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Post Info TOPIC: Newchurch Common


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RE: Newchurch Common


M Gannon wrote:

the female smew was still in the west corner of the big lake this evening. If the conditions had been better I might have got some good pictures, as it was staying pretty still and only diving occasionally, but I didn't get there until It was going dark. Still, a lifer for me; my second in three days


 Glad to have been of help in getting you a lifer smile It's been the case recently that even during the day the overcast conditions have made photography more difficult for all the birds. West Bay is one of its favoured haunts as I said in my last post, so always a good place to look first. I'll be down tomorrow but don't expect the light to be any better!!



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the female smew was still in the west corner of the big lake this evening. If the conditions had been better I might have got some good pictures, as it was staying pretty still and only diving occasionally, but I didn't get there until It was going dark. Still, a lifer for me; my second in three days

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My usual Tuesday morning visit on an overcast but dry morning.

The female Smew was in a slightly different area of Sandiway Big Pool but then found its way into West Bay. The drake Goosander did the same but was very mobile and wary. Just a single drake Pochard was present as well as a pair of Teal. A Green Woodpecker was seen twice.... or I saw two and a Great Spotted Woodpecker was present too as well as a couple of Nuthatches. Both Herring & Lesser Black-backed Gulls were seen. More unusual were parties of 15 Rooks and 15 Stock Doves on farm fields to the north of the Big Pool. Unusually only 1 Redwing was seen, although the holly berries that they had been feeding on are now all gone.

I'm now starting to mentally prepare for the start of the 2016 yearlist, and I am hoping to forego most twitching and travelling for scarce & rare birds next year in favour of local patching Newchurch Common with the possibility of producing a site report and having the sightings up in the Whitegate Station Cafe. It will certainly reduce my carbon footprint and that can't be a bad thing smile



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Brief visit early afternoon, can't do long visits in the afternoons at the moment as the nights are drawing in so fast everything goes to roost very very early!

Female Smew still on Sandiway Big Pool in West Bay showing very well. Near north shore of Big Pool was a stunning drake Goosander, a good bird in the Northwich area, following on from my 2 females a few weeks ago' The 5 drake Pochards were still in with the Tufted Ducks. Redwings and a few Fieldfares were again present and a couple of Great Spotted Woodpeckers were seen. Two Great Black-backed Gulls flew over again with a single Lesser Black-backed Gull with them giving a nice size comparison.



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Female Smew getting closer to staying until yearlisting 2016 starts!! Still on Sandiway Big Lake diving & feeding constantly again distantly near the north shore, hard to find initially! The 5 drake Pochards are still on the same lake. Otherwise it was just a quick nip down to see if anything new had dropped in - the amswer to that was no, not that I could see smile



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Late post for yesterday.

Popped down early afternoon in drizzly weather which brightened later. The female Smew remained on Sandiway Big Pool but distant over near north shore for a change. There were now 5 drake Pochards on this pool too, and Wigeon numbers are pushing the three figure mark. The Green Woodpecker was again seen near the paddocks as well as a Great Spotted Woodpecker and a Nuthatch. A patch first for me in the shape of 2 Great Black-backed Gulls flew over, probably as a result of Storm Desmond, they languidly flapped over so low I could see their pale pink legs!! After seeing my first patch Collared Doves the other day I had another, on the wires at Daleford Farm viewed from near Kennel Lane, just like buses eh!!

Underfoot it is getting more and more cut up away from the main track so wellies advised if you are going to have a good wander around. Sorry to have missed you, Frank, if I hadn't have been working I could have met you & given you a lift to & from Cuddington, maybe next time. Anyone popping down please do let me know & if I have a day off I would love to show you round smile



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I'll see if I can have a word & if I start to post sightings on a board in the cafe & do a site report as I plan, as well as possibly getting Focalpoint involved with optics displays there, then he might be persuaded. thanks for the one-up on this Frank smile



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Yes thanks , walked back part of the old railway line and through the caravan park , had a good talk with the owner who was interested but not very knowledgeable , he did not want barn owls in his barn so told him the current plight and tried to convince him to put up a box somewhere but it fell on deaf ears , needs a local to convince him and he might relent

