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Post Info TOPIC: Newchurch Common


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RE: Newchurch Common


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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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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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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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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Joel Tragen wrote:

Thank you every one for your help (it seems like Dunham Massey is the place to go). Also does anyone know if the smew has been seen recently. Finally I have had a look on google maps to see which pool it in but there are four in that area, from previous posts, I guess that it is on the big pool but is that the very biggest one with an island in the south-East bank. Sorry for all the questions.

-- Edited by Joel Tragen on Friday 9th of January 2015 10:13:36 PM





Joel look back at my last post there's a link to Streetmap & it says which pool the Smew is on, it IS the largest pool, N.of or to the R.of the main track that continues on from Novia Scotia Lane. No news was put out but I heard on a grapevine that it was there yesterday. Hope this helps smile

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Hi Joel, Best check if Dunham Massey is open Tomorrow 10th Jan,as I have heard that they are checking on the wind first thing to see if they are going to open.
This follows on from an incident I believe they had a few years back where a Beech tree was blown over and killed someone (from what I remember?)
All the best and Good Birding from Mark

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Thank you every one for your help (it seems like Dunham Massey is the place to go). Also does anyone know if the smew has been seen recently. Finally I have had a look on google maps to see which pool it in but there are four in that area, from previous posts, I guess that it is on the big pool but is that the very biggest one with an island in the south-East bank. Sorry for all the questions.

-- Edited by Joel Tragen on Friday 9th of January 2015 10:13:36 PM

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Unfortunately your probably correct then Rob about the Water Voles,it was a long shot,its just that the very few times that I have seen them,and that is a few years now,I think it was in Millers dale ,I did hear a similar plopping sound as they entered the water,and I think that is a characteristic way to know that they are about? Also Jason who I was with said he got a glimpse of a small mammal,although very brief,before it went into the water.
As regards Green woodpecker I know that they can be surprisingly hard to see.I remember scanning around some anthills where they are known to be,and not seeing any,so walked on when one flew up from where I had been looking,give out it's call,and landed on a tree where it stayed still allowing me to get good views,so I could not see it on the ground at all.It is in fact, either in a tree or flying where I have seen them,I don't think ever on the ground.
Good Birding to everyone.
Forgot to say we parked our car at the end of Nova Scotia Lane,there is a bit of a lay by there with room for maybe 4 or 5 cars or so.

-- Edited by TELESMAN on Friday 9th of January 2015 07:40:41 PM

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Joel Tragen wrote:

Hi I was thinking of heading down at the weekend and would like some tips for seeing the green woodpeckers (I haven't seen any for a while). Also where would be the best place to park the car. Cheers





Hi Joel,
As Simon and Doc mention its a tough one with Green Woodpeckers as they are quite vocal birds but notoriously difficult to spot, even my last few visits to Dunham has proved to be a no show although I've heard them. Infact, my last few sightings of Green Woodpeckers were mainly by chance whilst not expecting them. My guess is you're not the only one on the forum who hasn't seen them in a while.

...a quick note regarding the Water Voles, as Doc says none reported despite being a well surveyed area, in my opinion probably indicates there are none here as Mammal groups are usually right on top of declining species. Although widespread they are NOT common and are getting rarer. A quick check of my most up to date Mammal site book seems to show what I expected, it favours extensive reedbeds nowadays and especially where Mink numbers are controlled or even eradicated!
Cheers
Rob

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Everyone is right, the lane is Novia Scotia Lane and the small cluster of houses is called Novia Scotia, as per the Cheshire A to Z Street Atlas or look at 7 o'clock from the arrow on this Streetmap link smile

http://www.streetmap.co.uk/map.srf?x=362500&y=369500&z=120&sv=whitegate&st=3&tl=Map+of+Whitegate,+Cheshire+[City/Town/Village]&searchp=ids.srf&mapp=map.srf

The Big Pool on the N.side of the track that continues W.from Novia Scotia Lane is the pit that the Smew is on.

