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September 2011 Diary and News
All the latest sightings, news and photos from Chasewater, Cuckoo Bank and surrounding areas
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West shore of the Swag (GE)
North shore of the Swag (GE)
2 Hobbies and 3 Buzzards were over the North Shore and at Fly Pool Chiffchaff, Whitethroat and Blackcap were feeding on Elderberries (GR). 3 juvenile Little Ringed Plovers were at the Swag where there are still good areas of Shoreweed (Littorella) on the north shore but vast quantities of willow has invaded large areas of the dried shore and could pose considerable problems if water levels remain low (GE).
The first Wigeon of the autumn was at the Swag (GR) along with 4 juvenile Little Ringed Plovers and 70 Canada Geese (GE) Around 50 Goldfinches, including many juveniles, were by the Slurry Pool and a Green Woodpecker and 2 Great Spotted Woodpeckers were present. It appears that Myxomatosis has returned with a lot of dead and dying rabbits present at the end of Fly Bay (GR). A Hobby was also seen (VT, JT).
The gull roost was very flighty again with practically the whole roost taking to the air several times, perhaps through a sense of insecurity on the relatively small lake that remains. Totals included 1500 Black-headed Gulls, 1200 Lesser Black-backs, 10 Herring Gulls, 1 adult Yellow-legged Gull, 1 adult Great Black-backed Gull and a 1cy Common Gull along with 116 Lapwings (GE).
After the rain stopped, at around 10:00am, I spent most of the day at Chasewater, the first time for almost a month but it proved to be a very quiet day. Amongst the 55 species seen were: 45 Mute Swans, 154 Canada Geese, 224 Mallard, 1 Wigeon, 101 Tufted Ducks, 1 Little Grebe, 7 Great Crested Grebes, 2 Cormorants, 3 Herons, 2 Buzzards, 4 Kestrels, 1 juvenile Hobby, 8 Moorhens, 294 Coot, 3 juvenile Little Ringed Plovers, 95+ Lapwings, 2 Snipe, 1 Common Sandpiper, 2 Green Woodpeckers, 3 Great Spotted Woodpeckers, 3 Jays, 20 Swallows, 25 House Martins, 20 Long-tailed Tits, 5 Chiffchaffs, 2 Willow Warblers, 1 Blackcap, 1 Whitethroat, 2 Wheatears, 180 Starlings, 10 Meadow Pipits and 40+ Goldfinches.  Butterflies included a Painted Lady, 2 Red Admirals, Small Heath, Meadow Brown, Gatekeeper, Speckled Woods, Common Blue and Small, Large and Green-veined Whites. Several Common Darters were noted along with 6 Brown Hawkers, 4 Migrant Hawkers and a probable Common Hawker. 5 Red Deer were also present (GE).

'Jizz' shots of the juvenile Hobby (GE)

The Sailing Club amongst the reedmace and willow beds (GE)
Fly Bay stream (GE)
Amongst the good sized gull roost there were 2 1cy Yellow-legged Gulls and 2 (1cy, adult) Great Black-backed Gulls (GE).
No records.
3 juvenile Little Ringed Plovers, 2 Common Sandpipers, 84+ Lapwings, a Wigeon, a Hobby, 2 Kestrels, 20 Sand Martins and 25 House Martins were noted and the gull roost held 2 (adult, 1cy) Great Black-backed Gulls, at least one adult Yellow-legged Gull and 1-2 intermedius Lesser Black-backs (GE, PJ).
2 juvenile Little Ringed Plovers and 2 Common Sandpipers were noted (PJ).
Nothing of note was seen (PJ).
The dam works continue (GE)
The remains of the sphagnum lawn now badly invaded by willows (GE)
The 3 juvenile Little Ringed Plovers were still at the Swag along with a Wigeon, 210 Canada Geese and 2 hybrid geese. A Common Sandpiper was on the shore of the main lake along with several Lapwings and a Wheatear was on Pimpernel Point. A Raven was mobbed by Crows as it flew in over the dam and 2 Kestrels, several Meadow Pipits, Linnets, Goldfinches and 1-2 Skylarks were also present. Sadly, a Tawny Owl was a road casualty on the A5 at the junction with Pool Road (GE).
