st Common Gull of the autumn, one Pochard was the only interesting duck.

Grey Wagtail on Port Warrington roof.

Pumphouse Pool had two Green Sandpiper (difficult view from West hide, required standing on bench to view over bracken obscuring view in front of hide) plus a Tufted Diuck, Gadwall (16) and two Teal with a Grey Heron landing as I left.

Woods absolutely dead of any birds, song or visible..........



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An eerie silence in the woods at 6 p.m. Didn't see or hear a bird for the first 20 mins of my walk around the forest; no wind, no leaves falling, nothing. Back at the car park I heard a Green Woodpecker calling very close. A quick look and then off it flew across the field.

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After narry a couple weeks not being able to get far and being stuck on the roads and lanes around the patch I managed to get down to Halfway House and through Owens Wood and Norton Marsh today early am. Glad I did. Not quite all ones Birthdays come at once but very close..........

On the river between Round Cherval and Halfway House 42 Canada Geese, 23 Curlew, one Grey Heron, seven Little Egret, one Moorhen, three Coot (CO), six Gadwall, one Kingfisher, two Little Grebe flew by, one Mute Swan, six Cormorant (three juv), six Great Crested Grebe, 102 Lapwing, 340+ Black-headed Gulls, one Great Black-backed Gull, 40+ Lesser Black-backed Gulls, three Herring Gulls, four Mallard and two Teal.

Juv Kestrel spent an hour watching me from the pylon as I watched the river.

Chiffchaff and Willow Warbler were seen on the walk in with a pair of Bullfinch. Goldfinch were in a number of charms and there were three Cetti's Warblers starting to sing again in that "ooops I've forgotten my distinctive call but I'll have a go"  late summer song they have.

Highlight though was whilst whiling away the dawn watching the river a Tree Pipit overflew with its distinct beeez                      beeez         beeez vocally trill. Patch tick #149 since 1999 (only serious patching since 2019 apart from a brief winter attempt in 2009). And with a few other birds picked up elsewhere I'm on #299 for my BOU life list............what is to say #150 for Moore could be #300 for my life list, how symbolically symmetric would that be!.



-- Edited by Andy Slee on Sunday 20th of August 2023 10:01:03 PM

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Horse fields around Moss Lane again.

13 Pied Wagtail (three juv), 22 Starling, 1 Great spotted Woodpecker overhead in flight, plenty of Swallows but no other Hirundines. 13 Linnet at Big Hand Ranch with four Goldfinch and a female Yellowhammer. Magpie, Jacdaw, two Rook and Carrion Crow making up the support.



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Two Yellow Wagtail with one juv and 11 Pied Wagtails in the horse paddocks by Moss Lane. Swallows, Linnet, Goldfinch, Magpie and House Sparrow also present.



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Make sure you get your tides right! If you use this link it gives the current tides at Fiddlers Ferry https://www.tideschart.com/search.php?q=fiddlers+ferry.

 

Penketh Bank and Bar start to flood roughly 1hr before high tide and become fully visible again up to 3 hrs after. But it can be hit and miss even from that rule dependant on wind and amount of water down the Mersey.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NIrl-Sl_ITM is a video of the highest tides with Norton Marsh flooding and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ArJRDvq1QLA shows the three hours up to a Spring high tide. 



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Andy Slee wrote:

If you follow the Ship Canal west from the yellow gate off Lapwing Lane, after ~2/3 a mile you go past the Ethylene pumping station on your right then 1/3 a mile later the wood on your right (Owens Wood) drops to track level and you can cut through onto the edge of the saltmarsh (Halfway House is 300 yrds further west).

Shown here on Google Maps. RC=Round Cherval, HWH - Halfway House, YG = Yellow Gate.

 

 


 Thanks Andy , Ill have a walk down that way this weekend 



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If you follow the Ship Canal west from the yellow gate off Lapwing Lane, after ~2/3 a mile you go past the Ethylene pumping station on your right then 1/3 a mile later the wood on your right (Owens Wood) drops to track level and you can cut through onto the edge of the saltmarsh (Halfway House is 300 yrds further west).

Shown here on Google Maps. RC=Round Cherval, HWH - Halfway House, YG = Yellow Gate.

 

 



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Andy Slee wrote:

A great visit to Round Cherval and Halfway House on the falling tide (nearly at ebb). Birds everywhere!

On the way in two Gadwall and 28 Ad + three juv Great crested Grebe on the Ship Canal plus around 40 Black-headed Gulls and three Grey Heron.

Penketh Bar and Bank held 13 Cormorant, one Yellow-legged Gull, five Grey Heron, 65 Curlew (a steady stream coming from Fiddlers Ferry Lagoon area as Penkth Bar exposed - another habitat to be lost in 2024-5 as it get turned into house / light industry / nature parks), two Black-tailed Godwit, one Whimbrel, two Redshank, one Snipe, two Little Egret and four Lapwing. 

Loafing on the river were 142 Canada Geese, nine adult Great Black-backed Gulls, 18 Lesser Black-backed Gull (ad) and 33 immature, 3 Herring Gulls, 1 Mediterranean Gull and 326 Black-headed Gull.

