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March 2018 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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1st The first day of meteorological spring was greeted by a bitter easterly wind, zero temperatures and drifting snow. Upon arrival I was surprised to see a Starling flying into the wind, low over the water, only for it to be plucked out of the air by a pursuing Kestrel. Two Oystercatchers were sheltering by the bushes on the south shore and several Little Grebes and Goldeneyes were feeding in the calmer waters by the dam (GE). Several Redwings were seen over Norton Bog (WP). Later in the day a Ruff (a real site rarity) and 2 Lapwings were in the south-west corner and the gull-roost held a 2cy Iceland Gull, 2 adult Yellow-legged Gulls and an adult Mediterranean Gull (CwS).



South Shore (GE)


Snow-storm on the dam (GE)



Drake Goldeneye (GE)


Little Grebe and Coot (GE)
2nd Whiteout conditions led to little being seen although a Brambling was in the west shore bushes (CwS) and the Shelduck was still present (GR).
S 3rd A 2cy Iceland Gull roosted on the frozen Swag. The main roost held a 2cy Caspian Gull and 4 (2 adults, 4cy, 2cy) Yellow-legged Gulls. A Brambling was in the west shore wood and a Woodcock was on the causeway (CwS).
S 4th A 3cy Iceland Gull was in the roost before the mist descended. On the Swag there were 2 Yellow-legged Gulls (adult, 5cy) at 16:30 and at 18:20 there was a 2cy Iceland Gull, 3cy Caspian Gull and a 4cy Yellow-legged Gull (CwS). 2 Water Rails were present and Great Crested Grebes were displaying (N).
5th 63 Mute Swans and 44 Canada Geese were on the main lake (GE). It was good to see a Kingfisher on the west shore this evening after the big freeze. 2 (4cy, 2cy) Caspian Gulls and 6 (3 adults, 4cy, 3cy, 2cy) Yellow-legged Gulls roosted with the 4cy Caspian Gull roosting on the Swag (CwS, PJ).


Little Grebe (GE)


Great Crested Grebe (GE)
6th A 3cy Iceland Gull, 4cy Caspian Gull, 3 (adult, 4cy, 3cy) Yellow-legged Gulls and an adult Mediterranean Gull were in the roost (CwS, PJ).
7th The roost held 2(4cy, 2cy) Caspian Gulls, 3 Yellow-legged Gulls and an adult Mediterranean Gull (CwS, PJ).
8th A pair of Stonechats was on the North Heath, a Willow Tit was singing near the feeding station and a Kestrel was seen to catch at least one lizard on the heath near the Outdoor Education Centre (GE). Three Oystercatchers were present. A pale 2cy ‘Thayer’s type’ Gull was in the roost along with 2 (adult, 4cy) Caspian Gulls and 4 (adult, 2 4cy, 2cy) Yellow-legged Gulls (CwS, PJ).



Fly Pool boardwalk (GE)

Sailing shore (GE)

Leucistic Woodpigeon (GE)

Snowdrops (GE)


Siskin at the feeding station (GE)


Kestrel feeding on a lizard (GE)
9th A 4cy Caspian Gull, 3 (2 adults, 4cy) Yellow-legged Gulls, 2 (adult, 3cy) Mediterranean Gulls roosted. The interesting pale 2cy bird was again present but was too distant for photos (CwS, PJ).
S 10th

The roost held 2 (4cy, 3cy) Yellow-legged Gulls and an adult Mediterranean Gull (CwS).

