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Post Info TOPIC: Newchurch Common


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Newchurch Common


Another morning walk today in similarly dull weather conditions.

No sign of the Pintail 'flock', they look to have headed off. The female Smew was seen several times on my circuit of Big Pool but was typically elusive as she has been just recently. She was also seen on all sides of the pool not favouring any one area. A female Teal was seen as well as 3(2drake) Pochards. In total 8 redhead Goosanders were on the pools, 2 on Small Pool and 6 on Big Pool. A male Kingfisher showed very well on Small Pool and a Grey Heron flew from the margins of Big Pool.

At least 150 Bramblings were again seen, even more widely scattered, with the first 50 being seen close to the car, the set-aside is partly flattened now and the seed content mst be depleted by the huge finch flock. I'm now keeping my fingers crossed for them staying into New Year. Over 100 Linnets were also seen, mainly near the set-aside. Several Great Spotted Woodpeckers were seen, also 5 Siskin and 2 Redwings. One Stock Dove flew over and a Kestrel was on Sandy Lane.

On the past two visits I have had birders visiting to see the attractions (wink) and all have parked outside and walked, please continue to do this if visiting, the concrete blocks and barrier are blocking the track at the moment but please do not be tempted to drive in if they are not, you could well be locked in!!



-- Edited by Doc Brewster on Wednesday 20th of December 2017 09:25:51 PM

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Not had a chance to go out recently so grabbed the opportunity this morning to get back on my local patch. Dull weather but not too cold and not windy.

The most surprising sighting was the discovery of 6 Pintail on Sandiway Big Pool, consisting of 3 drakes and 3 females. I managed some record shots in poor light at distance, but they were pretty flightly, but still present when I left. Also on the pool was the female Smew, a drake Pochard, 4 redhead Goosanders (one which looked like a definite immature drake too) and over 150 Wigeon, lots of Tufted Ducks and Gadwall too. In fact it was teeming with wildfowl, a pretty spectacular sight. Two Grey Herons were seen, one on each pool. A Kingfisher was on Small Pool.

150 Bramblings are still present, many near the set-aside but also now spreading out across the site. 100 Linnets were seen too as well as a Reed Bunting a couple of Siskins and lots of Long-tailed Tits. A flight of Fieldfare numbering over 25 passed over. A steady passage of large gulls over produced 1 Great Black-backed Gull amongst mainly Lesser Black-backed and a few Herring Gulls. Green and Great Spotted Woodpeckers were again present.



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Still have my cartilage injury but had to go feed the horse today & that's right by Newchurch so decided on a short walk with my knee strapped up. Absolutely beautiful, deep snow, crisp and bright sunshine, so fabulous to be out today smile

The female Smew was still on Big Pool, although she was in a different area and pretty elusive. Very little freezing up of either pool though, which was good. Only one redhead Goosander was seen, on Big Pool too, where there was also a drake Pochard and 6 Teal. There were at least 150 Wigeon on too, the lake looked very busy! The setaside still help at least 50 Bramblings and 50 Linnets, although at first they kept down low, later on they festooned the trees near the field as usual showing beautifully in the snow & sun. Nearby a Raven flew over cronking too. Three Grey Herons were seen, probably displaced from frozen waters, one on Small Pool and two on Big Pool, this was the most I've ever recorded here on a single visit. Three Little Grebes were on Big Pool and at least 20 Great Crested Grebes. Redwings, Fieldfares and some stunning Bullfinches were all seen.



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Not been out as much recently due to me having a knee cartilage injurury, but strapped it up today and went out with bins only. Dull, overcast but dry, the calm before Storm Caroline.

The female Smew was again present on Sandiway Big Pool, but pretty elusive near the spit viewed best from the north side of the pool, also in the same area was a drake Pochard. 11 Goosanders inc one adult drake were on Big Pool and two more redheads were on Small Pool making 13 in all, just sneaking the biggest count here this winter. Over 90 Wigeon were on the pools and over 40 Gadwall and 100 Tufted Ducks too. A small influx of Great Crested Grebes was noted with 12 birds counted. Two Greylag Geese were wuith the Canada Geese. A passage of gulls seemed to be happening too, maybe clearing through ahead of the weather front, including several Herring and Lesser Black-backed Gulls and one Great Black-backed Gull.