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Frank Whitney wrote:

Having a look around today and will be walking from Cuddington so if you could give some directions that would be great


 Sent you a full message on Facebook, Frank, that I know you got OK because I got your reply, have fun smile

I gave you the shortest route on there, via the roads. An alternate route & more picturesque would be to pick up the Whitegate Way in Cuddington & head southwards to the south end of the common smile



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Having a look around today and will be walking from Cuddington so if you could give some directions that would be great

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Back again to take advantage of this mornings improved weather smile

Female Smew & 4 drake Pochards still on Sandiway Big Pool, all showing well. Increased numbers of Wigeon with over 60 birds now. The drake Shoveler was seen too. At least 200 Chaffinches were seen distantly feeding on inaccessible private fields and a few white rumps were evident amongst them inicating that some Bramblings are still aound. A couple of Sparrowhawks were seen as well as a Buzzard. At least 2 Goldcrests were in the pines at the E.end of Big Pool.

First visit to Whitegate Station Cafe, community run it is highly recommended, hot choc (with squirty cream & marshmallows) and orange drizzle cake was very reviving. they have asked me to possibly supply bird sightings for them to display in the cafe, so watch this space smile  Car parking is available there if anyone wants to access Newchurch Common from the Whitegate way as an alternative to parking at Novia Scotia.



-- Edited by Doc Brewster on Friday 4th of December 2015 09:32:51 PM

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A while since I was down at the 'Common' so popped down for a morning today, a bit dreicht, but braved the conditions & got a full mornings birding in smile

I added two new species to my new patch list, the easy ones keep falling but I know it will get more difficult! These easy ones were Collared Dove, surprisingly scarce here, and Herring Gull (3 flew over). The female Smew still lurked in West Bay of Sandiway Big Pool where 4 drake Pochard were a new addition. These birds were pretty skittish though, moving between Big Pool & Small Pool a couple of times. A pair of Shovelers were on Big Pool, a species I don't always see here. I refound a large flock of Chaffinches after I hadn't seen any significant numbers for a while, but they were out in the middle of the stubble field on the N.side of Big Pool, so no chance of checking for Bramblings. Large numbers of Redwings were feeding on holly berries in the horse paddocks along with a few Fieldfares. My second ever sighting of Coal Tit here came near Sandiway Small Pool.

Hopefully going back tomorrow with the intention of checking out Whitegate Station Cafe & its home made cakes and hot chocolate biggrin



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Managed a quick hour down at the common this morning and was rewarded with a new patch bird for my newly started patch list, nothing to get excited about normally as they even breed in my garden, but a new bird is a new bird, it was a lone Coal Tit feeding in loose association with a Goldcrest and Blue Tits in Gull Pool Wood (private, so viewed from the path that runs along the west side of Sandiway Small Pool). Also in this area was a Treecreeper, not seen on many visits here so very nice to see.

The female Smew and the female Pochard both remained on Sandiway Big Pool. Redwing numbers seem to have increased with flocks using the paddocks at the east end of the site, probably numbering over 80, possibly over 100. Stock Doves and Nuthatches were again present.

Chatting to a local the bad news is that the paddocks where I photographed the Green Woodpecker are up for sale, and locals are fearful of a builder buying it for housing no



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Bit of a gap since my last visit due to work & weather!

The female Smew is still in residence on Sandiway Big Pool, and a new bird in for me was a female Pochard in amongst the Tufted Ducks. As a change I decided to do the south end of the common, that's the Whitegate Way side S.of Sandiway Small Pool. Ravens were present as well as a flock of Redwings and a Song Thrush in the horse paddocks. Also here was a large flock of House Sparrows, scarce elsewhere on this patch and a Greenfinch, also a patch first for me (but I have only just formally started recording on here!!). Other birds not seen on every visit included a Kingfisher, a Pied Wagtail and a couple of Nuthatches.