And on the walk in/out to Halfway House, three more patch "second solstice period" ticks were attained of Bullfinch, Water Rail and Treecreeper with the best being saved until last as I was about to drive off from Lapwing Lane when a male Yellowhammer popped up from the corn field and loafed on the branch in front of my windscreen where I'd parked.


 Wheres round cherval please 



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A great visit to Round Cherval and Halfway House on the falling tide (nearly at ebb). Birds everywhere!

On the way in two Gadwall and 28 Ad + three juv Great crested Grebe on the Ship Canal plus around 40 Black-headed Gulls and three Grey Heron.

Penketh Bar and Bank held 13 Cormorant, one Yellow-legged Gull, five Grey Heron, 65 Curlew (a steady stream coming from Fiddlers Ferry Lagoon area as Penkth Bar exposed - another habitat to be lost in 2024-5 as it get turned into house / light industry / nature parks), two Black-tailed Godwit, one Whimbrel, two Redshank, one Snipe, two Little Egret and four Lapwing. 

Loafing on the river were 142 Canada Geese, nine adult Great Black-backed Gulls, 18 Lesser Black-backed Gull (ad) and 33 immature, 3 Herring Gulls, 1 Mediterranean Gull and 326 Black-headed Gull.

And on the walk in/out to Halfway House, three more patch "second solstice period" ticks were attained of Bullfinch, Water Rail and Treecreeper with the best being saved until last as I was about to drive off from Lapwing Lane when a male Yellowhammer popped up from the corn field and loafed on the branch in front of my windscreen where I'd parked.



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Eastern Reedbed - one Cormorant, two Gadwall, one Reed Warbler, Kingfisher flew in to N corner.

Millbrook Pool (East, West appears dried / overgrown by reed / birch) - one Grey Heron, one Green Sandpiper took off towards Pumphouse Pool.

Pumphouse Pool - 12 Gadwall, four Teal, two ad Mute Swan, one Pied Wagtail, Stock Dove, Magpie, Jay.

Black-fields Pool(s) currently high and joined as one pool. 102 Lapwing, plus suspect more as only 70% islands in the pool were visible due to high vegetation. Seven Pochard, four Tufted duck, one Ad Mute Swan, Little and Great crested Grebes, Coot, Moorhen, swift and Swallow over, steady flights of Black-headed Gulls west, two Oystercatcher went over east but didn't stop.

Rook in the horse fields (first for second half of the year). Linnet flock still about but on the brow of the hill so difficult to count. Hundreds of Wood Pigeon, Corvids, couple Stock Dove and Feral pigeon in the mown corn fields around Lapwing Lane. Buzzard and Sparrowhawk both over Lapwing Lane fields. Last of the summer visitors it felt with a couple Willow Warblers (1 juv) and a single Chiffy still about. Tawny Owl roosting in the new location in Big Wood.

Lapwing Lane Lake - 52 Gadwall, two Little Grebe, eight Mallard, four Canada Goose, Coot, Moorhen, Cormorant, Grey Heron, Reed Warbler.

 



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Annoyingly the high Spring Tides which might breach Norton Marsh are at night yesterday and today so no chance of seeing species / foodstuff displaced by the water - have had owls on trail cams in the past at night when that happens .

However went on the off-chance anything had been pushed up the river on the tides for a wander around the West end Moore this evening and had my first patch Turnstone on the Mersey banks below Astmoor Marsh, visible from Halfway House biggrin.

Seven Grey Heron, 5 Little Egret, one adult Mediterranean Gull, four Oystercatchers (all flyby), 13 Curlews, two Redshank, one Common Sandpiper and Lapwings (circulating between Penketh Bar and Widnes Warth, 00s) plus 42 Black-headed Gull, 27 Lesser Black-backed Gulls (19 Juv/sub adult) two Herring Gulls (ad) and a smattering of Canada Geese, Gadwall, Great Crested Grebe, Mallard and Tufted Duck made up the main supporting cast. 

Looked to be quite a few Shelduck with the gulls on Widnes Warth sandbank but until I get a scope higher than 45x I struggle from on Moore land at least to get accurate count / sighting as it is nearly 1.4 miles away at extremis.



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Very little in the woods early am and quite a few branches down or loose so stuck the the main tracks around the quarry and Moss Lane.

22 Linnet in the horse paddocks with 23 Goldfinch in the same field. 47 Swallow lined up on the fence (11 juv) in the mizzle. Seven Pied Wagtails.

Four more Pied Wagtails (2 juv) were at Big Horse Ranch with a single Lapwing and over behind Anglers Quarry a flock of 375-400 Woodpigeon was disturbed.



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A brief trip to the River Mersey at Halfway House for the rising tide almost proved a washout with little apart from Great-crested Grebes, Cormorant and a few moult Gadwall on the Ship Canal.

Strangely almost no Gulls at Halfway House apart from a couple of Black-headed and three Lesser Black-backed.

Waders mae up for it, four Dunlin (patch year tick) flew upriver as the Banks/Bars were getting submerged, Common Sandpiper at Round Cherval and a Redshank flying upriver as well. Small numbers Lapwing drifting about but no big flock.

