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Latest News - 2019


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Supplementary Pages 2019

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Updated 12th February 2019

12/2/2019
...... A weekend of contrasts
Over the years I've slowly built up a modest collection of bird books, almost all concerning British birds. I have travelled abroad a few times but never been able to work up much enthusiasm for the species to be found in those far flung places. We've been to New Zealand five times but I've never seen a Kiwi! I'm never happier than when I'm out birding in the UK - especially the leafy lanes of Cheshire. So, naturally, it's the books of Thomas Alfred Coward that I value most and I have all his published works. They're not expensive, I think my copy of "The Birds of Cheshire" published in 1900 cost the most - about £ 80.
Despite this narrow spectrum of ornithological interests I've always found other people's books, if not their birds, fascinating; especially rare antiquarian examples and none more so than Audubon's iconic "Birds of America" - the four volume "double elephant" portfolio published in the mid 19th century each measuring 39"X26" with a total weight of 200lbs!. They're worth a little more than any of Coward's! In 2010 a set of the four volumes were auctioned for $11.5 million, equivalent to $13.2M today.
I knew that the Liverpool Central Library owned a set and one was always on display in a glass case, each volume in turn and a new page revealed once a week. It was always my intention to travel over for a look but never got round to it, but when it was announced a few weeks ago that a special series of viewings were being arranged of not one but two volumes - out of their glass cases and laid out in front of you with staff on hand to relate the story of their arrival in Liverpool and answer questions about their conservation (past and future) it was an opportunity not to be missed.

So on Saturday (9th February) Olwen and I headed west to Merseyside and the centre of Liverpool; just one navigation error when we ended up driving through the sleepy suburb of Wavertree not a place in which to linger! We finally arrived with no further mishaps at the appropriate location, a much more salubrious spot with the library sandwiched between the World Museum and the Walker Art Gallery opposite St. John's Gardens and the Bedlam Paintball Emporium!
The library itself is a lovely building having re-opened in 2013 after extensive refurbishment with all the usual facilities and a pleasant cafe serving snacks and proper coffee. The viewing event took place on the third floor, in the search room, into which we were ushered at the allotted time. A group of about 25 people who were asked to consider others during the event - not to hog the best positions and allow everyone to get a good view and take photos if they wished. This worked well, all very civilised with participants moving politely from spot to spot to examine the prints and take some record shots. The two members of staff gave interesting presentations and were happy to answer questions as they went along. The prints were beautiful and looked as fresh as the day they were completed and no one went away disappointed. I believe a further event is planned sometime this year with all four volumes available - but you'll need to book early!

On then to Sunday (10/2) and back to the day job, our February KOS field trip to Tatton Park, a reasonable turnout of 11 members and one pooch ably led my our leader for the Day Tony Ellis. We met up at the Dog Lodge layby, down Moordale Road and onto Knutsford Moor. A Song Thrush was singing at the bottom of Moordale but there was little of interest until we entered Dog Wood (when will we have a singing Cetti's on the Moor?). From a position looking across to the Higmere Plantation we were pleased to see the Mandarin Ducks were still present - 25 Males and at least 9 females, probably more, the boys were displaying furiously - perhaps a few nest boxes would be useful! 12 Herons perched high in the waterside alders watched the goings on below with haughty indifference. A Great Spotted Woodpecker drummed intermittently, Nuthatches called and a Green Woodpecker's yaffle was heard a couple of times.
Just a single Lesser Black-backed Gull further up the mere and a few Goldeneye, there's been no late winter build up as yet. Elevenses were taken in the Allen hide overlooking Melchett Mere whilst watching a small gathering of waterfowl including Coot, Moorhen, Mallard, a dozen or so Wigeon and a pair (or is it two) Egyptian Geese. Our return route took us around the far side of Melchett close to the reedbed where Tony E. and Patch diverted into the reeds themselves and managed to put up a few Common Snipe and no less than 10 Jack Snipe that flew only a few yards before diving back into the reeds in their characteristic manner, unlike their bigger cousins that invariably "tower" away and leave the area completely. We left the park via "Beech Walk" and were lucky enough to bump into the previously reported mixed flock of Chaffinches and Bramblings.
A respectable total of 49 species during a very pleasant mornings birding - thanks to all who were able to come along and help me celebrate my 75th birthday!!

