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March 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
 
5C 1C
Cloudy
NW3
The Oystercatcher (GE), female Pintail and drake Smew were on the main lake and redpolls and Siskins were singing on the North Heath. In the roost there was one adult Mediterranean Gull, the 3cy Iceland Gull (IW) and up to 5000 Black-headed Gulls (GE).
2nd
 
5C -1C
Cloudy
NW3
 
A small vortex can now be seen from the dam at the location of the 'plug hole'. The Oystercatcher was present, 19 Goosanders were on the Swag, 2 Stonechats on the North Heath and 3 Buzzards, 2 Kestrels and a Sparrowhawk were over the Norton Bog area (EO). The Pintail and Smew were on the lake and a Golden Plover was with Lapwings on the West Shore. 2 Willow Tits were at the Feeding Station. By early evening a Whooper Swan had appeared at the north end of the lake and the gull roost held an adult Mediterranean Gull, 3cy Iceland Gull and an impressive total of 2940 large gulls (IW, PJ, N, GE).
On the Cuckoo Bank fields there were 70 Golden Plovers, 15 Lapwings, 50 Starlings, 15 Meadow Pipits, 12 Skylarks and a Grey Partridge. On the heath and pools there were 12 Red Deer, 8 Gadwall, 12 Tufted Ducks and a Stonechat (EO).
Two Willow Tits were seen at the western end of Allbutts Road, Brownhills West (PJ).
A Barn Owl was hunting in the Stubbers Green area tonight. A walk home can be so rewarding! (PJ)
3rd
 
 
5C -1C
Cloudy
E4
This evening the drake Smew and female Pintail were on the main lake. In the roost was the 3cy Iceland Gull and 3 adult Mediterranean Gulls, two of which had almost complete black hoods (1 with worn primaries) and the third had more white extending up to the forehead (PJ, IW, AAm).
4th
 
6C -3C
Sunny intervals
ENE4
The Smew, Pintail, an Oystercatcher (IW), 13 Great Crested Grebes, 7 Goosanders, 9 Gadwall and 10 Common Gulls (GE) were on the main lake and the 3cy Iceland Gull and adult Mediterranean Gull were in the roost (BS, IW) which now holds around 5000 Black-headed Gulls (GE).
At Stubbers Green there was a Pink-footed Goose and the 3cy Iceland Gull (PJ).
5th
 
8C -1C
Cloudy
N2
There are two Willow Tits regularly visiting the feeding station, with other birds now moving back to territory after the hard winter. Sightings of this species away from the feeders are very important for monitoring the local status of an increasingly rare bird. 3 Ringed Plovers were on the balcony shore whilst the drake Smew and female Pintail were on the main lake (PDH). The roost is beginning to drop in numbers with only 1500 large gulls tonight including the 3cy Iceland Gull and the adult Mediterranean Gull (PDH, GE, PJ, IW).
Iceland Gull GE
6th
Sat
 
4C -3C
Cloudy
ENE4
There are only small numbers of Cormorants, Goosanders and Great Crested Grebes taking advantage of the lower water levels. A worrying indicator that there may be few fish remaining in the lake (IW). Wader numbers are starting to increase as the water level falls with 5 Ringed Plovers, 2 Oystercatchers and a Dunlin (JA, IW). The Smew was reported (per GE). The 3cy Iceland Gull and adult Mediterranean Gull both roosted amongst the1980 large gulls which included an influx of 2cy Herring Gulls (JA, IW).
7th
Sun
 
4C -2C
Sunny 
NE4
2 Oystercatchers (PJ, JA), 4 Ringed Plovers, 12 Gadwall, 31 Pochard, 10 Goosanders and 2 Buzzards (GE) were present and 2 Stonechats have returned to the North Heath (PJ). The roost held no species of note, but was larger than Saturday with around 3000 large gulls (PJ, JA, IW).
West Shore GE
Norton Bog reed-beds GE
The 3cy Iceland Gull was at Stubbers Green but was not seen in the roost (PJ).
8th
 
6C 2C
Sunny intervals 
NE3
7 Ringed Plovers, 2 Dunlin and 2 Oystercatchers were present and an adult Mediterranean Gull was off the south shore, but again no sign of the Iceland Gull (IW).
9th
 
