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  A STATEMENT REGARDING THE CURRENT COVID-19 PANDEMIC AND ITS IMPACT ON THE MANCHESTER BIRDING FORUM: • The forum will currently remain open and all threads active. Given that some birders are fortunate enough to live within close walking distance of birding sites which can constitute their daily exercise walk as outlined by the Government, I see no reason as yet to prevent them from posting. Whilst I have absolutely no intention of even attempting to dictate what folk can and can’t do though, I do expect anyone posting to be following Government guidelines on what is currently acceptable. Making unnecessary journeys by car to go out birding does not constitute ‘acceptable’ and I would ask any birder intent on doing so to refraining from posting on the forum until such a time the current restrictions are lifted. • It is unfortunate but understandable that, for now at least, sought after species, particularly county rarities, should not be posted on the forum and their release to any social media or national bird information service (particularly the former which are generally poorly, if ever, moderated) should be very seriously considered. The forum and myself as sole owner and administrator, have a responsibility not to be encouraging the contravention of the current Government guidelines, and informing groups of county birders to gather potentially within close proximity of each other in a location they have to travel a good way by car to get to, merely in order to see a bird, is quite clearly not responsible at such a serious time in our lives. • I fully appreciate the importance of birds and birding to many users of this forum and the negative impact COVID-19 restrictions will have on them and as such I am always willing to listen and discuss ideas to alleviate this where possible, around what the forum (and website) may be able to do to assist in any way. As of today, I have created a COVID-19 Garden lockdown sub-forum which I hope may go some way to help those with the potential boredom and stress of being confined to home for long periods. Maybe no one will use it, maybe they will, but please read the sticky post on the relevant sub-forum before posting. • For those users who will be making the most of their fitness walks around the area of where they live, maybe sites they have never really investigated before, if such a site does not exist on the forum and they wish to post their sightings (no matter how mundane they may appear to be) please feel free to start a new topic with the site name and/or contact me to discuss it etc. • As always, if anyone has any queries, ideas or wishes to discuss any other matter, please just get in touch (privately please) • Stay safe, Ian

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Post Info TOPIC: Highfield Moss, Lowton


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RE: Highfield Moss, Lowton


This morning 6.00 - 7.30. 

1 Whinchat - male

1 Cuckoo - heard several times but not seen

2 Whitethroat

2 Wheatear

4 Willow Warblers

Plus the usuals. 



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Two Stonechats present yesterday during my walk. 



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Over 50% of the moss has recently been scorched (which is an almost annual event), but new growth is already beginning to show. At least six Wheatears present this morning on the blackened ground plus another four on the airstrip. Also, a female Whinchat down near the southern boundary. 

Other birds in attendance were at least three Whitethroats, two Blackcaps and nine Willow Warblers. 



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Good, close views of a female Merlin with prey this morning as it flew towards me on the moss and briefly alighted in a tree. Other than that it was very quiet. 



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This morning 8.30 - 10.00.

Fantastic views of a Peregrine chasing Woodpigeon this morning over the airstrip. 

c150 Pink footed geese over north west

10 Grey Partridge 

c25 Redwings over south plus a few in the hedges to the north of the moss

c20 Fieldfare over north

c80 Skylarks loafing around the fields with some moving through south too

4 Buzzards

2 Kestrels

2 Goldcrests

c100 Black headed gulls on the fields with several Common and Lesser Black backed mixed in. 

 



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This morning 9.00 - 10.30. First visit down here in a while.

Not much around at ground level but really good numbers of Swallows and House Martins moving through southwards. In the 90 minutes i was present over 150 of them must have moved through. In addition to this there were also good numbers of Skylark on the move as well. 