Golden Dock on the dry lake bed (GE)
Roadside casualty (GE)
Wind in the Willows (GE)
Adult Yellow-legged Gull growing new primaries (GE).
Another very quiet day with all the excitement, as usual, happening a few miles along the A5! A juvenile Little Ringed Plover was still present along with 232 Canada Geese and 4 hybrids, a Cormorant, 30+ Lapwings and 1-2 Swallows, House Martins and Sand Martins. The gull roost held 1700 Black-headed Gulls, 1100 Lesser Black-backs, an adult Great Black-back, a few Herring Gulls and at least 3 (1cy, 2 adults) Yellow-legged Gulls, the adults of which are distinctive at the moment having dropped their outer primaries, a stage of moult the vast majority of Herring Gulls won't reach for at least another two or three weeks (GE).
Sandstorm! (GE)
The strong south south-westerly was creating sandstorms across the lake bed and the only birds of interest were several hirundines of all three species, a Common Sandpiper, 30+ Lapwings, Kestrel, Buzzard and a Cormorant. The gull roost held 1600 Black-headed Gulls, 1300 Lesser Black-backs (including several probable intermedius), around 15 Herring Gulls and 3+ (1cy, 2 adults) Yellow-legged Gulls (GE).
Another windy and showery morning with a few more hirundines than yesterday including 30 Swallows, 10 House Martins and 10 Sand Martins. A Chiffchaff and Wheatear were on the dam, a Common Sandpiper, a few Lapwings, 3 Cormorants, 2 Kestrels and a Teal on and around the main lake and 2 juvenile Little Ringed Plovers at the Swag (GE). A Tawny Owl was in the Sailing Shore birches (VT, JT).
2 Wigeon, 2 Little Ringed Plovers, a Common Sandpiper, Whitethroat, Blackcap and Chiffchaffs were noted (GE, PJ).
( GE)
This very distinctive gull stood out in the large roost of 1400 Black-headed Gulls and up to 2000 large gulls comprising mainly Lesser Black-backs, a 2cy Yellow-legged Gull, 15 Herring Gulls and an adult Great Black-backed Gull. It is clearly a 1cy bird, born this year, and although superficially resembling Yellow-legged and Caspian Gull it was far more like a rather small headed, long necked and long winged Lesser Black-backed Gull. In fact it seems to fit L. f. fuscus or Baltic Gull, with 25% of 1cy birds said to show this white headed/breasted plumage. Click on each image for a closer look and tell us what you think! (GE, PJ).
Meadow Pipit P Ward
Spotted Flycatcher P Ward
First-winter Spotted Flycatcher P Ward
2 Spotted Flycatchers were in the bushes along the Sailing Shore and 3 Wheatears on the South Shore. Also present were 4 Cormorants, a Common Sandpiper, several Lapwings, 1-2 Swallows and 10 Meadow Pipits (PW, PJ, GE). A Muntjac was seen north of Norton Bog (PF). The gull roost was again quite impressive with many birds arriving when nearly dark. The white-headed 1cy bird was again present and it has stimulated some good discussion, a summary of which is that structurally it doesn't quite fit Baltic Gull and may in fact be, as initially thought, a small 1cy Yellow-legged Gull but the debate continues! (GE).
At Stubbers Green there was an adult Yellow-legged Gull, adult Great Black-backed Gull and an adult Herring Gull with a blue ring with orange 721 which was ringed in Gloucester by the The Severn Estuary Gull Group as a 1cy bird in November 2006. This is its first sighting away from the Gloucester landfill sites (GE).
2 Dunlin and 2 Pochard were present (PW, GE). The gull roost numbered 1800 Black-headed Gulls, 2100 Lesser Black-backs, 40 Herring Gulls, 1 Great Black-back and 3 Yellow-legged Gulls, the small white-headed 1cy bird was not seen but a larger, more typical bird (1/2cy) was characteristically picking up and carrying material in its bill (see photo). 2 adult/sub-adult bird were also present (GE).
