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Post Info TOPIC: Newchurch Common


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RE: Newchurch Common


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

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



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



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

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

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

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



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



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

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



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

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



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

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

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



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

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

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



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

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



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



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

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

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



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

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

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



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



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

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



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

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

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



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



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



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



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

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

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



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



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

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



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



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A bit longer walk today as I improve!

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



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

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



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



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Down again this morning in the sun.

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



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

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

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



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

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

 



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

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

Other non-bird sightings are in the other thread smile



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

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

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



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

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



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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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