Sightings 2018

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Recorders are indicated by their initials:

DWE - Dave Emley
JAL - Andy Lawrence
MS - Mark Sutton
NC - Neil Carter
NDP - Nick Pomiankowski
JB - Joshua Broster
MW - Malcolm Wright

October 5th : 5 Golden Plover arrived back on their traditional wintering field between Lymes Lane and Lindsay Hall of Residence JAL

September 28th : 120+ Pink-footed Geese North-west over Keele today at 11.00 am JB

September 25th : Phase 3 at 9am there were 4 Blackcaps, 2 Chiffchaffs, 10 Greenfinches, 10 Meadow Pipits and a Tree Pipit DWE.

September 18th :The newly sown field between the campus and Lymes Lane is certainly interesting a number of birds at the moment - 195 Lesser Black-backed Gulls and 8 Herring Gulls on the ground there at 1pm today, having a bit of a rest before they drop in for a bite at the local land-fill JAL.

August 30th : Amazing count of 19 Buzzards circling over and on the freshly ploughed field between the campus and Lymes Lane at 1pm JAL, well over the previous high count of 9 birds in 2012.

August 15th : Peregrine scaring the Swallows as it passed over the sports fields at 1pm today JAL

August 8th : a Muntjac Deer was photograped with a trail cam at Drive Lodge. First deer sighting of any species at Keele MS.

August 6th : Silver-washed Fritillary was seen in the woods. This is the first record of this rare wanderer for the University NDP.

August 4th : Two new moths added to the Keele list by Jane Wallace - Maple Pug and Angle-striped Sallow. Both also new to the 10km square SJ84.

July 20th : There are now two terrapins on the "Otter Stone" in Lake 1... presumably the one in Lake 2 a while ago can't scale the weir so that suggests that we've an infestion of them here now!

July 12th : Two Crossbill in Lower Springpool plantation were a good graduation week find NDP - the species is on the move now after their breeding season and any stands of conifers are worth a check for them with their "jip, jip" call being pretty distinctive.

July 4th : Spotted Flycatcher in the Walled Garden was a nice find these days, and that makes both flycatcher species seen at Keele this year - very unusual JAL. Not so good was the terrapin sp. (yellow-bellied slider possibly?) sunning itself on a old tree branch sticking out of Lake 2 below Keele Hall - loose terrapins are generally persona non grata when they're in a UK pond so let's hope this one is the individual seen a few weeks ago on the "otter stone" in lake 1, and not a second one!

June 27th : Emerald Damselfly new to Keele on Phase three. Also Emperor and Azure Damselfly. Lots of Ringlets, Meadow Browns and Small Skipper plus Six-spot Burnets DWE.

June 19th : Azure and Blue-tailed Damselflies by lakes on Phase 3 site. Also at least 15 Ringlets with a few Meadow Browns. Bladder Campion and Hedge Bedstraw were new plants for Keele - derived from a wild flower mix sown by the Hub. Linnet and Reed Bunting singing. DWE.

June 18th : Red Kite noted over "Flagstaff plantation" nearby at Keele  JB. Single birds are being regularly reported around Staffordshire these days and they're great birds to encounter with only 6 being seen at Keele in the 2000s.

June 11th : The June lull is in full swing but a couple of Linnets were pleasant to find along Lymes Lane... they used to be a very common hedgerow bird but have declined in recent years and are only occasionally found at Keele.

May 22nd : Pied Flycatcher still singing between Horseshoe Lake 3 and Upper Springpool wood.

May 21 : Male Pied Flycatcher singing away over the bench at the three-paths-meet above Barnes Dell JAL - a good bird for Keele with The Natural History of Keele University noting reports from 2016, 2013 and 1996

May 15th : Signs of change for the breeding birds on campus with no Chiffchaffs singing today in the woodlands, presumably the young have now hatched and they're too busy! A fly-over Lapwing DWE was possibly a non- or failed breeder and a fly-over Cormorant JAL was doubtless relocating to a new feeding area. Grey Wagtail was also of note.

May 2nd : MARSH HARRIER (possibly new bird for Keele list) over Phase 3 site from Westlands direction and then off eastwards over the campus being mobbed by local crows (JAL). Woodland of Upper Springpool now full of flowering Bluebells, well worth the walk. Blackcaps now well established and a few Chiffchaffs singing on territories around campus. 29 bird species recorded between 12.30 and 1.30 around campus.

May 1st : Willow Warblers singing on western edge of Sports Field near Church plantation housing and House Martin overhead (DWE).

April 20th : Three Linnets by the pools on the Phase 3 site added a bit of excitement to a lunchtime walk (26 species today) as did a Reed Bunting (JAL). Probably two pairs of Lapwing on territory within sight of, but not on, the campus this year.

April 19th : No very unusual birds noted on campus for a while but the numbers of Summer migrants have been building with Chiffchaffs being particularly noticeable (thanks to their song) and Blackcaps also having arrived in the last few days. A lunch hour-walk yielded 24 bird species JAL and included a flyover Grey Heron over Phase 3 area, a bird which is only an occasional visitor and a good one for a Keele day-list.

