July 2020 Sightings

Details of July sightings compiled by John Thompson will appear on the Monthly Sightings page.


  1. John
    31st July 2020

    Spent most of Wednesday at Meremoor Moss and ‘environs’, notable species include:
    Muscovy Duck, Kingfisher, Kestrel, Raven, Reed Warbler & Grey Wagtail plus a good candidate for a Willow Warbler ( plenty of green on it ) in the bushes/small trees on the fishing pools.
    I ‘staked it out’ for three hours on Thursday hoping for a good view, but it failed to reveal itself! Compensated with nice views of a family of Linnet in the same area

  2. Colin
    31st July 2020

    At Doddington this morning the usual post breeding late summer build up of great crested grebes seems to have started with a total of 59 today including a pair still on a nest. Also 3 singing reed warblers; they are always late breeders (waiting for the reeds to grow to build a nest in) but also about 30% of breeders are double brooded so they may be second broods.

  3. Mike&Andy
    30th July 2020

    We’re really struggling to get a decent list of birds at Doddington with just Kingfisher,Reed Warbler,Oystercatcher and Little Grebes of note this morning.

  4. Graham
    30th July 2020

    Sandbach 2.25pm. Hobby, seen from my Abbeyfields garden, flying rapidly more or less parallel with Abbey Road, so NNE.

  5. Mike&Andy
    28th July 2020

    A Black-tailed Godwit at Doddington this afternoon .

  6. John
    27th July 2020

    20 – 26 Jul
    EHF/PHF: Mandarin, Goosander, Oystercatcher, Curlew, Bl-t Godwit, Dunlin, Snipe, Common & Green Sandpiper, Med, Common, G B-b & Y-l Gull, Common Tern, GW Egret, Kingfisher, Hobby, Raven
    MGT/RF: L Grebe, Green Sandpiper, Common Gull, GW Egret, Green Woodpecker, Raven, Wheatear
    Astbury Mere: Reed Warbler
    Brereton: Red Kite
    Brownlow: Sand Martin, Yellowhammer
    Congleton: Goosander, Kingfisher, Dipper, Grey Wagtail
    Doddington: Shoveler, Wigeon, L & GR Grebe, Common Sandpiper, Reed Warbler
    Weston: Hobby
    Woore/Audlem: Red Kite

  7. John
    26th July 2020

    Winterley Pool: juv Mute Swan, Swift, GC Grebe
    Winterley Pool Farm: Swift, ad & 2, maybe 3, juv Sparrowhawk, also Swallow, House Martin, Chiffchaff & Whitethroat. The fields of rape seed have recently been cut; the stubble is attracting family parties of Chaffinch, Greenfinch, Linnet & Goldfinch.
    Wheelock Heath Business Units/Hospice: Swift, Moorhen + 4 juv & House Martins feeding young nestlings
    Canal, Hassall Green: Swift, Stock Dove, House Martin, Willow Warbler
    Arclid SQ – South / Sandbach Heath: Swift, Stock & Collared Dove, Lapwing, Sparrowhawk, pr adult + juv Kestrel, Rook, Raven, Sand & House Martin, Swallow

  8. John
    24th July 2020

    As I knew today was going to be dry I tried somewhere ‘new’ this morning: Acorn Coppice ( check the SECOS Gazetteer ); a Spotted Flycatcher was nice to see as was both Song and Mistle Thrush in good voice.
    Later at Doddington, species not listed by Colin in an earlier post: Little Grebe juvs, a Jay, Reed Warbler & a Hare at Lemon Pool and on the main Pool: Shoveler, Wigeon and nearby the Little Owl

  9. Nigel Henderson
    24th July 2020

    Brereton: Red Kite – seen from the A54 Holmes Chapel to Congleton road.

  10. Colin
    24th July 2020

    A pleasant morning at Doddington this morning. Tufted Duck is always a late breeder, this year later than ever but patience was finally rewarded with three new broods of juvs on the water, broods of 8; 7; 4. Two closely following views of common sandpiper at opposite ends of Lemon Pool, so probably two birds. Mute swan numbers inched up to 65 and coot numbers topped 400.