4 Wigeon, 4 Cormorants, 117 Lapwings and 3 Kestrels were noted. The gull roost numbered 1700 Black-headed Gulls, a 1cy Common Gull, an adult Great Black-backed Gull, 1300 Lesser Black-backs, <20 Herring Gulls and 5 Yellow-legged Gulls including 3 adults, a sub-adult and a probable 2cy bird. These totals were added to by at least 300 large gulls arriving from the south at 19:50 when it was almost dark (GE).
The WeBS count produced 31 Mute Swans, 177 Canada Geese, 7 Wigeon, 9 Teal, 155 Mallard, 1 Pochard, 93 Tufted Ducks, 3 Little Grebes, 3 Great Crested Grebes, 3 Cormorants, 10 Moorhens, 317 Coot and 195 Lapwings (NS).
A Green Sandpiper was at the pool along the A5 near Brownhills West (GE, PW).
No records from Chasewater so I thought I'd include the results of a rare CWG away day when Phill and I paid a visit to Grafham Water, Cambridgshire (GE).
Adult Sabine's Gull at Grafham GE 1st winter Grey Phalarope at Grafham GE
No records.
Totals included 2 Sand Martins, 3 Swallows, 6 Chiffchaffs, 5 Kestrels, 115+ Lapwings, 1 Snipe, 2 Cormorants and 17 Teal. The gull roost included a white-winged adult Lesser Black-backed Gull, 2 Great Black-backed Gull and 3 Yellow-legged Gulls (GE).
Yellow-legged Gull, Herring Gull, Black-headed Gulls and a Lesser Black-backed Gull with white primaries GE
A Pintail was on the Swag and a Common Sandpiper at the main lake (VT, JT). The gull roost numbered 2200 Black-headed Gulls, 1300 Lesser Black-backs, 70 Herring Gulls, a Great Black-backed Gull and 2+ Yellow-legged Gulls (GE).
Pintail GE
Herring Gull GE
Yellow-legged Gull GE
Great Black-backed Gull GE
A juvenile Peregrine was hunting at the north end of the lake bed (PJ), 2 Ravens flew east over the dam and a juvenile Pintail was on the Swag. Other totals included 27 Teal, 8 Wigeon, a drake Gadwall, 65 Tufted Ducks, 3 juvenile Little Grebes on the Slurry Pool, 5 Cormorants, a Common Sandpiper, a Green Woodpecker, 15 Meadow Pipits, 3 Chiffchaffs and 30 Goldfinches. The gull roost included an adult Great Black-backed Gull and 3 (2 adults, 2cy) Yellow-legged Gulls  (GE).
At 21:35 a large, pale owl-like bird flew across the roundabout at the southern end of the by-pass and was likely to be the local Buzzard, that habitually sits on the lamp-posts, trying its luck at hunting by street-lighting (GE).... or could it have been an escaped Indian Eagle Owl? The pale underwing and dark carpel patches certainly suggest this to be the case - see Diary for October 4th (GE).
A large Red Deer stag was with 7 hinds; it would appear that the rut is about to start (GR).
A Blackcap was feeding on Elderberries in a White Horse Estate garden (GE).
At the main lake there was a Green Sandpiper, 21 Lapwings, 3 Pochard, 60 Tufted Ducks, 6 Great Crested Grebes and 5 Cormorants. The gull roost held 2300 Black-headed Gulls by 19:00 but the majority of large gulls didn't arrive till 19:20 when 1500 were present (GE).
A Red Kite was seen over Hanney Hay Road, Burntwood (GR).
An adult Caspian Gull, at least 13 Yellow-legged Gulls, 70 Herring Gulls, a Common Gull and a 2cy Great Black-backed Gull were in the impressive roost and a Common Sandpiper and 20 Lapwings were also present (PJ, GE).
