Dunham Massey 16.12.14

Cool and generally overcast, but occasional brightness, an odd shower and a couple of brilliant rainbows

A cheerful group met in the car park at Dunham Massey just before 10am, unaware that our usual pre-Christmas jaunt to this location would prove rather more successful in terms of sightings than some previous visits.


In fact, we had not even left the confines of the car park before we had been treated to views of woodpecker, treecreeper, redwing and song thrush, as well as the more usual tits and the odd (seasonal) robin. All these birds seemed to be enjoying the various types of food available to them both in the trees and on the ground on a quiet and perhaps relatively mild morning. Exiting the car park, we made our way along the track leading towards the Bollin Mill development accompanied by  the sound, but only fleeting sight of a nuthatch.  To the left of the track, waterlogged fields, evidence of just how much rain we have had of late, hosted large numbers of black-headed gulls, lapwings and a single pair of mute swans that soon took off and flew over us in spectacular fashion, the strong beats of their wings clearly audible in the still air. Having crossed the Bollin which was in full spate over the weir, we were rewarded with fine sightings of a grey wagtail, whose bright yellow markings were shown off to advantage against the brown mud of the field in which it was hopping around searching for food. Redwing and noisy house sparrows witnessed our retreat towards Dunham Park and our annual quest for snipe along the banks of the millstream as it flows out of the park. This time, unfortunately, our search was in vain and the sudden arrival of a most unwelcome shower meant that we did not linger long, tempted both by thoughts of coffee and mince-pies in the warmth of the cafe, and by siren voices singing of recent sightings of ‘exotic’ species on Smithy Pool.

_MG_0136The shower having passed, it was agreed that the short detour in search of new sightings would be worth the effort, and, indeed, we were not disappointed as we had clear views of two male and one female goosander, gliding back and forth amongst the more familiar mallard and coot. Having enjoyed this treat, it was at last decided to head to the cafe, but not without venturing along the path towards the far corner of the main lake, the well-know haunt of the ‘Dunham Kingfisher’ … just in case!  We could hardly believe our luck when keen eyes made out a bright splash of electric blue, reflected in the still water of the lake. The kingfisher was resting on one of the shrubs close to the water and showed no intention of moving, and so everyone was able to gaze at their leisure on this spectacular bird.

Thus it was a thoroughly contented group that gathered in the cafe for an ‘end-of-year’ chat, to say goodbye to George (see ‘Links’ for his webpage) and to make plans for new trips in 2015.

Thanks to John Hancock for the photos and, as ever, to Barbara Punchard for the list. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all.

Bird List for Dunham (BP)

  1. Grey Heron
  2. Mute Swan
  3. Canada Goose
  4. Gadwall
  5. Mallard
  6. Tufted Duck
  7. Goosander
  8. Buzzard
  9. Pheasant
  10. Moorhen
  11. Coot
  12. Lapwing
  13. Black-headed Gull
  14. Woodpigeon
  15. Kingfisher
  16. Great Spotted Woodpecker
  17. Pied Wagtail
  18. Grey Wagtail
  19. Wren
  20. Blackbird
  21. Redwing
  22. Song Thrush
  23. Robin
  24. Long-tailed Tit
  25. Great Tit
  26. Blue Tit
  27. Nuthatch
  28. Tree Creeper
  29. Magpie
  30. Jackdaw
  31. Rook
  32. Carrion crow
  33. Starling
  34. House Sparrow
  35. Chaffinch




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