To:KOS update Usher Tony <>
Sent:18/04/2020 19:37
Subject:Knutsford Nature Notes #24
Please send any sightings or observations to me via email or text.

emails -  or

texts also ok to 07710 508 544
Saturday 18th April 2020
I was delighted this morning to receive an email from Graeme Allen, up in Aberdeen. A land of Ospreys, midges and terrible football. Graeme, if you remember, joined us for a days birding in September last year (9/9/19) and we were able to introduce him to Rostherne and Tatton.

Hi Tony,

Great to see you and the Knutsford group getting their daily exercise and enjoying the birding. Looks like it will be a while until I am  in Cheshire again ! Enjoying reading the reports and can picture some of the locations.

Inspired by yourselves, I have established a Lockdown List ! Currently 33 .I am restricting it to what I see from house, in the garden and on my daily walk throughout Westhill. Not blessed with such a diversity of habitat as yourselves , so close , but it's enjoyable. We have 2 small nature reserves at either end of the town, which should bolster the variety.

One warbler on list so far, Chiffchaff ! Our Willow Warblers have started to arrive, not seen one myself, and the Ospreys are back. There have been one or two sightings of Swallow, not seen one yet !

We are probably a good 3 weeks behind yourselves, and what self respecting Swallow would hit the cold North East if it could stop over in Cheshire !

All the best to everyone , take care.


Thanks Graeme I'm glad you remember us. Keep in touch and up to date with your sightings.

I managed to fit in some birding this morning before the rain started. Things began well with three Wheatears, 2 males and a female, as I crossed the field to the rear of Gleavehouse Farm, walking in the direction of the field pool. A nice drake Shoveler was loafing on the far side of the pool and was a new one for the lockdown list [#66]. The family of Mallards were very active, the 10 ducklings spread out across the water, heads bobbing up and down as they picked insects from the surface. Just one Oystercatcher today, feeding on the muddy margins alongside  male and female Yellow Wagtails, one of each. No sign of the LRPs initially but after a short time two flew in; one settled on the mud and the other began displaying - flying in tight, erratic circles about 50' over the area. Gradually it dropped lower and lower until it was only inches above the grassy field and the surface of the water. As it landed a third bird arrived - so we had a female and two males, I knew the makeup of the group because the two chaps then immediately set about each other with much puffing out of feathers and loud calling, combined with head to head leaps into the air. She seemed quite unconcerned and continued feeding. This went on for 10' or so by which time the threatened rain had arrived and I had to leave them to it. As my late Uncle George used to say, in times of crisis, "It'll sort itself out lad!".

Wendy Stratford was at the pool before me and had just about the same range of species.

Hi Tony, 

I'm really enjoying reading the reports from everyone. I've also walked to the north and east of Mobberley this week, and have been surprised that there seem to be both fewer birds and less variety in those areas there compared to west and south of the main road.  

Today I was up early so went to the field lake before the forecast rain - I was there about 0815, and it was a lovely fresh morning but with a very cold wind. A buzzard was in one of the small trees by the lake but flew off when I got there. At the lake were 1 Shoveler, 1 oystercatcher (on it's own for the second day in a row?), 2 little ringed plover feeding and scuttling around on the shore by the path, 2 Canada geese, very vocal pied wagtails, and mallards and coot. The oystercatcher flew off calling loudly towards the north west after a while.  

As I walked back there were 2 skylarks singing and visible high up over the large field (planted for silage?) between the field lake and the nature reserve. At the nature reserve I finally managed to see the mandarin ducks! They were on the middle pond. As I watched them an oystercatcher flew over, calling loudly, in the direction of the field lake. 

My other highlights this week are seeing a chiffchaff clearly in the nature reserve at the top of a small silver birch (I've heard them every day, but not seen them!); the bullfinches and greenfinches have been back on the garden feeders this week, and on Tuesday night I was delighted to see a large hedgehog in the garden after it triggered the security light! We find hedgehog poo in the garden occasionally, but haven't seen one for several years. 



Jacquie Ledward is the first of our correspondents to record Terns. We'll be struggling in Mobberley for them but perhaps Maria and Darren will see them in Tatton over the next month or so.

Hi Tony

I went for quite a long walk today via Budworth Mere, Marston, Neumann's Flashes, Fury Wood, Carey Park, Haydn's Pool and back via Marbury Mere.

There were two Common Terns (they were identified on Marbury Patch Bird News) on Budworth Mere today (I saw three yesterday but was unable to identify them and Arctic Terns had also been seen the Mere). Lovely to see as they bring memories of the coast and summer holidays.

I was still on my quest for Yellow Wagtails which had been seen again but they are proving very elusive! However, while walking through the first ploughed field on the way to Neumann's Flashes (via Marston), I saw two Wheatears (one male and one female). This was great sighting as I only usually see them on The Wirral or on hill walks. I saw nothing of note at Neumann's which was disappointing as Black Tailed Godwits, Whimbrel had been reported around there yesterday and there was a report of a Yellow Wagtail and Pintail today.After I crossed Carden's Ferry Bridge, I was fortunate to see a Kingfisher perched on a reed. Further down I saw three very vocal and lively Garden Warblers in a Hawthorn Tree next to the steep steps leading up to Haydn's Pool. I had difficultly in seeing them but I was lucky as I could walk up and down the steps as they moved about the tree.

The bluebells at Marbury are almost in full bloom and the Red Campions are out, along with the Celandines and Wood Anemone.

All in all very satisfying walk ......

Regards .......... Jacquie.

Sheila Blamire has sent me some interesting facts about the Cetti's Warblers at the Northwich Woodlands

First recorded as recently as 31st December 2015, Cetti's Warblers have gone from strength to strength across Marbury & Witton Flashes (aka Northwich Community Woodlands). A total of 16 territories have been mapped this spring, a huge increase in just over 4 years. Mild winters are clearly a big help. They are always hard to see and most often only heard giving their explosive song.

Geoff and Sheila Blamire are burning the candle at both ends - gardening in the morning: birding after lunch!

After we spent the morning gardening (as we did yesterday afternoon - a lot of gardening to do!) we left just before 3pm to do 7km along Moss Lane, past Tabley Church, along Swain's Way, past cemetery, along Green Lane and back along Moss Lane. Highlights including Yellow Wagtail on the dung pile along Swain's Way and 2 Goldcrests opposite Corner Cottage ("our" Goldcrest in the garden was singing this morning even when it was raining!). The effects of the earlier rain was more bird song and less joggers and cyclists - both welcome J 

Cheers - Sheila and Geoff

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.