Thursday, 20 September 2018

September 20th

Ten Cormorants over this morning along with twelve Meadow Pipits and a Grey Heron. Also noted Collared Dove , Nuthatch , Great Spotted Woodpecker , Grey Wagtail, Buzzard and a single singing Chiffchaff.

Wednesday, 19 September 2018

September 19th

Three Snipe flew over at 15-45 this afternoon unusual record for the site. Also three Greylags over yesterday another scarce bird for Astbury. Today three Cormorant , Nuthatch calling by gorsey corner , a couple of Chiffchaff still in song along with Coal Tit , Jay and Goldcrest. M & T Stubbs.

Saturday, 15 September 2018

September 15th

Eight Raven over all together the biggest flock seen over the Mere possibly came from roost site nearby. Also single Meadow Pipit and Pied Wagtail , two Sparrowhawk and two Buzzard. M Stubbs

Friday, 14 September 2018

September 14th

Five Meadow Pipits over along with two Swallow's , four Pied Wagtails , two Grey Wagtail , four Chiffchaff , Goldcrest , Treecreeper , Sparrowhawk , Jay , Grey Heron , Raven and fifteen Canada Geese. M Stubbs.

Wednesday, 12 September 2018


Coot numbers on the Mere always start to increase around this time of the year. With numbers reaching around one hundred and fifty species through the winter period. We have 71 on the Mere at present that's about normal for the month of September. Birds start to disperse during the spring months leaving us with around six pairs which attempt to breed . Birds are seldom seen in flight they mostly migrate at night , so little is known about the origins of our wintering Coot.

Tuesday, 11 September 2018

September 11th

A female Pochard in amongst the Tuffties , 71 Coot and eight Great Crested Grebe's . Also Sparrowhawk ,3x Buzzard's , a couple of House Martin , seven Swallow's , Chiffchaff , Great Spotted Woodpecker , Collared Dove , a flock of seven Bullfinch and Treecreeper. Singles of Large and Small White Butterflies along with a Small Copper and Speckled Wood. A single Southern Hawker dragonfly still on the wing. MS.

Monday, 10 September 2018

September 10th

Not a great deal to mention , a flash of blue 100mts out dashing from right to left was the resident Kingfisher .
And it was nice to get a scarce bird at Astbury on camera when the male Great Spotted Woodpecker gave itself up briefly as he flew and perched next to me on top of the pine trees .
Also noted Chiffchaff , Bullfinch , Rook , Jay , Grey Wagtail , Coal Tit and two Buzzard's. Walked around for hour late afternoon with mark managed Sparrowhawk , Buzzard , Swallow's x 3 , Cormorant , Grey Wagtail and fourteen Goldfinch.

Sunday, 9 September 2018

September 9th

Kingfisher early morning along with , 7x Swallow's , Coal Tit , Jay , Grey Heron , Goldcrest , 3x Sparrowhawk , Bullfinch and Chiffchaff.M Stubbs.

Saturday, 8 September 2018

Monthly Species Totals

                              Monthly Species Totals
                            2017                             2018
January.              59 .                                 60

February.            59.                                  64

March .                56.                                  81

April.                     61.                                 76

May.                      56.                                 64

June.                     55 .                                 57

July.                       54 .                                 58

August .                56.                                  65

September.          59 .                                 52 ( so far).

September 8th

A Black Tern flew in at 7-30 this morning and flew off at 8-35 after being harassed by the local gulls. It is only the sixth record in last eighteen years. Also Reed Warbler , Little Grebe , Sparrowhawk , Buzzard , Chiffchaff , Treecreeper , Goldcrest and a single Stock Dove on the ground amongst Wood Pigeons. M Stubbs.

Thursday, 6 September 2018

September 6th

Great Spotted Woodpecker mid morning a scarce sighting at the mere. M Stubbs.

