Sightings 2017

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

December 27th : four Hawfinches in Keele churchyard and 80 Siskins by Keele Hall MS.

December 20th : Generally pretty quiet bird-wise on the campus, with a few more-than-usual Blackbirds about but otherwise little else other than the usual residents around, although a group of 9 Reed Buntings (JAL) near the pools opposite IC5 was a nugget of interest today... Reed Buntings are not uncommon in their favoured habitat but can be difficult to get on a day's bird-list at Keele. Seems to be a good number of larger giulls overhead flying south-west away from Newcastle and across the campus (perhaps coming from the land-fill site?).

December 19th :At least 2 Hawfinches in yews at the bottom of Clockhouse Drive plus a flock of 22 Golden Plovers over the fields to the west of the Drive (AL). A Goosander, a rare visitor to Keele, was seen on Lake 5 Pauline Weston.

December 14th : the Hawfinch occupation continues, although no reports today they have been seen daily up to yesterday and have been well-visited by birders from several counties not to mention a good number of photographers who have been staked out at the bottom of Clockhouse Drive. Also in the nearby fields today - ca 90 Golden Plovers, 20 or Lapwings and a number of Black-headed Gulls and some Buzzards .

November 28th : Hawfinches again! 5-6 present at the bottom of Clockhouse Drive and two also located at the top of the Drive in trees between the Drive and Keele Hall,... seems that birds are moving between these sites (Paul Swinhoe, JAL) At least 5 birders there today so developing into a major "twitch"

November 27th : Hawfinches, still here with up to 5 reported today at the bottom of Clockhhouse Drive.

November 24th : three Hawfinches today in Clock House Drive DWE.

November 20th : Hawfinches again... and the first proper Keele "twitch" for many years (two birders there today) - at least two birds feeding in the yews at the bottom of Clock House Drive and resting in the top of the lime trees. Well worth a look, and probably as good views as you're likley to get. They're accompanied by a good number of Redwings, Blackbirds and Mistle Thrushes.

November 19th : More Hawfinches ... a group of 6 was feeding in the yew trees at the bottom of Clock House Drive (MS, MW) and one in a garden on Larchwood Alex Nobajas.

October 30th : (from JB) "The Hawfinches were first seen at 12:15 when two birds dropped onto the upper branches of the mature ashes that border Newcastle GC at Flagstaff Plantation. They then took off and flew towards Springpool Wood and were lost from view. Then at 15:45 a group of 5 were heard calling overhead and dropped into Springpool Wood, they were very mobile flying between the upper branches of the eastern side of the wood. They then flew east and landed in the same mature ashes that the previous two birds had been seen in earlier in the day. The 5 birds then dropped down briefly towards the woodland floor before flying off high to the east. I would say that with the eruption we are having at the moment there will be a good chance of more dropping into Flagstaff Plantation and Springpool Woods of the next few days."

Still 100+ Golden Plovers and 70+ Lapwings showing well on the ploughed fields next to lower Clock House Drive (JAL)

October 25th : A dozen or so Meadow Pipits have moved onto the development site and are feeding in the grass alongside the "pools walk" near the new car park. A couple of Moorhens by the pools themselves and the local Buzzard population enjoying the thermals with several birds aloft. A couple of Redwings overhead and a few Red Admiral butterflies on the wing thanks to the warm weather. JAL

October 24th : Something of an arrival of birds with at least 100 well-marked Redwings feeding on the yew berries at the bottom of Clock House Drive. In the ploughed fields on the University side of Lymes Lane, a small flock of about 20 Golden Plovers were overflown by a much larger group of approx 100 of the same species - should be regular there for a few weeks. Accompanying cast of 25 Lapwings, 20+ Starlings and a few Pied Wagtails. Also, in the wooded copses, a few Jays were moving which presumably are part of an influx rather than residents JAL

And after a short hiatus in the sightings log...
1st September - A small group of feeding hirundines down Clockhouse Drive contained at least one Sand Martin amongst several dozen Swallows and House Martins (AL).  Sand Martins are rare birds for Keele (they're more fond of sand extraction quarries and large areas of open water) but are occasionally seen overhead during periods of migration.

July 4th : A Grass Snake was seen near IC1 per NDP.

April 22nd : male Brimstone butterfly by Lake 1 DWE.

April 13th : flock of 25 Waxwings feeding on berries outside the Medical Centre Stephanie Odell. Last sighting was in 2005.

April 8th : two Swallows over Jack Ashley Building DWE.

April 7th : 2 Willow Warblers by Chruch Plantation, first of the spring DWE.

March 28th : first Blackcap of the Spring singing by Keele Hall DWE.

March 17th : three Chiffchaffs singing DWE.

March 8th : A Coot on Lake 1, Peacock Butterfly DWE.

February 13th : A pair of Canada Geese has returned to Lake 1 DWE.

February 3rd : 14 Moorhens around the top lake and 3 Ravens circling and calling over the Walled Garden DWE.

January 3rd : First moth of the year - a Mottled Umber on wall of William Smith Building R. Burgess.