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Post Info TOPIC: Oldham: Werneth & Chadderton


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RE: Oldham: Werneth & Chadderton


Worth going out in the sleet for a morning walk yesterday (Thurs Feb 8th) as calls from the local Jackdaws alerted me to a male (on size) Peregrine pursuing a feral Pigeon over the playing field of Hulme Grammar School.

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Highlights from a turn around Werneth Park after this morning's rather fine moon set over Horwich Moors, were two Song Thrushes singing in the lower boughs of the beech trees along the edge of the allotments and a Mistle Thrush keeping a speculative eye on the remaining holly berries. Usual Blue Tits, Robins, Magpies, Feral and Wood Pigeons, Blackbird and the Carrion Crow family party. No white feathers among this year's quartet.

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Skein of Pink-footed Geese heard only from under the tree canopy in Werneth Park this morning. They passed south of the park in a W/SW direction. Usual Wood Pigeons, Robins, Dunnocks, Blackbirds and one less Magpie, with no signs of attack or obvious injury next to the main path across the park

Elsewhere, A Mistle Thrush was trying to see off around a dozen starlings feeding in one of the berry trees in the grounds of Hulme Grammar School.

-- Edited by Mike Chorley on Sunday 5th of November 2023 05:17:13 PM



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A chance scan from the living room window just now (15.30) picked up an adult female Peregrine (by size) on the Hartford Mill chimney, just before it luanched down towards the local feral Pigeons.

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Late morning

3 Mistle Thrushes flying over towardsthe town centre drew calls from a cople of Fieldfares in the acernext to my front door. The fieldfares then flew of at right angles to the Thrushes. First winter migrant Thruses here this end of the year. The berry buses round the grammar school usually bring them in earlier than this.

1 adult Common Gull on the roof of the units opposite, along with 3 Black-headed Gulls and a Pied Wagtail.

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The Tawny Owl "ke-wiking" last night turned out to be in the tree outside the kitchen window. Didn't stay long when it got warned off with a low, growling rattle from the sitting Carrion Crow. Heard a similar shorter one from a tree on the main road, near to one of last year's crow nests and almost immediately one of the area's group of C12 Lesser Black-backed Gulls was being dived bombed by another crow.



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Werneth Hall Park 9.35-10.35 a.m. As a substitute for peering at an oblong of grass where nothing much lands, between the wall of the flats and the railings. (overall totals in brackets next to GBGB totals)

Wren 1(3)
Woodpigeon 3(8min)
Blackbird 3 (5)
Magpie 5 (8-10)
Dunnock 2 (5)
Robin 1 (4)
Blue Tit 2 (8)
Nuthatch 1 (2)
Song Thrush 1 (1)
Great Spotted Woodpecker 1 (1)
Feral Pigeon 2 (10)
Great Tit 2 (5)
Long-tailed Tit 9 (9)

Typically, no finches today, when Goldfinch are usually my highest count for the GBGB, and there are usually at least a couple of Chaffinch - both present on New Year's Day. Elsewhere the House Sparrows were lively in the hedge at the corner, not skulking up one of the alleys as they were on Jan 1st, and the 'skewbald' Crow (definitely brown and creamy white) was foraging in the neighbours' gutters. Adult Winter Lesser Black-Backed Gull over the park and 20 Black-headed Gulls on the roof of the Hartford Factory shed.



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Hi Tony. Maybe that's why they don't eat the orange ones lol.

I wonder if those crab apples originally evolved to be eaten by a specific species, like Wild Boar, like some other fruits, nuts etc that need to past through a digestive tract to start regeneration. Or maybe they're just a genetic dead end?

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Hi Mike, a quick walk to the local allotments and it was no surprise to find the orange berries still on the shrubs. I remember reading somewhere that birds have been observed " drunk" after eating pyracantha berries obviously not orange ones biggrin

Some crab apple varieties also remain uneaten, one garden I work at the apples are literally like bullets. I left them over winter one year and they were still there in March under the tree and they had not even rotted down!



