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Post Info TOPIC: Marbury Country Park


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RE: Marbury Country Park


No sign of the martins seen yesterday.

Amongst the waterfowl seen on the mere were 17 Great Crested Grebes, 3 Gadwall, 10 Cormorants and 10 Teal.

A Kingfisher was near the boathouse, and 2 Treecreepers on the mereside alders.

A big gull roost was building as I left at 15.00, but a good scan through them produced nothing unusual.

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John Williams


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Kittiwake at Ashtons flash Sunday 15 Feb 2015


Following on from the last post re bittern at Marbury, I can only add how fortunate you were to be there one hour later/ the day after I was or indeed any time or date following my visits! How lucky can some people be! Am envious as hell! Some small consolation for me in spotting a kittiwake on one of the fence posts which sit half submerged in Ashton's flash on Sunday a.m. Weather was clear and brilliantly sunny. Adrian [son] and I spent some time vetting this bird and came to the almost unanimous view that, yes it was a kittiwake. I logged it and reported this scarce visitor with description and would be interested to know if anyone else had seen it?
Briefly, it was similar in size to Black-headed Gull, a yellowish bill similar in length to BHGs and Common Gulls but more slender, possible dark spot near tip, black or at very least dark blue-grey legs, grey mantle as dark as Common Gull, white head, breast and under parts, a suggestion of smudginess at back of head or nape of neck; low, crouching stance i.e. not upright like BHG.

John Irons


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Bittern showed briefly 4.30/4.45 ish in flattened area of reeds. Wolfed down a large silver-coloured fish.

2 Kingfishers also seen.

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I have seen Willow Tit in some different locales, and I don't now what this adds to the debate if anything ;) - not entirely surprising, but to me, yes. E.G Rixton Clay Pits, Astley Moss and the latest being on Chat Moss.... I praise the efforts of the surveyors and the concerned birders alike - they are great birds whose call gives me joy!

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I agree John, where Willow Tits are traditionally seen, e.g Pennington & Woolston, they seem to be pretty easy to see, but elsewhere they don't seem to be colonising or spreading at all, a real worry no

The Marsh Tits I have seen this year (in Wales ) were with a tit flock (and were calling), so I too don't know why they don't spread more into Cheshire & Gtr Manchester to colonise blankstare

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Docs right about the Marsh/Willow tit, the largely mature oak woodland should be prime Marsh Tit country, but they have not been seen for years.
These woods, especially the arboretum area with it's numerous conifers, are teeming with Coal Tits, although obviously they're less numerous than Blues.
Had the bird in question not clearly showed it's lack of a nape patch, I would just of regarded it as another Coal Tit.
I am a little surprised, and concerned, that Willow Tits do not turn up on the mereside feeders, as the Alder carr and birch woods in that area look
to be suitable habitat.
I was chatting to a chap by the Haydn Pool recently who was doing a survey on Willow Tits for the BTO, and who stated that there are real concerns
about the little birds future. They appear to be everyday visitors to the feeders at Pennington and Woolston, although I'm not sure if they are less
common at these sites than they once were. I logged a pair of Willow Tits recently moving around the birch woodland at Wigan Flashes, with a large flock
of mixed Long Tailed and Blue Tits, which is their prime habitat, and especially now that I'm aware of the concern for them I'll log every one.
The Marsh Tit situation is fascinating, I've reported them from the feeding station at Moore as the birds seen match the text book description
perfectly, and they posed on the bird table for quite a while, so I got a decent view. However, it has been pointed out to me that the only real way to tell
the difference between Marsh/Willow tits is by their song, and I'm inclined to agree. I could go on about the different visual characteristics of these birds,
but I won't elaborate here.
One enigmatic point here though is, if Willow Tits readily join roaming bands of mainly Long Tailed Tits in winter, why don't Marsh Tits do so too, and
thus spread out more. Marsh Tits are regularly reported from Stanney Woods near Ellesmere Port, which is a small wood surrounded by houses,
where it's virtually impossible to look at a bird in a tree without also looking through someone's bedroom window. I often wonder if birds from this
population, and the nearby Chester zoo hotspot too, venture further afield in winter with flocks of Long Tails, especially along the Mersey and Weaver
valleys. Ringers perhaps can elaborate more on that.
Meanwhile, it's worth giving every "Pied" tit a second look.


