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Post Info TOPIC: Newchurch Common


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RE: Newchurch Common


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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

 



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A strange visit today, just pounding the roads around the perimeter of my patch as I walked with Carys as she rode the horse that we are looking after!

Highlight was another new bird for the Patchlist 2017 - Meadow Pipit, two of which flew up from paddocks by the road into a tree. Lots of winter thrushes were seen, the majority being Fieldfares and Redwings but a couple of Mistle Thrushes were with the flocks too. Two Pied Wagtails were in the horse paddocks, a species only added to the patch yearlist a few days ago!

Nearby, but off my official patch, the Tawny Owl was vocal near wher the horse is stabled. Several Great Spotted Woodpeckers were seen in this area too.



-- Edited by Doc Brewster on Tuesday 7th of March 2017 08:52:08 PM

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Back at Newchurch in the sunshine, post-work parties today.

Predictably the female Smew was on show for most of the time, feeding on the north side of Sandiway Big Pool, the first-winter drake Red-crested Pochard was still in West Bay. Four female Goosanders were also on Big Pool as well as a pair of Gadwall and 8 Wigeon. A Lesser Black-backed Gull and a Cormorant were on the pool, both not usual at this time of the year actually on either pool. A Kingfisher was seen twice over Big Pool too.

Still a few winter visitors in the shape of Siskins, Redwings and Fieldfares but I hope to see the arrival of summer migrants soon as they are trikling into the UK now. Four Lapwings were again seen.

One sad report that visitors sould be aware of was a couple of travellers rabbiting on site, checking with baliffs they were trespassing and illegally rabbiting but when I asked politely for them to move they threatened me very aggresively and said they would 'punch the lights out' of anyone else challenging them. Warrington AC have been informed as well as the police, but after their threats they left site pretty quickly. Hopefully now that they have been challenged they will go somewhere else. But please be aware of the possibility they may be here if you visit. Do not approach them. They were in a Gutters & Fascias transit type van, so plaese be careful, especially if you go on on your own.



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Managed a couple of sojurns onto patch this weekend, the proper on in decent weatehr on Saturday and then walking the horse with my wife in rain this morning!

On the main visit yesterday the first-winter Red-crested Pochard was still in West Bay on Sandiway Big Pool, but extensive work parties were causing lots of disturbance and that's the reason I think that I couldn't find the Smew. Another birding friend message me yesterday and he was down at a different time searching and also couldn't find the Smew either. Again duck numbers were low but 8 Wigeon and a pair of Gadwall were still present. A mixed group of 20 big gulls flew oevr Big Pool, made up of Herring and Lesser Black-backed Gulls.

Two new species for my patch yearlist were seen in the shape of a nice male Reed Bunting in stubble on the north side and a Pied Wagtail in the horse paddocks. Big flocks of winter thrushes included at least 80 Fieldfares and 60 Redwings. Four Lapwings were now in the breeding fields! A Green Woodpecker showed very well near the car parking area on a large tree.

The only addition when we were with the horse today was a Collared Dove, which was new for the year on the patch!!



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Looking at the weather I decided an afternoon visit today was best and was rewarded with bright sunshine, warm at times, even small clouds of flies were flying, felt like Spring!

Arriving I bumped into birding friend Tom from Runcorn on a visit so we teamed up and I gave him the grand tour, on my normal winter route round. The two top-billing (sorry for the pun) ducks were still on Sandiway Big Pool, the female Smew out in the middle-ish and the first-winter drake Red-crested Pochard still in West Bay. A new bird in was a drake Common Pochard. Seven Wigeon (4 drakes) were now present but only one Gadwall (drake) and one Teal (drake). After being missing recently a single Cormorant flew over.

Three Lapwings are now on the breeding fields which is good news. Over 25 Redwings were seen but only a handful of Fieldfares. Late afternoon saw a small passage of Lesser Black-backed and Herring Gulls flying over.

