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Post Info TOPIC: Newchurch Common


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RE: Newchurch Common


After a trip to South Wales and back this morning & then a quick pop to Marbury CP to see the Black Terns I headed to Newchurch Common for a rare afternoon visit.

As expected it was quieter than in the mornings, but this could be partly due to the weather too allowing a departure of some species. No sign of the Smew or Egyptian Goose and a much reduced number of Tufted Ducks, down to about 12. The Cuckoo was very active, calling & flying around mainly in the Sandiway Small Pool area with a Green Woodpecker nearby on the east side. A male and female Great Spotted Woodpecker chased each other near Gull Pool. Garden Warblers were particularly vocal with a couple seen and at least 6 heard. There are now over 25 Canada Goose goslings, cute but not universally welcome to be honest. Sand Martins, House Martins and Swallows were seen as were Blackcaps, Willow Warblers and Chiffchaffs. More unusual was the first Cormorant for over a month and a Coal Tit. Three Stock Doves flew over, a strange number together! A lone feral pigeon had pale markings that made me wonder what the dickens it was at first, I thought that I'd got something rare, but alas not! Finally the immature Common Gull was still present with a couple of Black-headed Gulls on Sandiway Big Pool.



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Since I am not such a terrible sceptic that I totally discount the Black Tern records I had to get out on the patch at first light today!!

Again no sign of any Black Terns but a worthwhile trip down. The female Smew was on Sandiway Big Pool on the far western edge with Tufted Ducks which numbered around 30. The Ruddy Shelduck was out of sight on the island but betrayed it's presence with its donkey-like bray a couple of times (unless someone really has put a donkey on there wink ). Two Greylag Geese flew in to join the Canada Geese too, the latter having 2 more broods, of 5 and 6 this time. At least 2 broods of Mallards were on too. A few Swifts at first were joined by several more as the rains came and this also brought down the three hirundine species. A lingering immature Common Gull was still present.

A Kingfisher was on Big Lake, a Buzzard flew over here as well as 2 Lapwings and a Green Woodpecker called nearby. As I was leaving to go to work a Cuckoo was calling on the south side of the main track. Willow Warblers, Chiffchaffs and Blackcaps were the only warblers heard in a shortened walk before work.



-- Edited by Doc Brewster on Wednesday 11th of May 2016 01:47:26 PM

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Off work today and down at Newchurch Common just after a report had appeared again of a Black Tern there. This time being on site I can confirm that the Ruddy Shelduck that was reported was there, but over Sandiway Big Lake just a lone Black-headed Gull hawking for insects along with two Lesser Black-backed Gulls (an adult and an immature). Later this afternoon a return visit revealed the Ruddy Shelduck still to be present. Today a fair number of Swifts in too amongst huge numbers of hirundines (all 3 species) but the rain stopped me hearing or seeing a lot of other stuff. I apologise for not reporting the Ruddy Shelduck out this afternoon but having spoken to RBA at length yesterday and having them ignore what I had said I didn't feel inclined to ring in the report to them. I will endeavour to get sightings on here directly from the field in the future by bookmarking the site on my iPhone smile



-- Edited by Doc Brewster on Wednesday 11th of May 2016 10:07:17 AM

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Can't be 100% (who can) but having chatted to a fisheman at Newchurch earlier today about the report of Black Terns early this morning, he pointed out Black-headed Gulls hawking for insects and told me he had been told that they were Terns. The other fisherman who told him was not there anymore so this could be the origin of the report, a few fishermen there do have bins and a couple have small Aldi/Lidl type scopes. Some know a bit about birds, they know the Kingfisher etc, but I have had Great Crested Grebes pointed out as the Smew in the past and told that there were about 5 or 6 Smew on! Again relating probably to Great Crested Grebes! Others know lots more - it was a fisherman who first found the Smew over 3 years ago, so I cannot definitively say no tern species were there but on the evidence that a morning visit from me produced none, the fishermans tale ( winkbiggrin ) and the general pattern of Black Terns in the NW so far, do make me doubt this record. Even on big tern movements on other Cheshire waters I still haven't seen on on here yet, but I live in hope smile



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Had a longer, more extensive walk today in preparation for a class I am taking on there on Tuesday from Manchester University!

