Dunham Park 07.07.15

Somewhat wet at times!

Nineteen members of TT assembled in the car park at Dunham, looking forward to the final official session of the term. Undaunted by gathering dark clouds, the group decided to follow the traditional route of the canal towpath, then back into the park. Maybe not such a good plan, as the towpath offered little cover from the first cloudburst – though sightings of wren, house martins and a song thrush had already been enjoyed by many. As the rain ceased, a chiffchaff on a high branch brought attention to itself with its easily recognised call, swallows skimmed along the canal and a buzzard soared above the field across the water.
Back in the village a few eagle-eyed members caught a glimpse of a kingfisher on the river, while the majority of the group spent quite a while peering over a gate identifying — a great tit! Well, it was quite a long way away.
By the time the park stile was reached, clouds once again looked ominous, so sensible people decided to call it a day, while a foolhardy number went on their first green woodpecker hunt and became drenched when the heavens opened once again. A unanimous decision was made to retire to the café for refreshment and chat.
Feeling revived and dry, and tempted by a few rays of sunshine an unstoppable 8 ventured forth once again in search of the elusive woodpecker. Encouraged by sightings of little grebe, nuthatch and coal tit , despite more heavy rain, the now definitely bedraggled group reached the deer house. Optimism began to dwindle as the only sighting on the ground was a carrion crow feeding its young with a poor unsuspecting, and wriggling, frog.
Home now calling, the group returned to the main path when persistence was rewarded by the sight of not just one, but two……green woodpeckers flying from their favoured anthills into the trees where they teasingly flitted back and forth across the track. Success! (MH)

Bird List (BP)

  1. Little Grebe
  2. Cormorant
  3. Grey Heron
  4. Mute Swan
  5. Canada Goose
  6. Mallard
  7. Tufted Duck
  8. Buzzard
  9. Kestrel
  10. Moorhen
  11. Coot
  12. Black-headed Gull
  13. Woodpigeon
  14. Swift
  15. Kingfisher
  16. Great Spotted Woodpecker
  17. Green Woodpecker
  18. Sand Martin
  19. Swallow
  20. House Martin
  21. Pied Wagtail
  22. Wren
  23. Blackbird
  24. Song Thrush
  25. Chiffchaff
  26. Robin
  27. Coal Tit
  28. Great Tit
  29. Blue Tit
  30. Nuthatch
  31. Magpie
  32. Carrion Crow
  33. Starling
  34. House Sparrow
  35. Chaffinch
  36. Goldfinch

Pennington Flash 30.06.15

A very warm summer’s day.

As the birding term draws near a close, a large turnout of birders took advantage of the very warm weather and assembled in the main car park in appropriate summer gear, hats, suncream and, in the case of more cautious members, insect repellent. The usual suspects of mallard, mute swans and canada geese awaited us on the bank as a possible food source. Longer views across the Flash revealed more canada geese, a pair of great crested grebe, black-headed gulls, coots, tufted duck, and, to some more eagle-eyed members, common tern. And then a flash of blue across the far side, our first kingfisher, which settled in the bushes on the far bank.

We then commenced our normal anticlockwise perambulation of the woodlands and ponds, initially splitting up to avoid overcrowding in Penghies Hide and Bunting Hide. From Penghies Hide we enjoyed views of grey herons, mallard, and lapwing basking in the sunshine on the small islands ….. and then another flash of blue as a kingfisher raced across the water and settled in the bushes to the left….and repeated its act for the benefit of the second group. At Bunting Hide we were treated to a selection of woodland birds visiting the feeders, particularly chaffinches and a pair of bullfinches and a very elegant stock dove..

Invigorated by our good fortune to date, we walked along to Teal Hide picking up sightings of various woodland birds, including chiffchaff. At Teal Hide, more grey heron, mallard, moorhen and a great crested grebe, and coot looking after chicks. We were then enthralled to see our third kingfisher of the day which had the good grace to alight on a post at the centre of the pond and preen itself fully illuminated by the sunshine.

From there we continued along the woodland path and up onto the towpath of the Leeds Liverpool canal picking up sightings of reed warblers, willow warblers, goldfinch, blackbirds, great tits and a blackcap flitting through the trees. While descending to the end of Ramsdale’s Flash, some members picked out a reed bunting but, alas, no warblers in the reeds. At the top end of the Flash we gazed back (with difficulty due to the bright sun) at the long spit picking out a single cormorant amongst the other geese and mallards. Then back along the path via New Hide to Horrocks Hide for a better view of the spit and other islands, spotting swifts, a flock of long-tailed tits and a pair of collared doves on the way. The final stop at Horrocks Hide revealed a grey wagtail and both mature and juvenile pied wagtails just below the Hide picking their way through the shingle, and a little further away a common sandpiper on the bank of the Flash. Along the spit and across the Flash we could see Canada geese, black-headed gulls, mallard, gadwall and an oystercatcher. Thoroughly sated, we drifted back to the car park to reflect on a successful morning.

After a hearty lunch the Famous Five stayed on to record additional sightings of starling, redshank, greenfinch and a shoveller in eclipse plumage.(SC)

Bird list (BP)

  1. Great- Crested Grebe
  2. Cormorant
  3. Grey Heron
  4. Mute Swan
  5. Canada Goose
  6. Gadwall
  7. Mallard
  8. Tufted Duck
  9. Buzzard
  10. Moorhen
  11. Coot
  12. Oystercatcher
  13. Lapwing
  14. Common Sandpiper
  15. Lesser Black-backed Gull
  16. Black-headed Gull
  17. Common Tern
  18. Stock Dove
  19. Wood Pigeon
  20. Collared Dove
  21. Swift
  22. Kingfisher
  23. Pied Wagtail
  24. Grey Wagtail
  25. Wren
  26. Dunnock
  27. Blackbird
  28. Reed Warbler
  29. Willow Warbler
  30. Chiff Chaff
  31. Blackcap
  32. Robin
  33. Long-tailed Tit
  34. Great Tit
  35. Magpie
  36. Chaffinch
  37. Goldfinch
  38. Bullfinch
  39. Reed Bunting
  40. Starling
  41. Redshank
  42. Greenfinch
  43. Shoveler (in eclipse plumage)