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Post Info TOPIC: RIVER IRWELL, SALFORD, INCLUDING KERSAL WETLANDS


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RE: RIVER IRWELL, SALFORD, INCLUDING KERSAL WETLANDS


Insect eaters out in force above the river, generally low down;

  • Swifts, Sand Martins, House Martins
  • Pied & Grey Wagtails


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Usual stretch, Goosanderlings, brood of 3 last week, today a different younger brood of 7 (I think, difficult to count when they're bundled up asleep)

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Goosanders - loads - more than I've ever seen here...

  • Upstream from Broughton Bridge - 85-90 initially ~65 just upstream and another 22 on the shingle bank but all disturbed downstream (much better for counting as they float past) by a snake of young schoolkids (+teachers) on the path 
  • Just downstream from Broughton Bridge - another 65-70
  • That's at least 150!!!
  • Both sexes, not an obviously uneven mix, no goosanderlings

 



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2 Blackcaps heard - deep in trees so not seen but from other side of the river obviously 2 birds

1 Willow Warbler heard & seen

No Chiffchaffs singing

Goosanders - numbers going up on "my" stretch as the water level goes down - 13 on the gravel bank, 40-50 visible downstream from Broughton Bridge and another 10 or so between

Canada Geese - the first of the goslings have arrived



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Male Blackcap heard and seen today

Chiffchaff heard

Lots of Goosanders on the water and on the gravel bank, the river being the lowest it's been so far in 2024

Several of the male Goosanders seem to be losing the green sheen on their heads, going dark purple

 



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Willow Warbler - got to see one by the Irwell today - enticed it over the unclimbable wall for a couple of minutes by brief use of Merlin



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It seems that the female Goosanders were just on an away day - several back today

1 or 2 Willow Warblers - this was a pleasant surprise - heard but not seen - in a derelict area behind wall/fence/barbed-wire next to the path on the city side of Broughton Bridge with lots of Silver Birch growing in there (ideal WW habitat) - but very difficult (next to impossible) to spot anything in there without doing some serious (and potentially injurious) spiky fence climbing which I have no intention of doing.

1 Chiffchaff briefly heard as well



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Yesterday (Mon 15th April), there were 9 Goosanders on the Irwell (high water level) in 2 groups, 5 & 4, but they were all male - never seen that before:

  • where have the females gone - surely not all nesting?
  • are these the males that have failed to pair up?


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Thursday 28th - the Sand Martins are back on the Irwell

I've now been visiting "my" stretch of the Irwell (Broughton Bridge to the Adelphi footbridge) during lunch breaks for 2 years; typically 2 or 3 times a week (when it's not raining) and certainly not every week.

During that time I've seen 48 species on/by what often just looks like a dirty river near the city centre...

  • Standout spots: Goosanders and (in winter) Goldeneye - the views of these are as good as absolutely anywhere - if you want photos of these 2 ducks, this is a great place
  • Most surprising: Single Pink-footed Goose happily less than 10 feet away from me amongst the Canada Geese, next would be Little Egret - seen 3 or 4 times
  • Surprisingly not seen (biggest "surprise" first): Jackdaw, Collared Dove, Swallow
  • Hopeful to still see: Mediterranean Gull amongst the Black-headed Gulls


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Goldeneye - none, starting to think that's it for this winter

Goosander - 4M, 3F - generally they seem to be paired up but shouldn't somebody be sitting on eggs at the moment if they're properly breeding

Siskin - 2F - new species for me on "my" stretch of the Irwell

Still not seen a Kingfisher for ages



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From Friday 22 March, around lunchtime, walk up from Agecroft, through Drinkwater Park, up to Kingfisher Lodge/Waterdale, back down along the River Irwell . Kingfisher Lodge pool: pair Gadwall, Mallards, Coots River Irwell: Goosander pair + 1, Tufted Duck pair, Black Headed Gull Drinkwater Park: Chiffchaffs, Great Tits, Blue Tits , Long-Tailed Tits, Wrens, Robins, Dunnocks, Blackbirds, Magpies, Pied Wagtail, Mute Swans, Mallards, Coots, Moorhens, Heron, Wood Pigeons, Nuthatches



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Usual stretch:

  • Goldeneye - still several about, I counted at least 12 but they were spread out so difficult to be exactly sure
  • Goosander - at least 3 pairs about
  • Chiffchaff - 1st local one this year - heard it singing across the water and then found it when over the other side - judging by the complete lack all winter I think this is most likely a migrant rather than a winter stayover
  • Goldcrest - 2, trying to see if they were a pair (hopefully different crest colour) but so difficult even though they were close - 2 days in a row in the same tree/bush, wonder if it's a possible nest site even though it's right next to the path