Pretty productive too with the female Smew again present on Sandiway Big Pool, displaying briefly to her favourite Canada Goose again and loosely associating with a group of Tufted Ducks, which numbered around 40 in total today. The first brood of Canada Goslings was on this pool too. Two Garden Warblers were found, one showing very well near Small Pool. A Common Whitethroat was north of Big Pool making it my first 5 warbler day here (with Willow Warbler, Chiffchaff & Blackcap). A male Reed Bunting Popped up in a new location, in breeding habitat pleasingly. On a part of the walk that takes in a few houses & gardens I picked up my first Greenfinch of the year, a male and a rarity on this patch. Nearing the end of my long walk I added another new bird for this year on patch in the shape of a Cuckoo. One lingered and showed well last year so hopefully this one will do the same. The Coot brood on Small Pool was down to 2 young, but growing well.

A pretty good day and nice to be able to walk round in normal boots and no coat, I hope it stays like that for the visiting students next week smile



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Down on the common for just over an hour today before the heavens opened forcing a premature end to birding.

The best bird was a Garden Warbler, new in and a new one for my 2016 Newchurch Common list. The female Smew was also still present on Sandiway Big Pool, not unexpected given the presence of 50 Tufted Ducks today. There were more hirundines than I have ever seen there before due to the rain pusjhing them down, I estimated 300+Sand Martins, 300+House Martins and 250+Swallows. By the entrance road 4 Rooks feeding in a paddock was a good count for this site. Two Lesser Black-backed Gulls flew over and a Lesser Redpoll sang in Finch Hedge.



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Being the magnanimous birder that I am I delayed my birding today to get out news of the White-crowned Sparrow at Woolston Eyes, despite me not needing it for my British List & having no intention of going for it wink Once I had fielded all the emails and texts about it, relayed it on my grapevine service and posted on all the media outlets I was free to go birding myself!!

Finally I got out onto Newchurch Common again for a quick check round for new arrivals. No such luck but amazingly an old friend turned up in the shape of the female Smew, present with Tufted Ducks (up to 40 birds today) on Sandiway Big Pool. A Lesser Redpoll called & showed in Finch Hedge and a Green Woodpecker showed well in the empty paddocks. The usual warblers and hirundines were all present as well as several Buzzards and a Sparrowhawk. A Common Gull still lingers on Big Pool.smile



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Downpours here today but couldn't resist a walk on the common, wet initially but cleared up later. The recent rain means the main track is very muddy again & other areas are waterlogged, back to wellies!

A Green Woodpecker was in a different area, to the north of Sandiway Big Pool. I reckon there are between 3 and 5 pairs on the patch as a whole. Over the pool Sand Martins were the most numerous hirundine today with over 150 present, probably 40+House Martins and 40+Swallows too. On Small Pool I had my first brood of Coots, a pair with 3 small young in tow, nice to see seeing as how I have found at least 4 other Coot nests that have been predated. A count over the two pools revealed around 40 Tufted Ducks, an increase on recent visits. A couple of Stock Doves were near a probable nest site I have discovered. Otherwise the usual mix of species were present with nothing new smile

 



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Doc Brewster wrote:

John O'Neill wrote:

"Reeking Hole Woods" ?? Really ?


 'fraid so, lol biggrinbiggrin it's No Entry too wink





No surprise therebiggrin

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John O'Neill wrote:

"Reeking Hole Woods" ?? Really ?


 'fraid so, lol biggrinbiggrin it's No Entry too wink



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"Reeking Hole Woods" ?? Really ?

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A shortened visit today due to my visit to Audenshaw and my dentist in West Didsbury!

Still very quiet with much the same as my last visit. Large numbers of hirundines again, and again the majority were House Martins with 60+ again. The Green Woodpecker was showing well all the time I was on site, in the empty horse paddocks by the entrance track, a Mistle Thrush was also collecting food in the same paddocks. The ones that got away were a distant flock of chunky looking finch-type birds flying over Reeking Hole Woods and landing in the tops of the pines there. By the time I reached the wood there was no sign of the birds but the pines had lots of cones. I didn't have my scope, only my bins and at the distance that I first saw them their ID was impossible. The whole scenario suggests Crossbills but I am not putting any ID on the birds at all. I will be concentrating on that area in the next few vsits though smile



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Very quiet morning at the common today. I headed down with expectations of adding Swift to the year list, but despite a massive increase in hirundine numbers there were no Swifts no

At least 60 House Martins dropped in in the showers as well as over 40 Swallows and 30 Sand Martins, this easily being the most House Martins that I have seen in a single place all year, and possibly beating last year too! All the usual warblers were present and singing. Tufted Ducks numbered around 34. The poor weather brought in 6 Lesser Black-backed Gulls low over Sandiway Big Pool with an adult and immature Common Gull on the pool. A couple of Linnets were again seen as well as a few Bullfinches. But despite a long walk in some new areas there was nothing else of note.



