Wednesday, 31 December 2014


January - 67 species, highlights -  Green-winged Teal a first record for the flashes, Mealy Redpoll 

February - 7 species, 74 year list, 65 for the month, highlights - incredibly early Avocet

March - 10 species, 84 year list, 75 for the month, highlights - Bearded Tit (2) first patch record and most probably find of the year...awesome!! plus an early Wheatear.

April - 18 species, 102 year list, 89 for the month. Without doubt THE best month of the year to be out and about, with new birds passing through almost daily. highlights - Arctic Tern, Egyptian Goose, Great White Egret, Little Egret and Tree Pipit

the other bird that put Ashton's Flash on the map this year was the delightful bouncing Jack Snipe

surprised to find a Pinky on Ashton's

Ashton's first Whimbrel of 2014 and probably first in Cheshire this year

May - 11 species, 113 year list, 87 for the month. highlights - Avocet (several), Garganey, Hobby, Spoonbill and best of all a fabulous drake Ring-necked Duck a first record for the flashes, what a find!

thanks go to Dave Bedford for the ace record shots

June - 3 species, 116 year list, 79 for the month. highlights - Med Gull, Sanderling and Spotted Redshank

July - 3 species, 119 year list, 76 for the month.

August - nothing new added, 84 for the month. A blue phase Snow Goose appeared but at the wrong time of the year.

September - 2 species, 121 year list, 80 for the month. highlights - Ruff

October - 4 species, 125 year list, 71 for the month. highlights - Goosander, Little Stint, Mandarin and Yellow-legged Gull.

November - 2 species, 127 year list, 72 for the month. highlights - Whooper Swan and Willow Tit

December - nothing new added, 60 for the month.

Final total - 127 species for 2014 (a new world record) all the best for 2015

@patchbirding 153 points

see you on the patch #theflashes

Saturday, 1 November 2014


As Autumn starts to turn into Winter the flashes are still producing the odd surprise now and again.
Since the trio of Ruff in September I've added Mandarin Duck...a drake that came via Budworth Mere and a rather nice Yellow-legged Gull in the roost at Mound Bay one evening.
A pair of Goosanders flew right through this week not even stopping for a paddle and unbelievably I still need Goldeneye!! for the year.
Halloween and what we thought at the time (very late in the evening, poor light) to be a Sanderling actually turned out to be the patches first Little Stint of the year...well late!

a 1st winter Little Stint mixing it with the Lapwing and BH Gulls in Mound Bay

And just when we thought that was that in drops a party of 
Whooper Swans !! 4 adults and 2 juveniles...Mr Packham would be jealous.

With the Whoopers there were 16 Greylag Geese, I'll bet fresh from Iceland to?
The flock spent most of the time asleep (flown along way no doubt) and left to the south mid afternoon.
For once its was good to see a few birders down at the flashes and with more eyes who knows what else might be found.
See you at #theflashes

#PWC 126 species   152 points


Friday, 26 September 2014

Ryder Cup Thursday

Up early to watch the start of the Ryder Cup and the leader board is already rather red (Europe) come on boys!
Out on the flashes and there's a wee wader rummaging around the roosting Lapwing flock on the spit at Neumann's it's a winter plumage Dunlin, always a good sign of possibly something more tasty nearby.
Behind the now perfect wader habitat of Stilt Island the two Black-tailed Godwits from yesterday are still showing well.

A party of 3 Ruff (ad male, ad fem and a juv) have been around now for a week and were just nearby but really difficult to phonescope as they're constantly on the move. Surprised the small juvenile hasn't been claimed as a Buff-breast Sandpiper yet!

Good variety of species on Neumann's and birds moving around all the time due to hunting Sparrowhawks and flyover Peregrines. It usually pays dividends as there can be all sorts stuck in the nooks and crannies between the overgrown reedbeds.

Mound Bay a good place for a roosting rare gull, duck or wader.

Cormarents, Shovelers, Black-headed Gulls and a Lesser black-backed Gull in the Bay...rarity free today.

#PWC 121 species   143 points


Sunday, 14 September 2014


After weeks of dipping other birders birds I finally get a decent wader in the shape of a male Ruff on Neumann's Flash. A long overdue tick for the year list.

Phonescoped from Bund Hide hence the quality (or lack of).

With Ashtons Flash drying up rapidly most birds are now 'flocking' to Neumann's Flash which was buzzing with stuff this Sunday morning.
5 species of gulls, 7 species of duck including now 24 Wigeon, 3 Raven plus that goose sp which appears to be a blue phase Snow Goose.

A very smart goose but most probably a fence hopper even though its unringed and fully winged.
With all this avian activity I was the only birder there again (even on a Sunday), makes you wonder whats passing through when I'm not there to report in. Rain and easterlies to come so fingers crossed for a few Yellow browed Warblers and Rustic Buntings to head our way or is that my way?

