Woolston Eyes Monthly Sightings


David Bowman

2019-06-30

On a sultry Saturday morning we made a 6.30 am start to check out progress with some of our scarcer breeding birds. During the week on No.3 bed three new broods of Tufted Duck were joined by one of Pochard, with still time for more to come. At the eastern end of the Reserve the two Peregrine young are now mobile and making short flights under the steely gaze of the parents. While there was no sign of the two pairs of Oystercatcher we were hoping ,would breed, two pairs of Little Ringed Plover and four of Lapwing have been successful. While its been a poor season so far for some of our butterflies and dragonflies, the blazing sun produced a good variety of both, though only in small numbers. Among the dragonflies, we saw our first Common Darter of the year, along with two Brown Hawkers, while the butterflies included: 3 Painted Ladies, the first Gatekeeper and Small Copper, 5 Red Admirals, 1 Common Blue, 1 Large Skipper, 8 Meadow Browns, 1 Speckled Wood, 4 Small Tortoiseshells, 1 Peacock, 2 Commas and a couple of unidentified Whites. Photo of the adult female Peregrine Cheers David Bowman (with David Spencer, Helen Wynn, Alan Warford, Sue Haddock and Dave Steel)

Submitted by: David Bowman

 

Dave Hackett

2019-06-27

At last a hot summer’s day for my weekly walk round the reserve. The 2 juvenile Peregrines were sitting on the viaduct and on No.3 bed were a minimum of 63 young Black-headed Gulls, some pestering their parents for food! In recent weeks there has been an influx of Painted Ladies and today’s count of 19 was the highest at Woolston for ten years. Meadow Browns are now plentiful at the eastern end of the reserve and over 120 were present together with the first Small Skippers of the year. The first brood of Common Blues is now well past its peak but nine were found today. Photo; Painted Lady on the canal track near the car park.

Submitted by: Dave Hackett

 

Keith Gallie

2019-06-27

Fieldmouse from number 3 bed. It was very approachable I even got a decent pic with my phone

Submitted by: Keith Gallie

 

Dave Hackett

2019-06-25

Some highlights from the last few days included a pair of Kingfishers on the river near the Fish Refuge (presumed to be breeding nearby) and a new Gadwall brood in the same area. An evening visit to No.3 bed on 24th June produced 318 Gadwall and 96 Coot. Butterfly totals for the whole reserve were 74 Meadow Brown, 40 Common Blue, 4 Large Skipper, a minimum of 4 Painted Ladies, 5 Small Tortoiseshell, 6 Speckled Wood and 1 Peacock. A single white was thought to be a Smalll White. As yet no Small Skippers or Purple Hairstreaks have been reported. Also of interest were ten Bee Orchids on Butchersfield Tip and a further 8 in the Sandpit Pond area. Photo; Bee Orchid on No.4 bed

Submitted by: Dave Hackett

 

2019-06-22

Red-eared Terrapin swimming under footbridge

Submitted by: Douglas Buchanan

 

Brian Baird

2019-06-22

This pair of mating Azure Damselflies were spotted on No.1 bed this morning.

Submitted by: Brian Baird

 

Brian Baird

2019-06-22

This Four-spotted Chaser was one of several present on No.1 bed today.

Submitted by: Brian Baird

 

David Bowman

2019-06-22

Well, summer finally arrived at Woolston Eyes today. Let’s hope it stays a while and gives all the birds with young to feed and the emerging dragonflies and butterflies a fighting chance of a good breeding season. After a 6.30 am start in the Morgan Hide, where all three species of grebe could be seen with young, some of us went on to No.4 bed to meet Jane Cullen and her colleague Diane, from the Cheshire and Wirral Badger Group, to successfully complete a Badger survey of the bed. On the way round we had some interesting sightings, including: 5 Willow Tits, 2 Cetti’s Warblers, 1 Garden Warbler, 2 broods of Pochard, 3 Black-tailed Skimmers, 1 Large Skipper, 2 Red Admirals and a stand of 13 Bee Orchids. Meanwhile back on No.3 bed, Helen Wynn and Sue Haddock were watching the Lapwing pair on the Morgan Hide scrape hatch their first chick from four eggs, while a Hobby went skimming over in search of prey. Wandering back onto No.3 bed, one more each of Black-tailed Skimmer and Large Skipper were by the centre path and the single Lapwing chick was sheltering from the sun under an attentive parent. Photo of the Giant Hogweed forest on No.4 bed. Cheers David Bowman (with David Spencer, Helen Wynn, Alan Warford, Sue Haddock, Jane Cullen and Diane)

Submitted by: David Bowman

 

David Bowman

2019-06-22

Photo of a Black-tailed Skimmer from No.4 bed.

