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Post Info TOPIC: Sandbach Flashes


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RE: Sandbach Flashes


Popped down as soon as I got the news, managed to get there before work to see the two Whiskered Terns, as John says, over Elton Hall Flash. The birds were showing very well from the viewpoint, for mostly local patchers when I was there. A new bird for the Sandbach Patch List, well found by Jan Jones who visited this morning to look for Black Terns! A great reward again smile

In case anyone want to head there who doesn't know where it is but has Satnav the postcode for Elton Hall Farm (just over the road) is CW11 3QY smile



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2 stnning whiskered terns on elton hall flash showing well at the moment

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Doc Brewster wrote:

The Wood Warbler was showing well this morning on Red Lane, near Watch Lane Flash, at the site of the former Red Lane Tip. It was in partial song and contact calling. At one point it flew distantly over the fields opposite its favoured area and so could be said to be mobile! Good to meet lots of folk down there from the Sandbach & Marbury Patches, thanks to Jan Jones the finder smile


 Amazingly this patch scores again this morning with a male Redstart found opposite Maw Green Tip along the footpath behind Mablins Lane Primary school smile



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Thw Wood Warbler was showing well this morning on Red Lane, near Watch Lane Flash, at the site of the former Red Lane Tip. It was in partial song and contact calling. At one point it flew distantly over the fields opposite its favoured area and so could be said to be mobile! Good to meet lots of folk down there from the Sandbach & Marbury Patches, thanks to Jan Jones the finder smile



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A Wood Warbler was found on Red Lane Tip today, a really rare bird for the Sandbach Flashes recording area (per Ian Barber, cheers).



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Highlights on and around Elton Hall Flash - 3 pairs of Goosander, Willow Warbler, 2 x Chiffchaff. No sign of the Little Ringed Plovers.

At nearby Red Lane Pool, a very vocal and quite showy (at least for this species!) Cettis Warbler, several Reed Bunting and, my first 2 Sedge Warblers of this spring.



-- Edited by Ian McKerchar on Wednesday 13th of April 2016 09:47:45 PM

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As a quick diversion from a shopping trip I nipped down to the flashes this afternoon.

It needed two visits to Hancock's Floods to get my target bird - Little Ringed Plover, with two present. With little or no wader habitat at Newchurch Common I need other local sites for certain species! A Yellow Wagtail showed well on the fringes of the flood pools too along with a White Wagtail and a few Pied Wagtails. Another White Wagtail and a few more Pied Wagtails were by Pumphouse Pool. A male Blackcap showed well by the road on the floods side, singing away too.

On Elton Hall Flash were 9 Black-tailed Godwits and a Dunlin. At least 9 Swallows and 8 Sand Martins flew over whilst I was there. Other common birds here were round the feeders, such as Tree Sparrows and Great Spotted Woodpecker.



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Had a text today to say that there were 4 Little Ringed Plovers on Hancock's Flood and nearby a fifth bird was on Elton Hall Flash (per D.Robinson, thanks)



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Sunday, with Simon Gough, and nice to meet the Wigan birder who stuck with us for a while that made for good company!

Last minute decision to try for the adult Glaucous Gull but it had flown off before we got there, but an interesting few hours nonetheless and the 3 of us had a near miss with a giddy herd of dairy Fresian's!
We dipped on the Long-eared Owls too.

100's and 100's of Gulls on some of the flashes and especially around the tip, what a sight when the Buzzards put them up a few times. Herring, Lesser Black-backed, a few Great Black-backed, a few Common, and lots of Black-headed.

Other birds of note...
Black-tailed Godwit 5
Redshank 1
Wigeon in high numbers
Teal also numerous
Pintail 2 (1m 1f)
Shoveler
Tufted Duck
Shelduck
Little Grebe 1
Grey Heron 1
Common Buzzard 3 together but numerous singles seen
Kestrel 1
Grey Wagtail 1 flew over the car as we parked up
Redwing and Fieldfare few flocks around the farmland area
Tree Sparrow at least 3 around the feeders
Goldfinch
Greenfinch
Reed Bunting 1 showed briefly after calling near the reeds towards the tip
Chiffchaff 1 singing in the trees near the car



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Text this morning - 2nd winter Iceland Gull on Pumphouse Flash (per D.Robinson).



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Another report for info:

A Kittiwake was on Elton Hall Flash and then flew off NW. An adult Caspian Gull was on Pumphouse Flashand aat the same time the adult Glaucous Gull was again on Elton Hall Flash (all per D.Robinson).



