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Woolston Eyes Nature Reserve

An S.S.S.I. Managed by Woolston Eyes Conservation Group

Woolston Eyes Monthly Sightings


No.4 bed - Artic Tern

Submitted by: John Blundell re info Brian Martin


No.4 bed - 2 Mediterranean Gull, 2 Sedge Warbler, 3 Little Egret (flew south east)

No.1 bed - 4 Gannet reported flying over south

Submitted by: John Blundell re info Dan Owen


Strong northerly winds and heavy overnight rain had eased by dawn, though it was still too gusty to undertake the survey of birds in song which we had planned. Conditions, though, looked good for observing visible migration, with migrants likely to be brought down by the adverse winds. The viewing platform on the No.4 bed wetland provides a 360 degree vantage point and we were treated to an excellent first hour’s birding. It started with a Common Sandpiper skimming across the water to pitch onto one of the islands. Then Arctic Terns started arriving, with five in total stopping to feed before all but two drifted off. Whereas Common Terns breed in good numbers in the north-west and are thus pretty regular on the Reserve, Arctic Terns are less common inland and so always good to see. A single Yellow Wagtail then flew over and a Little Gull nearly slipped past us, disappearing in the direction of No.3 bed. Best was for last, though, as a single Common Swift appeared overhead - our earliest ever, by a day. Then it was over to No.3 bed as the day warmed, where the highlights were: 2 Mediterranean Gulls and 2 Grasshopper Warblers, while the sun brought out a few butterflies and insects, with 1 male Orange Tip, 3 Peacocks and 1 Dark-edged Bee-fly the pick of the bunch. Record shot of one of the Arctic Terns Cheers David Bowman (with Dan Owen)

Submitted by: David Bowman


The southerly winds brought a significant arrival of migrants this morning and, though the day never really warmed up, the scattering of Cowslips and Primroses emphasised that spring is well underway. We covered three of the four beds and produced an impressive species list for so early in the year. Highlights included: 1 Common Sandpiper, 1 Yellow Wagtail, 4 White Wagtails, 2 Garganey, 4 Grasshopper Warblers, 12 Whitethroats, 20 Reed Warblers, 123 Chiffchaffs, 45 Willow Warblers, 93 Blackcaps, 25 Cetti’s Warblers, 2 Mediterranean Gulls, 2 Green Sandpipers, 4 Little Ringed Plovers, 7 Ringed Plovers, 5 Dunlin, 8 Oystercatchers, 26 Black-necked Grebes, 4 House Martins, 30 Swallows, 250 Sand Martins and 2 Marsh Harriers. Now, all we need is some warm, dry weather! Photo of the Common Sandpiper Cheers David Bowman (with Dan Owen and Helen Wynn)

Submitted by: David Bowman


No.3 bed - 6 or 7 Black-necked Grebe, Greylag Goose brood of 5 young, 2 Oystercatchers, only 28 Black-headed Gulls, 50+ Pochard, Ferruginous Duck

Submitted by: John Blundell re info Brian Martin


A little shy at first but our ferruginous duck emerged from the undergrowth to work his way down the catwalk to the bridge for a photo shoot before taking his place again behind the tufted ducks. No sign of the female though

Submitted by: Gilbert Wieringa


No.3 bed - 2 Garganey

No.4 bed - 2 Pintail, 10 Swallow, 250 Sand Martin

Submitted by: John Blundell re info David Spencer & David Bowman


No.3 bed - 4 Curlew, 2 Black-tailed Godwit, Reed Warbler influx, Ferruginous Duck, Willow Tit, 2 Garganey, c 700 Sand Martin

Submitted by: John Blundell re info Dan Owen, Keith, Ian Howarth & Dermot Smith


No.3 bed - Ferruginous Duck, Water Rail, 2 Oyster Catcher, 2 Shelduck, 2 Marsh Harrier, 2 Sparrowhawk, 60 Sand Martin, 4 Buzzard, Kestrel,