Cheers David

Submitted by: David Bowman

 

David Bowman

2019-06-22

Photo of a Bee Orchid from No.4 bed.

Cheers David

Submitted by: David Bowman

 

David Bowman

2019-06-22

Well, summer finally arrived today. Let’s hope it stays a while and gives all the birds with young to feed and the emerging dragonflies and butterflies a fighting chance of a good breeding season. After a 6.30 am start in the Morgan Hide, where all three species of grebe could be seen with young, some of us went on to No.4 bed to meet Jane Cullen and her colleague Diane, from the Cheshire and Wirral Badger Group, to successfully complete a Badger survey of the bed. On the way round we had some interesting sightings, including: 5 Willow Tits, 2 Cetti’s Warblers, 1 Garden Warbler, 2 broods of Pochard, 3 Black-tailed Skimmers, 1 Large Skipper, 2 Red Admirals and a stand of 13 Bee Orchids. Meanwhile back on No.3 bed, Helen Wynn and Sue Haddock were watching the Lapwing pair on the Morgan Hide scrape hatch their first chick from four eggs, while a Hobby went skimming over in search of prey. Wandering back onto No.3 bed, one more each of Black-tailed Skimmer and Large Skipper were by the centre path and the single Lapwing chick was sheltering from the sun under an attentive parent. Photo of a Large Skipper from NO.4 bed Cheers David Bowman (with David Spencer, Helen Wynn, Alan Warford, Sue Haddock, Jane Cullen and Diane)

Submitted by: David Bowman

 

2019-06-22

As we reach mid-summer, the breeding bird activity at Woolston Eyes is at its peak. The link is to a short video showing some of the activity from the past few days. You’ll see: Mediterranean Gulls, four different pairs of Black-necked Grebe with young (two with tiny chicks riding on the parents’ backs and two with well-grown young), a fully grown young Coot, a Shelduck chick taking its life in its hands by going solo away from its parent and the rest of the brood, a busily feeding Whitethroat, a drake Teal, Black-headed Gulls with young and then frenziedly mobbing a predator (probably a Mink) in the reed-bed colony, the male Peregrine standing guard over its two full-grown young (one of which is showing well), a Blackcap in song (one of nearly 100 in song across the Reserve), a pair of Great Crested Grebes in head-shaking display and a Lapwing having a bath before settling back on to four eggs (due to hatch any day now, with a bit of luck).

To watch David’s video click here…..

or cut and paste the this link into your browser https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1iuFVoV6ZjY

Cheers David Bowman

Submitted by: David Bowman

 

David Bowman

2019-06-20

Photo of a Blackcap from today.

Cheers David

Submitted by: David Bowman

 

David Bowman

2019-06-20

Photo of a Lesser-black-backed Gull taking a Black-headed Gull chick today.

Cheers David

Submitted by: David Bowman

 

David Bowman

2019-06-20

Photo of a Reed Bunting from today.

Cheers David

Submitted by: David Bowman

 

David Bowman

2019-06-20

With a warm southerly wind producing a mix of sunshine and showers, Dave Steel and I set out early to complete the final Breeding Bird Survey of No.2 bed. Despite the conditions plenty of birds were still in song, with the most notable being: 1 Garden Warbler, 20 Blackcaps, 15 Chiffchaffs, 6 Whitethroats, 3 Willow Warblers and 26 Wrens. On Thellwall Viaduct, the female Peregrine was standing guard over her two fully grown young and by 9.00 am we had dried out and were having breakfast in the Morgan Hide. Key sights from the rest of the day were of a Hobby over the hide, a stunning Eyed Hawk Moth caught by George Dunbar and our first Black-tailed Skimmer of the season. Less palatable was the now-daily sight of a Lesser Black-backed Gull swooping in to snatch a young Black-headed Gull from one of the nest rafts. Finally, thanks were due to all the volunteers who turned out for ahighly successful Himalayan Balsam-bashing session, with our Warden, Dan Gornall. Photo of today’s Black-tailed Skimmer Cheers David Bowman (with Dave Steel, David Spencer, George Dunbar, Daniel Owen and Diane Shepherd)

Submitted by: David Bowman

 

Jean Hood

2019-06-14

This young Badger was foraging along the track on No3 bed in broad daylight. A very welcome sighting and I managed to get some photos as it stared bemused at me before wandering off.

