Web Analytics



Amazing Sighting at Hockenhull

A Pomarine Skua!!!

Thank you to my good friend Joe O Hanlon for sharing some of his sightings and photographs taken at Hockenhull Platts recently. I was thrilled to hear that he had seen a Pomarine Skua sitting on the water, being bombed by a black headed gull. An astonishing first record of a bird more commonly seen in Scotland, a definite first for the area. It was clearly moving through the area, and stayed for about ten minutes before flying off. The black headed gull photographed was taken at The Groves in Chester, and I understand from speaking to a bird ringer watching there, that this bird had been ringed in Estonia! These days Great white egrets are regularly seen at Burton Mere’s, so a new recording at the Platts is not so unusual. I’ve included a few of my recent pictures of these majestic white birds taken at Burton, together with a little egret in flight for comparison. Joe also recorded a pair of mute swans with four cygnets, a welcome sight on the Gowy, as earlier in the summer the Walk Mill pair had all six cygnets predated. There are so few mute swans in this part of Cheshire and across North Wales, that I was delighted to see a herd of 200+ at Willen Lake in Milton Keynes during a recent visit. I was also pleased to see on a recent TV programme from Norfolk, that there were large numbers in Norwich, and on several areas of the Broads, including Hickling Broad, famous also for its colony of swallowtail butterflies.

Our large family of house sparrows (at least three broods this year) are still evident in the garden every day, feeding on any food offered, but clearly have a wary eye open for the local sparrowhawk, which can be seen pictured on our garden gate. The sparrows quickly disappear into the hawthorn hedge as soon as the enemy is spotted, staying there until they feel it is safe to come out. We must have 25 or more living in and around the garden, joined occasionally by a small group of starlings. We also have at least one pair of robins. You can see the comparison between an adult, and one of this years youngsters, clearly identified by its speckles. We also have regular visits from a pair of jackdaws, who are happy to share the bird feeders with any other bird, and don’t seem too worried about the sparrow hawk. An unusual image this month is of a kestrel feeding on the ground. They are more usually seen hovering, or sitting on the top of a post.

We have been worried all summer about the numbers of swallows and martins about, and were delighted to see a mixed group of sixty gathering in a pre migration ritual on the same telegraph post and roof at Croft Close, that happens in August every year. (See the picture taken later in the month when about twenty birds could be seen.) There have been occasional groups of up to six house martins, on wires at Croft Close, Moor Lane in Rowton, at Church Walks and at The Pit in Christleton, but nothing like the usual numbers expected. The Walk Mill site for house martin nests is about 75% down on previous years, but I was delighted yesterday to see several broods flying around the city centre, from nests above The Old Boot Inn the Grosvenor Hotel, and the WH Smith building. Let’s hope these small visitors have a successful journey back to their wintering grounds, and make it back again next year. The picture shown is a successful brood of three youngsters on one of the successful nests under the roof of Walk Mill.

I also understand from Joe, that Barn Owls from two local boxes have been doing well, and his nature camera has picked up, mink, otter, wood mouse, brown rat and water rail. He also reported that he recorded 7 sand martins, a water rail, 7 shelduck, 11 snipe, 135+ lapwing, and the great white egret, on one of his regular morning visits. His spotting and photographing of the Pomarine Skua however, was just brilliant. Thanks Joe, for sharing your records and photographs with the website.

  •  Skua at Hockenhull

    Skua at Hockenhull

  •  Great White Egret

    Great White Egret

  •  Great White Egret

    Great White Egret

  •  Great White Egret

    Great White Egret

  •  Little Egret

    Little Egret

  •  Mute Swan

    Mute Swan

  •  Mute Swans

    Mute Swans

  •  Barn Owl at Hockenhull

    Barn Owl at Hockenhull

  •  Sparrowhawk at Croft Cose, Waverton

    Sparrowhawk at Croft Cose, Waverton

  •  Sparrowhawk at Croft Cose, Waverton

    Sparrowhawk at Croft Cose, Waverton

  •  Sparrowhawk - female

    Sparrowhawk - female

  •  Kestrel


  •  Black headded Gull at Chester

    Black headded Gull at Chester

  •  House Sparrow

    House Sparrow

  •  Little Grebe

    Little Grebe

  •  Swallows at Croft Close, Waverton

    Swallows at Croft Close, Waverton

  •  House Martins

    House Martins

  •  Robin


  •  Swallows at Croft Close, Waverton

    Swallows at Croft Close, Waverton

  •  Robin baby

    Robin baby

  •  Jackdaw



Wildlife Watch September 2023

We use cookies and other tracking technologies to improve your browsing experience on our site, analyse site traffic and understand where our audience is coming from.