Saturday, 28 January 2012

Rose-ringed and Amazons

Ring-necked Parakeet at Fog Lane Park, Didsbury.
Currently there’s thought to be up to 20 of these Parakeets around the south Manchester area with Fog Lane Park, Alexandra Park and Southern Cemetery being amongst the more regular haunts. In contrast to the situation in London the number of birds up here have been fairly steady over the past 10 years. Even when it dropped to –15C last winter they didn’t seem to be affected. Originally within this country they were referred to as Rose-ringed Parakeets however the RSPB and BTO seemed to have adopted the less exotic name of Ring-necked Parakeet.
Home is where the hole is
Unmistakeable and normally heard before they’re seen.
The Orange winged Amazon.
Orange-winged Amazon at Fog Lane Park, Didsbury

This particular bird has been roosting with the parakeets for the past couple of years. Again primarily a tropical species originating from South America and the Caribbean it appears to have adapted to life within south Manchester’s suburbs. Unfortunately the related Crimson Rosella another member of the south Manchester flock of parrots didn’t make it through last winter.

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

A Winter’s Day


Again took the opportunity of another break in the weather and headed up to WWT Martin Mere. I’d almost forgotten how busy it gets on a Sunday afternoon. Although its encouraging to see the sheer number of people with an interest in the environment trying to get a good, close up view of anything is far from easy.

Undoubtedly the highlights were a Willow Tit from the Janet Kear hide and approximately 8  Tundra Bean Geese from the Ron Barker hide.  Unfortunately the geese were too far out to photograph.

Willow Tit
Willow Tit
Tree Sparrow (one of the Mere’s specialities)
Whooper Swan
A smart looking Drake Pintail.

On the way back we made a quick detour off the M6 to Lowton, parked up in the Traveller’s Rest and walked down to Highfield Moss. Plenty of Golden Plover, a few Lapwings and Fieldfare in the fields. On the moss itself at least 7 Snipe at dusk followed shortly by a great display from 2 Short eared Owls.
Highfield Moss at dusk
A distant Short eared Owl
Quartering the moss in near darkness

Monday, 2 January 2012

Wood Mice


Finally after weeks of rain it stopped for a whole day and I was able to get out once again with the camera and binoculars. Although they’re far from rare it’s always good to come across a communal nest of Wood Mice. There was around 10 individuals in this particular nest unfortunately they’re far too fast for a precise count. 

Wood Mouse near Chorlton Water Park, Manchester

Fairly typical food remains found close to the nest. It’s always seemed a little strange that they tend to leave the flesh of the various fruits and berries preferring to eat just the seeds.

Over the past couple of months the local Kestrel has been out most days with the occasional siting of the Foxes and Weasels. It’ll be interesting to see how many wood mice make it through to Spring.