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Post Info TOPIC: Newchurch Common


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RE: Newchurch Common


Down in the morning, fine & warm but overcast at times. Quiet and much more of an invertebrate day again.

A Common Gull was again on Big Pool but the summering immature rather than the juvenile that was seen for the first time yesterday. Green Woodpeckers still yaffling & calling across site. Whitethroat on the mosses. 30 Swallows, including juveniles hunting over the mosses too.  



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A return down the patch to try to get shots of the Red-legged Partridge failed as it didn't show! Green Woodpeckers were still evident. A juvenile Common Gull was on Big Pool too amongst the Black-headed Gulls. A few more Tufted Ducks were on Big Pool but still no Common Scoters in this current influx.



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Had a fabulous morning at my Newchurch Common Patch in the company of good mate Paul Hill. We tend to do a few meet ups on there do have an insecting day together each year, but we don't neglect the birds either!

The outstanding bird was a Patch Lifer in the shape of a Red-legged Partridge on Tree Nursery fields by Shemmy Moss. Typically I had no digiscoping kit with me but Paul used his DSLR to get a record shot. Again Green Woodpeckers were all over the place with at least 3 broods again and a total in excess of 8 birds. A Mistle Thrush was one of the first birds seen which is the first here for a while. Even more unexpected were a pair of Teal on Big Pool, amazed to see these 'winter visitors' on the pool. But as has been shown earlier (the Smew reappearing) that pool can have anything on it at anytime! A fully fledged young Great Crested Grebe was also on Big Pool but as I have never seen small young on here all summer it could have flown in from another lake locally. Another surprise was hearing Siskin in the Pine Belt but as Paul says some folk are getting them returning to gardens near him now, so seems like post breeding dispersal is happening, it just seems so early. A Goldcrest was singing here too. A Bullfinch was heard and Linnet and Skylark were both on the mosses.



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Whilst on patch insecting this afternoon I noted a few interesting bird sightings:

A very large female Sparrowhawk flew over Big Pool, carrying a sizeable prey item, all too far away to determine the species but it must have been at least small pigeon-sized. Again juvenile Green Woodpeckers were watched on the ground near Big Pool, at this age they seem a lot less wary and I am getting some outstanding views at present. Lots of Swallows were flying over the entrance track and twittering away, always a lovely sound, definitely one of the 'sounds of summer' for me smile



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I had a morning walk today in the pleasant company of a new wildlifing friend who I had offered to give a guided tour of the patch to.

It is always quiet at this time of year for birds but we had a few highlights. Lots of Green Woodpeckers were seen, adults and young. It looks like they have done really well this year as I have seen broods in three distinct territories so far (picture attached of a juv after my friend had left - unfortunately as she had her DSLR and big lens with her). Great Spotted Woodpecker was also heard. A Bullfinch was also seen in Finch Hedge again. A newly hatched brood of 5 Coots showed really well for her to photograph on Small Pool. A juv Common Gull was again over Big Pool. Later on I saw Chiffchaff and Blackcap as well as a young Garden Warbler. As usual Little Grebe and Reed Bunting were at Gull Pool.



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Woke up at 4.30am so decided an early start was in order, but after a full breakfast I still only made it onto patch at 6am! I'll have to move more quickly next time. However the reward was a great day again.

The star bird was the reappearance (or was it a new individual) of a Tree Pipit on Abbot's Moss. The bird sang from the top of a bare tree, returning to the perch a couple of times before later going missing. Even though it sang it never did it's display flight and call, so maybe if it is the same bird as earlier in the year it realises that it is alone (or so I presume!). It was just too far for digiscoped shots in the poor light but with a scope gave excellent zoomed in views, but I was glad of the song to clinch ID. Nearby an adult and two juv. Green Woodpeckers showed really well (see picture) and on the very next tree only about 6 feet away an adult and juv. Great Spotted Woodpecker were also seen. At least 5 Green Woodpeckers were noted on todays walk. The 2 woodpecker families were flushed by the arrival of a Kestrel on one of the woodpecker trees. This then used the perch to scan, drop down and catch a small mammal. I took lots of shots which zoomed up showed it to be a shrew, probably Common Shrew, but it looked so black and white that it could have been a Water Shrew (I have recorded them on the mosses before).

At last a Garden Warbler was singing again, with Common Whitethroat, Blackcap, Willow Warbler and Chiffchaff all singing too. Other notable birds were a Collared Dove on Dairy Farm on the entrance road (scarce on patch!), two Pied Wagtails in the same location, two Skylarks singing on the mosses, a Lapwing near Small Pool and a Goldcrest in the Pine Belt.

 



-- Edited by Doc Brewster on Friday 30th of June 2017 03:09:53 PM

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A better day today, cloudy & overcast but very humid.

