30 Apr 2013

Staying local

Friday evening saw me down at Neston reed bed until dark trying to ensure the local brain dead 'yoofs' don't set alight to what remains after the recent arson attempt. This is an annual battle to preserve the reed bed for breeding birds. A fantastic evening with no less than 3 Cetti's Warblers singing from various points, Reed Warblers, Sedge Warblers, Common Whitethroat and a Grasshopper Warbler. All was quiet on the front line and the only other people I met were dog walkers.

Saturday morning was taken up with domestic duties but I'd planned to spend the afternoon birding with Groucho - we ended up at Sandbach where a roosting Long-eared Owl had been discovered near the tip. A great bird for Cheshire these days. Sadly we received news of of a dead one found at Elton  the same day.  See Billy's Frodsham blog here:

With Groucho doing a Cheshire year list we headed towards Lyme Park for a nailed on Tree Pipit on territory......three hours later we finally stumbled across the non-singing pipit feeding on the ground before flying in to a nearby tree 'tzeeping' as it went.

Plenty of birds moving locally over the last few days. A search of Stanney Wood, on Sunday, for a passage Wood Warbler proved fruitless although I did catch up with the ultra elusive male Lesser-spotted Woodpecker for only the second time this year. A quick breeding bird survey resulted in two singing male Treecreepers, three singing Nuthatches and four Great Spots. Warbler numbers are always poor here due to the level of disturbance and only three male Blackcaps and two male Chiffchaffs were spouting their stuff.

On the walk down to Stanney I found a reeling Grasshopper Warbler in a ditch alongside the busy A5117. A really good local record and only the second 'patch' record of recent years. Twenty years ago they used to be fairly common in the fields around Stanney Woods that have now been built on.

The ploughed fields are sill attracting Wheatears and last night I counted ten on one and four on another- most were very distant apart from this smart 2nd calendar year bird that was merely distant.

Two Common Whitethroats were also found but weren't singing. No sign of any Lesser Whitethroats yet but the singing male Yellowhammer is still churning out his 'little bit of bread and no cheese' along the railway embankment.

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