Dunham Park 08.12.15

Today’s group of 14 birders were in festive mood meeting in Dunham car park. There was much teasing about the ability or otherwise to park within the cobbled lines of the car parking spaces, and a discussion about what time to get back for coffee and mince pies led to John starting a debate about whether men or women made the best mince pies . Luckily he was led off to the far end of the car park to start some birding before digging too deep a hole.

The light was excellent at this point, and we spent a full half hour watching finches, thrushes and tits, and especially good views of a treecreeper spotted by the eagle-eyed Barbara. Out to and across the Dunham Road a flock of 150 or so Lapwing passed close by, but still no winter thrushes

Up then onto the canal tow path – more windy here – all pretty quiet but a good number of pied wagtails at the sewage works and the usual large number of jackdaws. The herons often spotted here had gone elsewhere . We walked past the steps as Joan went looking for the oft-spotted redwing further on. Once spotted, we walked down the muddy track towards the bridge under the canal

A muck spreader which had passed us minutes before now came steaming (literally) up behind us . Most of us moved out of the way, but Roger – who had earlier been telling us about his exploits with Sale Harriers – along with Ann decided that they could outrun said tractor and make the bridge first. Alas they didn’t but luckily escaped both tractor and muck

A large number of snails attached to the underside of the bridge attracted interest as did the redwing in excellent light just beyond. We made our way back to Dunham passing flooded fields with perhaps 300 black-headed gulls and two LBBs. We topped up the list with the usual suspects on Dunham pond, and all saw the Kingfisher except Pam. However patience was rewarded as, while we were tucking in to coffee and cake, Pam who had stayed behind, came in and reported three good sightings

So our autumn term came to an end – good birding was had – and many thanks to Clive for his excellent organisation. (DC)

Bird List (BP)

  1. Grey Heron
  2. Mute Swan
  3. Canada Goose
  4. Mandarin Duck
  5. Mallard
  6. Shoveler
  7. Tufted Duck
  8. Buzzard
  9. Kestrel
  10. Moorhen
  11. Coot
  12. Lapwing
  13. Black-headed Gull
  14. Lesser Black-backed Gull
  15. Woodpigeon
  16. Collared Dove
  17. Kingfisher
  18. Great Spotted Woodpecker
  19. Pied Wagtail
  20. Blackbird
  21. Redwing
  22. Song Thrush
  23. Mistle Thrush
  24. Robin
  25. Long-tailed Tit
  26. Great Tit
  27. Blue Tit
  28. Nuthatch
  29. Tree Creeper
  30. Jay
  31. Magpie
  32. Jackdaw
  33. Rook
  34. Carrion crow
  35. Starling
  36. House Sparrow
  37. Chaffinch
  38. Goldfinch
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Moore Nature Reserve 01.12.15

Overcast with some threatening clouds, but dry (!)

_MG_0105
Photo JH

A good number of the Team gathered in the car park just after 10am, where, after posing for a group photo, we chanced upon Annemarie, the Warden of the Reserve, who promptly, and kindly, offered to show us round. Always eager to profit from an expert’s knowledge and experience, the Team needed no second invitation, and so we set off in Annemarie’s footsteps, on a clockwise circuit of the reserve making first for Lapwing Pool.

The trees and bushes along the path were unusually quiet, and only a few solitary Gulls, a noisy Train of Jackdaws and the odd jet heading to Liverpool Airport appeared to be much in evidence above us. On the pool itself, an entirely man-made creation as we learnt from Annemarie, just a few waterfowl, Mallard, Coot and Little Grebe, were to be found. Nonetheless undaunted, we pressed on, past the Great Crested Newt pools and towards the Raptor viewing platform, which afforded an excellent overview of the site, if not of any of the birds of prey that Annemarie said had been sighted, both here and elsewhere across the Reserve.

Walking along the old Latchford Canal, we disturbed a Buzzard, no doubt lying in wait for an incautious mouse or similar to scamper across the track, and heard, but did not see Long-Tailed Tits moving through the trees alongside the path. Arriving at the feeding station, we surprised a Great Spotted Woodpecker, which promptly made itself scarce, but which was soon replaced by a variety of birds including Nuthatch, Chaffinch, Blue Tit and Great Tit.

Our progress towards Birchwood Pool was uneventful as far as sightings were concerned. Gulls a plenty were now circling overhead, as we neared the tip, and the odd corvid flew past, but all was quiet in the trees and bushes around us.  Disappointingly, the Tawny Owl, seen in this area on previous visits, has apparently moved from what had been its traditional roost. Indeed, the apparent absence of birds, here and elsewhere on our ramble, gave rise to discussion as to the cause and there was general agreement that the mild weather both in the UK and on the continent was responsible; residents were not obliged to feed as intensively as they do in cold weather and migrants were not being pushed across the North Sea to seek refuge on our warmer shores.

Birchwood Pool afforded its usual bounty of Gulls, Black-Headed, Common, Herring and Lesser Black Back being clearly picked out amidst a myriad of other immature specimens of differing hues and various sizes. A Heron was standing motionless on the little island across the water in front of the hide and a few ducks were in evidence – Tufted Ducks showing in a near breeding season plumage whilst a Great Crested Grebe, in contrast, looked rather washed out in wintry garb.

Photo JH
Photo JH

Bidding farewell here to Annemarie, we set off towards Pump  House Pool. Gulls were again very much in evidence, as well as a few Teal and Gadwall, but since there seemed to more activity at the far side of the pool, it was decided, with little dissent(!), to press on to Colin’s Hide.  This proved to be a worthwhile extension to our morning, since Pochard and Shoveler were added to our count.  However, the overwhelming presence of Gulls resting along the shore seemed to be discouraging the presence of many other species.  Thus, it was finally decided to bring our visit to an end and begin the longish trek back to the car park, after an interesting morning (thanks again to Annemarie) and with a respectable day list, although not quite as long as that for a previous Winter visit to Moore on 2 December 2014. (Notable absentees this year, apart from the Tawny Owl, were Kestrel and Goldeneye, perhaps confirming our analysis above of the effects of the mildness of the season.)

Bird List (BP)

  1. Little Grebe
  2. Great- Crested Grebe
  3. Cormorant
  4. Grey Heron
  5. Mute Swan
  6. Canada Goose
  7. Gadwall
  8. Teal
  9. Mallard
  10. Shoveler
  11. Pochard
  12. Tufted Duck
  13. Buzzard
  14. Moorhen
  15. Coot
  16. Herring Gull
  17. Lesser Black-backed Gull
  18. Black-headed Gull
  19. Common Gull
  20. Great Spotted Woodpecker
  21. Wood Pigeon
  22. Wren
  23. Dunnock
  24. Blackbird
  25. Mistle Thrush
  26. Robin
  27. Coal Tit
  28. Great Tit
  29. Blue Tit
  30. Nuthatch
  31. Jay
  32. Jackdaw
  33. Carrion Crow
  34. Chaffinch
  35. Goldfinch