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Hi Tony I've noticed this quite a lot over the years, especially when we've been lucky enough to have local Waxwings. They strip anything with red berries and move on, even though there are twice as many trees/shrubs with orange ones. Yet even in comparatively mild recent winters birds are taking shrivelled haws rather than still orange berries on nearby trees. confuse

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Mike Chorley wrote:

For some reason nothing seems to like the orange berries on all the others, which often wither on the stalk. Maybe the visual signal is "unripe"



 Mike, I noticed last year that the thrushes left the orange pyracantha berries near a local allotment but stripped the red ones growing right next to them, the orange berries  just rotted down eventually. I am aware that the berries of pyracantha can be made into jellies so I am non the wiser as too why the birds leave them.

I have noticed some other orange ones this year so will keep an eye on them to see if there is some kind of pattern where orange ones remain uneaten.



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Single Mistle Thrush failing to drive off two Magpies from the only remaining red-berried tree along Lansdowne Road. For some reason nothing seems to like the orange berries on all the others, which often wither on the stalk. Maybe the visual signal is "unripe"

Elsewhere the cold weather had no effect on a pair of Feral Pigeons literally billing and cooing on the roof of one of the industrial units. Not much else to be seen, just the 'pied' Crow and its' parents (?) and a few Black-headed Gulls with one Lesser Black-backed and one Herring Gull for variety.

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That's interesting. I don't know if feather pigmentation can be changed by diet, apart from in flamingos. As far as I know it isn't a stage in normal adolescent moult for crows and the original bird I saw is still flashing his white patches as he flies past. Effect of a high calcium diet maybe, like white dog poo?hmm

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Lovely observation an great corvid behaviour to record. I have seen another 2 young crows at Daisy Nook (not very far fro where I live, especially as the crow flies) whohad similar pale feathers on their wings - I'm wondering if this is an adolesent phase and they will lose them at some point, as the one at home appears to be getting less white.



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Checked on a Carrion Crow head on on the industrial units roof this a.m. to see if it was the 'other' pied Crow. Wasn't but interesting to watch it dismember the remains of a rat, pulling off the head and caching it under a loose bit of patching of the ridge tile, then stashing the rest in a bigger gap behind another loose bit of felting further left. Disappeared for a minute, then I noticed it feeding on something, but over the ridge, at which point another crow flew in and probably nicked the rat body, but again settled to feed over the ridge line and partly obscured by trees. The first crow went over, checked its' stash and seemed puzzled that the body had gone. Eventually went back to whatever it had started on. Hope it had started with its' "best bit of rat" (cf. A Fine Romance)biggrin

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That would make it a good couple of months later than mine, which was more like a juvenile trying it's luck after it should really be independent when I first saw it in July. Not the same brood or parents then but maybe from related parent birds carrying a particular gene. It will be interesting to see if we get more 'Pied' Crows next year.

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Only noticed it over the last week when I've been going for a wander in Copster Park or on Hathershaw School field. Yes, this one definitely looked like it was with one parent bird, although I have seen it alone too in the last day or so. I've not seen one like it either, when I read your post I did wonder if they were related.



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Hi Andrea

Interesting. Definitely a different bird with that wing pattern. My local one has something like 8th to 5th primary on one wing and 7th to 4th primary on the other solid white, with the others all dark and the rest of the white tapering out from them up towards the 'shoulder'. It is also definitely browner. It hangs around a lot on the roofs of the industrial units behind the Ford car lot on Manchester Street so I see it fairly regularly, either foraging or as a fly by.

How long has your bird been around? Mine was definitely a this summer's bird as it was still being fed by a parent back at the start of July and yours looks quite juvenile in the first and last photos. I only saw one parent with it at the time, and later it seemed more independent when it was with the group. I wonder if the two are related, with maybe a parent taking one of each in different directions after fledging, or maybe there's a genetic link back to connected parent birds in two pairs? I've certainly not seen anything like either before around here

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Hi Mike

I was interested in your description of the crow as I've spotted a similar one hanging around Garden Suburbs, although this one is a bit more black. I've attached a couple of photos for compariason.

I wonder if it is the same bird as it's only down the road?