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John Williams


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Curt Whitby wrote:

Hi geoff I'm afraid it wasn't me who pointed out the bittern to you someone else must take the credit for that. As for willow tits walking up the canal going from the salt barge pub towards marbury a couple of winters back when in the bankside scrub I saw the only willow tit I have ever seen. As for a marsh tit I don't think I'd be able to tell the two apart but I assumed that the habitat would point towards a willow tit.





Where you saw the Willow Tit is the general area that they are seen most regularly Curtis, as you say right habitat, including damp carr type areas. Big Wood where the feeders are is a bit drier than the usual habitat they are seen in, but there would be no reason that one could venture away from the favoured damper areas to access a resource like the feeding station smile

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Hi geoff I'm afraid it wasn't me who pointed out the bittern to you someone else must take the credit for that. As for willow tits walking up the canal going from the salt barge pub towards marbury a couple of winters back when in the bankside scrub I saw the only willow tit I have ever seen. As for a marsh tit I don't think I'd be able to tell the two apart but I assumed that the habitat would point towards a willow tit.

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Hi Curt,
It must have been you that pointed out the Brittern, and your wife that gave me "directions". So thanks for that. The three of us were well pleased to see it, along with the Sparrowhawk.

Cheers

Geoff

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John Williams wrote:

Now for some intrigue, whilst visiting the "woodland" feeding area, which only produced Blue/Great tits, squirrels etc, a Blue Tit sized bird
landed on top of a nearby tree. I only viewed the bird for a couple of seconds, a clean/bright "Pied" head meant the bird was either a Coal,
Willow or Marsh tit. The bird did tilt it's head and there was no sign of a nape patch, ruling out Coal Tit, several of which were later seen around the arboretum.
Unfortunately, it only perched for a few seconds before flying off. I'm not claiming this as a Marsh Tit, but I certainly suspect it may have been.
So if you see a Blue Tit sized bird around the canopy of Big Wood, I'd advise checking it out. On occasions mist netting/ringing takes place here,
and I'd love to know if they've caught either a Marsh or Willow tit here recently.





Knowing you personally John I know that you are not one to make rash claims so I am taking this report seriously. I think Marsh Tit can be ruled out as they haven't been seen on patch for about 7 years. Not impossible I know, but most unlikely. Willow Tits are seen annually on patch but not usually in this area which is not typical Willow Tit habitat. My info from a FOAM Member that I texted tonight is that numerous Coal Tits have been ringed at Woodland Hide area but not a Willow Tit. I am posting as you wanted this info, but as always with birds you cannot rule out anything!! Definitely worth keeping an eye, and an ear, out. I was watching Willow Tits elsewhere today and they were extremely vocal, warming up for breeding season smile

-- Edited by Doc Brewster on Saturday 7th of February 2015 12:28:39 PM

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10.00-13.00

Initially I spent over an hour waiting for the Bittern to show, to no avail.
Meanwhile, a fox was leisurely chewing something in the middle of the reedbed, which I hoped was'nt a Bittern.
A Water Rail showed briefly at the waters edge below the screen.
Across the mere a female Sparrowhawk sat it in a bush watching a small group of Reed Buntings that were feeding on the reedheads.
Occasionally, she'd dash out and try and grab breakfast, but each time the buntings just dropped into the reeds.
The mere was largely frozen, with large numbers of gulls resting on the ice, a scan through them did'nt produce anything uncommon.
Despite the ice 10 Cormorants were perched around Kid Brook.
Amongst the waterfowl on a small unfrozen area were 3 Pochards and 2 Great Crested Grebes, whilst 14 Greylag Geese were with Canada Geese
along the North bank, and 36 Lapwings gathered around the spit.
Now for some intrigue, whilst visiting the "woodland" feeding area, which only produced Blue/Great tits, squirrels etc, a Blue Tit sized bird
landed on top of a nearby tree. I only viewed the bird for a couple of seconds, a clean/bright "Pied" head meant the bird was either a Coal,
Willow or Marsh tit. The bird did tilt it's head and there was no sign of a nape patch, ruling out Coal Tit, several of which were later seen around the arboretum.
Unfortunately, it only perched for a few seconds before flying off. I'm not claiming this as a Marsh Tit, but I certainly suspect it may have been.
So if you see a Blue Tit sized bird around the canopy of Big Wood, I'd advise checking it out. On occasions mist netting/ringing takes place here,
and I'd love to know if they've caught either a Marsh or Willow tit here recently.
On returning for another Bittern vigil around 12.30, the beast actually showed itself, but only when it raised it's head.
It was "Sky Pointing" in true Bittern style.
As Curt says in the previous post, the bird was best seen from the right hand side of the screen looking left into the centre of the reeedbed,
just beyond the edge of the trees. Patience needed.





