Tuesday, 28 February 2017

Feb 28th

End of the month already just seems to fly by these days . I woke this morning to a good covering of snow in our garden so with this in mind I thought about a early start as the Mere would look nice with fresh snow around . To my disappointment I arrived to find very little snow unusual as I only live less than a mile away. I decided to count the Coots and Tufted Duck ninety eight and fourty nine respectively . Two Buzzard displayed overhead and two Canada Geese flew over heading west . The three Little Grebe's are still present and a Grey Heron was flushed from the shore by a dog . Two L B B Gulls were on the water an adult and a second winter. I decided to walk the woodland path which turned out to be quite productive with four Siskin eleven Chaffinch three Bullfinch and a very close Treecreeper . Also noted were Song Thrush , Goldcrest , Coal Tit , Long-tailed Tit , Goldfinch and three Greenfinch. It looks like we are finishing the month with 54 species two more than last month.
Woodland Walk.

Monday, 27 February 2017

Feb 27th

A very wet start this morning with very little to show for the effort . Just a single Grey Heron and drake Pochard along with fifteen Mallard and three Little Grebe's . A juvenile L B B Gull arrived as most of the Black-headed Gull's were departing. Bullfinch , Goldfinch and Chaffinch were heard calling in the miserable conditions. Also noted were a pair of Coot nest building and two pairs of Great Crested Grebe's displaying .

Sunday, 26 February 2017

January Duck Counts

January Duck counts as follows. Coot 145 , Tufted Duck 61 , Pochard 24 , Mallard 27 , Teal 5 , Shoveler 3 , Wigeon 2 , Gadwall 2 , Goldeneye 1 , Great Crested Grebe's 6 , Little Grebe's 3 .

Link Added

Sandbach Flashes blog link added .

Saturday, 25 February 2017

New Site Addition.

Possibly a new addition to the site list as I was talking to one of the fisherman who said he had a Tawny Owl calling from by the visitors centre while fishing the other night. I will check with Matt the local ranger to see if I can get it verified.

Friday, 24 February 2017

Feb 24th

I have not visited for a few days now as it's gone rather quite . But after storm Doris passed through yesterday I was hoping for a storm blown Kittiwake or Scaup or Diver sorry just dreaming. On my arrival it was noticeably there were a few small trees blown down , and one of the fir trees on the approach road to the Sailing Club car park . My hope's were high of finding something but alas not this time just the three Little Grebe's , a single drake Pochard ,six Great Crested Grebe's and a single Canada Goose which was soon chased off by the resident male Mute Swan . A Raven flew over calling and a Buzzard could be heard but not seen . Around the mere good numbers of Goldcrest , a couple pair of Bullfinch and four Redwing feeding on the grass in front of the visitors centre.

Sunday, 19 February 2017

Feb 19th

A good morning but a sad one to as our female Long-tailed Duck has finally departed after 37 days. I think it disappeared during the night of Friday 17th , as a female appeared at Branston GP Staffordshire on Saturday morning the 18th. It gave reasonable views to all who came to see it and with a little patience came closer at times it will be sadly missed.
Now for the good news I managed to add four new species to the years total . As the days are getting longer I was at the mere at 7-30 this morning and it paid off , as three Curlew flew over pretty low calling heading south towards Mow Cop and six Greylag flew in the opposite direction . A pair of Wigeon were on the water but the dull overcast conditions and the distance were not ideal for photography . A Pheasant was behind the sailing club in the top wood the first I have seen here and two Stock Dove flew out over the road into nearby farm fields . Also noted were four Little Grebe's still , and a single drake Pochard . There were plenty of finches around with Siskin , Goldfinch , Bullfinch , Greenfinch and Chaffinch all putting in an appearance . Lesser-black Backed and Herring Gull's were also on the water . The total so far this year stands at 63 . Additional Notes !!!!!!!!! Just been informed by a local birding friend that the Branston Long-tailed Duck is a much darker bird and is not the Westport, Astbury one Cheers Chris.

Friday, 17 February 2017

Feb 17th

Thirty seven days now for the female Long-tailed Duck , also four Little Grebe's a single female Goldeneye and a drake Pochard. Seventeen Lesser-black Backed Gulls and a single Herring Gull. John Spottiswood.