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Quick turn around the local park at lunchtime to reduce the squareness of my eyeballs from setting up a new desktop before the old one expires mid...................sentencebiggrin

Fairly quiet, as it has been most of this year after an initial outburst of song during Spring. Blackcap, Chiffchaff, Willow Warbler, Wren, Robin, Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Song and Mistle Thrushes and Blackbird were all in good voice, but despite signs of birds carrying food no actual offspring were sighted, let alone tripped over, as happened a few years back when a family of Blackcaps flooded one of the paths. Neither Nuthatch nor Great Spotted Woodpecker nests were located either, despite good evidence of breeding activity. A nice mixed tit flock of around 20 birds today contained at least one each of Great, Blue and Coal Tit, along with several Long-tailed Tits which were more easily spotted by silhouette against the gaps in the canopy. A Goldcrest was calling with them but remained unseen. Another grouping of Long-tailed Tits on the opposite side of the park a little earlier may represent a different troop.

One of the local pairs of Carrion Crows, possibly the ones which literally 'upped sticks' and dismantled last year's nest from outside the kitchen window, have produced a pied offspring, or maybe more correctly a skewbald one, as there's little or no black on the bird. Predominantly brown, with parallel but uneven strips of 'Hoodie' grey either side of the breast, it is noticeable for asymmetric white panels on the wings. About 4 primary feathers in each wing are white, with an uneven spread of white up over the coverts and a scatter of single white feathers onto the scapulars. The breast and underparts are a patchy brown, like a juvenile blackbird. All in all quite striking creature, especially in flight. If it survives the winter (and it seems successfully independent at the moment) it will be interesting to see if it breeds and what the offspring look like. It was still getting fed by a parent when I first saw it, and there didn't seem to be any siblings, but it was part of a group of 4 or 5 birds feeding on a previous night's carpool karaoke leftovers so it might have family. It's certainly alarming the local pigeons.

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29th June 2021 a pair of urban kestrels have successfully bred. When I visited it seemed two had recently fledged and two were still yet to fledge.



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https://www.flickr.com/photos/24940353@N03/



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First swift sighting at home 17.45 7/5/21 roof top height, so hopefully one of the locals returning.



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Another new bird at home - Linnets this time. It's been a good couple of weeks including another couple of sightings of the Brambling, a female kestrel and a Peregrine flyover this morning.



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A surprise and very fleeting visit from, what I think was, a 1st winter female brambling. If I hadn't been staring out of the window whilst on the phone I would have missed it biggrin. Record shots of it hiding amongst the branches of the tree outside the house.



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With WEBS suspended again this lockdown (looking at birds is 'recreation' not 'exercise' and therefore not permitted!- but no-one told Winter Watch apparently) there's not been a lot to report.

The local Great Spotted Woodpecker finally made an appearance, and a Song Thrush in the local park was working Nuthatch calls into its' repertoire (or the timing was so good they'd been rehearsing biggrin) but otherwise the park is quieter than usual. Possibly because of a new hazard - Squggers! The local Yankee Tree Rats now assume every human is a walking peanut dispenser and hurtle across the intervening spaces scattering any feeding ground birds, expecting to be fed.

A (the?) pair of Carrion Crows were outside the living room window at first light the other morning, in the same tree where a nest attempt failed last year; a pair of Bullfinches have appeared a couple of times in the hedge across the road, alternating between buds and berries (including some rather shrivelled brown ones) and scans towards Ashworth/Holcombe Moors have picked up Lapwing and Grey Heron. Undoubted brief highlight was a female Peregrine pestering the pigeons over the park before setting off south west across it. A rooftop level flypast by a male Kestrel while I was out shopping is the only other raptor sighting so far this year.

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Werneth Park 01/01/21-05/01/21. Lunchtime circuits when the park is usually at its' quietest. In order of appearance :

FeralPigeon
Magpie
Woodpigeon
Starling (12)
Carrion Crow
Goldfinch (max 16)
Nuthatch
Blackbird
Goldcrest (well scrutinised biggrin)
Robin
Collared Dove
Long-tailed Tit
Great Tit
Wren
Blue Tit
Chaffinch
Great Spotted Woodpecker heard but not seen as the snow fell 03/01

Lesser Black-backed, Black-headed, Herring and 1 Common Gull recorded from the roofs around, along with Pied Wagtail and Jackdaw.

