Newsletters

The Newsletter is prepared each month by the Newsletter Editor with input from the committee and the membership. The majority of Bird Group members now receive it by email. A printed copy is available at each of our Indoor Meetings for people who do not have email access. The content is mainly of interest to BG members; extracts which may be of wider interest are published here.

NEWSLETTER OCTOBER 2018

TONIGHT'S MEETING (Friday 19th October)

Tonight we welcome the return of Mike Roberts with a talk entitled “Plains, Cranes and
Autovians”.

Mike currently works as the Trees and Woodlands Officer with St Helens Council and
has worked within the environment for many years, including with the Mersey Valley
back in the Eighties. Through all of that time he has been a wildlife photographer and
has photographed a wide range of wildlife especially birds. He says that he has been
lucky to travel to many places, including Nepal, India, Costa Rica, Uganda, and Canada
but in recent years has concentrated his efforts in Spain. Mike has visited us on several
previous occasions, the last being in November 2015.

Please join me in welcoming Mike for what I am sure will be a very entertaining evening.

FIELD TRIPS

Our first coach trip is this weekend on Sunday 21st October to Spurn nature reserve on
the Yorkshire coast, departing from the Guild at 7:30am.

Over the years Spurn has proved to be a very successful destination for our first trip
because this reserve can be exceptionally good at this time of year - just about anything
can turn up here while migration is in full swing. A good variety of seabirds, waders and
wildfowl can be found on the coast and pools, while migrating passerines can be found
on the extensive scrub and bush area. There are toilets and a café available on site.
The next coach trip after that is on Sunday 25th November to Attenborough reserve
near Nottingham, departing from the Guild at 8am.

Book your seat for both trips at the desk.

CAR TRIP TO WOOLSTON EYES – 7th JUNE 2018

See Trip Reports section click here

BIRDING FROM LA MANGA (SPAIN) – APRIL 2018

Please visit Peter's Page on the Group website click here

CAWOS INDOOR MEETINGS 2018 - 2019

All meetings are held in the hall at St Vincent's Roman Catholic Church, Tatton Street,
Knutsford, WA16 6HR on the first Friday of the month, unless otherwise stated -
please check the programme. There is a large and free car park off Tatton Street
close to the hall.

An entrance fee of £2.00 to members and £4.00 for non-members will be charged at all
meetings except the AGM when there will be free admission. A coffee break is taken
halfway through the evening. The doors open at 7:30pm for a 7:45pm start.

Details of the next meeting are as follows –

2nd November 2018
‘SCILLY PELAGIC MAGIC’ by Jim Almond
Jim is now officially a ‘veteran’ of pelagic trips from St Mary's on the Isle of Scilly! With
44 trips under his belt (33 of them during the August seabird passage season!) he has
plenty of images and stories to tell from his time on MC Sapphire. A heavy sea in a
small boat is not to everyone's liking so sit back, relax and enjoy. From the ever present
Gulls, Fulmars and Gannets, the interest notches up a gear with Skuas, Petrels and
Shearwaters. It's not just about the birds either with Dolphins and Sunfish on offer, plus
some of the Blue Sharks landed for tagging studies. Find out how the birds are
attracted, the magic of ‘chum’ (without the smell) and some of his most exhilarating
birding moments ever, including an epic encounter with a Fea's Petrel.

CHRISTMAS LUNCH REMINDER

This year’s Christmas meal will be at the Rope and Anchor, Paddock Lane, Dunham
Massey on the 15th December for 12:30pm following the morning car trip to Pennington
Flash [apparently our favourite venue at Pennington Flash, The Raven, is closing
down!].

The cost is £23.00 for 2 courses or £28.00 for 3 courses
It is a £15.00 deposit per person which is due to be paid at the October meeting with
final full payments being due at the meeting on the 23rd November.

Copies of the menu will be available at Friday’s meeting.

ANNETTE R

NEXT MONTH’S MEETING

Our next indoor meeting is on Friday 23rd November at 7:30pm when our speaker will
be Paul Hobson with a talk entitled “Africa – Namibia, Rwanda, Kenya & South Africa”.

Hope to see you all then.

NEWSLETTER CONTRIBUTIONS

Still required – your articles for the newsletter. Tell us all about that birding holiday of a
lifetime or that unusual visitor to your garden bird table.

Deadline is the Friday before the meeting.

