MB

  All users of this forum, please ensure you familiarise yourselves with the sticky posts at the top of each forum; posts not conforming to these guidelines and requests will be deleted.

Members Login
Username 
 
Password 
    Remember Me  
Post Info TOPIC: Newchurch Common


Status: Offline
Posts: 2088
Date:
Newchurch Common


After a couple of work days it was a chance to get back down on patch again today with Carys smile

The female Smew was favouring West Bay area of Sandiway Big Pool again, a bit further out than usual though. Three Goosander (1 drake) flew over us whilst we were near Small Pool but were relocated on Big Pool. Five Shovelers (2 drakes) and over 20 Teal were also on Big Pool, all the ducks seeming very twitchy & restless for some reason. There were lots more fishermen than usual so maybe they felt that all the edges of the pool were not approachable and being out in the middle they felt a bit exposed. Still over 50 Wigeon and 20+Gadwall present. A Kingfisher showed really well on Small Pool and a Great Spotted Woodpecker 'chicked' from the top of a nearby tree. A single Snipe was still on Big Pool in its usual place but so well tucked down I am amazed that I found it!!

North of Big Pool I managed a new bird for the patch in the shape of a beautiful male Yellowhammer which posed long enough for photographs! Whilst watching him a flock of 32 Lapwings flew over, never a common bird hereabouts and at over 60 Fieldfares were moving around the arable fields with just a single Redwing seen. Near the 'Novia Scotia' entrance two Redpolls were still in the trees by the main track as well as a stunning male Bullfinch.

Most unusual sighting of the day were two Harris's Hawks being flown by a visiting falconer, who looked like he was after Rabbits given the terrier he also had with him!! Good to have a chat with mate John Spottiswood who visited today and to say hi to several birders dropping in to see the Smew, it's going to be strange when she's gone!!



-- Edited by Doc Brewster on Sunday 24th of January 2016 03:35:09 PM

__________________
facebook


Status: Offline
Posts: 2088
Date:

Was going to take a mate on today to show him the patch but unfortunately he had to cancel but I still popped down to reccy for his visit next week, hopefully!

Best bird(s) seen as I entered the main track after parking. Since John mentioned Redpolls earlier and knowing what a good birder he is I had been checking the area he mentioned every time I visited. Today I heard first, and then saw 4 Lesser Redpolls in trees just inside the fishermens gate, myfirst since deciding that I would concentrate on this as a patch, but I had seen them in the past on casual visits. They were associating loosely with Long-tailed Tits and a bit further down a nice male Bullfinch was on view.

Starting on Sandiway Small Pool as I do at the moment I found the female Smew on there for a change, I may have said before but I suspect she roosts here & moves when disturbed. A pair of Goosander were on this pool too as well as over 30 Wigeon, again the site count topped 50. A Snipe was on submerged logs on Sandiway Big Pool again and two drake and a female Pochard were on here too. Again Green & Great Spotted Woodpeckers were present.

Nice to bump into a birding couple I know from Crewe and another visitor, looking for the Smew, from Knutsford. I look forward to being free of back pain (soon hopefully) so that I can take my scope back on patch as it's bins-only birding at the moment!!



__________________
facebook


Status: Offline
Posts: 2088
Date:

Having a rare Monday off and having a couple of hours before lunch after an appointment locally, I popped down to see what I could see!

The best bird by far was another knew bird for my patch for me and again probably related to the cold weather - a Woodcock, seen on the north side of my recording area. One Snipe was still present in one of the areas I saw it yesterday, looking wierd stood on a branch over deep water, as good a place as any to roost though! The female Smew remains on Sandiway Big Pool and remains very mobile, around noon I saw in loafing about in east bay, but know it could be anywhere on any visit!! Three Shovelers (1 drake) were on the big pool as well as the usual waterfowl.

Both Green and Great Spotted Woodpeckers were again present as well as Nuthatches, a Fieldfare and a handful of Redwings.



__________________
facebook


Status: Offline
Posts: 2088
Date:

Again onto patch with just my bins for company!!!

Female Smew on Sandiway Big Pool, in West Bay. Drake Pochard near East Bay. Female Goosander on Sandiway Small Pool. Other ducks and waterbirds in pretty much the same numbers as before. As I got out of my car got a nice sighting with up to 200 Pink-footed Geese over, a cold weather movement no doubt. Another new bird for patch was a Snipe near the fishermens so called 'Secret Peg' and then lo and behold a second Snipe near East Bay!! Kingfisher ande Green Woodpecker still present. A large flock of winter thrushes off Sandy Lane contained both Redwings and Fieldfares, with the majority being the former species. Other species noted included Nuthatch and Bullfinch.

Great to bump into Marbury patcher Dave Bedford and my pals Steff & Alex on patch today smile



__________________
facebook


Status: Offline
Posts: 2088
Date:

Back spasm relapsed so popped down mid morning for a few hours with just my bins rather than a scope.

