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Post Info TOPIC: Newchurch Common


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RE: Newchurch Common


A very autumnal morning with a few good sightings for the area.

A Kingfisher was seen on Sandiway Big Pool but no sign of the Red-crested Pochard. Lots of ducks with now over 20 Gadwall and 30 Wigeon as well as Shoveler and a couple of Teal including a nice drake. Cormorants had increased to 3 on Big Pool too. Green and Great Spotted Woodpeckers still too and a Goldcrest. At least 6 Bullfinches showed well in Finch Hedge, always a lovely sight smile



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A very good morning for sheer numbers, both of birds and species smile

The main news was that the 1w drake Red-crested Pochard was back on Sandiway Big Pool, in the NE corner tucked away. Tufted Ducks numbered over 100, and there were also 26 Wigeon and 12 Shoveler on Big Pool, and unusually 4 Teal on Small Pool. Two Cormorants were flying around too.

Ten Siskins were on alders near Big Pool. Four Meadow Pipits fed on field near the mosslands and a Skylark flew over calling. Fieldfares and Redwings were also seen. A Lapwing flying over was my first since the breeding season. Green and Great Spotted Woodpeckers were again seen with several of the former species calling in different locations around the patch.

 



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A quiet morning, notable for many wandering tit flocks whcih included Great, Blue, Coal & Long-tailed Tits as well as several Goldcrests. Love these little crests, never tire of seeing them but just wish one could be a Firecrest or a Yellow-browed Warbler one day! No Red-crested Pochard today but still lots of Wigeon and Tufted Ducks. A Lesser Black-backed Gull was on Big Pool along with a couple of Common Gulls in the Black-headed Gull flock.



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Back again this morning and much the same other than one small exception - the first winter drake Red-crested Pochard is back on Sandiway Big Pool. As usual it is on the north side. I have checked the pool really well in between the last sighting and this one so reckon it has been elsewhere and not just hiding! Otherwise very quiet, more leaves off the trees so even more autumnal!



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A morning visit yesterady felt more autumnal than of late. Highlight were 30 Fieldfares showing well in the hazy sunshine on a rowan on the mosslands, only about 5 Redwings were seen. Also on the mosslands 3 Siskins feeding on an alder, a nice sight too. Close by a Goldcrest was in a small sapling, oh for it to have been a Yellow-browed Warbler!! Wigeon, Gadwall and Shoveler were still on Big Pool along with a lone Cormorant, another sign of winter coming as they are resident during the colder months. A sort of surprise was a Chiffchaff feeding in finch hedge, I know they over-winter and the summer visitors haven't al gone in the UK yet, but - this is my latest on this patch.



-- Edited by Doc Brewster on Saturday 22nd of October 2016 04:22:06 PM

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Popped down this morning between the early morning rain and this afternoons rain in my area. Got away with a mostly fine visit with a few brief showers.

Another pretty uneventful visit but wildfowl numbers were up again, without the return of the Smew though. Over 100 Tufted Ducks were on the two pools. On Big Pool there were 22 Wigeon, 6 Shovelers, two Gadwall and a Greylag Goose in with the Canadas. A Stock Dove was over the mosses and two Rooks were here too, both less common than other stuff on the patch! About 40 Redwings wheeled over this area too as well as a Mistle Thrush.



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Made two visits either side of my Siberian Accentor twitch!

Neither was very noteworthy, but a couple of points of interest. On Thursday 13th October I recorded my first Fieldfare of this winter, with just one. Still lots of Redwings though. A Lesser Black-backed Gull was on Big Pool and Wigeon and Gadwall were seen.

Today (16th) Much of the same but with an increase in large gulls on big pool, at a distance with binoculars they seemed all to be Lesser Black-backed Gulls. Six Shovelers were present too. A Skylark was again in song near the mosslands and two Meadow Pipits flew over here.



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Down again this morning but the sunny forecast never materialised, in fact it rained when I got back home!

The Red-crested Pochard was nowhere to be seen, I checked both pools, all shores, and scoped every bay, I even checked one of the private pools nearby, no sign. So a five day stay, unless it returns, no sign of the Smew either. 16 Wigeon, 8 Shoveler and two pairs of Gadwall were on Big Pool along with large numbers of Tufted Ducks and unusually six Mute Swans. This comprised the resident pair plus 2 cygnets and a visiting pair, which caused a bit of agro as it does with Mute Swans!

