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Post Info TOPIC: Cheshire River Mersey Sites (north of the river)


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RE: Cheshire River Mersey Sites (south of the river)


Cetti's Warbler seem to be residents now in the canal reeds adjacent to Widnes Warth, they almost certainly must have spread from the cetti's that's been further up the canal in Penketh for a good few years now

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RE: Cheshire River Mersey Sites


Youngest daughter loves Spike Island and the chemical museum. So we went to visit there this morn on the promise we walk from Pickering Pasture "as it was such a nice day"........which of course meant stopping at the picnic bench halfway, just before the Runcorn rail/road viaducts at Parsonage Road for a look at the ducks/waders/gulls and a very obliging birder already there put me straight onto the Kumlien's Gull on the West Bank sandflats. (I must admit, I'd have had it as a white-winger but not got the diamonds diagnostics for Kumlien's...but right place right time fluke!). 30 years to the date of my first Iceland Gull at Mersey Road the other side of the bridge.



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Gatewarth - Sankey Bridges
pm
Both pairs of Mute Swans have started to nest in canal reeds,.
At the opposite end of the size scale, a Wren was seen collecting and carrying moss to a hidden nest site in the canal wall.

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Fiddlers Ferry - Gatewarth
PM
Walk up canal towpath.
1 f Grey Wagtail in waterlogged horse paddocks.
10 plus Chiffchaff , including several in reeds at canalside.
1 Cettis Warbler


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Gatewarth
pm
At least seven Chiffchaff singing
1 Cettis Warbler
5 plus Buzzards
1 Sparrowhawk
1 Treecreeper
Great Spotted Woodpecker drumming

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Gatewarth
AM
2 Chiffchaff singing
1 Cettis Warbler
5 plus Buzzards soariung over. Vocal.



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Fiddlers Ferry Marina
1 f Grey Wagtail

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Still plenty of Teal around Widnes Warth around 100 in and out of the brooks with Shelduck, Redshank, Curlew and Lapwing dotted around.Also picked out a few Meadow Pipit on marsh. There was 2 Raven was on Tanhouse Lane

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Wigg Island 11:30-12:15pm

Two Buzzard, Pied Wagtail, 106 Shelduck on the Mersey before the high tide came, 17 Curlew, one Redshank, seven cormorant and 17 Siskin in the Alders where the path from the Ship Canal comes in.



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Fiddlers Ferry
Ferry Pub Car Park

2 Stonechats active on posts and wires, especially when a m Sparrowhawk shot in low to perch on the wooden fence.

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Fiddlers Ferry - Gatewarth
AM
2 Stonechars active along path from pub car park past middens. Ad male and juv male.

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AM Walk along tow path from Sankey Bridges to Gatewarth

Still difficult to access the site due to ongoing , long, extensive work going on.

3 Great Spotted Woodpeckers in total spread out along walk.

Both pairs of Mute Swans on canal have divested themselves of last year's youngsters. Only the four mature birds seen. These adults looked to be establishing this year's territories.

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Thinking of duck action, knowing everywhere else was frozen a four mile walk along the Mersey east from Woolston Weir.

127 Tufted Duck and two Goldeneye, plus a Little Grebe, Mallard, Gadwall and Black-headed Gull on Woolston Weir Basin. 

Heading east up river four Teal, one Shelduck, six Shoveler, a further 121 Tufted Duck, Kingfisher, 12 Canada Geese, Kestrel, Greenfinch, House and Tree Sparrow by Horse Paddocks, Buzzard by M6, Mute Swans + 2 cygnets, plenty of Wrens, couple Reed Bunting, single Lapwing, turned left at Bluebell Wood to go over the field to Rixton and a Green Woodpecker flew out and headed east,nor,east toward the direction of Rixton Claypits.

 



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Fiddlers Ferry

Canal frozen , 2 Little Grebes had moved onto the River

1 Juv Stonechat on steaming, fresh midden in horse fields.

1 Peregrine high over Power Station.

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After a first look around the East End of Moore and wondering where all the birds had gone a yomp following the Mersey via Arpley fields and Bridge to the Sankey Canal and then down to look over Richmond Bank and back was required.

Six+two Goosander flew upstream as I first passed over Arpley Bridge, just too far away from Moore NR to be a Moore 'patch tick'.

Great Spotted Woodpecker on the Canal. Mistle Thrush, plenty of Blackbirds, Coot, Moorhen, two Gadwall, Mute Swan family inc three juvs, Water Rail and seven Redwing.

A series of pools (leachate?) are being constructed on the Mersey Bank overlooking Richmond Bank which was just being covered by water as I arrived so gulls and waders had cleared off. A buzzard was being hassled by two Ravens over Moore capped tip to the south.

