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Woolston Eyes Monthly Sightings

2019-01-31

Photo of a Dunnock from Today.

Cheers David

Submitted by: David Bowman

2019-01-31

Photo of an immature Mute Swan from today.

Cheers David

Submitted by: David Bowman

2019-01-31

Photo of a Gadwall from today.

Cheers David

Submitted by: David Bowman

2019-01-31

Photo of a Tufted Duck from today.

Cheers David

Submitted by: David Bowman

2019-01-31

After a heavy overnight frost it seemed a good time to do a count of the wildfowl using the Weir Basin and River Mersey. As I walked past the Weir 45 Redwings were feeding in the hedgerow, along with 20 House Sparrows. On the water between the basin and the end of the Mersey footpath to the east, were: 5 Goldeneye (including 4 males), 160 Tufted Duck, 5 Shelduck, 4 Cormorants, 11 Mute Swans, 7 Shoveler, 6 Pochard, 1 Great Crested Grebe, 28 Mallard, 16 Gadwall, 25 Teal, 1 Common Gull, 44 Black-headed Gulls, 11 Moorhens and 7 Coot. Then it was time to join up with David Spencer for the chilly vigil, waiting for the Starling roost on No.3 bed. As ever, it was well worth the wait, with an estimated 20,000 arriving and treating us to a spectacular display, driven to extreme manoeuvres by the attention of five Sparrowhawks.

Photo of a Goldeneye from the Weir Basin

Cheers David Bowman (with David Spencer)

Submitted by: David Bowman

2019-01-30

With snow on the ground it was a wintry scene for my weekly walk around the reserve. At Bollin Point there was a flock of over 300 Tufted Duck which formed a major part of a reserve total of 580. One of the resident Peregrines was on the viaduct. At the fish refuge to the north of No.1 bed a Little Grebe was trilling and 2 Snipe were flushed from the riverbank. A noisy flock of 35 Fieldfare was also seen along the river. An unusual sighting on the river was a Canada and a Greylag Goose which appeared to have paired up. Good numbers of Teal were on the No.3 bed lagoons and a flock of about 20 Siskin was on the south bank. Photo: snowdrops on No.3 bed

Submitted by: Dave Hackett

2019-01-30

Photo of a Greenfinch, taken from the Morgan Hide this morning.

Cheers David

Submitted by: David Bowman

2019-01-30

Photo of Snowdrops from No.3 bed this morning.

Cheers David

Submitted by: David Bowman

2019-01-30

Arrived on No.3 bed by mid-morning, after over-night snow and a lingering ground mist. The hope is always that a cold snap will produce a hard-weather movement of birds and something a bit different might turn up. Earlier on, David Spencer had a movement of 100 Skylarks over No.3 bed, something which is normally restricted to the eastern end of the Reserve. On arrival, a male and female Goosander flew east down the Ship Canal, another uncommon bird for the Reserve. Walking into the bed, 5 Bramblings, 20 Goldfinches, 4 Redwings and 30 Greenfinches were feeding high in the tree tops. From the Morgan Hide, 300 Teal were out on the partly frozen lagoon and the usual 100+ Greenfinches and 50 + Chaffinches were around the feeders, along with 14 more Bramblings. Finally a slow circuit of the perimeter of the bed produced two Woodcocks and another 12 Bramblings, bringing the total of the latter to at least 31. Photo of a Brambling taken from the Morgan Hide Cheers David Bowman

Submitted by: David Bowman

2019-01-26

A pleasant, mild morning on No.3 bed, starting with the dawn spectacle of 20,000 Starlings coming out of their roost and pouring over the Morgan Hide. Looking out onto the water you’d have been forgiven for thinking that it was pretty quiet but a wander round the bed produced 800 Teal, 50 Gadwall, 25 Shoveler, 60 Tufted Duck, 5 Pochard, 7 Shelduck, 34 Mallard and a single Goldeneye. As ever, finch numbers were a big attraction for the local Sparrowhawks, with 11 Bramblings, 100+ Greenfinches, 60 Chaffinches, 45 Linnets, 8 Bullfinches and 3 Lesser Redpolls noted. Of the scarcer resident birds, Cetti’s Warbler, Willow Tit and Water Rail were the pick.