Over 100 Redwings were seen flying about the site, probably an under-estimate actually. A large female Sparrowhawk spooked a large flock of them on Abbots Moss. The usual Green and Great Spotted Woodpeckers were present too in what was a quieter than usual walk.



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They're all like that Curt! Every one I've ever seen in the UK that is!



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Red crested pochard still present was only 20 yards away and not scared of having an audience. A new tick for me.

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Red crested pochard still present was only 20 yards away and not scared of having an audience.

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The first-winter drake Red-crested Pochard was still on the north side of Sandiway Big Pool this afternoon. There had been a large arrival of Wigeon, with 29 birds on Big Pool, 4 Shovelers were on here too. Two Common Gulls were also on the same pool with many Black-headed Gulls. A Green Woodpecker was near the horse paddocks on Novia Scotia Lane.



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Fabulous day out on patch with 3 other birders/wildlifers, unusual to have company but made for a brilliant day for us all smile

The first-winter drake Red-crested Pochard was still on Sandiway Big Pool, still favouring the north shore. A quick scan revealed 3 female Shovelers, 2 Cormorants and the original Mute Swan pair with 2 cygnets, back as the only swans on the pool! A Common Gull was still on too. Flocks of Redwings, albeit fewer than yesterday, were seen around the site. Passerine sightings were good with Nuthatch, Treecreeper and Coal Tit all seen in woodland areas. A Skylark was in song, unusual, and a Chiffchaff was calling. A Siskin was heard only, the first for this year-end, and a Goldcrest was found again in pines. Green and Great Spotted Woodpeckers were both on patch and again a Stock Dove was seen.

Again over 40 species and a great walk, ending at the Whitegate Station Cafe for beans on toast followed by homemade cake & hot chocolate biggrin



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Back again today at the request of a mate who wanted an update on the Red-crested Pochard! As well as him I met two other birders who I knew, as they parked, and they too had come to see my new duck!

We headed over to the north side of Sandiway Big Pool and I relocated the Red-crested Pochard close to the shore, diving and feeding well as it was yesterday. My friends took some video and their first target was achieved. We scanned the pool but no Smew, but there were still several Wigeon, Shoveler, at least 3 Gadwall and a couple of Little Grebes. One surprise was a Mute Swan that flew in with four well grown cygnets. This was a new swan that I hadn't seen on the pool previously, and my pair were nowhere to be seen, strange. I also picked up a few Redwings at a distance, later on I found around 50 birds feeding on berries near Small Pool. Even more were flying over in groups on the mosses, so at last they have arrived back with me! Also on Shemmy Moss I had a Kestrel and whilst watching that a lone Swallow moved through. Another touch of summer was a Chiffchaff calling on Shemmy Moss. A Common Snipe was again on the mosses and four Stock Doves were in fields nearby.

Other noteworthy sightings were a Collared Dove on Dairy Farm, a rarity on patch. Also two Goldcrests in the Pine Belt and a Reed Bunting that tried to 'land' on Big Pool, maybe the reflection fooled it? Birds are once again dominating my walks and over 50 species were seen on my two mornings this week, it's also nice that birders are twitching the patch again, and for another duck, this time the Red-crested Pochard smile



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Spent the morning down at Newchurch rather than go to the East Coast, well there's a chance I'd find something of my own!

The feel was very Autumnal and the overall number of bird species was up. The stars were two ducks, firstly, the female Smew again on Sandiway Big Pool, right in the middle and not easy to find without a scope. Then a new species for the Patch, Red-crested Pochard!! This bird was feeding along the north shore of Big Pool, on its own, diving frequently for weed and feeding well. The colouration was pretty washed out, probably a leucistic individual (common in this species) and from the bare part colouration it was probably a first-winter drake. The bill was bright red as in drakes but had a dark nail and dark mid upper-surface to the upper mandible. A first-winter bird, given the huge influx from the east into the UK gives it the best credentials BUT I have no doubt that its origins are from closer to home, even if it is a wild bred UK bird, which it could be, from a feral population. In addition my highest counts this year-end of 12 Wigeon, 7 Shoveler and 5 Little Grebes made it an interesting visit. A single drake Gadwall was present too. A Cormorant was back, my first for ages and 2 Common Gulls were on the pool too. Also, Herring Gulls and Lesser Black-backed Gulls flew over, all very autumn/winter like!

