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


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Cheshire River Mersey Sites


Gatewarth
AM
Paths to River still closed , construction work getting ever bigger, what look like permanent access road now in.

1 f Grey Wagtail on middens in horse paddocks.
1 Cetti's Warbler in reeds on canal.

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Grim isn't it.

The works are badged as "upgrade to filter station at Fiddlers Ferry" (a lie as I worked at Fiddlers and know the decommissioning plan(s) and this is some other Utility Ununited to SSE); it is UU putting in a bypass filter for when Sankey Valley floods in high rain.

Like you I always saw Lesser Whitethroat along the stretch past the small water turbine pump. This may be the last year it seems.

Not even that great on the Dark side in Moore - I went to Norton Marsh yesterday...the hide has been removed.

At the second bend downstream though from the old 'Richmond Ban' by Half Way House at Moore there were 1000+ gulls inc a Yellow Legged Gull.



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Fiddlers Ferry - Gatewarth
AM

Took a walk along canal to see what 's happening with big construction project that is occurring alongside the River Treatment Plant compound. This is well underway and has added roads, removed trees and thrown up an earth bank already. In the last couple of years, Lesser Whitethroats, Sedge Warblers, Grasshopper Warblers and Great Spotted Woodpeckers have bred close by , amongst many other species.

Depressing.

Two Swallows still over Horse Paddocks where a single Meadow Pipit flitted.

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Any idea on this Gull? At Mersey Road Runcorn this afternoon. Appeared absolutely massive even when compared to the immature LBBGs.

 

The large one just centre right in the photo with the yellow bill with dark gowys spot.

 

First thoughts were large race Herring Gull but lack of black tips to the primaries and very white wings in flight (appeared "ghost like") ruled that out (corect asumption?) . Then reading my books at home, it made me wonder if it is just a gull in dodgy stage of moult or a hybrid. Other puzzling feature were the legs, a very pale washed out grey as well which didn't fit with yellow or pink as most of the other expected other large gulls have. 

 

Got a couple more photos if that helps but not much better (iPhone) - bird flew off to the Mersey after kids started throwing slices of bread at the flock!!!!!

 

 



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Sankey Bridges
2 Grey Wagtails on canal (literally on canal which was clogged up with thick green surface algae)

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Fiddlers Ferry - Gatewarth
Large f Sparrowhawk crashing into a panicked flock of Goldfinches.
Water Rail calling from canal reeds.

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Late post for 31.08.2021 Midday

Walk from Lapwing Lane to Moss Side and Halfway House to view the Mersey at Norton Marsh/Fiddlers Ferry.

Moss Side : 1 Yellowhammer and a charm of 30 Goldfinches.

Norton Marsh : 1 Little Egret, 3 Grey Herons, 1 Buzzard and 60 Lapwings.

A quick scan through the big gull roost on mud banks did not reveal anything unusual, around 80% of them were

adult Lesser Black Backs.

Manchester Ship Canal : 3 adult + 1 juvenile (Full grown) Great Crested Grebes, 35 Tufted Ducks and 2 Lapwings.

2 Kestrels and a Buzzard were perched on the roof of the Stobart warehouse at Halton Moss.

A few Swallows were seen patrolling the just above the surface canal.

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Sankey Bridges
2 adult Mute Swans with 3 young
Gatewarth
the Mute Swan pair here have 7 young in tow

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Sankey Bridges
1 Grey Wagtail

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Gatewarth
late PM yesterday
2 Little Egrets with Grey Herons on River

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Fiddlers Ferry - Gatewarth
AM
1 Little Egret on River
1 Lesser Whitethroat brief burst of song


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Gatewarth
Yellowhammer singing from opposite side of River

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Sankey Bridges - Gatewarth
AM
A very vocal recently fledged Kestrel was inexpertly flapping in and around a willow tree constantly calling plaintively.
Eventully it flew over the River and united with a second bird. Prob an adult f.



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Fiddlers Ferry- Gatewarth
am
2 Lesser Whitethroat and at least 2 Cettis Warblers singing

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A late morning walk around the old Gatewarth tip produced a stunning adult Hobby, also singing Lesser Whitethroat and Cetti's Warbler with a great Black-backed Gull on the Mersey

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Gatewarth
In a frankly perfect demonstration of my expert observational skills, 4 newly hatched Mute Swans cygnets were happily swimming with both adult birds at the "abandonded" nest on the canal this morning.



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Sankey Bridges
Mute Swans have successfully reared 3 young which were out of the nest with both adults today.
Gatewarth
The Mute Swan nest here was abandoned with no breeding success. The adults did sit on nest for several weeks. No eggs actually seen.

