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February 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
 
The gull roost didn't form tonight with many hundreds of birds flying straight through to the north. There were only very small areas of open water on the main lake, Swag and Slurry Pool holding fair numbers of Mallard and Coot, a few Tufted Ducks and 16 Goosanders. 118 Lapwings were present and a small bat, probably a pipistrelle, was in flight near the Watersports Centre (GE).
It would appear that the Ryders Mere Black-throated Diver has made the short flight down the Trent Valley to Willington Gravel Pits near Burton and it's likely to eventually continue its journey back to the north-east coast by following the Trent down to the Humber. In October 2009, a juvenile Black-throated Diver did just the same when disturbed from Chasewater and was relocated at Branston Gravel Pits (GE).
The 3cy Glaucous Gull and juvenile Iceland Gull were seen in the Kingswood/Poplars Landfill area of Cannock (per PJ).
2nd
 
Two, possibly 3 Ravens were on the north shore (GJM). The drake Mandarin Duck was on the south shore boating pool and the completely thawed lake held a good gull roost which included 2 (3cy, adult) Yellow-legged Gulls although it appeared that few birds came in from the Cannock area (PJ, GE).
A Short-eared Owl was seen hunting over Cuckoo Bank at around 15:00 (per PW).
The 3cy Glaucous Gull was showing well at Kingswood during the morning (GJM) and during the afternoon there were over 2500 large gulls at The Poplars Landfill including the 3/4cy Iceland Gull and an adult Yellow-legged Gull (PJ).
3rd
 

A Raven was seen near the west shore and the 3/4cy Iceland Gull was in the roost (PJ, IW).

On a windswept Cuckoo Bank there were 3 Goosanders, 1-2 Buzzards, a Kestrel, 80 Fieldfares, 50 Carrion Crows, 200+ Woodpigeons, a Pheasant and a calling Grey Partridge (PW, GE).

The 3/4cy Iceland Gull was seen in the Kingswood area (EGP).

4th
 
Up to 7000 Black-headed Gulls and 30+ Common Gulls roosted but there were still rather small numbers of large gulls but the juvenile (2cy) Iceland Gull was present (PJ, GE). The Mandarin Duck and a drake Pintail were also seen (VT, JT). At least 450 Lapwings were present although they were disturbed by a walker when only half counted (GR).
An adult Caspian Gull and the regular 3/4cy Iceland Gull were reported from the Stubbers Green/Highfields South Landfill area (BG).
5th
Sat
 
An Oystercatcher and a Curlew were present but the gull roost held nothing of note (PJ).
The juvenile Iceland Gull was seen at Kingswood (PJ).
6th
Sun
 
An Oystercatcher was present but nothing of note was seen in the gull roost (IW) as the juvenile Iceland Gull decided to roost at Blithfield along with an adult Caspian Gull (GJM).
7th
 
The drake Smew has returned, a Raven and Woodcock were present and the juvenile Iceland Gull roosted (IW, GE).
8th
 
Boardwalk Heath (GE)
Slurry Pool (GE)
A record 46 Greylag Geese flew through to the south and another large (> 200) skein of geese, possibly Pink-feet, flew north. The juvenile Iceland Gull was amongst the rather small number of large gulls in the roost (PJ, IW). The drake Smew was on the Slurry Pool and also seen were 4+ Ravens, 2 Kestrels, 2 Sparrowhawks, 110 Lapwings, 15 Snipe, 21 Gadwall, 19 Wigeon, 19 Teal, 3 Pochard, 51 Tufted Ducks, 15 Goosanders, 4 Willow Tits, 80 Linnets, 40 Goldfinches, 2 Siskins, 1-2 Lesser Redpolls (GE), a Goldcrest and a Grey Wagtail (EO). At least 15 Red Deer were present (GE).
A forest of willows on the bed of the lake (GE).
Swag sunset (GE)
Smew at dusk (GE)
Willow filters near Fly Pool (GE)
Snowdrops (GE)
Raven (GE)
On Cuckoo Bank there were 6 Ravens, 6 Rooks, 2 Jackdaws, 5 Snipe, 3 Herons, 8 Goosanders, 3 Tufted Ducks, a Buzzard, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Green Woodpecker and 12 Red Deer stags and 2 hinds but there was no sign of any owls (GE).
Evening colours on Cuckoo Bank (GE)
Cuckoo Bank (GE)
9th
 
Iceland Gull amongst the roost (GE).
The drake Smew was on the Slurry Pool (BG). A drake Shoveler, 7 Goldeneye and 2 Great Crested Grebes were on the main lake but a female Sparrowhawk caused a major panic amongst the flock of about 150 Lapwings and the gull roost. Many birds departed and the remaining 4500 Black-headed Gulls took a long time to settle. Eventually around 100 large gulls roosted including the juvenile Iceland Gull (GE, PJ, IW).
10th
 
Up to 500 large gulls roosted tonight including the juvenile Iceland Gull and a probable 3cy Caspian Gull which was seen bathing but soon flew to land amongst hundreds of other gulls on the shore (IW, GE).
11th
 
