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Post Info TOPIC: Newchurch Common


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Newchurch Common


The only birding today was a morning on my patch again.

The female Smew and the 1w drake Red-crested Pochard still favoured Sandiway Big Pool and a female Goldeneye was new in on here. The two female Pochards and pair of Teal were still on Big Pool with 5 Goosanders split between the two pools. A couple of Green Woodpeckers were present, and a Grey Heron was on Small Pool.

Lots of folk visiting for yearticks today, as they were yesterday, glad to be of help to them when I could, visting birding buddy, Malc, picked up a Chiffchaff in the Pine Belt. One for me to look out for on my next visit.



-- Edited by Doc Brewster on Monday 2nd of January 2017 09:50:05 PM

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Spent the afternoon mainly at Newchurch Common due to it being a rainy morning and me being out partying until 3am on New Years Eve/Day!!

The female Smew and first-winter drake Red-crested Pochard were still on Sandiway Big Pool, along with a pair of Teal and 2 female Pochard. Three Goosanders were on Small Pool. A Green Woodpecker showed well on the meadow south of the main track and over 200 Redwings fed in fields by the parking area. At least 10 Fieldfares showed to the north of Big Pool. A Goldcrest was in Finch Hedge and a pair of Bullfinches was further up the track. Species not recorded on every visit but seen today included Rook, Herring Gull and Lesser Black-backed Gull. The final sighting of the day was when we stayed until dusk for the first time in a long time and were treated to a fantastic murmuration of Starlings. At least 5000 Starlings wheeled around over Big Pool and the arable fields to the north, the first time I have seen this here personally but it was noted earlier by Vernon Lundy and a fisherman who both had seen them leaving roost at dawn smile



-- Edited by Doc Brewster on Sunday 1st of January 2017 10:39:59 PM

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Tempted by the Blue Rock Thrush, even with all the posts re it's possible captive origin, but the draw of the Patch won, seeing as how I'd been away from it over Christmas!

An afternoon visit due to other commitments in the morning, so less time before the evening started to draw in. The female Smew and the first-winter drake Red-crested Pochard were still on Sandiway Big Pool, looking good for January 1st wink The Red-crested Pochard looks much more adult now, but a dirty smudge down its red bill, a darker nail on the bill and a duller eye all make me still call it a first-winter bird. A flock of 12 Teal wheeled round the pool, my biggest count for this species. Other duck included 5 (2 drake) Goosanders and a drake Pochard. A Herring Gull down on Big Pool was unusual amongst the Black-headed and Common Gulls. 30 Siskins fed in alders near Big Pool and Redwings and Fieldfares were seen. A few Stock Doves were still in fields north of Big Pool.

Itis now looking like my next trip down will be on New Years Day, so if anyone is coming down for yearticks please respect the fishermen and say hello if you see me smile



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I had the great pleasure today of again meeting up with forum member Keith Williams, for a trip around my patch, and as usual when we meet up it was a good morning out.

The first-winter drake Red-crested Pochard was as usual on the north side of Sandiway Big Lake and the female Smew finally gave itself up to Keith on the south side. Plenty of duck species again with Goosanders and Pochards on both pools (totals of 6 of each!), a Shoveler on Small Pool and a Teal on Big Pool. Wigeon, Gadwall and Tufted Duck numbers were still very high.

A Skylark was a good find over the arable fields and a Pheasant in a carrot field had to substitute for a Partridge in a Pear Tree wink Several 'good' passerine species were seen, including Goldcrest, Siskin, Coal Tit, and lots of Fieldfares and Redwings. A Green Woodpecker was hammering the ground in the horse paddocks even though the ground wasn't frozen! Great Spotted Woodpecker & Nuthatch were both also seen. A toatal of 50 species was decent and provided a nice reccie for New Years Day smile



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The smew was spotted yesterday on the umpteenth time of looking over the last couple of years. Numerous goosander on lymm vale pit. Goldcrest and green woodpecker the highlights of the non waterfowl species.

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A much shorter walk at the end of the afternoon today, so a totally different time to normal - would that produce anything different?