Submitted by: Jean Hood

 

David Bowman

2019-06-17

It was surprisingly humid on No.3 bed at Woolston Eyes this morning, as Dan Gornall and I trekked around the bed, assessing the Himalayan Balsam for removal by our forthcoming work parties. Seven years of hard work has seen this highly invasive alien plant cleared from large areas of the bed but the battle goes on. If anyone is keen to come along and help, work parties take place every Thursday morning at 10.00 am and the more pairs of hands the better. Contact Dan on 07906 024354, if interested. There wasn’t much time for birding but on our way round we recorded a number of Black-necked Grebes with young, and a singing Cetti’s Warbler, though Daniel Owen had the bird of the day, when a Green Sandpiper flew in. On the debit side, we watched a Lesser Black-backed Gull carry off yet another Pochard chick and came across a tiny Tufted Duck chick on its own on the path in the middle of the dense woodland on the North Bank. No sign of any female and you have to wonder how it got there - dropped by a passing Lesser Black-backed Gull, maybe? The issue of predation on the bed by these locally breeding large gulls is becoming ever more concerning as their breeding colony grows. Photo of a female Bullfinch Cheers David Bowman (with Daniel Owen and Dan Gornall)

Submitted by: David Bowman

 

David Bowman

2019-06-15

It made a pleasant change this morning, to be wandering around No.3 bed without getting soaked to the skin. We started at 6.30 am and the morning’s focus was on trying to get to grips with the progress of our Black-necked Grebe breeding population. Before that, some variety was added to the morning’s fare by the odd bits of movement. Two adult Mediterranean Gulls dropped in briefly, a Common Tern flew west, along with two Oystercatchers and finally a single Dunlin made several circuits of the bed before moving off. The overcast conditions brought down several scores of Swifts, plus all three hirundines. Not surprising, then, that one of the local Hobbies was present, on and off, all morning. The final tally for our Black-necked Grebes was 22 adults and 8 or 9 broods, with, hopefully, more broods to come. This is an excellent total after our recent pessimism. A final bit of variety came from Kieran Foster’s ringing team, which caught Nuthatch, Treecreeper and Coal Tit, all scarcities for the bed, along with their 12th new Willow Tit of the year. Photo of the Nuthatch ringed this morning Cheers David (with Brian Martin, David Spencer, Helen Wynn, Alan Warford and Brian Baird)

Submitted by: David Bowman

 

2019-06-14

This link is to a brief clip from No.3 bed showing: Black-headed Gulls mobbing a predator in the breeding colony (probably a Mink), fully grown Black-headed Gulls chicks on the Morgan Hide scrape; the recent brood of nine Shelduck chicks; a feeding Goldfinch; a Little Grebe feeding a large young and a male Lapwing settling onto a nest with three eggs.

To watch David’s video click here…..

or cut and paste the link, https://youtu.be/cURV4mWnLOc into your browser

Cheers David Bowman

Submitted by: David Bowman

 

David Bowman

2019-06-13

One of the things that always strikes me about No.3 bed, at this time of year, is the sheer volume of birds in a relatively small area. Gulls, wildfowl, warblers and our resident passerines are breeding in profusion. Today’s highlights included:160 Gadwall as the regular summer moulting flock starts to build, 250 adult Black-headed Gulls at the colony, with some of the young now beginning to take short flights; our first Little Grebe brood of the year, almost fully grown, to go with our six broods of Black-necked Grebe and one of Great Crested Grebe; three broods of Shelduck, including one of nine newly hatched young; yet another new brood of Tufted Duck; female Pochards, Gadwalls, Mallards and Coot with young in every corner of the bed; 35 Swifts plus a few Swallows and Sand Martins hawking low over the water in the gloom; two pairs of Lapwing on eggs; Water Rail calling from the reed-bed; warblers galore in song; a Tawny Owl calling in the middle of the day and finally, a late Greenshank flying determinedly north-west over the bed. Spectacular! Photo of one of today’s Black-necked Grebes Cheers David Bowman (with Dave Steel, David Spencer, Sue Haddock and Dan Gornall)

