To:KOS update Usher Tony <>
Sent:30/04/2020 20:40
Subject:Knutsford Nature News #36
Please send any sightings or observations to me via email or text.

emails -  or

texts also ok to 07710 508 544
Thursday 30th April 2020
Just 9°C this morning when I left home but it felt warmer in the sunshine. It clouded over as I approached the field pool though and I quickly regretted not packing my gloves. "Just" the usual stuff on my way over - Swallows, Song Thrush, 2 singing Yellowhammers, Skylarks, Yellow Wagtails and the Ravens ferrying food across to Damson lane.
At the pool, one Oystercatcher at first was later joined by the second, two Shelducks, Pied and Yellow Wagtails and the Mallard family, still with 7 youngsters, on the back pond. So pretty much as expected until about 10:30am when a female Goosander suddenly appeared, it did a few laps of the area before settling on the water at the far side of the pool. It seemed quite nervous and I don't think it was a location it was familiar with, nevertheless it was still there when I left and later in the day Len Mason rang me to say it was still there; resting on the bank with the two Shelducks!
As I returned along the path through the Winter wheat field I met a new face striding towards me, complete with binocs. We exchanged the usual birdwatchers' pleasantries - "much about?" etc. and, as is often the case, within a few seconds it was obvious he knew his stuff! It turns out I was talking with our new correspondent, Peter Dawson, who was looking for the famous Mobberley pool and he'd had some good birds on his walk over from Knutsford. (see below)

Hi Tony,

Nice to bump into you today and good to chat. Unfortunately I didn't get anything too interesting after I met you. The only thing on the pool was a shelduck!

Highlights of my walk from home through Booths Hall area, Pavement Lane and Gleavehouse Lane and back the same way (most of which I mentioned to you):
  • A few whitethroats in various locations
  • Swifts, swallows and sparrowhawk over the barns in Gleavehouse Lane
  • Wheatears and yellow wagtails in fields around Gleavehouse Farm
  • Swallows over Booths Hall/mere
  • A few buzzards about
  • Numerous chiffchaffs and blackcaps

Thanks Peter I missed the Swifts and Wheatears.

Wendy Stratford and her husband were also in the area at the same time - it's getting busy around there!
Hi Tony,

Today walked to Mill Lane then up Damson Lane, where admired the raven's nest (thanks Tony for info and photo). One adult and I think 3 largish fledglings were on the nest which gives a great view!
At the end of Damson Lane turned right up the track and followed the footpath through several fields to the path by the field pool. Lovely walk - everything very green. Only saw goldfinches, robins and blackbirds. The pool was very quiet - both shelduck were there, but left after a while, leaving just the coot. A yellow wagtail flew over to the west. Leaving the pool met Peter Dawson, who mentioned he had seen 3 wheatears near Gleave House in the newly turned over field.
After meeting Tony briefly (it was a social morning!) saw 4 or maybe 5 wheatears in the same field, 2 very close to the footpath giving great views. An oystercatcher circled overhead at the same time and I think may have gone down in the wheat field? Back via SQ where the St Marks flies were out in force (not noticed them before this point) and a good number of starlings were feeding in the air at the south side.



Jayne Davies had enough energy in reserve to visit the pool, even after what is a very long walk!

Hi Tony

Thanks for telling me about the goosander at the Mobberley Pool; I did go to look for it, but there was no sign of it by the time I arrived.

I walked further than I'd intended today. I set off along Smith Lane, pausing to watch the lapwings over the fields - four in the air at one point, and I could see a couple more on the ground. I went out past the station, on to Hobcroft Lane and then took the path on the left towards airport Crash Gate 10. My original plan was to turn right along the footpath to join Lady Lane - but then on a whim I decided to carry on along the north-west boundary of runway 2 and through the Bollin Tunnel. Plenty of singing blackcaps and chiffchaffs, a common whitethroat, and then, at last, a willow warbler, my first this year. Back via Crash Gate 9, still no lesser whitethroat.

There was a mistle thrush in the field next to Mobberley Church, taking my lockdown list to 67 species. I returned home via the field pool, which was quiet: one shelduck, three mallard and a pied wagtail, with a few lesser black-backed gulls overhead.