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John Williams


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Well persistence pays off. I saw the bittern today at the umpteeth time of asking at about 1330 hrs. My wife spotted it and handed me the binos and there it was between two small trees/bushes on the opposite side from the hide, about 10 yards back from the waters edge well disguised in the reeds. Also saw a reed bunting, a kingfisher and a mistle thrush bashing a snail to pieces on a stone amongst the highlights of the walk.

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Just to say that a Bittern showed briefly in the Coward Reedbed at lunch time yesterday, but may have been disturbed by the presence of a Fox in the reeds !!

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We arrived back from an organised bird walk about 4.30 John, and nobody had seen the Bittern. Then within minutes up it came and sat right out on top of the reeds! Just a matter of luck! On the way home came across an injured Tawny Owl in the road but that's another thing to sort out!

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Lunchtime

No sign of the Bittern, I'll have to try and return when its much colder and the mere freezes over.
During those conditions in previous winters the Bittern has seemed less shy.
Amongst the waterfowl on the mere were 18 Great Crested Grebes, 11 Pochard, 1 Shelduck, 18 Cormorants and a pair of Great Black Backed Gulls.
With a flock of a dozen or so, mainly male Blackbirds in Hopyards Wood, was a cock bird with a large white patch at the base of his tail.
The white patch was very similar to that of a Wheatear, the bird also seemed to be noticeably larger than the other males.
This fellow really looks odd amongst his companions and is well worth looking out for.



-- Edited by John Williams on Saturday 24th of January 2015 08:19:08 PM

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John Williams


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Hi Rhys. Think I was sat next to you before you got up and moved to the side of the screen.
Nice to meet you and see the Bittern smile

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Think I was there at the same time with my brother, I saw the Bittern he didn'tno

-- Edited by Ian McKerchar on Saturday 17th of January 2015 05:55:26 PM

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Saturday 17th January 11.45am

A brief visit, and an even briefer appearance from the Bittern. It showed to the left of the viewing hide in the reed bed just before 12pm. It soon hunkered down out of sight again.
Plenty of activity around the feeders and a few Goldcrests on my way to the car.


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You could well be correct ,I do actually like dogs in case anyone gets the wrong idea having owned 4 in my life,but none at the moment.
All the best Mark

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Hi Mark

We have a problem with Mink at the park, so maybe that was the culprit rather than a dog, just a thought.

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Hi all,
Visited Marbury CP today between 1.15 -4.20.,
From Reedbed Bittern Screen,18+Great Crested Grebes,2 Grey Heron in Reeds, a Kingfisher flew right too left and vanished in Reeds,Great Spotted Woodpecker on feeder,Coal, Great, Blue Tits on food, Tufted ducks on water a Little Grebe,lots of Cormorants 5 on posts in water,Mallard , 200 or so Canada Geese with 10 or more Greylag on water in distance also 8 or more Wigeon on water in distance,Jay in tree,but after approx 1 hour no sign of Bittern.Walked on to Woodland hide saw Great, Blue, and Coal tits, Jay Great Spotted Woodpecker Nuthatch from hide and on the way there 100+ Lapwings flew up on other side of Mere, 60 or more Curlew feeding other side of Mere as well as 70+ Coot grazing and 2 Shelduck on shore in distance.
Also a dead Cormorant in water with it's neck mauled, possibly by a dog? and 2 Mute Swans,lots BH Gulls and at least 2 Greater Black Backed Gulls in distance.
Had to leave at 4.20 and did not see Starling roost or Bittern,and up to then nobody said to me that they had seen the Bittern today.no
All the best Good Birding to everyone.