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Popped back again today taking advantage of a 2 day weekend after working the last 3 Saturdays smile

The female Smew was still present on Sandiway Big Pool, feeding out in the middle favouring the east side slightly. No sign of yesterdays Goldeneye, true to form of all the noteworthy duck appearances this winter at this site (other than the Smew) being one day events! The Green Woodpecker was again showing fantastically well in the paddocks in the sunshine, allowing my best ever digiscoped shots of this species smile A Great Spotted Woodpecker was in the same location. Two Kingfishers were seen on Sandiway Big Lake in the West Bay area. Three Fieldfares and three Mistle Thrushes were on the north side with Redwings and a Song Thrush also seen to collect the set of thrushes! A few Stock Doves were about but no sign of the large finch flock in the usual locations today. Great to bump into Wrexham birder and mate, Rhys Richards today, nice to share my new patch for a while smile



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Latest installment in the Newchurch Common saga:

Afternoon visit started with a cracking close Green Woodpecker in the paddocks near the parking area on Nova Scotia Lane along with several Redwings. Then on to the lakes, the female Smew was back in West Bay on Sandiway Big Pool, a bit more sheltered given the blustery conditions of late. Later we picked out a pair of Goldeneye over on the east side of the lake, the drake looking splendid in the golden rays of the setting sun. Again it was great to show visiting birders the Smew, on my last visit it was a fisherman who showed an interest and watched it for ages through my scope smile A Goldcrest and several Siskins were again seen but the Chaffinch flock was well out on the maize field and in the fading light was hard to observe.

Just a note, as a local mentioned this to me, could visitors if possible pull up in the usual parking spots (you are able to get two wheels off the road) on the RHS as you get to near the fishermans gate on Novia Scotia Lane, and not turn left and park on the road to the estate past the paddocks as this blocks half the road and horse boxes use this road, cheers smile



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Popped down again for a short morning walk and had a few bits and bobs of note.

The female Smew was still on Sandiway Big Pool but now with better weather she was back feeding close to the shore just up from East Bay, no need to shelter in West Bay today. No other waterbirds of note other than the usual array. Again a large flock of Chaffinches was evident and this time I counted at least 6 Bramblings, showing very well in the bare trees, a flock of 10 Siskins was loosely associating with this flock too. Two Ravens were noisily chasing each other, I presume as early nesters this was pair bonding going on, they were so busy that I had fabulous views as they flew low over my head. For the first time in several visits I had a woodpecker, a single Great Spotted Woodpecker and also I saw a single Goldcrest.

Just in case anyone is heading down this week it is very muddy, even on the main track as they have been harvesting maize & the tractors have churned the track up, wellies are recommended or a good pair of walking boots smile



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Again given a small weather window in which to get out on my day off I decided, that seeing as I would only have 1.5hrs at the most, to nip to Newchurch Common again. So it was I started at 9am walking onto site to see what I could see today!

Given the recent habits of a sizeable chunk of the Aythya flock I headed first to the West Bay of Sandiway Big Pool where, true to form, the female Smew was loafing amongst around 30 Tufted Ducks. The whole pool was again checked and again Wigeon & Gadwall numbered over 30 apiece. A single Lesser Black-backed Gull was present, otherwise all as normal. No Goosanders were seen at all, as with most unusual sightings at this site they only seemed to have stayed for a single day!

The best sighting passerine-wise was seeing at least 3 (but almost certainly more) Bramblings in the large Chaffinch flock, which was favouring a newly cut maize field just west of Sandiway Small Pool. The Bramblings showed well enough for record digiscoped shots, showing far better than when I saw the first Brambling last week. At one point I had the great sight of one Brambling (along with Chaffinches) mobbing a female Sparrowhawk, which flew lazily over the trees in which the finch flock were perching up. A single Siskin was seen and a couple of stunning male Bullfinches were also present.

All too soon the rain started so I headed off back home for a cuppa & to warm up smile



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Watching the weather forecast I realised that we had a weather window in the afternoon, so we headed down to the new patch again, not expecting a lot as it was still very blustery and cold & damp!

