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May 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
Sun
 
At the Swag there were 2 Greenshanks, a Common Sandpiper and a Little Ringed Plover. It was very quiet again on the main lake with a White Wagtail, 2 Common Terns and 6 Swifts the only birds of note (GE).
2nd
 
A Whimbrel dropped in for a few minutes at midday, 2 Oystercatchers, a Common Sandpiper and 2 Common Terns and a Cuckoo were also present. 37 Mute Swans were on the 'Duck Pond/Boating Pool' and a Ringed Plover was at the Swag (GE).

 

The new culvert in the causeway is said to have been incorrectly installed, preventing the railway from being used until adjustments to the level of the track can be made. The partially drained Swag has now had posts put in the mud to act as perches for crows and magpies to deter the Little Ringed Plovers from nesting, presumably so that any nests don't get inundated when the Swag refills (GE).

 

'The Duck Pond', according to LDC's latest General Information leaflet this is "the heart of the site. home to all our feathered friends!" (GE)

 

10 Four-spotted Chasers and a Large Red Damselfly were at the southern end of Cuckoo Bank (GE) where there were also  male and female Cuckoos, 3 Buzzards and 2 Kestrels (GR).
Four-spotted Chaser G Evans
Bog Pool G Evans
3rd
 
A Dunlin, Ringed Plover, Oystercatcher and 9+ Little Ringed Plovers were present (GE, PW).

Large areas of the lake bed are now covered by beds of reedmace and willow. The original SSSI shoreline is bone dry and greatly degraded (GE).
4th
 
2 Dunlin, a Ringed Plover, 3 Common Sandpipers, an Oystercatcher, Wheatear and at least 11 Little Ringed Plovers were present (GE, PW).
A Dingy Skipper was seen on Cuckoo Bank (RR).
On Pelsall North Common there were 2 reeling Grasshopper Warblers, an immature Peregrine and a Red-eyed Damselfly (GE, KM).
5th
 
A Red Kite flew over the Sailing Club towards the north-west at around mid-day and 2 Greenshanks, 2 Dunlin and a White Wagtail were also present (PW, VT, JT).
 
The steel piles are being laid out in preparation for installation one year later than originally planned. The extremely dry spring and the very low water-table has led to the sphagnum lawn being tinder dry with no sign of any Sundew. The Bogbean, lower in the marsh, is still surviving but is only in its early growth (GE).
The 'Newt Pool' is now dry and one of the purpose built hibernacula has been destroyed GE.
6th
 
9 Ringed Plovers, 2 Dunlin, a White Wagtail, Wheatear and a Common Tern were present and a Common Sandpiper was at the Swag (GE, PW).
The new Nine-foot bridge is now partly constructed (GE).
Many Adders-tongue ferns are well advanced at the Church Street Open Space which is threatened with destruction by housing development (GE).

 

Small Copper GE
Red-eyed Damselfly in the Anglesey Basin GE
7th
Sat
 
A Grey Plover flew through at 14:00 (BG), 5 Ringed Plovers were present and 2 Little Ringed Plovers were at the Swag (GE).
8th
Sun
 
A Hobby drifted over the Sailing Club and Church Street Open Space and a Common Tern and Wheatear were also noted (GE).
9th
 
4 Ringed Plovers, 2 Dunlin and 3 Common Terns were noted (PW, GE).
10th
 
On Target Point a Pied Flycatcher was heard to sing three times before appearing to fly towards the north shore. Also present were 2 Ringed Plovers, a Dunlin, 3 Oystercatchers, 2 Common Terns, a Cormorant and 2 Buzzards (GE, GR).
11th
 
Temminck's Stint P Ward

 

Temminck's Stint P Ward

 

Dunlin P Ward
Temminck's Stint GE
A Temminck's Stint was the first Chasewater record for 31 years. Anyone wishing to see this bird must take great care not to disturb breeding Little Ringed Plovers, Ringed Plovers and Lapwings. Also present were 2 Common Terns, a Dunlin, a Wheatear and a Peregrine (PW, GE, CM, BS, PJ et al).
On Cuckoo Bank there were 2 Ravens and 2 nesting Skylarks (GR).
12th
 
There was no sign of the stint but 5 Ringed Plovers and an Oystercatcher were present (PW, GE, GR).
13th
 

Up to 19 Little Ringed Plovers were present and 3 pairs were with newly hatched broods of 2, 3 and 4 chicks with the latter brood containing a probable albino. The Ringed Plover is still on the nest and I've had a heart-warming response from dog walkers when I told them about the plovers but LDC still hasn't put up any new information signs. A Dunlin, Oystercatcher, 2 Common Terns, 20 House Martins and 10 Sand Martins were also seen and in the west shore wood there was a Willow Tit calling and a newly fledged brood of Long-tailed Tits. Several Green Hairstreaks were in Anglesey Basin and 2 Red-eyed Damselflies were on the canal (GE).