-- Edited by Mark Dean on Sunday 11th of January 2015 07:22:21 PM

-- Edited by Mark Dean on Sunday 11th of January 2015 07:23:24 PM

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The Bittern was showing exceptionally well in Coward Reedbed from Bittern Screen mid afternoon, staying out on view for a long period of time allowing allcomers excellent views. A second bird was seen by another observer just before we arrived. A Kingfisher showed several times too, whizzing up & down Budworth Mere.

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I also visited the park on 1st January seeing:
Canada Geese (100 or more)
Wren
Chaffinch x3
Goldfinch x approx. 15
Great, Blue and Long Tailed Tits
Nuthatch
Grey Heron
Cormorant
Great Crested Grebe
Mute Swan
Treecreeper
with the highlight being a Kingfisher
Others in my group saw a Buzzard, Goldcrest and heard a Curlew fly over

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Lunchtime

The Bittern did'nt show whilst I was there, whilst numerous Moorhens held territorial squabbles on the flattened area of reeds and showed no sign of
reacting to the presence of any other animal, apart from staying clear of the single Grey Heron resting there.

On the mere were: 8 drake Pochards, 9 Shoveler, 10 Wigeon, 15 Great Crested Grebes and 20 Cormorants.

Whilst on the large mereside Alders were 1 Treecreeper, 2 Goldcrests and a charm of 16 Goldfinches.

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John Williams


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Early PM

I watched the Coward Reedbed for an hour but no sign of the Bittern, just a solitary heron amongst the flattened reeds.

80+ Mallards on the mere in front of the screen was quite a sight, most of them were drakes squabbling over the few females.

Otherwise, apart from a pair of Great Black Backed Gulls, there was just the usual waterfowl on the mere.

The big lakeside Alders though held a flock of 15 Goldfinches, and with them 9 Siskins.



.



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John Williams


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12.12.2014

13.00-14.30

I watched the Coward reedbed for about 45 mins but there was no sign of the Bittern.

At the Western end of the mere were 9 Great Crested Grebes,3 drake Pochards and 36 Cormorants.

Also there was an adult Great Black Gull that tried several times to intimidate the grebes into giving up their catch, 4 of them bunched together and

kept diving to avoid the brute. The gull also tried to bully a group of 4 Cormorants, but 2 of them lunged at their attacker and it backed off.

On the North bank around Kid Brook were 500+ Lapwings and 5 Curlews. Amongst the garden birds at the feeders were 2 Bullfinches.





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John Williams


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The Bittern showed for nearly an hour as it stood preening out in the open on the Starling-flattened reeds. At approx 16.10 the Starlings had begun to gather. I always have trouble estimating big numbers but let's say c15,000. As they poured into the reed bed the Bittern had a go at one but I didn't see any caught.

Also: Kingfisher, 2 Sparrowhawks, Buzzard, 2 Shovelers, c10 Great Crested Grebes.

Cheers John

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walk from nuemanns produced...

again plenty of tit flocks around inc goldcrest, during the whole day I probably had at least 14 goldcrest.
lots of chaffinch around with greenfinch & linnet.
1 treecreeper
7 nuthatch
2 great spotted woodpecker
4 jay
plus all the usuals around.

on the mere..

1 bittern, showing very well when it decided to walk across the flattened reeds opposite the hide just before 2pm smile
1 kingfisher
27 tufted duck
3 wigeon
5 shelduck
several siskin with goldfinch flock near the hide
water rail heard only.

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Late news for Saturday, 2 Egyptian Geese on Budworth Mere off Kidbrook Spit at 11.30am.

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A good find early am was a drake Mandarin at the W.end of Budworth Mere. This then was lost but relocated on Neumann's Flash (per G.Baker).

