To:KOS update Usher Tony <>
Sent:14/04/2020 20:39
Subject:Knutsford Nature News #20
Please send any sightings or observations to me via email or text.

emails -  or

texts also ok to 07710 508 544
Tuesday 14th April 2020.
A cold night with a temperature of just 0.6C at 7:00am, rising to 4.0C as I left the house. Two Shelducks had returned to the field pool at the top of Fox Harbour and, as I approached, a Little Ringed Plover left the scene, flying towards the Rooney mansion before arrowing down just prior to reaching it. There's on-site security which, allegedly, covers 40 acres (doesn't look that big to me) and there's a huge amount of landscaping going on at the back. In this part of Cheshire that means pure sand after digging down 2'; ideal habitat for LRPs. Anyway it retuned after about 10', fed on the margin for the same time before leaving in the opposite direction!

Wendy Stratford walked down later to the same location and had a very nice sighting.

Hi Tony,

I walked to the field lake again this afternoon - the warmest part of the day I think. It was busier than last time - the Canada geese and oystercatchers were busy feeding on the grass, the male yellow wagtail was feeding on the 'spit' on the southern 'shore' and the little ringed plover was feeding on the edge of the lake nearest the path, stirring up the mud to reveal food. The mallards, coot and 3 pied wagtails were also there. But (at the risk of having the mickey taken out of me!) I also saw what I'm sure is a ring ouzel! It was on the grass to the south, and showed really clearly although some way away - blackbird shape and with a white curved patch on its breast. I got a picture up on my phone and compared it with the bird, and they were identical. I know that sometimes blackbirds have small albino patches, but this was a large area, and just the right shape and position.

You need to have more confidence in your sightings Wendy!! Just the right time of the year for a Ring Ouzel on it's way north. I had one in Tatton once in April - it's on the list. (Let me know if anyone takes the mickey - we'll send the boys round!)

Great to hear at last from Simon and Lyn in Warrington.

Hi Tony,

Thanks for sharing what other Members are seeing; it helps a lot to know that it's all still out there to be experienced, once the restrictions are relaxed.

We're spending much of our time redesigning the garden and are enjoying the birds that visit, namely: Dunnock, Blackbird, Blue/Great/Coal & Long-tailed Tit, Goldfinch, Robin, Nuthatch, Magpie & the ubiquitous Wood Pigeons. Also, there are occasional visits from a Wren and most days we have Mallard, Carrion Crows, Jackdaws, Jays & up to four Buzzards overhead.

The prescribed walks around here are solidly suburban or beside intensively farmed fields, though there are a few remnants of deciduous woodland threading through. We get out a couple of times a week and see the usual suspects, though we saw our first Swallows of the year today as well as a nice pair of Greenfinches. Previously, we've had Chiffchaff, Song Thrush & Chaffinch from our walks.


Lyn & Simon 

Thanks folks - we were wondering what you were up to. Y'all stay safe now! [Lyn's from the colonies!]

No report from Darren Morris but he's sent us a link to the Cromer Peregrine's nest. have a look in daylight - pin-sharp images.

A philosophical offering from our esteemed Hon Sec.

Hi Tony, not much for you. Below only has a tenuous link to birds publish it if you want, it is a bit of filler. 

This morning Tuesday while a bit on the chilly side

 I decided to wash the Lexus turned out bigger job than I thought first time it has been cleaned since November. This afternoon I mowed our lawn which was ravaged by the floods of the winter, seems a long time ago now, then sat in sun looking at lawn wondering if I have the desire to renovate it.

I thought sod it and started to look skywards for Swallows; no luck then I heard the raucous sound of gulls in the distance reminded me of sitting in the conservatory of the Falcon's Nest Hotel Port Erin conservatory having a nice glass of red while looking at a marvellous sun set over the Irish Sea, then I opened my eyes and saw the lawn!!

It is not very often I like hearing gulls. I did today.


Geoff and Sheila Blamire continue with their daily route marches and racked up an impressive 41 species today.

Yesterday's walk yesterday was to Moss Lane to Swain's Way, Green Lane and back home. Today was to Rostherne via footpaths and lanes. Today we decided to do a day list - 41 species, which didn't include any hirundines. Nor Willow Warblers (where are they?!). But a new species for our Lockdown List - Meadow Pipit!

Finally from Phil Hampson one of his entertaining and informative rambles!


Starlings gathering nest material now, can't remember last time saw them in garden. Roll on the juvies! Song thrush and more Starlings feeding young now. Hirundine still proving to be elusive.

More from the Highlands and Islands.
I was very lucky to be the Scottish support, mainland and islands, for the RSPB Countryside Management System (CMS) computer package back in the late 90's. Horrible package it was but the benefit for me was travelling around Scottish reserves to install and train wardens. This was an amazing time getting out to the likes of Tiree and the Uists with the bonus of being paid to do so, albeit minimally! A planned trip to South Uist had an element of excitement as on arrival at the airport, Benbecula - amazing flying onto there, the warden (cannot remember her name) said come on we are on a twitch - Little Egret. Nowadays of course widespread especially in Cheshire but back then very rare indeed. I will always love the Hebrides and only left as my wife was very unhappy there, especially in winter. I was at work 7 days a week, not work of course as a vocation and love, she had to suffer the winter weather with horizontal rain and wind. Of course she forgets the wonderful evenings in Spring when we were out walking at 23:00 in daylight! All I had to do was pop out and spend the day counting geese in the winter. Or sit in the Land-rover for hours surveying Hen Harriers (we had 11 nests) and Short-eared Owls, horrible job - not. Happy days but just recently tinged with sadness as one of my colleagues passed away, I knew he was poorly but not that bad. As hard as we worked in hours and days we played very hard as well, luckily Islay is blessed with the amber nectar that we were all very partial to and I still am. Our house was upside down with the lounge upstairs and was exceptional for birding, swallows on the power cable into the house, Stonechat rattling pebbles in the garden. Olga's frustration and kindness feeding her plants to the deer, not that she saw it that way. But one of the overriding memories was the skies, especially on Autumn nights. The stars were literally like a  carpet. A friend and I stood outside leaning on our 5 bar gate one evening just watching in awe, no light pollution of course, whilst demolishing a bottle of the amber nectar, happy days. For Islay whisky aficionado's I can recommend the Aldi one, very pleasant indeed, oh and that reminds me I need a drink. 


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! 
Tony Usher.