Tuesday, 17 October 2017

Pochard Back

The first returning Pochard of the autumn have arrived back with a pair on the mere this morning . Also a Peregrine was seen attempting to catch Wood Pigeons on a couple of occasions but gave it up as a bad job and moved off east. Two Cormorant flew over heading south and a pair of Grey Wagtails were feeding along sailing club shore line. Also noted a single Jay , two Bullfinch and a count of 97 Coot so numbers still rising.
Peregrine .
Pochard (female).
Pochard (female).

Saturday, 14 October 2017

Back to reality

After two weeks in Norfolk of Harrier's , Crane's and Owls etc it's now back to the the mere and reality. No sign of yesterday's female Goldeneye that Andy saw but duck numbers are increasing with 42× Mallard , 57×Tufted Duck and 63×Coot . Still a couple of pairs of Great Crested Grebe's with three juveniles and a single Canada Goose . 105× Wood Pigeon flew over in a single flock heading south but no sign as yet of any Redwings. Also noted were a couple of Jays and Rooks a single Bullfinch and a Grey Wagtail feeding along the shoreline . Like I said earlier back to reality with a bang !

Friday, 13 October 2017


The first Goldeneye of the autumn was found today by A Goodwin , also a single singing Chiffchaff.

Monday, 9 October 2017


Twenty three Wigeon and a female type Pintail at the mere this afternoon , M Stubbs. Both these species are scarce at this site and the Pintail record being only the second in last ten years.

Friday, 6 October 2017

Dragons Added

I have just been passed some old Dragonfly records from the Cheshire county recorder and we can add Blue-tailed Damselfly and Black-tailed Skimmer to the site list. I am still in Norfolk for another week , so hopefully update site on my return. Some good news from Matt the ranger we are being allowed a sightings information board which the trust is kindly paying for . And it will be fixed on the wall of the visitor's centre and hopefully myself and a couple of birding colleagues will be able to keep it updated on a regular basis. Many thanks to David Kitching for the Dragonfly information , and a big thank you to the Trustees of Astbury for agreeing and funding our wildlife information board.

Tuesday, 26 September 2017

Moth Nights

Their are no more moth nights planned this year but hopefully will continue next spring with at least one a month through untill Autumn watch this space.

Missing Records

Has anyone seen these three little beauties during past twenty years or so at the site, as there are no records for them at all . Small Heath , Wall and Dark-green Fritillary. Images below to jog your memory.
Small Heath.
Dark-green Fritillary.

Sunday, 24 September 2017

Bats and Migration

Met up with Mark just after 6-00 this morning and this time he had his bat detector . We had good numbers of Soprano Pipistrelle flying around our heads along with common Pipistrelle and also picked up the calls of Brown Long-eared and Noctule. Mark thought he had Daubentens aswell but not 100% sure so we left of the list , so we do have all five of the common species here at Astbury . It was then getting light so decided to have couple hours watching the skies for any signs of migration . We had 27 Meadow Pipits , 10 Swallow , 3 Grey Wagtail , 3 Pied Wagtails and two possible Stock Dove and five Greylag Geese all heading south . A flock of 45 Mallard arrived obviously disturbed from another water close by . Three Sparrowhawk in the air together possibly adults and a single juvenile or could possibly have been three juveniles but to far away to confirm , also three Rook flew south not a common site here . The now resident Kingfisher made several fly bye's , four Cormorant flew straight over and another single dropped onto the water . A single Grey Heron was disturbed by fisherman , still several Chiffchaff calling along with Bullfinch and Goldcrest . And Mark had Buzzard over which I missed , so all in all not a bad couple of hours at the Mere.

Saturday, 23 September 2017

Bat Walk

Mark walked around at half-light this morning and came across 13 small Pipistrelle Bats which were either Common or Soprano . He said he could not rule out others like Long-eared , Noctule and Daubentens. I think Mark is intending to go back early one morning with a bat detector to find out what is exactly there.

Friday, 22 September 2017

Grey Wagtail

Grey Wagtails are not that common at the mere but there is a pair that breed nearby and visit on occasions. So it was nice to be able to capture this juvenile in some nice early morning light on the sailing club beach. Also noted this morning were several Chiffchaff still singing , a single Raven over and the Kingfisher still present. Mark Stubbs had a walk around mid-morning and picked up Meadow Pipits, Great Spotted Woodpecker , Nuthatch , Jay , two Buzzard's and Goldcrest . Butterflies noted two Comma , Speckled Wood and Small Tortoiseshell.

Wednesday, 20 September 2017

Missing Records

Here is a list of Birds , Butterflies and Dragonflies that there are no records for from Astbury . Please look closely at the list you may just have seen one on your visit to the mere and just passed it off without a second thought. Iam trying to put all records onto a database so they are all in one place your help is needed with absent sightings. If you recognise any on the list below please get in touch by the e mail listed astburywildlife@yahoo.co.uk or contact one of our park Rangers who will pass the information on. Birds.......Bewick Swan , Mandarin , Little Egret , Snipe , Ringed Plover , Osprey , Glaucous Gull , Arctic Tern , Wood Warbler , Grasshopper Warbler , Spotted Flycatcher , Pied Flycatcher , Firecrest , Common Redpoll ................. Butterflies.......Small Heath , Wall , Dark Green Fritillary ........ Dragonflies........Blue-tailed Damselfly , Emerald Damselfly , Black-tailed Skimmer , Four-spotted Chaser , Migrant Hawker , Emperor Dragonfly and Ruddy Darter.