The female Smew was, as expected, still on Big Sandiway Lake, nestled down in West Bay out of the wind and showing very well pretty close to shore. Again 30+ Wigeon were present but passerines were notable by their absence. Three Lesser Black-backed Gulls joined increased numbers of Black-headed Gulls and Common Gulls, hopefully a sign of things to come, a nice pre-roost of gulls to search through this winter would be nice smile The most notable sighting was on Sandiway Small Pool (the fishing pool to the south of the main track) where I picked up 2 distant ducks continuously diving and staying up for such a short time that ID with bins at that range and in such bad light was difficult. Getting the scope up I was chuffed to see 2 female Goosanders diving very close to the far bank, a new bird for me on site and one I had always felt I would find on Big Pool rather than the smaller one. Whilst watching these Carys picked up a large flock of tits containg Blue, Great and Long-tailed Tits, but best of all a Treecreeper. The wind had died down by now and we were convinced that passerines were putting in a last appearance in order to feed before dusk, hence the sudden activity amongst tit & finch flocks that we could see.

What had looked like a less than promising day had produced two new birds for my list for Newchurch Common and had let me continue monitoring the Smew ready for everyone's 2016 yearlist wink



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A wet and windy day and I luckily spent it in the dry and relative warmth at work at Focalpoint Optics, but still got news of the female Smew courtesy of Dave Bowman and his birding group who called in early afternoon. They had been watching the Smew and had good views in East Bay on Sandiway Big Pool. Hopefully I will get the chance to pop down pre-rain (as per the BBC Forecast) tomorrow smile Great to see everyone and have a chat, hopefully I'll bump into many of you again smile 



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I had the luxury of a whole morning to go birding so after the adrenaline rush of the Crag Martin on Tuesday it was time to get back to local patching wink

The highlight on this visit was my first site Brambling, a stunning male in amongst over a hundred Chaffinches on stubble fields by the north shore of Sandiway Big Pool. The female Smew was still on this pool and very actively diving all the time I was there. Wigeon numbers were still up over 30 as were Gadwall. My first Shoveler of this winter, a drake, lurked amongst bankside vegetation on Big Pool and a single female Teal came out of cover briefly.

In the pine trees I saw at least 2 Goldcrests and 2 Nuthatches, but for the second visit running no sight or sound of any woodpeckers. Other birds seen included Redwing, Stock Dove, Mistle Thrush, Buzzard and Little Grebe. The most unexpected moment was when whilst standing still amongst the pines a Sparrowhawk shot straight at me, suddenly realised I was there and ditched into a patch of bracken, only to take off again in a flurry of wings and head away across the fields! Don't know who was more surprised smile

Nice to be out in the sunshine and nice to add a new bird to my site list biggrin



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A quick update to keep all informed. A very quick visit today due to inclement weather, but couldn't stay inside all day so just had to nip out smile

The female Smew was still on Sandiway Big Pool, favouring the West Bay where it was tucked away in a sheltered corner with quite a large proportion of the lakes Tufted Ducks. Well over 30 Wigeon now on the two lakes as well as an increase in Great Crested Grebes (10+) and Cormorants (7). Passerines were notable by their absence in the cold, blustery, wet conditions, just a few tit flocks and finch groups favouring the deep hedgerows.



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Female Smew still around the East Bay shoreline of the Big Sandiway Pool, N.of the main track today, around about midday when I called in for a brief visit. At least 20 Wigeon again. All the other usual common stuff mentioned in previous posts, nothing else new!



-- Edited by Doc Brewster on Tuesday 3rd of November 2015 09:26:46 PM

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Sunday.   Nov 1st.        12.30 - 14.00 hrs.

Smew. Good views  but it did have a giddy 20 mins of constant diving before resuming loafing about.

Wigeon.

Gadwall.

Jay.

Great spotted woodpecker.

 

Roger.



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Continuing in my greener birding quest I again resisted the temptation to yearlist a few possible birds that had appeared on the pager yesterday in favour of local stuff again! Waking to quite thick fog & knowing that I was heading for water bodies was a smallsetback, but we continued with our plan.

