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April 2010 Diary and News
All the latest sightings, news and photos from Chasewater, Cuckoo Bank and surrounding areas
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All records and photos (jpegs) are welcome, please send them via our comments page. Home Key to Contributors
1st
12C
Rain
W3
A Curlew, 4 Little Ringed Plovers, House Martin, Swallows, Sand Martins, Redshank and Oystercatcher (IW).
2nd
12C
Showers
SE3
2 Shelduck, 5 Little Ringed Plovers, 3 Oystercatchers, 2 Redshanks, 2 Buzzards, 12 Sand Martins and 7 Swallows (IW, GE).
3rd Sat
12C
Cloudy
SW4
3 Willow Warblers and a Willow Tit were singing near the feeding station and a Redshank and an Oystercatcher were seen during a brief evening visit (IW).
At Kingswood a Water Vole was seen twice in an area next to the M6 Toll (IW).
4th Sun
9C
Early Showers
NW4
3 Little Ringed Plovers, 1 Redshank, 5 Swallows and 40-50 Sand Martins (IW), 3 Oystercatchers (NS) and 2 Wigeon and 2 Pochard were on the Swag (GE).
On Cuckoo Bank there was a Jack Snipe, 2 Willow Warblers (MY), Common Snipe, 6 Gadwall, Little Grebe and 2 Buzzards (NS).
5th
13C
Cloudy
SW4
A late dusk visit produced good numbers of hirundines over the lake and an Oystercatcher was heard (GE).
6th
14C
Sunny intervals
S5
3 Lapwings were displaying and a Skylark was singing over the Norton Bog hill where there was also a male Wheatear and 2 singing Chiffchaffs. 160 Sand Martins, 7 Swallows and a House Martin were over the lake, 4 Gadwall, 2 Teal, a Goldeneye and 2 Oystercatchers were present and 6 Little Ringed Plovers were on the Balcony shore with at least one other on the North Shore. Amazingly, the deep layers of silt are still attracting the attentions of the foolhardy. Tonight a man was seen to be tempting fate by walking in the north shore silt and had a panic when he sank to his knees (GE).
Could this be a rare wader? Is it a pratincole?
No, just a prat in coal silt!
7th
12C
Light showers, bright afternoon
NW4
I only noticed this rather distressing incident when 2 of the horses were up to their necks in the Fly Bay silt and an adult and 2 young riders, plus several onlookers, were anxiously trying to coax them to safety. The emergency services had already been notified but obviously imprecise directions resulted in three police cars and 2 fire appliances arriving at the rather distant Chasewater Heaths Station rather than the Sailing Club, whilst the Police Helicopter hovered overhead (GE). 

The following information has come to light from a range of sources but it appears that an off the lead dog had caused the horses to bolt, unseating their riders, and then getting stuck in the silt. Despite having been provided with a key, the fire-fighters cut the locks of the gate and headed in the wrong direction towards the North Heath. Fortunately the horses managed to get out of their dangerous predicament. Hopefully lessons have been learnt and anyone reporting an incident to the emergency services needs to be precise in their information. We would be interested to know what LDC's policy is regarding horse riding on the shore.

Horse and pony stuck in the silt (GE)
A distressful sight (GE)
Eventually the pony struggled free (GE)
 The valve has now been re-opened and there will be ever increasing dangers in the deep layers of silt as the water levels fall. Birds of note included 4 Little Ringed Plovers, 2 Oystercatchers, 4 Teal, 2 Gadwall, 150 Black-headed Gulls, 60 Sand Martins, a House Martin, 8 Swallows, a Blackcap, 3 Willow Warblers, 3 Chiffchaffs and 2 Grey Wagtails (GE).
8th
15C
Sunny
NNW3
There is still deep water against the original western dam (GE)
Prior to works starting on the Nine-foot area the vegetation of this part of the SSSI is being translocated to a prepared area near the Rangers' Office (GE).
A beautiful spring day with several Peacocks, 2 Small Tortoiseshells and a Comma enjoying the sunshine. In Jack's Wood there were singing Blackcap, Chiffchaff and Coal Tit along with a Great Spotted Woodpecker, Stock Dove and a Buzzard overhead. Other Buzzards were seen over the by-pass, Norton Bog and 6 others over the Cuckoo Bank area. Pairs of Little Grebe and Great Crested Grebe were on the Slurry Pool. Other records included 3 singing Blackcaps, 3 Willow Warblers, 5 Chiffchaffs, a Yellowhammer, Sparrowhawk, Kestrel, 2 Little Ringed Plovers, 2 Oystercatchers, 30 Sand Martins, Grey Wagtail, a Cormorant, 4 Teal, 3 Gadwall, 135 Black-headed Gulls, up to 50 Lesser Black-backs (GE) and a 3cy Yellow-legged Gull (IW).
Comma (GE)