Amazingly the answer to that question is yes! A patch yeartick was seen in the shape of a cracking male Brambling, on its own in the top of a distant tree near Sandiway Small Pool. In 2015 I had good numbers of Bramblings in the Chaffinch flocks, but they all dispersed before January 1st 2016! I managed a record digiscoped shot as proof of the sighting (attached) but then it flew off and I could not relocate it, but hopefully this is a sign that I will get them amongst the Chaffinches again, especially as the flocks of those are building up on the arable fields now.

On Sandiway Big Pool the female Smew and first-winter drake Red-crested Pochard were still present, both up in the NW corner, but no sign of the drake Common Scoter, despite a very thorough search of the lake from several angles. In total 15 Goosander were present with most on Small Pool, where a male Kingfisher showed well again. Goldcrest, Nuthatch and Redwings were all seen as usual, even on this truncated walk.



-- Edited by Doc Brewster on Tuesday 13th of December 2016 05:12:00 PM

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Another wander this morning, foreshortened but still productive, mainly concentrating on the pools.

The trilogy of ducks, female Smew, drake Common Scoter and first-winter drake Red-crested Pochard were still all on Sandiway Big Pool. Three Teal were also on here, otherwise the usual ducks. Small Pool held 15 Goosanders but I have seen them fly back and forth between here and a provate pool nearby so I don't know if numbers are actually decreasing overall. Two Grey Herons were on site, the most I have seen at once here.

A Green Woodpecker was near the Novia Scotia Lane entrance and a Goldcrest was seen also.



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After the heady heights of twitching the Dusky Thrush yeaterday it was back to the bread & butter of the patch today! A morning visit as usual, murky but not cold.

The drake Common Scoter, the female Smew and the first-winter drake Red-crested Pochard were all still on Sandiway Big Pool. Also on here was a female Goldeneye, a drake Pochard and a pair of Teal. On Small Pool there were 23 Goosander, 4(2 drake) Shoveler and across the two pools over 20 Cormorants. Again 12 species of ducks were present but this time adding Mute Swan and Canada Goose (the latter was not seen on Tuesday) it meant that there were 14 species of wildfowl on the Pools! The Grey Heron was still fishing the margins of Smal Pool.

A Green Woodpecker was in the Pine Belt and nearby Goldcrests, Redpoll and Siskin were all seen. Three Stock Doves were still in the arable fields and Fieldfares and Redwings were still in good numbers....... wonder if there are any rare thrushes in there too winkwinkwink



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Spent a murky morning down mainly around the lakes again.

The drake Common Scoter was still on Sandiway Big Pool out in the middle and diving frequently, although I never saw it with food. Since this species feeds primarily on molluscs (with some invertebtaes, small fish and plant matter) and since I know that this pool holds freshwater mussels, I can only assume that it is being sustained by these, having stayed now for 3 days. The female Smew and the first-winter drake Red-crested Pochard were also on Big Pool. On Small Pool there were 24 Goosanders and two pairs of Shoveler. Six Teal were on Big Pool as well as a female Goldeneye still and a pair of Common Pochard. Along with many Wigeon, Tufted Ducks, Gadwall and Mallard, this gave a record count of 12 species of duck on the pools.

Other noteworthy sightings included a Sparrowhawk, a Green Woodpecker, a Goldcrest, 6 Stock Doves, Siskins and Redpolls. Four Lesser-black Backed Gulls flew low over Big Pool.



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Had a couple of hours down this morning and it paid off.

I found a cracking drake Common Scoter on Sandiway Big Pool, out amongst the hundreds of Coots it could easily have been overlooked, but its bill shone bright yellow in the sunshine. I got a few record shots but nothing great, still it proved that it was there smile The female Smew and the first-winter drake Red-crested Pochard wetre on Big Pool too, as well as a pair of Pochards, five Teal, a female Goldeneye and at least 20 Goosanders (1 drake) mainly on Small Pool but with 2 redheads on Big Pool. So a real mix of wildfowl.

Siskins, Fieldfares, Redwings, a Goldcrest, a Green Woodpecker and a Stock Dove were all seen too. So a good mix of species in a quite short visit.

 



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vern wrote:

Friday morning at 0749 saw thousands of common starlings rising from big pool and flying south towards Abbots Moss. Has anybody seen an evening murmuration here?