Female Smew showing close to shore in East Bay viewed from 'The Beach' with the long staying very rich plumaged drake Goosander in the same area. 8 more Goosanders were on small pool, 3 adult drakes, 4 immature drakes and 2 adult females, making a highest ever site count of this species for me of 9 birds in all smile Totals of Wigeon were well over 50 birds, with 30+ on Sandiway Small Pool alone and 30+ Gadwall too. At least 4 Little Grebes were on Sandiway Big Pool as well as a Kingfisher.

Two Green Woodpeckers were seen, one showing well on the ground in the paddocks, not being spooked at all as it tried to feed on the icy hard ground in the sun, the other in fields by the pine belt. Several Nuthatches and a Great Spotted Woodpecker were present too. A Goldcrest showed down to 3 feet in a scrubby area south of the main track. At least 4 Song Thrushes were feeding in the horse paddocks but only a single Redwing.

Again over 40 species, happy with that with just my bins smile



__________________
facebook


Status: Online
Posts: 416
Date:

Female Smew present this morning 9.30 ish, initially picked up on the north side close to the landing area then it drifted out of view into the East bay, A quick excursion around the lake, The reward close views of the Smew along with 4 Goosander

__________________


Status: Offline
Posts: 1571
Date:

here from 3pm, looked on the big pool first from a couple of areas but no sign of the smew, checked on the smaller pool & no signs on there, then back on to the big pool (in the rain) viewing from east side/the beach & finally found the smew on the far west side, views were not great as the light was fading & the smew then swam to the south of the pool & out of view.

other birds around... 90+ tufted duck, 34 gadwall, 28 wigeon, 1 pochard, 1 teal, 2 shoveler, 7 goosander, 2 little grebe, 8 great crested grebe, 1 green woodpecker flew from the ground around the small pool, 1 treecreeper, few siskin heard over, kingfisher heard, lots of gulls around & over.



__________________
saburke


Status: Offline
Posts: 2088
Date:

No problem Mike, I assumed the info services had mis-reported as this often happens! Cracking record of the Water Rail, well done. If the total Gadwall numbers are down to only 12 and Wigeon to 8 then the decreases I noticed on my last visit must have accelerated even further. this could be the exodus of the winter ducks, how much longer will the Smew stay when everything else is leaving?



__________________
facebook


Status: Offline
Posts: 33
Date:

Sorry Paul about the confusing report  that must of been me though how it read new pool I dont no!!!  I would of corrected it had I noticed

Found the Red head, Smew close to the north north east bank, looking across from fishing peg 18

Other birds of note 8 Wigeon, Drake Goosander, 12 Gadwall, at least 10 Great Crested Grebes,  loads of Coots 100+, C40 Tufted  Ducks, and a Water Rail in waters edge among sallow branches was a surprise find along a path through willow birch wood opposite island on track side of lake.  



__________________


Status: Offline
Posts: 2088
Date:

Report of the Smew today on info networks, so still present, but confusing report, mentioning 'new pool'. The pools on the Common are Sandiway Big Lake/Pool & Sandiway Small Lake/Pool, with the private Gull Pool nearby! So not sure where the reports refer to, links here to the fishing pools, with a nice overhead shot of Big & Small Lakes :) https://www.warrington-anglers.org.uk/Waters/StillWaters/SandiwayLakes/tabid/1710/Default.aspx

This does show nicely West Bay & East Bay and the island & the spit (just north of the northern point of Small Lake), for future reference if I find owt else & have to say where it is!! smile



-- Edited by Doc Brewster on Wednesday 13th of January 2016 03:22:39 PM

__________________
facebook


Status: Offline
Posts: 2088
Date:

John Watson wrote:

We were there Paul yesterday (Sun 10 Jan) late pm, though didn't see any other birders. We'd have said hello !

Anyway, Smew was scooting about near "The Beach"; also 2 Goosander flying around.

Also, 4-6 Redpoll by access gate. Relatively pale, but definitely just Lesser Redpoll.


 Yeah it definitely wasn't you John lol biggrin I know that you would have said hi, as we always do, glad you yearticked her, will be a bit wierd when she leaves & I see no other birders on site again!!



__________________
facebook


Status: Offline
Posts: 226
Date:

We were there Paul yesterday (Sun 10 Jan) late pm, though didn't see any other birders. We'd have said hello !

Anyway, Smew was scooting about near "The Beach"; also 2 Goosander flying around.

Also, 4-6 Redpoll by access gate. Relatively pale, but definitely just Lesser Redpoll.