 

9th
15C
Sunny 
NE3
A Ringed Plover, 2 Oystercatchers and 6 Buzzards (GE, JT).
Displaying Great Crested Grebes (GE)
10th
Sat
14C
Sunny 
NE3
2 Redshanks, 2 Herons, 74 Black-headed Gulls and 2 Lesser Black-backs. Several Peacock butterflies but no sign of any Green Hairstreaks yet (GE).
11th
Sun
13C
Sunny intervals
NE3
2 Green Sandpipers were new for the year with other totals including 3 Oystercatchers, 2 Little Ringed Plovers, a Ringed Plover, 2 Lapwings, 51 Mute Swans, 25 Canada Geese, 120 Mallard, 51 Tufted Ducks, 4 Teal, 5 Gadwall, 1 Cormorant, 14 Great Crested Grebes, 2 Little Grebes, 73 Coot, 4 Moorhens, 81 Black-headed Gulls, 10 Lesser Black-backs, 4+ Buzzards, Sparrowhawk, Kestrel, 2 Green Woodpeckers, 1 Great Spotted Woodpecker, 20 Sand Martins, 1 House Martin, 2 Swallows, 8 Willow Warblers, 6 Chiffchaffs, 3 Blackcaps, 1 Grey Wagtail and 12 Bullfinches. The water level has now fallen to a point where the deep water next to the old western dam is separate from the 'main' lake which now can't be far off the level of the canal (GE). 
North from Target Point (GE).
Slurry Pool (GE)
12th
13C
Cloudy
NE3
A male Garganey was new for the year, 12 Little Ringed Plovers, a summer plumaged Dunlin, 3 Oystercatchers and a Curlew were present along with 65 Sand Martins, 4 Teal, 8 Gadwall, 138 Black-headed Gulls, 11 Lesser Black-backs, a Herring Gull, Grey Wagtail and a Noctule bat (GE, IW)

Drake Garganey (GE)
13th
12C
Sunny intervals, evening drizzle
NNE3
A Whitethroat was near the Nine-foot (PF), 2 Green Hairstreaks were on the North Heath (EO), 2 Little Ringed Plovers were north of the Island, 130 hirundines, 2 Herons, 2 Gadwall, 6 Teal, a Cormorant and a Grey Wagtail were also present (GE).
On Cuckoo Bank there were 2 Grey Partridges, 7 Lapwings, a Jack Snipe, 5 Buzzards, Green and Great Spotted Woodpeckers and 29 Red Deer (EO).
14th
12C
Cloudy
ENE4
A Green Sandpiper and 6 Little Ringed Plovers were at the north end and another pair were on the Balcony Shore. 4 Oystercatchers, 7 Gadwall, 70 Sand Martins, 10 Swallows, a House Martin, 3 Blackcaps and below the dam a Grasshopper Warbler was reeling (GE). 
Fly Bay 'treasure' (GE)
A drake Garganey was at Clayhanger Marsh (CM).
15th
 
11C
Cloudy
NE4
A Garden Warbler and Grasshopper Warbler were on the North Shore, 4 Oystercatchers and 12 Teal were present and a small passage of terns included 3 Common Terns and 5 Arctic Terns (IW, GE).
16th
11C
Cloudy
NE4

A Ringed Plover, 6+ Little Ringed Plovers, a Redshank, 3 Oystercatchers, 2 Cormorants, 11 Gadwall, 80 Black-headed Gulls and 2 Buzzards were present and 11 Red Deer were in Highfield Farm (GE). A 'reeling' Grasshopper Warbler was on the North Heath, a Lapwing was displaying over the marshy area nearby and 9 Jays congregated in a tree on the outskirts of the Slurry Pool (KM).

