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Post Info TOPIC: Stalybridge country park- Brushes


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Stalybridge country park- Brushes


Friday 1st December 2017

Two Tawny Owls seen this morning, at 6.50am, both on Brushes Road, between the end of the housing and Walkerwood dam. The first was on a telegraph pole half way along the lane, and the second flew over from the Wild Bank side, into the country park, almost at the bend onto the dam.

Quite a number of Redwing over, down the valley, in the dark.

-- Edited by David Walsh on Friday 1st of December 2017 08:17:53 PM

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Thursday 30th November 2017, around dusk.

1 Woodcock over Lower Swineshaw scout hut, towards Lees Hill, at 4.35pm
Tawny Owl singing in the trees around the gamekeeper's cottage

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Thursday 30th November 2017, 9.00 - 11.45am

From Walkerwood dam, up onto Wild Bank Hill, and around the trig point.

Wild Bank Hill

1 pair of Stonechat feeding in the fields around Shaw Farm
1 Raven over east was the only sign of life at the trig point, with an icy wind howling through.
10 Redwing, 6 over and 4 feeding around Shaw Farm
1 Mistle Thrush
1 Kestrel on a fence post over towards Moorside Farm

6 Redwing around Flaxfield
Usual around the Walkerwood feeder, including the Willow Tit

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Saturday 25th November 2017, 8.30 - 11.00am

Brushes Valley, from Walkerwood to Higher Swineshaw, and Irontongue Hill.

A refreshing morning wandering around the "warmer climes", as described by Steve Suttill. A liberal covering of snow greeted us at Walkerwood, and conditions gradually worsened on the climb up the valley, with deep snow, fog and blizzard conditions from Lower Swineshaw to Irontongue Hill. Surprisingly, though, not a complete wash out.

I have reached the stage of Autumn where dawn comes too late, and dusk too soon for my daily routine. I had therefore given up on seeing many crepuscular Woodcock until the new year, so I was pleased that two were flushed this morning, both unusually high up the valley, in the area of Lower Swineshaw.

Other sightings from the top end of the valley:

1 pair of Stonechat (sorry Steve) were flitting around the moor above Lower Swineshaw Reservoir in a blizzard, seemingly oblivious to the conditions. That makes 12 separate individuals recorded in Stalybridge this month, a November record for me personally. I don't know whether the GMBRG database may have more?
5 Reed Bunting, including three males in almost full breeding plumage, in Higher Swineshaw overflow

The other notable species was Long-tailed Tit, with a flock of 19 at Walkerwood, and 12 in Brushes Valley
1 Nuthatch calling from Brushes Cottages
All the usuals around the feeders, including the Willow Tit

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Sunday 19th November 2017, 7.45 - 11.30am.

From Walkerwood Dam, up onto Wild Bank Hill, and an hour watching the area around the trig point, as far as Hollingworthall Moor.

The most remarkable thing about this morning was the number of Stonechat seen. Not so much the total of six individuals, but the number of different locations around the site, as follows:

1 pair at Brushes Rifle Ranges
1 pair on Wild Bank Moor
1 in the fields below Shaw Farm
1 on the Hollingworthall Moor side of the trig point.

In addition to this, there is currently a pair around Paddock Farm, Harrop Edge, and yesterday I watched a pair at Lees Hill, Higher Swineshaw. In recent years, there have been only two overwintering pairs, one at Wild Bank, and one around Higher Swineshaw.
The recent run of mild winters have had a beneficial effect for this species nationally, and there seems to have been an increase in breeding range within Greater Manchester. This year I had thirteen confirmed broods from seven sites in Stalybridge alone (almost certainly an under count, due to a combination of convalescence and laziness on my part). Normally, by this time of year, most of the breeding stock have moved on, leaving just the odd pair, as outlined above.

Other sightings.

6 Reed Bunting
3 Meadow Pipits
4 Mistle Thrush
6 Bullfinch
The bizarre sight of four Pheasant, including a handsome male, perched high up a holly tree, feeding on berries.
The usuals around the Walkerwood feeder, including the Willow Tit.

Saturday morning, Brushes Valley, as far as Lees Hill.

