Sunny, a few clouds in a blue sky, a gentle breeze. Not cold!
Around 20 TT birders met in the car park at Chorlton Water Park on a lovely day. After checking the feeders and seeing bullfinch, robin, ring-necked parakeet, dunnock, sparrow and great tit we set off down the hill and towards the lake. On the lake we saw Canada geese, mallard, coot and mute swan, including one with 5 fluffy cygnets who were following her very closely.
We then set off along the path to start our walk around the lake. There was some discussion around 2 birds we saw along the way and it was agreed that some had seen a bullfinch and others a redstart as one did not have the white patch on its rump and had a black back.
We then took a detour up the steeper path and through the trees. We saw long-tailed tits, swifts, (a first this year for some) song thrush and heard a chiffchaff singing though were unable to locate it through the leaves. We heard many such songs around the water park but did not actually see any of these birds.
We then stopped at the picnic tables for refreshments and saw many birds flitting about but they were impossible to identify as they flew for cover. Eventually we spotted 2 female and 1 male blackcap, long- tailed tits, a blue tit, whitethroat, a bullfinch carrying nesting material, a buzzard and a brimstone butterfly. Great tits were also seen taking food into a nest box in the trees.
Our next stop was the gate at the side of the river and the river itself where, though we stood hopefully, we saw only a carrion crow, another bullfinch and orange tip and large white butterflies. We then continued our walk around the lake smelling the may blossom, listening to the noisy honks of the Canada geese and identifying more butterflies such as the green-veined white.
At the bridge we saw mallard on the river, a grey heron on the bank and heard greenfinch. An eagle- eyed TT member glimpsed a grey wagtail in the stones at the side of the river. A jay gave us great views as we walked towards the orchard but we only saw carrion crow and wood pigeon when in it.
We then crossed the lane to do a circuit around the field. In the field was a peacock butterfly, 2 more bullfinches and a goldfinch and as we continued round a magpie with nesting material, a carrion crow and a wood pigeon were the only birds we saw. We could hear a lot of bird song and were pleased that there were so many birds about even though we couldn’t see them. One lucky person saw a fox as he walked ahead of the main group.
We then came to the bridge over the Mersey again where the grey wagtail flew over our heads and gave good views further up the river. As we reached thelake by the larger island we were surprised to see 3 terrapins sunbathing on a tree trunk. There were Canada geese next to them but it was unclear if they were being friendly or not. The distinctive voice of reed warblers was heard and small birds were spotted flitting around the fence by the lakeside but these turned out to be house sparrows, one very wet after a bath, and not the buntings or warblers we were hoping for.
At the pond everyone seemed to relax, some sat down and we all started to chat. Noisy crows were heard and a blackbird was seen and as we walked through the wildlife garden and back to our cars we all agreed that Chorlton Water Park was a wonderful nature reserve. (MHa)
Bird List (MHo)
- Mute Swan plus cygnets
- Canada Goose plus gosling
- Tufted duck
- Great crested grebe
- Grey heron
- Common buzzard
- Feral pigeon
- Collared dove
- Grey wagtail
- Black Redstart
- Long-tailed tit
- Blue tit
- Great tit
- Carrion crow
- House sparrow
Plus: butterflies – speckled wood, orange tip, small white, large white, brimstone, peacock, holly blue, comma; 3 terrapins; 1 fox
Photos JH & DC