Rarest bird for here were 2 Oystercatchers flying over Abbot's Moss calling and heading away over Gull Pool Wood. 16 Lapwings were in the field next to the wood along with pigeons including 5 Stock Doves. Four Green Woodpeckers were heard with two seen. Two Greylag Geese flew over Abbot's Moss too. Here young Common Whitethroats were seen and a Skylark was still up singing. An increase in Tufted Ducks with 12 in toatal on Big Pool plus Gull Pool, but no Smew this time! The rest of the species were pretty much the usual suspects but again Garden Warbler wasn't heard or seen.



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A report from my walk on patch today more for completeness than to report anything outstanding.

The Mute Swan brood is down to 6 cygnets, so they have lost one. Not a single Garden Warbler was heard but a brood of Common Whitethroats was seen an Abbot's Moss. An immature Common Gull was on Sandiway Big Pool (first seen on 23rd June). Skylark and Rook were on the mosslands part of the patch, two species not seen everytime I go out here. Overall much quieter than normal!



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A quiet afternoon walk, delayed due to rain forecast this morning which didn't happen, but then the dry forecast pm turned drizzly whilst I was out - ya can't win!!

Main bird was Green Woodpecker near Sandiway Small Pool, whilst a mate flushed one near the Pine Belt, where I saw it feeding on the ground the other day. Birds seen which I hadn't seen as much recently were Bullfinch and Dunnock. At least 30 Lesser Black-backed Gulls flew over too which I don't see every day. A couple of Garden Warblers were singing too.



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A real scorcher, on patch from c.10am-1pm.

Best sighting was a male Cuckoo which I watched in trees on Abbot's Moss for several minutes as it sang and flew about, attracting the attention of resident passerines which mobbed it until it flew off. Two Garden Warblers sang today and one Common Whitethroat. Green Woodpecker was again presetn on patch, but this time heard and not seen. A wagtail flew over me on Shemmy Moss, not calling, and landed in the Tree Nursery. I relocated it on the edge of a furrow and it was obviously a young bird, showing a bit of a supercilium and two distinct wing bars, a bit reminiscent of 1w Citrine Wagtail. But unfortunately it was 100% Pied Wagtail!!



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Again very quiet but for completeness a few bits to report.

My first Kestrel for a while on Abbot's Moss and Skylark back in song on there after being quiet for a while. One Green Woodpecker near the Pine Belt and seen feeding on the grass by Big Pool. A Pied Wagtail was by the approach road, seen from the car.



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Again very quiet today, the fine weather keeping stuff quiet!

Green Woodpeckers were recorded at 2 locations and my first Long-tailed Tit for a while was near Sandiway Big Pool. Only one Garden warbler was again heard on a walk foreshortened by insect recording.



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A quieter walk birdwise today, many more fishermen on, always the case at weekends, and with the better weather too.

Green and Great Spotted Woodpeckers were present along with all 5 commoner warblers here, although only one Garden Warbler was heard, they've gone quiet at the moment! Linnets were again on the mosslands. The only Tufted Ducks were on smaller breeding pools but no sign of the Mandarins at all. Lots of Swifts again over Big Pool. Finally managed to count the Mute Swan brood - they have 7 cygnets smile



-- Edited by Doc Brewster on Sunday 11th of June 2017 10:30:18 PM

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Only a small window of opportunity to head down today in between other stuff. Mainly dry with some sun.

The Cuckoo was singing almost all the time and 2 Green Woodpeckers were picked up today. A Stock Dove over Gull Pool was my first of this species for ages and 2 Collared Doves on the north side of Big Pool made it a day for rarer pigeon species on the patch! Fewer Garden Warblers were seen or heard than of late.



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My first walk of June this morning in the sun.

The female Mandarin was still on Gull Pool, but only 10 ducklings (now slightly bigger!) were counted although some could have been in the reeds. The Mute Swans on Sandiway Big Pool have hatched a brood, but unknown number due to only one parent being seen and it having cygnets hidden on its back! A large female Sparrowhawk was seen and evidence of a Sparrowhawk kill nearby too. Kestrel and Buzzard completed the raptor sightings. Green and Great Spotted Woodpeckers were present as was a Cuckoo on the mosslands still. Eight Linnets were on the mosses too. Two Greylag Geese flew over and Swifts were in good numbers across the whole site. The usual 5 warbler species were again recorded.



