As the year swiftly moves into autumn I am managing a few trips out onto my local patch of Newchurch Common. The last week has seen warmer, settled weather descend on Cheshire and made it very pleasant to be out and about.
In three trips out from 15th-17th October one thing of note was the absence of the female Smew. Exhaustive searches drew a blank leading to the conclusion that she had gone on one of her occasional trips to another local water. But the lack of the Smew was more than made up for on a day that saw lots of visible passage through my area in the shape of my first Wheatear of the year, a female on Abbot’s Moss. The same day (15th) also saw a Meadow Pipit through, Linnets in a general movement of finches, 54 Redwings, 80 Pink-footed Geese and 800 Woodpigeons. On 17th 56 Fieldfare over were my first of autumn and birds not seen recently but picked up on these days included Goldcrest, Lesser Redpoll and Bullfinch.
On the pools my highest patch count of 61 Gadwall was noted, along with up to 6 Wigeon a pair of Teal and a Shoveler. Four Greylag Geese joined the extensive Canada Goose flock. Common Gull numbers are building up and occasional Lesser Black-backed Gulls are recorded flying over. Regulars such as Buzzard and Green Woodpecker were seen along with occasionals such as Sparrowhawk, Pied Wagtail and Raven.
Also seen, in a splash of autumn colour were various fungi. One that I had never knowingly seen before was the beautiful, delicate Yellow Fieldcap. Seen first in all its glory on 15th this short-lived species was all but gone the next day. A before and after photo here shows the difference a day can make! Fly Agaric, Sulphur Cap, Candle Snuff and Common Earthball were all also seen, being fungi I could positively identify. On 17th in the sunshine a Small Copper was spotted as well as a Hornet, Common Carder Bees, 7-Spot Ladybirds and Marmalade Hoverflies.
So even though the days are shorter there is no lack of wildlife to be seen, it’s just a matter of getting out there & having a look.