7 Goldeneye, 8 Goosanders, 19 Wigeon, 3 Great Crested Grebes, a Little Grebe, 2 Cormorants and 170+ Lapwings were present but the Smew wasn't seen (PDH, GE). The juvenile Iceland Gull was amongst around 150 roosting large gulls (PJ, IW, PDH, GE).
The Site of Biological Importance being prepared for 425 houses (GE).
12th
 
A Raven flew west over Norton East Road at 8:45am, 60+ Linnets were on the south shore and the drake Smew was on the Slurry Pool (KM). A rather disappointing gull roost held 60 Lesser Black-backs, 3 Great Black-backs, 20 Herring Gulls, a 3cy Yellow-legged Gull, 9 Common Gulls and 4000 Black-headed Gulls (GE). The juvenile Iceland Gull roosted at Blithfield (GJM).
During the evening a Barn Owl flew over the Triangle roundabout and landed on a fence post (NS. RS).
13th
 
Two Ravens and 80 Linnets were present. The WeBS count produced 43 Mute Swans, 58 Canada Geese, 4 hybrid geese, 25 Wigeon, 24 Teal, 184 Mallard, 3 Pochard, 75 Tufted Ducks, 8 Goldeneye, the drake Smew, 2 Goosanders, 7 Great Crested Grebes, 2 Grey Herons, 159 Coot, 2 Moorhens, 243 Lapwings, an Oystercatcher and a Snipe. Six Red Deer stags were in Highfield Farm (GE).
14th
 
Two Oystercatchers were present and the juvenile Iceland Gull was again in the roost along with a 3cy Caspian Gull (IW).
14 Waxwings paused briefly in Conduit Road, Norton Canes before heading off towards Chasewater (PJ) and 20 flew south over Clayhanger at 07:45 this morning (CM).
15th
 
The juvenile Iceland Gull was seen in the roost (PJ, IW) and at lunchtime 7 Waxwings flew east over Conduit Road again (PJ).
16th
 
The gull roost held an adult Mediterranean Gull in transitional plumage, the juvenile Iceland Gull and an adult Yellow-legged Gull (PJ, IW).
17th
 
No records.
18th
 
The juvenile Iceland Gull was in the roost (IW, PJ).
A 3cy Caspian Gull was reported from Stubbers Green (per PJ).
19th
Sat
 
No records.
20th
Sun
 
A Grey Plover was heard calling at dusk when the impressive gull roost held the juvenile Iceland Gull, 2 adult Yellow-legged Gulls, 1400 Lesser Black-backs, 60 Great Black-backs and 300 Herring Gulls (IW).
On Cuckoo Bank there were 40 Siskins (GE).
21st
 
Red Deer stags on the South Shore (GE).
The juvenile Iceland Gull roosted again amongst similar numbers of large gulls as last night and up to 7000 Black-headed Gulls. 5 Goosanders and 8 Goldeneye were also present and 2 Red Deer stags were on the South Shore (IW, GE).
22nd
 
1 Oystercatcher, 25 Teal, 60 Linnets and 30 redpolls were present (GR). The gull roost was much smaller tonight with only around 250 large gulls but the juvenile Iceland Gull was still present (PJ).
23rd
 
The juvenile Iceland Gull roosted (IW), 3 Goldeneye were on the Swag (GE) and 4 Snipe and 2 Willow Tits were also seen (GR).
24th
 
View from the western embankment (GE).
View from the western dam (GE).
Swag - high water levels soon to be lowered by 1.24m to allow construction of a culvert in the causeway (GE).

The juvenile Iceland Gull roosted despite being one of the many hundreds of gulls to be scared off by what sounded like a shot-gun. Most of the gulls did not return but the Iceland Gull did after about half an hour. Other records included an Oystercatcher, 23 Lapwings, 44 Mute Swans, 7 Goosanders, 8 Goldeneye, 61 Tufted Ducks, 2 Pochard, 4 Wigeon, 7 Teal, 96 Coot and 30 Linnets (GE, IW).

Iceland Gull (GE)
 

 

27 Waxwings were feeding on Boney Hay Road during the morning (IW).
25th
 
A Red Kite flew over Crane Drive, Chasetown towards Chasewater this morning (GR). The juvenile Iceland Gull was again seen in the roost and a Redshank and Oystercatcher were present (AB, IW).
26th
Sat
 
A Ringed Plover, Redshank, Oystercatcher and 120 Lapwings were present. The gull roost was very much smaller than recently and held the juvenile Iceland Gull, a 2cy Yellow-legged Gull, 90 Lesser Black-backs, 25 Herring Gulls, 3 Common Gulls and 3000 Black-headed Gulls (JA, GE, IW).
27th
Sun
 
No records.
28th
 
12 Goosanders, 12 Goldeneye, 2 Oystercatchers, 75 Lapwings and 40 Linnets were present. The gull roost held the juvenile Iceland Gull, 2 (2cy, 3cy) Yellow-legged Gulls, 4 Great Black-backs, 230 Lesser Black-backs (some probably intermedius), 75 Herring Gulls, 3 Common Gulls and 3500 Black-headed Gulls (GE).