Chasewater Chat - 2011

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PLEASE NOTE THAT THE COMMENTS ON THIS PAGE ARE THE OPINIONS OF INDIVIDUAL CONTRIBUTORS AND ARE NOT THE OPINIONS OF THE CHASEWATER WILDLIFE GROUP

Chasewater Wildlife Group accepts no responsibility for the content of external websites, links to which may appear on this page

 

 

Date

Comment

31st  December
2011
Hi Graham
Just to let you know that the dates for 2012 work parties on Norton Bog are as follows
Jan 8th, Feb 12th, Mar 11th, Apr 15th, May 13th, Jun 17th
All are on Sundays and run from 10-1. meeting at the car park on the Burntwood road (which is the little one with the horses)
Further dates will follow if there is enough interest!
Best Wishes
Rob

31st  December
2011
A 4cy Iceland Gull has turned up in the roost since 27th December and I strongly feel that it is the same bird as in the previous 3 winters. The following photos show how it has developed since it first appeared in the 2008/9 winter.
Juvenile on 2nd February 2009
2nd winter 19th December 2009
3rd winter 26th November 2010
4th winter 28th December 2011
Graham      

16th December
2011
Subject: Sightings 16th Dec
Hi there, Shelduck on the swag plus 5 Waxwing in Railway St Norton Canes
Regards,
Grant Hames
Thanks for your sightings Grant,
Your Waxwing record is particularly interesting as there are very few in the country at the moment. There have also been very few Shelducks at Chasewater during 2011 so yours is an important record.
All the best,
Graham
PS Please excuse the delay as I've been having problems accessing the Yahoo Mail recently and have only just found your 2 emails. Have there been any more we have missed?

10th -21st December

2011 

The December edition of 'British Birds' has part 2 of the 'Identification of Caspian Gull' paper, part 1 of which was in the March 2010 edition. Part 2 deals, in particular, with 'phenotypic variability and the field characteristics of hybrids'. In recent years, Caspian Gulls have significantly expanded their breeding range through Ukraine and into Poland and have come into contact with agentatus Herring Gulls and inevitably inter-breeding has taken place. As the zone of hybridization is the closest part of the range to Britain and many Baltic argentatus Herring Gulls habitually spend their winters over here, it is to be expected that several hybrid birds will find their way to the Midlands as well. The paper deals with 1cy and adult birds in particular and the authors have devised a system of giving a score for various traits that individuals show. For adult birds this involves a detailed analysis of the wing pattern, eye and eye-ring colour, bill shape and leg length. The following table briefly describes the traits and the possible scores for each trait; the lower the score the more typical of pure Caspian Gull.

Trait

 Score range

Gull A

Gull B

P10 white to black ratio

0-2

2

1

P10 white tip

0-3

1

1

P10 tongue

0-2

1

0

P5 extent of black

0-4

1

0

P4  extent of black

0-2

1

2

Iris peppering

0-3

2

1

Eye-ring colour

0-2

1

0

Bill shape

0-3

2 (2.3)

2 (2.25)

Leg length

0-2

2

1

Total

 

13

8

 

Interpretation of total scores

<9 = Caspian

9-11 Hybrid or Caspian

12-20 Hybrid or Herring

The figure in brackets for bill shape refers to the actual length/depth ratio.

Using the photographic evidence available, I have applied this to two of the gulls seen at Stubber's Green recently; Gull A being the bird photographed by Hughie King on 15th November. The score for this bird was 13 which, as suspected, is well into the range indicating a mixed parentage.

Gull A

Cick on images to enlarge
Gull B is the large adult bird that has generally been thought of as a good Caspian Gull although I have wondered about why the flight shots haven't shown obvious 'white tongues' in the outer primaries and have put down the thick bill to it being a large male. The trait score of 10 has put it in the rather grey zone of being possibly a hybrid and it really will be worth trying to get even clearer images of the primaries in order to reassess the trait scores.

 

Gull B - Present since at least October 30th - December 21st.