River level back up a little bit after being lower last week



-- Edited by Michael Hood on Tuesday 12th of March 2024 08:38:33 PM

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Usual stretch:

  • Goosander - 1M 2F - one with the male and also (I think) looking for a nesting site being as she was investigating lots of rocky "inlets" at the water's edge - not behaviour I've seen before
  • Goldeneye - 6 above Broughton Bridge 2M 4F and another 7 or 8 below it but some way off
  • Sparrowhawk - F flew across the river and immediately out of sight - I was alerted by all the gulls taking off from the buildings 5 seconds before - they can obviously see from up there
  • Graffiti artist - 1M on the graffiti wall by Broughton bridge (maybe this should be in "other wildlife") - be interesting to see the finished article next time

River level the lowest I've seen for a few weeks and you could actually see through the water on some shallower bits



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Usual stretch...

  • Goldeneye 1M 2F downstream from Broughton Bridge
  • Goosander 1M - full breeding plumage
  • Sparrowhawk - if I had to decide I'd say Male but couldn't get a decent focused view in my bins as it flew past because I'd just been looking at a close-to Goldcrest (i.e. focus fumble) and the view was through some trees as well
  • Goldcrest - F ? - certainly a much narrower and "yellow not orange" crest compared with last week's ace view
  • Long-tailed Tits - handful, not as big a "family"as I've seen but there's usually a "family" somewhere around
  • Cormorant - fishing

River level quite high - not seen a Kingfisher for a while



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Today water level was high on the irwell so few birds and no goldeneye seen from Pint pot to Agecroft Bridge. Highlights include: Chiffchaff singing in kersal dale Greylag goose just before Frederick Road Bridge 23 Ring necked parakeets at dusk near Salford uni Kestrel hunting near kersal wetland Kingfisher on river opposite wetland American mink seen running on bank then into Agecroft cemetery, haven't seen one in ages!

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Goldeneye; Monday 4m 8f, today 1m 1f.

Today, Song Thrush singing strongly, couldn't locate across the river so walked round to the other side of the river to get a good view

Goldcrest (below the Song Thrush), the best view I've ever had of one; very wide, raised and orangey crest. Had to look at various images and the BTO video to convince myself it wasn't a Firecrest - but didn't see any black/white stripiness across & above the eye but the colour intensity of the raised crest had me wondering for some time - probably just an angry male.



-- Edited by Michael Hood on Wednesday 14th of February 2024 07:37:44 PM

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Superb view of over 30 Siskin feeding in Peel Park today in the sunshine. Heard initially from a distance then when I fetched my bins some excellent views. Just need a Redpoll now, had Siskin a few times but not their equally charming cousin.

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But, at last after nearly 2 years of waiting to see one from "my" stretch of the Irwell - a Peregrine flew over





One of those species you put on the target list for an urban patch in Manchester, I'm always half-looking at the sky when I'm on campus but they're always gulls! I was happy with a Kestrel in Peel Park the other day, should get a Peregrine one day though.

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River level not totally back down and very little on the water:

  • Goosander - 2 M
  • Goldeneye - 1 M

But, at last after nearly 2 years of waiting to see one from "my" stretch of the Irwell - a Peregrine flew over



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Goldeneye numbers still increasing...

  • Mon  5 M, 11 F
  • Tue   7 M, 15 F
  • Wed  4 M, 19 F
  • Thu   8 M, 21 F

Last visit this week



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23 Goldeneye today (Wed), but only 4M - which means at least 4 of the F are "new" since yesterday - wonder how many of the other 19 were the same birds as yesterday

Pink-footed Goose has gone elsewhere blankstare



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"My" stretch of the Irwell just now (Tue 16th 14:30)...

22 Goldeneye, 7M 15 F

1 Pink-footed Goose - with some Canada Geese - quite likely the same one Zoe saw further upstream the other day - almost as tame as the Canadas, happy with me less than 10' away - photos from Smartphone

1 Goosander M - first male I've seen on this stretch for a little while



-- Edited by Michael Hood on Tuesday 16th of January 2024 03:01:16 PM

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Jubilee Bridge is the red bridge, crossing the Irwell between Jasmine Drive/Elderflower Drive

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Where is the Jubilee bridge? - couldn't find it as one of the named bridges on Google Maps

Today on "my" stretch between Broughton Road bridge and the Adelphi footbridge...