On arrival at Neuchurch Common two birders were leaving with the news that they couldn't find the Smew. I promised that I would put it onto the pagers as quickly as possible so they could yeartick it as they too were birding in Cheshire today. Within 10 minutes from East Bay of Big Pool of Sandiway Lakes (the official name for these waters) we found the Smew mooching about quite close in. For at least the next hour it spent all its time in East Bay, but moved from one side to the other between feeding & resting up. The fog never really lifetd and we commented that if the other birders had looked from other vantage points then they probably wouldn't have seen the bird. Despite a thorough search the Goldeneye was not seen, but again Wigeon numbers were up into the teens as were Gadwall. A couple of Bullfinches were new birds for this winter end but on the whole the passerines were eerily quiet on this foggy morn after All Hallows E'en



-- Edited by Doc Brewster on Sunday 1st of November 2015 04:13:49 PM

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In a short visit this afternoon we saw the Smew yet again in the centre of the Big Pool N.of the main track and also had the first Goldeneye of this years end, a female bird on the Big Pool also. A flock of 20 Stock Doves was a great sight in the adjacent farm fields. Other than that it was all the usuals smile



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Had an afternoon spare so down to Newchurch Common for an hour again and soon found the Smew, again feeding out in the centre of the Big Pool N.of the main track through, viewed from East Bay. It drifted over to the N.shore and I viewed it at close range from an old fishing peg on that side of the pool. Wigeon numbers were up with about 20 birds and all the usual waterbirds were also present. A Green Woodpecker and a Kingfisher were again seen. New for this autumn/winter for me for the site was a Stock Dove and a group of 8 Mistle Thrushes. Redwings were seen again as were the usual passerines from previous posts!



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Great that you enjoyed it Adam smile I saw the crowd at the fishing peg, but it was gathering as we were leaving otherwise I would have come & said hello!!

A quick post script to yesterdays sightings: I also popped down to Winsford Bottom Flash on my way home from the Common in case the Ruddy Shelduck was the one seen there earlier in 2015 but no sign at all. It came in on Sunday with a small flock of Canada Geese (& a couple of Greylags) so find that carrier flock & we could find the Ruddy Shelduck smile

 



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I had a good walk around the site on Sunday, and thoroughly enjoyed my time here. I went to the East and North side first, with lots of Goldcrests and Tit flocks in the wooded areas. The North end had lots of activity, with plenty of Jays, Great Spotted and Green Woodpeckers, Bullfinch, Chaffinch and Goldfinch. There were lots of Skylark over the farmland here too. Siskin and Buzzard were also good to see. I eventually made my way back round to the southerly side and joined the crowd at the fishing peg, and got great views of the Smew and Ruddy Shelduck. A shame that you can't walk a full circuit, but a great site none the less. Thanks for the updates and info on here. It's priceless.smile



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Yep as I said Tim, she was a pain to find today, usually a lot easier. There are 2 lakes, the smaller one can be viewed from several points including fishing pegs too but some places that are not pegs. The large lake has a couple of viewing places that aren't pegs (mainly on the E.shore) but as you say most are! Which is a pain when it is busy. Talking about busy, I have never seen so many other birders & photographers around, shows that these forums draw the crowds in as I post mainly on here with these sightings from the common!! It is a good site though & does repay constant watching (as most patches do!!), I have had Hobby here in the past, not surprising as it is one of the top dragonfly sites in Cheshire.



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Glad I took my big scope today as the Smew was way off on the north bank of the north lake. Took half an hour to find. Never been to this site before but it's ringed with trees and bushes and only the anglers' pitches provide any decent viewing. Kingfisher amongst other common species seen



-- Edited by Tim Wilcox on Tuesday 27th of October 2015 08:52:59 PM

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Early morning visit again to the common. The female Smew was still present out in the middle if the big pool N.of the main track, constantly diving & feeding with a small group of Tufted Ducks, and was a pain to find, taking over an hour to locate, it could have been tucked under bankside vegetation initially too. Its favoured bay was heavily fished this morning hence its relocation to a different part of the pool. At least 12 Wigeon were present as well as 2+Little Grebes and 6 Great Crseted Grebes. 2 Redwings flew over and both Green & Great Spotted Woodpeckers were present. 11 Lapwings flew over the small pool and a Kingfisher flew over the big pool. Common Gull numbers seem to be increasing with plenty of Black-headed Gulls too, maybe time for a Mediterranean Gull methinks smile

The other usual birds were around with Jays especially plentiful, both seen & heard. A pleasant morning in the sun on my 'new' patch!!



