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Post Info TOPIC: Alexandra Park, Whalley Range


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RE: Alexandra Park, Whalley Range


Cormorant on the pond today. Not sure if anyone has seen them here before, but this is first one I've seen here. Was sunning itself on a low branch over water, just beneath Grey Heron on nest. What looked like a juvenile heron was also tentatively making its way into the water nearby. The Tufted Ducks seem to be doing well here, with many more around than last year around, along with plenty of Coot, Canada Goose and Mallard.

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What action can people take on this?

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GUYS! They're gonna start draining the lake soon . by a metre. to rebuild the wall (which means it will take ages) there's a heron chick that needs protecting - theyre doing it at the wrong time of year - the fact theyre doing it altogether is outrageous as it will affect the whole ecosystem of the lake. please take action!



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Highlights of today's walk were good sightings of 2 x nuthatch and 2 x redwing.

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Quick walk in the park today - large areas of the park devastated by the tree felling since my last visit. Will undoubtedly have a negative effect on many species.

Spent some time at the other side of the park, around where the firecrests had previously been reported. No firecrests or goldcrests as I was really hoping for (the former more in unduly optimistic hope, as they have perhaps now moved on permanently as has been suggested on here), but did see a couple of bullfinch which brightened up the day.

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Steve - I fear you're right. But I spoke to the RSPB this morning, who confirmed that if any evidence of bird nesting behaviour (even just flying from tree to tree carrying nesting materials) is evident in the park, then it is unlawful for the felling to continue. That's why I'm urging any local birders with a half decent zoom lens to get down to the park and see if they can spot, and photograph, any such behaviour, ASAP...

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I think the City Council are well aware of the Wildlife & Countryside Act, which is why they are chopping down the trees now before any eggs are laid

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Steve "Make your birdwatching count!"


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Spent an hour last Saturday 26th January watching birds in the area which is soon to be felled to make way for tennis courts (unless we can provide evidence of bird nesting behaviour in the park ASAP). Spotted the following:

1 Great Spotted Woodpecker
1 Nuthatch
1 Treecreeper
5 Redwing
1 Chaffinch (f)
1 Coal Tit
2 Long Tailed Tit
1 Wren
1 Robin
1 Blackbird

... as well as the usual suspects (blue tits, great tits, woodpigeon, magpies, etc).

Today, 5th Feb, saw a stunning male bullfinch in a tree, moments before it was felled. Absolutely gutting that they're destroying this wildlife habitat. See Save Alexandra Park's Trees for more info.




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400 trees under the chop , work has already started and large area already felled over past fews days,

5 Ring necked Parakeets seen today.

campsite area where protesters have set up !



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2:30 - 4pm

40+ Redwing
2 Mistle Thrush
Sparrowhawk
Nuthatch
Bullfinch (m)


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No sign of any Firecrests the last few days but knowing how elusive and mobile they've been they could easily still be about.
Also 1 Siskin over.

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2 Firecrest in Hollies by the Play Centre at 3pm
1 Treecreeper
4 Goosander drakes

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One Firecrest this morning and two this afternoon per BG's.

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Rob


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Nice to meet you Tony, shame we spent so long in the wrong spot. Chuffed to see one eventually though.

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The duller bird showed well in the SW corner around 14:40

Moved quickly from tree to tree but spent a little time fly-catching and hovering in a birch. It then flew towards and over Demesne Road.

(Unfortunately I had spent 2 hours looking in the wrong trees near the abandoned building)

Birds also seen

Dunnock
Goldcrest
Coal, Blue, Great and Long-tailed Tits
Treecreeper
Nuthatch
Redwing
Fieldfare

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Yes, who knows what the locals thought with a crowd of folk gathered under the dark trees only legs showing...some sort of drug party!
Anyway, second time lucky for me and arrived about 1110, so great timing after dipping yesterday!


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16/12/2012 - 8.45am-12pm with Phil Owen and a good crowd of Mancunian birders:

1 Firecrest - male, showed well after a couple of hours around the yews and hollys to the east of the lake by the boarded up building

And in addition to yesterdays sightings (44 species in total):
3 Common Gulls
1 Lesser Black-backed Gull
5 Ring-necked Parakeets
1 Grey Wagtail - over
1 Dunnock



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1 Firecrest showed well for 5 mins at 11.15. In conifers near abandoned building opposite Spring Bridge Road entrance.

Cheers John.