Other birds present were:

4 Great Spotted Woodpecker

2 Snipe

10 Grey Partridge

c30 Tree Sparrows (2 flocks)

 

 



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Planning meeting 16th August
More details in other thread:
http://www.manchesterbirding.activeboard.com/t61567660/highfield-moss-lowton-planning-application/?page=1#lastPostAnchor

Apologies for wrong-threading, but it's important

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Corn Bunting south of the moss this morning



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Early morning foray from 6.00-8.00am. Of note were:

1 Corn Bunting

1 Yellow Wagtail - male

7 pairs of Grey Partridge

 



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A good morning on the moss today. A Red Kite was circling near to the Travellers Rest pub and remained for about twenty minutes before drifting off west. This is the second Red Kite I've had down here now.

Whilst watching the Kite, a call from above drew my attention to a Hobby which was circling right above me. This soared away southwards after a few minutes. 

Other notable birds present were:

6 Sand Martins through west. 

5 Whitethroats

4 Willow Warblers



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My first visit this morning for two months or so.

Non breeding plumage adult Little Gull feeding and loafing with several Black headed gulls on the arable field to the north of the railway line near to Highfield farm. I watched it for around fifteen minutes and it came incredibly close at times giving excellent views. A massive tick for the moss!

Other notables were a single Coal Tit in the woods and also around thirty Fieldfares in the stubble field near the railway line. 



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Please note that there is a planning application for increasing usage of the adjacent airstrip

See this link for all discussion & if you want to object:
http://www.manchesterbirding.activeboard.com/t61567660/highfield-moss-lowton-planning-application

Deadline for objections is 19th February 2016

John

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birds present today included 3 Buzzard, 1 Kestrel, 1 Sparrowhawk, 41 Fieldfare and a Skylark in song briefly



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Went for a pre-dusk wander round the Moss, looking for the recent Short-eared Owl. No luck but did turn up Barn and Tawny Owls, plus a roost of c.120 Redwings and 30 Fieldfares. Disappointing to see that the small, wet birch copse where the Willow Tits breed has been completely cut down.



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A good morning on the moss today with plenty of visible migration on show.

c565 Pink-footed Geese through South eastwards (80,20,25,220,35,45 and 140)
12 Buzzards - all on the ground in the field to the north of the line. A recently deceased fox in this field too which may be the reason for all the Buzzards though they were no where near it at the time. My largest ever count.
c80 Linnets
c20 Pied Wagtails
c100 Black-headed Gulls
c20 Lesser black-backed gulls.
1 Merlin - female came through southwards with prey. First of the autumn.
1 Sparrowhawk - female.
c200 Skylarks - birds moving through constantly during my two hour visit.
1 Goldcrest


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This morning 8.30-10.00am.

Male Stonechat on the edge of the corn field.
Coal Tit with other mixed tits by the railway line.
Chiffchaff in mixed tit flock by the air strip.
c150 Black headed gulls on the recently scabbled field north of the line.
Several Pied Wagtails and two Buzzards also in this field.
Several Skylarks and Meadow Pipits moving through southwards.

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Another jaunt from 8.00 - 10.00 this morning.

Not very much at all going on at first until I reached the South east corner where I spied a Lesser Whitethroat on top of the hedge by the airstrip. I watched it at distance for a few seconds until it dropped down into the hedge. I moved forward with the hope of getting better views but whilst doing this I picked up a high pitched call of a wader coming in from the north. A quick scan soon picked up a Grey Plover heading southwards and right over my head giving really good views as it disappeared into the distance. A good site tick and the second one I've had here on migration in the last few years.

Other notables were singles of Whitethroat, Willow Warbler and Chiffchaff. Also quite a few House Martins trickling through southwards.

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7.45 - 9.45 this morning.

Brief views of a Spotted Flycatcher on the southern edge.
c80 Swallows over the stubble field to the north of the line.
c300 Linnets on the field to the east of the airstrip.
Single Chiffchaff with flock of tits.
Two Buzzards and a female Kestrel over the moss itself.
Large fox by the corn field.


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9.00 - 10.30 this morning during intermittent rain.

One or two migrants about mostly on the north side of the railway. The moss itself was very quiet.