Excellent views at Stubber's Green on December 21st have dispelled any doubts I had about this large, presumed male, bird. Not being able to see pale 'tongues' in the primaries when in flight had concerned me but the image below clearly shows the underside of p10 having a clear and extensive white 'tongue' but only along the inner half of the inner web which would not normally show in flight. The revised trait score of 8 is good for a pure Caspian Gull.

 

Cick on images to enlarge

Graham

6th-11th December
2011
Graham,
 
Adult Caspian and Yellow-legged Gulls together at Stubbers Green this afternoon provided a good opportunity for comparison. An immature Peregrine flew SE at c1.45pm.

Kevin Clements

Hi Kevin,

Have you read the Caspian Gull article in this month's BB? It certainly makes interesting reading and puts the cat amongst the pigeons (or gulls) regarding the ID of our putative Caspians. I've used the article's criteria against two of the recent Stubber's birds and the possibility of a hybrid heritage seems to be quite strong.

Regards, Graham

24th November
2011
Hi
I've been down to Stubbers Green today + the AYLG was on the opposite shore of the main lake where the horses are (I think you can see a school in the background) - showing very well in good light - opened its wings when threatened by another gull - showed white tips to primaries but I didn't notice a mirror on P1 - too quick to register pattern on other primaries
        I'll put the sighting on Birdguides - the more people are looking, the more info can be gathered for a positive ID - I'll take my camera next time
I have seen the bird previously in the roost at Chasewater
         cheers
Mark Sargent

 

Thanks Mark,

I was very close to going to Stubbers Green today as I really hoped the gull would turn up there and I desperately want to get good photos of the spread wing and legs etc. Pity you didn't have your camera. I'm about to charge up my batteries and I hope to be down there tomorrow.

Graham

16th November

2011 

Hi Graham,
Please find attached 5 photos of the Caspian Gull seen at Stubbers Green 15/11/11 as discussed.
Regards, Hughie King.

Cick on images to enlarge
Thanks Hughie,

It's an interesting gull and certainly not the regular large adult Caspian that has been at Stubber's Green and Chasewater recently. The white head with pale grey flecks on the lower nape and the wing-pattern looks good for Caspian, although the inner web of p10 can't be seen. However, several other features such as leg length, general structure, bill shape and pale eye are rather Herring Gull-like and I'm wondering if we may be in the world of hybrids with this one. One of the images seems to show yellow legs and pink feet but sunny days at Stubber's Green always create difficult lighting for photography and colours can be difficult to establish. The dark marks on the primary coverts imply it's not fully adult. It's certainly worth looking out for and photographing in even light.

Regards Graham

 

12th November

2011

Hi,

My name is Peter Miller, I am local to the area living near to Cuckoo Bank.  I have visited your site on several occasions and have found it both interesting and informative.  I am a keen amateur photographer with varied interests in photographic subjects.  My main subject is travel photography, I have been to many parts of this interesting world but the local scene is just as interesting.

I am interested in the preservation of our local area for wildlife and have photographed my fair share of the local wildlife.

Here are some examples taken at what I think is Norton Bog, along the course of the steam railway:

I am therefore interested in joining your organisation but would like a little more info first. What does your wildlife group actually do, do you go out or organise meets. What is discussed at your club meets for example on Tuesday 15th November, how many people attend these meetings. What happens with the £5.00 fee, what is it used for. If you have any other info could you please let me know.

Here is a link to a site that I currently have some of my work on including the images attached. http://pjwmiller.aminus3.com/portfolio/

The following images can be seen at this link http://www.flickr.com/photos/petermiller/sets/72157603284482919/  all taken in Chase area

Looking forward to hearing from you,

Many thanks,

Peter Miller

 

Hello Peter,

Thanks for getting in touch and I hope you decide to join us. The £5.00 membership fee goes towards running this website, which receives up to 240 page views a day, and items such as bird food for the feeding station. We have been running since 1995 and our main purpose is to be an independent group which records the wildlife of the area with a view to informing and educating people and organisations about the site's wonderful bio-diversity. For example, this huge body of knowledge has contributed greatly towards the establishment of the recently designated Chasewater and the Southern Staffordshire Coalfield Heaths Site of Special Scientific Importance. During the summer months our meetings are usually outdoor and informal site gatherings where we share observations and chat and from September to March we have more formal meetings with an agenda of issues to discuss but also a lot of informal chat and sharing of knowledge and skills, such as photography. Our next meeting will be on December 20th when we will be having a few mince pies etc and a photographic round-up of the year, to which you are very welcome to attend.