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After a very early start at Marbury I arrived at Newchurch Common just after 9.30am.

A sunny day but birdwise pretty uneventful, the usual warblers, Swallow and House Martin and a Green Woodpecker up in woods to the west, a different bird to the east side one! Tufted Duck numbers were down to only 8 seen, clear nights recently may have resulted in some departures. Lots more natural birdfood around (insects) ready for those broods of warblers soon smile



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Had a long visit today to take advantage of my last day off and the sunny weather. However, no sign of the Ruddy Shelduck.

I had my first Common Whitethroat of the year and only my second ever Grey Wagtail here too. A Treecreeper showed well and a couple of Green Woodpeckers were noted. All the other warblers already in were seen as well as Swallows and Sand Martins. A Coal Tit was seen too. Otherwise the day was quiet but over 40 species seen as usual smile



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Went down again early morning and initially no sign of yesterdays female Ruddy Shelduck. But as in the post below a brief search revealed it to be on the island on Sandiway Big Pool, where the Canada Geese are nesting. I headed off to find other birders on site who were visiting to try to see the bird but to no avail as they had moved. On returning to the Ruddy Shelduck she was flushed by a dog walker and flew around the pool calling before heading off high east. On seeing the birders later unfortunately they hadn't seen her in flight either. At least another two visitors arrived too late and so missed her as well cry

One of the Green Woodpeckers showed exceptionally well in the empty paddocks and four Lesser Redpolls showed well in Finch Hedge. My highest count of House Martins this summer were 6 over Small Pool, c.10 Swallows were over the site as well as 20 Sand Martins. A single Greylag Goose was on Big Lake too. No new warbler species just the usual three and generally uneventful other than the Ruddy Shelduck.



-- Edited by Doc Brewster on Monday 18th of April 2016 08:27:42 PM

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Quick updat, full story later:

The female Ruddy Shelduck was present again this morning, having moved to Sandiway Big Pool and was tucked away on the island with Canada Geese. It then flushed and flew high off site calling. Despite searching it wasn't found again by the time I'd left.



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After a few days away I couldn't wait to get back on patch today and was rewarded with a patch yeartick, although not a patch lifer!

Just down the entrance track on the righthand side on the temporary pool in the farm field were 2 Canada Geese as there had been on my last visit, but this time there was a third bird, an orange apparition - a female Ruddy Shelduck!! Having found one before at Newchurch I never thought that I would get another, but that's two years in a row that this species has made it onto the Newchurch yearlist!

A full walk round amassed over 40 species again, but nothing else new for the year. A Kingfisher flew into Sandiway Big Pool from over arable fields to the north, a real surprise. Other noteworthy sightings included a Green Woodpecker, a Collared Dove, 32 Tufted Ducks, Willow Warblers, Blackcaps, Chiffchaffs, Sand Martins and Swallows. A few Linnets were around too but otherwise relatively quiet.

As we left at noon the Ruddy Shelduck was still present in the same location and the first visiting birder was arriving to tick it smile The last one was a one day bird, coincidentally a Sunday too, but I will be down tomorrow morning to see if this one can extend its stay smile



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I found a Ruddy Shelduck early morning on patch whilst the frost was still on the ground, still there at noon & being twitched wink More details to follow smile



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First an addendum to my last visit (10th April), our first sighting of a Kingfisher there since finding the predated one. I had grave fears that the Sparrowhawk had developed a taste for and a skill for catching Kingfishers and may have taken them all out. Relieved to see one again smile

Being called into work at the last minute on Tuesday I never got down so today was my first visit since the 10th. The single main highlight was the reappearance of the female Smew again, coinciding, not surprisingly, with an increase in Tufted Duck numbers which were up around 40. She was pretty elusive and mobile, but at least she was there! One adult Common Gull still lingers on Big Pool and 1 House Martin was again with about 5 Swallows and 10 Sand Martins over the pool. Three Greylag Geese on Big Pool were new arrivals.