A Green Woodpecker was heard only. A Sparrowhawk and a few Buzzards were seen. Several Bullfinches were in Finch Hedge and Goldfinches were all over the site in good numbers.

Low res piccy of the Red-crested Pochard attached:



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No sign of the Smew on todays visit but a rarer vistor to the patch in the shape of a Common Snipe which flushed from the mossland on the S.of my recording area. Otherwise nothing of note. Lots of Buzzards up in the sunshine. Reduced numbers of Canada Geese but just as many Tufted Ducks.



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Down to Newchurch today for a prolonged visit. This was rewarded immediately by refinding the female Smew again (record shot attached just to show that she really is there!! low file size as per usual to allow rapid opening of attachment!). Before seeing her I was checking out Sandiway Big Pool and noticed 4(1 drake) Teal and 5(4 drake) Gadwall as well as the 3(1 drake) Shoveler. Definitely some wildfowl movement so I was encouraged and carried on searching. This time the female Smew was out on the water rather than tucked away in cover as she was when I found her on 13th of this month. She was in West Bay with Tufted Ducks and spent most of the time with her head tucked on her back. But when a fisherman arrived at the closest peg to the flock they headed pretty swiftly up to the NW corner of the pool and all started feeding. A Common Gull was still on the pool and Lesser-black Backed and Herring Gull were both recorded flying over on my walk round. Two Little Grebes were on Big Pool too, all of these sightings making the patch feel more like winter again! A Sparrowhawk and a few Buzzards were also seen.



-- Edited by Doc Brewster on Thursday 29th of September 2016 10:53:36 PM

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A morning visit was made, first in the rain which then cleared.

A Kingfisher was at Sandiway Big Lake as well as three Wigeon and a bathing immature Herring Gull, not usually a species I get 'down' on the water here. A Common Gull was also with the gulls. A Little Grebe was back on Big Pool where they winter in reasonable numbers. A large number of Goldfinches twittered away in Finch Hedge with at least 12 seen flying about, a few Chaffinches were in there with them too.



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Not been on the pc much of late so sorry that this is a late posting for Friday 23rd September.

A very autumnal feel to the day with early morning temperatures well down and watery sunshine struggling to heat up the air. Winter wildfowl arrivals continued with three Shovelers on Sandiway Big Pool, 1 male and 2 females. A pair of Wigeon was present with the drake 'whistling', great to hear this again after such a long time. Two Swallows a few Sand Martins and a couple of Chiffchaffs still hung on from my summer visitors though. Jay numbers were up with many now raiding the oaks for acorns. In fact all my six corvid species were seen with a Raven over Abbots Moss being the most unusual. A Skylark was in fields by Shemmy Moss and five Reed Buntings were in arable fields north of Big Pool. Three Lesser Black-backed Gulls flew over as did a Stock Dove. A couple of Green Woodpeckers were noted. Amongst the 300 Canada Geese was a huge white farmyard Goose, I hope that they can attract soemthing more interesting in, in future!!



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Again no Smew today but a nice little visit in todays sunshine.

Site scarcities included a flyover Grey Heron and a Kestrel which was mobbed constantly by 2 Carrion Crows. A Green Woodpecker showed really well on the fence of the empty paddock near the entrance. Canada Goose numbers were still over 250 and Tufted Ducks over 80.



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A short visit again yesterday (16th) but no sign of the Smew, she is usually very mobile when she first arrives and so could be on any of the numerous private pools in the area. The Tufted Duck flock was up over 80 birds and the Canada Geese still numbered over 250. Two immature Common Gulls were with large numbers of Black-headed gulls in the horse paddocks as were family parties of Pied Wagtails, the youngsters not to be confused with White Wagtails!! 50 Rooks flew over Shemmy Moss, easily my highest patch count ever.