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Again passing on info, especially with a weekend coming up (albeit I am working in the shop!!):

An Avocet dropped into Pumphouse Flash this morning but moved through pretty quickly. Other birds in the area included 8 Black-tailed Godwits, 5 Snipe, 2 Redshank, 2 Oystercatchers, 2 Goosanders and a pair of Pintail (per D.Robinson).



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Just for info:

There was an adult Yellow-legged Gull on Pumphouse Flash early am, which then flew off towards Maw Green Tip. A Chiffchaff was nearby. On Elton hall Flash there were 4 Black-tailed Godwits, 3 Redshank, a male Ruff and 2 Pintail. A Long-eared Owl was in hedges at Groby Flash, also here c.20 Snipe and a calling Water Rail. No sign of the Scaup on Railway Flash.  (per Greg Baker)



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Spent the afternoon around Sandbach Flashes (Pumphouse, Groby and Railway)

Plenty of Gulls, Plenty of Birders - but no sign of any white-wingers before I left at around 5 pm (nor had anyone I met).

Picked up one of the Long Eared Owls at Groby Flash. Hard to get a good position to view at the moment as the water level is up so had to view from further along the path than the usual access point in the hedge. Wellies needed !

Chris

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And I hear that Dave Robinson had a second juvenile & knowing Dave I am sure that was kosher, so a two bird theory that in this case is true biggrin So I think the consensus is an adult Glaucous, 1 juvenile Glaucous and a hybrid/ pale Herring Gull type (the bird in the facebook pictures). I pity those that missed the stonking adult, well done on a great picture of her, Patrick  smile

Gulls, eh?! You either love em or hate em!



-- Edited by Doc Brewster on Friday 11th of March 2016 06:55:58 AM

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Seen the pics of the bird in question and would probably have had it down as a juv Glauc but I am absolutely no expert when it comes to gulls so will leave that to others to decide. Thankfully no doubting the adult, though even that was a little small for a Glauc, though the ringers claim it has the dimensions of a female.



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Things progressing all the time. Experts, much more knowledgable than me, have now looked at the pictures & pronounced that the claimed juv Glaucous photographed was indeed a pale Herring Gull or at best a hybrid. I have only just looked on a computer screen and agree that the bill colouration looks wrong for Glaucous Gull but the pic is very pixellated. Surrounding immature Herring Gulls do look very pale too so perhaps the light was tricky to assess mantle colour accurately?

 



-- Edited by Doc Brewster on Thursday 10th of March 2016 09:11:07 PM

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Debate on Facebook as to whether they were all definitely Glaucous Gulls (from photos on there). Some folk are saying that one gull IDed as a Glaucous looked more like a pale Herring Gull.



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Doc,

There were actually 3 different birds there today across Pumphouse Flash and Hancocks Flood. The ringed adult (awaiting further details) and 2 juveniles. Sandbach getting a bit of a purple patch for white wingers

 



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The ringed adult Glaucous Gull is being seen on & off again today, both on Pumphouse Flash and over the other side of the road on Hancocks Flood smile

From Facebook I think Patrick has caught up with it so I won't steal his thunder as he has extra info gleaned from when it was rung smile



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Cheers Patrick, I will pass that on to the Sandbach Patch groups as (unbelievably) some of them aren't on here doh



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Apparently ringed by the North Thames ringing group in March 2015



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Sorry Patrick, no info on that from Robbo. Amazing Pumphouse has had both Iceland & Glaucous Gulls in adult plumage this winter, I see adult ones so rarely too.



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Looking at the photos on Birdguide, it looks like it was ringed too. Any ideas if it was read Doc?



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Late afternoon an adult Glaucous Gull was on Pumphouse Flash before fying off in the direction of Maw Green Tip and Railway Flash (per D.Robinson).



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A morning visit to Sandbach Flashes for myself & Carys today.

Started in the Maw Green Tip area. One Long-eared Owl showing well, albeit hidden inside a hawthorn, at Groby Flash in the usual spot. Possibly others deeper in but impossible to be 100% sure. A Snipe was also seen and several Water Rails heard. A Raven and two Buzzards flew over the tip, all three of them getting grief from corvids and gulls. On Railway Flash a bit further down the path the 1st winter drake Scaup showed well amongst Tufted Ducks. A few Wigeon were also present. Nothing unusual amongst the gulls with Herring, Lesser Black-backed, Great Black-backed, Black-headed and Common Gulls seen, a couple of argentatus Herring Gulls being the most noteworthy sightings.