Last night’s 4cy Caspian Gull was seen at Cannock Tip (CwS).
S 11th A 3cy Iceland Gull, 4cy Caspian Gull, 2 (adult, 3cy) Mediterranean Gulls and a 3cy Yellow-legged Gull were in the roost. The interesting pale 2cy bird was again in the roost but heavy rain hampered viewing and prevented any photography (CwS).
12th A great roost tonight (see Twitter feed on the homepage for video). The pale 2cy bird is now considered to be a Kumlien’s Gull (at the darker end of the range) and an adult Kumlien’s Gull (now believed to be an Iceland Gull) was also present along with a 3cy Iceland Gull (yesterday’s bird), 2 (3cy, 2cy) Caspian Gulls and 2 (adult, 4cy) Yellow-legged Gulls (CwS, PJ). 
13th Two drake Goosanders and 2 Oystercatchers were present and a Little Egret flew west. The adult white-winged gull was again present in the roost but no details could be seen to point conclusively to it being a Kumlien’s Gull rather than an Iceland Gull. The wing-tips appeared to be all white with the only grey being at the base of the primaries which contrasted with the pure white tertials. There may have been a small dark mark on the bill tip and the eye may have been dark but views were distant. Last night’s other 3cy Iceland Gull was not seen and the 2cy Kumlien's type was probably present but not seen well. The gull roost has diminished considerably with around 900 Lesser Black-backed Gulls, 300 Herring Gulls, 2 adult Yellow-legged Gulls, 5 Great Black-backed Gulls, 5000 Black-headed Gulls and 2 Common Gulls (GE, PJ).
Iceland Gull (GE) Drake Goldeneye (GE)
14th The adult Iceland Gull roosted again along with 5 (2 adult, 5cy, 4cy) Yellow-legged Gulls and the 2cy Kumlien's type was also present. Only 2 argentatus Herring Gulls were evident amongst the reduced numbers of argenteus (PJ).
The adult Iceland Gull was also seen at Stubber's Green during the morning (GWR).
15th The star of the gull roost tonight was an large male 2cy Caspian Gull along with 2 (adult, 3cy) Yellow-legged Gulls, 800 Lesser Black-backed Gulls including several intermedius, 200 (mainly immature) Herring Gulls, 3 Common Gulls and at least 5000 Black-headed Gulls. Two Oystercatchers and 2 Goosanders were also present (CwS, PJ, GE).

On Cuckoo Bank there were 24 Golden Plovers, many singing Skylarks, several Lapwings and a few Fieldfares (GR).
16th An adult Mediterranean Gull flew south, 2 Oystercatchers and a Chiffchaff were present and a pipistrelle flew along the dam before dusk (PW).
S 17th Little was seen in the roost due to haze distortion (PJ).
S 18th A Wheatear was on the snowy south shore and a 3/4cy Iceland Gull was seen distantly in the roost (JA).
19th The monthly WeBS count produced 63 Mute Swans, 38 Canada Geese, 56 Wigeon, 13 Teal, 102 Mallard, 5 Shovelers, 106 Tufted Ducks, 28 Goldeneye, 10 Little Grebes, 16 Great Crested Grebes, 13 Moorhens, 210 Coot, 2 Oystercatchers and 7 Lapwings (GE). The gull roost held the 3cy Iceland Gull, a 4cy Yellow-legged Gull, 2600 Lesser Black-backed Gulls, 400 Herring Gulls, 14 Great Black-backed Gulls and 35 Common Gulls (PJ).

Icicles festooned the whole of the west shore (GE) The lake is now overflowing (GE)
20th The 3cy Iceland Gull roosted along with an adult Yellow-legged Gull, 1600 Lesser Black-backed Gulls, 350 Herring Gulls, at least 5000 Black-headed Gulls, 3 Great Black-backed Gulls and a Common Gull (GE).
Norton Bog reeds (GE) Reed reflections (GE)
21st The roost held the 3cy Iceland Gull, the large 2cy Caspian Gull, 3 (2 adults, 2cy) Yellow-legged Gulls, 1200 Lesser Black-backed Gulls, 400 Herring Gulls, 5 Common Gulls but no Great Black-backed Gull (PJ).
22nd A drake Scaup was present along with 5 Shovelers, a Goosander, 2 Oystercatchers (PW), at least 30 Goldeneye, a Tawny Owl, adult Yellow-legged Gull and 6 Linnets (JK) and the 3cy Iceland Gull was in the roost (PJ).
23rd No records
S 24th The 3cy Iceland Gull roosted (JA).
S 25th The drake Scaup was still present and an adult Yellow-legged Gull roosted (CwS). At least 9 Goldeneye, 20 Wigeon, 5 Shovelers and a Chiffchaff were also present.
26th This evening the Scaup was still present along with a Redshank and 2 Swallows. Two adult Yellow-legged Gulls roosted (CwS).
27th The drake Scaup and 7 Swallows were seen during the morning (GWR) and 17 Sand Martins and a Chiffchaff were present during the evening (CwS).
28th Two Goosanders and an Oystercatcher were present (PJ).
29th Two Sand Martins were seen (PJ).
30th On the Swag there were 30 Goldeneye, 53 Tufted Ducks and 4 Wigeon (GE).
31st No records