Chorlton Water Park 05.03.19

Sunny intervals and a cool breeze

A smaller number of the team than usual met in the CWP car park just before 10am to be greeted by the noisy squawks of three parakeets flying around in the trees near the feeders. After a quick briefing, we moved off down towards the lake where mute swan, cormorant, mallard, Canada goose, tufted duck and moorhen were all noted and two Great Crested Grebe were displaying to each other in their fine breeding plumage, which was showing particularly well in one of the sunny intervals that came and went during the course of the morning. Moving on round the lake we heard plenty of bird song, but caught sight of little in the way of actual birdlife. However, we soon came upon the first of what seemed to be four or five pairs of goosander that were swimming back and forth across the still water of the lake and occasionally diving for food. Like the grebes earlier, their colouring – greeny black heads for the males and russet for the females – showed nicely in the clear light of this early part of our wandering.

Glimpses of a female goldeneye were reported by some members of the group, but at this time attempts to pin down this elusive creature proved fruitless. Determined scanning of the birds out on the water did, however, lead to the identification of at least one pair of common gull, their squat and slightly brownish heads, helping to distinguish them from the surrounding black-headed gulls. At the end of the lake, coffee was taken by some, as we listened to the throaty song of a robin perched at the very top of a nearby tree and admired, in the clear blue sky above us, two circling common buzzard, one of which attracted the unwelcome attentions of a carrion crow.

Making our way towards the river’s edge, the wheezing of a greenfinch attracted our attention to the trees behind us where eventually this bird was spotted as it flitted back and forth, and a pair of bullfinch were also seen in the bushes close by. The river itself was flowing strongly but there was no sight of any bird activity along this stretch, so we turned once again towards the lake where determined scanning revealed first the presence of a lone shoveler, huddled down close to the shore of the small island, and then of a female goldeneye – perhaps the one that had provided those earlier tantalising glimpses –  now quite at rest, just floating along in the sunshine. Another exciting (for some?) exercise in gull identification now took place – thanks to the presence of a couple of gulls, conveniently floating more or less next to each other, and allowing a comparison between the altogether cleaner looking herring gull and the similar-sized, but dirtier looking common gull.

A ramble through Kenworthy Woods was unfortunately not very rewarding. At times the light was against us, making the positive identification of what might have been a few redwing impossible, at other times the presence of what seemed like an unusually large number of dog walkers (the rain was holding off after all), or the roar of the engine of a motocross bike no doubt frightened away what birds might have been there. Still, the team enjoyed a walk in the fresh air; the sight of blossom covering the blackthorn bushes; and, of course, the pleasure of each other’s company.

Having got back to the car park with no new species having been noted, we took time to look around as we removed muddy boots and in a final flurry starling, dunnock and goldfinch were all added to what was a fairly short, but nonetheless not unsatisfactory day list.

Bird List (M.Ha)

  1. Dunnock
  2. Great tit
  3. Blue tit
  4. Rose-ringed parakeet
  5. Collared dove
  6. Starling
  7. Great-crested grebe
  8. Cormorant
  9. Tufted duck
  10. Canada goose
  11. Black-headed gull
  12. Mute swan
  13. Moorhen
  14. Mallard
  15. Wood pigeon
  16. Goosander
  17. Goldeneye
  18. Common gull
  19. Coot
  20. Long-tailed tit
  21. Robin
  22. Blackbird
  23. Buzzard
  24. Carrion crow
  25. Greenfinch
  26. Bullfinch
  27. Shoveler
  28. Herring gull
  29. Jay
  30. Chaffinch
  31. Magpie
  32. Sparrow
  33. Goldfinch
  34. Song thrush (heard)
  35. Wren (heard)

 

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