Species seen in Tatton Park on 10th February 1944 2019.
Dunnock, Blue Tit, Song Thrush, Woodpigeon, Goldfinch, Jackdaw, House Sparrow, Wren, Mute Swan, Mallard, Tufted Duck, Long-tailed Tit, Robin, Magpie, Blackbird, Black-headed Gull, Great Crested Grebe, Cormorant, great Tit, Carrion Crow, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Little Grebe, Mandarin Duck, Redwing, Grey Heron, Canada Goose, Pochard, Siskin, Nuthatch, Green Woodpecker, Goldcrest, Goldeneye, Coot, Moorhen, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Wigeon, Egyptian Goose, Starling, Jack Snipe, Buzzard, Chaffinch, Brambling, Jay, Mistle Thrush, Common Snipe, Coal Tit. [ ✓ 49]



6/2/2019...... Cold snap brings us more Winter visitors
Topsy-turvy weather over the past couple of weeks, 7 ° C yesterday and 6.5 ° C today, in marked contrast to last week when the temperature remained below freezing on Thursday (31st) and dropped to -5 ° C in the early hours of Monday this week (4th).
More Redwings and Fieldfares have appeared in our area, Jayne Davies tells me that she had large numbers of Redwings on Sunday (3rd) when driving into Tatton Park and the following morning (4th) a large mixed flock of Redwings, Fieldfares and Starlings fed amongst the sheep in a field along Smith Lane in Mobberley. Also in the village singing Song and Mistle Thrushes, the latter were very active defending their chosen nest sites from one another - nice to see more than one pair of these early nesters. Goldcrests are in song, hidden away in the conifers surrounding Mobberley Church and some of the village's larger gardens.
We welcomed back the first Siskins of the Winter to our feeders last Saturday when a male and female appeared on the sunflower hearts. Certainly not the first though, Geoff and Sheila Blamire had Siskins and Redpolls in their Mere garden on Sunday the 27th during the Big Garden Birdwatch. Steve Collins hosted both species two weeks previously in his Knutsford garden.

The Manchester Birding Forum reports Brambling this morning (6th) along Beech Walk in Tatton. Park ranger Darren Morris had no less than 40 Mandarin Ducks in front of the Higmere Plantation on the Park's main mere (1/2). I thought this must have been a record for Cheshire but Hugh Pulsford tells me he has previously had a flock of c.100 on the lake in Alderley park where a nest box contained 24 eggs - all of which apparently hatched out!

An interesting text today from Darren who has watched (for the past few weeks) 15 to 20 Cormorants herding young carp into the shallows of the lagoon at the north end of Tatton mere. I've seen film of Pelicans doing this but a quick search on the internet revealed that other members of the Cormorant family indulge in this cooperative exercise in other parts of the world.

So plenty to look forward to on Sunday (10th) when our February field trip will be to Tatton. Meeting up at 9:00am in the Dog Lodge layby on Mobberley Road. Tony Ellis is the trip leader.



28/01/2019...... The Big Garden Birdwatch

Cool but dry weather over the weekend when we again teamed up with The Friends of Knutsford Moor (Saturday 26th) and The Friends of the Heath (Sunday 27th) to lend a hand with the RSPB's Big Garden Birdwatch. 8C at 9:00am on Saturday morning as we gathered on the Moor. There was a good turnout of Knutsfordians together with three visitors from Stockport, it was just a pity that there were more people than birds! Still it was rewarding to be able to point out species such as Redwing, Nuthatch and Goldcrest etc. to folk who'd never seen them before. 28 different species in all, 3 up on last year but 7 less than in 2017. All recorded in one hour - the time allotted for the annual exercise.