#PWC 121 species   143 points


Sunday, 7 September 2014


August came and went and the year list stayed on 119 as at the end of July.
Despite some good birds all found by others..Wood Sandpiper, Spotted Flycatcher (almost a mega at the flashes) and Ruff but unfortunately not connected with by yours truly.
The hoped for muddy edges to the flashes were there in abundance but it seems the waders passed right over or through and I just could not add to the list at the number one month for mud loving birds heading south.
One bird that did show well was the Green Woodpecker which almost took up residence on the bund. I did see the adult bird with one of its offspring on one occasion...

All my records for the flashes are added on to the Birdtrack website after every visit and it makes for some interesting stats....

take August just gone

38 visits produced 1683 records of 84 species (and one plastic)

the species observed on every one of the 38 visits (100%) were... Black-headed Gull, Coot, Grey Heron, Lesser black-backed Gull, Moorhen, Mallard, Feral Pigeon, Starling and Wood Pigeon.
the species observed only once during the month and thus obviously the exciting stuff were... Coal Tit, Common Sandpiper, a dodgy goose id'd as Emperor Goose?, Garden Warbler, Kingfisher, Med Gull, Ringed Plover, Rook and Wigeon. Yes Rook!! all good healthy stuff what!

We'll see what September brings but from now on I think it's going to be an up hill struggle to even break 130 by Xmas...we shall see?

#PWC 119 species  141 points


Thursday, 31 July 2014


July the month for return wader passage and Ashton's Flash is looking in tremendous nick, ready to accept that mud loving mega!
The weather has other ideas though and prolonged bouts of blisteringly hot sunshine see the demise of the eastern pool, which has now virtually disappeared by the months end.

The waders did come with Green Sandpipers leading the way. These chaps usually stick to Haydn's Pool but that also is on it's way out and will soon be a forest of vegetation if nothings done. But the flashes will benefit as the waders will move house saving time and shoe leather for us birders.

Some action from Ashton's Flash the place to get Greenies at the mo...

On the 4th of the month bird finder extraordinaire Dave (we have lift-off) Houston found a near summer plum Spotted Redshank on the east pool at Ashton's...nice one Dave, a quality wader that's never annual and never stays for more than a day just like this one.

Neumann's at this time of the year starts to get a build up of gulls, mostly Black-headed Gulls coming from we think the Delamere breeding population. This is a good time to look for...

boom!! Med Gull a second summer late on the evening of the 14th and the only one all month.

Last but not least after I spent a week away from the patch non of the other birders found anything (did they actually go out?) so I was surprised to find the years first Sanderling strutting its stuff on the now very shrunken east pool on Ashton's. Boom again me thinks!

Other waders recorded this month were - Lapwing, Curlew, Redshank, Common Sandpiper, Dunlin, LRP, Oystercatcher, Snipe, Greenshank and Black-tailed Godwit awesome stuff for us wader buffs.

#PWC   119 species   141 points (2 for Med Gull)


Sunday, 29 June 2014


Since the mega week when I found Ring necked Duck and Spoonbill there has been quite a lull in the bird activity at the flashes despite constant effort from myself and several regulars.
All I've managed to add to the year list is Kingfisher, which actually is rather a good bird away from it's usual haunts of Budworth Mere and Witton Brook.
A very late one evening after the World Cup footy sortie got me a calling Tawny Owl from the wood by the old hide.
Other than that it's been a waiting game for the return wader passage to start, which has just kicked in this last week of June...Redshank, Snipe!! very early (or breeding), Curlew upto 16 and a big flock of moulting Lapwing 65+ plus a brief visit (well they are on passage) by a lone Common Sandpiper.
Add to this a couple of Green Sandpipers back on nearby Haydn's Pool and things are looking up.

The resident pair of Little Ringed Plover have produced two youngsters, which is quite an achievement given the amount of predation that goes on from the local crows, foxes, mink and various raptors. Well done I say!

Not much else has succeeded breeding wise, the Oystercatchers appear to have lost one of their offspring.
The Great Crested Grebes nest was demolished by the herd of Mute Swans (need culling).
The Redshank disappeared altogether.
The Canadas, Greylags and Mute Swans have all provided the foxes with a take-away each evening so that from almost 20+ young we have 2 cygnets, one Canada gosling and two Greylag goslings left! amazing.
Heaven knows how many poor young Mallards have been gobbled up by the hunting parties of Grey Herons that have now taken over Stilt Island.

We do have some success though...two broods of Tufted Duck one on each flash are currently avoiding most predators. Likewise the two pairs of Little Grebes have both had young on Ashton's and their ability to dive dive dive! when danger approaches must be keeping them alive.

Bring on the passage waders.....

#PWC  115 species    136 points