__________________


Status: Offline
Posts: 2088
Date:

First visit back for about a week due to being crocked with a back spasm hmm

Female Smew still present on Sandiway Big Pool, initially in West Bay and then pretty soon afterwards over on the east side near 'The Beach', that bird can't half shift quickly when its little legs get going!! Two drake Goosanders showed briefly around the spit area. The overwhelming feeling was of a decrease in duck numbers, Wigeon were down from pre-Chritmas peaks of around 100 to c.40, Gadwall numbers were also down to c.30 and the Tufted Duck flock was smaller with not a single Pochard in with them. At least 7 Teal were seen with one group of four drakes chasing a female. Great Crested Grebes were displaying too. The paddocks still hold large numbers of winter thrushes, Redwings, Fieldfares & Mistle Thrushes.

Showed the Smew to 3 Environment Agengy Fisheries officers who were calling to check rod licences, amazed to see them all togged up in stab vests and looking almost military, but I suppose you can't be too careful these days, nice guys too smile

Nothing too out of the ordinary today, but a couple of not so friendly birders coming on at 1pm could have said hello, ah well it takes all sorts biggrin



__________________
facebook


Status: Offline
Posts: 222
Date:

Smew still present today. Not much else of note and no sign of sound of Green Woodpecker which was my secondary target 



__________________


Status: Offline
Posts: 2088
Date:

Good to meet you Richard & glad you got the birds smileBecause of parties this is a late posting wink But nipped down on Dec 31st to confirm that the Smew was there, then on to 2016!

Started off at dawn at Newchurch Common, with much frozen water around on paths & in fields but not on the lakes. We diverted to Sandiway Small Pool first and amazingly found the female Smew on there (first time on this pond all winter) as well as a superb count of 1 drake & 3 female Goosanders. Later the Goosanders took flight and at least 2(1drk) popped over to Big Pool as did the Smew (but didn't see this actually leave the small pool). Two drake Pochards, a couple of Shovelers and a couple of Teal provided rarer duck action. Two Kingfishers were seen, 1 on each pool. The expected rest of the cast were all present.

Gulls were well represented with a post-dawn passage over of big numbers of large gulls including Herring, Great & Lesser Black-backed Gulls, Common and Black-headed Gulls were on the lakes. Buzzards flew over and a Green Woodpecker was predictably in the paddocks. In other paddocks over a hundred Redwings fed with a single Fieldfare, another 4 of the latter were elsewhere on site. 10+Bullfinches and 30 Goldfinches made for a colourful morning. Several Siskins were also nice to see. Nuthatches, a Treecreeper, several Goldcrests and a lone Collared Dove were welcome list additions for the 2016 Patch List.

Probably the most unexpected bird all day was a Patch Lifer in the shape of a Grey Wagtail, hanging around with a Pied Wagtail on a frozen flood in a field, both were gone later after the water had thawed out, a great start to my 2016 visits.

All day was spent at the common as per my 'new' low mileage resolution for 2016. Great to meet so many birders popping in for the Smew and accompanying goodies and great that I could put each one I met onto the trilogy of Smew, Goosander & Pochard for their fledgling yearlists!! A record Patch day total for me with 54 species seen, I will keep all up to date as usual on here, especially after the New Year whirl of ticking dies down a bit and I have the site back to myself winksmile



-- Edited by Doc Brewster on Sunday 3rd of January 2016 12:12:41 AM

__________________
facebook


Status: Offline
Posts: 67
Date:

Repeat posting for 1st Jan., as I started 2016 back at Newchurch, and saw the female Smew diving. Met the Doc there, and he quickly put me on to Goosander and Pochard as well. Also saw Nuthatch, male Bullfinch and several Siskin among many commoner species. Nice start to the year.



__________________


Status: Offline
Posts: 2088
Date:

Probably my final visit until after Christmas this morning.

As we approach the 2016 List the female Smew is still present, favouring West Bay of Sandiway Big Pool still and on my last few visits she has been lurking near the edge under the overhanging branches before coming out & showing better later. Other highlights were 2 drake Pochards, possibly new ones as yesterday an extensive search revealed no Pochard. An increased number of Common Gulls were in, many more gulls in total being seen on the lake this morning.

A Green Woodpecker and a Nuthatch were present but more rare were 2 Treecreepers at the edge of The Paddocks houses. Finches seen included Siskin, Bullfinch and numerous Chaffinches but no Bramblings were seen in a lengthy search through the flock. Several Redwings were now feeding amongst the leaf litter in a wooded area.