Black-necked%20Grebe%20at%20Woolston%20Eyes.jpg

Black-necked Grebe at Woolston Eyes





NEWSLETTER SEPTEMBER 2018

TONIGHT'S MEETING (Friday 28th September)

A warm welcome to all as we begin the 51st season of the Wilmslow Guild Birdwatching Group. As usual your Committee has been working hard to assemble an exciting programme of indoor and outdoor events that we hope will both entertain and educate the members over the coming year.

In a change to the advertised programme, John Gardner has kindly stepped in at the last minute to replace Brian White. The subject of John’s talk will be “Iberian Birding”.

Please join me in welcoming John for what I am sure will be a very entertaining evening.

FIELD TRIPS

Our first coach trip is on Sunday 21st October to Spurn nature reserve on the Yorkshire coast, departing from the Guild at 7:30am.

Over the years Spurn has proved to be a very successful destination for our first trip because this reserve can be exceptionally good at this time of year - just about anything can turn up here while migration is in full swing. A good variety of seabirds, waders and wildfowl can be found on the coast and pools, while migrating passerines can be found on the extensive scrub and bush area. There are toilets and a café available on site.

The next coach trip after that is on Sunday 25th November to Attenborough reserve near Nottingham, departing from the Guild at 8am.

Book your seat for both trips at the desk.

WEEKEND AWAY 22 - 24 FEBRUARY 2019

Continuing in the by now well established tradition, your committee has decided this year to return to Minsmere and the small family run hotel which made us so welcome last time. We will be staying at the Furzedown Hotel, Great Yarmouth.
Booking Forms are available tonight.

COST £174 per person sharing.
We have only 3 single rooms at £194.
Supplement for single occupancy of a double room is £40; total cost £214
£70 per person DEPOSIT payable by 19 October 2018
£104 per person BALANCE + any supplement + packed lunch money payable by December meeting – 07 December.
For non members of Birdwatching Group there is also a £15 supplement.

Cheques payable to WILMSLOW GUILD please.

The terms we have obtained from the hotel are very competitive, representing an excellent discount for the weekend on the current published rate.

INCLUDES Coach Travel
2 Nights Dinner, Bed & Breakfast

HOTEL Furzedown Hotel, 19-20 North Drive, Great Yarmouth. NR30 4EW
01493 844 138

As usual Single rooms are limited, so it would be helpful if singles would be willing to share.

We will be leaving the Guild at 7.30 am on the FRIDAY morning. This will mean that you may wish to take a packed lunch with you for Friday.

Packed lunches from the hotel will be available on the other days if required.
Price £6.50 per person per day if ordered on the Booking Form.

We aim to be back at the Guild early SUNDAY evening – approx. 7.30 pm.

As these trips have proved extremely popular over the last few years we would recommend that you make a firm booking early so that we can give priority to our members. Please see Barbara or Annette tonight with your booking form and deposit money.

Our itinerary for the weekend is as follows.

Friday: We intend to stop at a reserve on the way, spending the best part of the day there and aiming to arrive at the hotel 5.30 - 6.00 pm.

Saturday: Minsmere all day

Sunday: Birding around the local hot spots till about 2 pm. We aim to be back in Wilmslow 7.30 to 8.00 pm.

Don’t forget to bring your RSPB and WWT cards with you this weekend.

For those of you who have not been away with us before, you will enjoy some excellent birding at a number of sites and habitats in the area. Members will be willing to assist those without binoculars or telescopes to ensure that nothing is missed! Birding skills are NOT required as others will be on hand to help with finding and identifying birds for you. Our evening meal is a relaxed, enjoyable, sociable get-together.

Remember, as we will be birding on the way, DON’T put your optics in your case!

As we did last year, we would request that all members fill in the ICE form (In Case of Emergency).

Cancellation charges
After 28 October 2018:
loss of deposit plus a charge to cover fixed costs.
After 01 February 2019: no refund.

Any refund due will be paid after the trip.

Please keep this page for future reference.

Copies of the booking form and ICE form can be downloaded here: Booking Form and ICE. You may wish to print your booking form and fill it in ahead of the meeting.

FIELD TRIP TO RUTLAND WATER 29th APRIL 2018

See Trip Reports section click here

COACH TRIP TO BEMPTON CLIFFS & FLAMBOROUGH HEAD 13th MAY 2018

See Trip Reports section click here

CAWOS INDOOR MEETINGS 2017-2018

All meetings are held in the hall at St Vincent's Roman Catholic Church, Tatton Street, Knutsford, WA16 6HR on the first Friday of the month, unless otherwise stated - please check the programme. There is a large and free car park off Tatton Street close to the hall.