On the return a Grey Wagtail was flitting around Gatewarth sewage plant.



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AM Fiddlers Ferry Marina
Skein of 40 or so Pink Footed Geese over was first sightings of the Autumn here for me.
Single Fieldfare feeding on berries with Blackbirds and Robins.

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4,700 -5,000 Gulls (predominantley larger than smaller) and 800+ Canada Geese on the new sandbank forming under the middle tower of the Mersey Gateway Bridge at 15:00. (Tide was high still at this point).

Unfortunately I was driving over the bridge and whilst we were in a high sided vehicle the passenger took plenty of photos looking above the Plexiglass parapets onto the sandbank they were only good enough to identify gull / goose but did a bit of photochopping tonight to estimate numbers.

Is this bank going to become the new Richmond Bank with gulls feeding at the recycle yard in Widnes?

I don't think you can get close to view the bank on the Wigg Island side so the Sankey Canal on the North side probably provides the best views.



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Sankey Bridges
Walk up canal towpath towards Ferry Pub
Young Little Grebe diving for food on canal
4 Curlew over
1 or 2 Redwing in with Blackbirds feeding in bushes

Industrial work ever increasing in area. large digger energetically working away on scrubby rough area of reeds and brambles by Windpump.

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Fiddlers Ferry
f Grey Wagtail


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Fiddlers Ferry Marina
Small numbers of Redwing over yesterday.

Possible to see over to the old tip area at Gatewarth from the River bank here, sad sight.
A large area of this great habitat for warblers and other birds has been razed, all vegetation above grass height grubbed out. Trees, bushes, nothing is left. The work is still ongoing, with vehicles moving around . Not sure how much will remain, when finished? Maybe just the two cast iron posts erected by the local council listing all the birds that their continued care of and future policies for this land will benefit from. (Yellowhammer, Grasshopper Warbler, Grey Partridge etc) At least these signs will serve as a memorial for years to come !

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Richmond Bank - two Great Black-backed Gulls, eight Herring Gull, 42 Black-headed Gull, 860 Lapwing, Cormorants.



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Gatewarth
AM
1 Sparrowhawk
3 Buzzards
3 Cettis Warbler
1 Chiffchaff
200 plus Lapwing on River


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Gatewarth
PM
Still difficult to access most of site.
Prolonged aerial dogfight between a pair of Sparrowhawks and a m Kestrel over the old tip area was dramatic and energetic. The raptors circled each other and swept high and low trying to gain the upper hand. Must have gone on for at least fifteen mimutes.

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Sankey Bridges
Flock of 23 Gadwall on canal

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Gatewarth
Canal
Mute Swan pair have fledged seven young .

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Sankey Bridges
AM walk up tow path towards Gatewarth. Access to River still not possible due to ongoing construction work.

Mute Swan pair with six fledged young on weir.
Other fledged birds included Reed Warblers, Great Tits, Goldfinch, Mallard, Coot and Moorhen.


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Paddington meadows,

Yesterday, blackbird, song thrush, blackcap, robin,cettis warbler seen by mersey,mallard, gadwall, coot,moorhen, woodpigeon, kestrel, magpie ,carrion crow ,greenfinch, goldfinch, bullfinch, buzzards displaying, blue tit, great  tit, long tailed tit ,swallow 3



-- Edited by David Hughes on Saturday 30th of April 2022 08:35:30 AM

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Fiddlers Ferry
3 Swallows
Sankey Bridges
4 Cettis Warblers
12 plus Reed Warblers
1 Blackcap
Mute Swan pair nesting on canal

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Gatewarth AM
Still impossible to access site along River so I strolled along canal and railway for a bit, which is all that can really be done atm here, sadly
warblers heard and/or seen :
3 plus Reed Warblers
5 plus Willow Warblers
2 Chiffchaff
2 Cettis Warblers
2 Whitethroat

Also present, a pair of Linnets and several singing Reed Bunting



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Male Wheatear on ploughed field west of Arpley landfill.

Redshank and Dunlin down river from Richmond Bank



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Fiddlers Ferry Marina
Yesterday AM
Seen and/or heard singing

Min 4 Chiffchaff
Min 7 Reed Bunting
1 Skylark (fields far side)
1 Cettis Warbler



-- Edited by John O'Neill on Monday 21st of March 2022 09:33:05 AM



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Gatewarth
Soon it will be easier to list areas of the site with no building work going on....more path closures today, Horse Paddocks now inaccessible.

