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January 2015 Diary
Sightings, news and photos from Chasewater and surrounding areas.
Scroll down to view the whole month.

For latest bird news in the local area see Staffordshire Bird News (external link)


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Thu 1st

Goldeneye photographed in Fly Bay (KW)
On the Swag there were 81 Tufted Ducks, 8 Goosanders, 26 Wigeon and 2 Gadwall. An adult Caspian Gull was along the West Shore as the roost started to gather (GE).
The gull roost held 5 Yellow-legged Gulls (3 adult, 2cy and a new 4cy), a probable adult Caspian Gull was on the jetty but the full bird was not visible and the presumed Lesser Black-backed x Ring-billed Gull was also present.
Fri 2nd 3 Caspian Gulls (1w, 2w and adult) all on the jetty. 2 adult Yellow-legged Gulls and an adult Mediterranean Gull.
Sat 3rd 1w Caspian and 2 adult Yellow-legged Gulls. Also leucistic Black-headed Gull. 2 other (Adult and 3w) Caspian Gulls were seen from a different viewing area (via twitter)
Sun 4th

Red Deer on the foggy North Heath (PTr)
Around 2pm an adult Caspian and an adult Yellow-legged Gull were reported viewable from the South Shore.
The first immature Glaucous Gull (juv or 3cy) of the winter was seen in very foggy conditions. 2 Caspian Gulls (2cy, 3cy), the presumed hybrid Lesser Black-back x Ring-billed Gull and the white winged Herring Gull were also present. All were seen around the Waterski Club jetty in fog.
Mon 5th No sign of the Glaucous Gull tonight but 4 (2cy, 2 3cy, adult) Caspian Gulls and 5 (2cy, 4cy, 3 adult) Yellow-legged Gulls were present.
Tues 6th Another fascinating day of gulls with the most interesting being this pale bird on the Waterski Club jetty between 14:10 and 14:20 when it flew towards the Swag and possibly out towards Cannock. Obviously not a typical example of any of our regular gulls and clearly showing some characteristics of the North American Arctic complex of Thayer's/Kumlien's Gulls or a Herring x Glaucous hybrid or an extremely pale Herring Gull. I would appreciate thoughts and comments though I believe the bird to be similar to several we have seen in the past, particularly during the late winter period, which have probably been quite rightly called pale Herring Gulls. Structurally the bird is a Herring Gull (though rather short legged) but the pale plumage is not consistant with just an even reduction of pigment. Is the bird from a northern argentatus population where this plumage is the norm or a rare variation that could occur in any argentatus/argenteus population? Can hybrid Glaucous x Herring Gulls produce these features as well as the more typically Glaucous dominated appearance of the so called Viking Gulls? (GE).
Click on images to enlarge

The bird was not seen in the roost which held 3 (2cy, 3cy, adult) Caspian Gulls, 2 adult Yellow-legged Gulls, an adult Mediterranean Gull and the probable 3cy Glaucous Gull was again present, eventually settling on the jetty (GE, CR).
312 Lapwings, 12 Little Grebes, 8 Goosanders, 6 Pochard, 5 Goldeneye, 26 Wigeon and a Kingfisher were also noted (GE).
The Great Northern Diver is still present at Ryder's Mere (KC).
Wed 7th No records.
Thurs 8th The gull roost held an adult Iceland Gull, an immature Glaucous Gull (prob 3cy, again on the jetty), 3 (2cy, 3cy, adult) Caspian Gulls, 4 (2cy, 4cy, 2 adult) Yellow-legged Gulls, 2 adult Mediterranean Gulls, 2 leucistic Black-headed Gulls and the white-winged Herring Gull. Two Pintail were off Target Point (CWGS).

Pair of Pintail off Target Point

Glaucous Gull lurking on the jetty

Fri 9th The Great Northern Diver remains at Ryder's Mere.
3cy Glaucous Gull, a new 4cy Iceland Gull, 2 Caspian Gulls (adult and 3cy), 2 Adult Yellow-legged Gulls and an adult Mediterranean Gull. The white-winged Herring Gull and leucistic Black-headed Gull were also present.
Sat 10th 29 Common Snipe and 1 Jack Snipe during the day (CM)
From the West shore 3 Caspian Gulls (2cy, 4cy and adult), 2 adult Mediterranean Gulls, 2 Yellow-legged Gulls and white-winged herring. A 3cy Glaucous Gull was on the jetty and viewable from the South shore
Also an adult Iceland Gull was observed from the South Shore (KD, MY et al)

Adult Mediterranean Gull

Sun 11th 6 Caspian Gulls (2cy, 2 3cy, 4cy and 2 adult), adult Yellow-legged Gulls, 2 adult Mediterranean Gulls, 3cy Glaucous Gull and white-winged Herring in a well attended roost observed from the South shore
Pics taken of the Glauc and record shots would be very much welcomed to

Photograph on twitter (external link)
Mon 12th 3cy Glaucous Gull on jetty, 4cy Iceland Gull, 4cy and adult Caspian Gulls, adult Yellow-legged Gull and adult Mediterranean Gull. Also white winged herring, leucistic Black-headed Gull

A wildlife sightings board has been installed in the South Shore Cafe at Chasewater Country Park.
The red deer are being seen regularly on the South Shore (Ranger Rob on twitter) and can be seen on You Tube (external links) Please be aware of them, keep respectful distances and don't allow dogs to chase them.
Tues 13th 3cy Glaucous Gull and adult Caspian Gull (pictured CR) in the roost this evening (CR)

Weds 14th 3cy Glaucous Gull, adult Caspian Gull, adult Mediterranean Gull and 3cy Yellow-legged Gull. White-winged Herring Gull also present in poor viewing conditions.
Thurs 15th 3cy Glaucous Gull showing briefly in the field opposite the APC building up at Kingswood this afternoon (via twitter, click for observer details) The bird showed later in the roost along with the white-winged Herring, adult and 3cy Caspian Gulls, adult Mediterranean Gull and 2cy + 3cy Yellow-legged Gulls.