A Buzzard and a Kestrel over the horse fields and seven Canada Gosling were all else of note.

 



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A pleasant if slightly damp mooch around the east end as weather fronts came through.

Black-fields Pools had seven Lapwing, one Greenshank, 17 Canada Geese, two Little Grebe, 5 Grey Heron, one Little Egret, two Pochard, Tufted Duck, Morehen and Coot, with 10s of House Martins passing South with three Sand Martins amongst them.

Oystercatcher, another Greenshank (seen continuously by another birder from the time I'd watched the bird on BFPs), one Lapwing, one Black-headed Gull and six Gadwall, one Pied Wagtail on Pumphouse Pool.

More House and Sand Martins over Birchwood Pool with seven Pochard.

Little Egret on Lapwing Lane Pool, Reed Warbler juv showing well in front of hide and Reed Buntings calling.

Nuthatch the best of the woodland birds.



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Spent a good while around the reserve and clocked up 52 spp around the reserve with the highlight being two Greenshanks on PHP



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First returning Curlew (10) on Penketh Bar today. 42 Lapwing, 87 Black-headed Gull, 3 Great Black-backed Gull and seven Lesser Black-backed Gulls loafing about also. Looking towards Widness Warth from Halfway House another 98 Lawping were visible and more coming from Wigg Island direction as the tide rose to be displaced off over Fiddlers Ferry direction.

Buzzard, Raven, Kestrel and Sparrowhawk all seen over Upper Moss Side on the walk in.

5 Little Egret around the Mersey between Owens Wood / HWH and seven Grey Heron on the Ship Canal, with Coot, Moorhen, Great crested Grebe and Mallard, plus 34 Canada Geese at Moore Swing Bridge.

One Shelduck up by Norton Marsh with a Peregrine (m) swooping over the river for a while before returning to Fiddlers Ferry turbine building.

Coal Tit and Great Black-backed Gull added to the patch tick list for the second Solstice period of the year (69 species seen second Solstice period, 127 seen Winter Solstice 2022 - Summer Solstice 2023).

 



-- Edited by Andy Slee on Tuesday 11th of July 2023 09:00:44 PM

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No Guillemots at Morley Common today that must have been a sight.

Lots of young around today, brood of seven Gadwall on Pumphouse Pool, one Lapwing, one Water Rail, Long-tailed Tit juvs everywhere, plus a few Willow Warbler and Chiffchaff juvs.

A male Linnet flew over Colins hide.

32 Tufted Duck on Birchwood Pool was a good number.

Three Cygnets and two Great crested Grebe Broods (2+2) on the Black-field Pool with good numbers of Swallows, Swifts and House Martins passing south. Four Grey Heron + 2imm also present.

Two Reed Warbler and three Cetti's Warbler still singing away around the Eastern Reedbed.



-- Edited by Ian McKerchar on Friday 7th of July 2023 02:56:28 PM

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Ended up with 127 patch species from the Winter Solstice 2022 - Summer Solstice 2023 (banned from doing a patch list 2023 by her indoors so decided to find a technical way around it). Hrs on patch this year to date less than half that last year and very few mornings due to shift patterns.

Only 2 visits since the Summer solstice but already 55 species for the second half the year. Best of the visits was watching the tide rise up the Mersey on Sunday (02/07) and watching Lapwings flushed from further down the Mersey to group on Penketh Bank. Approx 940 at highest count before heading high north as the Bank was covered by the afternoon tide. Two Oystercatchers, usual Gulls and seven Little Egret and three Grey Heron (1 imm) made up the supporting cast.

More hide vandalism on site unfortunately as well.



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Visits yesterday and today saw many young and birds feeding young - parties of Long-tailed Tits everywhere, Common Whitethroat feeding young by the Ship Canal, Canada Goslings on the footpath by Lapwing Lane, Coot, Moorhen and Little Grebe young on Lapwing Lane.

Reed Bunting and Skylark both had families on the Marsh whilst watching from the ex-Norton Marsh Hide; Sparrowhawk, Buzzard and two Kestrels (ad, juv) were overhead for long periods.

An unusual "mini legless Bittern pattern / shape" rose twice flew fast and sunk back into the corn field (Triangle Field) next to Lapwing Lane as I walked by, but only 6-7" in length and 8-10" in Wingspan. No call heard. Will be back to listen in the evening as heard Quail here last year. (Edit. Nothing heard tonight - only heard Quail or seen their heads so not sure what a flight bird looks like 100%).

Better on the 100% though was Penketh Bank with loafing Lesser Black-backed Gulls (26) of all CY, Herring Gulls (12) couple imm, most Ad, a few Ad (12) Black-headed Gulls, three Ad Great Black-backed Gulls was resplendent amidst an adult Yellow-legged Gull, with plumage, small mirror size, leg pastel crayon bright yellow and red eye ring colour all easily compared against fellow Gulls. A shame the sun haze was getting up as over on the sandbank next to Astmoor were many hundreds of gulls as the tide went out, but the heat haze was fouling optics.

