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)

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