6 Goldcrest
16 Long-tailed Tits
2 Great Spotted Woodpeckers
1 Treecreeper
3 Buzzard
3 Kestrel
2 Ravens
8 Reed Bunting


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Friday 17th November 2017

Brushes Road.

One Woodcock flew down from the direction of the rifle ranges, into the country park, just 150 yards further along the lane than the last of the houses, at 6.51am.

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Wednesday 15th November 2017, 6.30 - 7.20am

Brushes Valley.

3 Woodcock flew into the woods on Harridge, in better light than yesterday (i.e. no mist and drizzle). Two, at 6.59am, down the valley from the direction of Lower Swineshaw, with a third, at 7.01, over from the direction of Walkerwood

A Mistle Thrush attempted a very brief song, as dawn was breaking.

-- Edited by David Walsh on Wednesday 15th of November 2017 07:59:40 AM

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Tuesday 14th November 2017, 6.30 - 7.15am.

Brushes Valley, the length of Brushes Reservoir.

Woodcock flying back to roost, down the valley, over the woods on the Harridge side, towards the area of the gamekeeper's cottage, at 7.02am.

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Monday 13th November 2017, 6.30 - 7.20am

Walkerwood area

c 20 Fieldfare noisily out of the bushes on Harridge, flew off over the country park.
26 Chaffinch over
4 Bullfinch

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Saturday 11th November 2017, around dusk.

1 Woodcock over Lower Swineshaw quarry at 4.58pm (precisely)
1 Tawny Owl calling from Cock Wood on the way back down

This morning, from Walkerwood, to Higher Swineshaw and Lees Hill, 8.00 - 11.00am.

1 Grey Wagtail in Walkerwood overflow
Usuals around the feeder, including the Willow Tit
Several groups of Long-tailed Tits along the valley

Around the Swineshaws

7 Fieldfare dropped into the trees at the scout hut, staying for around ten minutes
2 Siskin
4 Chaffinch
5 Reed Bunting
A Peregrine did a couple of circuits of Higher Swineshaw and Lees Hill, giving a Magpie an almighty fright


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Wednesday 8th November 2017, 6.15 - 7.15am

From Walkerwood to Lower Swineshaw, around dawn.

No Woodcock this morning, but a bit of movement of birds moving from roost, down the valley in the direction of the country park, after 7.00am.

36 Chaffinch (8,13,8,4,3)
7 Lesser Redpoll (5,1,1)
1 Jay

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Saturday 4th November 2017

1 Woodcock out of the woods, over Lower Swineshaw, at 5.05pm. My first sighting since July (and I have been looking, at dawn and dusk, over the past month), presumably evidence of newly arrived migrants, half expected following this week's full moon.
Male and female Tawny Owl calling from the valley bottom.

This morning, around Walkerwood and the area of the gamekeeper's cottage, 8.00 - 10.15am

10 Redwing feeding in the fields
2 Mistle Thrush
1 Song Thrush
6 Long-tailed Tits
Usuals around the feeders, including the Willow Tit
15 Pheasants
1 Red-legged Partridge
1 Grey Wagtail

-- Edited by David Walsh on Sunday 5th of November 2017 12:03:01 AM

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Monday 30th October 2017, 6.00 - 6.45am

2 Tawny Owls at the Harridge side of Walkerwood. Good views of one, at 6.10am, gliding down over the fields from the gamekeeper's cottage, towards the country park, and another calling from the trees lining the reservoir, ten minutes later.

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Sunday 29th October 2017, 8.30 - 10.30am

Around the Swineshaws

1 pair of Stonechat
8 Reed Bunting, a couple of males still in almost full breeding plumage
4 Meadow Pipits
1 Kestrel
2 Goldfinch at Higher Swineshaw dam
15 Fieldfare flying northwest over the moor


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Saturday 28th October 2017, 8.30 - 11.00am

Brushes Valley, which was shrouded in drizzly low cloud from Brushes Reservoir up.

