Dull, grey and gloomy at times though warmer than expected for the time of year
15 members of Team Tuesday met at Chorlton Water Park on a wet and slightly muddy carpark. Thankfully the earlier rain had stopped and we were able to wander the paths without our hoods up. From the carpark we saw greenfinch, goldfinch, blue tit and carrion crow and this led to us voicing our hopes for the birds we would like to see. These included gadwall, kingfisher, siskin, redpoll and goldeneye but as the light was not at its best some doubts as to our success were also expressed.
From the edge of the lake we immediately saw some of the ‘usuals’, mute swan with cygnets, Canada geese, coot, moorhen, a heron hiding in the reeds, great- crested grebes, cormorants, gadwall, wood pigeon and 3 parakeets before, joy of joys, a pair of goldeneye were spotted on the opposite side of the lake in front of the island.
Feeling much cheered by this sighting we started our anti- clockwise walk around the lake where we had good views of a group of tufted ducks but nothing else new. We all looked up hopefully but only saw ‘leaf birds’ as one member described them. When we arrived at the
Mersey the river was running fast and high and the usual grey wagtail was nowhere to be seen though more mallard, Canada geese, magpies and carrion crows were around. Common periwinkles were still flowering by the gate which added a splash of colour to the grey day.
As we continued to walk round the lake we saw and heard a very noisy black – headed gull though, as it was barely opening its beak, it took some time to identify which bird was making all the noise. A sharp eyed member then saw a kingfisher which flew from its perch on a branch towards the far bank with a black- headed gull trying to steal the catch it was carrying. Unfortunately we were unable to locate its perch on the other side. From the same location good views of a great – spotted woodpecker were seen on the top of the tall trees.
After arriving at the bridge further views of the parakeets were seen on the tall poplars by the river path before our attention was turned to the river itself, by the sighting of a bird diving under the water where the river cascaded over stones. There was prolonged discussion about whether the bird was a goosander or Red – breasted merganser as one had been seen at Alexandra Park over the last few days. However, with the evidence of a stunning photograph in front of us, there was no doubt it was a female goosander.
We then crossed the bridge and walked along the path looking into both the orchard and field at the other side but only added jays to our list. We then turned back to finish our circuit of the lake before heading home.
However, as we walked along the path we could see plenty of small birds flitting around in the trees here and by the pond. They included a large flock of goldfinch, long tailed tits, a coal tit, great tits, blue tits, a gold crest, blackbird, robin, a song thrush foraging in the leaves, and more good views of a great – spotted woodpecker pecking for food amongst the tree branches. There were birds everywhere you looked and this felt like a joyful end to our walk after the lack of birds earlier. This wasn’t quite the end though as a few herring gulls were identified on the lake and sparrows were first heard and then seen in the carpark as well as a collared dove on a tree.
As lunch or a cuppa called we swapped our wet boots for shoes and made our way homewards before the expected rain started again. (MHa)
Bird List (MHo)
- Mute swan
- Canada goose
- Tufted duck
- Great crested grebe
- Grey heron
- Black-headed gull
- Herring gull
- Feral pigeon
- Wood pigeon
- Collared dove
- Great spotted woodpecker
- Song thrush
- Long-tailed tit
- Coal tit
- Blue tit
- Great tit
- Carrion crow
- House sparrow
- Ring-necked parakeet