Thursday, 16 February 2017

Feb 16th

The female Long-tailed Duck is still present along with three Little Grebe and a single female Goldeneye.

Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Feb 15th

Had a day off from the Mere today as I have been every day for the last month but Mark text me this morning . He had a single Waxwing along the track to the sailing club and also the female Long-tailed Duck is still present.

Tuesday, 14 February 2017

Feb 14th

Part of the 91 plus Waxwings I found this morning by Congleton garden centre on my way to Astbury Mere , just half mile away as the crow flies. I decided to leave them and return after my walk around the mere as the sun was only just coming up . On arrival at Astbury I put the news out on birdguides and contacted some local birders , unfortunately on my return only a few people had caught up with them before they departed. Back to the mere now and I was surprised to find the Long-tailed Duck closer in than I have had it over the past month , Valentine's day and everything seems to be going ok.

Monday, 13 February 2017

Feb 13th

I had a good morning at the mere adding three new species to the year list, first off was a Grey Wagtail feeding along the shore in front of the sailing club.
Second up was a pair of Goosander , they didn't stay long circling the mere then flying off north east.
Then for me the best find of the morning was a adult winter Common Gull funny as I was only talking to Mark Stubbs last night about the status of Common Gull's at the mere. With only one or two records a year they are quite scarce at this inland site so this mornings find was all the more interesting. Only managed distant shots as it was well out off shore amongst around 150 Black-headed Gull's.
Other news the ever present female Long-tailed Duck is still enjoying it's stay , along with five adult L B B Gulls , four Little Grebe's and a single Cormorant.

Sunday, 12 February 2017

Feb 12th

Cold dull wet and windy not ideal conditions for birding so only managed a quick check today and yes it's still present 32 days now for the female Long-tailed Duck . Also the pair of Shoveler have returned again god knows were they go to . The four Little Grebe's were battling the wind along the northern shore , still good numbers of Tufted Duck and Coots but no counts taken today. Around 50 Black- headed Gulls were also battling the conditions sitting there facing north east into the wind along with two adult Herring Gulls and three adult and one 2nd winter Lesser-black Backed Gulls. The image below is of the 2nd Winter L B B Gull which is a different individual to that which was photographed the other day.
Lesser Black Backed Gull (2nd Winter).

Saturday, 11 February 2017

Woodland Walk

A woodland walk around the eastern edge of the mere can be just as productive for bird species. In recent days I have come across Buzzard , Coal Tit , Blue Tit , Great Tit , Long-tailed Tit , Wren , Goldcrest , Treecreeper , Nuthatch , Chaffinch ,Goldfinch , Greenfinch , Bullfinch , Siskin , Jay , Magpie , Wood Pigeon , Blackbird , Song Thrush , Sparrowhawk and Dunnock . In spring we have the migrants such as Chiffchaff , Willow Warbler , Blackcap , Lesser Whitethroat , Garden Warbler and the added attraction of several species of Butterflies and a few Dragonflies. So why not give it a try on your next visit you might be surprised , who knows you could find our first Flycatcher or Wood Warbler .Its not all about whats on the water , their are good numbers of Siskin around at present .

Feb 11th

Long-tailed Duck still at the Mere this morning, also two Cormorant two adult L B B Gulls and four Little Grebe's. First sighting of the male Reed Bunting this year in its usual place along northern shore where it's fenced off for the Fisherman. Mark Stubbs.That is now 56 species for the year.

Friday, 10 February 2017

Feb 10th

Thirty days now for the female Long-tailed Duck and still feeding well , it is best viewed from by the fishing platform's to the left of sailing club looking towards the middle. Sometimes it can be just fifty metres out but always diving so can be difficult . The pair of Shoveler are present again they keep flying off somewhere else then returning a few days later, possibly to nearby Rode Heath. Also four Little Grebe's are still on the northern side along the fisherman's fenced off area. Four pairs of Bullfinch noted again on my walk around , also several small parties of Siskin dotted around.
Shoveler (drake).

Thursday, 9 February 2017

Feb 9th

Very quiet again today just female Long-tailed Duck which is now on its 29 day, and four Little Grebe's.Thirty one species found on my walk around today notable were Redwings and Siskin along with two pairs of Bullfinch.

Wednesday, 8 February 2017

Feb 8th

Long-tailed Duck still present in the middle best viewed from sailing club side.