The only thing visible further up was 4 Goldcrest at Lower Swineshaw scout hut

Fortunately, Walkerwood was particularly lively:

3 Goldcrest
Siskin flew over in dribs and drabs, then a flock of around 40 flew noisily back, from the country park, towards Cock Wood.
1 Lesser Redpoll over
1 Goldfinch
2 Bullfinch
1 Great Spotted Woodpecker
1 Willow Tit
4 Long-tailed Tits
Coal, Blue, and Great Tits
3 Lesser Black-backed Gulls over the reservoir

Flaxfield

Initially, 20 Fieldfare flew from Wild Bank, west over Stalybridge, then a further 60 landed in the fields and bushes around Flaxfield Farm
1 Mistle Thrush
1 Greenfinch over
1 Goosander flying west, down the Tame Valley


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Saturday 21st October 2017, 9.00 - 11.00am

Brushes Valley, to the top of the moor at Turf Pits, in very blustery conditions.

15 Redwing south over Pack Saddle at 9.30
Just the odd Meadow Pipit and Reed Bunting up from the moor
Plenty of Red Grouse seem to have survived this week's shoot

Willow Tit on the Walkerwood feeder, along with the usuals.

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Saturday 14th October 2017, 9.30 - 11.00am

Around the Swineshaws. Quiet, except for species that, for the next six months, will be known as "the usuals". I would expect to see them most times I'm up here in winter.

1 male Stonechat, flycatching so high up that it resembled a display flight.
1 Buzzard
1 Kestrel
Several each, around the moor, of:
Meadow Pipits
Reed Bunting
Robin
Wren
Dunnock
Blackbirds

The drake Mandarin was back on Walkerwood, swimming with two Mallard. These were the only birds on all four reservoirs.

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Thursday 12th October 2017, 10.30am - noon.

Harridge.

4 Buzzards, 3 interacting, the fourth higher up on its own.
2 Kestrels, having a dig at the Buzzards
1 Raven

20 Meadow Pipits quickly through, over the moor above Lower Swineshaw, with a few others calling from the ground
2 Lesser Redpoll over the scout hut
1 Grey Wagtail at Walkerwood

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Monday 9th October 2017, 6.10am

Good views of a Tawny Owl flying along Brushes Road, on the edge of the country park.

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Sunday 8th October 2017, 9.30 - 11.30am

Higher Swineshaw, and around Lees Hill. Quiet.

3 Stonechat, 2 males and a female, moving around the fences and bracken between Lees Hill and Boar Flat.
1 Raven over from Ogden Clough to Harridge
1 Buzzard
1 Kestrel
A couple of Lesser Redpoll over
15+ Meadow Pipits
Several Red Grouse
Several Reed Bunting calling

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Thursday 5th October 2017, 10.00 - 11.30am

Around Higher Swineshaw, and the moor at Turf Pits.

2 Raven
3 Buzzard, one over Harridge, and two high up to the east, towards Chew Reservoir
1 Kestrel
1 male Stonechat
3 Reed Bunting
2 Linnet over south
3 Red Grouse
10 Meadow Pipit

-- Edited by David Walsh on Thursday 5th of October 2017 12:54:21 PM

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Wednesday 5th October 2017, 9.30 - 11.30am.

Walkerwood Dam, up past the rifle ranges, and onto Wild Bank Hill. Cold, windy, with intermittent drizzle. Deathly quiet.

Walkerwood

1 drake Mandarin, swimming with four Mallard
1 Willow Tit, plus the usuals around the feeder, including a Jay.
2 Lesser Redpoll
4 Bullfinch

Wild Bank Hill

1 Little Owl
10 Meadow Pipits
2 Greenfinch
Mixed group of Great, Blue, and Long-tailed Tits
1 Jay

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Sunday 1st October 2017, 9.15 - 10.00am

Walkerwood area

1 Dipper in the overflow
2 Grey Wagtails
2 Lesser Redpoll
Several Jays collecting acorns
4 Swallows over south

Yesterday, all the usual Tits and Finches were around the feeder, including the Willow Tit.

Flaxfield

1 Kestrel
A very mobile flock of around 40 Goldfinch
5 Mistle Thrush
9 Meadow Pipits

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Saturday 23rd September, 7.00 - 10.30am

Brushes Valley, from Walkerwood to Lees Hill.

Around the Swineshaws.

6 Stonechat, in three different areas
1 Dipper, flying across Higher Swineshaw Reservoir
3 Pied Wagtails
20+ Meadow Pipits
1 Lesser Redpoll over
Several Reed Bunting
Bullfinch in the trees at the scout hut

Walkerwood Dam, more lively than in a long time, particularly around the feeder.