Tuesday, 19 September 2017

Foggy Start

A foggy start this morning it wasn't until around 9-30 that it started to clear. And when it did it turned out to be quite a nice morning with lovely blue skies.I spent most the morning around the conservation area as you couldn't see a thing on the water . Plenty of activity with a family party of Bullfinch 's and Goldfinch's , also female Sparrowhawk made a pass but was unsuccessful. Two Chiffchaff were also present and a single Jay flew over.

Monday, 18 September 2017

Monday 18th September

A party of seven Bullfinch two adults and five juveniles have been present in the conservation area for around a week now . Today was the first time I managed a photo of one of the juveniles. A Great Spotted Woodpecker was heard calling from by the visitor's centre , and five Swallow's over the car park. The Kingfisher was seen again in gorsey corner early morning and a single Grey Wagtail was in front of the sailing club. Several Chiffchaff are still in good voice and on the water there are 77 Coot , 40 Tufted Duck , 24 Mallard , six adult Great Crested Grebe and four juveniles.
Bullfinch (juvenile).

Sunday, 17 September 2017

Species Month by Month

We don't get that many species of birds at the mere compared with other waters nearby but each month is consistent with between 52 and 54 per month with April being the exception with 59. January 52... February 54... March 55... April 59... May 54...June 53... July 52... August 54. At present September stands at 54 species for the month . We are also one up on last year's final total with 87 species for the year.

Sunday 17th Sept

Decided to get up early and see if I could see any Pink-footed Geese going over as there were a few reports local yesterday morning, with skiens moving west to east. At 6-00 I saw the early cloud and low mist so didn't bother wrong move. A text from Mark Stubbs saying he had a few Meadow Pipits moving over then a call saying adult Hobby our first sighting this year made me move. Total from Mark was thirteen Mipits , three Pied Wagtails , single Grey Wagtail , a adult Hobby and the Kingfisher. Also noted was a single Mistle Thrush , five Bullfinch around twelve Swallow's moving through and a female Sparrowhawk .

Wednesday, 13 September 2017

New site record

Many thanks to Colin Lythgoe for letting me have some of his old birding records for Astbury in year 2007 and 2010 , his sightings have given us another new record for the site . He watched a female Lesser Spotted Woodpecker for 20 minutes on 08/01/10 that now brings the site list to 144 species. Please if you have any old records look at the species list on the right hand side of this page you might find out that you are sitting on a rare or scarce record for the sight , or even a first . How common you may think your sighting is please send it to myself e mail listed on side of page , or I visit daily if you see me say hello and have a chat . Or pass them onto Matt the ranger of the park who will forward them on . Regards Steve.

Wednesday 13th Sept

They only thing new in this morning were three Sand Martin's and a single Swallow.
Wood Pigeon.

Tuesday, 12 September 2017

Tuesday 12th Sept

Another early start in hope again of something out of the ordinary arrived at 6-30 to finally see the Kingfisher dart across in front of me , managed to catch up with it another four times on my walk around. Alas no rare gulls this morning just the usual Black-headed Gull flock which is getting larger by the day. Two Common Tern's dropped in at 6-45 and departed again at around 7-00 took a few photos but light poor at that time in morning. Five Chiffchaff were heard singing also a couple young Willow Warblers , and three Bullfinch were noted. A Common Sandpiper flew from sailng club shore and disappeared over the far side along fisherman's shoreline.Five House Martin's circled over the car park as I was leaving .

Monday, 11 September 2017

Monday 11th Sept

With strong overnight north westerlies I set off for a early morning walk around the mere in anticipation that something just something might have got blown in !!!!!! NOTHING. Just the normal Grebe's , Coots , Mallards and Tufted Ducks. A couple of Chiffchaff were singing and a large party of Long-tailed Tits feeding in overhanging Willows. Eighteen Wood Pigeon went south overhead along with a single Stock Dove . A Raven flew west then half hour later back east and a Cormorant attempted to land but thought twice about it and flew south. Just before I left seven Canada Geese flew in . John had a Kingfisher again in gorsey corner at mid day , and I paid another visit at 18-00 to no avail just three Swallow's and a single House Martin.
1st winter Black-headed Gull.
Canada Geese.

Saturday, 9 September 2017

Saturday 9th

A brief look at the Mere this evening in the hope of something different but alas it wasn't to be. Eight adult Great Crested Grebe's noted along with the four juveniles. Numbers of Black headed Gulls are starting to increase .

Book Launch

A must for all serious Cheshire Birders out today Rare and Scarce Birds of Cheshire & Wirral , by Allan Conlin & Eddie Williams.