An entrance fee of £2.00 to members and £4.00 for non-members will be charged at all meetings except the AGM when there will be free admission. A coffee break is taken halfway through the evening. The doors open at 7:30pm for a 7:45pm start.

Details of the next meeting are as follows –

5th October 2018
‘WHITE AND WILD - NATURE IN COLDER CLIMES’ by Mark Sisson

Snow, ice and frost make for challenging conditions for wildlife in the winter months and this talk involves a photographic journey from Canada to Japan, Finland to Yellowstone and many more locations beside to see just how this creates both dramatic photographic opportunities, but also the chance to witness just how nature copes when the conditions are white and wild.

CHRISTMAS LUNCH

This year’s Christmas meal will be at the Rope and Anchor, Paddock Lane, Dunham Massey on the 15th December for 1230pm following the morning car trip to Pennington Flash [apparently our favourite venue at Pennington Flash, The Raven, is closing down!].

The cost is £23.00 for 2 courses or £28.00 for 3 courses
It is a £15.00 deposit per person which can be paid at the September/October meetings with final full payments being due at the meeting on the 23rd November.

Copies of the menu will be available at this Friday’s meeting.

ANNETTE R

NEXT MONTH’S MEETING

Our next indoor meeting is on Friday 19th October at 7:30pm when our speaker will be Mike Roberts with a talk entitled “Plains, Cranes, and Autovians”.

Hope to see you all then.

NEWSLETTER CONTRIBUTIONS

Still required – your articles for the newsletter. Tell us all about that birding holiday of a lifetime or that unusual visitor to your garden bird table.

Deadline is the Friday before the meeting.

THE DARTFORD WARBLER

Datford%20Warbler

You are unlikely to see the delightful Dartford Warbler in Cheshire. Their main UK range is very much in the southern counties. However it is a possible species on our weekend away to Minsmere. They can be found on Dunwich and Westleton Heaths on the northern border of Minsmere reserve. Hopefully we may have an opportunity to look for them.
ROBERT D





NEWSLETTER APRIL 2018

TONIGHT'S MEETING (Friday 27th April)

Tonight’s meeting will begin at 7:15pm with our Annual General Meeting.

This is your opportunity to express any comments (or complaints) on the way that the group is run and to make any suggestions. Please make use of it.

Following the AGM our speaker is Jeff Clarke with a talk entitled “How to build a Naturalist”. Jeff has been a frequent visitor to the Guild in recent years and is a popular speaker on a wide range of subjects related to the natural environment. All his talks are liberally sprinkled with humour and anecdotes that guarantees a memorable night for the audience.

Please join me in welcoming Jeff for what I am sure will be a very entertaining evening.

COACH TRIPS

Our next coach trip is this weekend on Sunday 29th of April to Rutland Water, departing from the Guild at 7:30am.

This internationally famous nature reserve is managed by the Leicestershire & Rutland Wildlife Trust in partnership with Anglian Water and provides one of the most important wildfowl sanctuaries in Great Britain, regularly holding in excess of 25,000 waterfowl.
It is a Site of Special Scientific Interest, designated as a European Special Protection Area and internationally recognised as a globally important wetland RAMSAR site.

The reserve occupies shore line and shallow water lagoons along 9 miles of the western end of Rutland Water and covers a total area of 1000 acres. It was created in the 1970s with the construction of the reservoir. There are over 30 bird watching hides and nature trails from two visitor centres with experts to help you with identification.

The Reserve is also home to the successful Rutland Osprey Project which in 2001 celebrated the first Osprey chick to fledge in Central England for 150 years. Currently several pairs of Ospreys breed in and around Rutland Water and are regularly seen fishing over the reservoir from April – September.
The Anglian Water Birdwatching Centre at Egleton offers exciting environmental displays, viewing gallery, excellent schools service, Wildlife Trust shop and In Focus optical shop. At the Lyndon Visitor Centre there is a fascinating Weather and Wildlife exhibition as well as a Wildlife Trust shop.

There is a £4 group admission charge for the reserve. Please retain your ticket during the day as you will need it when visiting the various parts of the reserve.