Tree Pipit - Good views as it appeared to take off from the crop field and flew right past me 'buzzing' away as it flew South.
2 Sedge Warblers with two Whitethroats in the verge to the corn field.
A massive flock (at least 250 birds) of mostly Linnets plus a few Goldfinches and Greenfinches feeding on the stubble field with at least 70 Swallows.
Female Sparrowhawk flew in from the north sending everything scattering. Great views as it singled out a Linnet and took it mid flight.
Also noted were a single Chiffchaff and Willow Warbler.


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7.00 - 8.30 this morning.

A Hobby through southwards at 7.30.
c1000 Woodpigeon on the stubble field north of the line.
Roving mixed flocks of Linnets, Goldfinches and Greenfinches.
A single Chiffchaff on the eastern side.

Otherwise fairly quiet.


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Rene Griffiths wrote:

Apologies in advance for asking this in the bird sighting thread - I looked but couldn't find a site guide regarding Highfield Moss, if there is one please could someone paste a link? If there isn't one can anyone advise where would be the best/safest place to park and if there are any "don't miss" areas?





Not sure there is a site guide you can either park on the a572 and walk on the public footpath by the travellers rest pub or park in the pub car park provided you buy a drink or I prefer to park on barrow lane which is a good birding spot in itself barrow land is the concrete road on parkside road between the railway bridge and the m6 and walk back to the moss via the public footpath signs alternatively park on Kenyon garden centre cross (with care) winwick lane and use the public footpath and across the airfield to the moss the site is fairly small and anywhere can turn things up but nick will know better than anyone best spots

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Apologies in advance for asking this in the bird sighting thread - I looked but couldn't find a site guide regarding Highfield Moss, if there is one please could someone paste a link? If there isn't one can anyone advise where would be the best/safest place to park and if there are any "don't miss" areas?

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Late post from yesterday morning.

No sign of any Cuckoos or Wheatears though it was very windy and a lot of birds were keeping down.

5 Whitethroats
5 Willow Warblers

Plus the usuals.

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What's the saying? When it rains, it pours?

Two male Cuckoos present tonight. Both birds were very mobile as they were constantly harassed by the Meadow Pipit population. Nevertheless, great views were had as the birds flitted between tree and bush. I'm surprised they were around to be honest as the model airplane club were hosting a huge gathering on the airstrip next door.

In addition to this there has also been an influx of Wheatears. Ten birds were present with four of the males being the Greenland variety.

Also:

6 Whitethroats
5 Willow Warblers

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Mega patch tick this morning in the form of a male Cuckoo that was hanging around the eastern side of the moss and causing chaos amongst the Meadow Pipit population. I got one really good look at it when it perched in a dead tree but generally it was quite elusive and I only managed another couple of glimpses of it. I'm fairly sure it was still present when I left.

A Sedge Warbler was singing by the rape field to the north of the line as well. These are annual in this spot but never seem to hang around for long.

Other birds were:

7 Whitethroats
8 Willow Warblers
1 Blackcap
3 Wheatears -all females on the ploughed field South of the railway.
2 Grey Partridges
A steady movement of Swifts as well.



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8.30 - 10.00 this morning in biting conditions.

Ploughed field to the north of the airstrip held.

2 Yellow Wagtails (m,f)
3 White Wagtails
2 Wheatear - both female.
1 Common Gull
2 Lesser Black-backed Gulls
c20 Black-headed Gulls
c20 Linnets
5 Skylarks
8 Lapwings

Elsewhere on the moss.

4 Whitethroats
6 Willow Warblers
1 Blackcap
1 Kestrel


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Late report from yesterday morning 8.00-10.00.

1 Lesser Whitethroat - quite a skulky bird on the ditch line north of the railway near the corn field.
4 Whitethroat - The first of the year down here. Two males singing in separate locations plus two males together moving along the hedge line by the airstrip.
7 Willow Warblers
1 Wheatear
2 Buzzards

Plus the usuals.

The airstrip now appears to have become the home of a model aircraft club and flying has been happening everyday now for about the last week. Yesterday morning one guy was flying his model jet fighter at about 8.30. It seems you can't go anywhere these days to get some peace and quiet!