Friday, 8 September 2017

Coastal Winds

Over the next few days strong West to North West winds will be hitting many coastal sites and hopefully will bring with it inland records of Leach's Petrels , Sabine's Gull , Grey Phalaropes and Skua's . Now we all know that Astbury Mere will get it's fare share of these so keep them eye's peeled and report what you see. Good Birding.😋 The images below I have taken at other inland waters so why not here at Astbury Mere so come on make a effort over the next few days and make a name for yourselves.
Leach's Petrel.
Sabine's Gull.
Grey Phalarope.
Great Skua.

Wednesday, 6 September 2017


A juvenile Kingfisher was found in gorsey corner bay yesterday by John Spottiswood , he also saw a adult there a few weeks back . Coot numbers are increasing with 72 noted this morning along with 28 Tufted Duck . We still have two pairs of Grebe's with young and I managed a few shots off the sailing club beach before the clouds and rain moved in.

Thursday, 31 August 2017

Sept 30th

Nothing much happening lately a lot of activity with boats and general public so we mainly limit our visits. Good numbers of Speckled Woods noted today though along with Singles of Peacock and Red Admiral . Brown Hawker Dragonfly looking for prey along north hedgerow and good numbers of Common Darter around top pool in the wood. Very quite on the mere as I said due to the amount of boat activity , hopefully as Autumn then winter approaches the boating will end. I know everyone has the right to enjoy there own activities but it really does get up my back , when birds have flown miles and all they want to do is feed up and rest only do be disturbed by someone in a floating tube splashing around oblivious to the damage they are doing to our wildlife. Oh a Common Marbled Carpet moth was seen along with a very large wasp like Hoverfly which iam still trying to identify.As I did not have my camera to hand I have added two images from Nature Guide UK. The species was definitely Chrysotoxum with this one from memory looking the closest .

Wednesday, 23 August 2017

Mothing session Part 2

A second moth trapping session was done last night again in and around the visitor's centre car park. I was joined again by Jack Swan and Cheshire Micro Moth county recorder Steve Hind. Between the two of them there is not much they don't know about Birds , Insects , Plants , Trees and anything Wildlife in general both of them a mind of information. Anyway back to moths it had been a warm day with temperature's around the 24 degree's mark and still in the high teens during the night. We caught well over 500 moths again but this time only 50 different species of which twenty one were new to the site. As you can see from some of the images below it paints a Autumn scene with gold's and yellows in most of the moths.
Centre-barred Sallow.
Orange Swift.
Dusky Thorn.

Tuesday, 22 August 2017

Request for Sightings

If you have any sightings of Birds, Insects etc or photos please e mail address on right hand side of front page. astburywildlife@yahoo.co.uk or text to 07712 146418.

Wednesday, 9 August 2017


Raven over car park early morning . M Stubbs.

Monday, 7 August 2017

Black Swan

The feral Black Swan has appeared again on the mere doing the rounds again between north Staffs and south Cheshire. Very little else of note really . Butterflies noted were Comma , Red Admiral , Large and Small White's , Gatekeepers and Speckled Wood.

Tuesday, 1 August 2017


Kingfisher returns to the mere seen this afternoon around the bay to right hand side as you walk down from visitor's centre. Also Reed Warbler noted feeding young. J Spottiswood.

Saturday, 29 July 2017

Micro Months

Around fifty Micro moths were also trapped during our moth night and it was good that our Micro moth county recorder for Cheshire was on hand to readly identify them .
Eucosma campoliliana.
Cydia splendana.
Calamotropha paludella.
Bird Cherry Ermine.
Acrobasis advenella.
Mother of Pearl.

Tuesday, 25 July 2017

Moth Night

On Monday night the 24th July myself Steve Hind and Jack Swan ran five moth traps through the night in and around the visitor's centre car park . It was a mild night with daytime temperature's​ of 20 degrees and 15 through the night. Expectations were high as Astbury Mere had not been done before and it would be interesting to see what species we could record . We had a good night with over 500 moths being caught at present still sorting out individuals but it looks like 113 different species. The list at present only stands at around 30 species these being day flying individuals that you disturb as you walk around , so all in all we have added and hopefully will continue to add to the list . A big thank you goes to park ranger Matt for allowing this to happen and for helping us out on the night much appreciated. A selection was displayed for a few hours on Tuesday morning in the visitor's centre and was appreciated buy those who came along . A few images below and more will be added at a later date.
Pale Prominent.
Pebble Prominent.
Canary Shouldered Thorn .
Brimstone Moth.
Broad-bordered Yellow Underwing.

Sunday, 23 July 2017

Astbury Moths

Weather permitting a selection of moths caught from Astbury CP will be on view at the visitors centre during the morning of Tuesday 25th July from 9-00 till around 12-30. For any further information contact Matt the park ranger.

Tuesday, 18 July 2017

Warm Spell

The warm weather over the last couple of days has brought many Insects out onto the wing . Good numbers butterflies noted with 14 species seen most days , also Common Darter can be found with at least twenty noted around the pool in the top wood. A good selection of Moths , Hoverflies and Damselflies are putting on a good show as well .
Large White.
Common Darter (female).
Common Darter (male).
Leucozona lucorum (Hoverfly).