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Went for a morning walk to catch the best of the weather & ended up catching the worst of it! Drizzly and overcast but the birds made up for it with another red letter patch day smile

One of the aims today was to go down with Carys as 'my ears' seeing as how I can't hear high pitched or quiet stuff, and to try to get Yellowhammer which we suspected was around. A walk across the mosses had Carys hearing one again and we eventually found it singing its heart out on Abbot's Moss. Scoping it I could see its mouth wide open but I still couldn't hear a thing! Still, a patch year tick and only my second ever on this patch. Even better was to come as we passed Gull Pool by the Whitegate Way on the way back. I spotted a large brood of tiny ducklings skittering about near the far reeds and on putting my bins up I was amazed to see a female Mandarin with 14 ducklings (picture)! A great addition to the patch lifelist and again unexpected. I'll keep an eye on them to see if any fledge, given the high mortality I always see on the R.Weaver near Moulton.

Other than these highlights the usual five warbler species were heard, Common Whitethroat being the least recorded in my walks at present. Over 50 Swifts wheeled over Sandiway Big Pool nad most unusual for summer was a flyover Cormorant. A Great Spotted Woodpecker with young was seen as well as an adult Green Woodpecker. Three Linnets and two Skylarks were on the mosses. Coal Tits were seen in a pine here too. Nearby a Reed Bunting was singing and two Little Grebes whinnied and chased each other on Gull Pool.

 

 



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A very short visit this afternoon post rain showers to check out mainly the pools.

No sign of the Smew or any Tufted Ducks on the pools, although a flock of c.9 birds which were Tufted Ducks (or them plus a Smew!) was seen at a distance flying over beyond Sandiway Small Pool. Over 40 Swifts were over Big Pool, the most I've seen this year, along with a handful of Sand Martins. Both Great Spotted & Green Woodpeckers were recorded today. Nothing else of avian interest today.



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Down in the morning today, overcast but warm, and a big surprise!

Checking out Sandiway Big Pool I panned across with my scope noting the usual species, Great Crested Grebe, Coot and................ female Smew Not what I was expecting (even though I'd seen a report last week but being a wee bit sceptical of it!). A few Tufted Ducks were on the pool too, suggesting that the Smew had returned with them. In fact, later, a smaller private pool on which Tufted Ducks breed, and which had had double figures on, was empty of the species, suggesting they had possibly been flushed off it, and with them the Smew too. I spent some time watching to see if she was injured but several wing flaps and a shrt flight showed that she was OK. The last date that I saw her in 2016 was 11th May, so that record has been beaten in 2017. A pair of Linnets and a Skylark were on the mosslands as usual as was a Common Whitethroat. Also over the mosslands was a distant hovering bird which proved to be a Common Buzzard, not hanging on the wind but hovering using a flapping motion reminiscent of a Kestrel, just a bit slower. I did scope the bird, but it was definitely a Common Buzzard rather than a rarer hawk! Garden Warbler numbers were down a bit but one showed really well again. A Lesser Black-backed Gull flew low over Big Pool.



-- Edited by Doc Brewster on Sunday 28th of May 2017 09:29:21 PM

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A great walk in warm sunshine today with my ex PhD Supervisor from Manchester Uni, David, the guy who made me into The Doc!!!

Several good birds were seen, the best probably being a superb Hobby which showed really well over Sandiway Big Pool, twisting and turning and catching isect prey mid-air before eating them on the wing. We only gave up watching when our arms were aching too much to carry on! Another highlight for David was his first Cuckoo of the year, near Gull Pool Wood. An Oystercatcher called again near Shemmy Moss, this has happened a few times now so I suspect breeding nearby. Also on Shemmy Moss was a Common Whitethroat, nice to hear along with over 15 Garden Warblers, David became an expert at picking out their song by the end of the walk smile Three Stock Doves, several Lapwings, a singing male Reed Bunting and a Dabchick were the o5ther noteworthy species seen for the patch.



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On stand-by at home at the moment awaiting my colleagues daughter giving birth, so local patch is still the order of the day in case I am called into work at short notice!!

On arrival this morning a Focalpoint customer, Derek, had just arrived and joined me on my walk round, with a nice wishlist of one - Garden Warbler his must-see bird along with any other goodies we could find. This request was easily granted, even with thick lef cover. I know so many Garden Warbler territories now that one surely would provide a sighting and it did. We heard at least 10 singing birds but watched one close to the Whitegate Way, possibly with young too and in the next tree a Blackcap with young, not bad! All in all there were probably three Cuckoos now, so numbers are increasing but not up to last years level yet. All other Common Warblers were present, Whitethroat, Willow Warbler and Chiffchaff. A Greylag Goose was on Sandiway Small Pool, a Reed Bunting by Gull Pool and a Kestrel hunted the mosses. Skylark and Linnet were still in the mosses area.

 



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Back on my patch after a couple of short trips away from it recenty! A morning in the sun accompanied by Carys, which was nice as she's been tied up with work a lot recently.