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This evening 6.30 - 8.00.

4 Wheatears
6 Willow Warblers

Plus the usuals.


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3 Wheatears (2m,1f) and at least 5 singing Willow Warblers present this afternoon.

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Between the tree felling by LWT and the torching of the grass by the local kids the moss looks more like the surface of the moon. However, the scorched grass held two male Wheatears and two Willow Warblers and a Swallow made it feel more spring-like.

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Couple of hours here this afternoon from half two. Gorgeous afternoon, but pretty quiet bird-wise. Maybe the wrong time of a warm day!

1 Kestrel (f)
2 Common Buzzard
1 Goldcrest
1 Chiffchaff seen and others singing
1 Meadow Pipit on airstrip
Numerous Robins and Wrens

Several tits, (great, blue and long-tailed), blackbirds.

Carrion crow & woodpigeon numerous


Site has certainly changed a lot in character - it's early days obviously in a long term management project.

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Several Fieldfare and Meadow Pipit, 2 Grey Partridge, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Buzzard, Kestrel, mixed flock of 20 Tree and House Sparrow, . 8 Singing Yellowhammer and similar Reed Bunting. More work being done to remove the Birch scrub and rewet the moss. This has been badly needed on a Unique county site with unique County Species that was slowly being destroyed by drying out, increases in Birch Purple Moor Grass and Bracken. LWT have proven track record of doing this successfully locally IE Holcroft Moss.

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The first Chiffchaff of spring present this morning down on the moss. Also decent numbers of Meadow Pipits, Reed Buntings and Yellowhammers singing. Upto 50 Fieldfares present near the airstrip and several displaying Lapwings to the north of the railway line.

LWT have been carrying out extensive tree felling on here over the last couple of months as part of their intention to 're-wet' the moss. Many of the silver birch have now been removed and the place looks much more open than before. Time will tell if this has any improvement on the area.

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Couple of hours on a softly sunny and seemingly deserted Moss this afternoon:

3 wren
Several Robins

1 Common Buzzard

145 Fieldfare and an indeterminate but smaller number of Redwings in the fields to SE and SW of the moss.

Tit flock in the trees round the old quarry behind the Travellers' Rest - 8 Long tailed tit plus blue tits and great tits.

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All partied out , woke to a sunny morning with Redwings, Fieldfares and Rooks in the Dawn Redwood at the bottom of the garden and loads of Tree Sparrows on the feeders. Prezzies opened, breakfast in bed and then a good long walk round the Winwick area and Highfield Moss with Em. Highlights were: a female Merlin( hunting the field behind the house and coming really close); 550 Fieldfares feeding on stubbles, 350 Skylarks and 120 Meadow Pipits feeding in brassica crops (all adjacent to Highfield Moss); 9 Grey Partridges, 2 Corn Buntings and 7 Yellowhammers (all along Barrow Lane). Then back home to bung Christmas dinner in the oven and chill. Happy Christmas to one and all

Cheers David

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Immature Peregrine causing havoc over the moss this morning. At least 50 Snipe were flushed by it plus about 120 Fieldfares.

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Yesterday between 2.00pm and 3.30pm

1 Peregrine (flying East)
60+ Fieldfare
10+ Redwing
40+ Pink Footed Goose (over flying)
3 Tree sparrow
20 Linnet
5 Long Tailed Tit
1 Buzzard

-- Edited by Ian McKerchar on Wednesday 26th of November 2014 06:33:12 PM

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A couple of hours this morning. Notables were:

c40 Skylarks around the cropped field to the north of the line.
9 Pink-footed geese over west.
c55 Fieldfares over south in two flocks.
2 Willow Tits in mixed tit flock.
1 Buzzard


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The maize field to the north of the line has now been cropped and this morning it held loads of birds. Good numbers of Corvids and a sizeable flock of Starlings plus quite a few mixed Finches, Skylarks, Yellowhammers and Reed Buntings kept me busy for a while. Unfortunately I could find nothing unusual in amongst them.

