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Grey Herons Everywhere

June was an extraordinary month for my own wildlife sightings. I had close up sightings of many new species to the UK, including colourful ringed necked parakeets, and Egyptian geese, who now seem to be breeding in considerable numbers. I also rescued a young greylag or Canada goose, gosling, from Moor Lane in Rowton. I managed to catch it after a short chase, and released it onto the nearby canal. Whilst in Hyde Park a month or so ago we came across a pair of mute swans with six or more cygnets, on a nest just a metre from a major footpath. Sadly there are no breeding swans in our area, after the demise of the Walk Mill cygnets through predation. Although I have had a report from a skipper of one of the Chester Boats, that there are a pair of swans with six cygnets, on the river beyond the Eaton Hall estate.

Grey herons seem to be very prominent everywhere, and I include several of them in close up, one even sharing fish with a pair of short clawed Asian otters in the London wetland Centre. Lapwing, godwits and curlew were all good sightings for my camera this month, and I especially enjoyed a close encounter with a curlew on the Menai Straits near the sea zoo. It gave a delightful display, feeding at the waters edge, a fluting call in flight, not seeming to bother about me standing watching it from a few metres away with my camera. We are now used to seeing little egrets at Burton Mere’s and on the marshes at Parkgate, but I’ve not seen one at Sandy Lane before until last week. I also came across a clutch of baby shelducks, huddling together on a boulder in the middle of a stream. They looked particularly colourful, with one larger sibling looking after all nine or ten of them, with no sign of the adult birds around at all.

Ospreys are once again breeding successfully in the Glaslyn Estuary near Porthmadoc. There are two successful nests visible from the Osprey Visitor Centre, clearly signposted from the Ring Road, where enthusiastic volunteers are delighted to show and tell you about the project and the birds you can see through their telescopes, or projected onto the TV screens in the centre. Although the female from last year didn’t return from Africa, the male Aran was soon able to find a new mate, (Elen) and the first egg was laid at the end of May followed shortly afterwards by a second. On July 4th the two healthy youngsters were ringed as oH1 and oH2, both males. They will stay in the area until late August or early September until they start their first migration flight to Africa. They seem to spend a couple of years in north and west Africa, before returning to Britain in the third year to start establishing a nest, and find a suitable partner. A second site on private land is also visible from the Visitor Centre. I think there are also two youngsters on this nest this year. This is an extraordinary success story, following the successful rearing of five chicks between the same two nests last year. I also find it difficult to believe that again this season I have seen almost as many osprey in North Wales as mute swans. Seven mute swans on the river at Caernarvon, and one in Porthmadoc Harbour were all I saw, during my weeks visit.

Red kites have been prominent this month with several seen locally, including one near Wrexham, and another over Delamere Forest, although this sighting wasn’t easy to confirm. Buzzard and kestrel have almost certainly bred in the parish, with several sightings of young birds, and I understand that peregrine falcons have bred successfully at the Shot Tower in Boughton. Male and female siskins have been photographed on bird feeders, and a regular visitor to our garden feeding station has been a jackdaw. We have also had two successful hatchings of house sparrows in our nest box, and these youngsters are being fed by the adults, as well as learning to take food from the bird feeders. The noise of so many excited youngsters in the garden has no doubt attracted the presence of a male sparrowhawk. I think that most if not all of the young sparrows were able to take quick cover in the hawthorn hedges, when the alarm was raised.

I’ll deal with the situation of butterflies seen this season in next month’s notes, but dragonflies have been very active locally. I have had lots of sightings of both four spotted and broad bodied chasers, as well as several black tailed skimmers. I am also delighted to report that at least one pair of “Emperor” dragonflies can be seen at the Pit, usually flying over the two stands of amphibious bistort, and I even spotted one flying over the road near the Rectory in Birch Heath Lane. These large attractive blue dragonflies have become regular sightings for me, both in the village and at the two larger ponds at the Chester Zoo Nature Park, in the last four years. I was also thrilled this month to spot a rare scarlet tiger moth, feeding on a buddleia bush in Croft Close. I had not seen this species before, and my only garden tiger moth sighting was photographed over 40 years ago on a cliff path in Pembrokeshire.


  •  Ring Necked Parakeet

    Ring Necked Parakeet

  •  Egyptian Goose

    Egyptian Goose

  •  Mute Swan and Cygnets

    Mute Swan and Cygnets

  •  Grey Heron

    Grey Heron

  •  Grey Heron in flight

    Grey Heron in flight

  •  Grey Heron wading

    Grey Heron wading

  •  Grey Heron and Otters

    Grey Heron and Otters

  •  Lapwing


  •  Godwit


  •  Curlew


  •  Curlew


  •  Little Egret on the River Dee

    Little Egret on the River Dee

  •  Baby Shelducks

    Baby Shelducks

  •  Jackdaw on a bird feeder

    Jackdaw on a bird feeder

  •  Sparrowhawk


  •  Siskin - male

    Siskin - male

  •  Siskin - female

    Siskin - female

  •  Emperor Dragonfly flying

    Emperor Dragonfly flying

  •  Four Spotted Chaser

    Four Spotted Chaser

  •  Broad Bodied Chaser

    Broad Bodied Chaser

  •  Scarlet Garden Tiger Moth

    Scarlet Garden Tiger Moth

  •  Red Kite

    Red Kite


Wildlife Watch July 2023

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