article from the now defunct "Wilmslow and Alderley Advertiser"
August 16th. 1973.
Visitors from Europe
The 1968 Cheshire Bird Report, under the section on the
Common Buzzard, urges reporters to bear in mind the possibility that their bird
might be one of the rarer species - Honey Buzzard or Rough-legged Buzzard.
The latter species is a scarce autumn visitor mostly to the Wirral. Of the Honey Buzzard, an extremely scarce summer breeding bird, I can trace no recent records. Hedley Bell's "Birds of Cheshire" (1962) quotes Coward's last record of 1908. Bell adds that since then there have been no further sightings. Records from neighbouring counties include one near Buxton, Derbyshire, June 1958; one wintering in S.W. Shropshire 62/63, and one this year, June, in south Lancashire. After all this preamble and background information, of exceptional interest to note the observation of a well-identified Honey Buzzard over a Cheshire Mere by independent observers on July 25 and 27.
The north-easterly winds about that time may have brought in yet another rarity, a Gull-billed Tern, which was claimed at Tittesworth reservoir, near Leek, also on the 27th, when a wandering Little Gull was present. A Merlin from the moors put up the vast and noisy flock of Lapwings.
Hoping for good Autumn migration with strong westerly winds, bird-watchers dig out their copy of Peterson's guide to the birds. Some American waders have already appeared: a Pectoral Sandpiper on Teesside, a Wilson's Phalarope near Durham, and a Western Sandpiper in Essex. Cheshire ornithologists will remember the exciting days at Sandbatch in Autumn 1970, when a Pectoral and a Wilson's turned up.
More unusual birds of early Autumn have been seen at the Flashes. the Greenshank remains on the large salt pan with Dunlin and Common Sandpipers. the odd Green Sandpiper has been through, and the Ruff increased to 5 birds by the end of July.
Two Arctic Terns passed and a migrating Grasshopper Warbler sang near Foden's Flash. A Tree Pipit was still singing at Wildboarclough on the 26th, and Yellowhammers, Corn Buntings can still be heard.