Popping round to Elton Hall Flash we saw several Tree Sparrows, but these are common here, as well as getting a report that a Cetti's Warbler had been showing quite well on the Pumphouse Flash side of the road. A party of Redwings were in the hawthorns here too.



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A 1st winter Glaucous Gull was seen briefly on Pumphouse Flash this afternoon. Unfortunately the gulls were flushed due to noise from shooting nearby and the Glaucous did not return. A handful of patch watchers managed to catch up with it, but not all no (info per D.Robinson).



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Hope it's OK to pass on Sandbach news.

2 Long-eared Owls are still at Groby Flash and an Egyptian Goose flew over Maw Green Tip. At Elton Hall Flash sightings included 3 Black-tailed Godwits, 2 Ruff, 3 Redshank, 2 Oystercatcher, 2 Gadwall, 2 Goosander and 3 Little Grebe. (all per D.Robinson, many thanks)



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Looks like it could be a different one, Patrick :) I remember when I used to pick up several in the huge aythya flock at Chorlton Water Park so multiples in the region are possible, just need one to relocate to Newchurch Common please ;) ;)

 



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That's interesting Doc. So, the Scaup at Astbury is a different one? Or is it commuting between the two locations?



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Yesterday the 1w drake Scaup was still on Railway Flash with 3 Long-eared Owls nearby. A Cetti's Warbler was singing at Pumphouse Flash (all per I.Barber).



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Had an afternoon at the Flashes following my visit to Lapwing Hall Pool, south east of Knutsford. The Iceland Gull was nowhere to be seen despite plenty of birders around keen on finding it. A Mediterranean Gull had earlier been seen on Railway Flash but, again, proved elusive thereafter.

The first winter Scaup, however, was still on Railway Flash and giving very good views. Two Long eared Owl were relatively easy to see in dense bushes/small trees surrounding nearby Groby Flash. Two Tree Sparrow were worthy of note on the feeders at Elton Hall Flash along with a sole Ruff in the margins surrounding the Flash. Several hundred gulls were on show, nothing unusual within them, plus all the usuals, Canada Goose, Wigeon, Teal, Great spotted Woodpecker etc.

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Just had notification by text that the 1w drake Scaup that was found yesterday (I think!!) is still on Railway Flash this morning (per D.Robinson).



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10.00-13.00. Back for another attempt at finding the Iceland Gull, and a dry day too, but with a wind chill that could kill.

I had Elton Hall Flash to myself. Large numbers of gulls were packed by the NE corner, making viewing difficult, although all the common species were there.

Also on the flash were 1 Ruff, 1 Buzzard, and a party of 7 Cormorants that were "team" fishing.

A single Redwing rummaged through the leaf litter, whilst 1m+1f Great Spotted Woodpeckers visited the feeders.

My main focus was on the Pumphouse Flash gull roost, where many more gulls were gathered than were seen a week ago.

All the common species were there, plus a few impressive "Argentatus" Herring Gulls and a single adult Yellow Legged.

A large immature gull caught my attention with its snow white "Chicken Legged" shaped head, when the bird extended it's neck it doubled it's height, being as tall as

a Little Egret. I also noticed the bird had a dark iris. I have checked the web, especially Utube since I got home and the bird fits in with the 1st winter Caspian Gulls

shown, another notable feature being that the gull appeared notably lighter than the neighbouring immature Herring and Lesser Black Backs.

Caspian Gull is a species I'll not lay claim to seeing unless I'm stood with a Committee of experts when I see it, but this bird is worth looking out for at Sandbach.

A Caspian Gull was recorded as being seen here during the week, so too was a Mediterranean, but numerous scans through the carpet of  Black Headed Gulls alongside

Pumphouse Flash produced nothing uncommon. Also at Pumphouse Flash were 1 Ruff and 1 Buzzard



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I was'nt too concerned about missing the Iceland Gull Doc, the sheer numbers and variety of birds around the flashes here ensure the place is always worth a visit.

Those charismatic big "Argentatus" Herring Gulls always enthral, whilst the Great Black Backs often appear docile with Teal and Starlings wandering very close by seemingly 

unconcerned about the big predators. It seems these massive gulls are so stuffed with the junk food from the tip they don't bother with live prey, although I doubt a badly injured

Starling or Lapwing would last long. Compare the Great Black Backed Gull behaviour here with the ones that patrol Marshside, where they have often been seen taking adult Wigeon.