All the best,

Graham Evans

 

12th November

2011

After looking around Chasewater today (12.11.2011) for reported sightings of 10 Waxwings, I gave up and started to head back to my car.  I was still on the path from the Railway Station and heading towards the Swag at Norton when I saw something swoop down into the grass followed by magpies.  I realised it was an owl and managed to get a couple of photos in poor light and my step dad confirmed that indeed it was an owl, a Short-eared Owl.  So I am attaching them for you to use if you wish.
Regards
Jennie Anderson
© J Anderson
 
© J Anderson

 

Dear Jennie,
Thank you for your great photos of the Short-eared Owl. It's the first one to be seen at Chasewater this year; I think the rest of us have been looking at the gulls too much and the owl has probably been performing behind our backs!
Regards,
Graham

10th November

2011

Hello,

I was thinking of joining your group when I realised that I don't actually know what it is that I would be doing in it. Could you please tell me what it is that you do? Are you a group of volunteers concerned with the maintaining the environment of Chasewater, or are you solely concerned with monitoring and observing wildlife? If I were to join, what would be asked of me? Do you, for example, meet regularly to work on certain projects, like the Burton Conservation Volunteers group?

Regards,

Sam Brotherston
 

Hello Sam,

We are very much involved in the observing and recording of the site's wildlife and sharing our findings with all interested people and organisations. We very much have a view as to how we would like to see the site develop, especially now that Staffordshire County Council is taking over control of the whole site and, as in the past, we intend to be proactive in its planning and management. Perhaps the best plan would be for you to attend the Staffs CC 'Friends of Norton Bog Country Park' meeting on November 30th at 6:30 in Norton Canes Library where you will meet some of the CWG and then come to our Christmas Meeting for a mince pie and a photographic round-up of the year on December 20th, 7:30 at the Chase Recreation Club, in Chasetown High Street.

Hope to see you soon,

Graham

30th July
2011
Hi Graham,
any idea what this is on the north shore the other day?
Regards
Geoff Thompson
 

Hi Geoff,
The plant is Buddleia which is also sometimes called the Butterfly Bush due to its attractiveness to many types of butterfly; particularly Peacocks, Small Tortoiseshells, Red Admirals and Commas. The plant was introduced to Britain from China by way of Russia at the end of the 19th century and its wind-borne seeds quickly colonise areas of open ground such as the dried lake bed at Chasewater.
All the best,
Graham

8th July 2011
Hi All

I hate to be so forward, but things are very tight for charities these days, you know!

As some of you will know, I work as an Operations Manager for a disability charity called Enable-Solihull and we work with people with a range of disabilities in Solihull.

We are very privileged that a lady called Joanna Evans has volunteered to undertake a sponsored 
walk on our behalf along the Jurassic coast which she will be doing on 16th July; this is a very challenging, hilly two day walk.
If you would like to sponsor Joanna, please complete the attached sponsorship form and return via email or by post at my work address below. Cheque payment is probably best, or you can give me cash, if I'm going to see you in the near future.

Please don't worry if you can't donate, but if you do, your hard-earned cash will be helping us to continue supporting disabled people and carers in Solihull.
 Even the smallest donations can help.

Many thanks,
Kay
xxx
St Andrews Centre
Pike Drive
Chelmsley Wood
Solihull
B37 7US.
 
0121 788 1544
Hi Kay,
Good luck with all your charity work. I'm afraid my computer skills aren't up to getting your attachments onto this page so if people want to contact you I thought they could email you at the above link.
All the best,
Graham
PS Its far too long since we've had the pleasure of your company at Chasewater!