A walk past Oldham Grammar School on 05/01 produced 14 Redwing, 10 Fieldfare and a single Mistle Thrush, as well as revealing where the local House Sparrows were hanging out. Passing again today numbers were down to 5 Redwing and 3 Fieldfare plus a very annoyed Mistle Thrush, probably because there are noticably fewer berries. Any Waxwings stopping by will have to look elsewhere this year. Hopefully the central reservtion of Manchester Road again

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I was pleased to see a couple of greenfinches amongst the goldfinches on the feeders at home, but then noticed one of them appeared to have a lesion on the base of its upper mandible (ringed in the attached photo). Could this be a case of avian pox? If so what do I need to do?

Found another photo - now added



-- Edited by Andrea Wilson on Tuesday 27th of October 2020 12:08:12 AM



-- Edited by Andrea Wilson on Tuesday 27th of October 2020 12:10:49 AM

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Fairly quiet over the last 5 weeks.

There was some activity around the abandoned Carrion Crow nest in the tree outside the kitchen window, probably the local Magpies raiding for sticks as they now have a nest with a sitting bird in another Acer at the back of the flats. Noticed when the Crows flew over the other day one flew to the nest while the other flew past and appeared to be being called back.

July 8th Influx of around 20 juvenile Woodpigeons into Werneth Park...Song Thrush, Blackbird and Wren still singing, Song Thrush gathering food

July 19th Walk over to Chadderton Cemetery; very few species seen possibly because of the Hitchcockian gathering of Carrion Crows, especially in the quieter NW corner. One House Martin hawking over the NE side and 3 Swifts over the Broadway/Middleton Road junction. More interesting insect life.

July 23rd House Martin activity again around the regular nest site. A bird flying up to the nest and twittering, as if trying to entice out a brood. Unfortunately didn't have time to stay and see if this was what was happening. Blackbird and Wren still siging in the park

July 30th. Unsuccessful attempt to locate any White-letter Hairstreaks at the locations I'd been shown at the start of the month. Park very quiet, possibly due to the presenceof a large female Sparrowhawk who shot along one of the avenues. Usual distinctive alarm call from the Long-tailed Tits, otherwise contact calls of juvenile Robins etc. Blackbirds feeding young in the hedge/undergrowth across the street. Juvenile Mistle Thrush on the top of the derelict mill tower. Looking very odd in a side backlight from strong evening sun.

July 31st Blackbirds now in turf war with juvenile Mistle Thrushes over the well-laden Rowan across the road


August 3rd - 5th young Magpie being chased off by male or female Blackbird several times over the last few days. Single Swift seen behind the mill in the dusk on August 5th





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Three very active House Martin nests on Frederick Street today. Couldn't tell if the original nest back in May succeeded or failed as a combination of factors means I haven't been passing as regularly as I usually do. No activity observed there when I passed last Weds - but there were no Martins about at all that day. Otherwise singing Song Thrush, Blackcap and Blackbird in Werneth Park, along with juvenile Dunnock, and a Robin in subsong. Chiffchaff still singing a few days ago in the vicinity and a Blackcap singing along my usual route today.

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Neil Blood wrote:

We used to climb over the fence to the Sewage works. Thats where LRP bred, as it also did on both the old cooling towers site and power station site, making it 3 breeding pairs. The sewage works also had all three wagtail species breeding and several wintering Green Sandpipers, which used to feed in part of the sewage treatment process, where it was full of worms.

We used to get other passage waders too in spring and the Grey Partridge would fly over Foxdenton Lane to reach the sewage farm too, which was/is quite a large area. The area between the sewage works and the canal (top of springs road), is where Willow Tit bred along with breeding Sparrowhawk.





I guessed the sewage works would be where the Woodcock had been recorded previously, although the grid ref given was down the side of the hall, where the work is being done now. As it happened no sign of any on my scheduled visits. Having spent most of the time I've lived in Oldham up in Lees, I've only visited the hall a few times, but I shall have to add it to my local trips list. The area where you had the Willow Tits was where I found the Ringlets.

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Pair of Lapwings on the fields between Foxdenton Park and the Swan Mill

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We used to climb over the fence to the Sewage works. Thats where LRP bred, as it also did on both the old cooling towers site and power station site, making it 3 breeding pairs. The sewage works also had all three wagtail species breeding and several wintering Green Sandpipers, which used to feed in part of the sewage treatment process, where it was full of worms.