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Sankey Bridges
A Grey Heron had caught a half grown, but still sizeable, Pike on the canal, by the car park.
The fish was almost as long as the bird's neck but it swallowed it down, with some effort.

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Fiddlers Ferry - Gatewarth
AM
High tide. Many of the islands of detritus floating up river had a Magpie perched on board as they sailed, like ship captains.

Fledglings seen, mostly with adults in attendance, included Reed Warblers, Whitethroat, Dunnocks, Robins and Coot.

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Fiddlers Ferry - Gatewarth
AM
Lots of activity at Great Spotted Woodpecker nest site.
Fledged family of Whitethroats near Ferry pub carpark.

Warbler chorus in full swing. Lesser Whitethroat seen well singing from a dead tree before a Greenfinch chased it off. Grasshopper Warbler reeling.

Mute Swans on nest.


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Fiddlers Ferry - Gatewarth
930 - 1030 am

A Cuckoo was calling as I arrived on site. Seemed distant, possibly on far side of River.

Lesser Whitethroats still singing energetically. I am pretty definite 2 birds have set up territories.

Great Spotted Woodpeckers have drilled a new nest hole for this year. Male seen entering / leaving.


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Fiddlers Ferry - Gatewarth
AM
Lesser Whitethroat singing well this morning, right along main path allowing close views.
Unless it was very mobile indeed, a second bird was singing close to the windpump.


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Fiddlers Ferry - Gatewarth
PM
Common Sandpiper on River, flying up and down looking for places to alight in very high tide.

Lesser Whitethroat still present, but (Today at least) relocated to a very inaccessible spot



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Gatewarth
AM
Leseer Whitethroat still present
pair of Linnets seen with nesting material

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Fiddlers Ferry - Gatewarth
AM
1 Lesser Whitethroat and 3 Grasshopper Warblers singing.
Whitethroat, Willow Warblers, Chifchaff, Reed Warblers, Sedge Warblers, Cettis Warblers and Blackcap completed the chorus.

M Bullfinch in trees near wind pump.

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Fiddlers Ferry - Gatewarth AM
1 Wheatear in horse paddocks

Lesser Whitethroat and Grasshopper Warbler still present
Lots of commoner warblers singing. Whitethroat particularly abundant.

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Fiddlers Ferry- Gatewarth
Beautiful sunny morning

Lesser Whitethroat 1 poss 2 very vocal birds. Relatively good views as one moved rounnd in cover.
Grasshopper Warbler incessently reeling from reedy scrub on Old Tip area. Eventually crept out onto a hawthorn bush and gave excellent close views.
Cettis Warbler completed a rare trio of skulkers seen when one flew briefly into view from canal reeds.

Kestrel with prey (shrew?) in talons which in took a bite out of Hobby style as it flew.
Sparrowhawk and Buzzard also seen , all 3 simultaneously, a nesting pair of Crows ignored the smaller raptors but harrassed the Buzzard mercilessly.

Mute Swan pair on nest.
First Coot fledglings of year on canal.

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Fiddlers Ferry - Gatewarth
AM
Warbler chorus increasing with three new additions this morning
Grasshopper Warbler (2)
Sedge Warbler (1)
Whitethroat (1)
Willow Warblers outnumbering Chiffchaffs now and good nos of Cettis Wablers and Blackcaps singing. I Reed Warbler.

1 f Sparrowhawk

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Garganey pair still present at 8.15 this morning as described by Paul - great directions by the way, many thanks.



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Just south of the R.Mersey between Ellesmere Port and Helsby lies Ince and the Ince Marshes which recently have seen a few good birds around the pools and fields here.

This morning I made my third trip to se a pair of birds that are being reported on pools near the Goldfinch Meadows Nature Reserve and the Snipe Haven Marshes. These are to the east of Ince Village and accessed down Marsh Lane track, parking near the end of the road north to JH.Willis (you'll see lots of pigs in the field here!) in a rough dirt pull-in at the side of the road. Walk straight on and you pass Snipe Haven on your right with it's Info board and then come to Goldfinch Meadows NR also on your right with lots of paths through it and a large reedy, shallow pool. There is a gate ahead of you with 'Private Access Only' on it. Locals assured me that everyone goes round the gate including birders, dog walkers and cyclists. You can only go about 200m past before a fence blocks the path to a landfill type area anyway, which I presume is why the limited access is on the track. To the left of the track beyond the gate are a number of pools including one with a birding screen.

The pools hold a good array of ducks including Gadwall, Teal, Shoveler, Mallard and Shelduck, even now when many waters have seen these species depart. This morning on the first pool through the gate I finally managed to see the birds that I had missed before, probably due to an earlier start today before all the dog walkers arrived! A pair of Garganey including a stunning drake were on this pool and showed really well on the open watr and the bank, not too far away from the path. After taking lots of digiscoped photos I returned to the car and a Reed Warbler was singing in the reeds on the far side of Snipe Haven.

