We met at Clay Lane at the slightly later time of 0930, pulling on boots and waterproofs as small passerines fed on the roadside feeders. Walking down to the viewing stance overlooking the Salt Pan, we were soon picking out waders and wildfowl, the targets of the visit. Lapwings were everpresent, and flighty, causing us to break off our study several times to peer in to the grey sky for raptors, as this is the normal cause of the Lapwings’ flight. Among them we were able to pick out a couple of Ruff, and later a Redshank. Shoveler and Teal were also active, but only a few Wigeon were present. Tufted and Shelduck  also made it into binocular view along with the larger Mute Swan and pervasive Canada Geese.

The feeders alongside the path gave up Great Spotted Woodpecker as well as several species of Tit, while the berries of wild hawthorn were sustaining Redwings and Fieldfares. The lane down to Elton Hall Flash was under water, and none of us felt like checking out the waterproofing of our boots. So we wandered on down to look over Pumphouse Flash, where gull identification was the order of the day. All five common British species were present, Great Black-backed, Lesser Black-backed, Herring, Common and Black-headed, but try as we might we could not isolate one that did not fit those species. Two Little Grebe were unusual fishers on this Flash, while a Wren scolded us from the hedgerow. As we were leaving, the convoy of cars came to a juddering halt, as 18 Curlew were spotted in the field across from the Flash.

The day ended at the Holly Bush in Winterley, as the Birdwatching Group partook of their annual Christmas meal. Despite several pleas to the contrary Turkey, Chicken and Duck were not admitted to the day list total of 39.

Sandbach Flashes Species list 18 Dec 2013

Mute Swan Salt Pan
Greater Canada Goose Salt Pan
Shelduck Salt Pan
Wigeon Salt Pan
Teal Salt Pan
Mallard Salt Pan
Shoveler Salt Pan
Tufted Duck Salt Pan
Little Grebe ruficollis Salt Pan
Cormorant Pumphouse Flash
Grey Heron Pumphouse Flash
Buzzard Salt Pan
Moorhen Pumphouse Flash
Common Coot Pumphouse Flash
Lapwing Salt Pan
Ruff Salt Pan
Curlew Salt Pan
Redshank Salt Pan
Black-headed Gull Salt Pan
Common Gull Pumphouse Flash
Lesser Black-backed Gull Pumphouse Flash
Herring Gull Pumphouse Flash
Great Black-backed Gull Pumphouse Flash
Wood-Pigeon Salt Pan
Great Spotted Woodpecker Salt Pan
Wren Pumphouse Flash
Dunnock Pumphouse Flash
Robin Salt Pan
Blackbird Salt Pan
Fieldfare Salt Pan
Redwing Salt Pan
Blue Tit Salt Pan
Great Tit Salt Pan
Black-billed Magpie Salt Pan
Carrion Crow Salt Pan
Starling Salt Pan
House Sparrow Salt Pan
Eurasian Tree Sparrow Salt Pan


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