Ditto Green Woodpecker, hard to see here, not the best place for sightings, much more often heard than seen. For sightings, as mentioned, try Dunham Massey Park or even Dairyhouse Meadows/Neumann's Flash area, I see them q.regularly there smile



-- Edited by Doc Brewster on Friday 9th of January 2015 10:03:25 AM

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Simon Gough wrote:


Hi to Telesman too, its weird referring to an alias on here by the way, the forum owner Ian normally mandates people use their proper name as their username. I haven't worked out how to pronounce Telesman...





Folk at least get the chance to reply or at least read my private messages to them regarding such matters before I make any changes. I'm not quite the ogre I'm perceived as wink biggrin

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We parked on Novascotia Lane, as Google has it, although Doc Brewster referred to Novia Scotia.

We didn't see any Green Woodpeckers so not convinced there are tips to be had! Only heard them. But the classic place to see them is Dunham Massey Deer Park, which you'd be virtually passing heading from Manchester, generally a couple at least there and lots of other nice stuff too.

Hi to Telesman too, its weird referring to an alias on here by the way, the forum owner Ian normally mandates people use their proper name as their username. I haven't worked out how to pronounce Telesman...

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Hi I was thinking of heading down at the weekend and would like some tips for seeing the green woodpeckers (I haven't seen any for a while). Also where would be the best place to park the car. Cheers

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Simon Gough wrote:

Hi,

Rob and I said it would have been nice to meet you on Sunday morning, we were rather in twitch mode and got going fairly soon. I would have liked to have found those green woodpeckers too to be honest. The pukka Iceland Gull in Blackpool was calling us though...

I love the little note about the bus company, always happy to hear nuggets like that.

I'm sure we'll cross paths at some point






I thought exactly the same, Simon, real shame to have missed you & Rob. We were doing a leisurely trawl around local sites so not in twitch mode at all, recovering from the Little Bustard twitch on New Years Day I suppose!! I think we may have been along the west shore when you were there as we saw two birders stood with scopes in East Bay from across the lake, so near & yet so far smile Next time I hope smile

Never heard of Water Voles at this site but that's not to say they aren't there, but it is a well surveyed area so it would probably be a new occurance if they were. For future reference if anyone is interested it's a great dragonfly site with Downy Emerald being its speciality, the ride above the fishing pool is the hotspot for them, well worth a look as this is a stunning insect with bright green eyes smile

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Hi Simon,just seen your post I was one of the Stockport Birders and nice to meet you and Rob.
I am new to register so this is my first message.
It was indeed a great crisp day and the first time there for us,and very pleased we went,thanks for helping us find the Smew so quick I was expecting it to take much longer!
We also heard Great Spotted Woodpecker drumming and saw two together so they may have paired up?We also heard on two separate occasions a loud plop into the water,which may of been Water Voles? Not sure if they are around there? Also great to know that there are Yellowhammers about,we saw good views of them including a very bright male at Old Moor reserve last week.
All the best and hope to see you again.

-- Edited by Ian McKerchar on Wednesday 7th of January 2015 11:28:35 PM

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Hi,

Rob and I said it would have been nice to meet you on Sunday morning, we were rather in twitch mode and got going fairly soon. I would have liked to have found those green woodpeckers too to be honest. The pukka Iceland Gull in Blackpool was calling us though...

I love the little note about the bus company, always happy to hear nuggets like that.

I'm sure we'll cross paths at some point




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It was a bit later than that Simon, you are right. That female Tuftie has been around all winter and as Rob says she makes you look twice as she has an incredible amount of white around her beak, but everything else about her is Tufted Duck and I have seen some like her in the past, especially when Chorlton WP was my old patch in it's heyday of huge aythya flocks smile

It does look good for Goldeneye but aint seen one there this winter but Teal can get on both Big Pool (which they were when I was there on Sunday - down the cut behind the island) and more often on the smaller fishing pool.

Local info since you bring up the strange road name - Novia Scotia Lane leads to the area called Novia Scotia (never seems to be labelled on many maps as that though) which spawned a local bus company that used to serve our area but Arriva undercut them on all routes and they are now no more, shame really as they were a small local company!! Bit off track but thought I'd drop that bit of Local History in lol biggrin

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Simon Gough wrote:

Rob Creek and I went down to see the Smew this morning, arrived at about 10 and there it was no more than 50-60 yards off the bank, seen from one of the little fishing bays at the Eastern end. Smashing little bird, smaller than I expected in fact. Neither Rob nor myself had seen one before. He got some great photos too. As we left the bird was appearing to gravitate more to the open water, it had been hugging the shore over 30 mins or so till then. I guess Doc is talking about later on in the day for an intermission?

