To:KOS update Usher Tony <>
Sent:05/04/2020 19:43
Attachments:Springwood notice.jpg (image/pjpeg, 20 KB)
Subject:Knutsford Nature News #11
Please send any sightings or observations to me via email or text.

emails -  or

texts also ok to 07710 508 544
I've put a new webpage on that will contain links to copies of these emails, so they're saved for posterity. Future historians won't believe it!
5th April 2020
I did my "default" walk early this morning - Pavement Lane, Springwood Farm, fishing pit, Fox Harbour and home. Some good birds - plenty of Chiffchaff, 3 Buzzards, a pair of Mistle Thrushes and another big flock of Fieldfares. Unfortunately though there may be trouble ahead as the public footpath through the yard at Springwood Farm Rusty Car Dump has been blocked by the owner. There was a gate across the yard and, further up, the stile was festooned with barbed wire and a notice saying the footpath was closed. I manoeuvred my way through the obstacles and on my return contacted the leader of the parish council and the footpaths officer by phone and by email. They were non-committal. I suggested they looked at this site first.

I had a phone call from Len Mason down at Mobberley SQ where he was watching the Mandarin Ducks, Linnets, Long-tailed Tits and a flock of 30 to 50 Meadow Pipits. A man at peace with the world in his favourite spot.

Geoff and Sheila Blamire seem to have escaped from the garden to resume their training.

After doing a spot of gardening this morning, plus me doing some CAWOS work, we were relieved to get out for a relaxing 5 mile walk, around Moss Lane/Tabley/Swain's Walk/Green Lane/Moss Lane. The wind was ferocious at times and quite chilly! The farmers have been busy sowing seed potatoes (for crisps?). Very interesting - 1 field had 4 machines with doing different tasks, including ploughing, sifting stones, sowing potatoes, and ridging. No new birds for us but we managed to tick off Jude and Brian (twice!) and also one of the physiotherapists from Carmichael Clinic. She has volunteered to the NHS and waiting to hear where she will be sent to - probably the Manchester Nightingale Hospital to help with recovering patients, not ICU. So in all a superb walk!

Cheers Sheila and Geoff

Steve and Gill over in Marton had a good one with 40 species (That must have been a mipit Steve - Len sent some your way from Mobberley)

Hi Tony, A rewarding walk this morning, just three miles along lanes west of Marton with 39 species (perhaps 40 if I really did hear a brief Meadow Pipit call).  Up to 60 Fieldfare were still on the fields and three Redwings hanging on.  A fly-over Oystercatcher was welcome as were two Shelducks on a rapidly diminishing area of flooded field.  A huge, bare field held a much hoped-for Wheatear as well as 20 Stock Doves, a singing Skylark and a mixed gull flock holding Black-headed, a couple of Herring and twenty or so Lesser Black-backs.  Many of the 17 Lapwing present were displaying as they do here every spring, however, farming operations usually put paid to their efforts.

Cheers ........ Steve

Jill Thornley up in Cumbria was on the lookout for Willow Warblers today.

This morning the blackcap is back and singing. I am listening out for willow warbler which usually appear in the next week, though move on to more deciduous woodland than ours.
The Tawny owl was being mobbed last night on my regular wander at dusk and a tree creeper was silhouetted against the tree with its surprising long bill. The great spotted woodpecker called out . I haven't heard or seen it for weeks so was pleased it was still around.
Red legged are somewhere near the house which should be safer for them.  Helen was pleased to see a tree sparrow going into one of the nest boxes we put up last week. She was in charge of the hammer and nails for once, on the basis she had to learn sometime to use them.

Best wishes to all

Alan Booth was more fortunate with the warbler down on Knutsford Moor..

Hi Tony

At last a new bird for the Moor (number36) An early Willow Warbler in song. No doubt a passage bird as they don't usually stick around on the moor. regards Alan

David Cogger was also on the Moor but missed out on the Willow Warbler.

The Moor was almost deserted this morning about 10.30 -  very few people.  Most of the ducks and gulls had obviously gone off to better feeding stations - or possible breeding stations?    Just a few remaining, with pairs of Canada Geese and Mute Swan, a lone Tufted Duck and a bold Moorhen walking along the path.   However, plenty of singing - Wren, Chiffchaff, Blackbird, Song Thrush etc.   We felt as if we were in one of these science fiction films where we were the only ones left alive! 

Jayne Davies has been hob-knobbing with the Rooneys - class!!

Hi Tony

Today's contribution from me.