The 3 usual warbler species were seen in good numbers. A Green Woodpecker was seen behind Small Pool. Two Lesser Redpolls fed in alders nearby. Odd scarcer records for this patch included a Collared Dove, a Coal Tit, a Rook and a Stock Dove in display flight.



-- Edited by Doc Brewster on Thursday 14th of April 2016 10:03:09 PM

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With the big influx of Little Gulls today I just had to pop in after work and after seeing the 'flock' at Marbury CP. Unfortunately only Black-headed Gulls were over the pools but who knows if the influx continues I may get lucky! Still Blackcaps, Willow Warblers and Chiffchaffs singing and several Sand Martins over Sandiway Big Lake. Roll on tomorrow when something may get blown in smile



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Bit of a gap since my last visit - work will keep getting in the way wink

Down this sunny Sunday morning and rewarded in the shape of a patch lifer. Nothing very spectacular in the grand scheme of things, but as many of you know this patch is very short on wader habitat so any wader species' seen are special. Today we heard an unmistakeable call followed by the appearance of a pair of Oystercatchers which flew around low over Sandiway Big Pool about three times before realising there was nowhere to land and headed off towards the east, out of view. Later when we were on the east side by the arable fields we heard them call again distantly but this time without seeing them. As all patchers know adding a new bird is great and that gave me a buzz all day!

Other than that the fare on offer was dominated by several summer migrants, now well and truly 'in'. Over 20 Chiffchaffs and 10 Willow Warblers were seen or heard along with 3 male Blackcaps, all singing and all seen. Only 6 Sand Martins and 1 Swallow were over Big Pool and then only briefly, not surprising in the sunny weather. The Tufted Duck Count was 24 with Mallards the only other duck species seen. A male Lesser Redpoll sang atop a tree near Finch Hedge, lovely in the sunshine. At least 15 Linnets were still in the arable fields to the north. A pair of Coal Tits were in the pines too.

Still over 40 species every day, just amazed how different the mix is each time! smile



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Oops, lol, yes Greg, a bit of a typo there as I was looking at some arrivals yesterday on the RBA database, like Reed Warbler, Swift, Redstart, Garden Warbler and Cuckoo amongst others. Some of these species even seen up north. I admit I was dreaming about future Newchurch finds, we had a long staying Cuckoo last year that showed really well smile

So yes it is Reed Bunting, especially when qualified by 'still' !

I will edit it for the sake of record keeping, I have done species searches on this forum before and it would show up on one of those, so would be erroneous data. But I'll leave these two posts on! Thanks mate biggrin



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Doc Brewster wrote:

... A male Reed Warbler was still near Big Pool too.

smile





Presumably a Reed Bunting Doc?

Greg

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With the Marbury CP Common Scoter disappearing overnight I headed to Newchurch Common with thoughts of refinding a returning duck, and I wasn't wrong about the theory, just about which species it would be biggrin

Carys and I had a rare day off in the week together and did my usual route round the area. A Coal Tit was in Finch Hedge on the way in with a male Blackcap singing in there on the way out, the second singing male of the latter species for the morning. Chiffchaffs again were all over the site and again several Willow Warblers were seen and heard, with birds chasing each other in the willows on the west side. As we watched a hirundine flock from the west side of Sandiway Big Pool, which contained 50+Sand Martins, 5 Swallows and 1 House Martin, we spotted a lone, small duck keeping well in the edge of West Bay, the returning female Smew smile A count of Tufted Ducks had noted a small increase in their numbers to 39 birds, no doubt the group that the Smew associates most closely with had returned, bringing her with them.

Of note a pair of Linnets were seen, a breeding bird here now rather than the wintering flock of a few weeks ago. A male Reed Bunting was still near Big Pool too.

All in all a very interesting walk spanning late morning until early afternoon smile



-- Edited by Doc Brewster on Friday 8th of April 2016 10:01:53 AM

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That was my report to the pagers, Sid, yep definitely there in West Bay, went round this morning and found it! A small increase in Tufted Ducks today, so it came back with its group. I have mentioned before in posts on this thread about the private fishing pools that it does visit. Fishermen pals at Newchurch have told me about this before so it has almost certainly been on one of those. I can't name any pools as I respect the fishermens privacy and appreciate them telling me of it's presence elsewhere, sorry.

Full report to follow smile



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Doc I noticed that the Smew is being reported as present again late this morning - wonder where it's been hiding?

