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May 2017 Diary
Sightings, news and photos from Chasewater and surrounding areas.
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For latest bird news in the local area see Staffordshire Bird News (external link)


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Mon 1st

Another day of passage but not as varied as yesterday. A very wet start to the day but only 5 Common Terns, 3 Common Sandpipers, a Little Ringed Plover, Grey Wagtail and a 2cy Great Black-backed Gull were evident at 06:00 but by 7:00 a Turnstone had appeared and by 08:30 a Dunlin had flown east, 4 Ringed Plovers were on the north shore and 2 Bar-tailed Godwits arrived only to fly east at 08:48. At 09:35 2 Black Terns arrived and by this time hirundine numbers had risen to 300 Sand Martins, 50 Swallows and 5 House Martins with 3 Swifts also present. At 10:00 a Hobby and a Yellow Wagtail flew east over the dam and at 10:30 2 Dunlin passed through (GE). During the afternoon up to 3 Black Terns, 8 Common Terns, a Dunlin, 2 Oystercatchers, a Hobby and a Raven were present (PJ).

On Cuckoo Bank there was a Whinchat, Redstart, Cuckoo (GH) and 3 Grasshopper Warblers, Peregrine and a Red-legged Partridge (PJ).

At Clayhanger there were six Bar-tailed Godwits this morning (SHi).

Tues 2nd

Much quieter today with no terns or waders seen but at least 15 Swifts were over the lake this evening and a Lesser Whitethroat was singing (PJ).

On Cuckoo Bank a Redstart, Whinchat, Yellow Wagtail, Lesser Whitethroat and a pair of Stock Doves were present (GH).
Wed 3rd Up to 7 Common Terns and a single Arctic Tern were present during the afternoon when 120 Lesser Black-backed Gulls, 4 Herring Gulls and a single 2cy Great Black-backed Gull were on the lake (GE, PJ). A Hobby and Grey Wagtail were also recorded.
Thurs 4th A beautiful but quiet evening with only a pair of Little Ringed Plovers, Willow Tit, Lesser Whitethroat and a Treecreeper noted (PJ).
Fri 5th

Greenshank (NS)
A Bar-tailed Godwit was present during the early morning (NS), 3 Greenshanks arrived on the Sailing Shore for a few minutes before flying north-east at 08:00 and another 4 flew through to the north-east at 08:52 (7 Greenshanks in a day is a site record!). At 09:30 a Black Tern joined 5 Common Terns and 26 Swifts over the lake and by 11:00 2 Dunlin and a Ringed Plover had joined the 2 Little Ringed Plovers. An Oystercatcher, White Wagtail, Grey Wagtail, Willow Tit and Lesser Whitethroat were also present (GE) and during the evening a Turnstone was on the north shore (PJ). The first Large Red Damselflies and a Broad-bodied Chaser (EO) were in flight, as were several Green Hairstreaks, a Small Copper, a Speckled Wood (GE) and a Dingy Skipper (EO).

Greenshanks (GE)

Dunlins (GE)

Green Hairstreak (GE)

Small Copper (GE)
Sat 6th

At 10:20 a winter-plumaged Red-throated Diver was seen on the lake but within 2-3 minutes it flew off to the north. It may have been present for some time since most of the observers' attention had been on the waders. (This is very likely to be the same bird as that present at Sandwell Valley earlier in the morning). During the early morning there were 3 Dunlin, 3 Whimbrels, single Sanderling, Greenshank, Common Sandpiper, Ringed Plover and Little Ringed Plover. Eleven Arctic Terns passed through over the dam and 5 Common Terns were present. Over 1000 Swifts were over the water, including a leucistic bird. Four Hobbies were present during the afternoon. A Cuckoo, Willow Tits, Lesser Whitethroat and several Garden Warblers were also noted (PJ, IW).

On Cuckoo Bank a Curlew and Lesser Whitethroat were present.
Sun 7th Despite being a beautiful, sunny Sunday with very little evidence of active passage, at least 70 bird species had been recorded by midday by which time the site was thronged with people on and around the lake. The highlight was the presence of 2 splendid drake Garganey along with a duck Teal, 3 Common Sandpipers, 2 Little Ringed Plovers, a Ringed Plover, 2 Oystercatchers, 4 Common Terns, a Cuckoo, Hobby, Grasshopper Warbler, 2 singing Lesser Whitethroats, at least 12 singing Garden Warblers, 2 singing Sedge Warblers and 2 singing Willow Tits (GE). Treecreepers have bred with 4 fledged young being present today (PJ).
Drake Garganeys (GE)
Mon 8th A drake Garganey was on the north shore during the evening. A Black Tern was also present along with a Dunlin, Little Ringed Plover, 4 Common Terns, 2 Oystercatchers, a White Wagtail and a Grasshopper Warbler. Two Hobbies were over the east heath. Two pairs of Grey Wagtails are present (PJ, PW).
Tues 9th The drake Garganey was still present in the morning but could not be seen later in the day (PJ).
Wed 10th

Early morning calm (GE)