6C 2C
Sunny intervals 
NE3
3 Oystercatchers and 3 Ringed Plovers were present (PJ) and an adult Mediterranean Gull was in the roost (PJ, IW). At 6pm a yellow quad bike was being ridden across the speedboat shoreline, but it did not show well and I could not pick out the number plate.
On Cuckoo Bank there was the first male Wheatear of the year, a Raven flew over and other sightings included a female Stonechat, 60 Golden Plovers, 25 Lapwings, 9 Gadwall, 19 Tufted Ducks, a Buzzard, Kestrel, 2 Common Snipe, 10 Skylarks, 11 Meadow Pipits and 10 Linnets (EO, GR).
10th
 
7C 0C
Cloudy 
NE3
A drake Red-crested Pochard was reported close to the dam (GT) and at dusk at least 39 Red Deer hinds were in and around the pool in Highfields Farm (GE). The roost held 2650 large gulls and an adult Mediterranean Gull (PJ).
At Stubbers Green a Pink-footed Goose was again present (PJ).
11th
9C 2C
Sunny intervals 
NNW3
The first Redshank of the year was present along with 5 Ringed Plovers, 1 Dunlin and 2 Oystercatchers (PW, IW). Also seen were 2 Shovelers, the Pintail and a Peregrine (JT, VT), which may have been the cause of a mass panic amongst the gull roost just before dark (GE). More trees have been cut down at the north end of the dam including the one with the owl nest box (PW).
Sunset over the gull roost GE
12th
9C 0C
Light showers 
N4
This afternoon the receding water levels gave Chasewater the appearance of an estuary. To complete the illusion 2 Shelduck, 2 Curlew, 5 Ringed Plovers, 3 Dunlin, 3 Oystercatchers, a Redshank and female Pintail were all feeding in the mud. (PJ, IW). A count of 68 Goldeneye was noteworthy (PJ).
A different adult Mediterranean Gull and an adult Yellow-legged Gull roosted this evening (PJ, IW).
13th
Sat
7C 3C
Cloudy 
NW4

10 Red Deer were on the North Heath GE

2 Rock Pipits showing characteristics of the Scandinavian race littoralis were at the south end of the dam. Also present were 4 Ringed Plovers, 2 Dunlin, 3 Oystercatchers, a Redshank, 2 Cormorants, 8 Goosanders, the Pintail, 2 Shovelers, 14 Gadwall, 39 Wigeon, 21 Pochard, 3 Teal, 16 Great Crested Grebes, 6 Common Gulls, a Buzzard and 2 Grey Wagtails. 3 Coal Tits and a Willow Tit were at the Feeding Station and a Great Spotted Woodpecker and 2 Coal Tits were in Jack's Wood (GE, PJ). The gull roost held the 3cy Iceland Gull and the same adult Mediterranean Gull as yesterday (SR, IW).
Scandinavian Rock Pipits : the first three images show the brighter bird and clearly show the variable prominence of the supercilium depending on the angle of view GE.
14th
Sun
10C 3C
Sunny intervals 
NW4
View from the dam GE
The Dam GE
The WeBS count produced 55 Mute Swans, 33 Canada Geese, 32 Wigeon, 19 Gadwall, 3 Teal, 115 Mallard, 1 Pintail, 1 Shoveler, 23 Pochard, 135 Tufted Ducks, 44 Goldeneye, 5 Goosanders, 1 Ruddy Duck, 3 Little Grebes, 20 Great Crested Grebes,  166 Coot, 2 Oystercatchers and a Dunlin (NS). The 2 Rock Pipits were still present along with a Redshank and 3 Ringed Plovers (IW). The 3cy Iceland Gull was in the roost whilst a Yellowhammer sang from the hedge along the railway line (MY, PJ, JA, IW).