We used to get other passage waders too in spring and the Grey Partridge would fly over Foxdenton Lane to reach the sewage farm too, which was/is quite a large area. The area between the sewage works and the canal (top of springs road), is where Willow Tit bred along with breeding Sparrowhawk.



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Yes, there's certainly a lot going on next to the Hall grounds. Not sure what, possibly connected to the sewage works, but certainly the area where I stood to do the (unsuccessful) Woodcock survey a few years ago is disappearing. I didn't explore over the road as that would have disturbed the feeding Jackdaws and Wood Pigeons but the area there seemed still to be open land and the trees along that side of the road looked promising. It's hard to know what effect losing those species you mention will have had. None of them were on my 13 year old I Spy Birds list. For me it has Magpie (a rare bird in our area in the 1960's!), Curlew, the House Martins nesting outside my bedroom window and those great waves of Starlings passing over towards Liverpool, heralding the arrival of the wintering geese. Magpies are two a penny now and apart from the geese most of those species have gone or numbers much reduced, but when I go home, to a housing development 10 times the size of the one I grew up on and my sister shows me photos of the Wheatear on the roof of number 7 or the video of the Sparrowhawk plucking a hapless blackbird at the bottom of the garden I realise that there will be different birds to catch people's imagination. That's not to say we shouldn't be concerned about losing those species, because they're disappearing everywhere, but others are taking their place. I never expected to see Red Kite, Garganey or Black-necked Grebe whiting a 15 minute walk from home, let alone Stilt-Sandpiper.

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You take me back with your posts about the Sportsmans and Foxdenton Hall. That was my local patch and boozer when I was young (30 odd years ago). I remember when Spotted Flycatcher nested in the ivy on Foxdenton Hall; Willow Tit, Yellow Wagtail and Little Ringed Plover bred a very short distance away. The fields opposite held Grey Partridge, breeding Common Snipe and Wintering Jack Snipe. Not to mention the many Lapwing pairs.

Shame they are building on it all now, for the most part. If was a 13 year old kid, living there now, there's not much to light my spark and get me interested in birds cry



-- Edited by Neil Blood on Thursday 18th of June 2020 05:55:47 PM

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Foxdenton Hall. Chadderton

This proved a good choice for this morning's walk. Not that many species seen, but two good year ticks, neither of them expected. The first was a Cuckoo, seen just off the Hall grounds on a temporary fence in the area currently being developed. Dark brown rather than grey but with no white barring to wings or mantle and no rufous tone, it must have been a plumage variant male. Seemed to have no difficulty locating hairy black caterpillars in the tall vegetation. Glimpsed again through a gap in the hedge edging the football pitch but had disappeared by the time I'd done a circuit and a bit of exploring down a track off the top corner. Coming back in through the gate I spotted tick number two, a female/juvenile Common Whitethroat foraging in the bramble patch. Seen initially with the naked eye and i.d. confirmed by contact call, I got a couple of good but brief views through the pocket bins just to round things off

Also in the Park
Blackbird C8 at least 3 with food
Song Thrush 1 with food
Robin 4
Long-tailed Tit 1 in flight
Wren 5 heard
Chiffchaff 1 singing, unseen
Mistle Thrush 1 juvenile
Pied Wagtail 1 collecting food on the football pitch
Dunnock pair
Great Tit 1
Blue Tit 1
Nuthatch 1 heard, very briefly
Carrion Crow 3
Moorhen 1
Canada Goose 6 a pair flew over from the canal and a second(?) pair on the pond had two well grown goslings
Mallard 24 adult and 4 large ducklings, one of which was obviously day-dreaming on the little rocky islet as it suddenly came to, shuffled its' feathers into place, looked round and noticed the rest of the family had been chased off by one of the geese. Cue frantic quacking and hasty exit in search of mum. biggrin
Wood Pigeon min 12 mostly roosting by the lake
Lesser Black-backed Gull 4 were on the exposed earth of the construction site bordering the Hall grounds to the east.

