Mid-Cheshire Ornithological Society UK Tide Tables Local Weather

Cannock Chase, 23 April 2017

On Sunday 23 April, 10 members made the trip to Cannock Chase. We visited various sites on the Chase and saw 40 species during the day. The weather stayed kind to us all day and it was quite warm when there was no cloud cover.

Meeting at the Penkridge Bank car park we took a walk on the heathland there and highlights included numerous Tree Pipits with their song display, loads of  Willow Warbler, a pair of Redstart, Yellowhammer, Jay, Goldcrest and Kestrel.

Moving to Seven Springs for lunch, we had good views of Chiffchaff and Blackcap near the car park together with Raven and Nuthatch.

We had a comfort stop at the Wolseley Centre, a Staffordshire Wildlife Trust reserve on the River Trent and a short walk gave us a very inland pair of Oystercatcher and a Grey Wagtail.

We then moved to White House car park where we had Green Woodpecker calling and saw Common Buzzard and Green Hairstreak butterflies. We were unable to find any Woodlark at any of the sites.

Our final destination was Freda’s Grave where the highlights were Stonechat, Linnet, a Green Woodpecker who made three fly-pasts, Cuckoo and Stock Dove.

The migrants were very few and far between, with the cold weather in April obviously putting a brake on many travelling north up the country.


 Ray Evans

Loggerheads  CP, 25 April 2017

Ten members met at the car park.

Our walk along the Leet gave good views of Grey Wagtail and Dipper. However, the general cold weather delayed most migrants with only a few Chiffchaff calling.

Looking down on the river valley gave us poor views of both Spotted and Pied Flycatcher.

Moving on to Cilcain we failed to find the usual Cuckoo with just a few Willow Warblers up by the reservoir.

Although the count was low (24 species) we enjoyed the Welsh countryside and the company and we were back home before the weather broke with a brief thunder storm.

Harold and Val Fielding

Aber Falls, 9 May 2017

Nine members gathered in the Forestry Commision  car park.

Despite the recent low rainfall, the Water Fall was quite full. We saw 2 Ring Ouzel  below the scree and other sightings included Cuckoo, Redstart, Raven and Green Woodpecker.

We finished the day at Conwy RSPB Reserve for a quick cup of tea.

It was an excellent day out with beautiful weather and scenery.

The day total sightings were 24 species at Abba Falls and  5 more at Conwy.

Harold and Val Fielding

Somerset, 18-21 May 2017

Eighteen members enjoyed a weekend’s birding in Somerset. This was only our second visit as a group to this area and as last time we stayed at The Winston Manor in Churchill, south of Bristol, and were well looked after by Andrew & Jane.

We met late Thursday morning at New Fancy Viewpoint in the Forest of Dean and highlights here included Raven, Common Buzzard, Red Kite, Blackcap and Siskin. We made our way down the road a few miles to RSPB Nagshead, where we had our lunch and then spent a couple of hours at the reserve where the highlights were Treecreeper, Goldcrest, Nuthatch, Jay and a couple of male Pied Flycatchers carrying food to nest boxes. We then made our way back to the motorway to travel south to Somerset and a late afternoon visit to Chew Valley Lake. There were hundreds of Swift over the south end of the reservoir at Herriott’s Bridge and other highlights included House & Sand Martin, an unseasonal pair of Goldeneye, Sparrowhawk, Barnacle Goose and Great Spotted Woodpecker. After checking in early evening at the hotel, we ate at a local hostelry.

After a hearty breakfast the group travelled down to the Levels to RSPB Ham Wall. This morning was probably the highlight of the whole weekend with stunning views of Hobby, Kingfisher, Blackcap, Garden Warbler, Cetti’s Warbler, numerous flight views of Great White Egret, Bittern and Marsh Harrier, a drake Garganey and a flight view of Glossy Ibis. We returned to the car-park for a late lunch and after eating made our way across the road to Shapwick Heath NNR. On Meare Heath scrape we saw the Glossy Ibis again together with a group of Black-Tailed Godwits,some in summer colour, together with further views of Hobby, Bittern, Marsh Harrier and Sparrowhawk plus Gadwall and Wigeon. On the way back to the hotel we stopped off at Cheddar Reservoir. This reservoir is very open and the wind was howling and the birds were few & far between but we saw a few Swallows & House Martins and picked up the third Sparrowhawk of our trip. We all had our evening meal again at some local pubs.

After another excellent breakfast on the Saturday we all made our way south to the new Wildfowl & Wetlands Reserve on the River Parrett at Steart. Highlights here included Wheatear, Short-Eared Owl, Stock Dove, breeding Avocet and Little Ringed Plover, Yellow Wagtail, Kestrel and Peregrine. After lunch we moved on to RSPB Greylake where we had further views of Great White Egret, Hobby, Marsh Harrier plus Reed Warbler, Redshank and Common Buzzard. Our final port of call for Saturday was the Somerset Wildlife Trust reserve at Catcott Lows where the highlights were drake Garganey & Wigeon, Whitethroat and Marsh Harrier.

After yet another excellent breakfast on Sunday and saying our goodbyes to our hosts we returned to RSPB Ham Wall. Highlights of the morning included Marsh Harrier, Jay, Little Egret, Great White Egret, Cetti’s Warbler, Sedge Warbler, Hobby, Garden Warbler and Garganey and a new bird for the trip, a day-hunting Barn Owl. There were loads of Damselflies and Chasers on the wing when we took a walk around one of the pools. After a late lunch we returned to Shapwick Heath where we saw yet another Sparrowhawk, Great White Egret, Hobby and 2 Cuckoos.

We ended up with 94 species over the weekend. The weather was pretty good most of the time, our accommodation was excellent and everyone enjoyed their weekend’s birding together with good company.

Ray Evans

RSPB Old Moor & Potteric Carr YWT, 11 June 2017

The final trip of the season saw 11 members make the trip to RSPB Old Moor. We spent a long morning walking around most of the reserve and highlights included Bullfinch, Bittern, Reed Warbler, Sedge Warbler, Willow Warbler, Chiffchaff, Sand & House Martin, Swift, Little Grebe, Oystercatcher, Lapwing, Little Ringed Plover, Avocet, Gadwall, Pochard, Shoveler plus a flyover Hobby

After lunch we drove the short distance to the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust reserve at Potteric Carr near Doncaster. Highlights here included Little Egret, Blackcap, summer plumaged Black-Necked Grebe, Reed Warbler, Marsh Harrier and another Hobby.

The weather stayed fine and we ended the day on the verandah at the reserve, some with coffee & cake and others with ice creams. The tally for the day was 55 species.

 Ray Evans