I will pop back to check everything before New Year. Just a thought, after chatting with the fisherman throughout this winter, if you visit for the Smew in the early New Year please be courteous to the fishermen. They own the pool and have always welcomed me watching from pegs they are not using. If a peg is occupied please go to another area to watch. Standing around talking loudly will probably annoy them so please be quiet, it's good fieldcraft anyway! The fishermen have a bit of a conflict with many local dogwalkers who let the dogs swim in the lakes despite them being 'private' fishing pools, we birders have a good relationship with them so please let's keep it that way, thanks smile



__________________
facebook


Status: Offline
Posts: 2088
Date:

Sunny morning down at the common, makes a change from the drizzle, but a bit colder than recent days & a sharp wind at times. Still, it could do with feeling like winter smile

After an extensive search the female Smew turned up in West Bay of Sandiway Big Pool (after definitely not being there earlier!!). The drake Goosander was still present but no sign of the Pochard. At least 6 Goldcrests and 4 Bullfinches were near the main track. A Green Woodpecker and a male Sparrowhawk both flew over. A few Redwings were seen as well as over 20 Long-tailed Tits. Over 40 species seen for the 10th consecutive visit smile



__________________
facebook


Status: Offline
Posts: 2088
Date:

Popped in for a brief visit this morning. Overcast and occasionally spitting with light rain, but so, so mild (at home the strawberries have come into flower in pots in the garden )

Had a fantastic visit, adding two new species to my Newchurch Common Patch list. The first of these was very unexpected, especially in the location that I found them. Looking across the paddocks at the edge of the gardens of the housing development that is called 'The Paddocks' (confusing!!) I saw a group of small passerines in a tree which when scoped turned out to be a group of 10 Meadow Pipits! In a tree in someones garden!! They just sat in the tree for ages, suggesting that they had alighted there whilst passing through. I never saw then drop down to feed, but left them sitting in the tree as I wanted to get onto the patch to check for anything else.

My next new bird was one that I had expected at some time but was a tad scarcer on a UK scale than Meadow Pipit, namely a Mediterranean Gull. A wnter-plumaged adult Med Gull sat amongst the Black-headed Gulls out on Sandiway Big Pool, distant but I did get some digiscoped record shots. With then breeding nearby on Blakemere Moss in Delamere Forest I had been expecting to find it at some time, but it is always nice to find this scarce species.

The female Smew was still on the south side of Big Pool, a wee bit more elusive today, head tucked in & resting under bankside vegetation. The drake Goosander and one drake Pochard still remained on the pool. A Kingfisher flashed across the pool on the north shore too.

A nice mixture of passerines with a Goldcrest, a Siskin, male & female Bullfinches and the usual mix of commoner species. It may have been a drizzly overcast morning but the birding certainly brightened my day up



__________________
facebook


Status: Offline
Posts: 2088
Date:

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!!



__________________
facebook


Status: Offline
Posts: 135
Date:

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

__________________


Status: Offline
Posts: 2088
Date:

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



__________________
facebook


Status: Offline
Posts: 2088
Date:

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.



__________________
facebook


Status: Offline
Posts: 2088
Date:

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



__________________
facebook


Status: Offline
Posts: 2088
Date:

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



__________________
facebook


Status: Offline
Posts: 2088
Date:

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



__________________
facebook


Status: Offline
Posts: 35
Date:

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

__________________
Frank


Status: Offline
Posts: 2088
Date:

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



__________________
facebook


Status: Offline
Posts: 35
Date:

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

__________________
Frank


Status: Offline
Posts: 2088
Date:

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

__________________
facebook


Status: Offline
Posts: 2088
Date:

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



__________________
facebook


Status: Offline
Posts: 2088
Date:

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



__________________
facebook


Status: Offline
Posts: 2088
Date:

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.



__________________
facebook


Status: Offline
Posts: 2088
Date:

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



__________________
facebook


Status: Offline
Posts: 2088
Date:

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



__________________
facebook


Status: Offline
Posts: 2088
Date:

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



__________________
facebook


Status: Offline
Posts: 2088
Date:

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



__________________
facebook


Status: Offline
Posts: 2088
Date:

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



__________________
facebook


Status: Offline
Posts: 2088
Date:

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 



__________________
facebook


Status: Offline
Posts: 2088
Date:

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



__________________
facebook


Status: Offline
Posts: 2088
Date:

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.



__________________
facebook


Status: Offline
Posts: 2088
Date:

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

__________________
facebook


Status: Offline
Posts: 675
Date:

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.



__________________
Blessed is the man who expecteth little reward ..... for he shall seldom be disappointed.


Status: Offline
Posts: 2088
Date:

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

__________________
facebook


Status: Offline
Posts: 2088
Date:

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



__________________
facebook


Status: Offline
Posts: 2088
Date:

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!



__________________
facebook


Status: Offline
Posts: 2088
Date:

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

 



__________________
facebook


Status: Offline
Posts: 734
Date:

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



__________________
My blog: The Early Birder


Status: Offline
Posts: 2088
Date:

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.



__________________
facebook


Status: Offline
Posts: 987
Date:

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

__________________
«First  <  16 7 8 9  >  Last»  | Page of 9  sorted by
Quick Reply

Please log in to post quick replies.

RODIS

 

This forum is dedicated to the memory of Eva Janice McKerchar; rest in peace mum.