To:KOS update Usher Tony <>
Sent:19/04/2020 20:48
Subject:Knutsford Nature News #25
Please send any sightings or observations to me via email or text.

emails -  or

texts also ok to 07710 508 544
Sunday 19th April 2020.
Up in Cumbria Jill Thornley is taking a scientific approach to her garden birding - mind you it's a big garden!
Hi Tony,
Cool and sunny today, but no rain.  Walked the boundaries this afternoon instead of this evening to get an idea of territories. Long-tailed tits and coal tits busy and song thrush was keen to move me on.   Overhead single oystercatcher. Blackcap singing, he has 2 favourite parts of garden to sing from. Chiffchaff silent and may have moved on.  Tree sparrows back at the bird table again. Luckily they can always rely on Roger to refill feeders, it's a mans job here! Nuthatch is happy with its old hole in the turkey oak . Red-legged partridge are still exploring the boundaries together and haven't made their minds up, though I have just read they sometimes make 2 nests and each sit.  The bluebells have started flowering, that is Spanish ones.
I am vole watching too. They have made A roads and B roads across the lawn.  If disturbed on B road one sneak gently back to main highway and then bolts home.  If on A road  quick bolt is all that is necessary. There is a very neat latrine just round the corner from front door.  I am wondering at what stage I shall be saying they are a pest and eating everything up. I hope not. Although the mole is considered a pest by Roger and has just made some new molehills. But then I'm not the one that cuts the lawn!
Great to hear all your news.   Jill

Common and Lesser Whitethroats today for Geoff and Sheila Blamire!

We did a similar walk as yesterday ie Moss Lane, Swain's Way, Green Lane, back via Moss Lane and again in the afternoon, but much busier with many walkers and cyclists. Highlights was hearing a Whitethroat along Swain's Way!  And then later a Lesser Whitethroat, though we didn't hear the introduction - just the rattle, though we were some distance from the tall hedge where it was. Then another Goldcrest, this time along Moss Lane at the Warrington Road end. Never seen/heard as many Goldcrests as we've done over the last 3 days! 

Cheers ..... Sheila and Geoff

Not to be outdone Mobberley also had it's first Common Whitethroat of the year, found by Jayne Davies.

Hi Tony

Two species for my lockdown list today, common whitethroat flitting in and out of the brambles on Mobberley SQ, and snipe at the field pool. I arrived at the pool at about 9.00am, and it was very quiet - apart from the snipe on the far bank I could only see one coot and one pied wagtail. I carried on towards Fox Harbour, down the hill to cross the brook, and picked up the field side path back towards the fishing pit. There were three yellowhammers in the hedge beside the path, and also two shelduck and two Canada geese in the field, so maybe they were the ones from the field pool.

More hedgehog action on my garden trailcam on Friday night – this time two hedgehogs engaged in courtship behaviour, where the male hedgehog walks round and round the female, keeping very close to her. This went on for about half an hour before he wandered off. Reading about this behaviour on the internet, apparently it can go on for hours but often does not result in mating. But there's plenty of time yet – I'm now hoping for baby hedgehogs! . .  . . . . Jayne

Also across at the Mobberley field pool today, Wendy Stratford but neither she nor Jayne had the Little Ringed Plovers

Hi Tony,

Walked to the field pool at lunch time - 2 shelduck, the yellow wagtails, 1 oystercatcher, 6 house martins over the water, some collecting mud. On the way back 2 skylarks singing then dropping to the ground, and 2 ravens trying to see off a buzzard (the one with the noticeably light colouring underneath).

As I didn't see the mallard ducklings (which I was looking forward to!) I walked to the Moor pool - there were none there either, but I did see heron, great crested grebe, a pair of tufted duck and a greylag goose being chased away by the Canada geese in addition to the usual residents.


Those 10 ducklings must be about somewhere!

As usual Alan Booth was down on the Moor where there appears to be a shortage of female Blackcaps!

 Hi Tony at last a new species today with my first Bullfinch of the lockdown. For the last few years it was a regular on the Moor but today was my first this year. Had an interesting sighting yesterday; 3 male blackcaps all singing loudly in the open - all 3 within 2  meters! never seen anything like it before!