  • 16 Goldeneye; 5 M, 11F, 3 of the males displaying
  • 2 Heron
  • Greylag Goose amongst the Canada Geese - it's been seen with them for several years now but first time I've seen it here for a few months
  • 2 Goosanders, both F
  • Kingfisher flypast - first one I've seen since before all the storms and high river levels
  • Little Grebe
  • Small flock of Long-tailed tits


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Pink-footed goose amongst a flock of Canada geese today on the river bend just upstream from Jubilee bridge

-- Edited by Zoe Barrett on Sunday 14th of January 2024 08:43:29 PM

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Z Barrett


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Kersal wetland during WeBS count: Snipe 29 (flushed from family walking halfway across the wetland)which is my highest count from here Ring necked parakeet 4 Stonechat pair Tufted duck 7 Gadwall 6 Grey heron 11

-- Edited by Zoe Barrett on Sunday 14th of January 2024 08:43:42 PM

-- Edited by Zoe Barrett on Sunday 14th of January 2024 08:44:29 PM

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Z Barrett


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Just now...

Goldeneye 7 females, 3 males displaying - beautiful

Little Grebe - just the 1, only see these occasionally

Long-tailed Tits - party of 10-15, but today I was ahead of them so some great close views as they went past

 

Judging by the debris line, the river is about 10' lower than its peak level in the last few weeks.



-- Edited by Michael Hood on Tuesday 9th of January 2024 02:27:58 PM



-- Edited by Michael Hood on Tuesday 9th of January 2024 02:28:16 PM

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Not in great numbers but the Goldeneye have still been around - 2 pairs today

Similarly Goosanders but sightings are currently irregular - 1 pair today



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The Goldeneye are back on ("my" little stretch of) the Irwell in the middle of Salford

Rubbish photo (phone, max zoom, couldn't see screen because of sunlight, real point and shoot), 15 of them, 6m 9f

Not seen any Goosanders around for a while



-- Edited by Michael Hood on Wednesday 29th of November 2023 07:42:42 PM

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On "my little stretch" - between Broughton Bridge and the Adelphi footbridge. The river level's been pretty high for the last week or two (highest yesterday), and no Goosanders have been seen in that time - presumably on a more favourable (for them) stretch or elsewhere.

But in the last 2 days I've seen 3 "new" species:

  • Greenfinch
  • Mistle Thrush x2
  • Great spotted Woodpecker - I've previously heard them here

But the best spots today were:

  • Grey Wagtail hitching a ride on a bit of wood floating down the river - surreal

I also (after being asked by a local what the "big box" was) found what appears to be a Sand Martin nesting "box" on the bank below Broughton Bridge - it's apparently been there for 10-15 years - anyone know anything about this? - obviously I'll see next year if it's still in use.

 



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16/10/23 Afternoon

River Irwell

9 Goosander

2 Heron

3 Grey Wagtail

Rose Ringed Parakeets calling 

1 Little Grebe 

Quite a large flock of Long Tailed Tit

Wetlands

2 Stonechat (male & female)

2 Little Grebe

4 Tufted Duck

 



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Good day today on "my little stretch"...

Little Egret on the shingle area between the Adelphi footbridge and the weir upstream - think that's the 4th time I've seen one in the last 17 months since I started coming down here.

A Kingfisher which stayed in one spot for over 10 minutes (still there when I left).

The river levels have been low for the last week or so - no surprise - and as clear as I've yet seen; last week you could easily see the Goosanders (in detail) underwater with the naked eye when they were fishing.

Saw a Garden Warbler on the city-centre side of the river a couple of weeks ago but forgot to report it at the time.



-- Edited by Michael Hood on Monday 11th of September 2023 06:57:31 PM

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This week the water's high, fast and brown. The only reliable spots (apart from a few Mallard and the ubiquitous Canada Geese) are a couple of Grey Herons and some Grey Wagtails - there appears to be a family of 5. Last week the water was lower, the Goosander numbers were going up; 12 to 15 to 18 to 20 and the water was clear enough to clearly see some of them swimming underwater. They obviously reallocate to a more favourable stretch when the water's higher than they like. I did manage to work out how to identify this year's juveniles; their plumage is now adult but their feet are still dirty orange rather than bright red.

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The usual heron and Goosanders (15) today



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Not surprisingly the river's been quite high after the weekend's incessant rain:

  • Yesterday the only bird "on" the river was a Heron patiently standing near the edge
  • Today the water level was still high but it had dropped by 88cm (assuming the scale under Broughton Bridge is metric)
  • Today Goosanders and Cormorants were back on the water fishing

I saw a Kingfisher the day after my previous post (only because it was disturbed by a Cormorant's fishing) but I've also seen a couple of times since then - not expecting to see at the moment whilst the water's high and fast.



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On "my little stretch" today - a Little Egret, think that's the third time I've seen one here in about 15 months - it was doing a fair bit of fishing, successfully.