Just 19 species the following morning on the Heath; despite the later start it was 3 degrees cooler at a chilly 5C with gale force northerly winds making it feel even colder. Although the two locations are about the same size the Heath suffers from not having an area of water within its boundaries and so misses out on the waterfowl to be found on the Moor Pool (although we "nearly" had an Egyptian Goose that passed low over the Heath without landing - that wouldn't feature on many garden lists!). Despite its limitations the Heath is a pleasant place to explore on a windy winters morning, numerous paths criss-cross the woodland making it very popular with local families walking their dogs and the shelter provided by the trees meant the small birds weren't affected by the weather and Blue, Great and Coal Tits were all in song - a gentle reminder that Spring's just around the corner (although the weather forecast gives snow for tomorrow and last year "The Beast from the East" didn't arrive until late February!

Song Thrushes were recorded at both locations and again this morning I had three in song on a walk around Mobberley. Very encouraging and it looks like they're making something of a comeback after years of decline.

On Friday (1/2) it's the CAWOS February meeting at 7:45pm at the Catholic Church on Tatton Street
Our second talk for 2019 is by Mike Leach who is a superb photographer and speaker. Mike has visited us a number of times and always has been very entertaining. His talk this time is a bit of a follow up to one of his previous talks although it is by no means necessary to have attended the "Part 1" to fully enjoy his offering this time. Thoroughly recommended to ALL! Michael returns with a second helping! Those with long memories will remember his entertaining part 1 back in 2005! Further confessions of a wildlife photographer featuring advice on how to make a wild cat look more menacing and the story of working with hen harriers on a storm-swept Scottish mountain. Michael reveals how cameramen look into the secret world of underground dens and how to build a motorway in your garden shed.

NB Some people are still getting CAWOS and KOS mixed up! KOS is the Knutsford Ornithological Society our local bird club and the "owners" of this website. CAWOS is the Cheshire and Wirral Ornithological Society - the county Society. Some KOS members are members of both.

Species seen on Knutsford Moor 26th January 2019. Blackbird, Black-headed Gull, Blue Tit, Coot, Dunnock, Goldfinch, Great Tit, House Sparrow, Jackdaw, Long-tailed Tit, Magpie, mallard, Moorhen, Redwing, Robin, Song Thrush, Mute Swan, Tufted Duck, Woodpigeon, Goldcrest, Chaffinch, Nuthatch, Cormorant, Carrion Crow, Coal Tit, Feral Pigeon, Collared Dove, Pochard. [ ✓ 28]
Species seen on Knutsford Heath 27th January 2019. Carrion Crow, Blackbird, Black-headed Gull, Blue Tit, Chaffinch, Coal Tit, Goldfinch, Great Tit, Jackdaw, Long-tailed Tit, Magpie, Nuthatch, Robin, Song Thrush, Woodpigeon, Wren, Kestrel, Goldcrest, Great Spotted Woodpecker [ ✓ 19]

25/01/2019......Winter on the Wirral
A cold start to the day for our mid-week trip over to the Wirral on Wednesday (23rd), -0.3C at 9:00am with a maximum of only 1.1C during the afternoon. The car park at Burton Mere Wetlands was a sheet of ice and quite treacherous so it came as no surprise that the paths were closed to visitors, even the short stretch to the first viewing screen where we'd hoped to find the Bearded Reedlings.
Despite this disappointment, and the fact that the main pool was also iced over, we spent the best part of an hour in the reception building enjoying crystal clear views across the reserve to the Connah's Quay power station and up to the snow covered Welsh mountains in the distance. The RSPB wardens had the wood burner going full tilt and the filter coffee on offer was most welcome - all very civilised!
Pink-footed Geese passed to and fro high over the reserve whilst in the distance a small flock of Whooper Swans grazed alongside more Pinkfeet, Greylags and Canada Geese.

On then to Parkgate for the high tide of 10M. Many others had also made the trip and the car park at the old baths was chock-a-block, we managed to squeeze in and made our way to the sea wall where Sheila Blamire was nicely ensconced with a clear view across the estuary. The high tide was due at 12:36pm but it soon became apparent that the incoming water was never going to reach the sea wall, conditions on this occasion were just not in our favour. Nevertheless there were plenty of good birds to be found and those that appeared gave us good views. Up to five Marsh Harriers were in the air together, Male and female Hen Harriers caused much excitement as did the hunting Short-eared Owls - three at one stage with one posing photogenically on an old fence post out in the estuary, perhaps just too far away for the multitude of photographers after that killer image!!
Little Egrets were few and far between but a Great White Egret was a welcome addition to the day-list, Skylarks passed over in good numbers and two Stonechats obliged the photographers, assuming an appropriate pose just beyond the sea wall.
The Parkgate chippie was doing a roaring trade but it was again well worth the wait - great to welcome Len Mason back with us after his recent problems and in such good form - he wasn't going to miss those fish and chips!