Two Rock Pipits with the worn tail of the brighter bird showing grey outer tail feathers with white outer margins making them easily confusable with Water Pipit GE.
15th
10C 0C
Sunny intervals 
W3
There was a bird collision with the turbine this evening. I was watching gulls drifting around above the sailing club when one of them made a sudden change of direction and was catapulted into the lake. 5 Oystercatchers were very vocal this evening and the Redshank was still at the north end of the lake. The 3cy Iceland Gull just stopped briefly before heading north east. Around 480 large gulls were present (IW) and 1000 Black-headed Gulls (GE).
16th
10C-1C
Sunny 
NW3
 
2 Oystercatcher, 2 Dunlin and 2 Redshank (PJ, PW) but there was nothing of note in a greatly reduced gull roost which only held around 80 large gulls (PJ, IW).
17th
12C
Cloudy 
SSW3
Totals included a Redshank, 4 Oystercatchers, 38 Goldeneye, 3 Goosanders, 20 Gadwall, 2 Shovelers and 2 Grey Wagtails. The gull roost only held 300 Black-headed Gulls, 30 Lesser Black-backs and 2 Herring Gulls whilst a pipistrelle type bat fluttered along the south shore (PJ)
At Stubbers Green a single Pink-footed Goose was roosting on the boating lake (PJ).
18th
13C
Cloudy 
SW5
10 Sand Martins were feeding around the west shore wood this evening. 2 Redshanks, 4 Oystercatchers, the Pintail, 31 Goldeneye and 7 Great Crested Grebes were on the main lake (IW, GE). The gull roost held 300 Black-headed Gulls, 5+ Herring Gulls and 30+ Lesser Black-backs including an adult intermedius bird with  a broken left wing, perhaps the bird hit by the wind turbine on Tuesday (GE).
19th
Cloudy with rain 
SW2
A very wet evening produced 2 Oystercatchers, Redshank and Pintail. The gull roost was reduced to only 20 large gulls and 50 Black-headed Gulls (IW).
20th
Sat
Rain
SW2
This morning a Chiffchaff was singing along the railway line at the north of the main lake. A Little Ringed Plover was on Pimpernel Point, 3 Oystercatchers, a Redshank, Pintail and Shoveler fed on the mud (IW). Other counts included 42 Goldeneyes, 3 Goosanders, 93 Tufted ducks, 21 Wigeon, 5 Gadwall, 6 Teal, 9 Great Crested Grebes, 19 Canada Geese and 2 Herons. The gull roost held just 180 Black-headed Gulls and 30 Lesser Black-backs eventually departed to the north although the injured intermedius still survives (GE).
A night spent surveying the amphibian population also produced a calling Tawny Owl.
21st
Sun
12
Sunny
S3
 
