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April 2011 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
 
A Knot, first seen around 13:00 was still present at dusk. Also present were 2 Ringed Plovers, 2 Oystercatchers, 4+ Little Ringed Plovers, a Greylag Goose, a Willow Warbler, 4+ Chiffchaffs and 30 Sand Martins. The gull roost held 270 Black-headed Gulls, 26 Lesser Black-backs, 2 Herring Gulls and a 2cy Great Black-back (GE).
Knot GE
2nd
Sat
 
Knot N Stych
The Knot was still present along with 2 White Wagtails, 2 Oystercatchers, 2 Ringed Plovers, 10+ Little Ringed Plovers, 3 Gadwall, 15 Teal, a Raven, a Willow Warbler, 2 Blackcaps, 4 Chiffchaffs and 30 Sand Martins (GE, PW, NS, VT, JT). At dusk the Knot was still present and the gull roost numbered 211 very noisy Black-headed Gulls, 6 Lesser Black-backs and the 2cy Great Black-back (GE).
3rd
Sun
 
At least 12 Little Ringed Plovers were present along with 2 Ringed Plovers, 2 Oystercatchers, 4 Lapwings, 17 Teal, 3 Gadwall, 3 Buzzards, a Kestrel, 2 Great Spotted Woodpeckers, 2 Willow Tits, 80 Sand Martins, a House Martin, a Swallow, 6 Willow Warblers, 2 Blackcaps, 6 Chiffchaffs and 40 Linnets (GE, PW).
Toadily in love! P Ward
From the West Shore N
The low water levels at the Swag have encouraged a few anglers to try their luck and the two Tench below were caught by the same lad within 20 minutes of each other and he also caught 4 more Tench and during the night a 11 lb Mirror Carp. Its good to know its not all Pike, Perch and Roach (GE).
At Biddulph's Pool a Great Tit was mimicking a Willow Tit song and a chap was studying the site's micro-fungi and showed me a Scarlet Elfcup. On Cuckoo Bank there were 2 Buzzards and 2 Ravens (GE).
Scarlet Elfcup Sarcoscypha austriaca
at Biddulph's Pool GE
A male Ring Ouzel was at Clayhanger Marsh (CM et al).
4th
 
A Wheatear was on the South Shore, 2 Oystercatchers, 2 Ringed Plovers and 5+ Little Ringed Plovers (VT, JT) were present and 2 House Martins were amongst 50 Sand Martins. The gull roost held 162 Black-headed Gulls, 30 Lesser Black-backs and a Herring Gull (GE).
5th
 
On the Swag there were 12 Teal and 3 Gadwall. At dusk there were 230 Sand Martins, an Oystercatcher, several Little Ringed Plovers, 146 Black-headed Gulls and 11 Lesser Black-backs (GE).
6th
 
On the Swag there were 14 Teal, 3 Gadwall, an Oystercatcher and a Cormorant (GE). An influx of Willow Warblers and Chiffchaffs was noted around Target Point where 3 Little Ringed Plovers were present (GR). The gull roost held 202 Black-headed Gulls, 12 Lesser Black-backs, a Herring Gull and a 2cy Common Gull (GE).
On Cuckoo Bank there were 3 Grey Partridges, a male Wheatear, 4 Buzzards, a Jay mimicking the call of a Buzzard and several Lapwings and Skylarks (GE).
7th
 
30 Sand Martins and a House Martin were over the lake and Little Ringed Plovers were displaying (GE) with 7 present on the north shore (GR)..
8th
 
3 Gadwall were on the Swag (GE).
On Cuckoo Bank there were 3 reeling Grasshopper Warblers, probably the earliest ever arrival of this scarce summer migrant (DO).
9th
Sat
 
Several Green Hairstreaks were on the heath by the OEC (GE) and a Common Lizard was also seen (DJ). The gull roost numbered 36 Black-headed Gulls and 14 Lesser Black-backs (GE).
Common Lizard DJ
3 Black Terns were at Ryders Mere (RF, CM).
10th
Sun
 
On the Swag there were 3 Gadwall, 15 Teal and a Shoveler (GE).
On Cuckoo Bank there were Little Grebes on three pools, a Stonechat, Yellowhammer, Buzzard and both Green and Great Spotted Woodpeckers (GR).
At 10:30 a Red Kite flew south-east low over the Anglesey Branch canal in Brownhills towards Stonnall as it was mobbed by two Buzzards (PW).
11th
 
