Hopwood Corvid Roost

October 29, 2017 at 8:37 pm

IMG_9746.The spire of Hopwood Hall college is a well known site in north Manchester. The woodlands around the hall are good places for birds but what is not generally known is that the bird-watching gets even better as the sun sets.From miles around corvids (Jackdaws, Carrion Crows, Rooks and Magpies) fly in to roost in the trees around the college spire. At peak times over winter up to a thousand are present and it represents quite a spectacle in the north Manchester urban environment. Click here
During the week four Grey Wagtails together on the canal was an unusually high number and may have been a family party on the move. It looks like we are going to have another Autumn with no Fieldfares with us before the first of November.

Redwings Arrive

October 21, 2017 at 8:04 pm

At dusk on the 2nd October I heard my first Redwing of Autumn but it took until the 19th before I found a flock of sixteen feeding on hawthorne berries. In complete contrast to last year there are very few Rowan or Hawthorne berries available to them this year so we are unlikely to see any large gatherings. Even more unlikely are visits from Waxwings and you have to say that we were spoiled by last winters phenomenal numbers of berry eating birds. The unanswered question though is how do they know from Scandinavia that we have no berries for them in Britain? Click here
The Common Snipe of last week have now moved on but on the 16th I encountered eight Jack Snipe in my local marsh, which was another autumn record. All week there have been some big movements of Pink Footed Geese and a party of eighteen Tree Sparrows was a good local sighting. The return to the garden of two Reed Buntings indicates more local bird movements.

Snipe Record

October 15, 2017 at 6:36 pm

During the last ten days there has been a massive local passage of Snipe, helped no doubt by the many waterlogged fields. On the 10th in my local marsh I had a record count of seventy one Snipe and two Jack Snipe,  they were the earliest I have recorded in more than fifty years! Click here
In the garden on the 4th a Wood Pigeon, had a close shave as a Peregrine flew over looking for a meal. On Hopwood a party of ten Long Tailed Tits were the first I have seen for a long time. A Peacock butterfly was still active on the 12th.

The Arctic Flycatcher

October 8, 2017 at 3:51 pm

The last time I saw a Grey Phalarope it was catching flies off the surface of a pool in Spitsbergen and was only 600 miles from the North Pole. Who would have thought that one of the most iconic of Arctic birds would turn up on a reservoir in Manchester and still be feeding on flies floating on the surface! Its plumage now is totally different to the spectacular red summer breeding plumage and you would never have thought it was the same species. This weeks gallery includes photos of birds in both plumages and also shows how much brighter the female is compared to the male. Click here