  11. John
    24th July 2020

    While topping up the bird feeders in my garden at 8:15 this morning I heard the screams of Swift behind me. Looking north towards Hungerford Road, there were 20+ screaming Swift ‘wheeling’ in a close formation. The nearest known breeding pairs are on the corner of Vincent St/Surrey St.

  12. Nigel Henderson
    22nd July 2020

    Congleton – River Dane; Dippers (adult and immature), Grey wagtails (adult and immature), 3 immature Goosander.
    Brownlow; 2 x male Yellowhammer, Sand martins

  13. John
    21st July 2020

    On Meremoor Moss before 8 this morning: the overhead cables running towards Weston had two lines full of Woodpigeon on. I estimate 50 on each wire, but another 50+ emerged from the cereal crop below them as is something spooked them. Other birds of note: female Sparrowhawk, juv Buzzards, Kingfisher, female Kestrel, Skylarks, Reed & Garden Warbler, L & C Whitethroat, Song Thrush, Bullfinch, Greenfinch, Linnet & Reed Bunting

  14. Nigel Henderson
    21st July 2020

    Congleton – River Dane
    Kingfisher flying upstream alongside the Dane Street river walk
    Grey Wagtail – adult male
    Congleton park – One Mandarin immature still there.

  15. John
    20th July 2020

    EHF/PHF: Oystercatcher, LR Plover, Curlew, Bl-t Godwit, Common & Green Sandpiper, G B-b & Y-l Gull, Common Tern, GW & L Egret, Hobby,
    MGT/RF: Swift, Willow, Sedge & Reed Warbler, Reed Bunting
    Astbury Mere: Oystercatcher, Kingfisher, Reed Warbler, Spotted Flycatcher
    Barthomley: Barn Owl
    Basford/Weston: Quail
    Bosley Locks: L Egret
    Congleton: Mandarin, Red Kite, Goosander, Dipper, Grey Wagtail
    Doddington: Common Scoter, L & GR Grebe, Oystercatcher, Common Sandpiper, L Egret, Sparrowhawk, Kingfisher, Reed Warbler, Mistle Thrush
    Elworth: Swift
    Lea Forge: Stock Dove, Barn Owl, Kingfisher, Jay, Garden Warbler, Whitethroat & Linnet
    Meremoor Moss: Kingfisher
    Smethwick: Quail, L Owl
    Wallhill: Barn & Tawny Owl, Skylark & Yellowhammer

  16. John
    17th July 2020

    A SWaBBS visit to Wybunbury Moss yesterday morning was uneventful but was able to get a few species listed as ‘breeding confirmed’. The permissive footpath ( on the Moss itself ) is still closed to the public – it was being repaired while I was there.
    A local couple stopped for a chat and mentioned that they had TWO Red Kites together over their house earlier in the month. I’ve checked my records there are only 8 or 9 local sightings of two birds together.
    As I arrived at Doddington, Colin was leaving – he put me on to the Common Scoter. Also noted: lots of Swifts hawking over the pool with just one or two Swallow & House Martin; I heard Little Grebe and ( I think ) Common Sandpiper; plus distant Skylark and Reed Warbler; two Kingfisher, flying one behind the other;
    My last stop was Casey Lane, Basford/Weston: the pull-ins by the rail bridge are very popular with train spotters, the farmer has warned against entering the cereal crop – stay on the roadside verge or public footpath! I heard one Quail call occasionally, quite close to the road in the 45 minutes I was there. Other birds of note: Kestrel and Whitethroat

  17. Colin
    17th July 2020

    at Doddington yesterday, a boring morning counting around 300 coot, although 63 mute swans were better. Then at 11-15 five common scoter flew in and settled on the water. All five had a yellow bill and dark face but only two showed the greyish primaries of adult males.

  18. Mike&Andy
    16th July 2020

    One of the Garden Warblers showing at Lea Forge this morning and a Kingfisher flew along the brook.Also usual Blackcap,Whitethroat ,Chiffchaff ,Jay,Linnet,G.S.Woodpecker,Stock Dove,Oystercatcher over and a juv Barn Owl begging calling,we assume they nest in one of the outbuildings.