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Spent the morning at Newchurch and despite it being warm & sunny it was 'winter' birds that were the highlights!

I found the female Smew again on her return after being away all summer, her return fitting in with a big increase in wildfowl numbers. She was lurking in cover on Sandiway Big Pool, and was incredibly elusive, anyone wanting to see her sould probably wait until she is showing better later in her stay. My first Wigeon of this year end was a female on Big Pool where at least one drake Gadwall was still present. There were at least 50 Tufted Ducks now on this pool with a couple on Small Pool too. Bog Pool still hosted the huge flock of over 250 Canada Geese which now contains 2 Greylag Geese. The Mute Swan pair plus one of their young seen happy to feed amongst this flock too, the other cygnet still being on its own on Small Pool. An adult Common Gull was again amongst the Black-headed Gulls on Big Pool.

Bullfinches were in Finch Hedge and Green Woodpeckers called from two widely spaced locations.

If anyone is visiting please be aware that Warrington Anglers who own the site are now stating that public footpaths only must be used by non-members. This does mean that Big Pool is near impossible to view, but by being sensible & courteous I think that the anglers will be OK again for us to view from near their pegs. If asked to leave though then please do as it is their right to do so. Chatting to them it seems like it is an effort to stop dog owners from using the pools as a swimming area for their pets rather than other lessintrusive visitors to the pools smile



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An even shorter visit today, but hope to do some longer walks in the week. Plenty of Green Woodpecker activity with at least 3 yaffling birds. Lots of Buzzards up in the sunny weather & again lots of calling Nuthatches.



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Headed down for a short morning walk today and there were a few noteworthy sightings.

A Greenfinch, a site rarity, was seen at 'Finch Hedge' appropriately! On Sandiway Big Pool the highest ever count of Canada Geese was made with an amazing 250+ birds down on the water. Unfortunately they hadn't brought anything more interesting in with them. Two pairs of Gadwall were now on the pool and at least 30 Tufted Ducks. Many roving tit flocks were seen around the patch with at least 2 Treecreepers, 3 Goldcrests, a Nuthatch and 3 Chiffchaffs in with them. The 2 Tufted Duck young were still with their mother, the young looking very well grown now and a young Little Grebe was on the same pool as them. Ornithological interest is increasing as invertebrate sightings decrease smile



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Another walk this morning, very warm but overcast, and a shorter circuit than normal.

The main thing of note was the presence of a pair of Gadwall on Sandiway Big Pool, this along with over 40 Tufted Ducks could mean that the autumn/winter wildfowl are returning. Time to keep an eye out for the Smew methinks wink Numbers of Canada Geese were up too and two cygnets were seen, being big enough to probably survive now. Three young Great Crested Grebes were seen with two pairs of adults, so at least a few have survived, more than I thought would given the terrapin problem. A Little Grebe was back on Big Pool too, this species having over-summered on a private pool rather than Big Pool.



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After a lengthy absence due to my Cornish Holiday, at the first opportunity I headed back down to Newchurch Common today!

A short walk produced a patch lifer, so can't complain! I first noticed around 80 Corvids and 100 Wood Pigeons take to the air in panic north of Sandiway Big Pool, and then on scanning above them I picked up a Peregrine moving at breakneck speed above them. It dived down behind the trees picking up speed all the time and headed out of sight, so I never knew the outcome of its final dive. A great bird to add on my return smile

Otherwise, the Tufted Duck numbers were up around 40, at least one cygnet still survived, as did a well grown Great Crested Grebe young. Chiffchaffs were heard, a Jay was seen and Buzzards mewed and flew overhead. Otherwise relatively quiet, but that Peregrine made my day smile



-- Edited by Doc Brewster on Sunday 4th of September 2016 09:57:25 PM

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Had another walk in the sun today, can't miss out on this glorious weather!

The Tufted Duck female still had her brood of three downy ducklings with her, I have fingers crossed for them now. A Green Woodpecker was on a dead tree on the mosses and another yaffled near the pools. For the first time in ages several Robins were back in song!



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Two more days off in succession so because it's so quiet I have combined them.