8th July 2011
hi,
Do you know who I can contact to complain about motorbikes racing round Chasewater? Three of them were scrambling around the Slurry Pool on Friday evening 8th July. We nearly got mowed down. This is also supposed to be a conservation area.
regards,
Trevor Phillips
Hi Trevor,
The number for Lichfield Police Station is  03001234455 . 
Although Staffordshire County Council have taken over Chasewater Country Park, until 2014, its day to day running will still be done by Lichfield DC. However, the Slurry Pool or Norton Bog area is currently outside the Country Park and is managed by Staffordshire County Council and if there is any need to contact them the address and number I've come up with is:

 
Environment and Countryside
Staffordshire County Council
Riverway
Stafford
Staffordshire
ST16 3TJ
Tel: 01785 277240

 
As a Group I feel we must establish better links with Staff CC since the future lies with them and we need to make sure that they recognise our interest and knowledge of the area.
 
All the best,
Graham

5th July 2011
I've just got back from Chasewater Railway where I volunteer whilst there today I observed what appeared to be a small Hummingbird feeding on on of the plat on the station. On returning home I was able to identify on the internet as a Hummingbird Hawkmoth.
I was fascinated by it and watched it feeding for several minutes and photographing it, unfortunately its not my usual subject matter so was uncertain how best to capture an image of something moving so fast so left the camera on auto so they are quite blurred but identifiable.
I thought this may be of interest to your group.
I've attached a couple of the clearer images.
Are these a regular visitor to the park, I've never seen anything like it in my 30 odd years around the park.
Robert Anderson
Editor Chasewater Railway News
Hi Robert,
Thanks so much for your sighting. It was indeed a Hummingbird Hawkmoth and although I'm pretty sure that we've had them before, I can't actually recall when, so well done for finding it.
All the best,
Graham

I'll put the photos on when I've worked out how to!!

 

1st July 2011
Hi Graham 
Please read below. I'm trying to get funding for my local community for renewable, I am so close yet so far, with almost less than 24 hours to go, I  need people to follow this link and click on support this group. I have spent months on this... the idea we get funding for renewable and the profit goes into a pot towards groups, community to educate the importance of landscape quality.
 
I feel like a little fish in a big sea... ok I have 2 days to go to get through round one, for funding to educate generations about the importance of renewable energy...towards a better quality of life. I am a young mum an I am doing this alone. This post is to ask you if you would take 2 minutes of your time to follow this link and support my group green energy. Please will you. The first 100 get through and I am just on the threshold of this. Thank you

 

http://www.energyshare.com/green-energy/    Please forward this link to as many people as possible.

 

Kind Regards
Good luck Danielle,
I really urge everyone to click on the link and support your admirable efforts to make our local communities environmentally aware.
Graham
PS. Tell your dad there are gulls needing to be identified by him at the Chasewater roost. Its about time we saw him again. He's as rare as a Franklin's Gull at the moment :-)

18th June 2011
hi Graham ,
I have found three bee orchids on the grass verge in the car park at my work  , the site is just across the by-pass from  Chasewater . Also found one on scrap land , although this land at the moment has a huge bed of wild strawberries on it as well , so its a botanical delight as far as I'm concerned  . Its marvellous how nature can spring up and delight in the most unassuming places . And how the bee orchids, presumably independent from each other, have flowered this year, fascinating ! The conditions must be just right for them ...

Glyn

10th June 2011

Dear Graham,
 
I have been a regular user of Chasewater for years and was confused to see signs protecting the Ringed Plovers on the site. I was researching the bird on the RSPB website, so I was more aware of where they would be on the site and I wouldn't disturb them, when I noticed that they are listed as a green list species, which the RSPB defines as:

"Green list

·    Species that occur regularly in the UK but do not qualify under any or the above criteria"

 
This seems to be contrary to your comments that the bird is endangered? It seems they are doing fine and your comments that they already have 24 young on this site alone seem to support the RSPB's listing.
 
