Moore Nature Reserve 22.03.2016

Overcast grey day with little or no breeze

The first outing in official Springtime and a good turnout of eager birders was greeted by  disappointingly un-Spring like weather. Undaunted and encouraged by a jay whipping past the car park, the group set off for the Lapwing Lane Hide overlooking Lapwing Lake. Alas no lapwings but welcome sightings of mallard, tufted duck, Canada geese, little grebe and a female goldeneye on the lake and on the far bank mute swans and a grey heron. Some eagle eyes spotted a cormorant within the far trees.

Northward along Lapwing Lane into the woodland in the hope of spotting woodpeckers, but only a lucky few sighted a greater spotted woodpecker moving restlessly between far trees. On to the Feeding Station Hide and the group were welcomed by a good showing of titmice – blue, great, long-tailed and coal – and a reed bunting all taking advantage of the food on offer. And again a lucky few glimpsed a greater spotted woodpecker rapidly flying through the treetops.

A walk back through Middle Moss Wood to view the favourite haunt of owls was unrewarded despite careful examination of the ivy-covered trees. So a fast march onward to the eastern extremity of the reserve to see what the Eastern Reedbed would reveal. And at the Phoenix Hide the group were amply rewarded not just by the usual welcome sightings of mallard, teal, tufted duck, gadwall, coot and a few lesser black-backed and herring gulls but by the sudden and prolonged appearance of a kingfisher on the bank near to the hide. Resplendent in its bright blue and orange plumage it put on a dazzling display of diving for fish for lunch with showy pauses perched on reeds and stumps to allow for applause from the assembled audience! In addition the group could observe a heronry being established within the trees to the north of the lagoon with at least three herons already settled on their large nests. And our visit was in itself closely observed by a friendly robin perched above the hide wall, perhaps a little disgruntled at being disturbed from feeding on seeds laid out within the hide.

A slow amble back along the track to the car park enabled viewings of Pump House Pool and Birchwood Pool. As with all the expanses of water at the reserve, water levels were extremely high which meant that there was a dearth of waders. Nevertheless both pools revealed a mix of gulls in generous (and noisy) numbers, coot, moorhen, gadwall, teal, tufted duck, shoveller and some lovely sightings of little grebe.

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. Tufted Duck
  12. Goldeneye
  13. Buzzard
  14. Kestrel
  15. Pheasant
  16. Moorhen
  17. Coot
  18. Herring Gull
  19. Lesser Black-backed Gull
  20. Black-headed Gull
  21. Great Spotted Woodpecker
  22. Feral Pigeon
  23. Wood Pigeon
  24. Kingfisher
  25. Wren
  26. Blackbird
  27. Robin
  28. Long-tailed Tit
  29. Coal Tit
  30. Great Tit
  31. Blue Tit
  32. Nuthatch
  33. Jay
  34. Magpie
  35. Rook
  36. Carrion Crow
  37. Chaffinch
  38. Goldfinch
  39. Reed Bunting

Photos by JH


Chorlton Water Park 15.03.15

Brief spells of sunshine, soon overcast and a bit breezy at times

A good cheerful turnout from Team Tuesday met in the car park at Chorlton Water Park, and soon binoculars were raised in all directions to note early birds for today’s list. After a brief look over the lake noting cormorant, tufted ducks, mute swans and black-headed gulls, TT set off in an anti-clockwise direction. After a few hundred yards a lone male goldeneye was seen constantly diving, thwarting directions to its location as it never emerged where expected.

Soon we turned right onto a path best known for being squidgy underfoot but not before the front runners noted a grey heron flying past. The path lead out onto a more open aspect but sightings were hard to come by until we reached the more stable track where thrushes were seen flying overhead, and as we turned back towards the river we confirmed sightings of redwing, greenfinch and a wren.

The path emerged at the river’s edge opposite an electricity substation, and with the lake on our left and the river on our right we headed for the bridge, spotting Canada Geese, mallard and a well camouflaged jay feeding on the banks of the river. Stopping on the bridge for a quick elevenses the banks and edges of the river were searched for grey wagtails and goosander but with no luck, although parakeet flew over noisily. The orchard area revealed good views of redwing and back across the track a pair of bullfinches gave us a quick show.

Standing under Betjeman’s ” wirescape” by the farm, we noted redwings, starlings, and song thrush. Time then to head back towards the lake where a small group of pochard were waiting for us and taking in the pond area we netted lovely views of a goldcrest and a grey heron lurking in the background. Back to the cars some members of TT were further delayed by house sparrows and collared doves going about their day.

A few birds late to the party were seen by those who stayed to eat their sandwiches, so the list became even more satisfying as siskin, goosander, reed bunting, and kingfisher could be added to a fulfilling morning’s birding. (HP)

Bird List (BP)

  1. Cormorant
  2. Grey Heron
  3. Mute Swan
  4. Canada Goose
  5. Mallard
  6. Pochard
  7. Tufted Duck
  8. Goldeneye
  9. Pheasant
  10. Moorhen
  11. Coot
  12. Black-headed Gull
  13. Feral Pigeon
  14. Woodpigeon
  15. Collared Dove
  16. Ring-necked Parakeet
  17. Wren
  18. Blackbird
  19. Song Thrush
  20. Redwing
  21. Dunnock
  22. Robin
  23. Goldcrest
  24. Long-tailed Tit
  25. Coal Tit
  26. Blue Tit
  27. Great Tit
  28. Nuthatch
  29. Jay
  30. Magpie
  31. Carrion Crow
  32. Starling
  33. House Sparrow
  34. Chaffinch
  35. Greenfinch
  36. Goldfinch
  37. Siskin
  38. Bullfinch
  39. Reed Bunting
  40. Goosander
  41. Kingfisher