Tuesday, 4 September 2018

September 4th

Went down to the mere around 2 o'clock to see if this morning's rain had brought anything new in. To my surprise the first birds I but my bins on were two drake Common Scoter sitting pretty much in the centre. They drifted closer and closer allowing a few reasonable images albeit in poor light. This is the 19th record of Common Scoter since 1996 at Astbury.

Monday, 3 September 2018

Sept 3rd

Spent a couple of hours early morning before the rain set in . Nuthatch at back of sailing club quiet scarce at this site also , Kingfisher , Buzzard x 3 , Swallow's x 10 , Grey Heron , Chiffchaff calling , Bullfinch and Cormorant.

Sunday, 2 September 2018

Common Scoter

Well what can I say another call at 6-20 this morning from Mark , this time he had found a drake Common Scoter . On my arrival it was distant and very nervous taking flight a few times. It was very overcast so photography was near on impossible , I got a couple distant flight shots. I arrived at 6-40 and by 6-55 it flew off high in a North Westerly direction. Before I left for work I managed 65 Coot , Raven , Grey Wagtail , Cormorant , 8 Swallow's , Buzzard , 5 Chiffchaff , Grey Heron , 6 Great Crested Grebe's and a Jay . We usually get one or two sightings a year of Scoter , this is the first one so far.
A very distant dark shot of a drake Common Scoter leaving the mere this morning before sunrise . Not ideal conditions for photographing an all black duck in the gloom.
It is a Common Scoter honest.

Saturday, 1 September 2018

Little Egret

Our first Little Egret at Astbury has been well overdue , with other lakes , reservoirs and mere's all around us getting them on a regular basis. I suppose we can only put it down to the size of our mere and the disturbance it gets through water sports etc. We know have low water levels due to the three months previous with very little rain and that has obviously contributed , giving a very attractive shoreline for wading birds at Astbury. If this continues we have high hopes that it could attract another first for us. As this was our first Egret I hope you will excuse me for putting a few more images on.

September 1st

In a one hour walk around this morning myself and Mark managed 40 species . The highlights were the first Kingfisher back this autumn also a Hobby over . Along with six Meadow Pipits , single Buzzard , single female Teal which is two months earlier than last year's record. Around 55 House Martin's passing through along with a dozen Swallow's. Others noted Goldcrest , Rook , Grey Wagtail and a couple of calling Chiffchaff. Hedgehog scats were found by the sailing club proof that they are around. Also not mentioned the other day we had two separate Vapourer Moths. August finished with a count of 65 species nine up on August last year.

Friday, 31 August 2018

Little Egret a site First

I was at work when I got a call from Mark saying he had just found our first Little Egret for Astbury a site first. Marks on a roll with the sighting of two Greenshank last Sunday morning , that in itself was only the second ever record. Surprisingly there have been no sightings of Little Egret at all either flying over or on the deck at Astbury, but they have been recorded at a small pool on a few occasions which is less than a mile away. But we will take this one as being the first .The Egret was found at 9-40 and was still present at 10-50 when I left feeding on the small spit just off the sailing club car park. It flew around once but came back to the same spot . The bird arrived between 8-30 and 9-30 as Mark visited earlier in the morning and left at 8-30 with no sign of its presence. Apparently the Little Egret flew off high over Visitors Centre just before midday. Also this morning small numbers of Meadow Pipits passed overhead , along with a single Buzzard and Sparrowhawk.I managed a few shots of the Egret just for the record books.

Thursday, 30 August 2018

August 30th

Mark had a walk around early this morning not a great deal going on . Cormorant , Grey Heron , Blackcap , Bullfinch , Goldcrest and Chiffchaff. Also House Martin's and Swallows still hanging on.

Tuesday, 28 August 2018

August 28th

Quiet again this morning just a couple of Buzzards , Swallow's and House Martin's are still hanging on . Couple of female Blackcap noted along with good numbers of Goldfinch and Bullfinch , both these finch's seemed to have had a good breeding season. Fisherman tell me that the Tawny Owls were in good voice last night.