Well who's the 'white sheep' of the family? GE Newly fledged Pied Wagtail GE
On Cuckoo Bank there were 4 Buzzards, 2 Sparrowhawks, a Yellowhammer and several Meadow Pipits (GR).
14th
Sat
 
Two Oystercatchers were present (GE).
15th
Sun
 
The greatest surprise today were 2 Red-legged Partridges that were flushed from the west shore and took cover on the lake bed (CM); this is the first record for 8 years. 9 Ringed Plovers, 3 Dunlin, a Common Tern and Cormorant were also present and a Cuckoo was calling near the Slurry Pool. The Ringed Plover is still sitting on the nest and I had several positive chats to people who, once they knew the plovers were there, happily walked by at a safe distance. There are still no information signs (GE). The Monthly WeBS count included 55 Mute Swans, 24 Canada geese, 3 late Wigeon, 59 Mallard, 8 Tufted Ducks, 6 Great Crested Grebes, 3 Herons, 56 Coot, 4+ Little Ringed Plovers and 4 Lapwings (NS).
16th
 
No records.
17th
 
The CWG outdoor meeting produced good views of a pair of Cuckoos on the North Shore along with reeling Grasshopper Warbler, Meadow Pipits feeding young and singing Reed Warblers around the Slurry Pool. It was rather worrying to find that many plants, including Cowberry and Bilberry were either suffering from lack of water or may be diseased but the Round-leaved Wintergreens and a patch of Adder's-tongue fern appear to be faring reasonably well (GE, NS).
18th
 
A Dunlin, 11 Ringed Plovers, a Common Tern, 17 Lesser Black-backs, 6 Black-headed Gulls and a Cuckoo were present. The breeding Ringed Plovers have now left the nest, leaving a single fragment of eggshell; it is not known if the nest was predated or young have been escorted to a safer refuge but as incubation is usually 24 days and the pair was only known to be sitting for 12 days, predation is the more likely. Up to 18 Little Ringed Plovers were present but they also appear to be victims of inevitable disturbance/predation. The brood of 4 are now down to 2 (the albino is no longer with us) and one of the disturbed South Shore pairs has re-laid in a new territory just down from the castle. So far I've found one sign informing the public about the plovers but its towards the end of the pier and you have to walk across a deserted territory in order to read it (GE).
On Cuckoo Bank there were 2 singing Reed Warblers, 2 pairs of Little Grebes, a Raven, Cuckoo, Buzzard and a Willow Tit at Biddulph's Pool (GR).
A Grey Partridge was seen picking up grit along Meerash Lane, Hammerwich (NS).
19th
 
6 Ringed Plovers, a Dunlin, Oystercatcher, 7 Lesser Black-backs, 2 Black-headed Gulls and a Common Tern were present. Another brood of 4 Little Ringed Plover chicks was in the middle of the lake-bed, birds were on the nest on the Balcony and south shores where two other pairs were setting up new territories after having failed with their first broods. LDC, which is still in control of the Country Park till 2014, welcomes as much information as possible regarding the Little Ringed Plovers so that they can protect them from disturbance. Several information/warning signs have been put up along the south shore today (GE).
Sand Spurrey G Evans
On Cuckoo Bank there were 3 Buzzards, a Snipe, a Grasshopper Warbler and one of the pairs of Little Grebes has a chick (GR).
20th
 
A brood of three Little Ringed Plover chicks was  in front of the Sailing Club. 4 Ringed Plovers, 3 Dunlin, a Common Tern (PW) and Cuckoo (EO) were also present.
On Cuckoo Bank a Cuckoo was calling, a Snipe was present and an interesting find was a Wall Brown butterfly. 3 Four-spotted Chasers were also seen (EO).
21st
Sat
 
3 Oystercatchers, 4 Ringed Plovers and 3 Dunlin were present (PW).
22nd
Sun
 
The Little Ringed Plover brood in front of the Sailing Club could be heard calling from the cover of the reedmace on the edge of Fly Bay and another pair was on territory close by, along with a pair of Lapwings. There are no warning/information signs about the Little Ringed Plovers along any shores other than the South Shore and Swag (GE).
23rd
 
A Little Ringed Plover was still sitting on the nest near the castle (GE).
24th
 
26 Ringed Plovers, 5 Dunlin, an Oystercatcher, 3 Common Terns and a Cuckoo were present (PW, JT, VT, GE). . Two broods (4 and 1+) of Little Ringed Plovers were in front of the Sailing Club and the small gull roost held 25 Lesser Black-backs (including a possible intermedius), 10 Black-headed Gulls and a 4cy Yellow-legged Gull (GE, PW).
25th
 
8 Ringed Plovers, 3 Dunlin and an Oystercatcher were present. The gull roost held 27 Lesser Black-backs and 6 Black-headed Gulls (GE, PW).
26th
 
An Arctic Tern flew through to the north and an Oystercatcher was present along with 14 Black-headed Gulls, 35 Lesser Black-backs and a Herring Gull (GE). 
27th
 
7 Ringed Plovers and 3 Dunlin were present and a pair of Little Ringed Plovers have two chicks mid-way along the South Shore (GE).
28th
Sat
 
6 Sanderlings, 6 Ringed Plovers, 4 Dunlin and an Oystercatcher were present with one Sanderling stopping till dusk (GE, NS, PW).
Sanderlings GE
29th
Sun
 
A Sanderling, Dunlin, 5 Ringed Plovers, an Oystercatcher and Cormorant were present and a 4cy Yellow-legged Gull was present for a while in the evening (GE).
Sanderling GE
Yellow-legged Gull and Lesser Black-back GE
30th
 
A new Sanderling was present along with 8 Ringed Plovers, a Dunlin, 3 Oystercatchers, Cormorant, Gadwall, 2 Common Terns and a Cuckoo. There are at least 14 pairs of Little Ringed Plovers, 8 of which have hatched at least 24 chicks with 15+ still surviving. Three pairs are still on the nest and another three pairs have active territories including one where the pair were mating this evening (GE, PW).
31st
 
Another new Sanderling was present along with 3 Ringed Plovers, an Oystercatcher and Common Tern. At the Swag there were 5 Little Ringed Plovers, one Ringed Plover, a Lapwing and 9 Tufted Ducks (GE, PW).
Little Ringed Plover G Evans