Volcanic sunset! (GE)
On Cuckoo Bank there were 3 Buzzards and a Grasshopper Warbler briefly 'reeled' but no Stonechats were seen. 16 cattle were grazing along with 17 Red Deer (GE) and at dusk 9 Common Snipe and a Short-eared Owl was seen (NS).
17th
Sat
17C
Sunny
SW2
 
The first Common Sandpiper of the year was present along with 3 Little Ringed Plovers, an Oystercatcher, 5 Teal and 4 Gadwall (GE, IW, N).
A Whitethroat and Yellow Wagtail were on Cuckoo Bank along with a Brimstone, Speckled Wood, Green-veined White, Small Tortoiseshell and Peacocks (IW, N).
18th
Sun
14C
Sunny intervals
NE2
4 White Wagtails and a Wheatear were on the North Shore, a Common Sandpiper, Ringed Plover, 6+ Little Ringed Plovers, 4 Oystercatchers, 2 Lapwings, a Cormorant, 6 Buzzards, Grey Wagtail and 62 Black-headed Gulls were present. Wildfowl totals included 51 Mute Swans, 30 Canada Geese, 1 Greylag Goose, 120 Mallard, 7 Gadwall, 3 Shoveler, 3 Teal, 1 Pochard, 52 Tufted Ducks, 14 Great Crested Grebes, 4 Little Grebes, 70 Coot and a Moorhen. At dusk there were 100 Sand Martins, 25 Swallows, 2 immature Herring Gulls and 2 Lesser Black-backs. Butterflies included Speckled Wood, Orange-tip, Green-veined White and a good emergence of Green Hairstreaks with 14 in Anglesey Basin and 8 near the OEC (GE).
On Cuckoo Bank there was a Cuckoo, a pair of Stonechats and a Grasshopper Warbler (PW).
19th
12C
Cloudy
NE2
A good day of passage produced an adult Little Gull, 40 Black-headed Gulls, 2 Herring Gulls, 7 Lesser Black-backs, a Whimbrel, 3 Common Sandpipers, 4 Oystercatchers, 9 Little Ringed Plovers, a Jack Snipe, 2 Shovelers, a Cormorant, 7 Swifts, 250 Sand Martins, 10 House Martins, 20 Swallows, 13 Wheatears, a Redstart, a Lesser Whitethroat, 3 Grasshopper Warblers, a Grey Wagtail and 2 Buzzards. A Green Hairstreak was on the North Heath (IW, GE). Several thousand small fish were reported to be in the canal basin having poured over the weir from the drawdown pipe.
20th
9C
Sunny 
NW4
A remarkable 22 Little Ringed Plovers, a Ringed Plover, 3 Common Sandpipers, a Redshank, 3 Oystercatchers, an adult Little Gull and a Cuckoo were present along with up to 300 Sand Martins, 20 Swallows, a Swift and 5 Wheatears (GE, IW, NS et al).
A Stonechat and Wheatear were seen on Cuckoo Bank. 
21st
9C
Sunny 
N3

Totals included 15 Little Ringed Plovers, 6 Ringed Plovers, 2 Dunlin, 3 Common Sandpipers, 2 Oystercatchers, 2 Lapwings, 2 Gadwall, 48 Black-headed Gulls, 3 Buzzards, a White Wagtail, a Grey Wagtail, a Whitethroat, 300 Sand Martins, 2 House Martins and 2 Willow Tits. 35 Green Hairstreaks were in the Anglesey Basin area and one was on the North Heath (GE). At dawn a Hobby was seen to hunt over the Slurry Pool where over 500 hirundines were leaving their roost (IW).
Green Hairstreak (GE)

The water level of the lake is now down to the level of the canal and the valve has been closed. The final 2m will be pumped out when the contractors start in around a month's time. The canal was very turbid with the sediment from the lake and few fish were visible. Today a strip of marsh from the base of the dam has been translocated to the shore of the Newt Pond.
22nd
11C
Sunny 
W2
During the day there were 7 White Wagtails, a Yellow Wagtail flew over, 6 Ringed Plovers, 2 Dunlin, 7 Common Sandpipers, 2 Oystercatchers, 350 Sand Martins, 2 Grasshopper Warblers and 2 Wheatears. High level north-westerly passage was noted as 7 Herring Gulls, 3 Common Terns and a Buzzard passed over (GE).
Boardwalk Heath (GE)
On Cuckoo Bank there were 4 singing Yellowhammers, 4 Wheatears and a Grasshopper Warbler (IW). On No Man's Bank a Cuckoo and Hobby were seen (per EO).
23rd
15C
Sunny
WSW2
Whinchat (GE)
Wheatear GE)
Male Wheatear (GE)
In the Slurry Pool/Norton Bog area there was a male Whinchat, 2 Wheatears, Cuckoo, Reed Warbler, 2 Little Grebes, 2 Buzzards, a Sparrowhawk, Green Woodpecker and Grey Wagtail (EO, GE). Also present were 6 Ringed Plovers, 12 Little Ringed Plovers, 2 Dunlin, 7 Common Sandpipers, 4 Oystercatchers, 2 Lapwings, 2 Common Terns, a Teal, a Swift, 2 Whitethroats and 8 Bullfinches. A Grasshopper Warbler was on the Raceway Heath and Green Hairstreaks numbered 11+ south of the Feeding Station, 12+ near the new boardwalk and 17+ in Anglesey Basin (GE, IW, JT et al).