Fri 16th Adult Caspian Gull and Yellow-legged Gulls, 2 adult Mediterranean Gulls and the white-winged Herring Gull.
Sat 17th Adult Caspian Gull, adult and 4cy Yellow-legged Gulls, adult Mediterranean Gull and the white-winged Herring Gull.
Sun 18th A good sized gull roost with some new birds including a possible 4cy Glaucous x Herring Gull. 4 Caspian Gulls and 5 Yellow-legged Gulls were also present and a Stoat crossed the road at dusk. A Treecreeper was seen at the Feeding Station (DG).

Opinions of this likely Glaucous x Herring Gull hybrid would be appreciated.
Mon 19th The monthly Wetland Bird Survey (WeBS) produced the following totals: 52 Mute Swans, 49 Canada Geese, 60 Wigeon, 6 Gadwall, 136 Mallard, 8 Pochard, 101 Tufted Ducks, 47 Goldeneye, 10 Goosanders, 4 Grey Herons, 15 Little Grebes, 19 Great Crested Grebes, 8 Cormorants, 28 Moorhens, 941 Coot, 1 Lapwing, 5 Snipe and 2 Jack Snipe (GE). 12 Red Deer and a Buzzard were also present.
The gull roost held a 4cy Glaucous Gull, 3 (2cy, 3cy, adult) Caspian Gulls, 4 (3cy, 4cy, 2 adult) Yellow-legged Gulls and the putative hybrid Glaucous x Herring Gull.
Record images of the 4cy Glaucous Gull.
Tues 20th The Great Northern Diver was still at Ryder's Mere.
Wed 21st A Chiffchaff and Water Rail were present.
Adult Iceland Gull, adult Caspian Gull, 2 adult Yellow-legged Gulls and 2 adult Mediterranean Gulls. Herring gull numbers were down by 50% and most of the Caspian Gulls have moved out.

Grey Wagtail (KW)

Goldeneye (KW)
Thurs 22nd A juvenile Great Northern Diver was seen off the dam earlier today (J&BM) and was most likely to be the Ryders Mere bird relocating due to ice.
Wildfowl numbers were up on the swag today with a notable increase in Tufted Ducks and Goosanders. A Brambling was feeding on the path over Norton Bog.
There is a sizeable amount of flytipping in the stream running into Jeffrey's Swag from Norton East Road and an increase in waste dumped along the road to the Sailing Club.
An adult Iceland Gull reported from the roost (SBi)
An albino Grey Squirrel was seen near the bridge along Norton East Road (RG).
Fri 23rd 3cy Caspian Gull, 2 adult Yellow-legged Gulls, adult Iceland Gull. The Great Northern Diver was present.
Sat 24th The Great Northern Diver was present. In the roost the adult Iceland Gull, which had been at Stubbers Green earlier in the day. Also present were 2 adult Mediterranean Gulls, the white-winged Herring Gull and a leucistic Black-headed Gull.

The adult Iceland Gull at Stubbers Green

Around 4.30pm a possible juvenile Thayer's Gull was seen from the South Shore before gradually swimming away; the bird was concolourous, with pale fringed brown primaries and showed a silvery underwing. The general appearance (size and structure) of the bird gave an impression intermediate between Iceland and Herring Gull.
Sun 25th In the roost this evening; adult Iceland Gull (image on SBi via twitter), 4cy Caspian Gull, 2 Yellow-legged Gulls (3cy, 4cy and sub-adult), white-winged Herring Gull and the leucistic Black-headed Gull. The pale Herring Gull (images 6th Jan) was observed from the West Shore. No sign of the possible Thayer's Gull in a well attended roost this evening, though many birds were distant or head-on. Earlier in the day a probable 4cy Caspian Gull was reported to Sbi at the APC building in Cannock.
Mon 26th
          Female Goosander on Jeffrey's Swag (DL)

The gull roost held the adult Iceland Gull, 2 (2cy, 3cy) Caspian Gulls, 3 (3cy, 5cy, adult) Yellow-legged Gulls and an adult Mediterranean Gull.
The Great Northern Diver has returned to Ryder's Mere where feeding is clearly easier than at Chasewater.
An adult Mediterranean Gull was at Stubber's Green along with 442 Lapwings (GE).
Tues 27th An adult Mediterranean Gull with a well developed hood was on Jeffrey's Swag during the late afternoon. The adult Iceland Gull and white-winged Herring Gull were in the roost (GE).
Wed 28th Adult and 2cy Caspian Gulls, adult Mediterranean Gull, 6 Yellow-legged Gulls (3cy, 4cy, sub adult and 3 adult). No sign of the adult Iceland Gull.
Thurs 29th 2 Oystercatchers were flying around at dusk. In the roost 2cy Caspian Gull, 4 Yellow-legged Gulls (2cy, 4cy and 2 adult) and the white-winged Herring Gull. Blizzard conditions hampered viewing at times.
Fri 30th A 2cy Caspian Gull and 3 Yellow-legged Gulls (2cy and 2 adult) roosted.
Sat 31st An adult Iceland Gull, 2 adult Mediterranean Gulls and an adult Yellow-legged Gull roosted.