A beautiful, calm, sunny but cold start to the day with a ground frost. Despite very few signs of any passage 60 species of bird were recorded by 09:00, including a Ringed Plover, 4 Little Ringed Plovers, 7 Common Terns, single Cuckoo, Grasshopper Warbler, Teal, Treecreeper and, in Jack's Wood, a Nuthatch (GE). Later in the day 2 Spotted Flycatchers were along the Sailing Shore and a Common Sandpiper, Oystercatcher and 2cy Great Black-backed Gull were present (PJ).
Thurs 11th This afternoon an Avocet was on the Island but it became very flighty and may have departed. An Oystercatcher and 4 Common Terns were also present (PJ).
Fri 12th
The wet start to the day failed to produce the hoped for passage waders apart from a fly-through Dunlin at 06:05. Despite the lack of passage and persistent rain, 59 bird species were recorded during the early morning, including 6 Common Terns, a Little Ringed Plover, Cuckoo and a family party of Grey Wagtails. By the early afternoon the wind had moved round to south-east and at 14:15, 2 Black Terns arrived (GE). By 18:00 a Redshank had been heard and the Black Terns were still present (PJ).
  A new brood of 3 on the Swag (GE)
Sat 13th During the early morning there were 5 Little Ringed Plovers, a pair of Shelduck and at least 2 Whimbrels (PJ).
Sun 14th

The WeBS count produced 67 Mute Swans, 8 Canada Geese, 1Teal, 67 Mallard, 9 Tufted Ducks, 1 Grey Heron, 2 Little Grebes, 17 Great Crested Grebes, 10 Moorhens, 117 Coot, 2 Lapwings, 2 Little Ringed Plovers and 7 Common Terns. A Whimbrel arrived at 07:55 and stayed on the north shore for over 30 minutes. A leucistic Swift with a white rump was a striking individual and stood out amongst the flock of aroud 50 birds. The pair of Mute Swans on the Swag have now only 2 cygnets but the Norton Bog pair have a brood of 7. On the North Heath there was a Cuckoo and Grasshopper Warbler and a Treecreeper was north of the dam (GE). A few Dingy Skippers were at Norton Bog (PJ).

Spotted Flycatcher and a Treecreeper were at Biddulph's Pool.

On Cuckoo Bank, fifteen Grasshopper Warbler territories have been established since the first record on April 4th (DO). There was also a Tree Pipit and Treecreeper and on No Man's Bank there was a Cuckoo and Treecreeper (PJ).
Mon 15th


Sanderling (PW)
A Sanderling, 9 Ringed Plovers, 3 Little Ringed Plovers and a Whimbrel (perhaps yesterday's bird managed to survive the dog-walkers!) were present during the early afternoon and evening (PW, PJ). The Mute Swan brood on the Swag has reduced to a single cygnet: four originally hatched from a clutch of eight eggs.
Tues 16th
A Whimbrel, 11 Ringed Plovers, 2 Little Ringed Plovers and a Cuckoo were present (PJ). The Whimbrel has now probably been present for four days, despite the constant disturbace along the shoreline; let's hope it has been able to rest and feed enough to continue its migration towards northern Scotland or the Arctic.
Whimbrel (PW)
Wed 17th

The Whimbrel, 11 Ringed Plovers, 3 Little Ringed Plovers, a Dunlin and an Oystercatcher were present during the early morning but most had probably left by 10:00 when 3 off-the-lead dogs were running along the Sailing Shore. Five Common Terns were joined at around 10:15 by 4 more terns, at least 2 being Arctic Terns. Two 3cy Yellow-legged Gulls, 60 Lesser Black-backs and 4 Herring Gulls were present along with 50 Swifts and single Teal and Cormorant (GE). During the early evening no terns or waders, apart from a Little Ringed Plover, were present (PJ).

Thurs 18th Much quieter today with only a Little Ringed Plover, 2 Common Terns, a Cuckoo and a pair of Grey Wagtails on the dam being noted (PJ).
Fri 19th The Whimbrel was again present on the north shore along with 3 Little Ringed Plovers and 5 Common Terns were also present (PW). No dragonflies were in flight at the boardwalk bog-pool but several Green Hairstreaks were on the adjacent heath (GE).
Sat 20th The Whimbrel (for its eighth day), a Curlew and Little Ringed Plover were present, a Peregrine flew over and 2 (2cy, 3cy) Mediterranean Gulls flew west.
Sun 21st

Five Common Terns and a juvenile Grey Wagtail were present and a family party of 5 Ravens flew through. A pair of Willow Tits probably had young at Norton Bog where a Treecreeper was also seen (PJ).

On Cuckoo Bank there was a Cuckoo and 2 Muntjac (PJ).

Mon 22nd A 3cy Yellow-legged Gull was present but the shorelines were badly disturbed as usual. Several Common Blues and 1-2 Dingy Skippers were at Norton Bog (PJ).
Tues 23rd

A quiet day with 2 Common Terns the only birds of note.

Wed 24th 5 Common Terns were over the lake and Large Red, Common Blue and Blue-tailed Damselflies were at the Boardwalk bog-pool where a Sedge Warbler was singing from the scrub (GE).
Thurs 25th A Marsh Harrier was over Norton Bog at 15:15 and gradually gained height and drifted west. Two Little Terns were on the main lake till at least 18:30. Two Little Ringed Plovers and 2 Oystercatchers were also present.
Fri 26th 3 Common Terns were present and single Broad-bodied Chaser and Four-spotted Chasers were at the Boardwalk bog-pool (PW).
Sat 27th Before dawn a Tawny Owl was calling and Noctule, Daubenton’s and pipistrelle bats were noted. A Grey Plover was on the north-shore at first light. Two Common Terns, a Lesser Whitethroat and 2 Cuckoos were also present.
Sun 28th No records
Mon 29th Two Turnstones, a Common Sandpiper, 2 Oystercatchers and 6 Common Terns were present (PW).
Tues 30th 2 Common Terns and a  Little Ringed Plover were present (PW,GE).
Wed 31st No records