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No problem John smile

I agree it is a female Smew, been there 3 winters (if you read back in my posts!!). The pagers tend to like to put 'redhead', I put it out as female on my grapevine. There have been several reports from Cheshire sites for a number of years now regarding Ruddy Shelducks & we don't know whether they refer to more than one bird, so hard to say which this one is.

The fishermen in the E.bay viewing location had been there from early doors, how dare they wink A walk a bit further round gives a great viewing location from another fishing peg.



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At 15:15 yesterday, had a look at N Pool

- Smew (smart redhead, presumably female if it is the same bird as last winter)
- Ruddy Shelduck (female, presumably the same female as at Winsford Bottom Flash last winter)

Both birds drifting about N Pool, west side, though we saw them from NE corner. Note, fishermen occupying usual East Bay location. Birds could be viewed close-up from W side
Also:
- Green Woodpecker (h)
- 2 Fieldfare & Squirrel in small tree across field from Eastern parking spot

Thanks for the news, Doc


-- Edited by John Watson on Monday 26th of October 2015 08:45:04 AM

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Saw on the pagers a report of a drake Bufflehead in Cumbria and was tempted, but seeing as it wasn't a lifer & the escape potential was high we decided to do a 'local patch' walk instead. A good decision as it turns out as the Bufflehead bore a plastic ring marking it as an escape!

Got down pretty early to Newchurch Common and soon located the redhead Smew lurking in the edge of the SW corner of the Big Lake, it later was feeding out in the middle performing for the relatively large numbers of birders & photographers on site today, the biggest number that I have ever seen down there!! A scan of the lake soon had my second 'find' of the autumn/winter in the shape of a Ruddy Shelduck with the Canada Geese. Again later on the assembled throng seemed to be enjoying this bird too. Bothe scarce ducks were duly reported in to RBA Pagers once I could get mobile reception (which for me is q.patchy across this site).

Other birds of note were 3 Fieldfares flying over (my first this winter end), a Green Woodpecker again in its usual area, 2 or possibly 3 Kingfishers, 12 Wigeon, 10 Gadwall, 8 Cormorants, 5 Great Crested Grebes & 4 Little Grebes. Usuals included Common Gull, Jay, increased numbers of Tufted Ducks, 2 Greylag Geese and a Buzzard.

 

That's 2 good ducks found so far this year end, looking forward to more visits smile



-- Edited by Doc Brewster on Sunday 25th of October 2015 01:19:22 PM

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Had a message texted to me to say that the redhead Smew was still present on the Big Pool N.of the main track here today smile



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Popped down again to spend a sunny morning at Newchurch Common. At first sight the signs looked bad, many of the Tufted Ducks had shipped out and no Wigeon at all on the Big Lake. A Teal out in the centre was a start but I thought that I had better check the Small Pool. A few Tufted Ducks were on there as well as 4 Gadwall, 4 Wigeon and 2 Little Grebes, but still no Smew.

Over 50 Redwings were flying about over the track as well as 20+Goldfinch and a mixed tit flock containing lots of Long-tailed Tits. A Robin was chasing a Migrant Hawker Dragonfly in the west fishermans car park with no chance of catching it! I walked to other viewpoints to see more of the Big Lake & eventually found the redhead Smew tucked away near the overhanging vegetation in the bay at the SE end of the lake. Settling down on a nearby fishing peg I enjoyed stunning close views and got some nice pics of this scarce sawbill. Despite a thorough search no sign of Joel's Scaup and even my very white-faced Tufted Ducks had left the lake, leaving this samller flock behind. Hopefully the Scaup will return when more Tufted Ducks return, I'll keep an eye out for that and any other goodies. Other birds on the lake were the usual suspects, Grea Crested Grebes (feeding a well grown young bird with several sizeable fish!), hundreds of Coot, 60 Canada Geese and a few Common Gulls amongst the Black-headed Gulls.

