Wildlife Watch April 2017 by David Cummings
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Barn Owl
David Cummings

David Cummings



A monthly series for 2017 about the wonderful world of wildlife. Each month I hope to share with you some of my experiences of watching and filming wildlife across the world, as well as keeping you up to date with wildlife sightings in the Parish



The first butterflies were seen in the village during sunny days in mid March, and at the beginning of April, with superb specimens of bright yellow male and green female brimstones, with several small tortoishell, peacock, comma and red admiral being seen. A single red kite was spotted flying west over the Old Glasshouse on Whitchurch Road, and there have been spectacular views of up to five buzzards soaring in the sky above the village. Several people have told me that they have now had buzzards in their garden, which is a relatively new happening, and a major development. Buzzards were almost non existent in the area thirty years ago.

Spring Flowers

The countryside has been a wonderful mass of colour in early spring and thousands of bright yellow celandines have glowed in the warm sun along Quarry Lane, and the first Lady smock and marsh marigolds appeared at Hockenhull.

Spring Migration

Chiff chaff have taken up residence in hedgerows along the canal and in the lanes at Hockenhull, with as many as ten males singing for territories. Black caps were heard at the beginning of April, and the first martins flew through on the 2nd. Skylarks have been heard in good numbers this year, which is wonderful news, as their aerobatic singing has been sadly missed for several years. Several pairs of lapwing have also taken up residence, and they too have been showing off their aerobatic skills with dramatic display songs and alarm calls.


There have been signs of otters and water vole being active on the river Gowy, whilst two kingfishers have been seen regularly near the middle bridge. Mandarin ducks have been spotted twice looking for tree holes in the poplar plantation, as well as seen on the canal and at the Groves in Chester. The maximum number of shoveler seen at the Pit in Christleton was twelve, an amazing sight, as they had never been recorded there before. They now seem to have moved on to the lake at Hockenhull, with ten counted on 2nd April together with a shelduck and twenty tufted duck. There have been three great crested grebes, and two dabchick (little grebes). It is also hoped that the pair of mute swans will breed this year, as they are now mature enough to do so.

Tawny owls have been heard calling even in daylight hours, and barn owls have been seen hunting at dawn, although there is no sign this year of the short eared owl which spent the spring here lat year.

The Pit

Conservation work on the Pit starts on the 4th April, with preparations being made for the installation of coir rolls to stabilise the banks on the Littleton Lane and Bricky lane sides. When these are put in place, two new fishing platforms made from recycled materials will be erected. This will then complete the work of stabilising the banks to prevent erosion started almost ten years ago. The work is being funded by grants from WREN, Cheshire West & Chester Council through Councillors Stuart & Margaret Parker , Christleton Parish Council and the Pit Group.

  •  Brimstone - Female

    Brimstone - Female

  •  Brimstone - male

    Brimstone - male

  •  Buzzard


  •  Buzzards - Croft Close

    Buzzards - Croft Close

  •  Red Kite

    Red Kite

  •  Shoveler


  •  Mandarin Ducks

    Mandarin Ducks

  •  Shelduck


  •  Celendine


  •  Lady's Smock

    Lady's Smock

  •  Marsh Marigold

    Marsh Marigold

  •  Reed Bunting

    Reed Bunting

  •  Black Cap

    Black Cap

  •  Chiff Chaff

    Chiff Chaff

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Wildlife Watch April 2017 by David Cummings

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