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No luck for me or Phil Owen between 10am-12pm for the Firecrest, will have another crack in the morning.

In addition to other reports today there were:
1 Treecreeper
1 Great Spotted Woodpecker
2 Mistle Thrushes
1 Grey Heron (1w)
1 Pied Wagtail
2 House Sparrows
2 Greenfinches


-- Edited by Henry Cook on Saturday 15th of December 2012 06:38:07 PM

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Well done Tim,you deserve it after all those hours you put in
Thanks for getting myself and other birders onto the firecrest at 2.10pm in the birch tree you mention,cracking little bird nice to get one so close to home after recently getting two out off county. Nice to meet other birders
Other birds off note...
Several goldcrests
Several redwings
2 nuthatches
2 collared doves
2-3 sparrowhawks
1 bullfinch,male
Goldfinches,chaffinches
Blue/great/coal & long tailed tits
1 jay,just outside the park on Stanley rd
1 shoveler,male
3 goosanders,male
At least 5 tufted ducks
Plus usuals



-- Edited by steven burke on Saturday 15th of December 2012 05:45:09 PM

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saburke


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I managed to get the firecrest after about 15min, very lucky! Thanks to Tim Wilcox and Tony Darby for showing me where it was. :)

Also great to meet steven burke and Neville Wright. Good company and a stonking bird. I think I saw the duller bird (missed the bright male by 5min, but not complaining!) See Tim's directions below

Also jay, nuthatch, 3 male (at least 1 sub-adult) goosander, male shoveler and lots of goldcrest plus some commoner woodland species.

The firecrest was not seen after about 1445hrs. (But heard it call as I was leaving)

-- Edited by Ian McKerchar on Saturday 15th of December 2012 03:35:18 PM

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12.30 - 2.30

YEES! My 6th visit since last Sunday and after over 8 hours fruitless vigil all told this week I finally got lucky. Tony Darby arrived at about 12.45 and straight away picked up a movement in the Holly just south of the deep water signage on the south side of the lake. A splendily bright male Firecrest showed right in front of us at about 10 feet then worked its way inside the tree and disappeared. Then there was nothing for a bit till I picked up probably the same bright male from the road but again it disappeared. About an hour later I was watching 3 Goldcrests fly-catching in the Silver Birch towards the west end and thought they might bring out a Firecrest too and one appeared. This bird was then seen well by all assembled. To me it seemed like a different bird - probably a male but not quite as bright on the crown which on the first bird was a brilliant orange but on the latter bird more a yellowy-orange with slightly duller supercillium.

Also a Siskin, Coal Tits, Blue Tits, Redwing , 2 Collared Dove and Steven Burke saw 2 Sparrowhawks through

-- Edited by Tim Wilcox on Saturday 15th of December 2012 05:40:54 PM

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Two Firecrests feeding on birch catkins with a Goldcrest for company early this am at about 9.30. Seen at the south-west corner of the lake.Tried again later without success. May wander down late afternoon as this looks a good time for spotting these.
Also 3 Goosander, Shoveler, Tufted Duck, Nuthatch, Jay, Redwing, Chaffinch.

Record shot at flickr
Thanks to the finder and posters of these Firecrest sightings. First one I've seen.

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Two Firecrests plus two Goldcrests showing well despite the rain in the silver birch at the south west corner of the lake at 2pm.

Info thanks to Iain Johnson

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Ian McKerchar (forum administrator and owner)


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Firecrest still present in holly and conifers on the south side of the lake at 1.30pm today but keeping to the middle of the trees in the very wet weather!

Info thanks to Andy Isherwood

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Ian McKerchar (forum administrator and owner)


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Firecrest (m) seen at 2:45 - 3:00. It flew in from the conifers at the entrance and stayed for at least 15 minutes (Thanks to the other birder who pointed me in the right direction. It was also seen flying into the birch on the West side of the lake.

Numerous Goldcrest and Tit flocks
3 Goosander (m)
1 Shoveler (m)

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Firecrest still present at 3pm today, in a Silver Birch on the west side of the lake with a Goldcrest.

Info thanks to Tony O'Mahony

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Ian McKerchar (forum administrator and owner)


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-Back home at 6 p.m.