en route
Jackdaw party of 10 just across the road from the park, feeding on an exposed area, several among the chimney pots along Foxdenton Lane and more along the rest of the route
Feral Pigeon
Wood Pigeon
Starling
House Sparrow
House Martin 2 around The Sportsman Pub
Swift - at least one screamer briefly heard behind me near Broadway


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Bit of drama on the street this morning when a racket drew my attention to a pair of adult Magpies harassing a juvenile. It was spinning round wing fluttering, calling as if food soliciting and reacting to the adults which had it cornered against the bramble covered fence opposite. The young bird didn't seem to know whether to try and get away, blocked by the vegetation or food solicit. Each time it turned to one bird the other pecked it from behind. As they moved down the street another adult flew down from a young Rowan but things had moved just out of sight so I couldn't see if was joining in the attack on the chick or defending it. When I was out later I looked but there was no sign of a corpse...but it may have been taken off as a food item. Hard to tell if they were trying to drive off an over-dependent chick or attacking one which had strayed into their territory. There had been a similar ruckus in the Sycamore outside the kitchen window yesterday, which led to the departure of one of the Carrion Crows from around their presumably failed nest with a bit of KFC, but that appeared to be at least one juvenile harassing adults for food. Maybe overstaying their welcome? I've noticed both the Carrion Crows and another pair of Magpies nearby involved in mutual preening, including some anal pecking reminiscent of mating Dunnocks, but with both birds doing it. Not something I'd noticed before. Otherwise, fairly quiet this week with sightings of the odd juvenile Coal Tit and Robin in the park, and House Martins still around the nest site on Frederick Street.

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The arrival of the team to tarmac the road outside my flat prompted me to go explore Snipe Clough again and follow it down to Park Bridge then on to Crime Lake (see relevant threads). Just the usual stuff locally but I noticed again that the Grammar School playing fields seem rather quite. I'd have expected the Starlings to have re-located there with their young now that there are a few more people around on the grass in the park, but all I've seen on them are around half a dozen Wood Pigeons plus the odd Magpie and Jackdaw. I've seen more on them when the school is open. Maybe it's the lack of activity combined with the dryness of the ground.
.

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A bit of breeding noted in recent visits to Werneth Park, with Bullfinches seen mating earlier in the week (and right by a public highwaydisbelief!), then a Great Spotted Woodpecker brood located by the racket they were making....still in the nest today from the sound of things....1 or 2 juvenile Nuthatch chasing after a parent bird between possible nest sites inc one definitely used a few years ago ....and a juvenile Goldcrest snapping at a halo of midges as it sat in the top of a young beech sapling. The field guides often use terms like 'cute' or 'appealing' to describe the bird's face but in this case it was more like "Oh my, so much food, where to start"aww Also 2 juvenile Pied Wagtails feeding on the bowling green where an adult pair were seen earlier this month.

-- Edited by Mike Chorley on Sunday 31st of May 2020 06:08:49 PM

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Very pleasant walk last evening over to Snipe Clough (see Oldham thread) produced a new sighting for the year in the form of 8 Common Swift - 4 together in a very low level screaming party on The Coppice itself and 4 more in two pairs (one pair also low level screaming) in an area around a regular nest site. Numbers confirmed by seeing virtually the same birds (only 3 on The Coppice) on my way back. That's 4 times the number of birds I've seen in previous years. Hopefully indicating successful breeding at the regular site

Otherwise,young Starlings now joining their parents around the lawns in Werneth Park, but I noticed most of them were staying in the trees on one edge....possibly to avoid the local Magpies...2 Mistle Thrush and 1 Song Thrush collecting food...Chiffchaff, Blackcap, Robin and Wren still singing while the first brood of 4 Robins were on the move in the shrubbery. Around the flat the Carrion Crow nest survived last weekend's strong winds and an older juvenile Robin, moulting into its' red breast has been around the planting. House Sparrows very noisy and active, the Jackdaws across the road quietly getting on with things under the eaves and in the area of the established Swift pair a Starling was creeping into an under the eaves nest site.

