Saturday, 31 December 2016

Happy New Year

Happy New Year to all that read our blog, hope you have a bird filled 2017. We end this year with 76 species recorded at the mere but these are only my sightings along with records from Jack Swann and John Spottiswood . How many more sightings have gone unrecognised or unrecorded it only takes a few minutes of your time to e mail sightings to .......

Late News

Late News........a Ring-necked Parakeet was seen at dusk on the 14th and again early the next morning.

Friday, 30 December 2016

30th Dec

While most of the surrounding towns and villages are covered in mist and fog Astbury was bathed in early morning sunshine . A couple of Redwing were feeding on berries in the car park , while out on the water was a pair of Wigeon. I think this is our only record this year and the male looked stunning in the early sunshine. They stayed in the middle which made photography difficult , but I managed some record shots.The three Little Grebe's are still present along with a single drake Pochard . A couple of Siskin were seen drinking from the side of the lake as two Jays were squabbling nearby.
Pair Wigeon.
Pair Wigeon .
Wigeon are scarce visitors to this site and are always nice to see with only a handful of records over the past ten years , and this being the only one this year. If you have any sightings please e mail them in to

Tuesday, 27 December 2016

Tuesday 27th

A frosty start saw eight Siskin and four Lesser Redpoll feeding in alder's this morning , and good numbers of Coot and Tufted Duck along with two drake Pochard and the three Little Grebe,s on the mere.
Lesser Redpoll.

Monday, 26 December 2016

Little Grebe

Little Grebe sightings are scarce at the site with only a handful over he past few years usually single records around this time of the year , a count of five was an exception on 8th December 2010. Three Little Grebe's have been present now for the best part of December and are usually to far out to even attempt a photograph but today for the first time I managed a few record shots .

Sunday, 25 December 2016

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas to everyone who reads the blog we hope you have a bird filled new year. Believe it or not there was another fun run around the mere this morning but this time we managed a complete walk around . Only three drake Pochard noted but we did managed to find the three Little Grebe that have been present throughout December. Several Lesser Black Backed Gulls were loafing around on the water along with six juvenile Herring Gulls and around one hundred Black headed Gulls.A couple of Goldcrest were watched at close quarters along with a single male Bullfinch. Don't forget if you have any sightings or image's please send them to

Saturday, 24 December 2016

Fun Run

The Christmas fun run was on this morning so really not the best time to visit . There were good numbers of Coot and Tufted Ducks and a party of five Pochard. It was impossible to do a circuit with the hundred plus runners .

Tuesday, 20 December 2016


If you have any sightings to report from the site please email me on

Little Grebe

Three Little Grebe on 13th December.


During November John Spottiswood recorded 100 Tufted Duck, 118 Coot , four Pochard , nine Great Crested Grebe , two Little Grebe and a single Chiffchaff .

Monday, 19 December 2016


Early November Jack Swann located a drake Pintail on the mere . Pintail are very scarce at this site and it was Jack,s first ever record . The last record I can find for Pintail at the site were six individuals on the 21st Feb 1996 and included 4 x females and 2x drake's. If anybody has any further information on Pintail records please drop me an e mail to

Sunday, 25 September 2016

Resume reports

We have stopped visiting Astbury during August and September due to the amount of disturbance by general public but hopefully it should get quieter now Autumn is approaching , we hope to resume our reports staring October.

Friday, 29 July 2016

Lesser Whitethroat

Lesser Whitethroat in gorsey corner , also eight Great Crested Grebe with four juvenile,s still present ....JS.

Friday, 15 July 2016

Common Terns

Two Common Terns were found on the 7th by John Spottiswood and we're still present on the 11th .This is a good record for Astbury and for Cheshire in general as these birds don't hang around that much in our region.

Monday, 30 May 2016

May 30th

I have not spent much time here over the bank holiday period as some of us had to go to work , and the day I did have off I went photographing Wood White butterflies in Warwickshire. Just spoke with Jack Swann on the phone and he told me there is a Common Whitethroat by the two new houses being built on the approach road to the sailing club , that takes this years bird species total to seventy one . Also we possibly have three Reed Warblers now and at least two Garden Warblers. The rangers are doing a good job leaving certain parts of the grass un cut giving chance for the wild flowers to grow. Tonight I went down and photographed some of the Southern Marsh Orchids which are just starting to appear along with a nice patch of Ragged Robin.
Ragged Robin.
Southern Marsh Orchid.
Southern Marsh Orchid.
Southern Marsh Orchid.

Friday, 27 May 2016

May 27th

While chatting to Mike Atkinson and his wife this morning Mike noticed a Common Tern appear from overhead it remained for about thirty seconds before heading off high south , also present are now two Reed Warblers both were singing well . Several Orchids have started to appear I think they are Southern Marsh but need to check .
Common Tern.

Sunday, 22 May 2016


A Lesser Whitethroat was seen well for a few minutes as it feed amongst the scrub behind the sailing club early this morning but alas it was to quick for me and my camera. The male Sparrowhawk was circling the mere while several Swifts were feeding quite low over the grass bank by the visitors centre.
Several Blackcap and Chiffchaff were in full song also a couple of Willow Warblers , and two male Bullfinch were feeding along the hedgerow . A single Raven called as it passed overhead as four Swallow and two House Martins circled high over the water. No sign or sound of the recent Reed Warbler .

