To:KOS update Usher Tony <>
Sent:02/05/2020 20:38
Subject:Knutsford Nature News #38
Please send any sightings or observations to me via email or text.

emails -  or

texts also ok to 07710 508 544
Saturday 2nd May 2020
I trekked over to the airport this morning, to crashgate 9 and beyond, in search of my first Lesser Whitethroats of the year. No luck so far I'm afraid but it was a good walk and the forecast rain showers failed to appear. By way of a change I took the path from Forge Cottage on Town Lane across what we referred to as kids as "the big fields" to join Church Lane near the cricket pitch. The little known National Trust property of Mobberley Field is a lot drier than I knew it all those years ago, when a slatted duck board walkway - provide by the US Army in the war, was the only way across.
No Lesser Whitethroats yet but plenty of Chiffchaffs and Blackcaps, a single Garden Warbler and, this week, at least four displaying Common Whitethroats with their exuberant, scratchy song flight as they announced their arrival in the area. Skylarks sang over the runways, in no danger at the moment: there was no air traffic, in or out. Goldcrests sang from the big garden conifers on Slade Lane, where a small family of Long-tailed tits bathed in the water from an underground stream flowing along the side of the road. Still plenty of activity amongst the Lapwings on Smith Lane and across to Broad Oak Lane, perhaps some of them have got away with it so far.

Success for Wendy Stratford's Nuthatches!
Hi Tony,

I think it was the end of incubation yesterday, as today the nuthatches are feeding! Both birds squeezing in and out  with small insects, seeds and sunflower hearts. One of the nuthatches chased away one of the blue tits nesting in the box round the corner.



The usual no nonsense summary from Peter Dawson
Hi Tony

One of my regular walks today to Ollerton then across towards Radbroke Hall and back via Toft. Highlights:
  • Greenfinch in the garden before I left and the another along Chelford Rd.
  • School Lane - 2 shelduck flying over, swallow, lapwings.
  • Fields between Lower Moss Wood and Radbroke - swallow, house martin, skylark, lapwing.
  • Fields west of Toft Rd - yellowhammer, swallow and a hare.
  • Fields between Seven Sisters Lane and Toft Wood - whitethroat and oystercatcher heard from Ollerton direction.
  • Toft Wood - willow warbler ~75m in from Goughs Lane. Same area as I found one a few days ago.


In Marton Steve and Gill Barber are taking their usual systematic approach to their birding.

Hi Tony,

We walked west along the lanes from Marton this morning again counting birds singing in a measured mile.  Most of the common residents were in similar or the same numbers as last week.  However we didn't hear as many Dunnocks or Robins but there were more Great Tits and Chaffinches.  We managed four species of warbler and, although not numerous, it was obvious more Swallows were at the working farms. We counted 23 Lapwings on the big field compared with 29 a week ago.  Of the 29 we had thought that eight may have been on eggs but today we could see only three sat.  This reduction may have been due to viewing difficulties caused by the growing crop.  We may have to lug a scope and tripod out to properly see what is going on. 

Cheers Steve

Drama at the field pool this evening, as witnessed by Jayne Davies

Hi Tony

A late night addition to my list, I heard tawny owls last night some time after 11.00pm. I thought I could hear something very faintly, so opened a window, and yes, the sound of tawny owls calling. It sounded to be coming from somewhere along Pavement Lane, and continued for several minutes.

Also there was a rare visitor to my garden overnight, a fox captured on camera, in addition to the now regular hedgehog. More on foxes to follow.....

I waited until the evening for my walk again today. I set off across Mobberley SQ and up to Town Lane, intending to walk along Damson Lane. But I appeared to have picked peak dog-walking time, and Damson Lane looked to be quite busy, relatively speaking, so I had a change of plan and headed up the steep steps to the diverted footpath. I arrived at the field pool just in time to see mother duck doing her usual disappearing act with the ducklings, there looked to be six or seven, and they've grown a fair bit since I last saw them.  I sat on the stile, enjoying the beautiful evening sun, watching a shelduck and a little ringed plover on the island, and one each of yellow, grey and pied wagtails on the muddy margin. Then there was a lot of very loud quacking from the little tree-lined pool, and a moment later a fox came trotting towards me with a duckling in its mouth!  It saw me, froze, then turned and ran in the other direction.

After that  excitement I carried on to Fox Harbour and along the field path to the fishing pond, with singing reed buntings and yellowhammers along the way. Down to Pedley Brook, a singing song thrush at the very top of a tree, and yet another fox! This one was walking through the nettles down by the brook. I then headed for home via Gleavehouse Lane, two swallows were flying around the barns, but I didn't see any swifts.


Great report Jayne. The Little Ringed Plovers continue with their intriguing behaviour. Now you see them, now you don't! acu

Just 7K for Geoff and Sheila today.

Spent this morning doing housework (yuk!) so went out for just a 7km walk this afternoon. Blackcap along Moss Lane; Kestrel, Whitethroat and Pied Wagtail (no Yellow) on Swain's Walk; Chiffchaff Moss Lane and home.

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.