Fieldfares have been conspicuous by their absence so far this Winter but I had 12 yesterday in Mobberley and Bob Groom counted 61 flying over Queensway at lunchtime.

A busy weekend ahead starting this evening (Friday 25th) -

Friday 25th January... KOS indoor meeting - "North Norfolk Here I Come" with Jim Almond

Saturday 26th January - Big Garden Birdwatch with the Friends of Knutsford Moor. 9am to 10am on the Moor.

Sunday 27th January - Big Garden Birdwatch with the Friends of Knutsford Heath 11am to noon on the Heath.

Species seen on the Wirral - Wednesday 23rd January 2019
Blue Tit, Robin, Blackbird, Dunnock, Chaffinch, Mallard, Goldfinch, Pheasant, Pink-footed Goose, Starling, Redshank, Black Swan, Greylag Goose, Heron, Carrion Crow, Canada Goose, Reed Bunting, Whooper Swan, Moorhen, Lapwing, Teal, Little Egret, Song Thrush, Great Tit, Nuthatch, Curlew, Woodpigeon, Jackdaw, Marsh Harrier, Black-headed Gull, lesser Black-backed Gull, Magpie, Snipe, Shelduck, Meadow Pipit, Short-eared Owl, Pied Wagtail, Oystercatcher, Hen harrier, Skylark, Shoveler, Kestrel, Great White Egret, Herring Gull. [ ✓ 44]

15/01/2019...... The Winter Wildfowl Watch 2019
It was a real Winters day last year (21 January 2018) for our annual Winter Wildfowl Watch at the Allen hide - overlooking Melchett mere in Tatton Park. More benign conditions for this years event on Sunday (13th) with a temperature of 10 ° C, although a very strong westerly wind made it feel a little cooler.

10 members arrived to give a hand during the morning, including Yvonne and Darren Morris who once again provided tea, coffee, biscuits and a supply of hot water - essential ingredients with which to tempt people in!

We were surprised that given the more agreeable weather there were so few people passing by, but nevertheless with the promise of free refreshments we were able to accompany a steady stream of visitors down to the hide throughout the morning.
Amongst the 31 species seen or heard there was nothing unusual but, with the use of member's 'scopes, things like Cormorant, Black-headed Gull, Coot, Mallard, Shoveler, Wigeon, Moorhen, Little Grebe, Great Crested Grebe, Pochard, Goldeneye and Common Snipe could be pointed out to our guests. Alan Gillespie, a long time friend of the KOS, again paid us a visit and alerted us to the fact that, as last year, a Kingfisher was on view along the channel connecting Melchett and the outlet stream from Tatton Mere. A 'scope was quickly set up there and passersby were able to view a species they'd previously only seen on TV!
Most visitors were local to the area and from the positive comments received I suspect we may see some of them again at one of our coming indoor meetings or outdoor field trips.

Thanks to all concerned for their help in making this event such a success - we must do it again sometime!

Also in the park Roger Barnes tells me that Grey Herons can be seen perched high in the alder trees of Higmere plantation, staking out their claims to the most favourable nest sites prior to the breeding season, which is now upon us - young birds have been seen as early as February at some locations in the past. On his way to the Allen hide Alan Gillespie walked along Beech Walk, next to the golf course, and reports seeing Brambings feeding on the beech mast - the first I've heard of in our area this winter.
In Mobberley a pair of Little Owls have set up shop along Pavement Lane and this morning on Slade Lane I watched a group of 5 Bullfinches exploring an orchard and heard three Song Thrushes and two Goldcrests in song. let's hope they don't get carried away - it's mild at the moment but the weather people tell us it's going to get a lot colder - winter's not over yet!