PS - if indeed it is the same bird.

 



-- Edited by sid ashton on Thursday 7th of April 2016 04:21:25 PM

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Doc Brewster wrote:

A quick summary of my Tuesday walks around Newchurch Common!

As already mentioned there was no sign of the female Common Scoter anywhere on site, good news I hope, in that she managed to continue her journey on & ultimately make it back out to sea or to her breeding grounds, maybe to the Flow Country which I visited a few years ago and saw Common Scoters breeding, but now I'm being fanciful biggrin


 See the Marbury CP thread for details, but it is possible that she has relocated to Budworth Mere!



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A quick summary of my Tuesday walks around Newchurch Common!

As already mentioned there was no sign of the female Common Scoter anywhere on site, good news I hope, in that she managed to continue her journey on & ultimately make it back out to sea or to her breeding grounds, maybe to the Flow Country which I visited a few years ago and saw Common Scoters breeding, but now I'm being fanciful biggrin

Four Redpolls were in Finch Hedge and 6 Siskins fed together in alders on the west side of Big Pool. Still plenty of Willow Warblers with possibly a few more arrivals. A first for me for the site was a single House Martin in the flock of about 60 Sand Martins and 3 Swallows, all over Big Pool bar one Swallow over Small Pool. A proper count of Tufted Ducks rather than an estimate revealed 31 birds still present. One adult Common Gull was seen over Big Pool too as well as one Rook! Otherwise the usual mix of species on site.



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No sign of the Common Scoter in two visits today, checking both pools both times. Just posting for info first. Full report to follow smile



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A fine morning after the rain overnight cleared and a rare Monday off work, so off down to Newchurch Common again.

My usual route doesn't take in Sandiway Big Pool until later, but when I got there the female Common Scoter was still on the pool, happily fishing and showing really well in the warm sunshine. The Tufted Duck numbers were definitely down on yesteday with maybe ony 20 birds now. Along the west side of Big Pool there was a small fall of Willow Warblers with at least 5 birds seen or heard and probably many more present, joining the now large numbers of Chiffchaffs across the site.

A Green Woodpecker flying over the empty paddocks was one of the first birds seen with others heard, suggesting at least 3 territories here. A Pair of Coal Tits was by the main track and Bullfinches were in several places on site. A male Reed Bunting was seen and heard singing on the west side of Big Pool.

It felt very springlike today but with recent rain & muck-spreading the main track is very muddy, so a tip is wellies still, just for now smile



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Down again all morning and the female Common Scoter was there all the time that we were, still favouring the very middle of Sandiway Big Pool, no matter which shore we went to we never got any closer!

Another first for the year, both at Newchurch and for my 2016 UK List amazingly in the shape of a male Blackcap, up near the Fishermen's car park for the spit pegs.  A Skylark sang over the arable fields to the north and five Linnets were still there as well as a male Reed Bunting again. One or two Lesser Redpolls were still in Finch Hedge and a Treecreeper showed well in the Pine Belt. Just a single Swallow was seen in the way of hirundines but again double figure numbers of Buzzards were up.

On the pools, as well as the scoter, there were 40 Tufted Ducks and then the usual array of species, with many birds already nesting. Nothing in the paddocks or ploughed fields in the way of migrants unfortunately, still time though. As a new patch I really don't know what moves through here, if anything! Time will tell, I have everything crossed smile

 



-- Edited by Doc Brewster on Sunday 3rd of April 2016 03:06:36 PM

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As pre-posted below, a red letter day on my patch today with the discovery of a female Common Scoter on Sandiway Big Pool. Looking across the pool from the spit with bins I noticed a nondescript duck but the shape gave it away and I directed Carys onto it saying "I've got a Common Scoter"!! She nipped back to the car whilst I stayed on it & reported it out on the pager and when she returned with my scope I was able to digiscope it and get record pictures. The bird was active most of the time, diving for long periods and always staying distant. At times Sand Martins and Swallows whizzed over its head, up to 80 of the former and 3 of the latter. All three species mentioned were new for 2016 for me at Newchurch Common and the scoter was a patch lifer smile

Chiffchaffs are now into double figures, seemingly singing at every turn we took. Other good sightings included three male Reed Buntings on the north side, a Rook over the pool, up to 12 Buzzards and a Sparrowhawk thermalling. Three Lesser Redpolls and at least six Bullfinches were still in Finch Hedge. 12 Linnets were seen in the arable fields, the males now in breeding plumage. Green and Great Spotted Woodpeckers were still around but no Gadwall, Wigeon, Goosander or Cormorants. The site is beginning to have a very different feel now. Spring is here, the Smew is gone but a Common Scoter as a temporary replacement will do very nicely wink

A distant record digiscoped shot is attached!