The most noteworthy bird sighting was of a brood of Tufted Ducks on one of the pools on patch. A female bird was seen with three downy ducklings in attendance, an expected breeding record but nice to have confirmation of it now. Green and Great Spotted Woodpeckers were again very much in evidence. A couple of Blackcaps were seen, my first in a while, although they were silent. The only calling warblers now seem to be Chiffchaffs. Parties of Long-tailed Tits are being seen quite often now as are the juvenile Buzzards.



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Walks on patch on Thursday 11th and Friday 12th produced little new. The Tufted Duck count was up to 48 on Sandiway Big Pool, so something else may be attracted in by them soon, fingers crossed. A fledged young Moorhen on Small Pool must have escaped the attentions of the Red-eared Terrapins to survive, which is excellent news. Finch Hedge, after being quiet for a while, is now full of twittering Goldfinches and piping Bullfinches, but the thick foliage still hides the actual birds!



-- Edited by Doc Brewster on Saturday 13th of August 2016 12:04:01 PM

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A morning walk today produced little new. A Green Woodpecker was near Sandiway Big Pool again. The most unusual bird was a flyover Herring Gull, my first site sighting for a few months I think (without going over my records too strictly!). A Common Gull was still on the pool, this bird has over-summered here, and since it is an adult that seems unusual. Young Goldfinches were seen and will be added to the proven breeding list now.

A quick bit of access info: the 'Beach' area, where lots of GM Birders have viewed the Smew from in the past, seems to have been acquired by a different fishing group and has been fenced off with no access at all. Please bear this in mind if visiting if & when I refind the Smew this coming winter!!



-- Edited by Doc Brewster on Tuesday 9th of August 2016 04:18:14 PM

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Managed a walk on both Saturday & Sunday mornings as a rehab after my twitching of the Purple Swamphen the other day wink

A Kestrel was again seen, amazing now it took me so long to see the first on patch!! In paddocks on the extreme north of the patch an adult Green Woodpecker was feeding with a juvenile, great to see. Elsewhere at least 6 other locations held yaffling birds, they certainly are doing well here. A Kingfisher was on Sandiway Small Pool. On big pool a Great Crested Grebe had two well grown young. A family party of Garden Warblers was seen as well as a Treecreeper in a party of mixed tit species. Several Nuthatches were seen and there were lots of young Buzzards on the wing in the sunshine.



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Very little change at the moment. Lots of Green Woodpeckers calling, presumably the ranks swelled by this years young. Swan cygnets number 2 well grown ones on Sandiway Small Pool, old enough now that they should survive. Warblers all quiet.



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A sunshiney day but with a bit of breeze! Chatting to pals who own land there I found out that the male Swan from the Sandiway Small Pool pair got injured over the weekend and was taken to Stapely Grange for treatment. I couldn't see the three young either and from pictures of the injuries it looks like a dog attack, very sad no

Tufted Duck numbers were up over 30 on Big Pool, the Smew may be back soon wink The lone adult Common Gull remains on this pool too. The paddocks near the entrance have now been mowed (the grass had got very long in the past few weeks) and a Green Woodpecker was back in this area as well as another near Gull Pool. Not a Garden Warbler to be heard nor seen now, they've gone into a quiet period!



-- Edited by Doc Brewster on Thursday 14th of July 2016 10:25:21 PM

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A wet day on patch and a foreshortened walk. Highlights included a rarity here - Grey Heron smile

Also seen was a well grown young Great Crested Grebe with its parent, on Big Pool where Red-eared Terrapins are absent! Two Green Woodpeckers were present including a youngster, again nice proof of breeding. An adult Common Gull was on Big Pool, unusual in summer.



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A quiet walk on Newchurch Common with Paul Hill and probably the only notable sighting was another (or the same) Kestrel, my second in a week and only my second sighting on site!



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Another short visit produced little of note but the best sighting was a brood of young Coal Tits feeding in the Pine Belt where I have seen a pair before. This species is not common on here so a brrod of at least 7 young birds actively feeding in the pines was a great sight.



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Another fantastic day on my patch with a new bird for the year (although before I had started patching here I had seen this species when I visited for dragonflies!) in the shape of a Hobby over the south side of the area. Another really nice sighting was a party of fledgeling warblers which included Garden Warblers and Chiffchaffs. Other species were as per usual with Green Woodpecker, Skylark, Common Whitethoat, Reed Bunting and Nuthatch all seen.