As a further comment I would like to say that I actually like the variety of birds that can be found on the 'duck pond'. I bring my children there to see all the different types of birds - the one in your picture we actually call 'a pom-pom headed duck'! I don't see as there would be anyway to stop the breeding of the mallards - after all they do have wings and will mate with anything that stays around for long enough! I quite agreed with the comments in the General Information Leaflet produced by LDC, especially during the winter - the duck pond is a home to a whole extended family for a lot of people, it is easy to access and perfect for the children! Everyone is entitled to an opinion and different users have different requirements.
 
I find the site to be very well looked after and find the Rangers to be a very courteous and helpful group of people.
 
Yours,
 
Jenny Huges
 

Hi Jenny, some information about the protection little ringed plovers (not ringed plovers) are afforded can be found here;

 

http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1981/69  (note this link is to an external website not owned or run by CWG and may take a while to load)

 

Hopefully when Graham is next updating the website he may be able to help more with your questions- it's not a field I am all that knowledgeable in- I expect the green/amber and red lists change all the while, but it is the Wildlife and Countryside Act that protects the interests of all UK breeding birds

All the best

Nat

 

Hello Jenny,
 
Thanks so much for writing; its great to hear people's points of view and opinions. The Little Ringed Plover situation is indeed rather confusing. It is a species that has only colonised the British Isles since 1938 and around 1000 pairs now breed, partly due to the special legal protection it has been given. Because of this positive situation it has been given a 'Green' status.

 
 Species such as House Sparrow, of which there are 3 million pairs and therefore 3000 times more abundant than Little Ringed Plovers, and Starling (800 000 pairs) have been given a 'Red' status because their populations are in a decline that is causing great concern.
 
Chasewater currently holds around 1.5% of the national population of Little Ringed Plovers and to put this into perspective there would have to be 45 000 pairs of House Sparrows on site for it to hold a similar proportion of the national population. I don't think I've ever said that the national population of Little Ringed Plovers is 'endangered'.

 
The 'duck pond' situation is one we could talk about for hours and as its now 00:55am and I was planning on getting up to hear the dawn chorus! If I continued the discussion there would be no point in going to bed .

 
As for the Rangers, they are indeed a lovely group of people that I respect a great deal.

 
Regards,
Graham

 

20th May 2011

Hello!

 

Took a walk round Jeffreys Swag with my cousin and her dog this afternoon (Thursday 19th)  and as well as a family of coots (really cute tiny babies with black bodies and brown heads), we think we saw a great crested grebe.

 

My camera wasn't really up to the job of covering the distance even on full zoom, but I am attaching a very blurry pic - not for you to post (it's too awful), but in the hope that you may be able to confirm the identity of the bird.

 

I love to check in to your website from time to time to see what's happening and have also found it useful when I've seen a bird I can't identify - thanks for being there!

 

 

~Suzanne~

 

Hi Suzanne, yes you have yourself a great crested grebe there. They are great to watch in late winter or early spring as they have a complex courting ritual where they posture together and synchronise movements. Coot babies are very lovely to look at- very competitive little birds though, often the biggest chick will bully the smaller ones to the death as they get older! Great crested grebe babies are attractive- they have stripy heads.

All the best

Nat

4th May 2011

Hi there, found a Dingy Skipper on CB midday today, it was on the heather/heath area. Tried to photo but rarely settled. This was a new species for me so took some time to verify id.      Bob Russon, Lichfield RSPB

 

26th April 2011
Hi Graham,
Cuckoo calling on North heath,7.35 a.m.. Redshank flew over North heath, calling at 8.15 a.m 
Cheers for now, Kevin McCarthy

23rd - 1st May 2011

Re diary entry 21st April. How can you justify complaining about the presence of dog walkers and families using the shoreline when wildlife enthusiasts are out there on the water's edge photographing birds? They may well be aware of the location of the LRPs and avoid the nest sites but they are showing very little respect to the whole concept of staying off the lakebed and are blatantly advertising to the public that it's fine to be out there. It reeks of double standards. Why should LDC go to the effort and cost of protecting the birds when the wildlife group cannot even be bothered to educate the public themselves?