 



-- Edited by Doc Brewster on Saturday 2nd of April 2016 11:06:17 PM

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Just in case anyone hasn't seen and in case you want to nip down to see it, on my first visit back after being away over Easter I found a female Common Scoter this afternoon. She was in the middle of Sandiway Big Lake feeding actively. A full report on todays visit will follow but wanted the news out on here so that there was daylight left today smile



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Another visit, which this time was noteworthy for what wasn't seen, rather than what was wink

Starting at Sandiway Small Pool and then moving over to Big Pool the over-riding feeling was a lack of ducks. True there were over 40 Tufted Ducks still present, mostly on Big Pool but no female Smew, no Gadwall, no Wigeon and no Cormorants (I know it's not a duck but..... !!!), all a massive change from only a week ago. Still harking back to winter though were 100+Fieldfares and 30+Redwings, mainly on the north and west sides of my recording area, a few Linnets were still with the Fieldfares too. Even the Green Woodpeckers were a bit quieter today. Lots of Buzzards across site and a Sparrowhawk flying low over Big Pool, hopefully not looking for Kingfishers no Most unusual sighting was a pair of Coal Tits which I see infrequently here, which helped me struggle up to the 40 species mark again smile



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Just an addendum to the previous post. I hadn't seen the Kingfisher on Sandiway Small Pool on my last two visits but that's not unusual. Yesterday though I discovered the sad location of a bird kill, on a mossy fallen tree trunk. The feathers were a tell tale blue, sometimes electric blue, and orange breast feathers, a Kingfisher no

I photographed them in situ and then collected some but so far haven't examined them closely to determine as to whether this was a mammal or avian kill. No part of the bird was left, only a few feathers, and the location (quite high) looked like a plucking post so I suspect Sparrowhawk. Given the speed of Kingfishers this is 'some' kill for the hawk, and shows just what exceptional hunters they are. I know it is the natural order of things but sometimes the prey species makes you a wee bit sad, very much so in this case.



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Down a wee bit later yesterday for a mooch in the sunshine, a nip in the air but getting drier underfoot with every sunny day that goes by. As an old Sand Quarry site the drainage is good and the paths dry out very quickly given the chance smile

Again a Smew-less day but the over-riding feature was the number of fishermen present, the place was jammed!! But they do own the lakes & the land so it is due to their tolerance that we are allowed on at all smile Possibly as a result of all the activity no Gadwall were seen either, almost certainly skulking out of the way, both species will probably reappear this week in the week. Pretty much as per the norm on patch with stunning views of Treecreeper in the sun and Goldcrest showing well too. The Fieldfare flock is still around, at least 80 birds were in stubble fields near the pine belt with about 30 Redwings also. As everyone keeps saying the Green Woodpeckers were yet again easy to catch up with, just follow the yaffle! A big female Sparrowhawk was up thermalling with a Buzzard too.

I have now written the first two months of the Annual Wildlife Report for the site, this will be ready early in 2017 and available at Focalpoint Optics shop unit I hope smile



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sid ashton wrote:
Doc Brewster wrote:

Good to meet up with many familiar faces on patch, good to chat again Sid, but so so sorry that the Smew did one of its no show days today for all concerned. Despite that it was a 50 species day for me with several good birds.


 Not to worry Paul it wouldn't have been the first Smew I had seen.  Enjoyed your patch and the lunch at Whitegate Station Cafe was excellent, thanks for the tip wink


Sorry to miss you Sid. You must have been asleep in the Cafe after your lunchsmile , as "we four" were there as well for the first time. No Smew either for us.

It's the first time I have been"evicted"  by a fisherman who was setting up for THREE days!. We had just finished eating so, not so bad.

It is a nice patch, I am sure we will go again. I saw the Green Woodpecker fly off, and if I had been taller, would have seen it over the fence on the garden path like the others!! I will have to wait for tomorrow to get the report on how may species we(or rather our lead birder saw).- but we had fine views of Redwing, and a Goldcrest as well.

