2nd March – Peckers,White Wingers and Blue Bins.‏

Posted: March 5, 2013 in Bird Watching, Birding, Rochdale, Rossendale, Twitching
Tags: , , , , , , ,

No leaves yet on the trees, time to try for the difficult to see Lesser Spotted Woodpecker. Having only ever seen about 7 or 8 of these birds it has always been a bit of a challenge to see them at all. We knew of the birds at Moore N.R. near Warrington, but after several misses in past years, we decided to give them a proper go and have an earlyish start. Just myself and Steve K. for the trip and we departed Rochdale at 7am, with Steve driving, reaching Moore by 7:45am. It was frosty in the early part but nice in the morning sunlight. As we arrived we asked a birder if the Lesser Spotted Woodpeckers had been seen and he said,”Not yet”. With me being a little suspicious of seeing the birds at all and Steve K. saying, “We will see one within half an hour of leaving the car”. Guess what? We left the car park area and we saw 3 birders looking in the tops of the trees about 150 yards away, what were they looking at, surely not the Lesser Spotted Woodpecker? As we got there,we heard its characteristic drumming. Then sat out and showing itself to the world was a male Lesser Spotted Woodpecker, what an absolute stunning bird, my first for a long time. Steve you got it bang on. We enjoyed 10 minutes with the bird and had another look a bit later on in the sunshine. Lots of Blackbirds and small birds were creating a lot of noise in an ivy clad tree, there must have been a Tawny Owl hidden away in there somewhere but we did not see it, just a Redpoll! A short drive away was our next port of call, Richmond Bank near Fiddler’s Ferry Power Station between Warrington and Widnes, just over the river from Moore in fact. The sun was now shining which could make the viewing a bit more difficult but a lot more pleasant! We got in position and “teamed up” with another 3 fellow “gullers” and set about trying to find any “white wingers” in amongst the many thousands of birds present. Birds were flying in most of the time from the tip in Warrington adjacent to the River Mersey to bathe and rest up. After about 30 minutes an Iceland Gull was found and we were told to look for the bird near to a blue barrel, after much confusion we realized that there were more than one blue barrel! We all managed to see the bird after much laughter. Another Iceland Gull was found and then a huge Glaucous Gull was picked out dwarfing all the other birds present. This object in the background, to define the birds position, was a grey tin and not the now famous blue barrel’s. We also saw our first butterfly of the year, a Small Tortoiseshell. We met Paul from In Focus and had a good chat about his recent exploits. He said he hadn’t been twitching this year but went up for the Harlequin Duck in North Scotland! Another strange bird was a albinistic Black Headed Gull with a black mark through its eye? It was dinnertime when we left and we headed for Pennington Flash, Leigh to twitch a Willow Tit, we saw three of them. The water levels were to high for the hoped for Green Sandpiper. So, we headed for home. We reached Rochdale by 3pm and had really enjoyed the day. We must make it an annual event?

Regards,
Dave O.

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