Richard Aubery points us in the rough direction of his new photo gallery on Facebook. Sorry Richard I couldn't find you amongst the Aubery, Aubrey, Aubury etc. clans on FB you need to give us the full URL of your FB page!!

Hi Tony

Might be of interest to anyone in KOS who is still trying to while a way some more minutes of lockdown. Inspired my a friend and amateur photographer who has been posting a photo from his collection each day with a short storyline I've started doing something similar. I'm posting each day for 21 days one of my wildlife photos on facebook with the story. I'm on day 3 . Look on facebook for Richard Aubery.


I reverted back to my old Mobberley 5K route this morning using the 5 lanes (Smith, Slade, Hobcroft, Church and Town Lanes). Lapwings were displaying in the fields west of Smith Lane and along Hobcroft. More Linnets than I remember in the past, just one singing Greenfinch but no Yellowhammers. Chiffchaffs at a number of locations, Swallows at Dairy House Farm, singing Goldcrests in the churchyard and single Blackcaps and Willow Warblers near the old post office. 33 species was not a bad total. Fewer cars than I anticipated but a lot of cyclists, who were very well behaved, moving to the far side of the road when passing pedestrians, often with a wave and cheery greeting!

Phil Hampson tells us how it all started for him!


A little note.

I was brought up in Cheadle and sat in the lounge now watching the shenanigans of the garden Dunnock's set me to thinking. What's a Dunnock? Yes, of course to me as an 11 year old they were Hedge Sparrows, I'd never even heard of the name Dunnock back at the end of the 1950's/early 60's (clue there). I will have to go and have a look at my old Bird Book (no fancy titled Field Guide back then) to see what they were called back then. Well, the main name in it is Hedge Sparrow with comment of Dunnock also being a widely used name. The book is entitled  Birds of the Wayside and Woodland and I have still got it. Sadly my first is long gone and was the one I guess many of us started with - The Observer's Book of Birds combined with the I-Spy books. It is amazing the memories that the lockdown and self imposed isolation are bringing back. Back then I'd never have dreamt of Dunnock's using feeders, now they flit around the garden splitting their time between foraging amongst the plants and the feeders. Also now see Blackbirds acrobatically picking at the feeders. I can't make it easier with a better perch because of the Woodpigeon's. Given that this species seems to spend 80% of their time mating they should be busy with young but never seems to be the case!

Yesterday I heard a commotion in the flowering Cherry at the front of the house and there was a Great Spotted Woodpecker in real a confrontation with a male Blackbird. We all know what the much beloved Woodpecker was up to and sadly now he's located the Blackbird nest there is likely to be only one outcome. It's not just the Magpies that are the baddies. I remember getting a real ear bending from a lady whilst in the Visitor Centre back in Islay asking what the RSPB were going to do about the Woodpecker that was damaging her gateposts! Hopefully the Song Thrushes will be too mature by now for the GSW to take any, they've been feeding for about 10 days. All very sad, but that's nature. I am really quite enjoying my garden birding even if it is only a small urban one, real 3rd Division compared to that of Mr & Mrs B which sits up at the top of the Premier League. This week will, hopefully bring the Swifts just for about 12 short weeks, will we be out of lockdown by the time they depart? They usually arrive any time around 25 April but given how late the Swallows were this year I am wondering if the same will apply to the Swifts. Then on a decent day I can sit and listen to them scream overhead.

I went out at 06:30 this morning in anticipation of a decent night's moth catch as it had been forecast for a considerably warmer night. Before had got to the trap heard a different call and a new garden tick, 2 flyover Greylag's! Great, just need a few moths now and that will be a good morning but all there was a single Common Quaker in the trap! My mothing is not helped by the Pipistrelle bats flying around every evening. It is early in the mothing year but I am interested to see how many Micro's I record in 2020, 2019 was a very poor year for them here.
Stop Press
Our Thrushes have fledged and are in the garden, fantastic.

Thanks Phil I still have my Observer's Book of Birds and the Observer's Book of Bird's Eggs. The latter was used most with we Mobberley boys; but that's another story!!

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.