Submitted by: David Bowman

 

Daniel Owen

2019-06-11

Drake Wigeon from South Screen this afternoon, one of a pair that were showing well. Also from here a new Great Crested Grebe brood with one small young, and a pair of Black-necked Grebes with young.

also a quick side note: the Elephant Hawkmoth is actually a Small Elephant Hawkmoth (Deilephila porcellus)

Submitted by: Daniel Owen

 

2019-06-10

Plenty of nice insects on Number 3 bed today, the star being this Small Elephant Hawk Moth Deilephila porcellus

Submitted by: Keith Gallie

 

Dave Hackett

2019-06-10

A morning survey of the northern section of No.1 bed yesterday produced a total of 66 Common Blues and 4 Meadow Browns, the first of the year. Also present were a Large Skipper and a Broad-bodied Chaser. This morning a Banded Demoiselle was on the Canal Track. Photo; Broad-bodied Chaser and Common Blue

Submitted by: Dave Hackett

 

2019-06-09

The link is to a short video showing: a brood of Shelduck, a Common Sandpiper, Black-headed Gulls trying to stop a pair of Canada Geese with young from trampling on their nest, Coot feeding young, Great Crested Grebes with young, a Lapwing on a nest, an Oystercatcher. close-ups of feeding Whitethroat and Bullfinch and finally, the female Peregrine guarding her two chicks at the local nest-site.

To watch David’s video Click here……….. or cut and paste the link below into your browser.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZsfkqtaAE2E

Cheers David Bowman

Submitted by: David Bowman

 

David Bowman

2019-06-08

It was cold and drizzly this morning, so it was mainly about looking for broods from the Morgan Hide, before some of us stayed on and went down to No.1 bed to check on progress with the resident Peregrine pair. After yesterday’s excitement, with Daniel Owen finding a brood of Garganey (only the third ever for Cheshire and the first since the mid 1970s) the focus was on looking for more Black-necked Grebe, Pochard, Shoveler and Teal broods. The pair of Black-necked Grebes around the South Pool still have two young on their backs, while another pair was watched carrying vegetation into a likely nest-site. Others are scattered around the bed and we remain hopeful of more young in the immediate future. We managed to locate one new brood of Pochard, our twelfth of the season so far. Shoveler and Teal remain more enigmatic, with skulking males and pairs but, as yet, no young spotted. The gloomy weather brought down 90 Swifts, 18 Swallows, 15 Sand Martins and six House Martins. A Hobby then stooped in to catch and then flew west with its prey. The day ended with lpeasing confirmation that the Peregrines have two well-grown, partly feathered young. Photo of a male Bullfinch Cheers David Bowman (with David Spencer, Helen Wynn, Daniel Owen, Diane Shepherd, Sue Haddock, Brian Martin, Alan Warford, Les Jones and Brian Baird)

Submitted by: David Bowman

 

John Gibson

2019-06-05

Black necked Grebes with chicks riding pillion

Submitted by: John Gibson

 

John Gibson

2019-06-05

Black necked Grebe family shot

Submitted by: John Gibson

 

Keith Gallie

2019-06-06

Red Tipped Clearwing, Synanthedon formicaeformis Number 3 bed

Submitted by: Keith Gallie

 

Keith Gallie

2019-06-06

Lacxewing Chrysopa perla Number 3 bed

Submitted by: Keith Gallie

 

Keith Gallie

2019-06-06

Dagger fly Empis tessellata Number 3 bed

Submitted by: Keith Gallie

 

Keith Gallie

2019-06-06

Agapanthia villosoviridescens Grey Longhorn Beetle Number 3 bed

Submitted by: Keith Gallie

 

Keith Gallie

2019-06-06

Phaulernis fulviguttella Number 3 bed

Submitted by: Keith Gallie

 

Keith Gallie

2019-06-06

Figwort weevil Cionus scrophulariae Number 3 bed

Submitted by: Keith Gallie

 

2019-06-05

Here is a link to a short video of this weeks events. It shows the resident Peregine pair at their nest site, a pair of Oystercatchers which dropped in to bathe, a marauding Lesser Black-backed Gull predating a Black-headed Gull chick, the local male Peregrine flying over carrying a Blackbird and last, but very certainly not least, close-ups of our first Black-necked Grebe brood being fed on their parent’s back.

