Sunday, 5 March 2017

Winsford Flash - Patch Birding

After 2 fantastic patch months of birding already this year, I couldn't wait to get out again and kick March off. I started the morning at the Rilshaw Lane (or bottom end) of Winsford Flash, being greeted by some (certainly overdue) sunny weather that made the reflective water and birds on it look spectacular. 

After the recent heavy and continuous rain, the scrape was waterlogged to the point that it was not even visible; however 33 black-headed gull, 2 herring gull, 1 common gull, 1 teal and a single snipe were still present. With not much else on show, I moved on to view the entire bottom end, but despite my best efforts not much was picked up bar 12 great crested grebe, 120 canada geese, another 70 black-headed gull and 7 cormorant. On the walk back to the car I picked up a few nice woodland species such as nuthatch and bullfinch in their usual areas (2 of the former, 5 of the latter).

The top side of the flash was certainly the most productive side today, and almost instantly on arrival I picked up 10 waxwing heading over the horse paddocks; which is a patch first!! Sadly they didn't settle, but this finding certainly spurred me on for the rest of the morning.

With not much else about in the paddocks I headed over to the sailing club to see what gulls had dropped in, and I was delighted to discover a gathering of about 2000.

 After a thorough grilling of these individuals, the species of note were 3 adult med gulls. The majority of the flock were black-headed gulls, which is expected for the time of year (numbers have been building up for last couple of months).

After picking out what I could from the gull flocks, I decided to walk the spit separating the River Weaver from the Flash. I enjoyed lovely views of 2 kingfisher zipping up and down the river.

I also got great views of more scarce Flash birds such as tufted duck (3) and wigeon (14) on the opposite side (although the wigeon failed to settle on the water and just kept circling).

I got myself into an even better and closer position to scan the gull flock again; however despite the change of scene nothing else was picked out.  A group of about 21 coot had however made their way out of the Flash to feed in one of the paddocks.

Raptor wise, 4 buzzards were up and about making the most of the nice weather and keeping a close eye on each other, and the 2 kestrels were in their usual field site.

On the return walk it was nice to see up to 7 reed bunting hanging about in the reedy, scrub areas adjacent to the waterway with a few singing males also worthy of note.

The stonechat was also still present in the same area as the week before. The real surprise however, came when I reached main scrape... Apart from 9 teal and 4 coot, in the opposite hedgerows I picked out a stunning tree sparrow which is certainly a scarce patch bird.

Another fantastic morning of patch birding. With some of the species now,  I almost feel that we are old friends, especially the Kestrel pair that always turn up to greet me.

And with raptors in mind, please think about signing up to the "Don't Let The Shadows Win" thunderclap due to go out as hen harriers return to the uplands for breeding season.


  1. Absolutely stunning Findlay, that Buzzard, wow, and rest of them, beautiful, beautiful.

  2. Hello, looks like you had a nice outing. Awesome shots of the Buzzard in flight. Great bird sighting and photos. Enjoy your day and the week ahead!

  3. Wonderful exploration of the place to see so many birds.

  4. Keep up the patch work Findlay. It's valuaable stuff. So is the pressure for the Hen Harrier and its wider implications.

  5. Great photos of the Buzzard. Have a nice birding week!

  6. Très belle série magnifiquement racontée ;-)
    Céline & Philippe

  7. Great bird photos! Your Kingfishers are much more colorful than the ones we have here in the southern United States. Hope you are having a wonderful week!

  8. beginning of spring is a wonderful time for birding. Thanks for sharing. :)

  9. Sounds like Spring has arrived at your patch! I see Kingfishers often here in Florida and in Oregon, but I can NEVER get a picture. It's like they hold still until I get my camera to my eye and then they fly off. I imagine them laughing at me (their call sounds kind of like that).

    Thank you for your comment on my blog -- I know that you will someday travel here to Florida among other places in this big beautiful world. (I picture your doing that someday as a famous bird expert.)

  10. Yes Findlay one day you will travel to all these places and see all the birds in the world. Wonderful series of photos from your area!