After a 3 hour drive I arrived at Alexandra Pk at 11.30 a.m. (totally new area for me, and rather more extensive than I had thought) and put in 3 hours of slowly exploring all the hollies and conifers, listening, and "squeaking out" just about every species in there, apart from Firecrest!
I met up with Mike Brown and Heath Green who similarly had had no luck;- they went off for lunch as I soldiered on, chewing my butties on the hoof.
We met up and carried on (not filled with optimism by this time, though I felt sure the bird/s would still be around).
At 14.30, checking the same line of hollies (already checked 3/4 times), Heath spotted one Firecrest some 20 ft away at eye level.
- Jubilation all round as it performed for a good 5 minutes, flitting between two large hollies. -A duff record shot obtained.

I left them with it and shot off to the car to clear Gr. Manchester ahead of the rush hour.

For precise directions, (assuming this is a key part of the bird's circuit):

Starting/entering at the Spring Bridge Rd entrance to the park (i.e. at it's southern edge, along Demesne Rd) turn immediately left and go some 50 yds hugging the fence by Demesne Rd. This marks the start of a longish row of tall hollies, and the bird was in the first two that you come to. Opposite, in a Demesne Rd garden is a tall conifer which helps to confirm you as being in the same spot.
This would seem to tally with where the two birds were seen well on Sunday at 15.30, and may be a good bet for late afternoon attempts. We heard no calls at any time so it was just a case of putting in the time and getting lucky.

28 species logged in all, - best of the rest a drake Goosander on the lake.

Good Luck, and don't give up!

Regards,
Mike P.

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Why not?



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John Rayner wrote:

1Firecrest still present in same area as 9th Dec.

Info from Mike Passant

Cheers John





I'm pleased Mike got it coming down from Durham. I spent a total of 5 hours there yesterday at dawn and later on all pm without success and was there before and after you saw it Sunday without success - so far at least 7 hours searching...

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After a 3 hour search 1 Firecrest still present at 14.30 in same area as 9th Dec.

[Info from Mike Passant]

Cheers John

-- Edited by John Rayner on Tuesday 11th of December 2012 04:28:13 PM

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At least one Firecrest still present along the south side of the lake this morning at 09:45.

Info thanks to Iain Johnson

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Ian McKerchar (forum administrator and owner)


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John Rayner wrote:

Alexandra Park 14.30 - 15.20

Mark Rigby, Karen Foulkes and myself tried for the Firecrest without much expectation. We were rather too late in the day and light was fading fast.

A brief search round the boating lake Holly trees and Mark thought he heard a call, so we lingered. Great Tit, Blue Tit, Coal Tit, Robin, and Goldcrest slowly revealed themselves. Hope was fading with the light but in the nick of time a Firecrest showed briefly at first, then well. It flew from Holly trees across Desmene Road into a Willow on the corner of Spring Bridge Road. It eventually flew back into the park to what may be the favoured Holly Trees and showed well at no more than 10 feet range. Amazingly it was then joined by a second bird, the two being only 1 foot apart on the same branch.

The very bright general colouration, rich rufous tones around the lores / fore-supercilia and the orange edging to the yellow crown stripes on both birds led us to believe they were 2 males.

Cheers, John





You all must have arrived just seconds after Tony Darby and myself left after two hours searching having been tipped off by Tony O'Mahony. The main tit flock of 20 odd Long-tailed Tits, 15 or so Blue Tits, 2 Coal Tits, 2 Coal Tits and 2 Great Tits with 2 Goldcrests was a little further East around the lodge. We went back around the boating lake twice (where 3 more Goldcrests seemingly resident in tall firs) but missed out and left getting cold. Almost on the final whistle of the Derby I got a text off Ian and Tony Darby and myself raced back on our bikes to join Tony O Mahony. As the light faded tantalising probables flitted around the tall pines by the private blocks of flats on Greysham Court off Demesne Road. We heard them call very close by but no view for a positive ID

-- Edited by Tim Wilcox on Sunday 9th of December 2012 11:05:25 PM

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Alexandra Park 14.30 - 15.20

Mark Rigby, Karen Foulkes and myself tried for the Firecrest without much expectation. We were rather too late in the day and light was fading fast.

A brief search round the boating lake Holly trees and Mark thought he heard a call, so we lingered. Great Tit, Blue Tit, Coal Tit, Robin, and Goldcrest slowly revealed themselves. Hope was fading with the light but in the nick of time a Firecrest showed briefly at first, then well. It flew from Holly trees across Desmene Road into a Willow on the corner of Spring Bridge Road. It eventually flew back into the park to what may be the favoured Holly Trees and showed well at no more than 10 feet range. Amazingly it was then joined by a second bird, the two being only 1 foot apart on the same branch.