 

Regards

Geoff

 

 



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I know you'll have seen lots, Sid, and even this one before but when I see her so often it's frustrating when she doesn't show to visitors! She is definitely getting more flighty and less reliable of recent days. I even popped back late afternoon just in case she returned to either pool but again no sign. I did see Collared Doves mating on a farm barn roof though! As a scarcer bird on this patch that does mean an increase in population soon biggrin



-- Edited by Doc Brewster on Friday 18th of March 2016 09:55:48 PM

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Doc Brewster wrote:

Good to meet up with many familiar faces on patch, good to chat again Sid, but so so sorry that the Smew did one of its no show days today for all concerned. Despite that it was a 50 species day for me with several good birds.


 Not to worry Paul it wouldn't have been the first Smew I had seen.  Enjoyed your patch and the lunch at Whitegate Station Cafe was excellent, thanks for the tip wink



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Another dry day, albeit a lot colder & cloudier, but still nice weather for birding, and as they say, "beats working" wink

Good to meet up with many familiar faces on patch, good to chat again Sid, but so so sorry that the Smew did one of its no show days today for all concerned. Despite that it was a 50 species day for me with several good birds.

Star bird had to be the first Spring Chiffchaff, a non-calling bird up near the path bisecting Gull Pool and Sandiway Small Pool, other birders had told me of one in another area so maybe two on patch at least. Other highlights included a massive flock of 200 Fieldfares, 30 Redwings and 60 Linnets, all feeding on stubble fields on the north side of my recording area. At least two Green Woodpeckers showed well with possibly two more calling. Four Skylarks flew over and another two were heard singing. My biggest ever single day count of Shovelers was achieved with 8(5 drakes), 6 of which were on Big Pool. The Tawny Owl was heard again in Gull Pool wood. Stock Doves were paired up and seen at a couple of locations.

Other birds were as per usual, duck numbers seemed down again, Great Crested & Little Grebes were paired up, and Goldfinches were seen in their pretty display flight. Hopefully the Smew is still around, I suspect she is, but she is definitely harder to pin down these days. Hopefully these bulletins will also now be filled with migrant arrival news, watch this space smile



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Another early start on a lovely day, the site is really drying up, no wellies needed.......... for now!!

A check of Sandiway Small Pool revealed lots of fishermen, and chatting to them many were overnighters. Consequently there were fewer ducks on this pool, 12 Wigeon and a couple of Gadwall being the main birds present. Heading over to Big Pool I relocated the female Smew, again displaying to her favourite Canada Goose around the spit area. A rough total of 50 Tufted Ducks were on the two pools and whilst there a big flock of Canada Geese dropped in, c.48 being on site afterwards.

One real surprise was that the Common Snipe was back in its old area on submerged twigs, again swimming to relocate when disturbed by Coot. About 20 Fieldfares and a few Redwings were still around. At least 2 Green Woodpeckers were yaffling like mad and Great Spotted Woodpeckers were drumming. As the sun warmed up the air, Buzzards took advantage with 6 birds seen, no doubt there were more. One Rook flew over, one of the rarer corvids at Newchurch Common.

Well over 40 species recorded again and a long chat with a landowner on the Common (he & his brother own much of the land). Fascinating hearing the history of the site and great that he offered me access to private areas that he & his brother own smile



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Again a relatively early morning visit and the first thing that struck me was the increase in fishermen! Increasing water temperatures make for better fishing at this time of the year so I'm not surprised. Also a noteworthy day in that I used walking boots rather than wellies for the first time this 'winter', a mistake as it happened as I ended up in 6 inch deep mud/slurry at one point no

At first no sign of the Smew on either pool, or on two 'private' pools that I checked out ( wink ) but on returning to Sandiway Small Pool she was again with the Tufted Ducks. A male Reed Bunting (scarce here) was seen and Fieldfares & Redwings continued their stay on site. Both Green & Great Spotted Woodpeckers were again present. A male Siskin was seen this time in a totally different area from Sunday's females. Otherwise the usual array of birds but again over 40 species recorded smile



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A morning visit was again very productive for Carys and I in the warm March sunshine.

