Getting back to “normal” birding after our latest east coast dash was nice and taken at a more sedate pace! It was our annual trip to the beautiful woods at Bolton Abbey,with Chris B driving ,we left Rochdale at 6-00am. Arriving before the screaming kids, barking dogs & owners get there is always one of our favourite jaunts. Parking is always at a premium as the nice people who run the show try to drive you onto their expensive car parks, but we thwarted them again (Well..we are from Lancashire) and enjoyed lots of good migrant birds! Dipper and Mandarin were seen first on the river on a cold but sunny spring morning. Redstart and a very showy and noisy Wood Warbler got the cameras clicking, then a couple of male Pied Flycatchers chased each other around as if claiming territories? A lovely hour was passed as the birds sang their hearts out to win the female’s present. As we climbed out of the valley a Tree Pipit was seen and more Redstarts. At Barden Moor no sign/sound of the hoped for Cuckoo but Common Sandpipers dashed around on the reservoir. We then headed for a new site to ourselves, Hellifield Flash, we found an immaculately plumaged pair of Garganey and lots of waders including Little Ringed Plover, Redshank, Oystercatcher, Lapwing and Curlew but not  the Wood Sandpiper that had been seen earlier(where was it hiding?) We met one of the local birders, who had arrived on his “Dawes” pushbike, he told us about a few birds in the area. At this point Steve B left us to fulfill a prior arrangement.We headed of to Stocks Reservoir and upon arrival met Margaret Breaks and she filled us in on the birds we might see. Garden Warbler and Grasshopper Warbler were added to our days tally of migrant birds. The Cuckoo that was heard in the area was not “loud” enough for my hearing but “young Chris” and Bob managed to pick it up as it got further away from the reservoir. To round off a fine days birding we did the walk up Croasdale and managed to see a Ring Ouzel, 2 Buzzard, Meadow Pipit, Stonechat and a few crows,what’s happened to the birds of prey in the area have they all been shot or poisoned?. A really nice Green Hairstreak butterfly alighted on the path in front of us and allowed a couple of pics to be taken we then headed for home. Eight year ticks were added by most of our team.

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