One single Gadwall on the river and four Shelduck and two Cormorant amongst the Gulls with seven Little Egret and six Grey Heron (1imm, 5 Ad).

Three Oystercatcher and 62 Lapwing made up the days wader totals.

Midges [clegs] biting horrendously. With DEET and fully clothed (sweating) with only face skin exposed still got bitten numerous times, this rain / heat is classic for a second brood to emerge as well in a week or two. Take antihistamine before you go if you can!



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After been away with work last week a couple of brief trips in lunches (too hot) this week produced the usuals, but the unusual was a Red Kite over as I walked to Halfway House after tea tonight, heading towards Fiddlers Ferry. I thought I'd had a Red Kite many years ago, but looking through my notes gone by (my MS Access database of years 2008-2013 is corrupt..woe) this is both a life patch and Cheshire year tick for me.

Most pools looked very low, even Lapwing Lane and Birchwood Pool are over two - three feet lower than usual. Few Moorhen, Little Grebe, Coot and Canada Goose Broods scattered about.

Black-fields Pools however has rising water (strange as that is supposed to be concreted over for light industrial use in 2025/6) and East and West Pools are so high they are now one pool. Two or three Pochard broods are on there and a Green Woodpecker flew over.

A Raven was sat motionless on Lapwing Lane to the point I could almost touch it; [didn't] I didn't think a young bird as it was mostly black with a bit of brownish on the secondaries, beak was massive and fully black......would it be succumbing to Bird flu or knackered by heat?

Still...the Red Kite puts the patch list this year at 123 since winter solstice.

 



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A full trip from 4:30 am around the reserve, starting at the centre down the Marsh and River, then a drive down the Eastern end to walk back to the centre and back via various Pools.

Seven Cetti's Warbler (5 west end, 2 east) and plenty of the other usual Warblers singing away in most places, Garden Warbler at Colins Hide, Lesser Whitethroats at the scrub above the Eastern Reedbed and ex-Long Pond field at Norton Marsh. Blackcap, Goldcrest, Willow, Chiffchaff Common Whitethroat everywhere localised, Reed (Marsh, reedbeds), Sedge (Black-Fields Pools, Marsh, Round Cherval).

Two patch year ticks, finally House Martin (Black-Fields Pools, five with three Sand Martin) and a Water Rail and chick on Millbrook Pool East (Almost-Dried-Out-Swamp Rail would be a better name given the lack of water).

Cuckoo over toward the Capped Tip gas plant.

One Black-headed Gull and two Great Black-backed Gulls on the river, with 89 Lapwing, three Grey Heron, 10 male Mallard, 1 Gadwall, and 11 Shelduck.

Kestral and Buzzard on the Marsh.

Reed Buntings and Skylark and Corvids a plenty on Norton Marsh. 

Two pairs Mute Swan, no cygnets seen though. Moorhen, Coot, Canada Goose and both Common Grebes all had young. Four Tufted ducks lazed on the Eastern Reedbed, no sign of any young yet.

Pumphouse Pool just holds on...Grey Heron eating frogs from the remaining mudscapes, single Lapwing, 11 Teal and seven Gadwall plus a Moorhen and Pied Wagtail made up the show today.

71 species in total though in 4 1/2 hs, not bad for June smile.

 



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Took a good wait this morning but Spotted Flycatcher eventually showed in the Oaks by the old railway bridge just North the swing bridge into the reserve where it had been seen a few days ago. 

A later afternoon visit got Hobby over the Eastern Reedbed and a Peregrine passing  over with a vole / mole in its claws. Wonder if there is a displaced pair from Fiddlers / Unilever Soap works moved into the reserve?

Plenty of young about now, tits, Canadas (five Goslings with adults wandered over the swing bridge as I was waiting for the Spotcatcher), juv Reed Buntings on the stubble near lapwing Lane an Little Grebe and Great Crested Grebe chicks on all main pools. 

Pumphouse Pool appears in its last few days of existence. A mere drying up mud scrape, with a last couple Teal, Gadwall and couple of waders scuttling around the edge



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Typical, yesterday I say no Swifts then today five birds over as individuals.

Another birder reported Spotted Flycatcher by Swing Bridge on Moss Lane side.



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A recuperative lunchtime walk west today down the Canal to Round Cherval and Wigg Island, back via Upper Moss Side and Lapwing Lane. Plenty of Chiffchaffs, Willow Warbler, Blackcap, two Garden Warbler, Whitethroats everywhere (no Lesser today), Bullfinch, Chaffinch, Greenfinch all the common Tits including fledgling Blue and Long-tails.

The banks of the Mersey were exposed at low tide and between Penketh Bar, Penketh Bank and visible on Astmoor Marsh from Halfway House were 78 Shelduck, 87 Lapwing, 49 Canada Goose, three Gadwall, seven Mallard and two Grey Heron. Reed and Sedge warblers were present audibly both over at Oxmoor to the South of the Ship Canal, between Round Cherval and Halfway House and over on Cuerdly Marsh to the North the Mersey.