Elsewhere it was fairly quiet apart from a bit of overhead passage from mostly Starlings but also some Redwings and Fieldfares.

43 Skylarks
1 Kestrel
c30 Redwings through west.
9 Chaffinches
17 Meadow Pipits
5 Goldfinches
7 Greenfinches
7 Yellowhammers
17 Reed Buntings
1 Song Thrush
1 Buzzard
1 Goldcrest
1 Jay
33 Fieldfare through west
1 Great Spotted Woodpecker
1 Sparrowhawk


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Two hours this morning in bright and clear conditions. Good numbers of Wood Pigeons and Starlings moving through plus other bits and bobs too.

56 Skylarks - many appeared to be moving north but some looked like they were just loafing around too.
7 Yellowhammers
2 Jays
2 Sparrowhawks - m,f
4 Linnets
12 Reed Buntings
5 Snipe
1 Siskin over north.
6 Meadow Pipits
2 Great Spotted Woodpeckers
1 Mistle Thrush
1 Cormorant over NW.
2 Buzzards
1 Bullfinch - male.
6 Grey Partridges
1 Chiffchaff - latest record.


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Quite windy on the moss this morning and so it was pretty quiet really.

13 Skylarks moving through southwards.
4 Yellowhammers
1 Mistle Thrush
4 Chaffinches
1 Stonechat - a first winter male on the gorse near the pond.
7 Meadow Pipits moving through in one flock.
1 Kestrel
2 Buzzards
1 Goldfinch
17 Pink-footed Geese through west.


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A two hour visit this morning in quite windy conditions. Generally it was fairly quiet but there were a few good birds around.

18 Grey Partridges - coveys of 7 and 11.
3 Buzzards
1 Peregrine - with prey.
60 Pink-footed Geese over south east. At one point I looked north and could see skein upon skein in the distance heading south east.
1 Goldcrest
4 Snipe
1 Stonechat - female along edge of maize field. Probably same bird from last week.

Plus all the usuals.

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Apart from the overhead passage it was fairly quiet in and around the moss this morning. That said, there were still one or two good birds to be found. A late Chiffchaff was singing in the big hedge to the north of the line and was still there two hours later when I came back that way. Also, a female Stonechat was fly catching on the edge of the maize field and was still there on my return too. On the southern edge of the moss a tit flock held a Coal Tit which was only my third ever record of one down here and three Fieldfares flying through south were my first of the autumn.

1 Mistle Thrush
1 Kestrel
4 Jays
1 Chiffchaff
14 Meadow Pipits through south.
41 Skylarks through south.
1 Stonechat - female.
1 Buzzard
4 Yellowhammers
c50 Pink-footed Geese over west.
4 Goldfinches
4 Reed Buntings
8 Linnets
2 Greenfinches
1 Coal Tit with mixed tit flock.
3 Fieldfares through south.
4 Chaffinches

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First visit for about two weeks on what turned out to be a beautiful morning. The bird of the day was undoubtly the male Merlin that blazed through a flock of Linnets as I was watching them on the eastern side. This caused pandemonium amongst the Linnets but the Merlin just sped on through southwards. Elsewhere good numbers of Skylarks appeared to be moving through but many also seemed to be just loafing around so actual numbers were difficult to ascertain.

5 Pied Wagtails over southwards
c130 Pink-footed Geese over eastwards.
42 Skylarks
19 Meadow Pipits
1 Buzzard
2 Song Thrushes
c70 Linnets
c30 Tree Sparrows
1 Merlin - male.
9 Chaffinches
1 Willow Tit
5 Reed Buntings
5 Grey Partridges
2 Jays
2 Yellowhammers
2 Goldcrests

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Today was a red letter day as I finally scored my bogey bird of a Barn Owl. I've been looking for Barn Owls down on here for a good few years without any success despite knowing that they breed not too far away. As I looped back around the footpath at the western end I passed by a large copse of trees and inadvertently flushed the bird from less than 20 yards away. It came straight out at me and drifted off over the embankment and out of sight. To say I was made up is an understatement!

