Birding Roots

Frodsham Marsh, North Cheshire

I had it good and I didn’t know! 

A week ago the Birding Frontiers blog passed a small milestone of over half a million views in just 20 months. Nice, but not what it’s about (I’m just reminding myself ). It’s about the wonder, the amazing world of birds and nature, that for me has always pointed to something even greater. So as a little celebration permit me a little nostalgia.

Above: A page from the notebook of Frodsham Marsh doyen Bill Morton. he’s recently started the Frodsham Marsh BirdBlog. Have a read of this story one of his blasts from the past (and engagingly written) and a great testimony to local patch birding.

1975. I had just turned 11 years old, and gripped by birds seen around our house, my dad borrowed a pair of binoculars from a drinking buddy and drove me down to the giant sludge tanks, the fields and the ‘Weaver  Bend’, that constituted Frodsham Marsh.

The world of birds was brand new. It’s a wee while ago now, but I can still recall 4 species that caught my eye and I was able to identify on my very first visit.

A Yellowhammer – bit unmistakable , guess it would have been a male

A Moorhen – white stripe along flanks, flicky tail, red bill, yellow tip-  all noted

A male Pheasant (no records of Common Buzzard over the Marsh in those days!)

A (Ringed) Plover– noted the key features but got home to find there were 2 birds that wander about in muddy habitats with black breast ‘ring’.

There were also no less than 5 flamingo knocking about- a Greater, a Caribbean Rosy and 3 Chilean Flamingoes! I eve saw Lesser Flamingo there years later- a vagrant bird : o

Being a 10 minute bike ride our family home, I spent hours and hours there.Waders (shorebirds) are the premier attraction with a huge list of species headlined by such as  Sharp-tailed Sandpiper, Stilt Sandpiper (famous 1984 bird) and Collared Pratincole. Starlight breeders included Spoonbill and Black-winged Stilt.

It was there, perhaps more than anywhere I became gripped by the sheer wonder of birds. Something I never want to lose.  I also became part of the ‘birding community’ and the person I spent more time birding with at Frodsham, than anyone else was Bill Morton. Bill has recently launched a blog on the birds of Frodsham Marsh.

Have a look, photos, contributions and your blast from the past stories all very welcome!

The Frodsham Marsh Birdblog 

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About Martin Garner

I am a Free Spirit
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