There are some high Spring tides next week - around 10 meters on the 22nd, 23rd and 24th. The RSPB will be putting on a special event on the 23rd.

Wednesday 23rd January - Parkgate High tide Birdwatch (RSPB). 10.30am-2.30pm, Price: Free. In celebration of the RSPB Dee Estuary reserve's 40th anniversary, join us at Parkgate Old Baths for the awe-inspiring spectacle of a high tide flooding the vast salt marsh, potentially reaching the old sea wall. The marsh at Parkgate is one of the best wetland habitats in the northwest, and when flooded by an incoming tide, the wildlife which lives here is pushed closer, with chance of seeing the great range of ducks, geese, wading birds and egrets in big numbers as they are driven upstream by the rising tide. A range of birds of prey take advantage of mice and voles flushed from the grasses; hen and marsh harriers, peregrines and merlins all spend the winter months on the estuary and this is one of the best places to watch them, plus short-eared owls if we're really lucky. So why not venture out to try witness all the drama. Low pressure and a westerly wind will help push the tide and wildlife in close. There is free public parking at the Old Baths car park (CH64 6RN) at the north end of The Parade, and the Wirral Country Park car park on Station Road (CH64 6QJ). There are public toilets at Mostyn Square in the middle of The Parade, and a number of pubs and cafes. High tide (10.0m/32.8ft) at 12.36pm.

Species recorded in Tatton Sunday 13th January 2019
Jackdaw, Redwing, Starling, Brambling, Nuthatch, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Cormorant, Mute Swan, Black-headed Gull, Coot, mallard, Shoveller, Kestrel, Wigeon, Moorhen, Little Grebe, Pochard, Goldeneye, Great Crested Grebe, Magpie, Carrion Crow, Blackbird, Tufted Duck, Coal Tit, Chaffinch, Kingfisher, Buzzard, Canada Goose, Snipe. [ ✓ 31]


07/01/2019...... January field trip to Connah's Quay
I'd sent out an email to members with the postcode for the Connah's Quay reserve, the venue for Sunday's first field trip of the year on Sunday (6th). It must have been correct as everyone arrived with time to spare. Everyone except me and Frank that is. A combination of old age and finger trouble on the satnav found us still on the A55 at the allotted time heading for Conwy and Llandudno!
Luckily Frank was in his usual unflappable mode and soon had us back on track. We were late but only by a few minutes. 75 years ago chaps like him would have been sat in the tattered remains of the fuselage of a crippled Lancaster bomber calmly guiding the pilot back to safety at some aerodrome on the flatlands of Lincolnshire! Anyway, suitably embarrassed, we eventually landed to hoots of derision from the rest of the KOS Crew!!

High tide was at 11:00am so we made our way immediately to the tower hide at the far end of the reserve, Chaffinch, Linnet and Brambling, seen from the cars, were early additions to the day list as we made our way along the track running parallel with the River Dee. Earlier in the morning we'd seen huge flocks of Pink-footed geese passing overhead as we approached Connah's Quay, a few more were seen from the hide but here Canada Geese predominated, a sizable flock grazed in front of us accompanied by a few Greylags and two difficult to find Barnacle geese.
Waders were well represented with c. 50 Dunlin feeding on the mud before the tide rolled in plus Curlew, Lapwing, Oystercatcher, Redshank, Black-tailed Godwit and, in the distance, viewable only through the bigger 'scopes, a small group of Knot.
We had a number of sightings of Little Egrets out across the estuary towards Parkgate plus one record of a single Great White Egret. A Peregrine appeared from that direction and landed for a short time on a nearby pylon, partially obscured by the structure but viewable through the 'scopes. Just four species of raptor during the day with the Peregrine, an early Kestrel, Buzzard and a Marsh Harrier seen by Bob as we walked back to the cars, bringing our final tally to a reasonable 51 species. The only disappointment was the absence again of any Twite; apparently they have appeared only intermittently in small numbers at very high tides and after heavy rain when fresh water pools, in which they were seen bathing, formed in the car park.