Migration was a bit down on yesterday with hardly any Meadow Pipits moving through and only a handful of Swallows. The field to the north of the line though held good numbers of birds with a large flock of Linnets and a good number of Pied Wagtails as well as around 120 Black-headed gulls, 20 Lesser Black-backed gulls and a single Common Gull. Other birds of note around the moss were a single Snipe and a Golden Plover.

9 Meadow Pipits
8 Goldfinches through south.
7 Reed Buntings
2 Chaffinches
9 Yellowhammers - mostly juvs.
2 Grey Wagtails through south.
2 Kestrels - one adult and a juv.
1 Jay
1 Barn Owl
1 Goldcrest
19 Pied Wagtails
c70 Linnets on ploughed field.
11 Skylarks through south.
1 Snipe through west.
1 Song Thrush
1 Golden Plover through north then east.
2 Tree Sparrows
9 Grey Partridges - 7 juvs.

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7.30 until 9.30. Quite a few birds around this morning with also a bit of movement overhead too. Meadow Pipits trickling through southwards all the time during my visit plus a few Skylarks as well. A nice morning to be out.

c100 Lesser Black-backed gulls plus c100 Black-headed gulls on the ploughed field to the north of the line.
3 Chiffchaffs
12 Pied Wagtails - mostly on the ploughed field.
38 Meadow Pipits over southwards.
c15 Linnets
16 Grey Partridges - one covey of 9 birds including 2 adults plus other coveys of 5 and 2.
4 Jays
1 Grey Wagtail over west.
1 Yellowhammer
1 Reed Bunting
1 Willow Warbler
1 Kestrel
2 Goldcrests
10 Skylarks over south.
1 Great Spotted Woodpecker
1 Buzzard
2 Song Thrushes

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Meadow Pipits were trickling through southwards this morning during my visit and a sure sign that birds are on the move. Otherwise, pretty much quiet like yesterday with small pockets of activity.

c25 Meadow Pipits
2 Chiffchaffs
1 Skylark - through southwards.
2 Buzzards
2 Jays
1 Sparrowhawk - female.
3 Reed Buntings
2 Grey Wagtails - through southwards.
1 Kestrel
1 Yellowhammer
1 Whitethroat
1 Willow Tit

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I was hoping for something a little better this morning but the place was still fairly quiet. The main activity was a roving tit flock down the eastern side, which, despite my best efforts I could only manage to pick out a couple of Chiffchaffs, a Willow Warbler and a Goldcrest. Still, we live in hope!

3 Chiffchaffs - one singing.
1 Goldcrest
2 Skylarks heading over south.
1 Sparrowhawk - female.
1 Whitethroat
1 Willow Warbler
1 Buzzard
4 Jays
c20 Tree Sparrows

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Date:

Calmer conditions this morning and so there was a bit more activity around.

c25 Linnets in one flock moving about around the stubble.
1 Kestrel
3 Pied Wagtails over north.
1 Willow Tit
3 Yellowhammers
3 Whitethroats
1 Great Spotted Woodpecker
2 Meadow Pipits
5 Reed Buntings
3 Willow Warblers
8 Goldfinches
2 Jays
1 Chiffchaff
2 Buzzards
c20 Tree Sparrows in same location as previous.
2 Chaffinches


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Date:

Had a couple of hours down here early this morning before the rain started. Very quiet, but it usually is when it's windy. With a bit of persistence though I managed to locate a few birds.

1 Whitethroat
19 Swallows pushing southward through the wind.
2 Kestrels
1 Sparrowhawk being harried by Crows.
3 Buzzards annoying the crows.
1 Willow Tit
1 Willow Warbler
5 Goldfinches
2 Linnets
2 Reed Buntings
c25 Tree Sparrows feeding in the stubble field by the airstrip.

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