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Another hirundine for the year list today with one, possibly two, Swallows heading over our flats towards Tandle Hill Park as I came back up the hill from my walk. Luckily the bird called or I might have missed it in the strong southern light. Shame I couldn't confirm the birds I saw last month as Sand Martins, would have had the full set by now. Otherwise, business as usual on my slightly chilly walks today and last Sunday. Singing Chiffchaff and Blackcap still, usual foraging party of Starlings, one Mistle Thrush on the main grassy area on Sunday, two today, at least 8 male Blackbirds around today, with 4 together in the scrubby area, several Robin and Wren still singing, while a family group of 4 Robins were out and about in the wooded edge of the park. Usual collection of gulls, corvids and pigeons, first juvenile Mistle Thrush for me today, as one flew up into view onto a lamp post then more or less jumped off rather than flew down biggrin The local House Sparrows are active again, despite the loss of a hedge - the crop of dandelions and buttercups maybe compensating and it's been nice to have the local Blackbirds and Goldfinches drown out the sound of the traffic. smile

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Something new for the year in the welcome form of two House Martins going to a regular nest site. I'd struggled to spot the nest as I passed recently and feared that work on the roofs last year might have lead to its' destruction, accidental or otherwise. Other than that very little of note. A moment earlier in the week when an immature Great Black-backed Gull crossed in front of the window at tree canopy level but luckily an adult Lesser Black-backed Gull and one of the Carrion Crows joined forces to push it away into clear air space to give me a good view. One of the local Robins found my window sill bird shelf at the weekend but hasn't returned since. Obviously it has a preference for Lancaster Bomberbiggrin. Otherwise just the usuals.

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Saw my first swifts yesterday, 4 screaming and flying low over the houses.

So nice to hear and watch.

 



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It was cold and grey with a threat of rain so it seemed perfect weather to take my permitted hour in and around the park. Not entirely free of walking obstacles but much quieter than on Sunday. Except for the birds, that is. Lots of Robins and Wrens singing, a (the?) Garden Warbler really going for it together with Blackbird, Song and Mistle Thrushes (one of the last also collecting food from the lawns), Great Tit, Blue Tit, Goldfinch, a ChiffChaff and even a Greenfinch. There were a pair of Pied Wagtails on the bowling green, 2 probably 3 Bullfinch, a calling Nuthatch, Long-tailed Tits flitting through the tops of the shrubbery, 12 foraging Starlings and a Wood Pigeon collecting nesting twigs. The local Collared Doves put in a first appearance for ages and elsewhere there was at least one more Bullfinch and another Chiffchaff as well as two Wrens having a sing off. Just got back before the rain, a bit chilly but tea and toast with ginger shred soon dealt with that. biggrin

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As the seasons advance so the vista from my window disappears behind the leaves. Luckily there is still a direct line of sight to the Crow's nest outside the kitchen window. I say 'direct' but....so if you're out birding when lock down ends and you bump into Quasimodo with a pair of bins say 'Hi' biggrin The Crows are now sitting, so I'm seeing some different behaviour, with the female flying down to a nearby roof to solicit food this morning. They're still getting some hassle from the local Magpies, but I noticed they were squabbling among themselves as well today. Not much else on view from the front room window this last week other than the usual pigeons, gulls and other crows, apart from 1 Pied Wagtail, 1 fly-through Starling and several Blue Tits collecting (I think) insects from the leaf sheaths. Trips out to hang washing in the small communal grass plot among the flats confirmed that the Coal Tit singing away in March has a mate and a Mistle Thrush was scolding all round the local area on Thursday evening.

Today's multi-purpose walk produced lower numbers than last week but a change of cast included a 'heard' year tick of Garden Warbler in the overgrown shrubberies and 12 Starlings foraging in the open grassy areas.

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Multi-tasking outing this afternoon bracketing our #Oldham Birders Virtual Trip with delivering toiletries etc to a 98year old friend in care and a bit of essential shopping. Not the best time of day for birding but it's not as if we actually planned this in advance lol, so a fairly meagre 18 species door to door, starting with good old

Feral Pigeon.

Wood Pigeon
Goldfinch lots of them around here now
Blue Tit
Dunnock

Park additions:
Wren -several belting out song in the scrubbier bits of the park
Blackbird several males in flight and one filling a sunny afternoon with that great song
Robins alarm calling and singing everywhere
Great Tit 1 seen several heard
Magpie several including what looked like a group around a nest in one part of the park.
Long-tailed tit 4
Nuthatch 1 heard singing
Pied Wagtail male on the bowling green will have to check if this is a park tick.
Great Spotted Woodpecker got to watch one drumming just over my head.