This coming Sunday (13th) we'll again be at the Allen Hide, overlooking Melchett mere, in Tatton Park from 11am until 1pm for the annual Winter Wildfowl Watch in conjunction with the Park Rangers. Always good fun and we're hoping that refreshments will again be available but this depends on what Darren can scrounge!!

species seen at Connah's Quay on Sunday 6th January 2019.
Chaffinch, Brambling, Linnet, Robin, Grey Heron, Blackbird, Song Thrush, Kestrel, Great Tit, Curlew, Buzzard, Raven, Shelduck, Lapwing, Teal, Canada Goose, Herring Gull, Black-headed Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Great Black-backed Gull, Greylag Goose, Wigeon, Dunlin, Reed Bunting, Pheasant, Oystercatcher, Carrion Crow, Woodpigeon, Magpie, Shoveler, Coot, Moorhen, Cormorant, Redshank, Black-tailed Godwit, Barnacle Goose, Little Egret, Great White Egret, Greenfinch, Little Grebe, Long-tailed Tit, Marsh Harrier, Dunnock, Wren, Mallard, Peregrine, Mute Swan, Redwing. [ ✓ 51]



30/12/2018...... Christmas Walk
A pleasant enough day on Friday (28th) for our annual Christmas walk around Budworth Mere / Haydn's / Neumann's etc. - overcast but dry with a maximum temperature of 12 ° C. It was nice to see our Hon. Sec. Derek back out in the field and in great form! and also Hon. Treasurer Frank who survived a 10 hour drive up from Kent the previous day - sheer weight of traffic with cars queuing in the slip roads up to the services on the M25 and M6; how on earth are we to cope in the future when all these vehicles need their batteries charging when we're all electric?

Our route took us from the Witton Bridge car park up to Haydn's pool, along to Budworth Mere then over to Neumann's Flash on our way back to the cars. Dunnocks, Great and Blue Tits were all in song as we approached Butterfinch Bridge, no Cetti's Warbler this year but a Water Rail called briefly from deep inside the reedbed upstream from the bridge.

Haydn's Pool was disappointing; it's currently overgrown with little water to be seen, but we did tick off Stock Dove and Peregrine on the day list - the latter perched on a railing on the old ICI building, not in it's usual position on the chimney - you can't hide from the Hon. Chairman's Swarovski!

Elevenses were taken at the viewing screen overlooking Budworth Mere. More to see here, the most obvious species on view were the Goosanders - no less than 29 birds, four full adult males but mostly "red heads" one of which was fishing in the shallows, just below the screen, where Richard obtained the image shown above. A second Water Rail was heard from here whilst out on the mere good numbers of Great Crested Grebes two of which were displaying.

Over towards the sandspit were the gulls, Mainly Black-headed with a few Herring a handful of Lesser Black-backed and a single Great Black-backed. Other wildfowl included Shoveler, Tufted Duck, Little Grebe with a couple of Canada Geese and a lone Goldeneye. A Kingfisher flew low over the mere as we made our way along the waterside path and into the woodland.

Approaching Neumann's we came across a small flock of finches predominately Green and Gold but alongside them a couple of Lesser Redpolls. More Wildfowl on Neumann's with Wigeon and Teal present in good numbers; across on the far side of the flash a flock of c. 200 Lapwings (but no Golden Plovers this time). Richard, Geoff and Sheila diverted to Pod's hide before returning to the cars and from there had a Snipe and great views of a Water Rail which was so close that Richard was able to capture this shot with his phone camera. In the foreground you'll see red roses left in memory of Pete "Pod" Antrobus and in who's memory the hide was erected. A poignant image and a reminder that for many people Christmas and New Year can be a very difficult time.

Some up and coming dates for your diary.

Friday 4th January.... The latest CAWOS meeting - Paul Hobson "Scotland" 7:45pm at the Catholic Church, Tatton Street, Knutsford.

Sunday 6th January.... Our KOS January field trip to Connah's Quay. 08:30am at the Tatton Street car park or 09:20 at the entrance to the reserve. Hopefully the Twite flock has built up again this winter.

Sunday 13th January... Wildfowl watch with the Tatton Rangers. 11:00am to 1pm at the Allen hide.