Emerging from the dark dingy nettle fest Fanghorn like Owens Wood to the gravelled esplanade of the Ethylene Station a Common Tern (year patch tick) shrieked down at me as it flew overhead from the Ship Canal towards Penketh Bar (later seen from the ex-Norton hide location as being on Pentketh Bar). A nice year tick and nice for once to actually call a Comic Tern as a Common one, usually views are to brief and distant.

Little Owl sunning at Moss Farm and five Swallows showing nest building signs.

Lapwing Lane Pool held a pair of Great crested Grebe with four young and a pair of Little Grebe with three young, the youngsters trying to chase themselves around the lake and running out of puff after about 10 yards. No Reed or Sedge Warblers on Lapwing Lane Pool this year in quite a few visits. No Swifts over the site yet either this year, now 9 days later than average return date blankstare.



-- Edited by Andy Slee on Tuesday 23rd of May 2023 07:43:04 PM



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Same route as Tue for a lunchtime recuperative walk. Very similar except a Cuckoo was now down deep in the Eastern Reedbed, very close to old Phoenix Hide and an agitated Reed Warbler was giving it the beans close by.

Pumphouse Pool / mud scrape held 22 Gadwall, 2 Mallard, a Coot, two adult Moorehen and two chick, an Oystercatcher, two Lapwing with a chick, a pair Pied Wagtails, Buzzard overhead fighting with a Black-headed Gull and two Stock Dove.

A Lesser Whitethroat showed and sang beautifully in the trees between Eastern Reedbed and Arpley Common.

Again, Sedge Warblers, Reed Warblers and Common Whitethroat abounded the path along the North of the Eastern Reedbed and the four Cetti's Warblers were heard in a loop of the Reedbed.

An interesting sight was thirteen Shelduck in flight down the Ship Canal as I wandered across Walton Swing Bridge on the way home....a bit like watching the Dambusters coming in at at the Mohne, are they going under the Bridge; nope they are going over; no they have changed their mind under instead; ooops, last minute pullup and bird poo doors away and neeeeoowwwmmmm (best typing that I can do for the sound of a Lancaster Bomber) over the top of the bridge they went west towards Moore, Wigg and eventually presumably the Mersey estuary.

 

Just noticed Fri 12th post claims "Yellow Whitethroat"; obviously that was an iPhone smelling autocorrect for a Lesser Whitethroat. Off to edit post.



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Rufous Cuckoo calling and showing well in the field by Millbrook Pool West this afternoon (Woodpecker fields). One also calling from over the top side of the Capped Tip in the Richmond Bank direction so 2/3 on patch this year (other one being west of the Capped Tip but didn't go there today).

Pumphouse Pool held 16 Gadwall, two Great Crested Grebe and a Magpie and a Rook.

Sedge Warblers, Reed Warblers and Common Whitethroat abounded the path along the North of the Eastern Reedbed and four Cetti's Warblers were heard in a loop of the Reedbed.

 

And Stringy disbelief patch "heard-only" tick should I need it for the year list smile a Peacock calling, presumably from Walton Gardens.



-- Edited by Andy Slee on Tuesday 16th of May 2023 08:23:22 PM



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Cracking better days yesterday and today. Mostly down the West End towards the river but highlight, on the path behind the feeding station by the Capped Tip a Marsh Tit was singing then alarm calling as I walked past the tree by the path it was in. Nuthatch and plenty of Dunnocks added to the cast.

Two Garden Warblers in Big Wood and Blackcap most vocal of the warblers; everywhere. Good numbers of Common Whitethroat towards the scrubbier areas of Upper Moss Side, Snipe Fields and Norton Marsh.

Cuckoos on Capped Tip (West) and by Pumphouse Pool entry to Capped Tip so at least two about.

Large Female Sparrowhawk (Goshawk sized) by Moss Farm.

Grasshopper Warbler reeling by Tree Sparrow feeders and Yellow Whitethroat on path to ex Norton Marsh Hide. Stonechat Male on Norton Marsh, 2ad+2juv Skylark in flight.

[Sub-adult] Lesser Black-backed Gulls in a low tide roost numbered 183 yesterday and 162 today on Penketh Banks and Bars, with the very dark backed bird with no white in primaries or secondaries with them today. Singles of Great Black-back Gull and Herring Gulls were within.

Reed Bunting Norton Marsh, Cetti's Warblers everywhere including Big Wood and the Tawny owl in the new spot near the feeders off Lapwing Lane.

17 Shelduck, three Gadwall, eight Mallard and five Cormorant on the River Mersey from Halfway House and a single Little Ringed Plover dropped in on the banks for a while before going north high. One Lapwing, one Redshank on Penketh bar, one flyby Oystercatcher and an overhead Curlew made up the other waders.

Kingfisher west up the Ship Canal and five Grey Heron along the South bank from Round Cherval to West Dock.

 

Edited to add most (90%+) LBBGs were sub adult.



-- Edited by Andy Slee on Friday 12th of May 2023 06:34:16 PM

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Absolute utter hooleys of showers and downpours today I fear leading to a Binocular repair potentially (did drop them a few weeks ago so perhaps lost the inert gas...Doc B I'll be down your way if they don't clear in the Aga low temp oven overnight!).

