Cloudy, dull and cool but not as windy as forecast
Sixteen birders met in the carpark at Dunham Massey for the last trip of the year, with everyone looking forward to a delicious lunch at the end. It was cloudy and not very bright, but no rain was forecast.
In the trees around the carpark we saw redwings, carrion crows, jackdaws, magpies, collared doves, wood pigeons, jays, for some a tree creeper and the first of several nuthatches flitting amongst the branches. Some thought we had seen enough to support a plan to go straight to the pub!
However, we carried on through the Visitor Centre to the lake where, sadly, no kingfisher was to be seen. We saw black-headed gulls, mallard, moorhen and tufted ducks and these ‘usuals’ were present on all the pools we later visited.
Walking along the Smithy Drive some heard the yaffle of a green woodpecker, but couldn’t locate it and so carried on towards the Smithy pond. Here, an eagle eyed member of TT then saw the green woodpecker, on the ground at first and then flying away. On the pond, as well as the ‘usuals’, were a lone Canada goose, coot and, in a tree close by, a gold crest and wren that had us circling the tree in order to catch a glimpse of them.
We then did a circuit of the outer path around the estate, but didn’t see many more birds. A flock of jackdaws flew in and rested on the trees opposite, though we couldn’t see anything that may have caused them to take flight. Another gold crest flew across the path, but was hard to see in the tree it landed in; a great-spotted woodpecker flew across behind the trees; and large numbers of fallow deer of many different shades were present on both sides of the path, mostly ignoring our presence and continuing to feed.
From a gate along the path two male pheasants were seen in the distance, but closer in, on the trees to the left, there were good views of a flock of tits which included coal, blue and long-tailed. On some tree branches we saw bright yellow jelly fungus (Tremella Mesenterica) which looked like gelatinous blobs.
As we walked back towards the house, the pond on the right had a grey heron on its bank but by now most were thinking of lunch, and so we stepped up and over the stile to walk along the path towards Little Bollington.
On the way were two more herons on the banks of the stream, and rooks and pied wagtails on the field. A buzzard was seen briefly flying towards a tree behind the wall in the distance. As we crossed the narrow bridge over the Bollin, some had good views of a kingfisher diving in to the river, but it then flew upstream and out of sight (of those following up! – ed.). On trees close by were seen chaffinch, house sparrows , goldfinch, blue tit and a robin.
At the Swan with Two Nicks two more members of Team Tuesday we waiting for us and having studied the menu, we all chose our food. As all the different tables made noisy conversation, Hilary gave out her Jolly Christmas Bird Quiz 2017 to keep us all ‘bird- nerding’ over the Christmas break.
We also showed Clive our appreciation for all his planning and organising with a small gift to say thank you, and, finally, we wished each other a very merry Christmas and happy New Year, looking forward to being back with TT on January 16th 2018. (MHa)
Bird List (MHo)
- Canada goose
- Tufted duck
- Grey heron
- Common buzzard
- Back-headed gull
- Wood pigeon
- Collared dove
- Great-Spotted Woodpecker
- Green woodpecker
- Pied wagtail
- Mistle thrush
- Long-tailed tit
- Coal tit
- Blue tit
- Great tit
- Carrion crow
- House sparrow