Monday, 27 August 2018

August 27th

Very quiet this morning just three Buzzards , a flock of 26 Goldfinch , single Kestrel and Raven over. Twenty-five Tufted Duck and 26 Black Headed Gulls on small sand bar along with a couple of Lesser Black Backs.
Photo by Tracey Stubbs

Sunday, 26 August 2018


Absolutely fantastic record this morning of two Greenshank on the sailing club shore found by Mark Stubbs. The two birds were first picked up by Mark at 5-43 after he heard them calling, they flew off high North over visitors centre at 6-23. This is only the second ever record for the site , the first being found by Andy Goodwin on 26/09/02. Other birds of note a single Tawny Owl calling and in last couple weeks a Hobby and two juvenile Shelduck . A single Swift present late afternoon.
Archive photo of Greenshank taken a few years ago.

Tuesday, 14 August 2018

August 14th

Another quiet visit this morning , twenty seven House Martin's , single Grey Heron , eight Tufted Duck , eight Great Crested Grebe's and plenty of juvenile Bullfinches around. Sparrowhawk put up a small Goldfinch flock and Mark had three Swift again yesterday.

Sunday, 12 August 2018

August 12th

A wet morning at the Mere , Reed Warbler , Cormorant , five Swift , four Chiffchaff , juvenile's of Bullfinch and Goldcrest , also Blackcap and Willow Warbler. (MS)

Saturday, 11 August 2018

August 11th

Mark had fourty species on his walk this morning nothing special but not a bad total , with a couple of easy ones missed. Best of the bunch , Great Spotted Woodpecker , Nuthatch , Chiffchaff , Coal Tit , fourteen Greenfinch , Willow Warbler , Blackcap , House Martin's , Sparrowhawk and Buzzard.

Saturday, 4 August 2018

100 UP

It's took a long time coming but finally early this morning Mark managed to get us up to the 100 species for the year. When four Common Terns dropped in at 5-35 this morning and flew out again at 6-05. All marks hard work has paid off putting in many hours birding to get us to this total , nice fella.

Friday, 3 August 2018

Strange sighting

Be careful if you go down to the woods today.
Mark Stubbs doing what he does best .

Thursday, 2 August 2018

August 2nd

Struggling this morning to find much of interest the best being Reed Warbler , Buzzard , several House Martin's and Great Spotted Woodpecker.No sign of yesterday's two Common Sandpipers . Duck numbers basically the same as day before. Local fisherman told me he saw a pike take a young Coot last night.

Wednesday, 1 August 2018

August 1st.

Two Common Sandpipers early morning along the fisherman's shore which at present with the water levels very low , looks remarkable attractive for waders. 46 Coot , 43 Mallard , 8 Tufted Duck , 10 Great Crested Grebe's and 6 House Martin's. The area of rough grass just to the left of the visitors center held around 14 Common Blue and 2 Small Copper butterflies early morning. Six Swift and a single Reed Warbler this afternoon (MS).
Common Blue female.

Tuesday, 31 July 2018

Common Blue and Friend.

Male Common Blue and friend.

July 31st

Not a great deal to mention bird wise , eight Tufted Ducks , ten Great Crested Grebe's , Jay , Buzzard , and good numbers of Bullfinch. I managed to capture some Common Blue and Small Copper butterflies , as they battled with the early morning breeze.
Small Copper.
Common Blue male.
Common Blue male.
Common Blue female.
Common Blue female.

Monday, 30 July 2018

July 30th

On July 25th a count of thirty four Common Blue butterflies were noted amongst the long grass just to left of visitors center car park. Today five Swift still hanging on they should be heading south any time now. Five Tufted Duck noted numbers should increase now as the breeding seasons coming to an end , and Tuffties disperse from other waters. Good numbers of Bullfinch around looks like they had a good season.