Bramblings were seen all over the site, having spread since I first found them, adding all the counts up they totalled over 100 again, with seemingly more Chaffinches too. The setaside still holds the majority of the finch flock and included at least 60 Linnets. 12 Siskins and 11 Redpolls were seen in a few small groups in alders around the site. Two Goldcrests were nice to see too. A Stock Dove was with the Woodpigeons and three adult Mute Swans were new in on Small Pool, the family of two adults and 6 young still being on Big Pool.



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A Friend who I gave directions to, for the setaside, reports to me that he has had 100 Bramblings there today. The flock holds steady at the moment and will be in 3 figures every day but just depends on which side of the field you get them which determines the count smile



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Another morning sojourn around my local patch, dull, rain at times & brighter intervals, cold too, a bit of everything!

The female Smew was again on Sandiway Big Pool where a Teal and a drake Pochard were also seen. On Small Pool a smart drake Goldeneye and 12(2 ad drake) Goosanders were seen, probably thanks to it being undisturbed with no anglers on it. Another nice sighting today was a Green Woodpecker feeding on the ground near Big Pool. As usual large numbers of Bramblings were present with at least 30 seen at the setaside before the rain caused the flocks to take cover, 6 Siskins were also seen today. A Fieldfare and a couple of Redwings were seen. After a few visits drawing a blank at least 2 Coat Tits and 2 Nuthatches were at the farm feeders.

Nice to join up with two birding friends today, who were amazed at just how many Bramblings were present and how well they showed. It was a case of spot the odd Chaffinch in amongst the Brambling flock biggrin



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On again this morning, overcast and more windy than recent visits, although still unseasonably warm!

The female Smew was still in West Bay on Sandiway Big Pool but lurking near the edge and prone to disappearing under the bankside vegetation as Mike decsribes. The drake Pochard was still on too but very little else other than the large numbers of the 3 common species. At least 15 Common Gulls were on Big Pool as well as an immature Herring Gull. A short visit to the setaside produced a count of over 60 Bramblings with another 20+seen around the northern maize stubble fields, a few Siskins and many Linnets were here too.

Four Stock Doves were seen and a single Collared Dove. A flock of 6 Mistle Thrushes was unusual for here as was a Song Thrush in full song today! A Goldcrest and a flock of Long-tailed Tits were nice to see. The wind seemed to have stirred up the passerines with more seen and them being more active, made for a busy day checking everything out.

No cars parked on the track today Mike, maybe the ones you saw were fishermen, but they all use the car parks and don't park for long on the main track, if they did they would get damaged by passing trailers! Other than the birders who trespassed on Sunday all other cars were parked outside, up to 7 when I arrived and there were 5 outside today inc another birder, so hopefully the info is getting through to stay out. I am grateful to my mates at RBA for putting a 'no vehicular access' message on the pagers now, and hope other info services follow suit smile



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Yes Paul we were there on Sunday. Problems on the M56 on our way home meant I was back later than planned and didn't get on line until quite late. Seems I was still on after midnight but didn't notice the posting time. It may just have been fishermen but there were quite a few cars and vans on the track on Sunday as well. None of them appeared to be birders. We did see someone with bins over on the west side of Big Pool but he was the only other birder we saw while we were there.

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A morning walk again today (20th) in overcast but dry conditions. Some important info, but first the news.

The female Smew was again in West Bay on Sandiway Big Pool, a drake Pochard and a drake Teal being the only other ducks of note on today apart from large numbers of Tufted Duck, Wigeon and Gadwall as always. A Kingfisher was on Small Pool too. 40+Brambling were around the setaside crop field but today many more finches were on the far side, a Reed Bunting was a new bird to be recorded in this field this winter. Siskins and a pale Redpoll, most likely just a pale Lesser Redpoll, were in alders near Big Pool island. A Goldcrest was again seen near Finch Hedge as well as 2 Mistle Thrushes.