I've also noticed here that a single Carrion Crow can flush all the Lapwings and Wigeon from the edge of Elton Hall Flash, the panic caused by the medium sized corvid seems far greater

than the upset when a Buzzard appears. When a pair of crows landed by Pumphouse Flash all hell broke loose, and only the largest gulls did'nt flush. I've noticed that a crow will appear

amongst the mass of ducks, Lapwings and Starlings by Elton Hall Flash, and as the mass of birds erupt, the crow moves it's head from side to side, scanning the flocks for weaklings.

So the only thing that was a let down on Saturday was the weather, although Pumphouse Flash is the nearest thing we've got to a "Drive In" gull watch, which helps.



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Hi John

Mediterranean Gulls can hybridise with Black-headed Gulls to answer your first question, so who knows, seeing as Med Gulls breed at nearby Delamere maybe one couldn't find a fellow Med Gull mate?

When I saw the Iceland Gull in the week there were a few Common Gulls but not many, several were at Newchurch Common today too. Also last Saturday (30thJan) the Iceland Gull was on Pumphouse Flash, so not always missing on a Saturday, although like most tips or sites close to them the weekdays are best and Sundays definitely the worst day for sightings smile



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10.00-13.00

Watched Pumphouse Flash from the comfort of the car, mainly as it did'nt stop raining, for almost two hours, with no sign of the Iceland Gull.

Local birders advised me that the white wing rarely appears at weekends when Maw Green tip is shut.

Plenty of activity on the flash though with dozens of Great Black Backed Gulls amongst the Lesser Black Backed and Herring Gulls.

4 awesome looking adult "Argentatus" Herring Gulls were amongst the throng, with 2 adult Yellow Legged Gulls alongside the Lesser Black Backs.

Strangely there were no Common Gulls at all on either flash. A good scan through the mass of Black Headed Gulls revealed none of their Mediterranean cousins.

One noticeably larger Black Headed Gull on Elton Hall Flash looked intriguing though, it had a much stouter blood red beak than the others, and it continually harassed the other

gulls, but it's newly appearing hood and wing pattern were pure Black Head, do these two species sometimes interbreed?.

At one point even the largest gulls flushed en-masse from Pumphouse Flash, I scanned the perimeter for a prowling fox, but then noticed a huge Buzzard, probably female,

perched on top of an unfortunate Lapwing. The plover's wings weakly flapped a few times, but the raptor simply ripped it's prey to pieces, ate it's fill, and left the scraps

to a waiting Magpie and a few Jackdaws. A single Snipe was also on Pumphouse.

Hancocks Flood held Wigeon, Lapwing and Teal as expected, and also a single Shelduck.

Alongside the mass of Lapwings gathered along the edge of Elton Hall Flash were 1 Curlew, 2 Ruff, 2 Redshanks and 8 Snipe.

2 drake Pochards and a single Great Crested Grebe were on the Flash, whilst a single Great Spotted Woodpecker joined the Tree and House Sparrows on the feeders.

** Just noticed on Birdguides that an Iceland Gull has been reported this afternoon on Oakmere, could this be the Sandbach bird on its "weekend away"?.



-- Edited by John Williams on Saturday 6th of February 2016 05:16:01 PM

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Popped down to Elton Hall/Pumphouse this afternoon.

Started by watching Pumphouse Flash from the car, painstakingly searching through the assembled throng of gulls. With pass after pass through them I was finding Great & Lesser Black-backed Gulls, Herring Gulls including some brutish argentatus, Common Gulls and Black-headed Gulls. All the time though some gulls remained hidden and eventually as they shuffled around I picked up the adult/near-adult Iceland Gull. This had been here all the time but had been hidden, showing that not giving up is the best policy! I pointed it out to other observers and then soon after the gulls lifted and many of the larger ones, including the Iceland Gull, headed off back towards Maw Green Tip.

Next I checked out the Elton Hall Flash area where the first good bird was a Ruff very close to the road on the flooded fields by the stream bridge opposite Elton Hall Flash, right by where you park the cars (not Hancock's Flood). A Redshank and Curlew were also on these floods/pools. Around the feeders were several Tree Sparrows, one of the specialities and common here I know but always nice to see.

All in all a very enjoyable afternoon just a few miles from home smile



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That's my experience too, Doc. Flushing at short distance & unable to confirm a long bill increased my optimism, but I think the obvious facts & jizz really state it was Common Snipe.

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Now 4 Long-eared Owl in the Groby Flash roost site as at 13:30 today. 2 showing quite well, the others, less so!