1 Grey Wagtail.

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Yellowhammer and yellow legged gull highlights at the Widnes warth end yesterday. I waited for the tide to come right in this time and still no Dunlin and unable to pick out any golden plover with the lapwing over the river on the wigg banks. Lots of curlew, shelduck, oystercatcher and common teal in front of the warth with predominantly black headed gulls and nice to see what I believe is a rise in lesser black backed gull numbers

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Gatewarth
The major building work still ongoing here shows no sign of completion. Paths down to River remain closed. 15 cars 1 van 3 lorries and a crane were on site today, a level of activity that suggests when completed, this development will have a big impact on wildlife here. Further work (additional car parking ?) started alongside the existing Ferry Pub car parking as well.

Birds on Horse Paddocks included :
2 Oystercatcher
30 plus Redwing
20 plus Mistle Thrush
1 Pied Wagtail
50 plus Starling, some in iridescent Summer colours.

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A pair of siskin in the alders at spike island was a patch first today, nothing else around out of the ordinary for the area. Their seemed to be quite a lot of oystercatcher on the sandbanks, didn't notice any Dunlin but left before the tide came right in .4 or 5 Yellowhammer in bushes at the Widnes wharth end of the marsh was a recent patch first and stonechat on the fence posts at the spike island end of the marsh and a pair of flyover Raven other highlights. The rescue Whooper Swan is still at spike island.

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Chiffchaff at Gateworth by filter beds at lunch. Not heard to sing nor was light good enough to be sure that the sub-species was anything other than normal.

1 Grey Wagtail present and two Black-headed Gulls showing nice fresh hoods.



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Fiddlers Ferry Marina
y'day pm
Kingfisher perched up inside the lock connecting the canal to the River , next to sailing club. Never see them in here before....very unprepossessing place at first glance, lightless and industrial. I guess the relatively shallow water was the attraction.

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11.30-15.00 Wigg Island Runcorn (Walked to Halfway House and returned via same route)

River Mersey sandbanks Wigg Island : 5 Redshanks, 2 Curlews and 7 Grey Herons.

Saltmarsh : 1 Buzzard and 1 Kestrel. 4 Mistle Thrushes on the lawn alongside the car park.

Ship canal and area alongside : 2 Buzzards, 30 Gadwall (18 attracted to an inflow at Astmoor, together with 30 Black Headed Gulls

and 9 Coots), 72 Tufted Ducks, 1f Goldeneye, 2 Little Grebes, 3m Pochard and 4 Teal.

River Mersey (Newton Marsh area) : 8 Golden Plovers with 340 Lapwings. 1 adult Great Black Backed Gull.

In the parkland a solitary Lesser Redpoll fed on alder seeds and a single Great Spotted Woodpecker was seen.



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John Williams


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Sankey Bridges - Gatewarth
50 plus Redwing with similar nos of Starling and a few Mistle Thrush and Blackbirds on Horse Paddocks.

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Fiddlers Ferry Marina

1 Little Grebe on canal
Good Nos of Curlews in fields on opposite bank
1 Cettis Warbler in Reeds up towards Power Station



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Sunday 19th did a full loop of the Mersey from Warrington to the old Runcorn Bridge, outwards via Lower Walton, Arpley, Gatewarth, down the Sankey Canal to Spike Island, over the old Runcorn Bridge, down the Bridgewater, cut back onto Wigg Island, down the north bank of the Manchester Ship Canal to Halfway House and just after Round Cherval cutting through to Norton Marsh, then back into Moore NR via the feeding station, past Birchwood Pool, down to the Mersey at Unilever and back to the MSC at The Stag in Upper Walton.

Nothing of note whatsoever! 18 miles and two blisters for at best 8 Teal on the ship canal and one Kingfisher at Gateworth. Few gulls about but all ordinary. Nothing on the pools at Moore. Though I forgot how long 18 miles takes to walk and how early dark comes in the winter, it was almost pitch black after Birchwood Pool at 4:50pm. But also very quiet. Got home to South Warrington to hear Tawny' calling. But none on Moore NR?

Edited to add: There appears a very distinct sandbank / Island building up in the landward side of the Mersey from the central pier of the new bridge. It is covered in green vegetation which suggests and looks from the height it isn't being covered by most tides. I did have a friend many years ago via work [lost touch, their company was something like Euntec or Anauser can't remember now, think Euntec were taken over anyway] in the "planning preconditioning / future environmental monitoring" which stated that there was going to be 30 years monitoring of the change of the ecology of the river.

Looks at the mo like a nice potential breeding island might be building up there? Or could that sandbank change the flow for other waders / curlew / gulls which sit around the Wigg area. There certainly seems much less flow now on the South side at low tide at Wigg compared to that at Spike Island (random anecdotal conjuncture from 20 - 30 visits to both this year). Moore was very poor for waders this year on the pools (high water, diversion of underground springs from capping Arpley being mentioned by one of the Farmers that works both the Moss Side fields and maintenance on the Landfill).