Submitted by: John Blundell re info Les Jones & Dan Owen


It was a warm, breezy morning, ideal for conducting the monthly Wetland Birds Survey (WeBS). With wardens covering all four beds and a strengthening southerly wind, there was always a chance that something unusual would turn up. An overnight roost on No.3 bed held at least 1,000 Sand Martins, something which is becoming a regular spring feature on the Reserve. As well as some excellent counts of our regular breeding wildfowl, the rare/scarce wildfowl which we knew were present also put in appearances. The pair of Ferruginous Ducks continued to show well from the No.3 bed Footbridge, while the pair of Garganey were a bit more distant than recently, when viewed from the South Screen. Not to be left out the female Lesser Scaup was also located, on the Ship Canal near Bollin Point. A couple of Swallows, a few Willow Warblers, a Little Ringed Plover and a Curlew were other nice sightings. The excitement and frustration, though, came when I’d just finished my counts from the Morgan Hide. I heard an agitated Water Rail making a racket from a small patch of phragmites reed in front of the hide. A moment later it chased a very small crake out of the reeds, which fluttered onto the edge of the scrape, where it was then out of sight and, despite our best efforts, was not seen again. Based on the very brief view I was pretty sure it was one of the Eastern European-breeding migratory crakes, either Little or Baillon’s but, unless its seen/heard again it’ll have to be one that got away. Photo of the Ferruginous Ducks Cheers David Bowman (with Dan Owen, David Spencer, Brian Martin and Dave Hackett)

Submitted by: David Bowman


No.3 bed - Ferruginous Duck below footbridge, 2 Garganey south screen, Water Rail, no Black-necked Grebe seen, all on No.4 bed?

No.4 bed - 19+ Black-necked Grebe, 2 Mediterranean Gull, 2 Barnacle Goose, Little Ringed Plover & Curlew

Ship Canal - Lesser Scaup below Lymm Golf Club

WeBS count totals: 104 Canada Goose, 2 Barnacle Goose, 57 Greylag Goose, 49 Mute Swan, 12 Shelduck, 3 Mandarin, 4 Garganey, 24 Shoveler, 235 Gadwall, 86 Mallard, 30 Teal, 125 Pochard, 2 Ferruginous Duck, 306 Tufted Duck, Lesser Scaup, Ruddy Duck, 8 Water Rail, 16 Moorhen, 103 Coot, 33 Little Grebe, 22 Great Crested Grebe, 19 Black-necked Grebe, 18 Oystercatcher, 4 Lapwing, 2 Ringed Plover, 5 Little Ringed Plover, 2 Curlew, Snipe, Green Sandpiper, 213 Black-headed Gull, 2 Mediterranean Gull, Common Gull, 3 Great Black-backed Gull, 11 Herring Gull, 43 Lesser Black-backed Gull, 3 Grey Heron, 3 Cormorant, Kingfisher

Submitted by: John Blundell re info Dan Owen, David Bowman, David Spencer, David Hackett & Brian Martin


Garganey pair from the reed bed opposite the screen, 4th April 2024, 15:00

Submitted by: Gilbert Wieringa


Canal - Orange Tip by Latchford Locks & Brimstone on Canal Track

No.3 bed - 2 Orange Tip on south bank

Submitted by: John Blundell re info David Hackett


Canal - Lesser Scaup on Ship Canal with Tufted alongside Butchersfield, could view from footpath on Lymm side of canal. Also Drake Common Scoter on flood south of Butchersfield

No.3 bed - Garganey pair from South Screen

Submitted by: John Blundell re info Dan Owen and David Spencer


No.3 bed - 2 Garganey, 2 Ferruginous Duck below footbridge, House Martin

No.4 bed - 2 Barnacle Goose, 2 Little Egret

Submitted by: John Blundell re info Dan Owen and Michael Miles


No.3 bed - Drake Garganey

No.4 bed - 4 Black-necked Grebe, Marsh harrier, 2 Kingfisher,

Submitted by: John Blundell re info Nick French and Dave Hackett


No.3 bed - Pair Garganey, Great Egret, 2 Marsh Harrier, 1000+ Sand martin

No.4 bed - Wheatear,

Submitted by: John Blundell re info David Spencer, Dan Owen and Kieran Foster


March Butterflies. In spite of the unsuitable weather throughout the month, some butterflies were reported, including our earliest ever Speckled Wood on 6th March. Four other species were seen, namely Small Tortoiseshell, Peacock, Comma and Brimstone.

Submitted by: Dave Hackett