Out around Mobberley again this morning. I met Tony on Gleavehouse Lane, and we had a socially distanced chat about footpath obstructions and life without Goostrey's sausage rolls. I took a different route today, out past Wayne Rooney's still unfinished mansion and back via Damson Lane and Mobberley SQ. There were tree sparrows not far from Gleavehouse Lane, a raven flying over the fields, two coots on the fishing pit, linnets on Mobberley SQ . I also revisited the area of water where I saw gulls a couple of days ago - no gulls today but two mallard, two shelduck, three tufted duck and two Canada geese on the water, with two oystercatchers and a lapwing nearby.


Bob Groom had a more than satisfactory day doing the wildfowl count at Tabley

A visit to Tabley Mere to count the wildfowl produced some excellent sightings. A pair of Egyptian Geese and a pair of Mandarin Ducks were noted, also 2 pairs of Shoveler and a pair of Gadwall. Oystercatchers were chasing. A pair are nesting on the Tower Island but disturbed by the squabbling and mating Canada Geese. The interloping third bird was later seen in a field with geese, including 4 Greylags. A Little Egret flew round the mere a couple of times. Watching a distant Sparrowhawk 2 (nearer) Swallows came into my field of view, my first of the year.  A Peregrine flashed past and a Raven skirted the mere.  A pair of Grey Wagtails were active on the outflow stream. Buzzards were constantly in view. At least 3 Chiffchaffs were singing in the wood, one gave close views. Only a single Cormorant was present and the Heronry was rather quiet. The male Mute Swan made an appearance, I assume the female is on a nest, hidden in the reeds. 3 Great Crested Grebes didn't interact, unlike last month when 2 were fighting, preparatory to one joining the female for the head-shaking ceremony. A female Great Spotted Woodpecker was seen well and Nuthatches were calling all round the wood.  A lovely display of Spring flowers with carpets of Wood Anemones, Lesser Celandines, also Primroses and Violets and a clump of Marsh Marigolds at mereside. Not forgetting Dandelions and Daisies. A Peacock butterfly added its colour to the palette.
Bob Groom

Ranger Darren Morris had the first Swallow of the year at Tatton.

After 33 years of working at Tatton this has got to be one of the strangest days ever. A lovely Sunday afternoon and no one here! The deer certainly seem more settled and approachable. I wonder if birds will fare better having less disturbance too? 
The Hebridean sheep are into full swing lambing and the Soay flock are due to start any day now. About 20 Hebridean so far but this will get up to nearly 100 with about 60 Soay due. So we keep checking them over along with the deer.
Bird wise, well, the highlight was my first swallow flitting low over Tatton Mere. I was scanning for sand martins that were plentiful earlier in the week but were nowhere to be seen today.
A tawny owl could be heard calling in Tatton Mere Covert and a green woodpecker at the gate in Dog Wood.
Grey wagtails were seen at the scout camp jetty and another along Tatton Mere stream.

To round off today's 11 reports over to Merseyside and Barrie Armitt's  soon to be struggle with technology - there'll be only one winner Baz!
Hi Tone

Saw your reference to nocmig. Fascinating topic. Perfect for your good self: involves setting up some kit in the back garden and then sitting at a computer checking sound files and spectrograms captured whilst  asleep. None of this walking around birding - comfort of sitting room with a coffee;-) and it involves squiggles on a monitor: your sort of thing.

I've been looking into it since last year. Had a bird singing that I couldn't place so used my trusty Samsung S5 to record the song. Not a great recording but identifiable later. Made me look into better quality devices. There are better sound recording apps available for your phone and I've used one and it's an improvement but not up to 'nocmig' stuff.

This year I've set about things a more seriously. Trektellen has a 'nocmig' section that's great. Some even post their records with a 'zeno canto' link so you can hear and see a  spectrogam. All very interesting. It has prompted me to buy a decent recorder and download the software for creating and analysing the audio files.

You'll be pleased to know yesterday I recorded my first fly-over and created my first spectrogram. A fitting species: Meadow Pipit lol. 

You also mentioned ducks recorded at night recently. This began around the 1st of April and involves a lot of Common Scoter. The birds I count off Formby
 ( 10,000+) are part of a huge wintering population (100,000+)  off the coast in the Liverpool/Morecombe Bay area. They migrate east  overland to the north sea  at an average of 33 mph so a 3 hour flight (ish).... took me 10 days to walk it and 5 days on a bike :-)

Excellent daily sightings you're posting  from the KOS. 
Not in  your recording area but did have my first Swallow yesterday during the vismig count.  

All the best.

Thanks all for your reports, 11 today - keep it up!
Tony Usher.