On a serious note today, two birders (from the Wirral and who do not come on this forum) had driven in along the private track beyond the barrier on Novia Scotia Lane. They were reported to the Warrington Anglers club secretary who was going to inform the police as they were causing an obstruction by being on the track. After I had had a word with them they moved the car and left the site, so I informed the club and no action was taken. The farmer is currently moving harvested carrots off site and is removing the blocks which normally stop cars, other than anglers with keys, from entering, so these guys drove through that way. Not only will the farmer not be too careful with a large trailer when passing illegally parked cars but he may also replace the blocks trapping the car in. Only 10mins after they left he came down with a trailer so their exit was timely, thanks to me! Please under no circumstances drive past the barriers, park only on Novia Scotia Lane where it is a public road, before it becomes a dirt track. The guys today were lucky but the next ones to do it may not be. I trust all members of this forum to be sensible, that is why my news is primarily on here and will stay here as long as we can keep the goodwill of the farmer and angling club. Thanks smile

 

 



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Given the time, just after midnight, I presume that report was for Sunday Mike? Shame I just missed you. I was there from 9am-11.30pm. Fine, dry and a cracking walk round.

Sunday 19th Nov:

The female Smew was still in West Bay on Sandiway Big Pool as were 3 redhead Goosander, probably the 3 I had on Small Pool last time just relocating to a less disturbed area. Two drake Pochard were near 'beach peg' on this pool too and the 2 Greylag Geese were sill with the Canadas. I spent lots of time with the finch flock at the setaside and the Brambling count went up (looking at my notebook) from 20 at first, then 40, 80 and finally to 100+, very spectacular again. One group of alders by Big Pool was amazing containing Brambling, Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Linnet, Siskin and Redpoll! Two Redwings also flew over the setaside. A passage of large gulls over included Great Black-backed and Lesser Black-backed Gulls together allowing the size difference and wing speed to be easily compared.

 



-- Edited by Doc Brewster on Monday 20th of November 2017 04:02:30 PM

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Called in here after a pleasant start to the day at nearby Marbury Country Park. Headed straight for Big Pool and immediately picked up the female Smew in her usual area (for us) looking splendid in the late morning sun. The three red-headed Goosander were also on Big Pool, along with good numbers of Wigeon and Tufted Duck. Some of the latter appeared to be investigating the Smew which then moved towards the banking and eventually disappeared into over-hanging vegetation. Among the larger congregations of water birds we counted 7 Gadwall, 2 drake Pochard and a Kingfisher. Didn't see much on the walks to and from Big pool as we were more focused on avoiding the traffic. Headed on from here to The Wirral.

-- Edited by Mike Chorley on Monday 20th of November 2017 12:23:04 AM

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Had a visit down yesterday but only briefly to try to get a picture of a Brambling for the Newchurch Bird Report (see attached low res file). Sunny & bright but then on my proper visit today it was dull and overcast, but again dry. Nice today to bump into birding friends who had come down for the Brambling, one for his second views too, they are proving to be very popular smile

Todays highlights included the female Smew showing well on Sandiway Big Pool, 3 female-type Goosander on Small Pool, a drake Pochard on Big Pool as well as two pairs of Teal here. A Lesser Black-backed Gull was again down on Big Pool. Scarce birds on the patch but seen today included a Collared Dove at Dairy Farm and a Kestrel on Sandy Lane. Four Stock Doves made it a 4 pigeon species day today. The Bramblings were still in the setaside with most of the finches too distant to ID without a scope I only counted around 30 Bramblings today, but many more will have been present, along with Linnets and Chaffinches still. Two Skylarks were over the maize stubble north of Big Pool as well as 11 Redwings. Two Goldcrests showed down to a foot or so in hedges near the entrance, these really are enchanting little birds. A Siskin was in the pines nearby. Funny how some common species can go missing for a while, today Long-tailed Tit was recorded for the first time, at Newchurch for me, in November!

Nothing too different was seen on my flying visit yesterday afternoon (16th) but a Goldcrest again showed well (an influx perhaps as I don't usually see them this regularly?) and a Buzzard was seen then but not today.



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Busy this morning so it had to be an afternoon visit to Newchurch, usually not as productive but not a bad walk. Overcast all the time but dry.