Nat

 

Three cheers for the Wildlife Group! Chasewater is one of the best recorded places in Britain with detailed records going back years. With the modern addition of such a brilliant and informative website, people are more informed about the place than ever before. None of this would be possible without dedicated experts spending hours and hours, not just happily in the field but laboriously at home poring over computers and cameras to make sure the very best information and illustration is available for all those interested. And let's face it, a superb photograph is worth a thousand words, a list of actual sightings is worth a thousand guesses. Many thanks to the recorders, experts and photographers in the group for bringing Chasewater's riches to life for the rest of us.

Jan Hume 

 

 I fail to see where I was 'complaining' about the presence of dog walkers etc. I was making an observation i.e. A Common Sandpiper and 8+ Little Ringed Plovers were seen on a brief visit to the South Shore which was heavily disturbed by dog walkers, families and a remote controlled buggy. And as my reason for going on the shore was to scare off a Carrion Crow that was causing extreme stress to a Little Ringed Plover I started to think that there may some justification for not fencing off the whole lake-bed this year which led to me writing the second sentence: At least the disturbance was keeping a prospecting Crow away from the Little Ringed Plovers; perhaps LDC has decided this is the best way to protect them this year (GE).

It is food for thought that last year there appears to have been greater predation of young shorebirds at Belvide than here at Chasewater and it may have been because the presence of the occasional person on the shore (particularly one who knew where the nests were) had kept avian predators away. Clearly a free for all is not being recommended as, quite obviously, the risk of accidental trampling of nests increases with every pair of feet and set of paws that go on the shore and off the lead dogs clearly pose a great threat to flightless chicks.

It would be interesting to to a survey to see what drives people to go onto Chasewater's lake bed; I somehow feel no-one would say its because of the 'blatant advertising' of 'wildlife enthusiasts'.

Graham

 

Graham

You and I will clearly have to agree to disagree. If I read the diary comments (and there have been many about disturbance over the years) as a complaint on the users of Chasewater's shorelines then I will not be the only one that interprets them that way. In my mind, to moan about the presence of people and then to be one of them is double standards.

The number of times I have been on the balcony shore scanning for waders and see people right down on the waters edge, exactly where those waders would be if it were not for the presence of the person. This at a time when the council are telling people to stay off. People attract people....if one person does it then others will follow. As for the crow- it's a predatory species and very intelligent. It would come back when you weren't there, double the stress.

Yes the wildlife group does do an amazing job of recording wildlife, but it should do so in a way that is respectful of the landowners wishes and the needs of the wildlife itself. Just my opinion.

Nat

25th March 2011

Hi Graham, there were around 30 Waxwings in the alder trees behind the feeding station on the 22nd March, took some photos and will process
and email them to you over the weekend, regards Mark.

 

21st March 2011

Graham, 17.00 today 4 LRPs, 1Goosander, 1 pr Goldeneye only. Gull roost very small. Perhaps of interest, Sun 08.00 1 Oystercatcher, 2 Snipe, 2 pr Gadwall, Teal, + a few Reed Buntings, very little else seen, all from sailing club. Regards Arthur

 

20th - 24th March 2011

Hi there, saw around 35 Waxwings this afternoon in a tree along Cumberledge Hill Road in Cannock Wood this afternoon, they seemed very quiet, not really trilling much, perhaps saving energy now for the big fly home! Also saw a lizard basking on Gentleshaw Common , I was wondering if you knew if there are adders on the common itself, have seen them on the Chase many times, but have been promising the wife to find her a basking adder, and Gentleshaw Common is pretty convenient for us to walk over, (got a little baby in tow) . Cheers for any info, Glyn

 

Hi Glyn, Waxwings are always great to find. As for Adders, I think they do occur on Gentleshaw Common but I haven't seen them personally. I hope more information may come in as a result of your request. Graham

 

Hi Glyn, adders were definitely present last summer on Gentleshaw Common.