Not a lot out of the ordinary but Carys did get a yeartick with the reappearance of one of the Cuckoos. The Newchurch bird (rather than the one on Abbot's Moss) was present and calling regularly but was incredibly mobile, running us ragged around the whole site! Other than that a Skylark and a Linnet were on the mosses. Lots of Buzzards were up, at least 10 birds and one pair still displaying, skydancing pretty spectacularly. The one that got away today was a possible Yellowhammer on the mosses. Carys heard a faint song from a way off which could have been a half-hearted Yellowhammer song, but when we got closer there was no sight nor sound of it. Lots of folk on here will know that I went totally deaf when I was 20 when I got meningitis, and then regained some hearing but still have difficulties. Because of this I heard nothing cry I will be checking the area carefully in the next few visits as Carys is rarely wrong and I have every confidence that what she heard was a Yellowhammer.



-- Edited by Doc Brewster on Sunday 21st of May 2017 10:25:10 PM

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Even with a poor forecast I braved a morning walk, and as always the forecast was wrong and it was mainly fine, overcast and a tiny flurry of drizzle, nowt really!!

A little bit better than of late with two patch scarcities, hardly earth-shattering but still good to record. The first was a flyover, calling Oystercatcher in the Gull Pool area and the second a Greenfinch on wires near the approach road to the common gates/barrier. Lots more birds singing going down earlier as you would expect, including all my common warblers. The first time in a while that I have seen all three hirundines on patch, with House Martin, just a single, being the first one seen, over fields. A family of Great Spotted Woodpeckers proved breeding for me. A shorter walk but more species recorded, showing the importance of time of day smile



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Another late morning walk, much of it in drizzly rain, although the plus side was that the temperature was warm!

The most noteworthy sighting was on 7-10 Swifts, sometimes low over my head and my biggest group anywhere so far this year. Again a single Herring Gull and a single Lesser Black-backed Gull flew over Sandiway Big Pool, both 2nd winter type birds. Many broods of Coot were on the pools as well as Mallard ducklings and Canada Goose goslings. A Lapwing was sitting in one arable field whilst others mobbed corvids, all signs of breeding on site. Garden Warblers are still numerous and showing well if you work a bit at it!!



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A very uneventful early afternoon walk today in the sunshine.

The most unusual sightings were a small passage of Herring and Lesser Black-backed Gulls overhead. The usual warbler species were present but not as many Chiffchaffs or Willow Warblers singing. Still quite a few Garden Warblers though.



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Late report for yesterday due to being out all evening (wife's birthday!!).

Carys and I had a short late morning walk on Newchurch but concentrating mainly on the mosslands area of my patch. This proved to be a good plan when, whilst looking for the Cuckoo for Carys to yeartick it (and we never saw it!!), she picked up a raptor and initially though it was the Kestrel that is nesting near here. As I was getting onto it she then said the words "... or is it?". As soon as I got it in my bins I called out Hobby, and then it landed in the top of  a tree mainly out of view. We scampered round on one of the patchs to get level with the tree and could see it more clearly, face mask, red 'trousers' and streaked breast, a Hobby for sure, and being mobbed by several small passerines. Soon after it took off and circled up higher and higher before disappearing from view distantly over Nunsmere. I only had one record of this species last year so it was nice to add it again for 2017. Not much else of ornithological interest on patch, a showy male Reed Bunting on Gull Pool, lots of Garden Warblers still, as well as the usual stuff.



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Late report for yesterday, May 7th, a late morning walk in bright, warm sunshine.

The main news was my first Swifts of 2017 anywhere in the UK, 2 high over the mosslands. Another nice sighting was a close flypast of a Cuckoo on Sandiway Big Pool and another was calling but not seen on Abbots Moss. No sign of the Tree Pipit on the mosses but there are areas I don't cover as they're just 'off-patch'. A Sparrowhawk was up thermalling as well as at least 8 Buzzards. My first Coot young were seen with 3 on Sandiway Big Pool, joining ever growing numbers of Mallard ducklings and Canada Goose goslings. A Lesser Black-backed Gull flying over was my first for a long time. Otherwise just the usual warblers.



-- Edited by Doc Brewster on Monday 8th of May 2017 02:31:50 PM

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Another sunny morning and early afternoon walk on patch and a few goodies to report.

A Cheshire Wildlife Trust workparty was on the mosslands removing birch scrub and doing a fantastic job, hats off to them. But this undoubtably made looking for the Tree Pipit more difficult. The leader said that if they had known there was a male singing and displaying on territory then they would have cancelled, but not to fear, I found the bird still displaying but quite a way removed from where it was yesterday. I am back at work tomorrow but know others are heading down there so it will be interesting to see if they can find it still. A bit less breeze would make listening for it easier too!! One Cuckoo was again in the same area and a second called over in the Sandiway Big Pool area. Over 10 Garden Warblers were present and plenty of Common Whitethroats again. A Green Woodpecker called and a Skylark was singing. A Reed Bunting and a Linnet were still on the mosslands.