The Smew was still in the same bay when I left at 11.55am, and the only significant additions to the daylist were Nuthatch and Bullfinch, both by the main track. I intend to keep an eye on the site all winter now since the 'Marbury Patch' has enough dedicated watchers!! Hope to meet a few more Forum Members down there, please say hello & we can do some birding together I hope smile

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Well done on the Scaup, Joel, I checked the Tufties on the day I found the Smew & all that there was present were several very white-faced females, so this bird may have arrived more recently than my first visit. I have seen the pics and it's a great find, all credit to you. The aythya flock does build up as winter progresses so for anyone going there is always the chance of a 'find', feels like the old days when my patch was Chorlton WP in its heyday of 1000+ aythya flocks.

On a more flippant note, Joel, what type of jugs did the 7 Mute Swans have? wink

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Late report for Sunday.
1:50 till 5:00
The red headed smew was first viewed asleep in the middle of the pool and to the western side of the middle but the way I found it was unusual...
So I arrived and went straight to the area sticking out on the east side to eat lunch and scan the lake with the best panoramic view. As I arrived I quickly picked up on a pale aythya in the east bay, I decided to move around the lake to the middle of the east bay and got great views of it. I got some nice photos which were later identified as a first winter drake greater scaup. As I was watching I noticed the smew behind it which I thendecided to move around the lake to the south side where it had apparently woken up and was feeding in the east bay. I rushed around to the best point on. The east side and saw it fishing 2 meters out from the shore.
Other birds of note.
2 little grebes
7 great crested grebes
7 common gulls
19 black headed gullsl
A pair of gadwall
2 female wigeon
7 mute swans with 2 jugs and I accidentally stumbled across a headless swan with its chest ripped open, couldn't see legs or rings.
9 moorhens
Many coots
1 greylag goose
37 Canada geese
78 tufted ducks
7 mallards
As I arrived 3 cormorants which circled high above the lake flying off South.
19 lapwings flew off from a field South of the lake circled very low over the lake before landing on the field North.
1 kingfisher
179+ redwing (it was all I could fit into on photo.) flew over circled and landed on a field to the east.
1 fieldfare
1 kestrel
Brilliant day out and I must visit this site a lot more this winter than last.



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a mooch around from 1.30-5.30pm, 48 species seen.

redhead smew, showing well in the northern corner of the big pool (where I came in from) & spent most of the time along the western side throughout the time I was there.
89 tufted duck
302+ coot
5 wigeon
3 teal
1 gadwall
50 Canada goose
3 greylag goose
9 mute swan, 1 adult attacking a juvenile & trying to get on its back, I presume to try & drown it, it got away eventually.
9 great crested grebe
3 little grebe
1 buzzard
1 sparrowhawk
4 cormorant
1 great spotted woodpecker
green woodpecker, heard only
2 treecreeper
5 jay
2 lapwing, over
73 redwing
3 fieldfare
2 pied wagtail
1 grey wagtail
4 bullfinch
5 chaffinch
2 linnet
8 siskin
several goldcrest around
plus all the usuals.
smile

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saburke


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Smew 1 redhead.
Little Grebe 1
Great Crested Grebes
Tufted Ducks
Wigeons 15+
Skylark 1 singing.
Siskins
Goldcrests
Green Woodpecker 1
Nuthatch 1
Coots
Mute Swans
Greylag Geese
Buzzard 1

etc.etc.etc.

-- Edited by Ian McKerchar on Friday 16th of October 2015 09:15:25 PM

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Phil Greenwood


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Doc Brewster wrote:

The star bird by far was a redhead Smew, the returning bird from last winter...

Thanks for the 'heads up' again Doc. Also only a few minutes away from me, I went for a look and to try and get a very decent year tick. The Smew duly obliged, still favouring the east Bay Area.