This adult Caspian Gull contrasted well with all the other Herring/Yellow-legged Gulls in its small, rounded head, long, slender, parallel edged bill and darkish eye. It had pink legs, pale yellow bill with a light red spot on the lower mandible and a hint of a darker mark above it on the upper mandible. The head was white, the lower hind neck had slight grey flecking and the grey of the mantle/wings was a shade paler than the Yellow-legged Gulls. The second photo shows a new primary 7 and at least P8 and 9 are partly grown. A remarkable number of Yellow-legged Gulls were also present with 3 adults showing white heads as in the right hand photo and at least 4 showing the characteristic flecking as shown in the left hand photo. At least one 1cy, one 3cy and 4 2cy birds were also present (PJ, GE).
Adult Yellow-legged Gull GE
1cy Yellow-legged Gull GE
2cy Yellow-legged Gull with intermedius Lesser Black-back GE
Adult Yellow-legged Gull GE
On Cuckoo Bank there were 5 Buzzards,2 Kestrels, a Sparrowhawk, a Heron, Green Woodpecker, Yellowhammer, 200 Starlings, 50 Linnets and a flock of 500 small birds too far away to id. A fox was also seen (GR).
The adult Caspian Gull was in the gull roost which also held a small adult Mediterranean Gull, 10+ Yellow-legged Gulls and 70+ Herring Gulls amongst the impressive numbers of Black-headed and Lesser Black-backed Gulls. The Common Sandpiper was also present (PJ, GE).
At Stubbers Green there was a probable 2cy Caspian Gull (EGP).
Spotted Redshank GE
Greenshank GE
Synchronised Pintail GE
The first Spotted Redshank for 12 years flew in over the dam at 18:46, landed in front of me for a minute and flew high towards the Swag where earlier in the day there were 2 Pintail and a Greenshank. A Wheatear was on the Sailing Shore and 2 Pochard, 3 Wigeon, 2 Buzzards, 11 Cormorants, 8 Great Crested Grebes, 3 Little Grebes, 122 Lapwings, 10 Lesser Redpolls, 1-2 Siskins and 2 Chiffchaffs were also present. The gull roost became very agitated and late on many appeared to leave to the north as others were flying in from the south. 5+ Yellow-legged Gulls were seen but little else of note. Several Common Darters, a Migrant Hawker, Small Tortoiseshell and Speckled Woods were making the most of the 'Indian Summer' or perhaps more appropriately, 'Michael's Little Summer' (Haf Bach Mihangel in Welsh); St. Michael's Day being tomorrow (GE).
The Greenshank and 2 Pintail were at the Swag (GE) and 2 Green Sandpipers on the shore of the Slurry Pool (PW). The gull roost was again rather disturbed and many large gulls departed to the north, presumably to roost at Blithfield. A 1cy Mediterranean Gull was present along with 4 (3 adult, 3cy) Yellow-legged Gulls (PJ, GE).
In the Norton Bog/Slurry Pool area there were 3 Little Grebes, 4 Pochard, 48 Tufted Ducks, 3 Cormorants, 2 Green Sandpipers, a Grey Wagtail, 5 Moorhens, Kestrel, Buzzard, 5 Jays, 2 Great Spotted Woodpeckers, Green Woodpecker, a mixed flock of up to 50 Goldfinches, Siskins and Lesser Redpolls and 12 Skylarks flew south-east. Several Common Darters, 2 Migrant Hawkers, a Brown Hawker, 2 Emerald Damselfies and 3 Red Admirals were also seen. 2 Wigeon and 2 Pintail were on the Swag (GE).
Green Sandpipers GE
The gull roost continues to be very flighty with all but around 200 large gulls departing towards Blithfield. Over 1000 Black-headed Gulls remained and 2 Common Gulls, an adult Yellow-legged Gull and a Common Sandpiper were present (PJ, GE).
At the bog pool west of Biddulph's Pool there were 2 Black Darters, 4 Common Darters, a female Common Hawker, 1-2 Emerald Damselflies and a Snipe (GE).
Black Darter GE
Common Hawker ovipositing GE