To view David’s video ; Click here ………

or copy and paste the link into your browser https://youtu.be/Fe0HgXXvFAw

Cheers David Bowman

Submitted by: David Bowman

 

David Bowman

2019-06-04

We are at that time of year when breeding is in full swing and No.3 bed is jumping with birds and insect life. I woke early and was there by 5.30 am, to be rewarded with a male Garganey, visible from the South Screen and 145 Gadwall, mainly in front of the Morgan Hide. From the Hide, there were scores of young birds dotted around the water, including: Black-headed Gulls, Pochards, Coots, Tufted Ducks, Shelducks, Moorhens, Mallards and Mute Swans. When birdlife is this prolific, predators are inevitably attracted and marauding Lesser Black-backed Gulls took young of Coot and Black-headed Gull, while the local male Peregrine flew towards the Viaduct nest-site, carrying a Blackbird. Meanwhile, over on No.4 bed, Daniel Owen estimated 60 Gadwall and saw Hobby and Garden Warbler, as well as broods of Willow Tit and Goldcrest. Later, in No.3 bed, two Oystercatchers dropped in, Cuckoo and Little Ringed Plover flew past the Morgan Hide and a new Lapwing nest was found in front of the North-east Hide. The best, however, was saved for last when our first Black-necked Grebe brood finally appeared, with two young riding on the female’s back in front of the South Screen - our latest emergence date this century! Photo of an Oystercatcher Cheers David Bowman (with David Spencer, Daniel Owen and Daniel Gornall)

Submitted by: David Bowman

 

Daniel Owen

2019-06-04

One of at least 7 Bee Orchids on the south bank of No.4 Bed currently

Submitted by: Daniel Owen

 

Daniel Owen

2019-06-03

One of two Gadwall broods on the loop of No.4 this morning. Also Linnet and Goldcrest feeding young on the bed

Submitted by: Daniel Owen

 

Daniel Owen

2019-06-03

First-summer Hobby over the loop of No.4 this morning. The bird is aged as a first-summer due to the ochre, rather than orange, undertail as well as pale tips to the primary coverts which aren’t shown on this picture.

Submitted by: Daniel Owen

 

2019-06-01

An afternoon visit to the Loop of No.4 bed proved productive with plenty of wildfowl broods present. These included 7 Coot broods, 2 Gadwall broods, both of 5 very small young, one brood of 6 small POchard and 2 of Canada Geese. A pair of Moorhen with a small young was on the Sandpit Pond. In spite of the cloudy conditions, 2 Common Blues, and singles of Large Skipper and Red Admiral were on the wing, both probably the first of the year. Dave Riley reported a painted Lady from No.1 bed on 29th May.

Submitted by: Dave Hackett

 

David Bowman

2019-06-01

Today we made the usual 6.30 am start, to complete a breeding bird survey, before retiring to the Morgan Hide to scan for broods of wildfowl. While the delayed emergence of the first Black-necked Grebe young remains a concern, our small population of breeding waders is doing well, so far. Across the Reserve up to eight pairs of Lapwing and two or three pairs of Little Ringed Plover have recently been joined by a couple of pairs of Oystercatcher, the latter the first since the Reserve was established more than forty years ago. The resident Peregrines also look to be heading for another successful year, as do at least one pair of Buzzards. Other notable breeding records included two pairs each of Skylark, Swallow and Grey Wagtail, while a handful of Sand Martins were hawking in front of a known breeding site on the Ship Canal and a single Yellowhammer was in song on No.1 bed. From the Morgan Hide, an eighth brood of Pochard was good to see, while Redshank and Common Tern, both of which flew through without stopping, added to the day’s variety. Photo of one of today’s marauding Lesser Black-backed Gulls. Cheers David Bowman (with David Spencer, Helen Wynn, Alan Warford, Les Jones, Sue Haddock and Dave Steel)

Submitted by: David Bowman