The female Smew was showing well in West Bay on Sandiway Big Pool and in the same bay a female Goosander was present too. A drake Shoveler and a female Teal were also seen on Big Pool as well as increased numbers of Tufted Ducks, Wigeon and Gadwall. Over 50 Bramblings were still in the setaside crop, one flock of 30-40 finches in flight was all Brambling, their white rumps showing very well. Linnets were again in the same flock. My first Fieldfares of this winter here were three in flight. A small party of Buffinches showed well near Big Pool, always a lovely bird to watch. 6 Siskins were feeding in alders near Big Pool too. Mistle and Song Thrush were both seen and the final bird, as the sun dipped down over the horizon, was a Nuthatch calling near my car.



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With a good weather forecast I decided to get up a little earlier to take advantage & started the day scraping ice off my car! Later when the sun came up it was warm & the beautiful clear blue sky made it a pleasure to be out and about.

One of the highlights had to be the finch flock in the setaside near Gull Pool, this has now reached (on estimate) over 500 birds, today made up of Chaffinches, Linnets and astoundingly at least 120 Bramblings!! Every tree I scanned had Bramblings in it, some holding over 35 birds, they seemed to be everywhere and it was one of the biggest counts for a single site I have ever had in the UK, stunning. I even showed a local landowner I know and he was amazed, never having heard of, let alone seen, Bramblings before. He advised me that the local farmers son, Jamie Lee, was responsible for this setaside being planted and asked if I could put in a good word for him when I reported the birds, so I have here smile

Other highlights today included 3 Red-legged Partridges in the tree nursery by Abbot's Moss along with a glowing cock Pheasant. A Kestrel was mobbed on Abbot's Moss by a group of Siskins. A Grey Heron landed in a tree briefly north of Sandiway Big Pool, looking for a new heronry? Maybe not wink A Great Black-backed Gull flew languidly over fields near Gull Pool, amazingly my first of the year on patch, a Lesser Black-backed Gull was down on Big Pool. Also on Big Pool were 2 drake Pochards, a flock of 14 Teal, which is a pretty high count here) and a pair of Shoveler.Tufted Duck numbers were very high with over 130 between the two pools, but no sign of the Smew, although she will be in the area somewhere no doubt. A Snipe was still in the spit area on Big Pool.

Other usuals seen included Little Grebe, Nuthatch, Coal Tit, Redwing and Great Spotted Woodpecker. A couple of Rooks near the pools was more unusual as I usually see these in the mosslands area only. All in all well worth the early start, the only regret being that my bad back stopped me taking my scope so I couldn't digiscope the Bramblings looking so so smart in the sunshine. Maybe next time!



-- Edited by Doc Brewster on Wednesday 8th of November 2017 04:46:53 PM

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Another morning walk, to try to walk off my current back pain no

This turned out to be a fantastic day, at last I caught up with a species that is becoming the hot news of the autumn - Hawfinch! Whilst checking out the maize stubble fields to the north of Big Pool and only seeing a few Chaffinches here I first noticed a small passage of Redwings about halfway across the fields. Then straight after I picked up two finches flying east about the same distance out and at the same height. Concentrating on one of them I was struck by the broad white wing bars and short tail, straight away I knew what I had got, a Hawfinch. The second bird must also have been of the same species but I kept on the first one most of the time only getting brief views of the second bird which had a similarly broad wing bar. Both flew off over the trees at the edge of the field, as the Redwings had done. I am so glad that I was out today, which according to the pager has seen a large Hawfinch passage across the north of England and Wales, and so must have been one of my best chances of catching up with them. I know lots have been seen but I am elated that I have seen them on my patch smile

I also had the female Smew again on Sandiway Big Pool, as well as the drake Shoveler and drake Teal again. A Raven showed really well in the cloudless sky, cronking its head off! A Herring Gull was again down on Big Pool.

I had had a text yesterday asking for advice on seeing the Brambling on patch and passed on instructions. I am pleased to say my mates saw at least 3 birds today. I picked up the Chaffinch flocks distantly but not being able to carry my scope & tripod meant that I couldn't check them out. But thanks to my mates sightings it's nice to know that they are still around.



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Nipped down late morning for a very short visit, primarily to get Carys Brambling for her yearlist, but also to check the pool.