 Always tend to be there am Vern, so not seen that myself. I have been there early am though and never seen that. But before yesterday I had never seen 100 Lapwings over either, so very interesting & will check it out!



-- Edited by Doc Brewster on Sunday 4th of December 2016 10:12:01 AM

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Friday morning at 0749 saw thousands of common starlings rising from big pool and flying south towards Abbots Moss. Has anybody seen an evening murmuration here?



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Female Smew and 1st winter drake Red crested Pochard still this morning and a female Pintail.

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Just a quick 2 hour walk this morning before work, a lot warmer with no ice on puddles or the water. Nice to bump into local Cheshire birder, Luke, and show him around a little, he's an avid reader of these forums too smile

The female Smew and first-winter drake Red-crested Pochard were still on Sandiway Big Pool, but the Smew disappeared into deep cover as we watched. Also on the pool were four Pochards including two drakes (yes 1 extra when I found them, Luke, thanks for the info!). On Small Pool I had a record cound of 28 Goosanders including 1 adult drake. In the distance over the pool Luke spotted a flock of Lapwings, numbering 100 this too was a record count. The Grey Heron from yesterday was still fishing Small Pool's margins. Redwings and a Fieldfare were again seen. A Green Woodpecker was heard.

 



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Another extended morning walk just to get the December sightings started!

The female Smew and the first-winter drake Red-crested Pochard were both still on sandiway Big Pool. Also on here was a female Goldeneye and over 150 Wigeon, 90 Gadwall and 100 Tufted Ducks. Over on Sandiway Small Pool the Goosander count was 25 including one drake. A Grey Heron fished the shallows, a site scarcity that posed really well for photos. Redwings were still numerous and Siskins showed at a few locations, it seems a good period for them at the moment. A single Goldcrest was predictably in the pines. A Raven flew over cronking and six Stock Doves wheeled around the arable fields in the winter sunshine.



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Having a half day at work today meant that I could go and 'do' a morning on patch. All puddles were iced ap as well as part of Sandiway Small Pool, the first time for this, this winter.

The female Smew and the first-winter drake Red-crested Pochard were still present on Big Pool and the Goosander count on Small Pool was 22, including 2 drakes. A Grey Heron flew up from an icy flooded field, I still see very few here so a good record. A Green Woodpecker showed well on Abbots Moss. 10 Siskins were near Small Pool. Nothing else out of the ordinary was seen.



-- Edited by Doc Brewster on Wednesday 30th of November 2016 09:41:05 AM

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Down this morning and the usual female Smew and first-winter drake Red-crested Pochard both in the NW corner of Sandiway Big Pool. On Small Pool there were 27 Goosanders present including one drake, a new site high count. A noteworthy sighting was of 40 Skylarks flying over the W.side of Big Pool & on over the arable fields in this area. A single Herring Gull flew over. Redwings and Fieldfares were again present.

Nearby at Fowxist Green a Tawny Owl was heard mid afternoon and a Sparrowhawk was seen.



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Both the female Smew and Red-crested Pochard still present late am / early pm (although finding them was a bit of a challenge in the fog!). Also c30 Siskins.

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Another morning visit in cold, sunshiney conditions, with iced-up puddles & frost on the grass.

The obvious headline birds were the female Smew and the first-winter drake Red-crested Pochard, both still present on Big Pool. But the additional highlight was a fabulous flotilla of 26 Goosanders on Small Pool, including 2 adult drakes. Two drake Pochard were on Big Pool as well as 10 Cormorants (my high count here). A Kingfisher was also on Big Pool, but not scoped so I don't know whether it was a different bird to the one on Small Pool on Tuesday. Four Siskins, a Lesser Redpoll and two Reed Buntings were the passerine highlights.



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Been ill with a horrid cold (don't do man flu!) and working so first time back fro a proper walk for over a week!

A few highlights, the long-staying female Smew and first-winter drake Red-crested Pochard were still on Sandiway Big Pool, the latter still changing fast into adult plumage but still showing obvious signs of immaturity! On Sandiway Small Pool a fantastic flock of 18 Goosanders, with one adult drake amongst them, not my first this autumn/winter but a cracking sight nonetheless. A single drake Pochard was on Big Pool as well as one Shoveler. A male Kingfisher was seen and photographed on Small Pool, always a welcome sight.