April 9th : Hawfinches stil present with single over Church Plantation MS and 3 in yews to the north of The Clockhouse JAL. Chiffchaff now arriving in numbers with at least 4 singing males around the south-east quarter of the campus. A total of 25 species found in a 45 minute walk around 1pm.

April 6th : Osprey migrating overhead at Church Planations MS - only the second ever Keele record for this species! (the previous sighting being in 1997). Chiffchaff singing near Holly Cross

April 5th : Chiffchaff singing in Barker's Wood near Phase 3 development site

April 3rd : A pair of Greylag Geese by Drive Lodge this morning. Also 5 flying over the Hall MS. These are the first records for Keele.

March 28th : 8+ Hawfinch, two pairs of Mandarin Ducks and the first summer visitors putting in an appearance with one Chiffchaff and 2 Sand Martin (unusual for Keele) all sightings by MS

March 26th : Merlin over the grassland near the Phase 3 development site beyond the Sustainability Hub JAL. First sighting at Keele for several years.

March 13th : Two Hawfinches preening atop a Lime by Keele Hall and a pair of Canada Geese has returned to the top lake DWE.

March 6th : four Hawfinches by Keele Hall; Skylark singing too DWE.

February 26th : c.50 Lapwing in the horse paddock by the Keele village entrance JAL.

February 25th : 19 Hawfinches counted this morning MS.

February 22nd : 5 Hawfinches in yews on campus by Keele village entrance (JAL).

Februry 21st : Signs of Spring - 2 Skylarks singing over fields by Lymes Lane JAL.

February 12th : a campus resident filmed a Badger visiting their garden. They also had a Hawfinch beneath the bird feeder (Jane Wallace)

February 11th : Largest Hawfinch numbers so far recorded today with 17 near the Clockhouse and 3 near the Keele village entrance drive (MS)

February 7th : 4 Meadow Pipits by the upper pool of the "Phase 3" site below Home Farm (JAL), first for a while so some birds are on the move in the cold weather.

February 6th : Exactly as below minus the Greenfinch .... 3 Hawfinch still there

February 2nd : 3 Hawfinch plus 10 Greenfinch in tree tops above the White Well, Keele Hall (DWE)

January 29th : As before, not quite on-campus, but Hawfinch still in the yews around Keele church and opposite the pub in the village (MS, JAL).

January 26th : No unusual birds about lately so, to add some interest.... a lunch-hour bird chase for birds seen from the Keele campus (list alert!): Mallard, Little Grebe, Sparrowhawk, Buzzard, Moorhen, Stock Dove, Woodpigeon, Magpie, Jay, Jackdaw, Carrion Crow, Goldcrest, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Coal Tit, Long-tailed Tit, Nuthatch, Wren, Blackbird, Fieldfare, Redwing, Song Thrush, Robin, Pied Wagtail, Chaffinch, and Greenfinch - total 26. Can you do better?... it should be easy as the walk today missed some usually "simple" birds (eg. Dunnock, Raven, Treecreeper, Goldfinch) and, oddly, absolutely no fly-over birds in the very clear and sunny conditions (there's usually some gulls overhead). it shouldn't really be too difficult to get up to 30 species mark on campus in the hour in January/February: WHY NOT GIVE IT A GO!?

January 22nd : A small flock of 10 Siskin over Barnes Dell this lunchtime, plus a few Greenfinch in the yew trees on Keele Hall lawn.

January 21st : female Brambling at Drive Lodge (MS).

January 18th : An "everyday" bird at Keele, but there seems to be a good number of Jackdaws around the lawns at the moment with a flock of at least 70 birds overflying the Clockhouse at 1pm (record count?). Also 100+ Fieldfare on the field between Lindsay Hall and Lymes Lane (JAL)

January 16th : Not quite on-campus but still some Hawfinch present locally with 3 (at least) still feeding in yews near the entrance to St John's Church in Keele village (JAL, P Greatbatch)

January 12th : Many hundreds of Starlings around today, in the pasture and arable fields between the University and the motorway - several flocks of 50-100 birds, with a good number of Fieldfare also accompanying (JAL). Pair of Teal in the pond opposite Drive Lodge (MS).

January 9th : 14 Moorhens by Lake 1 JAL.

January 8th : A Hawfinch in flight from the trees lining the Keele village entrance and over Church Plantation (JAL) - there's been a couple of birds about near the Church over the last few days (MS), the Yew trees being the attraction.

January 6th : c500 Pink-footed Geese over Drive Lodge heading NW in 3 separate skeins (MS). Part of a major passage in North Staffs.

January 3rd : A quiet start to the 2018 sightings' page with everything laying low in the aftermath of Storm Eleanor: a few Fieldfare in the trees lining Lymes Lane plus a couple of small flocks of Long-tailed Tits making their way along the hedgerows.