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Splendid views of the adult and juvenile Black Terns over Budworth Mere at around 12:30 today. Also along the mere path, a family of Nuthatch - 1 adult and two juvenile

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a walk here from nuemanns...

1 green woodpecker, whilst watching the woodpecker in big wood a spotted flycatcher came into view smile
1 garden warbler again showing very well
3 buzzards
1 swallow over budworth mere & that was it no
plenty of blackcaps, chiffchaffs, willow warblers & whitethroats, 2 reed warblers on the banks of the mere.
treecreepers, nuthatches, great spotted woodpeckers plus all the usuals around.

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Pair of Spotted Flycatcher near the pond in Big Wood. Also, Treecreeper and Nuthatch

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I was down at 5.30am & left at 7.30am with no definite sighting of the drake Ring-necked Duck, I say definite because as we scope down the flash in the early morning mist one drake Aythya at the far end seemed to have a glowing white band on its beak, clearly visible through the mist & different to the other Aythyas present. Having walked down the far end we couldn't find this bird and watched three pairs of Tufted Ducks. Soon after from a different vantage point seven (!) ducks got up & flew off the flash, presumably the six we had been watching PLUS one!! Can't count it as can't say it was the Ring-necked Duck for certain. Luckily I saw the last one on Budworth Mere when Marbury CP was closed due to Foot & Mouth. But a piccy of this one would have been nice!

Just two Common Terns on the Scrapyard Island to report otherwise.

-- Edited by Doc Brewster on Friday 16th of May 2014 10:03:51 AM

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Drake Ring-necked Duck found on Neumann's Flash this evening by Pete Antrobus. Too late for those of us having had a few drinks this evening and not wanting to drive with any amount of alcohol in the system! Hopefully it will linger overnight. I will try to check it out before work tomorrow & post an update on here smile

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Went yesterday in hope of seeing Spotted Flycatcher. Didn't see one, but, did see a gorgeous Grey Wagtail, hopping around one of the small pools off the main wood path just beyond the feeding station. Also my first Swifts of the year over the mere in great numbers.

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This morning in the park a Spotted Flycatcher back in Big Wood (per Greg Baker).

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Later no sign of any scoter on Budworth Mere but a Yellow Wagtail and a female Wheatear in the area around Kid Brook Spit (per Greg Baker). Swifts are in every evening now & I even had 3 over nearby Northwich Station this evening.

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Report on RBA pager of 3 Common Scoters on Budworth Mere, comprising 1 drake & 2 females, at 10.30am. The validity of the report is unknown so it has not been sent on the email feed, just for info to all those on here on that feed.

-- Edited by Doc Brewster on Thursday 8th of May 2014 04:57:00 PM

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JOHN TYMON wrote:

Doc Brewster wrote:

No sign of yesterdays Long-tailed Duck today, didn't seem bothered at all by the boats, I photographed it at the Yacht Club end of Budworth Mere even when boating was taking place. It was dabbling q.a bit in relatively shallow water & several of us observing it over the length of it's stay never ever saw it dive, unusual for a Long-tailed Duck! A nice record, found initially by patcher Dave Hughston, well done Dave, lots of Patch Lists now have this species on smile




The Long tailed Duck at penny the other week didn't dive either in the 4 hours I was watching it anyway
:)



There was a question on Facebook asking whether the Marbury bird may have been the Penny bird relocating, thanks for the info, John, from that at least behaviourally it acted the same. I too have watched the Marshside bird on a couple of occasions & it never stopped diving then, the same as 3 birds I watched on Pugneys CP lake last year.

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JOHN TYMON wrote:

Doc Brewster wrote:

No sign of yesterdays Long-tailed Duck today, didn't seem bothered at all by the boats, I photographed it at the Yacht Club end of Budworth Mere even when boating was taking place. It was dabbling q.a bit in relatively shallow water & several of us observing it over the length of it's stay never ever saw it dive, unusual for a Long-tailed Duck! A nice record, found initially by patcher Dave Hughston, well done Dave, lots of Patch Lists now have this species on smile




The Long tailed Duck at penny the other week didn't dive either in the 4 hours I was watching it anyway
:)