Photo of the view west from the North-east Hide.

Cheers David Bowman (with David Spencer, Brian Martin,Helen Wynn, Diane Shepherd, Brian Baird, Dave Steel, Alan Warford and Les Jones)

Submitted by: David Bowman

2019-01-25

Photo of a Lesser Black-backed Gull from this morning.

Cheers David

Submitted by: David Bowman

2019-01-25

Photo of a drake Gadwall from this morning.

Cheers David

Submitted by: David Bowman

2019-01-25

Photo of a nest-prospecting Black-headed Gull from this morning.

Cheers David

Submitted by: David Bowman

2019-01-25

Photo of a Blue Tit from this morning.

Cheers David

Submitted by: David Bowman

2019-01-25

Seems a bit premature to be thinking of Spring but, for me, the change of season is signalled by the arrival of the Black-headed Gulls at the colony on No.3 bed. They usually arrive in numbers from mid-February onwards until well over 1,000 are present. This morning a party of 16 arrived and spent several hours displaying and calling around the Morgan Hide scrape. They were mainly first winter birds and may well be returning young from the colony. Several accompanying adults spent their time sussing out possible nest sites, too, so Spring can’t be too far away! There were plenty of other birds to see, too, with highlights of: 1 Dunlin, which landed on one of the rafts, 1 Siskin, 6 Bramblings, 2 Ravens, 2 Water Rails, 2 Cetti’s Warblers, 650 Teal, 5 drake Pochards, 120 Greenfinches, 40 Chaffinches, 10 Reed Buntings, 25 Goldfinches, 3 Common Buzzards, 1 Peregrine and 2 Sparrowhawks.

Photo of a Woodpigeon from this morning.

Cheers David Bowman (with Dan Gornall)

Submitted by: David Bowman

2019-01-23

Yesterday’s Whooper Swans. Not a good day to decide not to bother taking my camera down to the Reserve! I had to make do with my camera phone.

Submitted by: David Spencer

2019-01-23

Some interesting goings-on over the past few days. As well as the Starling roost (more of which later), our new Assistant Warden, Dan Gornall, picked up a couple of scarcities for the bed, with 6 over-flying Tree Sparrows and 2 Yellowhammers, to go with the 15 Whooper Swans reported by David Spencer yesterday. Despite the snow flurries and bitter wind, Dan and Al Grubb from Burton Wetlands spent the day erecting an electric fence around the breeding islands in front of the Morgan Hide. We decided to trial this approach for the coming breeding season as all the Lapwing and Black-headed Gull nests in front of the Morgan Hide were predated last year, possibly by a combination of Badgers, Foxes and Mink. Hopefully, this will prove effective and we’ll see plenty of young about come summer. The Starling roost is holding up well, despite the attentions of so many predatory birds. If the weather holds, we’ll do another “open house” for visitors to watch the roost this coming Saturday. I’ll confirm this on Friday. The video clips shows several groups of Starlings dropping into the reeds at dusk (should be titled 22nd January 2019!).

To watch David’s video click here……………….

or copy and paste this link into your browser https://youtu.be/Kp5cPcpfSWU Cheers David Bowman

Submitted by: David Bowman

2019-01-22

Late Entry for WeBS Count on 19th January Little Grebe 7, Great crested Grebe 7, Cormorant 25, Mute Swan 27,Grey Heron 5 Shelduck 23, Greylag Goose 19, Canada Goose 16, Gadwall 35, Teal 760, Mallard 115, Shoveler 93, Pochard 5, Tufted Duck 507, Goldeneye 6, Water Rail 1, Moorhen 47, Coot 59, Black headed Gull 92, Lesser Black backed Gull 1,Buzzard 3 kestrel,1

Submitted by: Brian Martin

2019-01-21

Saturday evening saw a brilliant response from local people to our Facebook invitation to an “open house” to come and see the Starling roost. By 3.30 pm 35 people had arrived, most of whom were first-time visitors to the Reserve. Around 40,000 Starlings then put on a spectacular flying display trying to avoid the attentions of a Peregrine and three Sparrowhawks, with the former easily snatching prey from the flock. It was sufficiently impressive for one visitor to buy a permit on the spot, while 25 more took away membership forms, vowing to join in due course. A video of the roost is viewable via our Facebook page. Thanks are due to Helen Wynn and Sue Haddock for helping with the crowd control. Cheers. David