An early morning start produced 3 Redshanks, 3 Oystercatchers, 6 Goosanders, the Pintail, 5 Teal, 1 Cormorant, a Yellowhammer (GE) and 3 Ravens that were very vocal around the West shore pylons (PJ). A Chiffchaff was calling on Target Point and a Sand Martin flew over the Swag.
Yellowhammer (GE)
Another Chiffchaff was on Cuckoo Bank along with 30 Redwings, but the surprise was 2 Crossbills that flew out of the pine belt in the direction of Chasewater (IW, N).
The Pink-footed Goose is still roosting at Stubbers Green (PJ).
22nd
9C 0C 
Light showers
S3
Three Sand Martins, two Redshanks, three Oystercatchers and two Chiffchaffs were present. At dusk 2 Sand Martins flew through, 8 Goldeneye, 7 Great Crested Grebes and 70 Black-headed Gulls were present whilst 30 Lesser Black-backs and a Herring Gull flew north (GE).
23rd
Cloudy with drizzle.
Early in the morning there were 2 Wheatears, 5 Sand Martins, 3 Oystercatchers, 2 Shelducks, 2 Redshanks, 1 Dunlin, 12 Meadow Pipits, a Green Woodpecker, 2 Kestrels, a singing Skylark and 7 Red Deer. Sadly a dead Mute Swan was also found on the waterline (EO, PW). 
On Cuckoo Bank there were 3 Common Snipe, a Jack Snipe, 8 Gadwall, 5 Goosanders, a male Stonechat, 5 Buzzards and a female Sparrowhawk. 9 Red Deer were on the top fields but there was no sign of the Golden Plovers. Several pools contained frog-spawn (EO).
24th
12C
Light showers
S3
During the evening there were 4 Little Ringed Plovers, 2 Redshanks, 2 Oystercatchers, 7 Lapwings, 37 Sand Martins, a Swallow, a Shelduck, 22 Goldeneyes, 2 Goosanders, 3 Gadwall, 4 Teal and 128 Black-headed Gulls (GE).
25th
12C
Sunny intervals followed by heavy showers
SSW3
20 Sand Martins, 3 Swallows, 1 Wheatear, 5 Chiffchaffs, 4 Oystercatchers, 3 Redshanks, 1 Curlew, 18 Lapwings, 28 Meadow Pipits, 20 Pied Wagtails, 94 Tufted Ducks, 3 Pochard, 24 Goldeneye, 6 Goosanders, 11 Wigeon, 4 Gadwall, 2 Teal, 1 Shoveler, 1 Cormorant, 2 Herons, 1 Herring Gull, 40 Black-headed Gulls, 20 Great Crested Grebes, 1 Little Grebe, 6 Buzzards and a Sparrowhawk. After hearing that over 200 Smooth Newts had been seen within the 'Newt Enclosures' at the southern end of the dam last weekend, I made a 20 minute search at around 22:30 and with little effort and a low power wind-up torch I found 52 Smooth Newts! We were led to believe that the newt fencing was left up to stop newts returning to the dam yet it is clear that there are still large numbers that have hibernated within the enclosures and are trapped and need relocating before the dam works start. The Rangers have been informed of the situation (GE).  
26th
12C
Light showers
SSW4
40 Sand Martins, 1 Little Ringed Plover heard, 2 Redshanks, 2 Oystercatchers, 3 Goosanders, 10 Gadwall, 12 Wigeon, 2 Teal, 15 Chaffinches, 20 Linnets and a Chiffchaff. A 10 minute search around 21:00 produced another 68 Smooth Newts. 36 of them were along the car park boundary of the enclosure east of the road leading to the canal. This enclosure clearly holds a very active hibernaculum and the newts caught were heading south towards the Nine-foot. However, it is very likely that many newts may have migrated within the enclosure to the pool in the depression which is due to be infilled. We have been reassured by the Ecology Consultants that the matter is in hand and that no newts should be relocated without guidance from them since, as we feared, the so called Newt Pond with bespoke hibernaculum is currently unable to support a population of newts (GE).
Rainbow (GE)
27th
Sat
10C
Light showers
NW4
2 Swallows, 20 Sand Martins, 6 Oystercatchers, 2 Little Ringed Plovers, 2 Greylag Geese, 4 Gadwall, 5 Teal, 2 Shovelers, 80 Black-headed Gulls and 20 Lesser Black-backs (GE, IW). It was good to see that capture buckets and mats have been placed at the southern end of the top newt enclosure but nothing has been done yet in the large enclosure to the east of the canal road but we are reassured that 'an ongoing, structured rescue and release programme will pick up speed as we go into April' (GE).
28th
Sun
10C
Sunny intervals
WNW4
25 Sand Martins, 3 Chiffchaffs, 1 Ruff, 1 Little Ringed Plover, 1 Ringed Plover, 3 Redshanks, 3 Oystercatchers, 2 Greylag Geese, 16 Lapwings, 14 Goldeneye, 2 Gadwall, 6 Wigeon and 20 Meadow Pipits (GE, IW).
29th
9C
Heavy rain
S3
2 Willow Warblers were singing, 60+ Sand Martins and a Swallow were present along with 4 Little Ringed Plovers, a Ringed Plover, 2 Oystercatchers, 2 Redshanks, 17 Goldeneye and at dusk 140 Black-headed Gulls and 53 Lesser Black-backs (GE, IW).
30th
8C
Heavy showers
S3
2 Buzzards were in Highfield Farm, 40 Sand Martins and 6 Swallows were over the water, a Redshank, 2 Oystercatchers, 2 Gadwall and 8 Goldeneye were present and at dusk the 2 Greylag Geese were on the South Shore grass and the gull roost held 170 Black-headed Gulls, 2 immature Herring Gulls and 70 Lesser Black-backs, including at least one adult intermedius (GE).
31st
6C
Heavy rain
WNW5
 
2 Willow Warblers were singing near the feeding station this morning (IW). A female Merlin flew in from the south and landed on the lake bed in front of the island. 7 Little Ringed Plovers, Ringed Plover and Redshank had a brief flight as the Merlin flew over (IW). Sand Martins and a few Swallows fed on insects around the west shore wood.