A 'Comic' Tern was briefly present (VT, JT), 2 Ringed Plovers, several Little Ringed Plovers on territory, 6 Sand Martins, 2 Buzzards, a few Willow Warblers and a Pheasant was near the Sailing Club (PW).
12th
 
The first Common Sandpiper of the year was noted along with 3 Oystercatchers and several Little Ringed Plovers (VT, JT). The gull roost held 28 Lesser Black-backs and 2 Black-headed Gulls (GE).
13th
 
Sanderlings Phill Ward
Sanderling (GE).
Phill Ward
Phill Ward
Phill Ward
3 Sanderlings were on the Sailing Shore; one was rather long-billed and in winter plumage whilst the other two were showing signs of moult into breeding plumage. Also present were 2 Common Sandpipers, 4 Ringed Plovers (including 2 on territory), an Oystercatcher, 10+ Little Ringed Plovers, 90 Sand Martins, 10 Swallows, 1 House Martin, several Willow Warblers, 3-4 Blackcaps and Chiffchaffs and 2 singing Sedge Warblers in the Slurry Pool reeds. The Swag only held 3 Teal and a Gadwall (GE).
14th
 
One Sanderling was present along with a Common Tern, 2 Ringed Plovers, a Common Sandpiper, an Oystercatcher, a Wheatear, 80 Sand Martins, a House Martin and the usual several pairs of Little Ringed Plovers (GE, PW).
10 House Martins were over their breeding colony at Brownhills West (GE).
15th
 
A Whitethroat was the first for the year (VT, JT), 50 Sand Martins were over the main lake where there was also a Common Tern an Oystercatcher, 2 Ringed Plovers, several Little Ringed Plovers, 7 Lesser Black-backs and 40 Linnets (PW, GE).
16th
Sat
 
At dusk a Grasshopper Warbler was reeling on the north-shore and 2 Snipe were present (GE).
17th
Sun
 
A Grasshopper Warbler was reeling on the north shore between the cycle path and railway. The monthly WeBS count produced 37 Mute Swans, 18 Canada Geese, 2 Gadwall, 5 Teal, 77 Mallard, 16 Tufted Ducks, 2 Little Grebes, 11 Great Crested Grebes, 1 Cormorant, 2 Moorhens, 72 Coot, 1 Oystercatcher, 8 Little Ringed Plovers, 2 Ringed Plovers and 5 Lapwings (NS).
18th
 
A Yellow Wagtail flew east along the South Shore where there was also a Wheatear, 2 Oystercatchers and several Sand Martins. A Common Tern, 20 Black-headed Gulls and 4 Lesser Black-backs were also present (GE).
19th
 
A Common Sandpiper and 6+ Little Ringed Plovers were around the main lake (GE) and 4 Wheatears were on the South Shore (VT, JT).
A Swift was over Norton Lane, Burntwood (PW).
A Ring Ouzel, 3 Wheatears and a Fieldfare were found in a field along Gravelly Lane, Lower Stonnall and a Lesser Whitethroat was singing nearby(GE).
Ring Ouzel GE
20th
 
A Grasshopper Warbler was reeling near the railway on the west shore (PJ), an Oystercatcher and the usual Little Ringed Plovers were present but no sign of passage due to the beautiful weather (GE).
At the Woodland Trust's Pipe Hall Farm there was a Wheatear, mating Nuthatches and a Cuckoo was calling (GE).
21st
 
A Common Sandpiper and 8+ Little Ringed Plovers were seen on a brief visit to the South Shore which was heavily disturbed by dog walkers, families and a remote controlled buggy. At least the disturbance was keeping a prospecting Crow away from the Little Ringed Plovers; perhaps LDC has decided this is the best way to protect them this year (GE).
An Osprey was seen being mobbed as it flew over Pelsall and Great Wyrley (per CM).
22nd
 
Dunlin P Ward
The first Little Gull of the year was present until 17:20 when it flew off to the east. Also present were 4 Common Terns, a Green Sandpiper, 2 Ringed Plovers, 2 Common Sandpipers, an Oystercatcher, a Dunlin and several Sand Martins (PW, GE).
Adult Little Gull GE
P Ward
P Ward
P Ward
Willow Tits were present along Washbrook, on the Little Wyrley Estate where a Garden Warbler and Reed Warblers were singing (GE).
23rd
Sat
 