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It just keeps getting better on patch smile I had planned a day out elsewhere but a text this morning meant I decided to stay on patch after all.

I headed down and went straight over to the mossland section of my patch and after a bit of searching I could see a medium-sized bird in the top of a large silver birch. Getting closer I could hear its distinctive song and on scoping it I was watching my first ever Tree Pipit on my patch, stunning Before I could grab a record shot the wind got up and it flew out of the tree that was being thrashed about. After quite a long search I relocated it and managed a record shot, albeit into the sun, I also videoed the bird so the song could be heard too. By nestling down in cover the bird actually came to within 10 feet of me and sang from a small birch, a fabulous experience and a rare bird in this part of Cheshire. As well as the Tree Pipit I watched a Cuckoo in the same area and managed a record shot of that too, but again distant and into the sun! Also in this area a Kestrel hunted and caught a large vole, amazingly my first Kestrel here of 2017! Several Linnets and 2 Reed Buntings were all in this area too. Common Whitethroats and Garden Warblers seemed to be everywhere today, being seen and heard in several areas around my patch. In the sun a Skylark was up singing and a brood of Canada Goose goslings had hatched.

After today, my second day off in a row tomorrow, will be spent back down on patch again, who knows what might turn up!!



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Even though I was up until half past midnight the night before I woke at 5am this morning and by 5.30am I was down at Newchurch Common. The hope was for a tern - any sort - but that was a forlorn hope, none dropped in!

Instead I added Whitethroat to the patch yearlist with three heard and seen in the mosslands area. Two Cuckoos called, one on the Big Pool island and one on Abbotts Moss. A Tawny Owl called in the woods before 6am too. Garden Warblers showed well again in several places. 60 Swallows, 30 House Martins and 10 Sand Martins were over Big Pool too. Otherwise just a Greylag Goose, 3 Dabchicks (on Gull Pool), Green Woodpecker and a Stock Dove were the only birds of note.



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Working today but as we don't open until 10am on Saturdays I took the opportunity to nip down to Newchurch Common for a couple of hours pre-work.

Not a heck of a lot to report. The Tufted Duck numbers were down to c.40 and no sign of the Smew, albeit in quite a short search. Most unusual sighting for here was a pair of Reed Buntings on the Whitegate Way near Gull Pool. They were mating so definitely a pair! One Pied Wagtail was in the ploughed fields where a Lapwing was sitting on a nest, I fear the farmer has more work to do in this field though no Both Green & Great Spotted Woodpeckers were seen as well as heard. Otherwise the usuals, a couple of 'showy' Garden Warblers, Swallow , Sand Martin and Greylag Goose still.



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Good News on the Tawny Owl taken to Stapeley Grange. The bird has made a full recovery and will be released back at Newchurch Common, hopefully this week smile



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Another great visit in the sunshine today, albeit a tad nippy, started at 7.30am and stayed until early afternoon.

The highlight was a singing Lesser Whitethroat, my first ever on the patch and my 100th bird seen over the year and a half that I've been recording here smile The bird was off the Whitegate Way opposite Gull Pool. The other main news was the return of the female Smew, which I hadn't seen since 11th April. A large number of Tufted Ducks had returned, a quick count reached 70, many of which were in the centre of the pool (with the Smew) looking around quite warily like newly arrived birds. I am confident that the Smew arrived with this flock. A male Wheatear was another good bird, in the ploughed fields by Sandy Lane, my third bird of the Spring after never having had one before.

More usual fare was provided by a couple of showy Garden Warblers, over a hundred Sand Martins still over Sandiway Big Pool with 30 or so Swallows and a couple of House Martins. Two Greylag Geese were mobile over the pools, a Collared Dove flew over and two Linnets were on the mosses as was a Reed Bunting.



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Todays morning visit was again in cold, overcast conditions with compacted hail or snow on the ground still in places!!

A similar day weatherwise but very different birdwise with two yearticks for my patch and UK lists! The highlight was a male Cuckoo, first heard just once but later found on the island on Sandiway Big Pool before it flew off north. It had sporadic bursts of Cuckoo-ing but since I reckon it is the only male in at the moment it isn't really 'going for it' yet! Presumably it is still around and will start to call more in time. My second new bird was House Martin, with upwards of 20 birds over Big Pool and the adjacent fields, along with at least 200 Sand Martins and 60 Swallows, quite a spectacle.

At least 3 Garden Warblers were seen, and are starting to take up territories I remember them on from last year and showing well. Several Rooks are utilising the newly ploughed fields as were two Linnets. Green Woodpecker is still present but becoming harder to see and now only usually heard on each visit.