A very enjoyable walk with good company in excellent weather, and target birds seen too smile



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Initially other plans meant that I wouldn't be able to visit my patch today, but this changed at the last minute and I was able to spend the morning at Newchurch Common. Both Green and Great Spotted Woopeckers were seen, the former being particualrly vocal today, nice to hear.

The female Smew showed very well as did the first-winter Red-crested Pochard, both as usual on Sandiway Big Pool. Two redhead Goosanders were on Small Pool but duck numbers were down drastically overall. Only 3(2 drake) Gadwall and one drake Wigeon were seen along with a pair of Teal.

Over 200 Fieldfares were moving around the site but only 40 Redwings were seen. Ten Siskins and 2 Lesser Redpolls were in mixed finch flocks with numerous Goldfinches, the latter species numbering over 60 birds in total. A Goldcrest and at least 2 Coal Tits were in the Pine Belt. A Lapwing was in display over the breeding field. Other birds seen today but not seen on every visit included Stock Dove and Pheasant.



-- Edited by Doc Brewster on Tuesday 28th of February 2017 10:41:52 PM

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Just down the road and off my official 'patch' boundaries ( cry ) a Tawny Owl was calling late morning at Foxwist Green as we were grooming the horse that my wife Carys was about to ride!! I usually have a daytime calling one on patch so I will be more alert now!



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The morning after the day before! I decided to go and see what Storm Doris had done to my Patch, and the general impression was she'd cleared out q.a few birds as well as bringing down at least 3 trees and innumerable branches.

The first-winter drake Red-crested Pochard was still in West Bay but no obvious sign of the female Smew, although Tufted Duck numbers were down and she was probably has flown off temporarily with some of them to another local water, as she frequently does. Other wildfowl counts were also down but an extra species was Greylag Goose, with four flying over late morning, initially picked up by their different flight call to the numerous Canada Geese flying around.

A new 2017 species was added in the form of Pheasant. As usual Green and Great Spotted Woodpeckers were seen. Four Coal Tits in one area of pines was a good count. At least 6 Buzzards were up displaying in the sunshine. Only 3 Redwings were seen and no Fieldfares, but a Mistle Thrush instead. One surprise was a lone Lapwing back in their breeding fields, claiming an early territory!



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A short afternoon visit but still plenty of species. Decide to call in as I had just checked out another local site that in previous years had had Bramblings. true to form it didn't disappoint with up to 4 Bramblings seen along with 150 Redwings smile

So on to Newchurch Common. Again the female Smew was present and again very elusive disappearing not long after I had found her. The 1w drake Red-crested Pochard showed well as usual. Two Goosanders (a pair) were unexpected on Big Pool, along with the regular duck species including Teal. The Mute Swans were seen after going missing yesterday and amazingly were with their 2 young for the first time in ages! Both Green and Great Spotted Woodpeckers were present again. A nice Redpoll sowed well in the tops of trees along with Fieldfares and Redwings, a strange flock for the finch to be with really. Both Song and Mistle Thrushes were in full song today too. Other species not always seen included Stock Dove on the north side and both Herring and Lesser Black-backed Gulls on Big Pool. The usual pair of Bullfinches were still stripping buds off Finch Hedge, it's amazing it ever gets to come into leaf each year..... but it always does!



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Another visit this morning. Fine, dry and a bit warmer, although overcast most of the time.

After a prolonged search the female Smew showed on sandiway Big Pool, she can be very elusive at the moment! The 1w drake Red-crested Pochard showed well, still in West Bay on the same pool. Teal were again seen, otherwise the usual wildfowl mix. Interestingly Tufted Ducks were seen mating today. Siskins, Redpoll and Bullfinches were all present. A Green Woodpecker was near the Pine Belt. The Redwing and Fieldfare flocks had moved due to farm work but were in fields near the Pine Belt. Several Herring Gulls were over the pools and moving through, something I noticed elsewhere in Cheshire today.