A couple of brief texts from Tatton Ranger Darren Morris
29/4 - 2 hobbies again Tatton tonight.  Sent from my iPhone
30/4 - today 30/4 Swift and House Martin at Tatton

Judith Halman
Hi Tony.
We did our usual walking this morning to miss the showers predicted p.m. Met Sheila and Geoff.

A Red  Kite flew out of wood and immediately flew back in, fabulous. 

Wheatear  and Treecreeper corner of Moss lane.

lockdown number  #57..........   Jude

Another long one for Geoff and Sheila Blamire. It'll be interesting to see how far they eventually cover during the lockdown!

We did a Swain's walk this morning with an added loop (8.5km) so we went Moss Lane to Tabley Church, turn right up to the new roundabout to look at the new ponds - the 1st pond had a pair of Canada Geese with 1 on the nest, Moorhen with at least 2 youngsters, and pair of Lapwings flying around; the 2nd pond had a pair of Greylag Geese with 1 on the nest, and a Coot and 1 Moorhen - didn't see any young Coot, though last time the Coot was still on the nest.

We then went to over the new A556, walked down the road hoping to walk along a track behind Over Tabley House - but the route was obviously private so had to walk along the road which was little hairy! There was a "mitigation" pond there with a pair of Canada Geese with 1 on the nest and a pair of Mallard with again 1 on the nest. Looked perfect for Reed Buntings and Sedge Warbler but didn't see/hear any though the wind was quite fierce and therefore noisy! Just left of there was a superb hedge with brambles with an agitated Common Whitethroat. We didn't linger. Then walked by the motorway workings, under the new A556, along to Swain's Walk, to the cemetery, to Green Lane and back home via Moss Lane, with the occasional Chiffchaff singing, but no Blackcaps. Plenty of Swallows around the various farms on our walk but nothing else to report, except for bumping' into Jude and Brian twice - the 2nd time they were made up with seeing Red Kite. Probably an "escapee" from Gauntlet but so great to see J 

Cheers..... Sheila and Geoff

A Cuckoo for the Barbers - I can see me missing out again this year.
Hi Tony,

Gill and I headed east from the village this morning. We counted all the singing birds in a measured mile. Not surprisingly given the wind several species were in lower numbers than last week, particularly Dunnock and Blue Tit. Once again warblers were limited to the trio of Blackcap, Chiffchaff and a lone Willow Warbler while Swallows are still present in just ones and twos at the working farms. The highlight came after we completed our mile when a Cuckoo flew across our path. We hadn't heard it call but a couple of dog walkers told us it had been in the area for over a week. 

Cheers Steve 

A couple of short notes from Phil Hampson.
29/4  At 20:00ish I had my first Common Swift here in Hazel Grove, yippee, whizzo. Roll on the others and a bit of warm weather and can sit outside and listen.
I should have added the garden Song Thrush has been serenading us all day. Similar with Blackbird. Never in all the years we have lived here have I heard such a lovely amount of song, there again in the past probably didn't pay as much attention!

Will start on Islay tomorrow, likely to be far more detailed as have spent a great deal more time there than in Mull, like 4½ years!
Regards .......... Phil

 Our Hon Sec. considers the nutritional value of Goostrey's sausage roll and the survival strategy of Hostas.

Hi Tony,

The world of nature never ceases to amaze, considering the hours per day that Goldfinches spend eating Sunflower hearts at our bird table  you would think they would be obese. I know from watching Goldfinches they spill  a great deal of the food, they always go for the Sunflower hearts  obviously not a great deal of nutrition in them. Mind you in people we go for things like Goostrey's sausage rolls not a lot of nutrition in them but they are good!! 

 We have in our garden in the ground and in pots some 14 Hostas after our garden remedial work last November one Hosta finished at least buried under 6 inches of soil by accident, last week I saw one green shoot pushing through soil so investigated and now several green shoots which have gown between  8-10 inches in a week incredible.


I've updated the combined list of species seen during the lockdown and it now stands at #86 but there must be many more to come, especially from Merseyside. We should be over 100 very soon.
Check the list here and email me with your additions.

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.