Regards, Nat

 

Hi Glyn, to add to my brief reply on the chat page; I am a Vet Nurse and occasionally see the consequences of nosey dogs finding the adders over the common. They are definitely present but I've never seen one myself. My husband saw one basking in the middle of the road that runs down from Gentleshaw to the Redmoor (a couple of years ago I think). He encouraged it off the road with a stick before it could meet an unfortunate end.
All the best
Nat Ward
Chasewater Wildlife Group
 
Hi Nat , 
Excellent news, I suspected there would be adders on the common as I suppose at one time the whole area was a much larger tract of lowland heath country and not broken up by villages and farms. I'll keep my eyes peeled from now on, treading lightly with a pair of binoculars !
Many thanks, Glyn
 

13th March 2011
Hi , Today 13th March it was noticed that water from Jefferies swag is being pumped into the main pool which has reduced the level of Jefferies Swag. In doing so it has created a very small static pool on the Chasewater side of the  little steel crossover walkway, no doubt where works are to be commenced shortly. 
 
This bit of water was today full of dozens of frogs, which would not normally be there as it is usually running water and these frogs will no doubt be in danger. 
 
The spawning place from past observations, is in Jefferies Swag on the other side of the small Blue Brick Bridge close to where the water is being pumped from.
 
Any suggestions?  If you need any help let me know.
Derek.

 

Thanks Derek,
The culvert is actually going to be placed just about half way along the causeway so the frogs should be able to find their way to a suitable spawning pool although there is nothing to stop any of us helping them in their search! It certainly seems that a lowering of the Swag by 1.25m will have quite a significant effect upon the size of the pool and could strand any spawn already laid as well as affecting breeding birds such as Moorhens, Coots and grebes. We will discuss the issue at our meeting on Tuesday 15th March to which you are most welcome to attend (see the link on the home page for details).
Regards,
Graham

8th March
2011
 

Hi Graham
 
I photographed this (attached) duck today (08/03/11) at Chasewater and am unsure what it is. My guess is a Mallard hybrid. Its one I haven't seen before but quite good to see, have you any ideas please.
 
Thanks and regards
Trev

 

Hi Trev, Your duck is a domesticated form of Mallard and it seems that it is called a Crested Swedish, at least in USA.
Graham

 If anyone knows any more about these domesticated varieties then please let us know. What are your feelings about the dilution of the true wild Mallard by these bizarre varities? Is Chasewater the right place for them? Your opinions would be greatly appreciated.

25th February
2011
 
Graham
 Iceland Gull in roost today 16.30, also Redshank and Oystercatcher.
 All the best Arthur 

12th February
2011
 
Hi Graham,
Raven flying west over Norton East Road at 8:45am. 60+ Linnets on south shore. Drake Smew present on Slurry Pool.
Cheers for now, Kevin McCarthy

30th January
2011
 

Birdforum discussion thread on the Clayhanger diver;

http://www.birdforum.net/showthread.php?t=191180

 

29th January
2011
 

Hello,

I saw a group of between 38 and 42 Waxwings at Catshill Junction on the canal just outside Brownhills on Thursday 27/01/11.  I watched them between 4.00pm and 4.30pm before they flew off towards the centre of Brownhills as it was getting dark.  Most of the time, they were high in a tree on the far (Brownhills) side of the canal and only identifiable with binoculars, but at one time they spent a minute or two onto a nearby small tree where they were beautifully displayed from just a few feet away!  Unfortunately, the failing light made their colours only dimly visible - an hour earlier would have been much better.

Russell Calvert
Nottingham

27th January
2011

Hi Graham

I spotted around 20 Waxwings in Highfield Road, Burntwood on Wednesday 26th Jan, this was at 2.50pm. First time I've seen them in this area.

As usual, I didn't have my camera with me.