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A bit late, a morning visit on Monday 24th April, cold & overcast.

A Garden Warbler was singing & showing in birch scrub on the mosslands whilst a Skylark sang overhead. A Collared Dove on Dairy Farm roof and two Stock Doves over Sandy Lane were less common species seen for here. Sand Martins and Swallows were over Sandiway Big Pool but in small numbers. Little more of note to report.



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Back for a morning walk in the sunshine, getting hotter as the day went on.

After my first patch Wheatear earlier in the week along came a second today with a male in the ploughed field by the Pine Belt. A Pied Wagtail was in another ploughed field but nothing else! Work parties on the pool meant that all the ducks were flushed into the middle of the pool revealing around 60 Tufted Ducks but little else of interest. Linnet, Skylark, Reed Bunting and Treecreeper were all good records for the patch today.



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Another morning walk, but this time much more overcast and cooler than of late.

The highlight was my first (of many if last year was anything to go by) Garden Warbler of the year, seen briefly and singing and scolding on the edge of the Mosslands near the Whitegate Way. Another good day with several sightings of uncommon birds for the patch. Another Oystercatcher was seen, this time a single bird circling and calling over the mosslands. Two Greylag Geese flew over the same area, two Linnets were still here and a Skylark was up singing here too. A Tawny Owl called briefly in a private wooded area, not a common occurrance for me here. Several Sand Martins were again over Sandiway Big Pool with two Swallows. A single Rook flew over the mosslands, again not a common bird on patch.

 



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Back home after Easter at the In-Laws and a patch visit was essential, funny how you miss it when you're away!!

And am I glad I went down today with 2 Patch Lifers and an additional Patch Yeartick, I don't get many days down there like this! Having warm sunshine helped but a thin covering of ice on a shallow puddle showed just how cold it had been overnight.

The first highlight was the discovery of a female Wheatear in a ploughed field as I drove in, luckily still within my patch boundaries and somewhere I have been checking for at least two week for just this sort of thing, just reward (low res pic attached). Three Linnets flew out of the same field, a patch yeartick on 7th April but still great to see again, and all this before I had even reached my parking spot! Later I had two more pairs of Linnets, all on the mosslands. The other main highlight cam almost at the end of my walk as I returned to re-check the pools out on my way back. Amazingly hawking over the middle of Sandiway Big Pool was a Common Tern. With nowhere for it to perch I knew that I wouldn't get a digiscoped shot so I just enjoyed it for the next 45mins or so. Later on returning in the afternoon to possibly video it I found that it had departed. In between the two patch lifers I had a pair of Oystercatchers fly over calling, my next patch yeartick of the day. Wader habitat is zero on here so they are rare. I watched as they flew off over the Pine Belt and were lost to view.

No Smew today, not many waterfowl at all, but a few Sand Martins over the pool. Green Woodpecker and Skylark were on the mossland section and a Goldcrest was still around near the main central track between the pools.

 



-- Edited by Doc Brewster on Wednesday 19th of April 2017 11:54:13 AM



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On this morning and at first I thought that I would be abandoning the walk in favour of a mission of mercy! A Tawny Owl was founf by the main track, exhausted and with bedraggled tail feathers that had a bit of mud caked in them (like they had got wet & dried off later). The RSPCA were called & to their credit they arrived very swiftly, I thought I may have to stay with the bird all morning. I had health checked the bird prior to them coming and it had intact wings,and legs, no broken bones there. The sternum musculature wasn't great, the bird seemed underweight and was obviously in shock/exhausted, possibly due to having got wet and then losing temperature. The bird has been taken to Stapeley Grange and so will get the best chances of recovery there, I have everyhting crossed. (see picture).

With the swift RSPCA response I was able to carry on my walk and the main news was that the female Smew was still on Sandiway Big Pool with a good sized Tufted Duck flock. Over 200 Sand Martins were over the pool with around 4 Swallows but no House Martins. Big numbers of all three warbler species in on site so far, Willow Warbler, Chiffchaff and Blackcap. A Green Woopecker was in the paddocks area near the entrance. Late news from Sunday 9th was that a Mallard had a brood of 10 ducklings on the flooded field near the entrance track, my first duck brood this year.



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I had a short walk this afternoon, mainly looking for invertebrates in the sunshine, but there were birds about!!

A new species was added to the 2017 list with 2 Linnets on the mosslands section of patch. Now at least 6 Willow Warblers as well as double-figure counts of Blackcaps and Chiffchaffs.



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A couple of visits today amassed a reasonable species total but nothing outstanding amongst them!

