A feature of the start of the New
Year was the appearance of Mute Swans at sites where they are not often
present. Two pairs were on
As might be expected, few wader
records were received, but Woodcock were noted at Cuerden
on the 2nd and at Anglezarke on the 11th. A Curlew was at Eccleston
on the 3rd and 8 Snipe were at Birkacre on
the 24th. The Gull roost
on Anglezarke and
Raptors included Buzzard at Eccleston on the 8th and at Croston Moss (23rd), where there was also a Peregrine. Barn Owls were recorded at Cuerden (2nd) and at Mawdesley (21st). Little Owls were at Eccleston (8th), Lisieux Hall (24th) and Croston Moss (26th).
It has been a very poor year for winter visitors due to the lack of natural food. Best Fieldfare records received were 6 near Lisieux Hall (2nd), and 15 by Anglezarke reservoir (4th). Redwings included 15 near Lisieux (2nd) and a small flock at Eccleston (14th). Bramblings were even scarcer, but one turned up in a Clayton garden on a couple of dates during the month.
Pairs of Dipper were on territory
at White Coppice (11th) and at Cuerden (24th). Kingfishers were noted at Kem Mill (2nd and 24th) and at
Records of flocks of finches and buntings were received including 30 Chaffinch on Croston Moss (17th), where there were 80 Linnet (23rd) and 60 Corn Bunting (26th), plus smaller numbers of Yellowhammer and Reed Bunting. 36 Goldfinch were in a Cowling garden on several dates. Flocks of Siskin included 30 at White Coppice (11th) and 12 at Duxbury (29th).
Other records of interest included Blackcaps at Cowling and at Eccleston (3rd), and a male and two female Stonechats on Lower Burgh Meadow on 24th. Goldcrests were much in evidence on the 29th with 5 at Birkacre and 8 at Duxbury. On the 25th, the first sign of Spring came from the drumming of Great Spotted Woodpecker and the songs of Chaffinch and Song Thrush. A Marsh Tit was reported from Withnell Fold Nature Reserve (26th).
Notable wildfowl records were
confined to 20 Goosander on Anglezarke reservoir (22nd),
and 54 Teal on
It was a better month for wader
records, the highlights of which were a Green Sandpiper on the River Yarrow at
Croston (28th) and 5 Golden Plover on
Two Buzzards were noted at Mawdesley on the 17th and another at Ulnes Walton on the 28th. Little Owls were at Cuerden (1st & 28th), and at Eccleston (14th & 17th).
A Dipper was recorded on Syd Brook at Eccleston on the 18th - the observer's first at the site for some years. Birds were also seen at regular sites such as Cuerden (7th) and at Birkacre (28th), where one was observed carrying nesting material. Kingfishers were noted at Withnell Fold nature reserve (1st) and at Syd Brook, Eccleston on several dates.
Fieldfare and Redwing continued to be thin on the ground with a mixed flock of 30 at Kem Mill (14th), and a small mixed flock at Ulnes Walton (28th), being the best records received. Flocks of Corn Bunting included 30 on Croston Moss (3rd), and 40 at Mawdesley (11th). Linnet flocks on Croston Moss included 106 on the 15th and 70 on the 17th.
Finally, a Jackdaw roost of over 1000 birds was counted at Cuerden on the 7th.
Winter was jerked out of its mediocrity with
the appearance of a drake Smew at
34 Curlew were at Withnell Fold flash on the 7th, when there were
also a Dunlin, 4 Redshank, 2 Oystercatcher and in
excess of 100 Lapwings present. On
the same day, 22 Lapwing were noted on
A Buzzard was noted on Croston
moss (16th), and at Eccleston (28th). A Merlin was seen flying east over
Early breeding included Collared Doves (26th) and Mallard (27th) with young at Eccleston. At Cuerden, Grey Herons were seen repairing their nest on the 28th.
Kingfishers were very much in
evidence with birds being noted at Heapey No. 2 lodge
Fieldfares were seen in larger numbers this month with flocks of 80 at Armatridings (8th) and Croston Moss (17th), and 90 over Stronstrey Bank (28th). Presumably these were mainly birds on return migration.
Of course it's the arrival of summer visitors that we look forward to in March. There was nothing precocious this year with first arrivals - limited to the 3 classic species - as follows:-
· Chiffchaff Euxton 19th March
· Sand Martin Eccleston 29th March
Having said that an Osprey was noted flying north over
Many thanks to the following for submitting records without which the compilation of this report would be impossible:-
D.Beattie, D.Beevers, W.Berry, R.Hoyle, G.Lilley, B.Makinson, S.Martin, A.Porter, J.Riley, P.Ross, J.Sharples, N.Southworth, A.Stott, N.West, and to Jean Southworth for her original drawings.
Please continue to submit your records to the editor.