Millbrook Pool West now all but empty and forlorn. Single green Sandpiper Millbrook East. Reed Warbler x3 around Eastern Reedbed.

Pumphouse Pool a real disappointment this year, water level very low and getting lower even in wet spells. Almost no waders when this time previous years Dunlin and Greenshank has passed through. Cuckoo on Capped Tip though and a single Lesser Black-backed Gull and two Gadwall made up the avifauna. Overall appears very much in decline as a managed wetland. As Shakespere never said in Sonnet 30

"When to birding muse of sweet silent thought,

I summon up remembrance of birds past'd,

I 'egret the lack of many a twitch I sought,

And with old woes, no Water Rail seen, my dear time's a wasted:

Pumphouse Pool, I can't even drown up to my eye, Pool now unus'd to flow".

Cheered up by Tawny Owl near the Crossroads towards Lapwing Lane feeders, Grasshopper Warbler reeling between showers along the Birchwood Pool - Feeders path and a fine view of a pair of Ravens, not "Gronking" but "Bonking" in the old quarry.

 

 



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Dawn raid on the patch with my Blind "bird listening" companion whom added Common Whitethroat (everywhere), Cuckoo (Norton Marsh), Grasshopper Warbler (Norton Marsh and Tree Sparrow Feeder path) and Nuthatch (Big Wood) to her year patch total. I got a Lesser Whitethroat in the Bins on the Norton Marsh path but even though we hung around the little mischief just wouldn't burst into song. Anyway, that takes her to 42 species identified by herself, by sound, since 19th March 2023 on patch......she thought it was going to take her all year to get 50 species as part of the "Skills" section of her Silver Duke of Edinburgh award, now she thinks she might have set the target to easy!

 



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Went down the estuary for waders this avo (had Whimbrel the last couple years at this time of passage date adjusted) at low tide but there were none. OK there were two Oystercathers and two more Oycs flew through but thought the weather fronts might have dropped something 'moore' interesting in, but that is patching!

However there were a pair of Ruddy Shelduck (stringly year tick with the scope, feet being on patch) far west of Fiddlers on the North sands at 15:27 by my watch. Could these be the same birds at 15:40ish on Birdguides reported off Wigg Island.

Greenfinch seem to be doing really well this year. This morning I had two pairs at Eastford Road at the East End and again a flock of 6 around the Ethylene Station on the Ship Canal this afternoon (2nd visit). 2020 - 2022 only saw individuals even when the feeders were still stocked.

Dead Canada Goose and Black-headed Gull on Norton Marsh though....bird flu creeping in....?

Warblers 5 Grasshoppers on Norton Marsh - Upper Moss Side route including two in Balloon Hut field. Lesser Whitethroat on path from Tree Sparrow Feeders to ex Norton Marsh hide. Six Garden Warbler on route from Yellow Gate to Owens Wood and the back through old Canal and Quarry. Sedge and Reed seem in lower numbers than previous years.

17 miles walked today, amazing how zig-zagging back and forth (mainly for the Mersey tide) adds up the miles.

Possible Woodcock over Capped Tip.



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A lovely mooch around here this afternoon/evening...

Birchwood pool...

12 tufted duck
2 gadwall
1 pochard

Pumphouse pool...

1 little ringed plover
1 common sandpiper
1 lapwing
1 oystercatcher
2 shelduck
Tufted duck, Teal & gadwall.

Tawny owl showing very well near feeding station.

Chiffchaff, blackcap, willow warbler all around.
cettis warbler in many locations.
Several whitethroat around.
6 buzzard
4 bullfinch
4 jays
1 treecreeper
6 swallows
2 sand Martins

Upper moss side was full of warbler song, amazing...

blackcap, chiffchaff, willow warbler, whitethroat, cettis warbler all around here.
2-3 grasshopper warbler heard only
3 lesser whitethroat
1 garden warbler
Reed warbler heard only on Norton marsh.

Forgot to add a cuckoo was heard calling north of birchwood pool.

-- Edited by steven burke on Friday 28th of April 2023 11:07:50 PM

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Early morning visit from carpark to Wigg Island to Pumphouse Pool and back.

Grasshopper Warblers (year tick) now present on the Upper Moss Side path at the Tree Sparrow feeding station and on Norton Marsh about 20yrds from the old hide location.

Garden Warbler (year tick) by yellow gate. Reed Warblers by Halfway House. Cettis Warblers everywhere almost rivalling Chiffchaff on todays route.

18 Shelduck on the mudflats at low tide at 6:30am. Waders at HWH included one Common Sandpiper, two Oystercatcher, one Redshank, three Lapwing. 39 Lesser Black-backed Gulls including 7 immature and two pairs in display. Couple hundred Black-headed Gulls washing in the low tide but constant movement made it hard to count. One Cormorant was present in the midst looking a bit confused. North of Astmoor Marsh there looked to be 000s of mostly big Black/Grey/Silver Gulls on the low tide mudbanks (2,700 - 3,200) but the light was bad and heat haze/scope CA at that distance was stopping me getting a good count.

Possible Sedge Warbler on Norton Marsh means (tbc year tick when I go back and find it for sure in the next couple of days) it could be easily the earliest I've ever completed the migrant "9 warbler finish" at Moore.