The female Smew was again on Sandiway Big Pool and was very mobile, not staying in one particular area all the time I was watching her. Over 60 Tufted Ducks were on and very few fishermen, all helping with her staying a bit longer. Three Swallows and two Sand Martins were over Big Pool too and lots of Chiffchaffs, Blackcaps and three Willow Warblers were around too. A Skylark was again singing over the mosslands. Nearby just outside my recording area (unfortunately) a Yellowhammer was seen. Green & Great Spotted Woodpeckers were present again. Other good birds of note for the area were Collared Dove, Stock Dove and Coal Tit, although the latter is being seen on every visit at the moment!



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Another split walk, starting in the morning and then returning in the sfternoon because I just couldn't waste the lovely sunshine, although once I got out it was a tad breezier than I had expected!

I added a new bird to the 2017 Newchurch list for me over on the mosslands section with a singing Skylark, beautiful against the azure sky. Summer visitors were well represented with 2 Sand Martins, 7 Blackcaps, a Willow Warbler and over 20 Chiffchaffs. The pools were packed with fishermen with hardly a peg unused and ducks were scarce, only Tufted Ducks to note, with about 30 of them present. A Goldcrest and a Coal Tit were both noted in the Whitegate Way area.



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Had a split walk today, the main one in the morning then with my wife on the horse this afternoon in warm sunshine.

The main news was that the female Smew was back on Sandiway Big Pool, favouring the far north-west corner with a small group of Tufted Ducks. Not a lot else on the pools but a Grey Heron flew over fields to the east in the sfternoon. Two Swallows were over fields by Sandy Lane near Dairy Farm in the afternoon too whilst a few Willow Warblers are now singing on the patch. A Goldcrest singing in the Pine Belt was the only other bird of note today.



-- Edited by Doc Brewster on Sunday 2nd of April 2017 09:30:36 PM

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An interesting morning as much for what was not there as for what was biggrin

New birds for the 2017 Newchurch List were Willow Warbler and Blackcap. Both expected and wierdly within about 50m of each other by the main track at the far end of Sandiway Big Pool. On the pool itself no sign of the Smew again but today for the first time in ages no sign of the Red-crested Pochard. The latter has gone AWOL before so it will be interesting to see if it turns up again. A Kingfisher flashed past on Big Pool and a drake Shoveler plus the pair of Wigeon were both still present. Chiffchaffs were everywhere today but most unexpecetd was a single Lesser Redpoll near the entrance in Finch Hedge.



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Down on patch this morning, sunny but pretty nippy, glove weather until late am really.

Only new bird in was a drake Shoveler on Sandiway Big Pool, and the first-winter drake Red-crested Pochard continued its stay in West Bay on the same pool. Around 50 Tufted Ducks were countede with no Smew still. Very queit otherwise with notable passerines (ones not seen every visit) including Green Woodpecker and Coal Tit. Chiffchaffs are numerous now, heard and seen across the site. Several Redwings were still feeding in the horse paddocks. A pair of Great Spotted Woodpeckers in display, flapping and leapfrogging each other like Birds of Paradise was most entertaining.



-- Edited by Doc Brewster on Monday 27th of March 2017 10:05:45 PM

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Another morning walk in the sun, getting warmer as the day progressed.

The biggest surprise was a female Goldeneye on Sandiway Big Pool, which also held the first-winter drake Red-crested Pochard and the pair of Wigeon still. A Cormorant was still on Big Pool but no sign of the Smew yet again with Tufted Duck numbers relatively low.

Passerines included spring migrant Chiffchaff and winter visitors Redwing and Fieldfare. A Treecreeper was again in the pine belt. Lots of Buzzards were up in the thermals but a relatively quiet visit for wildlife, not so for fishermen, one of whom commented that it was the busiest he'd ever seen at the pool for anglers. Please be aware that any pegs in use for angling are off limits for birders smile



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Down for a morning walk, fine & sunny but very windy today. But overall a brilliant day smile

Highlights included two new birds for the patch in 2017 with one a full yeartick for me. The new bird for my UK Yearlist was Sand Martin, expected but still nice to see. Eight birds were over Sandiway Big Pool early am but when I left they had departed too. The patch tick for the year was a male Brambling in alders near Big Pool Island, really unexpected as I had written off this species until next winter. Other migrants included one White Wagtail in the ploughed fields with several Pied Wagtails, and a singing Chiffchaff. Winter visitors were still represented with 5 Fieldfares and a Redwing present. A Green Woodpecker was heard too and two Stock Doves seen. A Coal Tit was singing and 10 Lapwings were now on breeding territory.

On the pools the first-winter drake Red-crested Pochard remained as did the pair of Wigeon, but no sign of the Smew. 53 Tufted Ducks included one incredibly white-faced female, I hope she isn't reported as a Scaup! A single Herring Gull was also on Big Pool.