Up to 5 Ringed Plovers were present along with around 10 pairs of Little Ringed Plovers, 4 Common Terns, a Grasshopper Warbler, Wheatear and a Cuckoo (PW). At dusk there were 16 Lesser Black-backed Gulls (GE).
A Ring Ouzel was seen at Clayhanger (BG).
24th
Sun
 
Another adult Little Gull was present along with 6 Shelducks, a Curlew, Greenshank and 4 Ringed Plovers (RSo). Unfortunately, due to the very low water-table, a very dry couple of months and probably an act of arson, a large area of the heath around the overflow channel has been burnt today.
On Cuckoo Bank a remarkable 25 reeling Grasshopper Warblers were recorded (DO) and it was around this date that a male Hen Harrier was seen being mobbed by 4 crows (DO, BM).
25th  
The Greenshank was still present along with 3 Oystercatchers, a Common Sandpiper, 4 Common Terns, a Wheatear and a Grasshopper Warbler (PW).
26th
 
Greenshank GE
At Jeffrey's Swag a Grey Plover flew through at 12:30, a Greenshank, 2 Little Ringed Plovers, 6 Common Terns and a brood of 10 Mallard ducklings were also present. Around the main lake there was an Oystercatcher, Ringed Plover, several Little Ringed Plovers, 4 Common Terns, a Greylag Goose, 2 Swifts, 30 House Martins, a Yellow Wagtail flew over and a Grasshopper Warbler was reeling from the translocation heath (GE, PW). Early in the morning a Cuckoo was heard over the north heath and a Redshank flew over (KM).

The dam works are progressing slowly with the bog-mat / hardcore roadway nearing completion in preparation for the pile driving at the foot of the dam. Unfortunately there has been considerable vandalism of machinery and there has already been damage and graffiti to the new causeway culvert. Signs have been put up along Norton East Road informing the public about the Little Ringed Plovers but there is no evidence of any such notices around the main lake (GE).
27th
 
The Greenshank was still on the shore of the Swag, 2 Common Terns were present but there was no sign of the Little Ringed Plovers which probably only fly in to feed from the main lake bed where there were also 2 Ringed Plovers, an Oystercatcher and 2 Common Terns (GE, PW).
At Park Lime Pits a Lesser Whitethroat was singing (GE).
28th
 
A Dunlin, 2 Ringed Plovers, an Oystercatcher, 4 Common Terns and 2 Wheatears were present (PW) and in the Norton Bog area there was a male Whinchat (IW), about 8 Reed Warblers were singing along with 2 Sedge Warblers, 2 Reed Buntings, a Garden Warbler and a newly emerged female Common Blue Damselfly. A Little Ringed Plover was at the Swag but there was no sign of the Greenshank (GE).
At Stubbers Green there were 25 Herring Gulls, 53 Lesser Black-backs, 2 Common Terns and a Lesser Whitethroat was singing nearby (GE).
29th
 
The Greenshank was back on the Swag along with 2 Ringed Plovers, 2 Little Ringed Plovers, a Common Sandpiper and an Oystercatcher. The male Whinchat was present by the Slurry Pool but very elusive due to the fresh wind. A Cuckoo was also present. A Common Sandpiper, 2 Oystercatchers, a Common Tern and 2 Swifts were around the main lake (GE).
The results of Sunday's fires in the Anglesey Basin area (GE).
30th
Sat
 
At the Swag there were 2 Common Sandpipers, the Greenshank, an Oystercatcher and 3 Little Ringed Plovers. Very little was seen, apart from Little Ringed Plovers, 4 Common Terns, a Common Sandpiper and a Wheatear, on a very wind-swept main lake area (GE, PW).
On Cuckoo Bank there were Little Grebes on 2 pools, a Wheatear, Sedge Warbler, 2 Grasshopper Warblers, 2 Garden Warblers, a pair of Kestrels, Sparrowhawk, 2 Buzzards, Cuckoo and Raven but no Stonechats were seen (PW, GR).
Highlights of an early morning roving session in SK00 for the BTO Atlas survey were 2 Wheatears and a Raven at Lower Stonnall, a Grasshopper Warbler at SK075048 and 150 Sand Martin nest holes at Aldridge Quarry (GE).