Wigan Flashes 08.03.16

Undaunted by gloomy forecast and even gloomier skies, ten members of TT assembled in the Poolstock Lane car park at Wigan Flashes to explore new territory for some. Following a brief discussion about what the site may have to offer and possible routes, the group climbed onto the old railway embankment running alongside the first stretch of water – Scotsman’s Flash. Initial sightings of gulls –  black-headed and lesser black-backed -, cormorants, coots and tufted ducks were noted, before a lone gull on a buoy was cleverly identified as the ‘common’ species. A group of goldeneye then became the centre of attraction until freezing fingers indicated that it was time to get moving again,towards the path alongside the Leeds Liverpool canal. Mute swans and mallards seemed to be waiting for an easy snack, while across the canal on Pearson’s Flash a group of gadwalls were seen close to the reeds.
Further along the way some TT members took a well-earned coffee stop, while the back markers were thrilled by an explosion of sound which could have been made by none other than the elusive Cetti’s warbler. Wandering through several small copses, group members had glimpses of various titmice and other familiar birds; robins, blackbirds and dunnocks, and a song thrush posed for a while on a nearby tree. The next stopping place was the feeding station, with chaffinch, reed bunting and, more unusually, willow tits adding themselves to the list – while the last few to leave the screen heard the unmistakeable sound of a pig squealing??- surely this had to be a water rail.
Ochre Flash afforded fleeting views of a little grebe which kept disappearing into the reeds and at the reed-filled Bryn Flash greylag goose and pochard were recorded, before the group headed back along the canal to cars and lunch, as the weather closed in around them.
Another satisfying morning to prove that good exercise, good sightings and good company can lift the spirits even on the dampest of days. (MH)

Bird List (BP)

  1. Little Grebe
  2. Great Crested Grebe
  3. Cormorant
  4. Mute Swan
  5. Greylag Goose
  6. Canada Goose
  7. Gadwall
  8. Mallard
  9. Shoveler
  10. Pochard
  11. Tufted Duck
  12. Goldeneye
  13. Moorhen
  14. Coot
  15. Common Gull
  16. Lesser Black-backed Gull
  17. Black-headed Gull
  18. Woodpigeon
  19. Wren
  20. Dunnock
  21. Blackbird
  22. Song Thrush
  23. Robin
  24. Long-tailed Tit
  25. Willow Tit
  26. Coal Tit
  27. Great Tit
  28. Blue Tit
  29. Treecreeper
  30. Magpie
  31. Carrion Crow
  32. Chaffinch
  33. Reed Bunting
  1. Cetti’s Warbler (heard)
  2. Water Rail (heard)

Woolston Eyes 02.03.16

Rain it poured down during pre-walk time,

But on stroke of ten, the weather turned fine.

Thus Team Tuesday happily met in the dry,

Ready to view whatever flew by.

Loop of the Mersey soon came into view,

Upon its waters we saw birds that we knew.

Thus ‘Tufties’ and Goldeneye were airily noted,

Then upon basin water Pochard floated.

The climb up to path, which skirts bed number two,

Had a chorus of song, from the usual crew.

Thus Robin, Wing fluttering, Dunnock plus Wren,

Once more ensured our list would easy make ten.

The pathway I admit was a mud-strewn disgrace,

But we paused to note a Dabchick water displace.

Then air filled with notes, as a Song Thrush did sing,

Whilst flitting right past were some flighty Redwing.

Access to bed three, the bridge did provide.

Steady steps then soon led to South Hide

Views over reedbeds, where Teal took flight

And gave such pleasure in gaining this sight.

Then rapid move past carpets of Snowdrops divine,

As onward to Hide Morgan we took a bee-line.

Steps climbed, more views of wildfowl were taken

And happily Shelduck and Shoveler weren’t mistaken.

We then checked the feeding stations on each side,

These brimming with seed the reserve does provide.

Moorhen and Magpie took seed off the ground,

Then up went the cheers as Brambling was found.

Our viewing was backed with a symphonic sound,

For the air filled with BHG’s on their breeding ground,

More Schoenberg than Shubert, I really must say,

Informing their audience that spring’s on its way.

A decision was made to roam about three,

Thus all gathered together and soon followed me.

Winter seed-crop added Redpoll to list of day,

After which, ‘off piste’, we happily wandered away.

Once views of bed four were taken by all.

We returned to path with homebound footfall,

A Willow Tit sang its song ‘sue-sue-sue’

With this Woolston farewell bid to the TT crew.


A Prince no one would kiss!

Bird List (MH)

1. Mute swan
2. Canada goose
3. Shelduck
4. Mallard
5. Gadwall
6. Shoveler
7. Teal
8. Pochard
9. Tufted duck
10. Goldeneye
11. Great crested grebe
12. Little grebe
13. Cormorant
14. Common buzzard
15. Moorhen
16. Coot
17. Common snipe
18. Black-headed gull
19. Lesser black-backed gull
20. Woodpigeon
21. Great spotted woodpecker
22. Dunnock
23. Robin
24. Blackbird
25. Song thrush
26. Redwing
27. Long-tailed tit
28. Blue tit
29. Great tit
30. Jay
31. Magpie
32. Carrion crow
33. House sparrow
34. Brambling*
35. Chaffinch
36. Greenfinch
37. Bullfinch
38. Redpoll
39. Reed bunting