Got bitten by a Cleg on Norton Marsh; first bite of the year (year tick in the literal sense of the word).

Plenty of Whitethroat on Upper Moss Side and in the Snipe fields a Lesser Whitethroat was also present (year tick).

Pumphouse Pool provided the last "new arrivals" in the form of two dinner plate size Painted Turtles sunning themselves. Solitary Green and Common Sandpipers ran about the waters edge, two Pied Wagtails were in display and a single Little Ringed Plover scoured the north bank, doing a quick reverse ferret upon approaching the turtles. 13 Teal, Coot with three chicks.

And oft forgot in these parts the finches. A really good day for Greenfinch - eight along MSC esp around Ethylene Station. At least three pairs Bullfinch, two Linnet at Lapwing Lane and seven Chaffinch dotted about. Single Reed Bunting on Norton Marsh and male Yellowhammer Upper Moss Side.

 

What did I say 26th April last year?????

 

Andy Slee wrote:


First clegs of the year came out in the afternoon sun and started biting down the Norton Marsh end! First tim I've had clegs bite me before seeing a swallow!



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AM
1 Common Sandpiper Pumphouse Pool; Pair Pochard also here.
Lesser Whitethroat singing from thick scrub fairly close to Car Park
Numerous Blackcap filled woods with song.

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Quick morning around the East End. Constant background of a Cuckoo (first of year for me) calling on the East side of the Capped Tip. A Green Woodpecker was also heard in the same area.

Pairs of Pochard on each of Eastern Reedbed, Black-fields Pools and Pumphouse Pool (what is left, shallower than even the depths of last summer). Singles of Little Ringed Plover and Lapwing on Pumphouse with 13 Teal and two Canada Goose, three Pied Wagtails passed through. Two Lesser Black-backed Gulls in mating display on Pumphouse also.

Three differentReed Warblers were singing away along the path by the Eastern Reedbed.



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A dawn float down the river in a Kayak produced hearings of 17 Cetti's Warbler Territories between Arpley and Norton Mash (plus three on Gatewarth). (With five along the MSC banks and three at the Eastern Reedbed) makes a total of around 25 on the patch, quite impressive since the first around 2010.

A resplendent male Northern Wheatear was perched upon the fenceposts by the river on Norton Marsh. 

Unlike everywhere else in Cheshire didn't see any Little Gull between 05:45 and 10:00. Think I left before the weather front bringing them in came through.

 



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Walked from Lapwing Lane car park to Halfway House and back.

Outward via the path along the ship canal and returned via Moss Side.

09.00-13.00

Ship Canal: 5 Great Crested Grebes, 3 Tufted Ducks, 10 Gadwall and 5 Cormorants.

On the South bank a Song Thrush was on the heath by the Stobart warehouse, whilst 2 Linnets were on the nearby fence.

Halfway House: Probably the same highly vocal Cettis Warbler that remained hidden on my 7th April visit,

sang for longer and louder today, and this time he had the decency to pose briefly from an elder bush.

Newton Marsh (R.Mersey); 14 Shelducks and 5 Gadwall, whilst a Kestrel and a Buzzard soared over the North Bank.

No waders at all were seen on the mudflats/sandbanks despite it being close to low tide.

Wooded areas: At least 5 Blackcaps were in song along the canal between Lapwing Lane and Halfway House.

Chiffchaffs still seemed numerous throughout, but only a few Willow Warblers were found.

A couple of male Bullfinches were seen and heard, both appeared to be announcing their territory.

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Whole loop of the reserve after tea until dark. Highlights.

Just one Reed Warbler still (near Halfway House). Blackcap now everywhere. 5 Pochard still on Black Fields Pools, water too high for any waders but two Little Ringed Plover and one Green Sandpiper on Pumphouse Pool, with Teal, Gadwall, Shelduck (unusual on PHP), Mallard, Little Grebe and Great Crested Grebe and pair Pied Wagtails.

Whitethroats (patch and year tick) at both Norton Marsh and on the scrub by Arpley Meadows.

Ringed Plover (patch and year tick) on the bank of the Mersey at Halfway House, two Stonechat (m+f) on Norton Marsh.



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Reed Warbler 1st of the year between Round Cherval and Halfway House. Fire Cetti's Warblers along the MSC from Ethelene Station to Halfway House, plus one over in Oxmoor NR audible from Moore. 

Two Oystercatcher and one Redshank on the river, two Reed Bunting and two Snipe on Norton Marsh. 147 Black-headed Gulls present and 11 Lesser Black-backed Gulls and four Great Black-backed Gulls.

Blackcaps now arrived whilst I was away so two nice patch ticks from todays outing.



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11.00-15.00

Lapwing Lane Pool : 1f Pochard, 6 Tufted Ducks, 2 Gadwall and 1 Great Crested Grebe.

A female Mallard strolled across Lapwing Lane with just 2 small ducklings in tow, indicating high predation?.

Woodlands: 1 Tawny Owl, 1 Treecreeper and 1 Goldcrest.