Tuesday, 7 February 2017


Very quiet today on the mere just the female Long-tailed Duck and a single drake Pochard , along with three Little Grebe and the usual Coot and Tufted Duck . The only new bird for this month was a single Raven flying west to east calling as it flew over. Good numbers of Goldcrest around and a couple of pairs of Bullfinch noted but as I said earlier very quiet.

Monday, 6 February 2017

Feb 6th

I was surprised to find the female Long-tailed Duck was still present after the weekend's boating activities , but there she was diving for food as usual . Only one female Goldeneye could be found but there was no Pochard on the mere at all for the first time since early November. Two adult L B B Gulls were loafing in the middle along with a second winter and two juvenile Herring Gulls . I counted 114 Coot which is down on last month's total and 60 Tufted Duck which is the same. The three Little Grebe are still present along with six Great Crested Grebe's , but new for this month and bringing the months total so far to 42 species were two Canada Geese and a single Grey Heron. The female Mute Swan seems to have gone missing overnight very strange leaving the male on its own. Images below of the 2nd winter Lesser Black Backed Gull.

Sunday, 5 February 2017

Tufted Duck

Around one hundred Tufted Duck use the mere as a winter refuge , but birds do commute on a regular basis with Redesmere to the north and Westport Lake in Staffordshire to the south. This has been proven on occasions when scarce species have disappeared from one site only to be relocated at one of the others. Three or four pairs of Tufted do stay to breed on the mere but throughout the summer months there is a lot of disturbance on the water so this can be a difficult time for the resident species .

Saturday, 4 February 2017

Feb 4th

Can anything be done about the boats keep flushing the birds, yes we all have a right to enjoy the Mere Fisherman , Birdwatchers and the Sailing Club. But what I don't like to see is a couple of hundred birds being flushed from one end to another while the canoe's sail all around the sides of the mere then straight through the middle, giving the birds nowhere to go but leave. Surely we can have a code of conduct even have the western side cut off with a line of buoy's so the wintering ducks can take refuge . Moan over !!!!. There were two female Goldeneye but they departed and I did not see them return.
There were 19 Pochard most of those departed aswell , the only thing I thought would go would be the female Long-tailed Duck as this was the first time the boats have been out this year. But to my surprise it kept flying around and some how managed to stay it attached itself to a flock of Tufted Ducks which luckily kept returning.
Surly we can all do our pursuits in harmony it just needs a little bit of thought and understand of each others needs.

Friday, 3 February 2017

Feb 3rd

With some nice winter sunshine this morning the Mere was looking good , and with high expectations of some nice photos I set off on my walk around . The Long-tailed Duck was performing well again about as close to the middle as it could get , along with two female Goldeneye and three Little Grebes. Three Shoveler one drake and two female were still present along with 17 Pochard and a count of 121 Coot. Eight Great Crested Grebe's were noted with at least two pairs starting to display spring is in the air . Alarm calls started as a female Sparrowhawk passed overhead and a pair of Buzzard were noted displaying a couple of images below.

Thursday, 2 February 2017

Feb 2nd

Dark skies over the Mere today.

Feb 2nd

A text from Andy around lunch time informed me of four Shoveler which were obviously new in overnight they included an adult and a sub-adult and two females . Along with the now resident Long-tailed Duck and a single female Goldeneye . I did not get to count the Pochard but while looking at the Shoveler I noticed five birds depart to the north. I did not do a full walk today but did manage a pair of Bullfinch several Siskin and Goldcrest.
The image shows one of the pair present taken at some distance.

Wednesday, 1 February 2017

Feb 1st

A good couple of hours spent at the Mere around lunch time today.Three Little Grebe were soon located along with two female Goldeneye but only eleven Pochard remaind today which included just one female. While checking the Pochard out I noticed a single female Wigeon still pretty scarce at this site and a lot closer in than the Pochard which allowed for a few record shots .
After enjoying several minutes photographing the Wigeon I moved on towards the sailing club stopping off at one of the fishing platform's to scan the water and soon picked up the female Long-tailed Duck still distant but a lot closer than I have had it before. Time for the camera again it did come a little closer before being spooked by a pair of Grebe's and taking flight further out into the middle , some more record images below. Personally I still don't think this is the Westport bird but what do I know.