The bird at Marshside seems to spend most of it's time underwatersmile

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Doc Brewster wrote:

No sign of yesterdays Long-tailed Duck today, didn't seem bothered at all by the boats, I photographed it at the Yacht Club end of Budworth Mere even when boating was taking place. It was dabbling q.a bit in relatively shallow water & several of us observing it over the length of it's stay never ever saw it dive, unusual for a Long-tailed Duck! A nice record, found initially by patcher Dave Hughston, well done Dave, lots of Patch Lists now have this species on smile




The Long tailed Duck at penny the other week didn't dive either in the 4 hours I was watching it anyway
:)

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No sign of yesterdays Long-tailed Duck today, didn't seem bothered at all by the boats, I photographed it at the Yacht Club end of Budworth Mere even when boating was taking place. It was dabbling q.a bit in relatively shallow water & several of us observing it over the length of it's stay never ever saw it dive, unusual for a Long-tailed Duck! A nice record, found initially by patcher Dave Hughston, well done Dave, lots of Patch Lists now have this species on smile

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On Budworth Mere this morning - a Long-tailed Duck, a species not seen on patch since 1981 if my records are correct, initially favouring the area in front of the heronry. Later on it flew a short distance & reloacted to the Coward Reedbed side of Kid Brook Spit, caused by the yacht club motor launch coming out and then several yachts too. With q.a lot of boating expected today I expect if it sticks the Long-tailed Duck will favour the Coward Reedbed end as this is a no-boating zone smile

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(AM)

10 Great Crested Grebes (with 1 pair in full display), 1 Pink Footed Goose with the Greylags by Kid Brook.

A flock of 10 Oystercatchers was a surprise find here too.

Below the mereside bird table, a nervous Wood Mouse kept appearing.

Masses of hirundines over the mere, about 25% of them House Martins, the others mainly Swallows, with just a few Sand Martins.

Just 3 nests seem to be occupied in the heronry, although another 5 herons were resting on the North bank.

10 Cormorants.

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Down on patch again today, two Yellow Wagtails in the crop field by fisherman's path, Marbury CP, first reported around 3pm and I saw them at 5pm-ish. Also at 3pm a Whimbrel flying over Budworth Mere (per Greg Baker). Kingfisher sightings are frequent, fantastic seeing them flash past in the sunshine. Plenty of Blackcaps, Willow Warblers and Chiffchaffs singing in the fisherman's path area too.

-- Edited by Doc Brewster on Friday 18th of April 2014 11:14:54 PM

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Belatedly catching up on reading the MBF reports, it's great to read the summer migrants are now coming in or over-flying our patch. Son Adrian and I regularly [well, not quite regularly] monitor Ashton's, Neumann's, Haydn's Pool and the Mere. April 13 brought us willow warbler and chiffchaff and I suspect other warblers we missed due to the explosion of foliage and our very inadequate bird song recognition. Plenty of winter hangers-on including lesser black-backed gulls, redshank and gadwall. Highlight of the morning was disturbing an Osprey from its perch on the bund between Ashton's and Neumann's flashes. It flew off towards Budworth Mere, loudly and shrilly protesting as it went.

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Green Woodpeckers again vocal in big wood as were also the Nuthatches..
Not too clever on my Warblers, but think I was onto a Reed Warbler just as before our Joshua nearly git wiped out by a mountaineer biker.....

Cheers.


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Down on patch again this morning and just a couple of new sightings to report other than the 'usuals'. A Little Ringed Plover was on Kid Brook Spit and a Common Sandpiper along the shore to the far left of the spit. This area is best viewed with a scope looking across Budworth Mere from the mereside path. Green Woodpeckers were really vocal in Big Wood too, a false alarm of me thinking that I'd lost my wallet cut my morning short before I had a chance to go look for them!!

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Late report from Monday /Tuesday
on Monday there where 100s of Sand Martins over the water non on Tuesday
plenty of Chiffchaff,Blackcap,Reed Bunting,Shelduck ,Lapwing
10 Buzzard
and when sat outside pub in Budworth, Swallows

-- Edited by Ian McKerchar on Wednesday 16th of April 2014 03:17:02 PM

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