Our final coach trip of the season is on Sunday 13th May to Bempton RSPB reserve and Flamborough Head, departing from the Guild at 7:30am.

Over 200,000 seabirds come to the cliffs at Bempton to breed. There are gannets, guillemots, razorbills, puffins, kittiwakes and fulmars. Peregrines are often present and occasionally short-eared owl on the farmland behind. Typical farmland birds such as skylark, corn bunting and partridge can often be seen here as well. At Flamborough the cliffs are less pronounced but the farmland/woodland area is better. Toilets and café facilities are available at both sites. RSPB members should bring their cards.

Book your seat for both trips at the desk.

FIELD TRIP TO MIDDLETON LAKES MARCH 25th 2018

See Trip Reports section click here

BIRDING ON TENERIFE - JANUARY & FEBRUARY 2018

Please visit Peter's Page on the Group website click here

CHESHIRE AND WIRRAL BIRD REPORT 2015

2015-Front-cover-thumbnail.jpg

We’re delighted to say that the annual Bird Report for 2015 is now available – with many people working together to finally get it printed. This year’s eye-catching colour front cover is a stunning second-calendar-year Laughing Gull, which attracted many admirers to New Brighton Marine Lake, often giving ‘crippling’ views.

There are 152 pages of text with, as usual, the colour map of the county as the centre spread of the Bird Report. A total of 20 colour photographs, which best capture some of the highlights of the year, are spread over seven full pages.

The Bird Report is full of interesting articles:

• The first article tells the story of a Western Sandpiper discovered back in 2012. It attracted a steady stream of visiting birders, often showing well, over its 6-day stay. However, the identification prompted much discussion both locally and nationally such that it took four years and as many circulations for BBRC to agree it was the species claimed. This was the first ever for Cheshire and Wirral and only the 9th for the UK.
• Another article describes one observer finding tens of thousands of Common Scoters, all feeding just offshore from the low-water mark off Hoylake. After many weeks traipsing across the mud, the reward was discovering the first Surf Scoter for Cheshire and Wirral.
• Again on the Wirral, visiting birders upstaged the locals after finding the 1st-winter (second calendar-year) Laughing Gull on New Brighton Marine Lake on 2nd February. Fortunately for everyone, it hung around until 20th April; even visiting the Merseyside side of the Mersey estuary. The author of the article generously said “….anyone can be in the right place at the right moment and discover an exciting vagrant!”
• 2015 was a good year for Cetti’s Warblers, with reports of birds seen and/or heard coming from more than 20 sites. This secretive species is usually difficult to see, but one observer at Sandbach Flashes managed to hear, then finally see, a Cetti’s Warbler on a foggy day in October – the first for the flashes.

All the ‘regulars’ are there: ‘Weather and Bird Review of the Year’; the full ‘Systematic List of Birds Recorded in Cheshire and Wirral during 2015’, including ‘Category E Species’; ‘Early and Late Dates for Migrants’; ‘Ringing Report’; ‘BBRC and County Rarities Decisions’; ‘Chairman’s Review’; and finally, advice on the Cheshire and Wirral Gazetteer, and the ‘Submission of Records’, including rarities.

Last, but not least, we have again included a ‘Species Index’ at the back to help you quickly look up your favourite species.

The Bird Report is free to Cheshire and Wirral Ornithological Society members (ordinary membership costs £12), otherwise it costs £8 + £2 p&p and copies are available from:

David Cogger, 71 Parkgate, Knutsford, Cheshire, WA16 8HF
Tel: 01565 228503 Email: gro.sowac|reggocdivad#gro.sowac|reggocdivad

SUMMER CAR TRIPS

The Committee proposes to run 2 local car trips over the summer.

Goyt Valley, Wednesday 16th May

The woodland around Errwood reservoir and the upper Goyt Valley attracts numbers of summer migrants such as pied flycatcher, redstart, common sandpiper, tree pipit, and cuckoo. The uplands at Danebower hold ring ouzel, wheatear, meadow pipit, dipper, red grouse, short-eared owl and hobby. All have been seen on our trips here in recent years.

Meet at the Guild at 7am or at “The Street” car park at Errwood reservoir dam (map ref SK 013 757) at 7.30am.

Woolston Eyes, Thursday 7th June

The four beds at Woolston Deposit Grounds SSSI, are managed as a nature reserve by the Woolston Eyes Conservation Group in agreement with the Manchester Ship Canal Company. Parts of the site are still in use to accommodate dredging from the Manchester Ship Canal.