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Most of the time that I flush Snipe up (accidentally of course wink ), I find that Jack Snipe are silent, I have never had one call yet and if a Snipe doesn't call that rings bells to suggest Jack. Also, but not always this time, I find Jack Snipe flush only a short distance whereas Common Snipe head off on a lengthy flight around the houses so to speak!! As with always these are very general rules but repeated in most field guides and can help in some circumstances smile



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1 Long-Eared Owl, Groby Flash in pouring rain. The owl was sensibly hiding in a bush; I wasn't. Very hard to spot it, esp since I couldn't see the top half. Took 30 mins to be absolutely sure it was owl rather than bark !

From the smaller, southerly pool of the 3 pools, there's a gap in the hedge near the SE corner. Go through there, and the owls favour 1/3 up the far (west) side of the pool. Water Rail(s) calling, too.

Also, walking back towards Maw Green I sneaked over the stile towards the tip. There's a small reedy patch to walk past, and a Snipe (sp) flew out only when I got close. Instinct told me it was Jack Snipe, but it flew a long way out & around me towards Groby Flash. The alarm call doesn't help because the 2 species are so similar. I only saw the bill when it was far away, and it looked shorter than Common Snipe; the flight was more reminiscent of Common Snipe. The one that got away, I suppose.

~20 Redwing flying around & calling
1+ Yellowhammer calling

Wellies far better than stilettoes along the footpath

-- Edited by John Watson on Sunday 31st of January 2016 09:17:53 PM

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Long eared Owl (3)
Ruff (1)
Having been to Newchurch Common for the Smew I headed for Pumphouse Flash for the reported Iceland Gull. Good numbers of large gulls were on the flash when I arrived around 1:30 ...but no Iceland Gull.
With directions and help from a local birder I headed to Groby Flashes and picked up 3 x Long Eared Owl. Finding the site was tricky - as was finding the owls.
I headed back to Pumphouse Flash to find all the large gulls had moved on. A single ruff and redshank were present. No Iceland Gull though - apparently it has been around for much of the week (adult) - some local birder said it usually pitched up around 3:30 each day, others said it was around throughout the day.
Chris

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Had a text from local patcher Robbo to say that there was a Brambling today at Elton Hall Flash. It was in the gulley hawthorns late morning smile



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Rare visit to Elton Hall/Pumphouse Flashes.

Yellow-legged Gull 1ad.
Black-tailed Godwit 1
Herring Gull 1
Wigeons
Teal
Redwing 1
Shelduck 2
Lapwings
Goldcrest 1
BH/LBB/Common Gulls

etc.etc.etc.

-- Edited by Ian McKerchar on Friday 16th of October 2015 09:14:43 PM

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A 2nd cal Yellow Legged Gull on Pumphouse Flash & a 1st cal Med Gull on Elton Hall Flash today.

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Elton Hall Flash

2 Green Sandpiper


Pumphouse Flash

3 Yellow-legged Gulls, 2 adults and 1 2nd year-type

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09.00-12.00

Elton Hall Flash

1 Green Sandpiper, 1 Ruff, 1 Redshank, 1 Garden Warbler (Fly catching), 2 Common Terns, 2 Buzzards and 1 juv Great Crested Grebe (No sign of adults).

Lapwings are back en-masse, as are Lesser Black Back Gulls.

Pumphouse Flash

1 Little Ringed Plover, 1 Common Sandpiper and 1 Common Tern.

Hancocks Flood has largely dried up, although there's still lots of mud for waders. The only occupant today was a single Grey Heron.

Also 1 Banded Demoiselle by Pumphouse Flash, and Meadow Brown butterflies abundant throughout.

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Rushed over here from risley moss to have a quick look at the red necked phalarophe found on the flashes this afternoon. The bird was on elton hall flash when I arrived, and spent all it's time either picking insects off the surface of the water or trying to avoid a female mallard who didn't seem to appreciate its prescense. Watched the bird for 5 minutes, there was still a large crowd gathering when I left at about 5:15

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08.30-10.00

Elton Hall Flash

3 Black Tailed Godwits, 1 Great Black Backed Gull (Imm), 1m Goosander, 1m Shoveler, 2Teal & 1 Grey Heron.

1 Great Spotted Woodpecker on the feeders. Large flock of mixed hirundines & Swifts over the flash.

Pumphouse Flash

1 Sedge Warbler singing by the roadside, 6 Tufted Ducks and 1 Grey Heron.

Apart from the usual Canada Geese etc, the only other bird on Hancocks Flood was a single Pied Wagtail.

-- Edited by Ian McKerchar on Sunday 17th of May 2015 01:02:30 PM

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