Sunday morning dawned cloudy but dry as we set off from the Guild just after 8am. Our first stop at Ashton’s Flash proved disappointing as there was absolutely nothing on or around the water. However Neumann’s produced the usual birds with two Black-tailed Godwits being worthy of note.

We then walked on to Marbury Country Park through Dairy House Meadows to the hide in the woods. Again there was very little activity around the feeders here, but we did see a Great Spotted Woodpecker and Wren both singing away. Undismayed we strolled on to the hide overlooking Budworth Mere and here our fortunes changed. Willow Warblers, Blackcap and Chiffchaffs were showing well. We watched a family of Chiffchaffs feeding on the Rose Bay Willow Herb and were most amused to see one scruffy juvenile ignoring its parents and instead, copying the Tits and Nuthatches by flying into the cage feeder. However it didn’t eat the food but kept on going in and out whenever the other birds did. Whilst eating our lunch we were lucky enough to see two Kingfishers. One hunkered down on a branch opposite us giving us great views. Suddenly it started to heave and promptly regurgitated a small sac of undigested fish bones! None of us had ever witnessed this before, but it was not ideal viewing whilst munching sandwiches.

By now the sun was out and it was warm! A refreshment van parked up near the main car park proved to be a magnet and hot drinks and cakes and ice creams were eaten around a picnic bench. “Friends of Marbury CP” had a gazebo displaying some of the moths collected overnight. They ranged in size from tiny (1 cm) to one the size of a pipestrelle bat. We wandered along Marbury Lane to Hadyn’s Pool where two Green Sandpipers showed well. Black-tailed Godwits and two Dunlin were on the far side.

On the path to Neumann’s there were a good dozen Common Darters resting in the sunshine and a colourful Southern Hawker on the nearby foliage. Our final stop back at Neumann’s at 4 pm gave us 56 Curlew mostly snoozing, one Common Gull and two Stock Doves.

As well as our total of 40 birds seen during the day, we also spotted five different butterflies including Gatekeepers and Speckled Wood. We were back in Wilmslow by 4.30 pm having spent a most enjoyable and sociable day strolling some 3-4 miles around the Northwich Woodlands

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