Cheers, Trev

Thanks Trev,

I presume you're referring to Highfield Road between the demolished Greyhound and Fulfen and not Highfields Road, Chasetown where Waxwings turned up a couple of years ago. Too many Highfields about!

All the best, Graham

 

Yes, you're right, someway down from the old Greyhound, they were near the junction of Highfield Road and Elder Lane, but actually in Highfield Road. Agree, too many Highfields lol.

Regards, Trev

19th
January
2011
Graham,
             Can you tell us where the Feeding Station has been relocated to please ?
John & Sue
Hi John and Sue,
You should be able to find the new location for the feeding station if you walk along the path that goes round Fly Bay from the Sailing Club look to your right 50m before the steps and boardwalk and you should see the feeding station on the edge of the alder plantation. Good luck!
All the best, Graham

15th January 2011

Dear Graham,

Would you please consider adding my blog - hammerwichwildlife.blogspot.com to your blog links page on the Chasewater web site. I am trying to raise the awareness of wildlife in Hammerwich Parish and would very much like to meet and talk to you about the Hammerwich side of Chasewater. I recently met Phill Ward again whilst looking at waxwings in Brownhills high street and it was very clear in our discussion how much overlaps between the Chase and Hammerwich.

regards

Robert Sharp

 

Link added for you

Regards, Natalie Ward

14th January 2011

Good afternoon,
a quick sprint around the area produced,
1 x drake Smew & 9 Goosander at Chasewater (11:00) and 1 x Adult Yellow-legged Gull at Stubbers Green (12:00)
regards, 
Karl Sargent

11th January 2011

Woodcock flushed from scrub near gate to sailing club; 12.00 today.  Bob Russon

7th January 2011

Hi there, 15 Waxwings along Cannock Rd, Heath Hayes at 09.30 this morning, I know it`s outside Chasewater area just thought you might be interested
Regards,
Grant Hames

6th-7th January 2011

Graham, Roger,

 

Possible Caspian Gull on ice at c2.40pm (after you left, Roger) – small adult, with small dark eye, white head, long pale yellow bill, long tapering wings, angled stance compared to more horizontal Herring Gulls. However, only viewed with binoculars and bird flew with others towards tip when disturbed by horse graziers and no further sign.

Also, Barnacle Goose still present and 15 Goosander, but most flew off as above.

Kevin Clements

..............................................................................................................

Hello,

 

Attached are images of that I took a gull seen at Stubbers Green at c1.20pm today, which I also saw c2.40pm yesterday. I would welcome your views at whether this is a Caspian Gull.

Thank you.

Kevin Clements

Graham,

 

Alan Dean’s comments re gull:

 

Not the clearest of photos – in current light conditions that’s no surprise! However, the mantle colour; longish looking legs (with evident tibia) and their apparently washed out flesh colour; the clean white head; the dark iris and the long white tip to outermost primary look good for Caspian. The bill is perhaps a little less long and with more obvious gonys angle than ideal. Overall I’d say there are enough positives to id this as Caspian. If you saw the spread wing and can confirm black on outer six primaries and with pale ‘veins’ intruding at the base then that would be additionally supportive.

 

And Steve Nuttall’s:

 

The Caspian Gull look fine too me.

 

I was also concerned about the bill – it looked longer and paler yesterday (presuming it was the same bird!), but that was with binoculars, whereas today the bird was more head on, which could foreshorten its appearance. Please feel free to use images on website.

 

When I arrived at about 1.00pm, there were very few gulls! However, what I presume was a bird scarer went off towards the tip and hundreds of gulls soon arrived! I picked out the gull on the ice, but after a few minutes at c1.20pm it flew towards me and the tip – I could not get any wing detail.

No sign of the Barnacle Goose (but few Canadas present), though three Goosanders, 63 Great B-b Gulls and ten Common Gulls counted.

Cheers.

Kevin Clements

 

5th January 2011

Graham,

Single Barnacle Goose with the Canada Geese at Stubbers Green lunchtime today (5th Jan), also 8 Goosander on the sailing lake.

Cheers.

Kevin Clements

 

 

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