The target was achieved eventually. The fields north of Big Pool held very few finches so we searched elsewhere and eventually found the big finch flock in the seed crop field near Gull Pool. Here when the birds went up into the trees by the track we saw at least 4 Bramblings, 2 males and 2 females, but probably quite a few more. Linnets were again in this field too. On Big Pool we picked up a drake Shoveler, a drake Pochard and a drake Teal amongst other wildfowl.



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Went for an afternoon stroll around patch today for a change. One shower, otherwise dull & dry.

The highlight was that there was still a female Brambling in the big Chaffinch flock north of Big Pool, I found a second large flock but couldn't find any Bramblings in that one, but reckon there's more than one still about. A pair of Shovelers and a pair of Teal were the only unusual wildfowl, other than one Greylag Goose in the Canada Goose flock. A single Herring Gull down on Big Pool amongst lots of Black-headed Gulls and several Common Gulls was a little unusual. I had my highest number of Stock Doves in a single flock with 24 in arable fields east of the pools, other ones were seen elsewhere around patch too. Otherwise a pretty quiet walk as it always is in the aftrenoon here compared to the morning.



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After the highs of a twitch patch watching can feel a bit tame but with all these Hawfinches flying over I keep going back to Newchurch and watching the skies in hope and expectation. Today was no exception, plodding around looking and listening for the sound of an elusive finch, ready to add it as a patch lifer. So did today deliver? Well sort of, but not the way that I had expected. Not a Hawfinch for me, but a patch lifer, and a finch to boot, in the shape of a couple of Crossbills!

I headed on early morning and followed my usual route and about halfway round head a distinctive call from the Pine Belt on the east side of Big Pool. Walking over I was just in time to see two Crossbills fly out and disappear off northwards. Presumably these were just passing through and I had been extremely lucky, in the right place at the right time to notice them, superb! Today was a really finchy day all round. As well as the Crossbills I had a female Brambling still with 100+Chaffinches in the maize stubble. Also here were Linnets and Goldfinches. Two Siskins were in finch hedge and a few Bullfinches were noted around site. A Treecreeper was seen, which is a bird on site but not often seen. A Skylark flew over the north side of Big Pool singing. Coal Tits and Nuthatches were again at the farm feeders, these species are obviously now going to be seen on every visit.

On Small Pool my first two Goosander of this year-end were seen, two females, which were very elusive. A drake Shoveler was on Big Pool. No sign of the Smew today despite a thorough search, but two Little Grebes on Big Pool. 50 Wigeon were expected but a count of 40 Mallards was possibly my highest ever here. One of the wierdest sightings was of a female Blackbird with a white throat, not like the gorget of a Ring Ouzel but a vertical thin oval shape running down onto the upper breast!



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A late post for Tuesday 31st October, A morning walk, dry & cold with a little sunshine at times, better than forecast.

On arrival I met two birding pals who were having a day around various Cheshire sites and had chosen Newchurch Common as their starting point. They had had 2 male Bramblings up near the top Small Pool car park, the first of this 'winter' and close to the field in which I had had the huge finch flock last time out, so not unexpected but a cracking find nonetheless. On checking I couldn't find them but then later when I was north of Big Pool checking the maize stubble field I found a big flock of Chaffinches (100+) and lo and behold a male and female Brambling were there amongst the mobile flock. The flock was so flighty that there could have been more Bramblings but they flew off over another field so I never got a chance to check. I did find a few Linnets in amongst them too which is nice.

In the short time my mates were on they had no duck of note but given more time I refound the female Smew, still on Big Pool. Six Greylag Geese were new in on the pool and 4 Teal was a high count for this month. A Snipe was also still on Big Pool too. A female Sparrowhawk circled over Big Pool and a Buzzard was nearby as well as a Kestrel earlier, giving me three raptor species for the first time in a while. Stock Doves were seen in the north side maize stubble and in fields by the entrance track. Both Herring and Lesser Black-backed Gulls were seen over the site. For the first time I discovered a farm feeding station that was attracting lots of birds including Nuthatch and Coal Tit, I'll keep my eye on this new asset on patch in the future smile



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Third day off in a row, so third walk in a row around Newchurch Common! Colder, clear and a bit of sunshine today, and a great days birding.... for the patch that is!