Over 30 Redwings and 15 Fieldfares around site as well as a few Mistle Thrushes. A couple of Siskins were seen and 6 Meadow Pipits were noteworthy over on the mosslands.



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12.00 till 1.00pm Highlights

Red-creasted Pochard 1m
Smew 1f
Common Scoter 2f
Little Grebe 4
Nuthatch
Siskin
Redwing
Fieldfare


-- Edited by Mark Burgess on Saturday 19th of November 2016 05:21:04 PM

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Another wintery morning down on my patch, very wet after recent rain, if anyone is visiting then wellies make it much easier to not have to look where you are going!

The first-winter drake Red-crested Pochard was showing well on Sandiway Big Pool and the female Smew was still there but very elusive. Gadwall numbers were high with over 80 birds estimated.The drake Pochard found yesterday was still on Small Pool. Another sighting of a Grey Wagtail on Big Pool which I was very pleased about. This was on the 'Beach Peg', just a reminder, this is now fenced off and there is strictly no access onto it so please do not go past the gate/fence. There is a disused peg down the slope about 75m past this peg from which the pool can be viewed. please use this. After the problems at the Great Grey Shrike with landowners, which I doubt involved members of this forum, I hope that GM Forum members will also respect the landowners at Newchurch Common, namely Warrington Anglers Association.

It was a very 'finchy' day with both Siskins and Redpolls found feeding in alders, Linnets by the arable fields and the usual Bullfinches, Chaffinches and lots of Goldfinches around site. Lots of Redwings were around but only a single Fieldfare, and in addition a Mistle Thrush and a couple of Song Thrushes. A Goldcrest was again seen. The first Green Woodpecker for a number of visits was on garden lawns on the north side of patch.



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Just a pop on to check the pools, what with so many Long-tailed Ducks about across the north of England and with Common Scoters and Red-breasted Mergansers at nearby Oakmere Sand Quarry this weekend.

The female Smew and 1w drake Red-crested Pochard were again present on Sandiway Big Pool and a drake Pochard was on Small Pool. This latter bird being my first of this species for this autumn. Shoveler, Wigeon, Gadwall and Tufted Ducks were all also present. A small flock of Siskins flew over and Fieldfares were seen.



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A cracking sunny morning today on patch.

I met three folk down to see the Red-crested Pochard which didn't disappoint, being present still and showing well. The female Smew was also on Sandiway Big Pool but as usual was proving elusive, I saw it well but one of the other guys didn't see it at all. But for me the best bird on Big Pool was a patch lifer in the shape of a female Pintail. Also on was the first Goosander of the autumn, a female. Both these ducks headed off for cover near the island so that when I returned with my digiscoping kit they were nowhere to be seen - typical! Another major patch rarity was a Grey Wagtail that I found whilst scoping the far bank of Big Pool,a real surprise!

Two Common Snipe were showing well in the sun on Big Pool and a Kingfisher was on here too. Nine Stock Doves fed in an arable field to the north of the pool. Other usuals were around like Goldcrest, Bullfinch and Redwing. At least 150 Tufted Ducks were on the pools and over 120 Wigeon, wildfowl numbers are building up nicely.



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On the morning walk today:

The female Smew was still present as was the Red-crested Pochard. The latter is changinf plumage fast & growing up into a young drake, his head going quite red and breast starting to turn black (see attached pic) smile Other ducks were in good numbers, the stars being 5-8 Goldeneye, including one stunning drake. Five were on Sandiway Big Pool but flighty and then later 3 female-types were on Small Pool but could have been part of the original 5 (hence 5-8!!). Over 100 Wigeon and over 100 Tufted Ducks were on too plus over 80 Gadwall, also 2 Teal and a Shoveler were seen. Two Snipe were in a secluded area on Big Pool and out feeding, the first time I have watched them do this, hopes now of more or even a Jack Snipe smile

Passerines included 6 Goldcrests in one loose winter feeding flock along with Great and Blue Tits. Fieldfare and Redwing were again seen.