Saturday, 14 May 2016

May 14th

We spent a pleasant hour around the small wildlife pond adjacent to the visitors centre this afternoon watching the Common Newts in the pond and just passing the time of day in the sunshine. A pair of Orange-tips kept us occupied along with two Large Red Damselflies the first noted this year. Blackcap, Willow Warbler and Goldfinch were also present in this small wildlife garden .
Large Red Damselfly.

Friday, 13 May 2016

May 13th

My first Orange-tip of the year at Astbury yesterday evening seen by the wildlife pond .

Wednesday, 11 May 2016

May 11th

Late news from yesterday John had a Hobby chasing House Martin's at 13-00 the first reported this year . Also a Garden Warbler and Reed Warbler both showing well .

Sunday, 8 May 2016

May 8th

Common Sandpiper early this morning also Reed Warbler still in same place singing well . Sparrowhawk over also Bullfinch , Blackcap , Willow Warbler , Chiffchaff and male Reed Bunting

Saturday, 7 May 2016

May 7th

Our first Reed Warbler back this morning frustratingly watched singing for 15 minutes but could not get a photo.

Wednesday, 4 May 2016

May 4th

With a few Swifts now back at Astbury eight present tonight I decided to try and capture some images with the camera . Not very successful but below are three out of a bad bunch.

Tuesday, 3 May 2016

May 3rd

Between 19-00 and 19-30 this evening fourteen Swifts were feeding over the trees along the eastern edge of the mere also a single Buzzard over . An Oystercatcher was heard calling as it flew over but could not be found and a single Raven called as it headed south east. Feeding again over the water were small numbers of Sand and House Martins and half a dozen Swallows. Also noted in the half hour we were present was Blackcap, Willow Warbler , Chiffchaff , Long Tailed Tit and Jay. The next migrant species to arrive should be Reed Warbler !!!

Monday, 2 May 2016

May 2nd

My first Swift was located this afternoon during a rain storm in amongst Martins and Swallows , after seeing several over Congleton town centre this morning I knew there was a good chance of one being at Astbury later in the day. The male Sparrowhawk was out hunting and a single Cormorant flew north . Nothing else to report really just the usual Blackcaps , Willow Warblers and Chiffchaffs . With the weather being poor today I was hoping for a passing Tern as a few had been reported in Staffordshire just south of us but no such luck, another day perhaps!!!!!!. I have added an e mail address on the right of this page for anybody who wants to send sightings through.

Sunday, 1 May 2016

May 1st

Two Oystercatchers flew over at 8-00 this morning calling and heading towards the sand quarry. Twenty seven Tufted Duck are still present and good numbers of Swallow, Sand and House Martin's feeding over the water but no sign as yet of any Swift's. A few Willow Warblers were in song along with several Blackcap , but Chiffchaff seem to have gone a little quite now. A single Buzzard circled low over the car park before heading off high to the west.

Thursday, 28 April 2016

April 28th

One hundred and sixty Sand Martin's were counted there was possibly more and twenty Swallows this evening after a rain storm passed through.No sign of any Swift's yet not unless Jack as had one earlier in the week! Late News. John had three Tree Bumblebee,s in the willows by the sailing club on 22nd April.

Wednesday, 27 April 2016

April 27th

This dinner time instead of having my lunch in the car at work I decided on a change of senary and headed for the Mere.On arrival their seemed very little in the way of birds on the water. Until the heavens opened and a hail and snow storm passed over bringing down around one hundred Swallows and Sand Martin's , with a few House Martin's amongst them . As quick as the storm came it passed over and quite a few of the birds had moved on before I had finished my sandwichs.

Wednesday, 20 April 2016

April 20th

Late News. Talking with Jack Swan today he had a Lesser Whitethroat last Friday (15th). Also our first Garden Warbler last night Tuesday (19th). Earlier today with the warm sunny weather a few butterflies were on the wing . Peacock x 4, Comma x 1, Small White x 1, Large White x 1, Green-veined White x 3.
Large White.

Sunday, 17 April 2016

April 17th

First brood of the year as I know to at Astbury , this Mallard is a proud mother to nine toddlers. Also six Willow Warblers were heard singing this morning .

Friday, 15 April 2016

April 15th

We now have five Willow Warbler singing on site along with several Blackcap and to many Chiffchaff to make a accurate count. Also fifteen Sand Martin and twelve Swallows hawking insects from the waters surface. Two Jay's, a drumming Great Spotted Woodpecker and a pair Bullfinch were the best of the rest .I was hoping for our first Garden Warbler Swift or Reed Warbler with the weather being dull with light drizzle , but alas another day.