The canal water is slowly clearing, revealing the many thousands of small fish that have escaped from the lake.

On Cuckoo Bank 2 Stonechats were seen (EO).
24th
Sat
20C
Sunny
SSE3
A dawn visit produced the following remarkable totals: 111+ singing Willow Warblers, 17 Blackcaps, 1 Garden Warbler,  18 Chiffchaffs, 1 Lesser Whitethroat, 16 Whitethroats, 7 Grasshopper Warblers, 1 Reed Warbler, 5 pairs of Skylarks, 3 Willow Tit territories, 18 male Reed Buntings and 2 Wheatears. 8+ Little Ringed Plovers, 3 Ringed Plovers, 5 Common Sandpipers, 3 Oystercatchers and 3 Common Terns were also present (PJ, IW, GE). All this despite late night revelers leaving a mass of beer cans, bottles, litter and smoldering camp fires along the shore between the dam and Sailing Club.
Common Terns (GE)
On No Man's Bank there were 17 Red Deer and a Common Snipe (GE).
25th
Sun
16C
Light Showers, sunny intervals
SW3
A couple of brief visits produced a Shelduck, Common Tern, 2 Ringed Plovers, 2 Dunlin, 6 Common Sandpipers, 6+ Little Ringed Plovers, 4 Oystercatchers, 35 Sand Martins, 2 Gadwall and a Teal (GE).
26th
17C
Sunny intervals
WNW3
5 Oystercatchers, a Common Sandpiper, 3+ Little Ringed Plovers and 3 Common Terns were present (GE, JT, VT).
27th
18C
Sunny intervals
SSW3
This evening 9 Oystercatchers, 3 Common Sandpipers, 4 Ringed Plovers and 11+ Little Ringed Plovers were present (GE).
28th
18C
Overcast
SSW3
Early this morning an uncontrolled Doberman flushed a Spotted Crake from the most northern point of the 'lake' but it was not relocated. This is the long awaited first record of this species at Chasewater. A Whimbrel flew in at 06:30 (IW) and departed to the north-west at 10:00. 6 Oystercatchers, 2 Ringed Plovers, 8+ Little Ringed Plovers, 2 Common Sandpipers, 4 Cormorants and 30 Swifts were also present. At the Slurry Pool 3 Sedge Warblers and 2 Reed Warblers were in song (GE) and a Grasshopper Warbler was reeling on the Raceway Heath (PJ).

Preparations for the fish capture appear to have started with a JCB creating a roadway on the lake side of the dam (GE).

29th
17C
Cloudy, evening rain
W3
An Arctic Tern flew through during the early morning (IW). During the afternoon a White Wagtail, Wheatear and Little Ringed Plover were on the South Shore, 100 Sand Martins, several Swallows, 1-2 House Martins and 40 Swifts were overhead, 2 Common Sandpipers, 2 Oystercatchers were present and 2 Common Terns were displaying. Soon after the rain started 4 more Oystercatchers and 3 more Common Terns had arrived and at 16:15 a flock of 20 Dunlin descended but at least 15 didn't settle and soon departed to the west. At 16:50 a flock of Ringed Plovers arrived and settled and by 17:25 further groups of Dunlin had arrived giving totals of 38 Dunlin and 16 Ringed Plovers. All the Ringed Plovers and all but one Dunlin left at 18:15 but 15 minutes later a flock of 23 Dunlin briefly settled including an individual with a pale patch in the wing. In little more than 2 hours as many as 76 Dunlin had passed through the site (GE).
The fish rescue started today with sample fish being caught to confirm they are healthy. The team caught a variety of fish including Roach, Perch, Pike (up to 18/19lbs) and some Bullheads (LDC).
Great excitement at Clayhanger when a Hoopoe was found at around mid-day (ASc).
30th
15C
Heavy showers
WSW4
During the early morning 10 Dunlin passed through and 3 Common Sandpipers were present (PJ). Later in the morning 5 Ringed Plovers, 2 Common Terns, 6 Oystercatchers,< 100 Swifts and several House Martins were noted (GE).

 

The fish rescue continued with several fascinated onlookers.

The Hoopoe continued to entertain throughout the day at Clayhanger.

Hoopoe P Ward

Hoopoe G Evans