The shortcut from the park to one of my local shops took me through an area of Willow scrub which gave me a year tick of...surprise,surprise
Willow Warbler 2 birds, neither singing but one following the other, both making contact calls

Lesser Black-back Gull overhead
Jackdaw 2 - my local nesting pair
Carrion Crow 2 now also my local nesting pair, the nest now well enough established to need lining with fresh leaves

Very pleasant way to spend a Sunny Sunday afternoon.

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No Webs today as per BTO instructions, so a quick turn around the local park this afternoon. Hardly any people and not many birds!

Robin several S
Great Tit several S
Blue Tit several S
Wren 2 -one S
Blackbird 2 M
Chiffchaff 1 S from somewhere upwind - could just hear odd snatches
Starling 3
Carrion Crow 2
Magpie a 'murder' of 13 along one of the boundary fences.
Feral Pigeon several
Wood Pigeon 3

A Dunnock was singing from the hedge opposite as I got back and half-a dozen Lesser Black-backed Gulls of various ages had a squabble over the industrial units.

With the hills shrouded in mist/smoke/low cloud? for most of the last few days there's not been much to report apart from the usual gulls, crows and pigeons, but late yesterday afternoon I was able to pick out a Common Buzzard well over in the direction of Ramsbottom , then last night around 8 p.m. a female Sparrowhawk was up close by slowly circling west to east. The Carrion Crows are gradually assembling something beginning to resemble a nest but at a maximum of two twigs a day it looks as if their work has been deemed 'non-essential construction.' The local Blue Tits however are putting much more effort in and zooming back to the hedge with beak-fulls of newly emerged Acer leaves on a regular basis.

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Out for an exercise/shop walk this a.m. along a different route and another singing ChiffChaff on the tram embankment at Alder Root. 1st Small Tortoiseshell of the year here too and a couple of Peacock butterflies at other points on the circuit. Other birds: Feral Pigeon, Jackdaw, Carrion Crow, Wood Pigeon, Starling, Lesser Black-backed Gulls, Pied Wagtail, 2 singing Robins, singing Wren, possible Blackcap, Great and Blue Tits and a singing Goldfinch right over my front door

Scoping over the last three days has picked up a very late in the day Great Black-backed Gull powering through east to west at almost 8 p.m.,a pair of Cormorants heading in the other direction on Monday afternoon, a pair of Mallard, another very distant hirundine sp. (prob House Martin), along with the usual gulls, crows and pigeons. Different numbers of Common Buzzard and Sparrowhawk each day, yesterday having the most sightings with two's and threes of each species up at once including one very distant Common Buzzard whose descent in a series of hovers had me checking the head pattern very carefully after being off watch when the Pilsworth Ospreys were up on Monday! Fly past Canada Geese this morning were an uncommon occurrence.

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Turn around my local park again today. Only 1 Peacock butterfly in the scrubby area but a singing Chiffchaff made up for the lack of insects. My first singing bird of the year after one lurking in ivy in Norfolk in January. Pair of Robins, singing Nuthatch, 2 Wrens, 2 Blackbirds, Wood Pigeon, Carrion Crow, 2 Magpies, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Chaffinch and Goldfinch completed the list for the park. Another Chiffchaff was singing nearby.

Did some scanning from my living room this p.m. No Osprey for me either, plenty of Gulls, mostly Lesser Black-backed, a couple of Magpies, some nesting Jackdaws, at least one Buzzard mobbed by Carrion Crows and on my last sweep, around 7.45 p.m. my first hirundine of the year. Unfortunately it was above the skyline so just a silhouette but definitely a Martin sp rather than a Swallow.



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The usual suspects at the feeders and garden environs in Garden Suburb, with a couple of exceptions. Brief visits from a male bullfinch, two Greenwich (feeders) and a male pheasant on the school field.



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First scan this a.m. and an immature female Peregrine having breakfast on the top of the Hartford Mill chimney. smile The view from my window just got a bit more interesting.

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