All in all a great walk round smile



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Again I managed a morning visit in the slightly cooler and overcast conditions today.

The female Smew was on Sandiway Big Pool out in the middle diving for food. The first-winter drake Red-crested Pochard was stiil in West Bay of the same pool. Tufted Duck numbers were back up above 60, so the Smew being seen was not unexpected. A single drake Gadwall and the pair of Wigeon were on Big Pool too, as well as the return of the Mute Swan family after a long absence. Five Lesser Black-backed Gulls over was the only notable larid sighting.

A Treecreeper was in the Pine Belt, and as people who know me know, I can't hear this species, but by the beak movements this was was clearly singing its head off! Another species I can't hear, Goldcrest, was also seen. Ones I can hear that were present were Green Woodpecker and Redwings & Fieldfares. The rarest passerine on my patch that was seen today was a Greenfinch near the parking area closely followed by a Collared Dove over the fields to the NE. Coal Tits were again seen and heard and Long-tailed Tits were nest building. Five Lapwings were in the ploughed fields but again only a pair of resident Pied Wagtails rather than migrant White Wagtails. The expected arrival of hirundines didn't happen today but hopefully it won't be long smile



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A morning visit for a couple of hours, weather generally fine but whisps of rain in the wind at times.

After Sunday's first migrant (White Wagtail) today I came up with the second one on site in the shape of Chiffchaff. At least one bird was singing and feeding well on the clouds of biting flies today on the east side of Sandiway Big Pool. The first-winter drake Red-crested Pochard was again in West Bay with a pair of Wigeon here too. No sign of the Smew and only 44 Tufted Ducks. A Green Woodpecker called and a few Redwings and Fieldfares were seen still. A male Reed Bunting skulked in bankside brambles on Big Pool and a pair of Coal Tits were on the island of the same pool.



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Another good visit today which produced a few surprises but none of the spring migrants that I was actually expecting!!

The first surprise was the sight of 2 female Pintails on Sandiway Big Pool, the birds stayed out amongst the gull flock and looked very wary and could not settle at all. A while later predictably they were gone. Also out amongst the gulls were the two summer plumaged adult Mediterranean Gulls, nice to see that they are still around. Not around was the female Smew, but again lots of fishing pegs in use, however the Tufted Duck numbers were down so she is probably with a flock of these that has departed. Whether they return or not this month is anyone's guess. The first-winter drake Red-crested Pochard was still in West Bay however. New in were four Shovelers, one female followed by three drakes, but no Wigeon, Teal or Gadwall today. Herring Gulls and Lesser Black-backed Gulls were still around in good numbers.

Away from the pools a surprise was a fall in newly ploughed fields of around 30 Pied Wagtails which included one White Wagtail and a couple of birds which superficially looked like White Wagtails but the dusky flanks pointed more towards a hybrid origin. In the same ploughed field were 8 Lapwings so there numbers are still rising. There were still around 50 Fieldfares and 50 Redwings about in the arable fields. Stock Doves, a Green Woodpecker and a Raven were all recorded today, always good birds and not seen on every visit.

The final bird was seen later in the day when we were walking the horse, a Grey Heron flying over horse paddocks on Sandy Lane, heading towards Big Pool.



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A very nice visit in the warm sunshine today, albeit a tad breezy. Lots of fishing pegs in use so a bit of disturbance but surrounding fields being ploughed thus attracting huge numbers of gulls to the area.

The undoubted highlight was a 2017 UK Yeartick for me in the shape of a pair of Mediterranean Gulls, both in adult summer plumage, at around 11.50am. These were out in the middle of Sandiway Big Pool amongst over 300 gulls, mainly Black-headed and Common, but with a few Herring Gulls on the water and Lesser Black-backed Gulls over. I say pair because they even displayed to each other on the lake, great to see. Also on Big Pool was the first-winter drake Red-crested Pochard but no sign of the Smew, typically missing on a day that the water is most disturbed, I have every confidence that she will be back. Only two Wigeon were seen (a pair) and no Gadwall or Teal.

Lots of Fieldfares were amongst the stubble to the north of the pools, around 100 I guess, with a few Redwings and a couple of Mistle Thrushes. Four Stock Doves were here also. A Sparrowhawk was seen over Small Pool and lots of Buzzards included 5 together in one thermal. A Raven was seen in a tumbling display flight on the north side. Otherwise the usual array of species, no obvious spring migrants yet, but a departure of wildfowl is evident.

One report of note, passed onto me by my fishermen pals was of an escaped Cockatiel present on Monday, which I just missed after sitting chatting with them. Ah well, I couldn't have added it to the official list but it would have been interesting to see on patch!

 



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