This (probably) underwatched area could develop into a little gem and all with very easy access off the M56 at junction 14.

 



-- Edited by Doc Brewster on Sunday 18th of April 2021 11:16:56 AM

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Fiddlers Ferry - Gatewarth
AM
Warblers heard /seen : 1 Reed Warbler in canal side reeds, 3 Blackcap, 10plus Chiffchaff including one to and fro from nest with food, 5 Willow Warbler, 6 Cettis Warbler.

A big f Sparrowhawk cruised high over Old Tip area, putting up flocks of finches.



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Fiddlers Ferry - Gatewarth
AM
Blackcap 1
Willow Warbler 2
Chiffchaff 4
Cettis Warbler 2
Swallow 1

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Gatewarth
am
Bright sunshine.
An influx of Chiffchaff obvious with easily double numbers singing all over the site.
Great Crested Grebe on River.
4 Mute Swans on canal paired up.



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Fiddlers Ferry - Gatewarth
AM
6 Chiffchaff
2 Cettis Warblers
1 Great Crested Grebe on River
1 juv Stonechat

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Fiddlers Ferry - Gatewarth
AM
At least 4 Chiffchaffs heard
5 Cettis Warblers heard or seen
1 Peregrine drifted over Old Tip area attended by a vigilant but distant Carrion Crow
2 Buzzards
Skylarks singing over fields



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Gatewarth
2 Chiffchaffs singing were first of year for me.
1 Stonechat
2 Buzzards

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Fiddlers Ferry - Gatewarth
AM
3 Stonechat
1 Buzzard
2 Oystercatchers in horse fields

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Fiddlers Ferry - Gatewarth
AM
3 Stonechats active round the middens
2 Buzzards
20 plus Curlew on River

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Fiddlers Ferry - Gatewarth
1 juv m Stonechat feeding with Dunnocks and Pied Wagtails on middens in horse fields . A different individual than the pair of adults here last week.
2 Cettis Warblers singing

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Fiddlers Ferry - Gatewarth
pm
Handsome and active pair of Stonechat around the midden heaps in the horse fields.


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Fiddlers Ferry - Gatewarth
Pair Bullfinch
3 Cetti's Warblers heard singing

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Fiddlers Ferry-Gatewarth
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Single Raven apparently doing a circuit around the site perching up on every pylon as it went , calling repeatedly while perched.
First butterfly of year here for me yesterday, a Peacock.

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Fiddlers Ferry - Gatewarth
AM
Very strong wind off River. Only raptor seen , a Buzzard, was basically perched under a hedge.
A pristine Icleland Gull was in a large flock of Gulls on Richmod Bank.
Single Great Crested Grebe fishing out in middle of River.
Only one Cettis Warbler singing today

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Fiddlers Ferry - Gatewarth
AM

Skylarks singing over fields for first time this year
Min 4 Cettis Warblers heard
1 Raven
2 Linnets
1 f Kestrel



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A brief visit to Gatewarth this morning, as we arrived a curlew flew over and an Iceland Gull was on the opposite bank from the Ferry Tavern (thanks to Anthony Brandreth and partner for telling us), many Lapwing on Richmond Bank as well as at least one Redshank. As we returned to our car a Grey Wagtail flew over and when we met Anthony again we found an adult Mediterranean Gull where the Iceland had been previously.

Attached, distant photo of the Med. alongside a Black-headed Gull.

cheers

Dave

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Fiddlers Ferry - Gatewarth
11am -12noon

2 Ravens horse fields
3 Snipe
2 Buzzards
1 juv m Kestrel being mercilessly bullied by a much larger Carrion Crow, the falcon spiraled higher and higher to escape
1 Stock Dove

High Tide. Cold.

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Fiddlers Ferry - Gatewarth
1 F Sparrowhawk lowish over Old Tip area putting up small flocks of Linnets
Great Spotted Woodpecker drumming briefly
A Coot was building a nest in canal side reeds ignoring icy water conditions



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Sankey Bridges- Gatewarth
AM
2 Ravens over together
1 Cettis Warbler singing in canal reeds

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Fiddlers Ferry - Gatewarth
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1 Cettis Warbler heard singing in canal side reeds
1 Buzzard
1 Kestrel


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Sankey Bridges-Gatewarth
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Magpie watched for a while as it constructed (or repaired?) an impressively sized nest up in a tall canalside tree. Very diligent as it wound long thin twigs in place.
1 Buzzard
2 Kestrels, one being run out of town by a persistent Pied Wagtail


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