 

 



-- Edited by Andy Slee on Tuesday 21st of December 2021 09:23:01 PM



-- Edited by Andy Slee on Tuesday 21st of December 2021 09:24:12 PM

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Sankey Bridges
Loose skein of 100plus Pink Footed Geese over.
(37 seen earlier in day low over our house nearby in Penketh)

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Taking advantage of a friends a offer of canoeing (technically we were in a two man kayak) on the Mersey as some of this weeks high tides had a slight potential for a Mersey bore (no where near as spectacular as the Severn bore, but can be strong enough to push you without having to paddle).

We portaged in at Pickerings Pasture at 13:00 two and a bit hours before high tide at Warrington end of the Mersey and thirty minutes later we were drifting past Spike Island, which got a bit choppy past Runcorn Rocks. Shelduck watched us (no Ruddy ones), Little Egrets took flight. Plenty of Canada and greylag geese to the West of the new Mersey crossing. We had wanted to try and take the channel on the Wigg Island side but the wind direction meant for passive travelling (sitting as still as possible, no paddling, just using the foot rudders to stay in the flow) we had to stay in the lee on the Northern channel.

We nearly grounded going under the new Mersey bridge, there seems to be a sand bar building on the North side of the river there. 

Five buzzards circulated over Fiddlers Ferry PS. 

Drifting on at 14:20 we passed Penketh Bar where a small gull roost (mainly Black-headed Gulls, but a few Lesser Black Backs) was still present. 30 curlew were on the Bar plus a few small waders, Redshank I'm guessing, but with googles on (don't want to flip over into the Mersey and get that water in your eyes, even if just from the sand disturbed by the tide) and bins in drypac bags id not fully possible apart from the redshank jizz the birds displayed. At this point the flow was strong enough and direct enough only minor rudder corrections were needed, still no paddling so we were able to stay still and not make movements that might disturb birds. Ten minutes later past Penketh Bank a few further minutes later and Richmond Bank, which had only a last half football field of dry sand present; devoid of avians except a last few Comorants and Corvids.

Lots of Corvids on the north side of the Arpley Landfill (000s). A grey wagtail was on the humpback bridge over the river.

Into the rush as the river narrows and enters a concrete channel (~4mph is rushing when not paddling in a kayak). It is quite surreal to be sat motionless yet watch the world go by. A peregrine swooped from the Unilever factory silo over the river. We drifted on towards the railway bridge at Morely Common where our exit awaited. Four mallards (2m, 2f) gave us looks like they weren't happy with us being there. 

A finch flock contained mostly Chaffinch but also two or three Brambling as we were exiting the canal (note unless the tide is high, the mud here is very hard to get any grip on, it is more like Angel Delight texture than solid mud).

Next time, we're going to come down from Warrington portaging in at Chester Road and morr (sp?) with an anchor in a channel we saw south of Richmond Bank so we can let the water drop and have helmets and goggles off, cameras / bins / scopes out of the drypac bags one we are beached and attach to bank / mud anchor until the tide returns, which we guess is a 5-7 hr duration.

Going to need a lot of Bovril for that!



-- Edited by Andy Slee on Friday 10th of December 2021 06:57:04 PM

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Fiddlers Ferry Marina
AM
Little Grebe catching fish in canal
Kestrel



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Fiddlers Ferry Marina
Small numbers of Redwing and Fieldfare feeding with Blackbirds on berries.
1 Kestrel

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Fiddlers Ferry
River by Sailing Club

1 Kingfisher

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Sankey Bridges
1 f Grey Wagtail on weir
3 of this year's young Mute Swans still sticking close to an adult bird. The Juvs very white plumage now.

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Gatewarth
Building project proceeding. Starting to erect fences on other side of River House compound now.

A dozen or so Pied Watails feeding on ploughed field near middens joined by f Grey Wagtail.

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Fiddlers Ferry

Walk from Marina down towards Widnes
Few Redwing in Hawthorn bushes.
Little Grebe on canal.
Huge Buzzard (seemed much bigger than usual size) on a lampost near Power Station.




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Gatewarth
PM
The construction adjacent to the River Plant Compound getting ever bigger. A car park for dozens of cars taking shape. One bay already finished. A Disabled Parking Space which somehow , although laudable, serves to make the whole ghastly development seem even more permanent.

Cettis Warbler singing in reeds by canal.
F Grey Wagtail feeding with two Dunnocks in Horse Pastures.
Small numbers of Starlings forming flocks.

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