Friday 25th January... KOS indoor meeting - "North Norfolk Here I Come" with Jim Almond

Saturday 26th January - Big Garden Birdwatch with the Friends of Knutsford Moor. 9am to 10am on the Moor.

Sunday 27th January - Big Garden Birdwatch with the Friends of Knutsford Heath 11am to noon on the Heath.

Species seen at Northwich Woodlands. Friday 28th January 2018.Dunnock, Robin, Mallard, Goldfinch, Blue Tit, Magpie, Chaffinch, Great tit, Blackbird, Woodpigeon, Nuthatch, Water Rail, Carrion Crow, Peregrine Falcon, Stock Dove, Mute Swan, Jay, Coal Tit, Song Thrush, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Goosander, great crested Grebe, Moorhen, Cormorant, lapwing, herring Gull, Common Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, great Black-backed Gull, Shoveler, Little Grebe, Tufted Duck, Goldeneye, Shelduck, Reed Bunting, Sparrowhawk, Coot, Kingfisher, Heron, Canada Goose, Long-tailed Tit, Buzzard, Greenfinch, Teal, Wigeon, Lesser Redpoll, Snipe. [ ✓ 47]

19/12/2018...... The KOS Christmas Party
Our 44th Christmas party went very well on Friday evening (14th). Despite fewer attendees than last year, as Frank Dearden our Hon. Treasurer reports, the society's finances received a very welcome boost.

Greetings all. A lovely evening last Friday rounded off our 2018 meeting programme with festive spirits fuelled by a delicious food offering. This event is also our sole fund raising effort of the year; here is how we did on that front.

A total of twenty one people attended the party; a figure lower than in previous years owing to a number of late cancellations from members felled by various bugs. Nevertheless, the evening was a great success on the financial as well as the enjoyment front, coming in the top three of KOS parties for money taken and profit recorded. The two occasions when slightly more was raised were years when we had guest lists of twenty eight. Based on the size of our gathering, it was the most financially productive party that we have ever had.

Admission money at £ 7 per head raised £ 147.00

The raffle organised by Sue and Jacquie brought in £ 54.10

The bring and buy stall, followed by the end of evening auction, overseen by Sheila and Judith realised £ 54.40

Various donations totalled £ 53.00

This produced a total revenue of £ 308.50. Deducting modest buffet costs of £ 51.50 (all the offerings being subsidised in some way by the providers) gave a profit of £ 257.00

So a big thank you to all involved in our party, for supporting the raffle and the bring and buy, for providing the food and making donations. Also to Bob for organising a quiz and providing the prize.

The sum raised will help keep the Society going and enable us to continue to attract quality speakers to our meetings.

Frank

Thanks Frank it looks as though we'll not have to post that begging letter to Jose Mourinho who's apparently leaving Old Trafford with a golden goodbye of £ 18 million!

I've not received many sightings of interest since the last update. Bob Groom was at Rostherne on 11th December and had a flock of c.100 Pinkfeet flying over. In Mobberley along Pavement Lane two Little Owls have taken over the oak tree nest site used two years ago by a pair of Barn Owls. Blue, Great and Coal Tits have been in song for the past couple of weeks and were joined over the weekend by the local Dunnocks. Not long now to the shortest day and in the garden the daffodil leaves are beginning to emerge - Spring can't be that far away - or am I being a tad too optimistic? In his weather column in today's Times Paul Simons, who correctly predicted the arrival of the "Beast from the East" at the end of February, seems confident that were going to suffer something similar in the near future, possibly as soon as late December although more likely in mid to late January. It could run through to February with hard frosts, ice and snow - you've been warned!

I've updated the trips and meetings page with three additional outdoor events. On December 28th we'll be having our Christmas walk around the Northwich Woodlands - Neumann's / Haydn's / Budworth Mere etc. meeting at the usual Witton Bridge car park at 09:45 for a 10am start.
We'll again be joining forces with two Knutsford organisations for the Big Garden Birdwatch. Friends of Knutsford Moor at 9:00am on 26th January and Friends of Knutsford Heath at 11:00am the following day.



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