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The planned visit by one of my birding mates, David Wells, took place last Thursday, June 30th, with one main target in mind, Garden Warbler.

We started later than I usually do but birds were singing away and soon we added Blackcap, Chiffchaff and Willow Warbler to the list.  I took David to what I expected to be the showiest Garden Warbler and two birds were in the vicinity. Flight views of both were had immediately and one perched out on some dead twigs and sang its little head off. This gave David fabulous views and his first sighting for a few years. As I said to him I know of no better aea in the NW than Newchurch Common for sightings of this sometimes skulking species. Several more were heard and glimpsed on our walk round, but none as showy as this banker bird! Common Whitethroat was added to the warbler list later too. A Green Woodpecker in flight was Davids first NW one of the year, so that was nice, another 'easy' Newchurch bird! Mixed flocks of tits including young birds were watched surging through the trees with a few Chiffchaffs mixed in with these birds. Funnily enough my 'bird of the day' was a common species, but my first for this patch, having been expected for a long time - Kestrel! A female was seen in flight on the south side of the patch and then watched as it perched by Gull Pool.

A return visit on 1st July didn't really add anything different to the list, but this was a foreshortened afternoon visit, more for insects than birds due to a sunny window in the days weather smile



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A shortened walk again today. Two Green Woodpeckers called to each other near Sandiway Small Pool, I'm now on the lookout for youngsters. A pair of Linnets were seen in a new area and behaviour suggested breeding, excellent news. Common Whitethroats were seen with young too. Unfortunately for my pals visit next week only 2 Garden Warblers were heard!



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Nothing much new today in a walk hampered by renewed back pain hmm

A bit of a reckie for a pal who wants to come & tick Garden Warbler for the year, he always looks on here so this is for him. At least 10 Garden Warblers heard and 3 seen, so we should be OK for next week. Meadow Pipit and Skylark were seen, neither is seen on every walk so that was nice. Both pairs of Mute Swans still have 3 cygnets each. The Cuckoos have gone very quiet with one short burst of song being all I heard today.



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A much longer walk. Green Woodpecker, Cuckoo, Kingfisher and Garden Warblers were all recorded. The Kingfisher unusually flying over the heath at the south side of patch! A new brood of Moorhens was on Small Pool having escaped the attentions of the terrapins , so far, thank goodness smile Otherwise the usual mix making up  a total of 46 species.



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A bit longer walk today as I improve!

Green Woodpecker present near the Whitegate Way south of Sandiway Small Pool. A Kingfisher was seen over Small Pool, very welcome. The two broods of Mute Swans are at 3 each. The small Lapwing chick and parents were missing but hopefully may have just moved area. Several Garden Warblers still, one showing very well near the main track.



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A long delay due to me being in a car accident & being laid up recovering cry On painkillers now & getting there slowly. Had my courtesy car delivered today & the petrol station happened to be close to Newchurch Common so had to pop in to see if all was still OK!

Only a short visit due to back pain but good and bad news. The tiny Lapwing chick still survives, it's a wee bit bigger but is still at a very vulnerable stage. I have everything crossed for it! On Sandiway Big Pool though the Mute Swan brood that I last saw at 4 is now down to a single cygnet. A large 'creche' of Canada Goose goslings is present though. Tufted Ducks still hang around in pairs but still no broods. Otherwise much the same with the usual warblers singing and Great Spotted Woodpeckers being especially vocal.



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Again a quiet trip down today. The Mute Swan broods still are at 3 and 4 cygnets on Small & Big Pools respectively. A pair of Oystercatchers was over the southern part of the patch, a rare bird here so nice to add to todays sightings. In one of the wet fields the tiny Lapwing chick survives as well as the fledged youngster.



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Down again this morning in the sun.

Bird-wise much as before. Two broods of Mute Swans were confirmed, currently with 3 and 4 cygnets respectively. Otherwise the usual mix of five warbler species, two woodpecker species and Cuckoo still calling.



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Yesterday was another sunny day, another day off work, another visit down!