The 3 Goosanderlings that have grown up on this part of the river have been allowed out on their own for the last couple of weeks. They're difficult to identify when amongst adult birds if they're just resting, but when moving they're easy to spot because they tend to zoom around more than the adults and also because they go around as a tight threesome, almost always diving together.

Still no recent Kingfisher sighting.



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On "my little stretch"...

  • Only a few Goosander today - males moulting
  • But a pair of Teal - only 2nd time I've seen them here
  • Several Grey Wagtail - some juvenile
  • Not seen a Kingfisher for several months
  • Blackcap heard singing (on Mon) but not seen


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Juvenile's day today:

  • 3 Heron, 2 young + bored parent (presumably) on the left - poor quality photo - budget smartphone at max zoom
  • Goosander with 3 young - with all the Goosanders how comes I don't see more young?
  • Canada Geese goslings - loads, 25+, several broods are in a creche

Haven't seen a Kingfisher for ages, even though the water levels/flow/speed are now suitably down, I think this isn't a nesting area of the river so they won't be back quite yet

The male Goosanders are losing their green heads already



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First visit for 5 weeks; river levels down, Goosander back in numbers...

58 Goosander in the attached photo (budget smartphone "quality"), another 22 within 200m downstream

Amongst the Canada Geese, a pair with 16 goslings

The lone Heron seemed a bit mundane compared with yesterday's Little Bittern (not in UK)



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I was wrong, single male Goldeneye spotted downstream from Broughton Bridge (one end of my stretch).

 



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On "my" stretch of the Irwell...

Goldeneyes have almost certainly gone for this winter - been over a week since I've seen one here and that was only a single male for a couple of days

Not seen a Kingfisher for a while - I think the water level's too high and too fast

Goosander numbers seem to be increasing - 19 today

And surprisingly, a Chiffchaff in the trees on the other side - not really surprising at this time of year, just surprised that the Irwell would be the first place I'd see one



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Still seeing a few Goldeneye on "my" stretch of the Irwell, 6 yesterday (5M, 1F), only 2M today.

I'm getting the feeling that the Goosanders are pairing up - seeing more M+F together rather than groups of M or F.



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Afternoon

River Irwell

4 Goldeneye  (2 Duck 2 Drake)

5 Goosander (2 duck 3 drake)

Wetlands 

6 Little Grebe 

2 Shoveler (pair feeding together)

1 Reed Bunting (female)

 

 



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Some Goldeneye present every time I've been along "my" bit of the Irwell, not large amounts (up to 12) but never absent. Full, fast river doesn't bother them.

Seen at least 1 Goosander nearly every time as well, both male and female but no large groups.

1 Kingfisher - first sighting for several weeks

 



-- Edited by Ian McKerchar on Friday 20th of January 2023 03:04:51 PM

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Kersal Wetlands. Eighteen goldeneyes on the river including eight displaying drakes. Three goosanders, all redheads including one first-Winter drake starting to show his adult colours. A pair of dabchicks were displaying close to the river bank. Over a hundred black-headed gulls on the wetlands with handfuls of herring gulls and lesser black-backs and a couple of first-Winter common gulls, also a dozen herons. A couple of ring-necked parakeets screeching in the trees to the North.

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Eighteen goldeneyes on the river including eight displaying drakes. Three goosanders, all redheads including one first-Winter drake starting to show his adult colours. A pair of dabchicks were displaying close to the river bank. Over a hundred black-headed gulls on the wetlands with handfuls of herring gulls and lesser black-backs and a couple of first-Winter common gulls, also a dozen herons. A couple of ring-necked parakeets screeching in the trees to the North.

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Friday 22nd late lunchtime (of note):

  • 21 Goldeneye (6m, 15f) - there have been at least a couple of Goldeneye on this stretch every time I've been
  • 2 Goosanders - both males in full breeding plumage
  • Not seen a Kingfisher for a little while - I think the river's been a bit full & fast & murky recently for optimum Kingfisher fishing conditions although it doesn't appear to affect the Goldeneye

Tried photographing the Goldeneye with smartphone + adaptor through my compact spotting scope but the results are not so good as soon as it's on anything larger than a smartphone screen - think I might have to invest in a proper camera



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A lunchtime walk along the river through Peel Park produced a patch tick for me, as 2 Snipe dropped briefly onto the river bank rocks just down from the Frederick Road bridge. I guess this is the sort of local movement of birds you get when the weather changes.

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30 Goldeneye today (11 drakes, 19 ducks), there must be plenty of edible stuff in the river



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16 Goldeneye today (8 drakes, 8 ducks), one of each with a few signs of eclipse plumage, the rest in breeding plumage - had to wait for them to stop diving before I could be confident of the counting



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