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Back on My Patch with Backache!

Even though I have an agonising painful back injury at the moment, even that cannot stop me having a walk on my favourite patch, Newchurch Common. The end of May and beginning of June was blessed with lovely warm and sometimes sunny weather. So probably better for wildlife other than birds! Nevertheless there’s always something of interest to the natural historian on this little Cheshire gem.

On May 31st there wasn’t much birdnews, as expected. a A Sparrowhawk was a nice sighting on Sandy Lane. Also Pied Wagtail, Reed Bunting, Skylark, and Green Woodpecker. A flyover Cormorant was a rare summer bird here.

On June 1st a little more to report, but still lean pickings compared to some other times of the year. A Green Woodpecker showed really well in the paddock by the parking area along with lots of Jackdaws and several Rooks, the latter not often seen in this particular area. A pair of Lapwings had 3 newly hatched young in horse fields by Sandy Lane. This species breeds around here and suffers high chick predation rates so I will watch this brood with interest and keep everything crossed. Also newly hatched were a brood of 6 Mute Swan cygnets on Big Pool, the same number as last year. Three of those ended up surviving, so interesting to see what the future holds for this brood. Two Stock Doves flying over were the only other birds of interest.

As forecast taxa other than birds were the main interest in the good weather. On 31st May a new damselfly for the year was seen, and a rarity for the site, a male Banded Demoiselle,

only the 2nd site record. Other odonata were at least 10 Downy Emeralds, Four-spot Chaser, and damselflies: Large Red, Blue-tailed, Common Blue, Azure and Red-eyed. A pregnant Common Lizard was on the mosslands. Also here a scarce moth for these parts in the shape of a Grass Wave. Other moths seen were Common Wave, Silver-ground Carpet, Cinnabar and Silver-Y. Butterflies seen were Holly Blue, Common Blue, Large White and Green-veined White.

My first Swollen-thighed Beetles of the year were on buttercups. The impressive spider

Pirata piscatorius was on Gull pool hunting the water's surface.

The morning visit on 1st June produced my first Painted Lady butterfly of 2018, several Silver-Y moths were also seen, both species being migrants. A female Banded Demoiselle (see picture) was seen near where the male was seen yesterday, the third record of this species on the site and this time was photographed. Other than that 1+Downy Emerald was on the wing. Common Twayblade is now flowering in the woods.

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