Again the female Smew was on Sandiway Small Pool, this time in the company of Tufted Ducks rather than chasing the poor Canada Goose! On Big Pool a pair of Shovelers was a surprise and a Kingfisher was also seen. Three female Siskins were in alders near Small Pool and a Tawny Owl briefly hooted from nearby. Green and Great Spotted Woodpeckers were both still present. A Sparrowhawk thermalled in the company of a Buzzard over the site. A Herring Gull flew through spooking the Black-headed Gull flock. On the fields at least 60 Fieldfares, 20 Redwings and 15 Linnets were still present.



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I have found the female display behaviour here:

http://ibc.lynxeds.com/video/smew-mergus-albellus/female-displays-male-then-chased-another-male

This is exactly what she was doing to the Canada Goose in her 'jerky display' as described in my previous post smile



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Popped down after the early morning visit to Marbury CP and did a shorter route round than usual but this still produced the benchmark 40 species that I try for each time wink

The main news was that the female Smew was on Sandiway Small Pool which she later left and path hopped over to Big Pool mid afternoon. I watched & photographed her over a long period and saw some very weird behaviour. She was following one particular Canada Goose (which itself was already paired up) and displaying to it with forward head jerking as she raised her front end out of the water, a bit like Goldeneye display in jerkyness & speed but with different moves! The she would 'lay' low in the water, head stretched out flat and tailed raised, almost as if she wanted to be mounted & mated. She was also vocalising but too far away for me to hear. Of course the Canada Goose ignored all this totally and eventually she gave up for a while but returned to the Canada Goose flack later until she was flushed by a dog walker throwing a ball into the goose flock for 'fun' no

Otherwise a Kingfisher was on Small Pool with the majority of the ducks, albeit in reduced numbers, but no Goosanders today. Green and Great Spotted Woodpeckers were present. Redwing lingered still but I didn't go to where I had seen Fieldfares recently. Four Meadow Pipits were in the empy paddocks with at least 6 Pied Wagtails. My hopes are for Wheatears, White Wagtails and Yellow Wagtails when passage begins.



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Spent a couple of hours down here this morning and again productive, both for birds and for info.

The bird(s) of the day was a flock of 8 Skylarks, a new patch bird since I have started listing here, a couple were singing too over farm fields to the N.of Sandiway Big Pool. In a nearby field a huge mixed flock feeding on old stubble areas which have recently been 'muck-spread' included 120 Fieldfares (looking spectacular), up to 35 Redwings, 20+Linnets, Goldfinches and Starlings. I backed off my usual route so as not to disturb them. Other noteworthy passerines included a single Siskin again, a Lesser Redpoll calling in finch hedge where Bullfinches still fed and two Goldcrests picking there way through adjacent trees. A Green Woodpecker called near the empty paddocks.

On the pools a pair of Goosander remained on Sandiway Small Pool as well as a Kingfisher here, but no Smew. Two Greylag Geese dropped in briefly on Sandiway Big Pool, a patch yeartick for 2016. At Small Pool I chanced upon the angler who first found the Smew two years ago and informed me of it & sent me photos in winter 2014-15, allowing me to broadcast the news smile He has been doing management on his 'secret' peg on small pool every day for over a week and feeding the swim, so he has monitored the Smew's presence. He passed on really useful info and will also be checking the other waters he has seen it on previously & let me know if it is still around. If any have public access I will of course post here smile



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Thanks Dave. Not surprised about the Smew, she will be there on & off for a bit yet. I have had reports on Small Pool that have related to redhead Goosander on there, seen from a distance with and without bins, so visitors do beware of third hand reports (I had 2 fishermen separately point the 'Smew' out & it was a Goosander!!). Pairs of Kingfisher breed on both lakes and at the moment are showing well, carrying fish male to female, get ya cameras out!! Agree the Green Woodpeckers are much more noticeable again and at least two pairs of those too :)



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Just an update on the Smew. She was present on small Sandiway fishing pool on Saturday 5th March. Also seen was a male Kingfisher at this pool and both male and female Green Woodpecker in the horse paddocks.

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Popped down mid afternoon for a short visit, really to check on the Smew rather than have a full walk round.

No sign again of the female Smew, the last sighting now being last Tuesday March 1st, but as before I would not write off further sightings of her yet!! Two Goosanders (1 drake) were on Sandiway Small Pool as well as good numbers of Tufted Ducks, a few Wigeon and hardly any Gadwall, numbers of the latter two species being significantly down on recent counts.

Nine Fieldfares and a single Redwing were seen, as well as a couple of Bullfinches and two Buzzards.



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