Submitted by: David Bowman

2019-01-17

A pre-dawn start on No.3 bed this morning, so I was well-setted in the Morgan Hide to watch the 20,000 Starlings leaving their roosts, which they did around 8.00am. As ever, they attracted some raptors, with several Sparrowhawks and a Buzzard paying visits. A less visible source of predation comes from the local Barn and Tawny Owls, with all the hides being used as feeding/roost sites, as evidenced by the liberal scatterings of Starling remains and owl pellets. Also of particular interest is the growing number of Bramblings visiting the Morgan Hide feeders, with 15 present today. The link is to a short video clip showing a few Bramblings, along with my favourite UK pigeon, the under-stated Stock Dove.

To watch David’s video click here………..

or simply copy and paste this link into your browser https://youtu.be/xa4ZkKLlfNc

Cheers David Bowman

Submitted by: David Bowman

2019-01-16

Another enjoyable late afternoon watching the Starling roost at Woolston Eyes. While the light was superb early on, heavy rain passed just to the north around 4.00 pm, so the first arriving flocks dropped in to roost, while thousands more were still coming in from theclearer weather to the south. This made estimating numbers tricky but I’d guess that there were still around 20,000 in total. The only raptors we saw tonight were Sparrowhawks. You can catch a glimpse of one in the video clip

Click here to view David’s video………

or just cut and paste the link https://youtu.be/Ch0oDDm_dfk into your browser

Cheers David Bowman (with David Spencer and Brian Martin)

Submitted by: David Bowman

2019-01-15

The No.3 bed Starling roost continues to grow, with an estimated 20,000 present tonight, dropping in to two separate parts of the reed-bed at 4.20 pm. While the murmuration was in full flow a Peregrine arrived to make two lightning stoops through the flock and two or three Sparrowhawks were also active. Earlier in the day, Dan Gornall reported 14 Bramblings under the Morgan Hide feeders.

Photo of the rising moon over No.3 bed tonight

Cheers David Bowman

Submitted by: David Bowman

2019-01-11

One of the 5 Goldeneye currently on the Weir Basin (4 males and 1 female.

Submitted by: David Spencer

2019-01-09

A very frosty start and the cold weather has produced an influx of Tufted Ducks with a total of 607 across the reserve, of which about 300 were at Bollin Point. Two Little Grebes were at Latchford Locks and a third on the river. There were four Bramblings under the feeders on No.3 bed where two Grey Squirrels had no problems accessing the new feeders! A Sparrowhawk caused panic amongst the flock of Teal. A Raven flew north-west over No.4 bed. Photo; morning over the canal

Submitted by: Dave Hackett

2019-01-02

a nice walk round number 3 bed this morning had my lunch in the Rotary hide and while there saw this Sparrowhawk perched, a decent flock of Siskins, was hoping for Brambling but couldnt find any, 3 male Goldeneye at the weir

Submitted by: Keith Gallie

2019-01-02

A cold start to the New Year but it remains fairly quiet as regards bird movements. the flock of Siskins referred to above was certainly the highlight. Also of note were 3 male Goldeneye in the river basin and reserve totals of 257 Tufted Duck and 127 Mallard. The Snowdrops on No.3 bed have begun to flower which is exceptionally early and due to the mild winter so far. Photo; Snowdrops

Submitted by: Dave Hackett

2019-01-02

Happy to report that the stairs to the Morgan Hide have now been repaired and the hide is open for viewing. Very timely, too, as there is the beginnings of a Starling roost, which has been holding about 10,000 birds for the past few nights. This evening it attracted a male Peregrine and two or three Sparrowhawks. Other sightings included 30 Siskins, feeding in the Alders along the South Bank, a few Bramblings under the Morgan Hide feeders and a Willow Tit in full song outside the hide. Off to the Cairngorms tomorrow for ten days and hope to find that the Starling roost has grown significantly by the time I get back. The photo is of a Sparrowhawk climbing vertically to try and snatch a Starling out of one of tonight’s groups of Starlings.

Cheers David Bowman (with David Spencer and Dan Gornall)

Submitted by: David Bowman