Cold, bright sunshine at first but eventually cloudy
17 TT Birders gathered in the carpark at CWP and as forecast at 10am prompt, a bright sun emerged, which was quite a change for those who had driven through mist to get there. Those who had arrived early were treated to many sightings on the trees around the car park including blue tit, jay, starling, great tit, magpie, goldfinch, chaffinch, collared dove, black- headed gull, blackbird and long-tailed tit.
As we walked towards the lake magpie and carrion crow were seen and then once there mute swan, cormorants, mallard, coot, tufted duck, Canada geese, gadwall and moorhen were added to the list. A gull, thought to be herring, was too far away to give a definite identification.
We then started to walk around the path towards the playground where shoveler, moorhen and a possible little grebe were seen. 3 rose-ringed parakeets flew over and landed in the tall trees by the bridge over the Mersey. (Somewhat confusingly these birds are also known as ring-necked parakeets but I have consulted Collins which calls them rose-ringed!)
As we reached the pond area, though there is no longer a pond as it dried up over the scorching summer, the sun was so bright and low that nothing could be seen. The group was disappointed about this as we often see many passerines here.
As we crossed the bridge sharp eyes picked out a grey wagtail foraging on the bank. The river level was very high and only mallards were tempted on to its fast flow.
We crossed the green metal bridge, walked along the path and went in to the orchard where there was ice on the leaves on the ground and on the solitary bench. There was some discussion as to whether this was hail stones from the previous night as it had been very cold. At first we only saw a dunnock amongst the shrub layer, but then, in a tall alder tree at the opposite side a mixed flock of goldfinch, chaffinch and eventually siskin were seen flitting about feeding on the catkins.
As we walked around the park pockets of mist could still be seen in some areas and this gave an eerie feeling but elsewhere the light was fantastic. It was invigorating to be outside on such a superb day!
We turned off the path towards Northenden for a circular walk which would take us through Kenworthy fields and woods, behind the concrete pillars of the substation and back to the bridge over the Mersey. In the first field we saw a lone female bullfinch before walking on down the path through overhanging trees and eventually to the path at the rear of the site. A skein of 150+ pink-footed geese making their distinctive call stopped us all in our tracks as they flew east in their V formation. Blue tit and wren were seen on a tall tree and wren and a goldcrest looking for food and maybe shelter from the cold in one of the old nests on a tree. Song thrushes were seen on tree trunks on the ground.
Arriving at the smallholding at the back of the site, goats, farmyard geese, chickens and turkeys were all admired though we wondered whether the turkeys would be around in January!
Walking up and down over muddy paths we made our way back to the bridge and re-entered the main reserve and lake. The lower muddy path was chosen as we continued our journey round the lake. 2 great-crested grebes were seen diving for food and a single pale wigeon swam close to the bank on the opposite side. Cormorants were also seen diving and catching huge fish which they swallowed easily. Some stopped to watch a flock of siskins on alder as they hung upside down searching for food.
We continued along the path and went through the gate to have a look at this part of the river but only saw 3 parakeets on the concrete H shaped substation posts. Heading for home now, a heron was seen flying across the lake towards the island though there was nothing seen in the trees and bushes at the left hand side of the path where in summer we often see warblers. From the path by the golf course we stopped for some time trying to catch clear views of some thrushes on the trees, grass and bushes on the course. They were eventually identified as redwings and mistle thrushes.
As we gathered by the lake for a final time 2 common gulls were seen amongst the black-headed and herring gulls and there was some deliberation about the differences betweena black- headed and common gull which will certainly help me with identifying them another time!
Then after reminders about our final trip of the year to Dunham it was time to go our separate ways after another enjoyable morning. (MHa)
Bird List (MHo)
- Mute swan
- Canada goose
- Pink-footed geese
- Tufted duck
- Great crested grebe
- Grey heron
- Black-headed gull
- Common gull
- Herring gull
- Feral pigeon
- Wood pigeon
- Collared dove
- Grey wagtail
- Mistle thrush
- Long-tailed tit
- Coal tit
- Blue tit
- Great tit
- Carrion crow
- House sparrow