1 Nuthatch was a very unusual sight on the feeder. They are common in the trees around Brushes Cottages, but not Walkerwood Dam.
1 Willow Tit
6 Lesser Redpoll
6 Jays, carrying acorns across the reservoir, towards Wild Bank.
4 Chiffchaff
2 Grey Wagtails
1 Grey Heron
1 Sparrowhawk
1 Kestrel over Harridge

Several each of:
Great Tit
Blue Tit
Coal Tit
Bullfinch
Chaffinch
Goldfinch

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Saturday 16th September 2017, 8.30 - 11.00am

Brushes Valley, from Walkerwood to Lees Hill.

Around the Swineshaws.

1 juvenile Whinchat at Lees Hill
9 Stonechat, 2 males around Higher Swineshaw dam, and a family group of seven
Meadow Pipit numbers on the increase - around 25 feeding on Higher Swineshaw dam, and a similar number around Lees Hill
3 Reed Bunting
A flock of approximately 50 House Martins and 30 Swallows over southwest. Last night at dusk, around 100 Swallows were feeding over Lower Swineshaw Reservoir
1 Grey Wagtail in Higher Swineshaw overflow
20 Starlings around the fences at Lees Hill

Walkerwood

Greenfinch
Bullfinch
Chaffinch
Lesser Redpoll over
Kestrel over Harridge
Buzzard over Wild Bank

-- Edited by David Walsh on Saturday 16th of September 2017 03:11:17 PM

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Wednesday 13th September 2017, 7.00pm

One drake Mandarin swimming with 8 Mallard on Walkerwood Reservoir.

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Saturday 9th September 2017, 7.00 - 8.00pm

4 Stonechat on the moor above Lower Swineshaw Reservoir, a male and three juveniles.
1 Kestrel over the moor.

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Monday 4th September 2017, 7.00 - 8.30pm

A wander around the top of the moor at Turf Pits, until the rain came, as darkness fell.

1 male Stonechat high up on the moor
6 Swallows over south at dusk
12+ Red Grouse

This morning, at Walkerwood, 6.15 - 7.15am

2 Cormorant, fishing.
2 Kestrels, high up at first, being mobbed by Hirundines that came through in two groups, about 100 in each. The first contained even numbers of House Martins and Swallows, the second mainly Swallows.
Several Bullfinch calling
Lesser Redpoll over

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Saturday 2nd September 2017, late morning.

Higher Swineshaw

1 Wheatear on the dam
Several juvenile Stonechat buzzing around
25+ Meadow Pipit around the dam
2 juvenile Goldfinch
A couple of Warblers (presumed Willow) following a male Stonechat around on Boar Flat

Chiffchaff singing further down the valley

1 Willow Tit at Walkerwood on Thursday

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Wednesday 30th August 2017, 6.30 - 7.30pm

Higher Swineshaw

2 Wheatear around the reservoir (male and juvenile)
10 Stonechat - 2 males with five and three juveniles respectively
1 juvenile Whitethroat following one of the male Stonechat around.

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Thursday 24th August 2017, 8.30 - 11.00am

2 Ravens over from Lees Hill, onto Swineshaw Moor.
Male Stonechat with four fledglings at Lees Hill. No sign of the female - possibly sitting again.
2 juvenile Willow Warblers following the male Stonechat around.
Willow Tit on the feeder.
Juvenile Moorhen at Walkerwood.

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Friday 18th August 2017, 7.00am

Walkerwood and Cote Farm

1 Buzzard over Harridge
5 Kestrels mobbing the Buzzard, my highest post-breeding count this year
2 Raven, flying together, but also having a dig at the Buzzard
Lesser Redpoll over
Several Bullfinch
Willow Tit on the feeder yesterday morning

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Tuesday 15th August 2017, evening, until 9.45pm

1 pair of Stonechat, the male carrying food, on the moor between Lower Swineshaw and Harridge Pike. This will be a second brood, but a combination of the relative inaccessibility of this site, and me losing a month of the breeding season through surgery, means that this is the first confirmed breeding here this year. It also means that, of seven territories known to me in the area, six now have confirmed breeding this year.