Birchwood Pool: 6 Great Crested Grebes, 14 Tufted Ducks, 1 Oystercatcher, 5 Gadwall and 3 Little Grebes.

Pumphouse Pool: 1 Green Sandpiper, 1 Little Ringed Plover, 1 Oystercatcher, 2 Lapwings, 2 Shelducks, 16 Teal,

5 Tufted Ducks and a couple of pair bonding adult Lesser Black Backed Gulls.



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An enforced couple of weeks away from patch calls just as migration heats up. So a 35 minute visit today was well rewarded with Swallow (year tick) over Moss Lane and Green Woodpecker over Capped Tip. Swallow date smack bang on average of eleven years data (late 2000s/10s, 2019 - date) with 23rd March being earliest and last year 27th April being latest (despite being on patch all but five days in April 2022).



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Evening walk from the Swing Bridge up the West End. At least three Willow Warblers along Lapwing Lane. Chiffchaffs abounded everywhere. Gadwall, Great crested Grebe, Teal, Cormorant on the Ship Canal and five Cetti's Warblers from the Yellow Gate to Halfway House.

Decent numbers of gulls (mostly Lesser black (~60) and Great black (19)) and a significant number of Grey heron (19) on Penketh Bar and the adjacent banks of the Mersey.

Kestrel, single Redwing, two Bullfinch and hundreds of Jackdaws into roost on the return past Norton Marsh, Capped Tip and into Big Wood to heard two Tawny Owls calling to each other. A Little Owl was on the Pillbox at Big Hand Ranch when we left the reserve.

My blind "bird-listening" partner in crime was well chuffed with the outing, she "heard" 26 species of which Cetti's surprisingly was a first for her biggrin.



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11.00-15.00

Walked from Lapwing Lane car park to Halfway House and back.

Outward via the path along the ship canal and returned via Moss Side.

Ship Canal : 5 Great Crested Grebes (Single group), 4 Gadwall, 1m Pochard, 2 Grey Herons, 3 Cormorants,

12 Tufted Ducks and 6 Teal.

Woodlands, Heath and Hedgerows : Noticeably lots of Chiffchaffs, also 3 Willow Warblers, 4 Blackcaps, 1 Goldcrest,

2f Bullfinches and 2 Buzzards. A Blue Tit was seen aggressively ripping the petals from cherry blossom, for no apparent reason.

Halfway House area : 1 Cettis Warbler called loudly but remained hidden. It was high tide on the Mersey so no waders were to

be seen. A Little Egret rested on the banking alongside 5 Grey Herons waiting for the tide to ebb, whilst a pair of Mute Swans

appeared at ease in the centre of the river.



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10.00-14.00

Lapwing Lane Pool : 1 Great Crested Grebe, 4 Little Grebes, 1 Gadwall, 10 Tufted Ducks and 4 Teal.

Lapwing Lane area & surrounding woodland: 1 Blackcap, 3 Goldcrests, 3 Treecreepers, 2 Bullfinches (M+F)

and 7 Redwings (Appeared to be searching for the last remaining ivy berries, but were chased off by an aggressive male Blackbird).

Birchwood Pool & surrounding woodland: 1 Willow Warbler, 1 Blackcap, 2 Song Thrushes, 1 Coal Tit, 1m+1f Goldeneyes,

2 Little Grebes, 8 Great Crested Grebes, 2 Oystercatchers and 17 Tufted Ducks.

Pumphouse Pool area : 1 Green Sandpiper, 20 Teal, 11 Gadwall, 2 Shelducks (Very aggressive towards the Gadwall),

2 Goldcrests, 1 Song Thrush and 1 Willow Warbler.

Singing Chiffchaffs every few yards in the woodlands, plus there appeared to have been a noticeable fall along the West bank

of Birchwood Pool.

No hirundines or raptors were seen throughout, although a Buzzard was heard calling near Lapwing Lane Pool.

A pair of Great Crested Grebes were on the ship canal by Lapwing Lane swing bridge.






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A repeat trip to the bend in the river Mersey at low tide at dawn to see if any waders were hanging around. Two Redshank represented the wader total until two Oystercatcher flew by. Including the banks to the North West of Wigg Island, from Halfway House 47 Shelduck could be seen, 217 Black-headed Gull (almost all immatures), 14 Lesser Black-backed Gull, two Great Black-backed Gull, one Mallard, two Cormorant, eight Gadwall and the usual Canada Geese.

Norton Marsh had eight Reed Bunting (4m,4f) and 12 Meadow Pipit (bit of passage), and six Skylark. Five Cetti's Warblers heard between Randles Tip and Round Cherval, two being on the South of the Ship Canal at Oxmoor NR. Six more heard singing transecting Norton Marsh. A White Wagtail was on Penketh Bar.

First Tree Sparrow for many months seen at Moss Farm and a lonely Wigeon was still on Lapwing Lane Lake. Kingfisher went up the Ship Canal as I drove over the swing bridge.

 

 

(edited to add Warbler to Cetti's, apols Ian for yesterdays sloppy post!).

 



-- Edited by Andy Slee on Tuesday 4th of April 2023 09:34:02 PM

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