Trip reports

Outdoor Meeting: Northwich Woodlands & Flashes followed by a festive lunch

Outdoor Meeting: Northwich Woodlands & Flashes followed by a festive lunch
Neumanns pool

Tuesday, 4 December 2018

Seventeen members met at Witton Mill car park, some after a little tour of the area for our annual festive walk before a Christmas lunch. The weather after all the rain the previous evening was surprisingly bright but this soon turned a little overcast with a couple of short mizzle rain showers but nothing to dampen the enthusiasm of the group.

The car park bird table was well stocked and attracted both blue and great tits with a robin singing from a bush as a reed bunting dashed from cover onto the table and then back to the safety of the bush. Lydia led off the initial group up to Haydon's Pool which was very disappointing because the only birds seen were a magpie, jay and woodpigeon and by the time the rest joined them only the magpie was left! The latecomers did hear a green woodpecker and a water rail was heard in the reeds by a lucky two!

The first group were caught up in the dairy Meadow where we were looking at a mixed flock of chaffinches and greenfinches but a search for a brambling was unsuccessful but we did find a reed bunting and a solitary song thrush.

We walked on to the hide overlooking Neumann's Flash. The reeds were a little on the tall side but we did manage to see shoveler, wigeon, teal, mallard and a grey heron on the far side. Moving on along the track some had a very close encounter with a goldcrest as it worked its way along ahead of us frantically feeding. A look over Ashton's Flash revealed nothing more and we made our way to the new screen hide, a bit on the small side but with the sun (when it comes out!) behind you we had good views of a moorhen, lapwing, black-headed and lesser black-backed gulls roosting on the edge of the flash in the shallow water. Another look over Ashton Flash on the way back to the car park found three common buzzards balancing on the top of bushes.

Another four members joined us for Christmas lunch at the Salt Barge where everybody enjoyed the opportunity to relax and review the morning's bird watching. Ray gave a vote of thanks to Lydia for organising the lunch, ensuring some reasonable weather and some good birds were around to see. The bird list reached 30 species and these are listed below.

Shoveler (Spatula clypeata)
Wigeon (Mareca penelope)
Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos)
Teal (Anas crecca)
Woodpigeon (Columba palumbus)
Water rail (Rallus aquaticus) Heard
Moorhen (Gallinula chloropus)
Lapwing (Vanellus vanellus)
Black-headed gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus)
Lesser black-backed gull (Larus fuscus graellsii)
Grey heron (Ardea cinerea cinerea)
Common buzzard (Buteo buteo buteo)
Great spotted woodpecker (Dendrocopos major)
Green woodpecker (Picus viridis viridis) Heard
Jay (Garrulus glandarius)
Magpie (Pica pica pica)
Carrion crow (Corvus corone corone)
Common raven (Corvus corax corax)
Blue tit (Cyanistes caeruleus)
Great tit (Parus major)
Long-tailed tit (Aegithalos caudatus rosaceus)
Wren (Troglodytes troglodytes)
Goldcrest (Regulus regulus regulus)
Robin (Erithacus rubecula)
Song thrush (Turdus philomelos)
Blackbird (Turdus merula)
Dunnock (Prunella modularis)
Chaffinch (Fringilla coelebs)
Greenfinch (Chloris chloris chloris)
Goldfinch (Carduelis carduelis)
Reed Bunting (Emberiza schoeniclus)
Ian Taylor