Juvenile Buzzard calling over Wild Bank
3 Kestrels together over Harridge
Some very vocal groups of young Tawny Owls along the valley, from Walkerwood to Lower Swineshaw
Little Owl calling from above Lower Swineshaw Reservoir

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Saturday 12th August 2017, 9.30 - 11.00am

Around Higher Swineshaw, in atrocious conditions. Cold, low cloud, and intermittent driving rain.

2 Raven, harassed by Meadow Pipits
1 juvenile Kestrel eating a rodent at Irontongue Hill
9 Stonechat, in three groups: a pair with two young, a pair with one youngster, and a pair that became very agitated when the Kestrel dropped in with its breakfast.
Several Reed Bunting
Willow Warblers singing
3 Cormorant flew over from Arnfield direction, towards Carrbrook


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Monday 7th August 2017, 9.30 - 10.30pm

Brushes Valley

At least 10 Tawny Owls counted along the length of the valley this evening, including good views of an adult flying along the edge of the country park before dark, and another perched on a telegraph pole at Brushes Cottages.

There were also hunger calling juveniles in groups of three, two, and two (minimum counts) in three different areas.

The Grasshopper Warbler seems to have stopped singing over the past week.

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A circuit of Wildbank and the trig point this morning 8:30 to 10:00. Highlights were 2 male Kestrel, 1 Little Owl, 1 Buzzard, 2 Redpoll and 2 swift over

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Friday 4th August, 7.00am

Common Sandpiper moving noisily around the shoreline of Walkerwood Reservoir - my first ever August record in Brushes Valley.

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Tuesday 1st August 2017, 6.00 - 7.30am

Walkerwood

42 Canada Geese on the reservoir
23 Mistle Thrush moving between the fields on Harridge and Cock Wood
Plenty of juvenile Gold-, Green-, and Chaffinch

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Thursday 27th July 2017, 9.30 - 11.00am

Higher Swineshaw

A juvenile Cuckoo flew out of the heather at the side of the reservoir
1 skulking Common Sandpiper on the dam shoreline
1 Kestrel
1 Peregrine over
1 Buzzard

Walkerwood

1 ragged Sparrowhawk
The only thing on the feeder was an irritating Grey Squirrel

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Friday 21st July 2017, 10.00 - 11.45am

A Kingfisher flying around the top end of Brushes Reservoir was a first for me, and an unusual record for the valley.
Grasshopper Warbler reeling in the valley bottom
Male and juvenile Stonechat at Higher Swineshaw Reservoir
Common Sandpiper on Higher Swineshaw Reservoir

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Thursday 20th July 2017, 8.30 - 10.30am

Windy and cold, in low cloud at Higher Swineshaw.

3 Common Sandpiper on Higher Swineshaw Reservoir
Reed Bunting carrying food
Kestrel over Harridge, another over Wild Bank
Buzzard over Harridge
Willow Tit on the Walkerwood feeder

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Date:

Tuesday 18th July 2017, 7.30 - 10.00am

Flaxfield, Brushes Rifle Ranges, and a circuit of Wild Bank Hill.

One pair of Stonechat in their usual area at the southern end of Wild Bank Hill, but the highlight was another female carrying food in a completely new territory.
2 Little Owls
1 juvenile Kestrel
4 Linnet
2 Lesser Redpoll
1 Greenfinch
6 Goldfinch
4 Willow Warblers
20+ Meadow Pipit
6 Swallows around Flaxfield Farm
3 House Martins



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Sunday 16th July 2017.

Common Sandpiper calling at Walkerwood Reservoir at 10.30pm
Willow Tit on the feeder this morning

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Saturday 15th July 2017, 7.30 - 10.30am

Brushes Valley, as far as Irontongue Hill.

