SO, this follows on, inevitably, .from Part 1... and is a summary of the birding seasons on the patch last year. This year I have decided to try to link posts a bit (either names of sites to maps and further info. or dates to the original post) using large pink hyperlinks, (and/or simply larger text, as I have discovered that the colours aree sometimes reset!) so you should hopefully find one or two below that'll take you the events alluded to, if you fancy a read, which I hope you do! Just hit the BACK button when you've done to return you to the original post. Let me know how you get on...
July – More fledged broods appeared this month; Blue Tit, Great Tit, Long-tailed Tit, Bullfinch, Reed Bunting, Pied Wagtail, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Little Owl, Raven (2ads+3juvs together over Birchwood Pool), Gadwall (5 broods comprising 44 young seen - fewer broods, but larger this year - 7 broods, 36 young in 2009), Tufted Duck (first broods appeared and peaked at 6 broods comprising 22 young seen - upon last year - 4 broods, 17 young in 2009), Little Grebe (5 broods comprising 16 young seen - fewer broods but similar numbers of young produced compare to last year - 9 broods, 15 young in 2009). Autumn passage began on the 13th with the arrival of the first Green and Common Sandpipers, the latter peaking at 5 birds on the 19th before fizzling out on the 22nd when a juvenile Marsh Harrier was also seen. During the same period alpina Dunlin started moving through at Halfway House and reached their maximum of 29 birds on the 16th when a gorgeous clean juvenile Redshank stayed for a day. Post-breeding flocks also started to build up there with 119 Curlew (22nd), 965 Lapwing (23rd) and 19 Mute Swan were on the short stretch of the Manchester Ship Canal west of Bob’s Bridge and 13 Mistle Thrushes were all sat in one tree for a while at Moss Side Farm.
August – More autumn wader passage this month in the form of the following cumulative counts ; 7 Black-tailed Godwits, 5 Common Sandpiper, 14 Dunlin, 16 Green Sandpiper, 1 Greenshank, 12 Ringed Plover, 3 Redshank and a Turnstone! In addition to the waders, an unexpected passage bird put in a 12 day stint (no, it’s not a pun!) at Pumphouse Pool – a cracking little female Garganey and the first autumn one I’ve had on the patch. More breeding evidence surfaced this month too in the form of fresh juveniles; Grey Wagtail, Sparrowhawk, Common Buzzard, Pheasant. Post-breeding assemblages too continued to be the order of the month at Halfway House with year maxima for Lapwing (2485) and Canada Goose (430) and high counts of Shelduck (26), Curlew (109) and Carrion Crow (61). The biggest gatherings of Goldfinch (flock of 40 on Upper Moss Side with many juvs), Swallows (120 at Halfway House), Grey Heron (14 on Birchwood Pool), Magpie (flock of 14 in one tree on Upper Moss Side) and roosting Little Egret (5 with the Cormorants in trees on Lapwing Lake) also occured in August. It was also a month of more comings... (first Common Snipe 7th , Shoveler 19th and Yellow-legged Gull 26th back as well as the arrival of a juvenile Green Woodpecker at Pumphouse – a good sign as these have in recent years been absent from the patch!)... and goings (last Grasshopper Warbler 21st and Swift 22nd).
September – was a quiet month, noteable mostly for the small stuff drifting away / moving through in the early part of the month. There was a bit of a fall of woodland stuff and warblers on The Prom at Halfway House on the 3rd; 1 Chiffchaff, 5 Coal Tit, 1 Common Redstart (an excellent patch bird!), 3 Goldcrest, 2 Great Spotted Woodpecker, 2 Treecreeper, 6 Whitethroat and 3 Willow Warbler. At the other end of the patch there was a gathering of Long-tailed Tits (23 on Pumphouse Meadow) and Pied/White Wagtails (14, mostly alba). There were again, noteable flocks of Goldfinch at both ends of the patch too; 60 at Halfway House and 20 by the viaduct pools opposite Pumphouse together with further reports of Green Woodpecker nearby. The following couple of days saw, over the east end of the reserve, a small movement of less common passage birds (3 Tree Pipit and 1 Yellow Wagtail) and a small fall of 15 Goldcrest, 2+ Chiffchaff and 1 Common Whitethroat .
October – saw some VisMig in the early days of the month in the form of Skylarks, Meadow Pipits, Lesser Redpolls and the last of the Swallows whilst at the end of the month the winter thrushes arrived in numbers with double figure flocks of Fieldfare and 100+ flocks of Redwing. At the same time, our resident Blackbird and Song Thrush populations were swelled by what I presume were northern birds shifting south and continental vistors respectively as the numbers shot up when the Fieldfare and Redwing arrived. October also provided some prize patch one-offs for the year in the form of Cetti’s Warbler (8th), Firecrest (28th) and Water Pipit (29th). Quite a month!
November – Brambling arrived (a female at the Feeding Station) and our resident (one of our resident?) male Lesser Spotted Woodpeckers put in a 2nd winter period appearance whilst it’s larger cousin (Green Woodpecker) began to be reported more widely across the reserve and there was talk of adult birds being seen. On the warbler front, there were still ocassional records of Chiffchaff and Blackcap mid-month and it could well be that we get one or more of our resident Chiffchaff overwintering again (winter Blackcaps if they 'stay' are typically continental birds just over for the festivities).
December – was basically a white out. There was heavy snow early in the month and the persistent sub-zero temperatures froze everything solid for the month, pusing all the wildfowl off the pools. The Tawny Owl appeared on her ivy-covered roost for a few days, fluffed up against the cold, but didn’t stay long. Numbers of woodland birds seemed to drop sharply and I'm guessing many headed for local gardens in the hope of food. Over the same period I had a fair bit of stuff drop in to my own garden that i rarely see outside of severe cold snaps (Nuthatch, Great Spotte Woodpecker, Redwing). The patch exception to the general plummeting numbers rule though were Yellowhammers, where a flock of 30-40 built on Upper Moss Side in the Tree Sparrow Field, no doubt as a result of the feeders there. At year end the diving ducks began to appear on the river with records of both Goldeneye and Goosander. Alas though, the Bittern(s) never returned and I ended the year with a blank for this rather special winter visitor that left me one shy of the magical 140 for the year. Ah well, it’s really not all about the numbers anyway and besides, I still had the best year on the patch so far and found some smashin birds. 2011 here we go... Happy Days :)
Oh, and just in case you're wondering how typical a year that was, here's PART 1 and PART 2 for 2009 :)