First highlight was the female Smew still being on Sandiway Big Pool, and again more evidence of winter wildfowl with a pair of Goldeneye fresh in on Small Pool. The Teal was still around as well as the large numbers of Wigeon, Gadwall & Tufted Ducks. As well as wildfowl Big Pool also produced another highlight - a Grey Wagtail - my first at Newchurch Common for 2017. Also on Big Pool 2 Snipe were in partially submerged willows basking in the sun and the Kingfisher was seen again. The first Little Grebes since early summer were back on Big Pool too.

Whilst watching Big Pool I could hear an absolute cacophony of bird calls somewhere behind me, so loud it sounded like an aviary. Intruiged I headed down the main track and in a field where it has been left to go to seed I came across a huge flock including Linnets, Goldfinch, Chaffinch and a few Skylarks. When the main flock took flight I was amazed to see c.300 Linnets, many of which perched in the tops of surrounding trees, looking like Christmas baubles there were so many of them! A male and female Greenfinch were seen on the north side in the finch flocks there, great to see this species this week. A lone Siskin was unexpected in alders by Big Pool. Fewer Redwings were seen today but 3 Goldcrests were nice to see. A Pied Wagtail on Dairy Farm roof brought the wagtail count to two! After no raptors over the last two days I had a Buzzard and a female Kestrel today.

All in all a very pleasant day with some good patch birds.



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Another morning walk, this time overcast  most of the time with a little hazy sunshine at the end of the walk.

The highlight was finding the female Smew again on Sandiway Big Pool, she was out in the centre and very elusive, swimming off into cover almost as soon as I had found her. Her appearance coincided with an overall increase in wildfowl numbers today. This included a drake Pochard, 40 Wigeon, 24 Gadwall, a female Teal, 50 Tufted Ducks and 81 Canada Geese. Two Grey Herons were on the spit here, the highest count I've had on site! A Kingfisher was seen twice on Big Pool too.

An increase in Redwings and Blackbirds was noted today with the bushes seemingly full of both species. The crop fields on the north side held large finch flocks which included two fem/imm Greenfinches, a species seen only a handful of times on this patch each year. Bullfinches and Goldfinches were also amongst the large Chaffinch flocks in this location. Nearby a Green Woodpecker showed really well on the field margin, one of two recorded on this walk. In fields near the entrance a pair of Stock Doves fed amongst numerous Wood Pigeons. Overall a very pleasant walk with lots of birds of interest across the site.



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Several folk on here (especially those connected to me on Facebook) will know that I have had a bit of a break due to circumstances beyond my control, but today i decided that I had better dust myself off & get out into the field again and where better to start than Newchurch Common?!

A morning walk in the, still warm, autumn sun was extremely pleasant, but no real surprises on the bird front. I did have my first Redwing of this end of year for this site, with a single flying over fields to the north of Big Pool. Gadwall are well and truly back for the winter with c.20 seen, all on Big Pool, where a pair of Wigeon and a female Teal also joined the Tufted Ducks and Coot. 6 Cormorants were on Big Pool spit, a common sight in winter, a sign that the seasons have changed. The Mute Swans still have all 6 cygnets, so have done really well this year. A Grey Heron lurked on Big Pool, a species not seen too frequently and a Collared Dove flew over near the parking area, another site scarcity. A Goldcrest and a Coal Tit were both nice to record on the walk too. 25 Lapwings were seen near the mosslands and a Raven flew over cronking. Lots of Jays were around availing themselves of the bumper crop of acorns.



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After a few trips out it was back on Newchurch today, an afternoon visit, dry & cloudy weather.

Quiet, the lull before the winter wildfowl bonanza I hope! Green and Great Spotted Woodpeckers were both seen. A few ducks were around, over 10 Gadwall, a few Wigeon and Teal heard calling. Over 80 Canada Geese have now built up and two Greylag Geese were with them. Two Ravens called over Gull Pool and the Whitegate Way. Lots of Jays were taking advantage of a bumper acorn crop over the whole area too. Goldfinch flocks were all over place with an estimate of c.50 birds involved.



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After a disastrous holiday away I finally returned to some normality and headed down my local patch. I say some normality because we returned to find our phoneline dead and so no internet access. Hence this report is a day late and is for Sunday 24th September!