Generally uneventful. But a very small Lapwing chick plus a bigger fledged 'this years' young Lapwing, both good news. The Mute Swan brood on Small Pool seemed to be down to 3 unless a chick was on a parents back, but they were so far away it was impossible to tell. Another brood of Mute Swans was on Big Pool, again too far & in cover to count cygnets. A flock of 14 Greylag Geese on Big Pool was unexpected. 14 Tufted Ducks still lingered around site. One Cuckoo and one Green Woodpecker (Reeking Hole Wood) were heard.

At least 5 Common Whitethroats were seen including young. Two adult Song Thrushes were going ballistic above a nest site, I suspect a predator was after their nest and knowing the location it could well have been a snake - see other wildlife thread!



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Was down on Newchurch Common yesterday after an enforced day off with a knee injury on Saturday!

The best news will seem pretty minor to many, but after an incubation period that seemed to be going on too long my Mute Swans have got 4 cygnets smile At least 5 Reed Buntings were seen, including 2 females, my biggest ever count and first females seen of this species. Again Cuckoo and Green & Great Spotted Woodpeckers were present. Otherwise pretty quiet on a visit concentrating on other taxa.

 



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Back onto Newchurch Common on my day off today. A few noteworthy things to report, even though again it was mainly non-bird sightings that I was after again given the warmth & sunshine.

Seems like I was a bit premature in writing off the Great Crested Grebes, three were on Sandiway Small Pool today, a pair and a single, and one of the pair had a single humbug striped chick riding on its back, brilliant smile A red letter day for Cuckoos with at least 3 and possibly 4 seen. A lone male was on the north side of patch, then on the south side I had 2 males chasing and Cuckoo-ing. Finally a female was perched up on a dead tree before dropping down onto the ground into heather/bracken and staying there a fair time, presumably egg laying, and then flying off again. Two Green Woodpeckers were present, on on the west side and one on shorter turf near Small Pool. The empty paddock is now a meadow with long grass & buttercups so not a classic feeding area for this species any more. At least 3 Common Whitethroats were seen in addition to the usual warblers, again including Garden Warblers, one of which showed fantastically well. A good number of Swifts fed over the site too. Skylarks sang in suitable territory also.

Other non-bird sightings are in the other thread smile



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After an enforced absence from this patch due to a holiday in The Highlands, and then working every day since coming back, my return this Bank Holiday weekend was well overdue. I was on site at the first opportunity, Sunday morning before wedding commitments, and then both Monday morning and afternoon, so here is a brief summary of the Bank Holiday weekend.

The Cuckoo was still around and being very vocal, mainly in the Sandiway Small Pool area. Another vocal species that was seen well at times too was Garden Warbler. At times singing Garden Warblers outnumbered singing Blackcaps, amazing! Willow Warblers and Chiffchaffs still sang and a single Green Woodpecker was heard. In the good weather a fair few Buzzards were up thermalling too. The temporary Pool by the entrance track is gone, I only hope the Coot that was on there got their chicks off in time. A few other broods were seen around, Mallard, Canada Goose and yes some Coot. Terrible news was the discovery of at least two Red-eared Terrapins in Small Pool, we watched as they predated emerging damselflies but this species also predates nesting water birds. When I left for Scotland I knew of two Great Crested Grebe nests on Small Pool, now no adults are here and no chicks, I fear that the terrapins have done their worst no

All my visits were a bit truncated and more concentrated on insects too due to the sunny weather, but generally, as is the case sometimes, it was very, very quiet on the birding front!



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Out at 5.15am this morning and racked up nearly 50 species before work smile

The Cuckoo again performed well but only a brief burst from the Green Woodpecker. Tufted Ducks were very thin on the ground but a drake Gadwall turned up out of the blue (like yesterday's Cormorant) to be my first for over a month! One Stock Dove near Daleford Farm and the same pale Feral Pigeon over the lakes. Singing Garden Warblers now outnumber singing Blackcaps. A few Swifts dropped in with the three hirundines. Several Lesser Black-backed Gulls flew through and now two immature Common Gulls were still around. Otherwise the usual array of species smile



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RODIS

 

This forum is dedicated to the memory of Eva Janice McKerchar; rest in peace mum.