-- Edited by Doc Brewster on Tuesday 8th of November 2016 02:43:56 PM

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Very wintery today, the coldest it's been this end of the year so far, but a bit nicer when watery sunshine broke through the clouds!

The female Smew and the first-winter drake Red-crested Pochard again graced Sandiway Big Pool. The former being extremely elusive under overhanging bankside vegetation. The latter was feeding voraciously, diving and surfacing with huge beakfuls of water weed! Other ducks included 6 Teal, one drake showing a white diagonal mark up the breast side when we first scoped the group, giving hopes of a Green-winged Teal or hybrid. But when we got closer it was a group of feathers out of place showing the plumage underneath and later after a good shake these lay flat again and it was a bog standard Common Teal!! All other ducks were as expected. One Common Snipe was on Big Pool too and was photographed just to show how its cryptic plumage almost made it invisible!

Around 20 Fieldfares showed really well once the sun came out and a Goldcrest and several Coal Tits were in the Pine Belt. The Finch Hedge lived up to its name being full of Goldfinches and a single Siskin. A Lesser Black-backed Gull and a Stock Dove flew over, both not recorded on every walk.



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Back again this am in dreary weather again.

The female Smew was on the west side of Sandiway Big Pool and the first-winter drake Red-crested Pochard was on the east side of the same water. Four Teal, eight Shoveler and lots of Wigeon, Gadwall and Tufted Ducks were also on here. Two Common Snipe flew up from near the island and six Siskins flew over me by Big Pool. Over 40 Fieldfares were seen as well as 15+Redwings.



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Felt like winter today, but still a good morning on patch.

The female Smew and first-winter drake Red-crested Pochard were both still on Sandiway Big Pool, the former in the top NW corner and the latter near the island on the east side of the lake, a different area from the usual haunt. Other notable sightings were a November Chiffchaff on the edge of the mosslands, my latest ever here, an over-winterer perhaps? Two Skylarks flew over calling north of Big Pool. Twelve Siskins fed in alders with a few Goldfinches near Small Pool. Two Common Snipe were on Abbots Moss. Eight Linnets were near Shemmy Moss on the nursery fields. A Sparrowhawk flew over, as did a Goldcrest! Otherwise pretty much as normal.



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A cracking morning on patch, even though the misty, murky start didn't burn off for quite a while.

The most noteworthy bird was a first-winter Mediterranean Gull over Sandiway Big Pool, not a lifer here, but my first of the year. The female Smew was present and showed really well out on Big Pool, feeding in the Tufted Duck Flock. Also loosely associated with this flock were at least two Goldeneye, the first of this autumn/winter (could have been 3 according to birding pal Mark Jarrett who was also on today). The first-winter drake Red-crested Pochard was again on Big Pool in its usual NE corner. Another 'rare' bird here was seen in the farm fields to the north in the shape of a Greenfinch, on wires with 4 Mistle Thrushes. Fieldfares & Redwings were still present and a few Stock Doves were seen. Duck numbers were still high with over 15 Gadwall, over 20 Shoveler and over 30 Wigeon. Two Greylag Geese were still in the Canada Goose flock.



-- Edited by Doc Brewster on Monday 31st of October 2016 07:13:46 PM

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Late post - for yesterday (Sunday) morning:

The first-winter drake Red-crested Pochard was still on Sandiway Big Pool in the NE corner. Had a word with a fisherman who said that he'd seen a guy with optics enter one of the fenced off fishing pegs, probably to view this bird. Please do not enter areas that are labelled as Private, it will endanger my future access and if it continues I will have to stop reporting any scarcer finds on my patch. This includes the 'Beach Peg' which is now private but is where many birders will have viewed the Smew from in past years. Thanks.

Fieldfares still present and large numbers of Wigeon, Gadwall and Shoveler still on Big Pool. Interestingly a new juvenile Mute Swan on Big Pool in addition to the resident pair plus 2 young. As expected the resident Cob was not a happy bunny!!



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Sandiway Big Pool this morning

very pale Red Crested Pochard resplendent close to bank.

Kingfisher also present.

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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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