The reserve is perhaps best known for its breeding population of Black-necked Grebes. A variety of wildfowl can also be found here while warblers and other small birds are attracted to the scrub areas. Bird ringing takes place here from April to October each year.

Meet at the Guild at 8am or at Woolston Eyes (Thelwall Lane entrance) at 9am.

Directions: leave the M6 at junction 20 and follow the A50 towards Warrington, cross the ship canal swing bridge on the Knutsford Road (A50), take the right hand lane through Latchford and cross Kingsway South into Thelwall Lane.

The approach to the reserve goes between factories on the left and the Locks on the right. Park by the first barrier (parking here can be difficult). Key holders can negotiate two locked barriers to reach the car park by No.3 bed and the footbridge.

If your car has sat nav then keying in the postcode WA4 1PD and following the instructions should get you near to the first barrier referred to above.

You can obtain a map of the reserve and entrances at the following web address…
https://www.woolstoneyes.com/workspace/uploads/wooslton-eyes-reserve-map-and-ac-51fa9de80c94a.pdf

There will be an entry fee of £2 per person.

NEXT SEASON

Our first indoor meeting of the new season will be on Friday 28th September at 7:30pm and will feature Brian White with a talk entitled “Amazon Expedition”.

Our first coach trip will be on Sunday 21st October to Spurn, departing from the Guild at 7:30am.

MINSMERE 2019

Keep this weekend free: FRIDAY 22 – SUNDAY 24 February! Next year we are returning to Minsmere for our weekend away. We will be staying in Great Yarmouth at the Furzedown Hotel, the small family run hotel which made us so welcome on our previous visit.

I will be taking bookings at our September and October meetings.

Barbara P

NEWSLETTER CONTRIBUTIONS

Still required – your articles for the newsletter. Tell us all about that birding holiday of a lifetime or that unusual visitor to your garden bird table.

Deadline is the Friday before the meeting.

NEWS FROM THE GARDEN

Here are some photos of the more interesting and unusual visitors to my garden during the last month.

Red-legged_Partridge.jpg

I was sitting at the kitchen table having breakfast when some movement at the top of the garden caught my eye. I turned to get a better look and nearly choked on my coffee! It was a Red-legged Partridge. I picked up the camera and managed to rattle off a few shots before it squeezed under the hedge and disappeared into the neighbour’s garden. I live in suburban Macclesfield so this was rather unexpected.

The Red-legged Partridge is not a native species to the UK. Its natural habitat is continental Europe, mainly France and Spain. However they are often reared alongside pheasants and released for shooting so the British population is probably largely derived from escapees and survivors. There is a good population in Cheshire – I have often seen them while out walking in the countryside but never quite so close to home.


Later that same day…

Sparrowhawk.jpg

In the afternoon I was again sitting at the kitchen table enjoying a cup of coffee when I was attracted to some movement up against the hedge in the corner of the garden. This time it turned out to be a Sparrowhawk.

Sparrowhawk2.jpg

It had obviously just made a kill (which I hadn’t seen happen) and was busy plucking and devouring its catch. The victim looked quite large and dark-coloured, probably a feral pigeon. It was a substantial meal, you can see its crop bulging on its chest in the photo.

Fortunately it wasn’t disturbed so it remained while it finished its meal. It was very wary, constantly looking around all the time as it ate. It moved round quite a bit so I was able to see it from several different angles.

It then flew over the hedge taking the carcase with it but then returned immediately to almost where it had been before but now perched higher up on some sticks in the corner of the garden. It then spent some time wiping its beak on the perch to clean off the bloody mess and settled down to digest its meal. At this point it appeared to fall asleep since it hardly moved at all for quite a while.

Sparrowhawk3.jpg

The bird was in the garden for a considerable time. On checking the time stamps on the photos the first was was taken at 14:35 and the last one at 15:27. Almost 1 hour and that was only up to the point where it fell asleep and when I stopped taking photos. It was was there for at least another 30 minutes after that. Eventually the sky turned very dark and it started to rain which persuaded it to move on.

Quite an exciting day, and I didn’t even have to move from the comfort of my own kitchen!

Siskin.jpg

Siskins were still visiting the garden in the early part of this month. Usually they prefer to visit the hanging feeders but this handsome male Siskin came down to my home-made ground feeder to get his sunflower hearts.

Robert D




















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