The very bright general colouration, rich rufous tones around the lores / fore-supercilia and the orange edging to the yellow crown stripes on both birds led us to believe they were 2 males.

Cheers, John

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Now 2 Firecrests present along the south side of the lake and showing very well (down to 10 feet!).

Info thanks to Mark Rigby

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Ian McKerchar (forum administrator and owner)


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No further sign of the Firecrest by 2pm but large roving tit flock still present.

Info thanks to Tim Wilcox

-- Edited by Ian McKerchar on Sunday 9th of December 2012 03:22:09 PM

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Ian McKerchar (forum administrator and owner)


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Male Firecrest male in holly trees south of the lake at around midday today.

Info thanks to Tony 0'Mahony

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Ian McKerchar (forum administrator and owner)


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Cheers Pete,

Tony O'Mahony has provided some more detailed observations as well. Thanks to you both for such a quick response

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Steve "Make your birdwatching count!"


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I didn't visit during the breeding season though a comment made in response to one of my videos on the Friends of Alexandra Park Facebook page states that a pair nested and three chicks hatched this year. A local told me two pairs had nested, so take your pick. Vids can be seen on the FOAP website

http://friendsofalexandrapark.com/news/

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Could any regulars let me know whether the Herons nested again this year? Nik Grounds, who did the census for the BTO, has left the area so I have no data for 2012.

Any help much appreciated.

Steve

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Steve "Make your birdwatching count!"


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Excellent Pete, I could have seen those from my old flat on Demesne Road!!!

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20 Waxwing perched in the tops of the ash tree above the old park house at 3pm
15 Tufted Duck
2 Common Gull
1 Lesser Black-backed Gull

-- Edited by Ian McKerchar on Saturday 17th of November 2012 05:29:34 PM

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4 Goosander
1 Teal
11 Tufted

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9 Goosander
11 Tufted Duck
1 Cormorant
3 Mute Swan (the 2 adults have blue darvics HJ4 & HI4)
Coot (one colour ringed black above blue on left leg, orange over silver ring on right leg)
3 Heron
1 Common Gull
Goldcrest
Redwing

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Pete Hines wrote:

Monday 29th Oct

10 Siskin
Redwing
Goldcrest
7 Tufted
3 Mute Swan





Keep the sightings coming guys, I am really interested in thsi thread since I lived on Demesne Road abutting the park for over 10 years. Unfortuantely those were my lapsed years in terms of birding, grls & beer were much more important then (all equal now with birding ). I regret not birding the park more, I was unemployed & could have done it as a daily patch. My total birding experiences amount to rescuing a Muscovy duckling that had been hooked by a fisherman & hand rearing it!!!

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Monday 29th Oct

10 Siskin
Redwing
Goldcrest
7 Tufted
3 Mute Swan

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Quick visit this afternoon:

3 Shovelers
2 Mute Swans
1 Nuthatch
amongst the usuals

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27th November am.

11 Goosander (2m), 2 Mute Swan, c120 Feral Pigeon.

Cheers,


Bill.

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27th August 9.25am

Female and juvenile Sparrowhawk circling over the westside of the park.

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Hi Steve,
Sorry, no idea of the size of the range. Could well be two separate pairs. The one I saw in July was on its own in a tree in the SE corner of Whitworth Park and flew off towards the centre of the park. I've entered it in the atlas as 'FL' but haven't been back since to check if it is still around.
Steve

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Steve Christmas wrote:

I recorded a juv sparrowhawk in Whitworth Park, which is a different tetrad, on 15th July. Possibly the same brood?






Do you have any information Steve on how far from the nest site juv. Sparrowhawks are likely to move whilst still dependent on the adults for food? I was wondering whether these could be the offspring of two different pairs, given the relative lack of suitable habitat in this urban area.

According to The New Atlas of Breeding Birds in Britain and Ireland 1988-91 the distance between breeding pairs can be as little as 0.5km (admittedly in continuous forest) and that in Edinburgh there were estimated to be 35 pairs. Not sure about the relative size of Edinburgh and Manchester but I calculate the distance between Alexandra and Whitworth parks to be approx. 1.5 km as the Sparrowhawk flies.

At Watergrove recently fledged juv Sparrowhawks have been calling from the same area of plantation for 11 days. In other words they haven't moved more than about 300 metres.

Steve

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