Sunday, 29 July 2018

July Highlights

July highlights are as follows , Common Sandpiper 14th , Oystercatcher 15th , juvenile Common Gull 27th and Raven 28th. Confirmed breeding Bullfinch , Greenfinch , Goldcrest , Long-tailed Tit and G C Grebe. Others worth a mention are Great Spotted Woodpecker , Tree Creeper , Nuthatch , Grey Wagtail , Kestrel , Sparrowhawk , Buzzard , Collared Dove , Reed Warbler , Blackcap , Chiffchaff , Swift , House Martin , Swallow , Sand Martin, Grey Heron and Cormorant. Butterflies included Large , Small and Green-veined White's , Small Copper , Common Blue , Comma , Ringlet , Meadow Brown , Small Skipper , Peacock , Speckled Wood , Gatekeeper , Red Admiral , Holly Blue , Small Tortoiseshell and Painted Lady. Dragonflies included Brown Hawker , Southern Hawker and Migrant Hawker. Nearby of interest Kingfisher river Dane town centre also Dipper , Goosander and Grey Wagtail . On the Cloud Crossbill , Lesser Redpoll , Tree Pipit , Spotted Flycatcher , Meadow Pipit and Raven . Radnor Park industrial estate on 12th a White Stork on a factory roof early morning . All reports courtesy of Mark and Tracey Stubbs.

Saturday, 7 July 2018

July 6th

Good variety of butterflies on show today with Small Skipper , Large and Small White's , Green-viened White , Small Copper , Holy Blue , Red Admiral (first of the year) , Small Tortoiseshell , Peacock , Comma , Gatekeeper , Meadow Brown and Ringlet . Also six spot Burnet moths , Brown Hawker dragonfly , Kestrel , Buzzard , Sparrowhawk and Nuthatch. (MS & TS).

Sunday, 1 July 2018

July 1st

First Gatekeeper butterfly today bringing our total to eighteen species this year, one more than previous two years. Also six-spotted burnet moths are flying. (MS).
Six-spotted Burnet.

Friday, 22 June 2018

June 22nd

Hobby flew through early morning along with Stock Dove and twelve Swift. Also noted Blackcap , Willow Warbler , Chiffchaff and Reed Warbler . Along with Bullfinch , Grey Heron , Coal Tit and a adult Lesser Black Backed Gull , Buzzard and Canada Goose. Mark managed 41 species on his walk around early morning. Great Spotted Woodpecker was noted only second time this year , also an unusual record of a Fox. (MS).

Thursday, 21 June 2018

Butterflies 2018

First dates of Butterflies recorded so far this year.

1 Comma..............................25/03
2 Small Tortoiseshell..........05/04
3 Peacock.............................05/04
4 Brimstone.........................18/04
5 Green-veined White.........18/04
6 Large White......................19/04
7 Orange-tip........................ 19/04
8 Holy Blue...........................19/04
9 Speckled Wood.................30/04
10 Small White....................13/05
11 Small Copper..................16/05
12 Large Skipper.................03/06
13 Meadow Brown.............03/06
14 Common Blue.................04/06
15 Ringlet.............................15/06
16 Small Skipper.................19/06
17 Painted Lady...................20/06
18 Gatekeeper......................
19 Red Admiral....................

Painted Lady

Brian Hicks found our first Painted Lady butterfly of the year along with Ringlet , Meadow Brown , Large Skipper , Small White and Green-veined White.
Painted Lady photo by Brian Hicks.

Tuesday, 19 June 2018

June 19th.

Five singing Song Thrush , sixteen Great Crested Grebe's (4 young) , two families of Blackcaps and four Reed Warblers (3 in song) (JS).

First Small Skipper of the year (MS).

Sunday, 17 June 2018


The first report of Ringlet butterfly was on Friday 15th.

June 16th

Two singing Reed Warblers and a single Oystercatcher flew over , also Kestrel Swift and Sand Martin . Several Meadow Brown butterflies were on the wing but no sign of any Ringlets as yet. Five Common Spotted Orchids are in flower but most of the Southern Marsh have almost gone now. Quite a few baby Toadlets were on the east path . (MS & TS).