Also seen around the lake:
2 Kingfisher
Lots of common water birds including a Tufted Duck female with the classic deceptive Scaup-like white on the face
No Teal we could see but it didn't look muddy enough for them, also looked good for Goldeneye but we didn't see any

In the trees back on Novascotia Lane (great roadnames in Cheshire...) we heard and saw 2 Nuthatch and heard a Great Spotted Woodpecker and 2 Green Woodpecker

It is a really nice spot to be honest, and the clean, crisp morning was joyous to be sure.






Further to Simon's post...
As stated the red-head Smew was a Lifer for me, that was the start of good things to come.
The Smew was constantly diving, within a second of surfacing it was down again, and at first we got very brief views but myself and Simon were right on it. We were joined by 2 Stockport birders (nice to meet you both) who kept missing it but they soon got it!

Other birds of note...
-Lots of Wigeon
-Plenty of Gadwall including a brightly coloured billed female
-Only 2 Pochard (both Drakes)
-Great Crested Grebes
-lots of Tufted Duck
-the female Tufted Duck Simon mentions was well worth another look but she was a Tufted Duck
-1 female Shoveler bit further round bank from the Smew
-lots of Black-headed Gulls
-the 2 Kingfisher chasing each other was a nice sighting

I must admit the 2 Green Woodpeckers we heard 'Yaffling' to each other I didn't expect this early, probably March, but they were in full voice around the farm to the right where we parked up.
Also a Yellowhammer calling in the top the tree we we stood under, very loud, but we couldn't see it!
A lovely area indeed!





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Rob Creek and I went down to see the Smew this morning, arrived at about 10 and there it was no more than 50-60 yards off the bank, seen from one of the little fishing bays at the Eastern end. Smashing little bird, smaller than I expected in fact. Neither Rob nor myself had seen one before. He got some great photos too. As we left the bird was appearing to gravitate more to the open water, it had been hugging the shore over 30 mins or so till then. I guess Doc is talking about later on in the day for an intermission?

Also seen around the lake:
2 Kingfisher
Lots of common water birds including a Tufted Duck female with the classic deceptive Scaup-like white on the face
No Teal we could see but it didn't look muddy enough for them, also looked good for Goldeneye but we didn't see any

In the trees back on Novascotia Lane (great roadnames in Cheshire...) we heard and saw 2 Nuthatch and heard a Great Spotted Woodpecker and 2 Green Woodpecker

It is a really nice spot to be honest, and the clean, crisp morning was joyous to be sure.




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Redhead Smew still present this morning slap bang in the middle of East Bay on Big Pool. It had been missing for about an hour and a half before it appeared, probably having swum out from under the overhanging vegetation of the large island to the left of East Bay. A nice flock of 5+Bullfinch too, 3 of which stopped in trees and were seen to be stunning males. Lots of Long-tailed Tits about too and Great Spotted Woodpeckers were drumming and 'chicking' on a sunny, frosty morning, great to be out & about smile

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RBA Pager reports Smew still present today smile

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No John it's never got across on the smaller fishing pool, chatted to lacal patchers and the info services and they had put out the wrong info, calling Big Pool the 'fishing pool'. See my post earlier for explanation, the small pool has the fishing car parks and is stocked with fish so we know it as the fishing pool. Big Pool has a few carp anglers usually but is known as Big Pool or Large Pit and that is where the Smew always has been. It favours East Bay but can go missing for over an hour at a time in the vegetation at the fringes of the island on the left. It was there yesterday & I will be going tomorrow so will report back. Hope to see you & Liz around smile

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No Smew at 15:45 from the small peninsular - I gather it sometimes visits the smaller Fishing Pool but not today. Any other favourite spots ?

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Just had customers in who tell me they have been watching the redhead Smew again today in its usual location in East Bay on Big Pool

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Good to know it is still about Richard, my planned New Years Day start there was rudely interrupted by a Little Bustard turning up in Yorkshire which I had to twitch today wink

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