Monday, 14 March 2016

Frodsham Marsh and Moore

Oops, this trip was more than a week ago. Let's see if I can remember what happened. Frodsham Marsh is a great big site but we only saw a little bit of it because some paths were closed. The bit that we did see, though, was a place I have been to before... but quite a few years ago, when I was at uni in Sheffield and twitched a Semipalmated Sandpiper on the Weaver Bend. It was a quite bright but very cold and breezy day.

For me, the day was already a winner when we drove through the town of Frodsham and a Sparrowhak nipped across the road ahead of us. My first of the year, unbelievably. Nick didn't see it properly but as luck would have it we saw two more Sprawks later on.

On the way to the main part of the reserve, we found this Fox, eyeing us from across a marshy field. When it jogged away it revealed a sadly threadbare backside and tail. In the same area were Redwings, one Fieldfare, a Linnet flock and a number of Pied Wagtails, but then we found the path ahead was closed and we turned back.

On the way back towards the Weaver Bend, this Common Buzzard wheeled overhead, and a pair of Ravens went croaking past.

The path down to the river became extremely boggy and muddy as we got closer, but we battled through and made it to the riverside. The view stirred vague memories of that day one autumn many years ago, scoping a stint-sized wader on a bit of muddy shore. There was no mud today though - the water was high and birds were few. There were a number of Goldeneyes bobbing about, and on a small grassy spit Nick found a Black-tailed Godwit alongside a couple of Oystercatchers. The odd Lesser Black-backed Gull wafted by.

We were meant to be meeting Hazel and Mike here. They'd arrived before us and embarked on a full loop but from a different direction, so they didn't find the blocked path until they had already done a very long walk, and they had to retrace their steps. We arranged a place to meet in an hour's time, and Nick and I had a walk alongside fields full of sheep and newborn lambs, where we hoped to find some interesting gulls.

There were lots of Starlings enjoying the sheepy pasture, and a few Black-headed Gulls - also more Ravens.

We met H and M and escorted them back to the Weaver Bend, this time finding a slightly less soggy path.

Two more raptors on the way - Sparrowhawk and Kestrel. We also met a couple of birders who said they'd found Grey Partridge in the fields by the river. We actually flushed a couple of Red-legged Partridges as we continued but alas no Greys.

At the river we showed H and M the same birds we'd seen before, plus a flock of Redshanks that flashed by but didn't stop.

Two more Ravens to round off the morning. H and M headed home after that, while Nick and I went on to Moore Nature Reserve near Warrington.

This lovely reserve incorporates woodland and lakes, and a bit of open grassland. It is rather similar to Sevenoaks Nature Reserve, actually. Nick saw Lesser Spotted Woodpecker here recently. I wasn't so lucky - in fact we didn't see anything very exciting but had a very nice walk around nonetheless.

Male Pochard having a Timotei moment.

There is a very nice feeding station here, with a little pond (though Nick says the pond isn't always there). On this occasion, it was not only there but had Teals in it.

 The actual feeders were attended by this male Great Spotted Woodpecker, plus Great and Blue Tits, Greenfinches, Chaffinches and Reed Buntings.

We explored a bit more of the reserve, and went back via the LSW spot - no luck again but found some Siskins demolishing what was left of the alder cone crop.

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