Friday, 15 June 2018

June 15th

A Kingfisher flew across the mere this morning . (AG).

Wednesday, 6 June 2018

June 5th

Butterflies Common Blue , Meadow Brown and Large Skipper have all been seen over the last couple of days.

Friday, 1 June 2018

June 1st

Black-tailed Skimmer female still present along with Large Red and Azure Damselflies. Also Sparrowhawk , Holy Blue and Small Copper. (MS).
Smooth Newt taken by Tracey Stubbs .

Thursday, 31 May 2018

Black-tailed Skimmer

The female Black-tailed Skimmer still present today along with Broad-bodied Chaser and several Azure Damselfly and two Large Red Damselfly. Also a pair Shoveler on the mere . All photos below courtesy of Brian Hicks.
Pair of Large Red Damselfly.
Azure Damselfly.
Female Black-tailed Skimmer.

Wednesday, 30 May 2018


Apologies I was doing work on the blog and locked it out of reading by mistake.

Today Mark had the four young Grebe's still present amazing really considering the amount of pike present.  Plenty of Southern Marsh Orchids in flower , a single  Oystercatche flew over and the Reed Warbler is still singing well . Also noted Collared Dove , twelve Swift and four House Martin's which is a poor showing really but they don't seem for some unknown reason to be back in numbers throughout the UK like previous years. Jack had another Hobby over on 22nd , and a female Black-tailed Skimmer yesterday which are scarce at this site. Butterflies reported just latley include Brimstone , Peacock , Orange-tip , Small  Copper , Comma, Small Tortoiseshell , Small and Large Whites  , and Green-veined White , I think that brings us upto date again apologies for pressing the wrong button and blocking everyone.

As you can see we are still on 98 species so if anyone sees a Tern either Black or Common shout loud as neither of these have been reported so far this year.

Monday, 21 May 2018

May 21st

A few Butterflies, two species of Damselfly and six Southern Marsh Orchids just coming out in flower.
Large White x 3
Small White x 1
Green-viened White x 2
Orange-tip x 8
Speckled Wood x 5
Brimstone x 1
Peacock x 1
Small Copper x 1
Large Red Damselfly x 3
Azure Blue Damselfly x 7

Small Copper taken with a phone by Tracey Stubbs.
Speckled Wood on the path.
Orange-tip female.
Red Mason Bee male.
Large Red Damselfly stunning close up.
Southern Marsh Orchid.
Southern Marsh Orchid.

Sunday, 20 May 2018

Local Interest

Local Interest at a house in Mosseley Congleton four pairs of Swift's are back on site with two nests already occupied.

Friday, 18 May 2018

Local Interest

Wood Warbler singing on the main track upto the Cloud for the past few days also Spotted Flycatcher there. (MS,JS).

Thursday, 17 May 2018

May 17th

Nothing different from yesterday really Singing Reed and Garden Warbler's and a Reed Bunting. Also our first Small Copper butterfly of the year.(M&T Stubbs).

Wednesday, 16 May 2018

May 16th

Cold and wet this morning where has the sun gone with temperature's in mid 20s yesterday cloudy and cooler today. Just a note the party we took around on Sundays bird walk the nest of Long-tailed Tits fledged the very next day , with nine youngster's all lined up along the gorse. This morning only birds worth noting were Reed Warbler and Garden Warbler it's all gone very quite. Mark just texted to say while he was having a break he saw two Greylag Geese fly over and a Reed Bunting singing away. These next few months are when I don't tend to go down to much as the public decend on the mere and all wildlife disappears . But having said that some good birds can turn up end of May there's always a chance of a Tern passing through or a Common Scoter being blown off course , or another Scaup paying us a visit. I now turn my attention to Butterflies , Dragonflies and Moths for the next few months , so stay with the blog it will not get updated as regular , but I will put on as and when. August onwards will be the next main bird news when we start to get reverse migration .