  19. Nigel Henderson
    16th July 2020

    Wednesday 15-07-2020
    Astbury Mere
    Spotted flycatcher
    Reed warbler
    Blackcap 2 females

  20. Nigel Henderson
    16th July 2020

    Congleton park:
    Female mandarin and three immature.
    Juvenile grey wagtail on the bowling green.

    River Dane:
    Aldi roundabout: Female goosander
    Buglawton: Dipper

  21. Colin
    13th July 2020

    a kingfisher on one of the pools at Mere Moor Fisheries this morning.

  22. Mike&Andy
    13th July 2020

    An improvement at Doddington this morning when a Little Egret dropped in on the island for all of 5 mins!A few other birds of note were,Common Sandpiper,Kingfisher,Reed Warbler,Oystercatchers,a female Sparrowhawk which flew into the wood with prey,the second such sighting recently so could well be feeding young and a low fly past of 23 Mistle Thrush which was definitely different!

  23. John
    13th July 2020

    6 – 12 Jul
    EHF/PHF: Goosander, Oystercatcher, Golden & LR Plover, Whimbrel, Curlew, Bl-t Godwit, Dunlin, Common & Green Sandpiper, Redshank, Y-l Gull, Common Tern, Gannet, GW & L Egret, Whitethroat
    MGT/RF: Curlew, Barn Owl
    WLF: Common Tern
    Astbury Mere: Common Scoter, Siskin
    Bradwall: L Owl
    Congleton: Mandarin, Goosander, Kingfisher, Dipper, Grey Wagtail
    Doddington: L & GR Grebe, Oystercatcher, Common Tern, Sparrowhawk, L Owl, Kingfisher
    Hassall: Yellow Wagtail
    Meremoor Moss: Kestrel, Garden Warbler, Reed Bunting
    Mow Cop: L Owl, Stonechat, Crossbill
    Shavington: Song Thrush

  24. John
    12th July 2020

    A SWaBBS visit between 7 & 9 this morning at a private wood near Barthomley. Nothing unusual, but I’d heard from the tenant earlier this week to say she’s found a Buzzards nest and had images of 2 juvs, so that’s a nice addition. The whole time I was there, I could hear a very aggitated Blackbird at the far end of the wood. I couldn’t connect with it or find the reason why but suspect it’s either a cat or possibly a Tawny Owl. Two adult Buzzards were constantly calling nearby while I was there but I didn’t see the juvs. Above the neighbouring fields, a Kestrel was harassing a Buzzard.
    I called at Winterley Pool and had a cuppa while watching the activity on the water – juvs of GC Grebe and Moorhen. I walked round to Winrterley Pool Farm, more than once a venue for our Summer mid-week evening walks to chance my luck there. The main crop appears to be rapeseed oil and it covered at least two fields. A mixed flock of hirundines were hawking low over the crop, one or two Swallow, 20+ House Martin but the main species was Swift. There was at least 30! They weren’t bothered about me or the walkers – swishing close past us at shoulder height. Perhaps these are from one of the colonies that Colin monitors in nearby Haslington. An alarm call from a House Martin made me turn round – a Kestrel flew over the farm buildings and low across the field. Linnet were seen coming and going from the crop and occasionally singing from the overhead wires. Jay, Chiffchaff and Chaffinch ( I don’t see many of Chaffinch ) also of note between the farm & the main road.
    Last stop Bridge House Farm, Hassall: behind the new units housing the vets’ practice is a small pond. Also there, the hospice holds House Martin nests under its eves. My main reason for the visit was to see if the Yellow Wagtails were still there? While sat on the bench/table by the pool, I watched Blue Tit, House Sparrow and Linnet feeding young when something caught my eye – dropping down on to the track to my left. First one, then a second juv Yellow Wagtail were tentatively approaching a small muddy puddle shaded by a small bush/tree. They didn’t stay long, flying over the wire fence and into the recently cut field on the other side. It took me a minute or two to re-find them but eventually picked them up at the far end of the field with two adults. I only saw 2 juvs but there could have been more. The same puddle was frequently used by the House Martins and both them and Swallows were skimming over the pond scooping up water.