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No problem Paul, must have missed you as I was down all morning from pretty early to 12.30pm. Met up with a Nantwich birding pal who I showed around too smile

Fabulous day, bitterly cold but bright sunshine which brought the birds out in numbers. The female Smew was with it's group of Tufted Ducks on Sandiway Big Pool as usual, she's probably there all the time just sometimes very elusive. The first-winter drake Red-crested Pochard was stil in West Bay as he has been for the past three weeks, and was the target of the birder I was showing around, so he was happy. Teal were present on Big Pool as well as lots of Wigeon but a reduced number of Gadwall today. A Kingfisher was, as usual, showing well on Small Pool, seem to get one on every visit at the moment smile

Siskins were everywhere, even down on the puddles, I estimate over 60 today, along with a lone Redpoll. Over 200 Redwings were in one field whilst 2 fields away it was 50 Fieldfares, funny how they didn't mix today. New here for 2017 was a Treecreeper near Big Pool island. A few pairs of Buzzards were displaying around the site and a couple of Stock Doves were seen. A Goldcrest was in the pine belt as usual.

Little out of the ordinary today but the sheer number of birds and amount of birdsong and display was fantastic, a pleasure to be out and about.

 



-- Edited by Doc Brewster on Wednesday 15th of February 2017 09:51:10 AM

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Thanks Paul for keeping us updated and yes, the female Smew was back on the Big Pool today, showing well but rather distantly, associating with Tufted Duck.
The Red Crested Pochard was hard up against the western shore giving good views.

Otherwise plenty of Siskin, Redwings, Chaffinch, and Long Tailed Tits in the alder trees near the entrance, and a Great Spotted Woodpecker. No greens for me, but I had already been to Dunham Massey and had a great view of one in the sunshine.
Several Wigeon on both pools, two Little Grebe on the Big Pool, with several Teal, Canada Geese and Cormorant.

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Went for a morning stroll and weather was overcast but dry, but also perishingly cold!

The first-winter drake Red-crested Pochard was still favouring West Bay on Sandiway Big Pool, but three circuits of the pool and a check of Small Pool failed to locate the Smew. Between 8 and 13 Goosanders were present. 8, including 3 drakes, were together on Small Pool and later at least 5 were on Big Pool, but whether these were different birds I couldn't say. Several Little Grebes as usual were on Big Pool as well as a drake Teal. A Kingfisher was on Small Pool again, always nice to see. Unusually a Herring Gull was down on Small Pool too.

Two Sparrowhawks were seen, a male and a female, the former in the Small Pool area and the latter over Big Pool. Two Green Woodpeckers were also present as well as one Great Spotted Woodpecker. A group of 6 Bullfinches was nice to see in Finch Hedge (where else!!). Other winter usuals present were Siskin, Redwing and Fieldfare.

Sorry for my birding friends from Kelsall who came to see the Smew that it wasn't seen today. She does get on other waters & so will almost certainly be back soo, I'll keep everyone posted as usual.



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A pleasant walk this morning to see the Red crested Pochard, which was very obliging, unlike the Smew which did not appear!  Gadwall and a Little Grebe were also seen, and a Raven heard. The birds in the hedges were very vocal, especially a flock of over 10 Siskins with at least 1 Redpoll.  A pair of Bullfinches and small flock of Chaffinches were also foraging by the side of the bridleway, and a Buzzard was overhead.



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A much longer visit to Newchurch today with an earlier start, and this time in the sunshine, cery pleasant.

The first-winter drake Red-crested Pochard was picked up pretty early on and some decent pictures obtained as it fed again in West Bay, Big Pool. A long search of Sandiway Big Pool finally paid off when I found the female Smew. I contacted my mate regarding the Redesmere bird but he didn't have any news for today, so it is still possible that one or two Smew are present in Cheshire! Three Goosanders were on Small Pool including one drake but they all flew off later. Two drake Teal were on Big Pool and an increased number of Wigeon (40) seemed to be present. A single Mute Swan was present after none yesterday, which was puzzling. A Herring Gull was again over Big Pool with the Common and Black-headed Gulls.

New for this years patch list were 30 Lapwings that flew over near the site entrance. Over 100 Fieldfares were seen along with a few Redwings and Song Thrushes were in full song all over the site. A Green Woodpecker was recorded for the first time in several visits but Goldcrest was seen again near the Pine Belt. A Raven flew over again and two male Bullfinches were in Finch Hedge.