The patch looks lots more autumnal now but no real signs of the main winter returners yet. Both Green and Great Spotted Woodpeckers were present and a late Chiffchaff called still. Small numbers of Tufted Ducks were on Big Pool, but no other duck species of note have returned in numbers yet. A large build up of Rooks on the fields near the mosslands was a feature of last winter and this is again happening now, with over 30 birds in with Jackdaws and Carrion Crows too. Otherwise it was very quiet and seemed to be in a transition period.



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Morning walk today, mostly sunny & pretty warm.

Still a large number of Tufted Ducks on Big Pool but no Smew today, and I checked the pool more than once! Quieter for birds with only breeding Swallows at Dairy Farm and no massing feeding flocks over the mosses, seems like they have moved through. A couple of Green Woodpeckers and a couple of Nuthatches. Still seeing Blackcaps feeding on berries as they do approaching autumn.



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The main sighting was the female Smew on Sandiway Big Pool on this morning's walk. There were over 60 Tufted Ducks, with which the Smew was associating. Three hirundine species, Swallow, Sand Martin and House Martin were seen. Five warbler species were also seen, Garden Warbler, Blackcap, Willow Warbler, Chiffchaff and Whitethroat. A much more productive walk for birds today but with a longer walk and a different route from yesterday I fully expected this.



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Back for my first August visit and only a couple of noteworthy birds, a Kingfisher flying across Sandiway Big Pool a couple of times and a Green Woodpecker near where the cars are parked before walking in. Over 50 Tufted Ducks too and a drake Gadwall, Obviously the wildfowl are increasing agin post-breeding. The six Mute Swan cygnets stil survive and there is a large flock of adult and juvenile Canada Geese now. Several juvenile Black-headed Gulls were also on the pool with adults, almost certainly from the Delamere breeding colony.



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Another quiet day for birds on the morning walk. Again Green Woodpeckers called from several locations and were seen at two, the population is high at the moment, boosted by this years young. The Mute Swan psir on Big Pool still have all 6 young, whihc are huge now and so I expect all to survive. Blackcap & Chiffchaff were the only warblers seen.



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Nipped down am for my first visit since coming back to Cheshire from The Highlands of Scotland a day or so ago. Very sunny & warm so mainly a walk for insects but reaquainted with a few patch birds too!

One bird that we never had in Scotland but was evident through sight & sound today was Green Woodpecker as usual. Heard at several locations around the site. A nice sighting was a recently fledged Blackcap sunning on a bramble patch. Nothing out of the ordinary on the pool but a Lesser Black-backed Gull circled overhead. The best sighting on Big Pool was a Kingfisher carrying a large fish past 'Beach Peg' and heading off south.



-- Edited by Doc Brewster on Sunday 30th of July 2017 09:51:58 PM

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A late report for Tuesday 18th, morning walk in fine weather, hot & sunny.

No great expectations on such a day in July, and not much to report! My first Swift was seen for a while, think it's my first this month. One was over Shemmy Moss with up to 60 Swallows and a few Sand Martins, a real gathering before departure! A few Blackcaps were seen including a female feeding up on blackberries which are now ripening, again reminiscent of autumn. A distant Sparrowhawk thermalled with a Buzzard, the smaller raptor occasionally having a go at the bigger one. Still a few Green Woodpeckers around the patch too.

The biggest surprise was an eclipse drake Gadwall on Big Pool. This follows unseasonal sightings of Smew and Teal on there this summer.



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Rainy and dull this morning on my local patch.

Best bird was actually two birds - two Red-legged Partridges on the Tree Nursery Fields next to Shemmy Moss. This species was a patch lifer only lat week and now two in the same day! Another good sighting was also by Shemmy Moss, a Treecreeper that was in a loose mixed feeding flock of Blue Tit, Great Tit, Coal Tit, Chaffinch  and Blackcap, a real autumnal flock, but in July!! A family party of Bullfinches were close by too, flying through the oaks, calling. A couple of Green Woodpeckers still called from two distinct areas, but none seen today. Warblers are getting harder to record on every walk now, Willow Warbler and Chiffchaff were only added on call, not song, and Blackcaps only numbered three, two heard and one seen. A coiple of Sand Martins lingered over Big Pool but it is a while now since I saw a Swift here.



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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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