  25. John
    11th July 2020

    Spent 4hrs this morning on Meremoor Moss: mixed flock (50+) of Black-headed & Lesser Black-backed Gulls feeding in field recently sprayed with manure, also with them Stock Doves and Oystercatchers. Closer to me in the same field were Blackbird and Song Thrush with beaks full of worms. Swallows, House Martins and a single Swift were hawking over the fields & neighbouring fishing pools.
    Juveniles seen of Kestrel, Magpie, Carrion Crow, Whitethroat, Goldcrest, Wren, Nuthatch, Pied Wagtail, Meadow Pipit, Reed Bunting. A party of Carrion Crow were harassing an adult & juv Kestrel & as I watched the battle a female Sparrowhawk swooped into a family party of Magpie on the ground below but left ‘empty-handed’. Not long after I saw a good candidate for Colin’s Garden Warbler, but the beggar wouldn’t stay still!. At the style by the railway line I got good views of another Garden Warbler in the trees in the corner of the fisheries.
    The sound of gunfire from the direction of Crewe Hall put everything up: lots of Woodpigeon and gulls flying around. Also 3 Grey Heron, a Cormorant and some very vocal Buzzards. A gent exercising his four gundogs told me it’s a clay pigeon shoot that happens monthly. Back at the car, I bumped into him again: he told me a tip to extend the life of your wellies. Contact me if you want to know his tip.

  26. Nigel Henderson
    11th July 2020

    Congleton Park: 1 female mandarin and 5 juveniles
    Astbury Mere: 6 male common scoter and 3 female

  27. John
    10th July 2020

    A last minute decision to cycle to Quakers Coppice this afternoon via Crewe Business Park: a brief stop at the pool by the roundabout with Crewe Road & Electra Way where I heard the Reed Warbler already reported there. Also there, adult & juv Moorhen. Oh! and a Brown Rat crossed the path heading in the direction of the hotel! Another family party of Moorhen at the Dipping Pond halfway along the path. In the trees by the pool with footbridge – by the roundabout at Mallard Way, I heard a Chiffchaff.
    Very little to see or hear in the woods – too windy.
    The wind was calmer on the way back, so I stopped at the pool for a longer look at the Reed Warbler. It was singing ‘on and off’ for the 40 minutes I was there and I watched it dashing up and down the length of the reeds. At one point it stopped at the top of a reed and belted out for about 15 to 20 seconds. I was hoping to see an adult with food, but no luck. Also very busy in the nearby trees was a Chiffchaff. It didn’t sing or call but it was constantly going to and fro – presumably with a nest?

  28. Colin
    10th July 2020

    This morning (9 July) one of my best Sparrowhawk experiences; details on Blog “Your Garden”

    Ed: see Colin’s blog post at http://www.secos.org.uk/category/garden/

  29. Colin
    10th July 2020

    A quiet morning at Doddington this morning although it looks as if the usual late summer build up of gc grebes has started already with 27 today and only 16 last week. The resident birds have been pretty useless so far this year with just one brood of two juvs between them, but it looks like the newcomers may have woken them up since one pair were displaying, one pair were nest building and one pair were nest sitting. Nice views of a kingfisher but the little owl did not show.

  30. Mike&Andy
    8th July 2020

    2 Little Owls,Common Tern,9 Oystercatchers and a Sparrowhawk at Doddington this morning.

  31. Nigel Henderson
    7th July 2020

    Congleton: Rood Hill road bridge over the river Dane – 2 immature goosanders; Riverside walk – immature dipper; River Dane – kingfisher (flying downstream between the park and the Aldi roundabout) Congleton Park – 6 mandarin duck (a female and five young, we think); 2 grey wagtails on the bowling green (male and immature)

  32. John
    7th July 2020

    Macon Meadows first thing: no major tree damage following the storms of the weekend but the vegetation lining the banks of the stream which were up to 5’ tall, have been partially flattened. It had hampered my views of the stream and its banks recently. Thankfully they are lower and I had brief views of a Kingfisher, a male Grey Wagtail and a party of 3 juvenile Blackcaps with an adult male in close attendance.
    I hadn’t been there much more than 10 minutes when I heard a call I didn’t recognise. I’m pretty poor when it comes to flight calls and this one needs more research! I first picked the call up as the unseen bird flew towards me from the direction of Hungerford Road. I failed to connect with it but it called “ Pee-ooo” 5 or 6 times as it passed overhead – it stalled or circled before carrying on towards Nantwich Road.
    On the way back home, a neighbour stopped me and told me that while playing bowls, on Sunday near the Fire Station, he and his mate saw a Hobby chasing swallows.
    Now it’s time to dig out my copy of the interactive version of BWP and trawl through the flight calls of the small birds!