Wednesday, 13 April 2016

Apri 13th

Astbury mega from yesterday confirmed . Yesterday around 10-00 ish I saw a large  Raptor from a distance a buzzard sized  bird with barring underneath which I thought at the time was GOSHAWK . I dismissed it as I was at Astbury and we do not get Goshawk over here , it drifted away in the direction of the Cloud , Macclesfield way. Walking around this morning I meet up with Astbury legend Jack Swan who instantly told me yesterday afternoon he had a Goshawk circling the mere giving excellent views before it drifted off . Our first record of GOSHAWK was confirmed nice one Jack. Pleasant few hours this morning in glorious sunshine , Willow Warblers are increasing with now four singing individuals . Blackcap numbers have gone up as well with at least seven males and two females today also plenty of Chiffchaff now.The female Sparrowhawk was seen hunting this morning but no sign of yesterday Goshawk typicai as I now had my camera ready .Four male Bullfinch were noted along with four Siskin and a couple of Jay's. The first Butterflies of the year for me at Astbury with a male Brimstone and a Comma along with Jacks small Tortoiseshell the other day we are now of the mark with three.
Willow Warbler.

Tuesday, 12 April 2016

Mega Goshawk

I was hoping to find a Little Gull from yesterdays passage as many birds pushed north through the country. Nearby Staffordshire , Warwickshire and even north Cheshire had there share but the five hours I put in yesterday did not produce.....that's birding for you. At around 10-00 ish a Goshawk appeared from over eastern side watched for around two minutes before disappearing back were it came towards the Cloud.

Monday, 11 April 2016

April 11th

Spent a pleasant couple of hours wandering around this morning.
Three Willow Warblers were in song this morning along with at least ten singing Chiffchaff and six Blackcap of which one was a female the first one I have seen this year. Six Swallow and nine House Martin skimming the water for insects and a pair of Bullfinch collecting nesting material The female Sparrowhawk was again patrolling the hedgerows where two Jay,s were noticed displaying to each other.

Sunday, 10 April 2016

Apr 10th

The only change really today was two singing Willow Warblers along with 26 Sand Martin and six Swallow early morning. Still eight singing Chiffchaff and three Blackcap , also a pair of Bullfinch and a male Sparrowhawk.

Saturday, 9 April 2016

April 9th

A single Willow Warbler was in full song early this morning with unbroken sunshine it really did feel like summer was only just around the corner . Also holding territory were eight Chiffchaff , three Blackcap and a male Reed Bunting. A single Raven passed overhead but no sign of any Buzzards or Sparrowhawk this morning .

Tuesday, 5 April 2016

April 5th

Our first Willow Warbler of the year was heard singing late afternoon , also seven Chiffchaff still and three Blackcap. Three House Martin were circling overhead along with three Buzzard and a female Sparrowhawk.
Great Crested Grebe.
Sparrowhawk (female).

Monday, 4 April 2016

April 4th

Another late evening visit with very little difference from the past few days . Several singing Chiffchaff a pair of Bullfinch , a single male Reed Bunting and two Blackcap. Also Great Blue and Long-tailed Tits , Chaffinch , Greenfinch , Goldcrest , Song Thrush , Jay , Wood Pigeon , Collared Dove , to pair of Great Crested Grebe and around twenty Tufted Duck .
Wood Pigeon.

Sunday, 3 April 2016

April 3rd

Another early morning visit produced two Blackcap , several Chiffchaff , five Jay and a drumming Great Spotted Woodpecker.

Saturday, 2 April 2016

April 2nd

After seeing all the reports of Ospreys and Sandwich Terns passing through the country heading north,and quite a few reservoirs and lakes in nearby Staffordshire seeing at least one of the above birds it was with antisipation that I visited Astbury Mere late afternoon . And bingo nothing well I say nothing , we have several singing Chiffchaff , three Blackcap a pair of Bulfinch and a pair of Reed Bunting , seven Swallow and a couple of House Martin . Not my day really as I visited nearby Westport Lake for a adult Little Gull only to be told it had flown off five minutes earlier.

Friday, 1 April 2016

April 1st

First Blackcap of the year this morning singing behind the sailing club , managed a half decent record shot always nice to see the first one back. Also a single House Martin with three Sand Martin's hawking insects over the water . A female Sparrowhawk made a couple of passes over also three Stock Dove and two Graylag Geese and several Chiffchaff were singing . I was talking with Jack Swan this morning he told me he had the first Small Tortoiseshell butterfly the other day .Nine Swallows @18-30 this evening.
Blackcap (male).

Wednesday, 30 March 2016

March 30th

Two Swallows this evening along with seven singing Chiffchaff.

Late News

Late News from 27th, 35 Sand Martin's during rain storm (JS).

Monday, 28 March 2016

March 28th

Birdguides reports two Swallow and a single House Martin this morning.Still two Swallows this afternoon also six Sand Martin but no sign of the single House Martin from this morning. No Sand Martins or Swallows were present by late afternoon but there are now four singing Chiffchaff , also 41 Tufted Duck and three pairs of Great Crested Grebe .

Sunday, 27 March 2016

March 27th

An early morning visit produced three singing Chiffchaff and a single male Reed Bunting but not much else. After a large storm had passed over around tea time we made another visit and found ten Sand Martins hawking insect over the water these are the first returning birds this year. They were very difficult to photograph but I managed a few record shots as these little missiles passed close bye.
Sand Martin.
Sand Martin.
Sand Martin.