12+ Reed Bunting, including a pair feeding green caterpillars to their fledglings. As Steve noted earlier this week, there is an interesting plumage range amongst the juveniles, with birds of differing ages around the area.
4 Stonechat; a male with a juvenile at Irontongue Hill, and a female plus juvenile at Higher Swineshaw
2 Common Sandpiper at Higher Swineshaw
2 Buzzard, one over Turf Pits, and one perched up in Brushes Valley, calling repeatedly.
1 Grasshopper Warbler reeling at Lower Swineshaw
1 Kestrel over Harridge
1 Great Spotted Woodpecker at Walkerwood Dam
Pair of Linnet feeding four young at Higher Swineshaw dam
Chiffchaff and Blackcap singing at Brushes Cottages

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Thursday 13th July 2017, 9.00 - 11.00am

A full circuit of the Country Park, and around Walkerwood Dam.

Country Park - very quiet, with not one Willow Warbler seen or heard!

3 Blackcap, 2 singing, and one juvenile feeding in the willows
3 Chiffchaff singing
1 pair of Chaffinch. The female appeared to be carrying nesting material, but I was under the impression that they were single brooded?
6 Goldfinch
1 Great Spotted Woodpecker
2 Song Thrush, one singing, the other carrying food
4 House Martins feeding overhead

Walkerwood Dam

1 Moorhen, feeding on a dead perch
2 Grey Wagtails, a female with a well grown juvenile
1 Blackcap singing
1 Chiffchaff singing
6 Long-tailed Tits
1 Buzzard over Harridge
1 Lesser Redpoll over

Around the newly reinstated feeder

1 Willow Tit, first sighting since April, despite several searches in the valley bottom over the past two months
2 Coal Tits
4 Great Tits
2 juvenile Blue Tits
Juvenile Dunnock


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Weds 12.07.17 - 13.10 - 15.40

circuit of Walkerwood, Hyde Green, Shire Clough, Turf Pits, Brushes Valley:

Linnets (inc male feeding juvenile)
Red Grouse (inc 5 well-grown young)
Reed Buntings at Higher Swineshaw (inc several very birght-looking juvs)
Willow Warblers (inc 4 recently-fledged juvs at Higher Swineshaw)
Common Sandpiper (silent) at Higher Swineshaw)

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Sunday 9th July 2017, 9.00am

Millbrook Dam.

2 singing Whitethroat. I hoped to see juveniles, but no sign today. This is one of the most reliable areas locally for this species.
20+ of a mix of Swallows and House Martins, the majority being Swallows.

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Saturday 8th July 2017, 7.00 - 10.00am

Flaxfield, Brushes Rifle Ranges, and up Wild Bank Hill.

Due to an enforced absence, following foot surgery, during which I haven't been able to get far, or see a great deal, I made my first visit to the top of Wild Bank in two months, a panting shuffle up the last few hundred feet. Unfortunately (but not unexpectedly), I have missed the first Stonechat brood, but did eventually see an independent juvenile, as well as the female alarm calling.
What was most notable was the low numbers of Meadow Pipits, Lesser Redpoll, and particularly Linnet. All are plentiful in other parts of the valley?

Flaxfield

1 Buzzard
10+ Swallows
6 Goldfinch
1 Greenfinch singing
A family group of 4 Willow Warblers
1 Meadow Pipit

Wild Bank

15+ Meadow Pipits
7 Willow Warblers
1 Whitethroat singing behind Range House, and another in the field by Brushes Road
5 Linnet
4 Lesser Redpoll
1 Bullfinch
1 Song Thrush singing
1 Kestrel
10+ Swallows
House Sparrows at both Range House and Shaw Farm
1 Little Owl

Higher Swineshaw Reservoir, late morning.

1 adult and two very young Common Sandpiper. These are definitely not from the same brood as the juvenile seen last weekend, as they still do not look old enough to fly. Last year the young were flying on all four reservoirs by 25th June. This year they seem very late.

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Friday 7th July 2017, to 10.30pm, the last half hour in heavy drizzle.

1 Common Sandpiper alarm calling on Brushes Dam, possibly due to the half dozen teenagers camping on the dam itself. I hope they have decent mosquito netting biggrin
Two groups of juvenile Tawny Owls, hunger calling, with decent views of them flying before dark.
Male Tawny Owl hooting from the woods
Little Owl calling after dark.
Grasshopper Warbler reeling in the valley below Lower Swineshaw Reservoir

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Thursday 6th July 2017

Higher Swineshaw, 9.30pm

11 Pied Wagtails. One pair on the dam, and a flock of 9 flew from a northeasterly direction, down the valley.

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