  33. Colin
    6th July 2020

    At Doddington this afternoon — breeding at last! Tufted female + 5 small juvs; gc grebe pair + 2 small juvs; little grebe a second pair with a new brood of 2 small juvs. And a kingfisher to add some more colour.

  34. John
    6th July 2020

    29 Jun – 5 Jul
    EHF/PHF: Teal, Goosander, Oystercatcher, LR Plover, Curlew, Bl-t Godwit, Common & Green Sandpiper, Med & Y-l Gull, Common Tern, L Egret, Kingfisher
    MGT/RF: Swift, Oystercatcher, House Martin, Yellow Wagtail
    WLF: Oystercatcher
    Astbury Mere: Common Scoter
    Cloud: Spot Flycatcher, Meadow & Tree Pipit, Siskin
    Congleton: Mandarin, Goosander, Dipper, Grey Wagtail
    Crewe: Ring-necked Parakeet
    Doddington: Oystercatcher, Common Sandpiper, Common Tern, L Owl, Grey Wagtail
    Goyt Valley: Lammergeier
    Lea Forge: Kestrel, Whitethroat, Song Thrush, Grey Wagtail, Bullfinch, Linnet
    L Moreton H: Kestrel, Yellowhammer, Reed Bunting
    Martins Moss: Barn Owl
    Meremoor Moss: Tufted Duck, Kestrel, Garden Warbler, Reed Bunting
    Queens Park: Barnacle Goose
    Salt Line/BPM: Whitethroat
    Scholar Green: Tree Sparrow, Yellowhammer
    Shavington: Chough
    Weston/Basford: Quail
    Wybunbury Moss: Swallow, Spotted Flycatcher
    Wychwood Park: Barn Owl

  35. John
    5th July 2020

    Pretty quiet on Macon Meadows first thing this morning, so I wandered up to the Weston Road Industrial Estate to check out the nesting gull colony.
    2 small juvs with an adult on the roof behind the Weston Rd entrance to the station plus the odd larger juv on the roofs between Starbucks and the Premier Inn. The bulk of the juvs are on B&Q’s roof and most of those have fully-grown feathers

  36. Mike&Andy
    5th July 2020

    2 Common Terns and a Common Sandpiper at Doddington this morning and the last couple of visits to Lea Forge have given,Kestrel,Bullfinches ,Blackcap,Whitethroat ,Chiffchaff ,Linnets,2 Grey Wagtails,Song Thrush and 2 Oystercatchers over.

  37. Elizabeth Buckley
    4th July 2020

    Lone Barnacle goose at crewe park today 4th July.

  38. John
    4th July 2020

    A very ‘muggy’ afternoon on Macon Meadows with youngsters in the playground and drinking on the bridge on Macon Way!
    I was pleasantly surprised to hear then see House Martins hawking over the nearby roofs and occasionally over the fields and stream. My only other sightings here were from August 2018.
    Also hawking were two Swifts, presumably from Vincent Street or the MMU buildings?

  39. Nigel Henderson
    4th July 2020

    Congleton Park: One female Mandarin with five young (not common in Congleton); Female Goosander with three young; Three Grey Wagtails on the bowling green. Congleton Rood Hill road bridge: Adult Dipper.
    Friday 03/07/2020 Astbury Mere: 4 male Common Scoter and one female or immature.

  40. Colin
    2nd July 2020

    Quail heard calling from the wheat field along Casey Lane, Basford this morning. Heard for 30 seconds after I stopped the car, then not again in the next 30 minutes! Also, at Meremoor Moss; kestrel 4 together — family party?; reed bunting, at least 3 males singing; garden warbler, 1 seen well but other birds moving in the bush as well; tufted, 1 female but no juvs.

  41. Dave Winnington
    2nd July 2020

    Borrow pit meadow Very nice views Common Whitethroat with young path between the pond and Tilly’s bridge .Also 2 juvenile green finch hill area and GS Woodpecker in flight

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