 



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Not wanting to head out too far, after coming down with a horrid cold but wanting to make the most of the October sunshine, we headed out to Newchurch Common again. The star bird by far was a redhead Smew, the returning bird from last winter in with the growing Tufted Duck flock. A single Wigeon was in the same flock, all on the Big Pool north of the track through the site that continues on from Novia Scotia Lane, where you park. So that is the usual spot for anyone who went last winter! Also on this pool were Great Crested Grebes with well grown young, Little Grebes and a Cormorant. On the smaller fishing pool south of the track there were a couple of Gadwall, more Tufted Ducks and a Common Gull with the Black-headed Gulls. Plenty of Jays were in evidence in this oak-rich area and a yaffling Green Woodpecker flew over the main track.

As winter progresses this site will keep getting better, and I will keep checking it, but nice to see that the Smew is already back in residence smile



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Seeing as how it brightened up a little this afternoon I decided to visit one of my nearest sites, Newchurch Common, Gull Pool and The Whitegate Way.

Best bird was a Cuckoo, calling very frequently all the time I was on site and showing over the Big Pool (the one the Smew favoured) moving between the bankside trees and the island several times. At the SW corner of the Fishing Pool a Garden warbler was singing and showed well in the willows. A Sedge Warbler was singing by the entrance track but only as I arrived, not when I left. Several Blackcaps, Willow Warblers and Chiffchaffs made up the complement of warblers for the day. Other birds of note were flyover singles of Curlew and Lapwing and on the pools Great Crested and Little Grebes.

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Quick visit seeing as though we were only down the road at Winsford.

Mainly usuals including...
Plenty of Blackbirds
Robins
Great Tit
Blue Tit
Rooks
Jay (2 heard, 1 seen)
2 Common Buzzard - both perched up in separate trees
1 Bullfinch
Few Chaffinch
Great Crested Grebe at least 4
Gadwall
Tufted Duck
Lots of Woodpigeon
Green Woodpecker (heard only)
1 Great Black-backed Gull

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Good views of the Smew out on the water around 10.30ish, looked great in the sunshine!!

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John Williams wrote:

AM

Amongst the Tufted Ducks were the 2 females with prominent white bases to their beaks, one certainly shows a tuft, the other has a much

rounder/smoother head. If only she stayed on the surface long enough to check her other features.






I noticed the same thing that only one of them had a tuft it would be interesting to get a photo of her to have a better look at.

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It certainly is an impressive place John, myself and Simon Gough also commented on the number of Wildfowl around the place. Well worth another visit.
Well done Joel on the Green Woodpecker!

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AM

Thanks to the couple who pointed out the Smew to me, it was tucked into the NW corner of the pool and I was focussing too much on

the area around the island. I later followed the path further along the Eastern bank and got great views of the bird.

Also on the pool, 1 Kingfisher, 1 Little Grebe, 60+ Wigeon, 11 Great Crested Grebes and a single drake Pochard.

2 Buzzards flew over and flushed all the gulls. 30 Redwings were resting with Starlings on a nearby big oak.

A charm of 16 Goldfinches on the alders.

Amongst the Tufted Ducks were the 2 females with prominent white bases to their beaks, one certainly shows a tuft, the other has a much

rounder/smoother head. If only she stayed on the surface long enough to check her other features.

It's the first time I've been to this mere and I'm impressed by the amount of waterfowl, and by the extensive area of gorse in the NE corner.

I'll be back.

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John Williams


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Hi thank you all for your help.
I went down there today and after a hour of searching around we finally found the smew with a group of tufted ducks.
Other birds of note were:
1 female green woodpecker(I got two photos but they aren't very good)
17 stock doves (in a field with around 300 jackdaws and a large mixed thrush flock)
1 shelduck
2 bullfinchs
1 goldcrest
1 nuthatch
2 jays
5 great crested grebe
10 teal
Lots of wigeon
8 gadwall
2 cormarants
1 headless black headed gull and a dead coot.
Lots of tufted duck including the one that has been mentioned however there is now 2 of them.
2 buzzards.

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