-- Edited by Doc Brewster on Friday 3rd of February 2017 10:29:58 PM

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I managed a late morning walk down on Newchurch Common, ending when the heavens opened, but a better weather scenario than forecast so I can't complain!

The first-winter drake Red-crested Pochard was still showing well near West Bay on Sandiway Big Pool but no sign of the female Smew in quite an exhaustive search. I had a customer in Focalpoint yesterday who had failed to find it in a morning visit then too. This is interesting given that a redhead Smew has turned up on Redesmere lake in Cheshire. Duck numbers were generally lower than of recent times, so I wonder if there has been a departure of wildfowl, including the Smew?

Two stunning drake Goldeneye were on Big Pool accompanying a female but they seemed very unsettled & soon flew off, later I found a lone female Goldeneye on Small Pool, another bird or one of the three? Also on Small Pool it was nice to see one redhead Goosander after none on my last visit. A single drake Teal was on Big Pool and totals of Gadwall and Wigeon were low at about 20 of each. Little Grebes are present on Big Pool but skulking in the margins, but at least no water is frozen now.

A group of 8 Siskins was seen and 60 Goldfinches was an exceptional count in Finch Hedge, where a male Bullfinch was stripping hawthorn buds. Six Stock Doves were in arable fields to the north, my first sighting here of this species in 2017. Another birder I see here regularly also had no seen any yet when I saw him last week, so nice to pick these up.



-- Edited by Doc Brewster on Thursday 2nd of February 2017 03:05:36 PM

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Finally, having thrown off the dreaded lurgy to feel strong enough for a 2 hour walk I could get back onto my patch!

The female Smew ond the first-winter drake Red-crested Pochard were both still on Sandiway Big Pool, but no Goosander were seen on either pool. However, Small Pool was 90% frozen and some of the margins of Big Pool were iced up too. Two Kingfishers were seen on Big Pool which was nice and a Raven flew over nearby cronking away. Lots of Little and Great Crested Grebes were seen. Unusual were six Greylag Geese on Big Pool, which were joined by 20 Canada Geese, but nothing more rare. A Goldcrest flitted about near the main track but generally passerine numbers were low.



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A short visit this afternoon in the murk 7 drizzle, didn't look great for birding, and it wasn't!

The female Smew was on Sandiway Big Pool and I was able to show it to a visiting birder from Nantwich who was visiting the site for it, so that was worth the visit for me anyway smile Other than that just 20 Siskins to show for the visit. Goosander was recorded on Small Pool too still. One Lesser Redpoll was seen near the entrance too, my first of 2017 so that was good.



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Had a short afternoon visit today after a few days at work and the female Smew and first-winter drake Red-crested Pochard both showed pretty well on Sandiway Big Pool. At least four Goosanders counted across the two pools, three (2 drake) Shoveler on Big Pool as well as 10 Teal. A pair of Pochards were on Small Pool. Still over 40 each of Wigeon, Gadwall and Tufted Duck. A Snipe was also on Big Pool, the first there for a while.

A pair of Ravens was particularly active over the Big Pool/Pine Belt area all afternoon. Siskins were seen in a couple of locations too.

Still loads of birders visiting to twitch stuff so please be courteous to other site users. Today a car was blocking the main track and the farmer was stuck for 30 mins whilst the owner was away somewhere. I don't know whether it was a birder or not, I hope not disbelief A dog-walker suggested it was a photographer, but whether he was a bird photographer or not I don't know. The farmer removes the concrete blocks when he is working which opens up the main track but there is still no access at all, cars MUST park outside on Novia Scotia Lane as usual.



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Early morning visit in less that ideal conditions, very misty first thing, Eventually the mist lifted to reveal highlights of
Smew 1f
Red-crested Pochard 1m
Wigeon 4
Little Grebe 3
Green Woodpecker 2
Goldcrest 2
Nuthatch 2


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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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