Friday, March 30, 2012


Thursday 29th

Get an mid-morning call from my old birding compadre Mike Mullholland (which I miss) only to find out when I ring back that there's a male Ring Ouzel showing nicely on the gorse fields on the far side of The Manchester Ship Canal opposite the piers. Damn, can't get down as working but Mike reckoned it looked settled and so I vowed to shoot down later.

Well I managed, to snatch a couple of hours, and got to the piers late afternoon. Quick scan of the fields yielded a disappointing 'ne pas de sausage'. Nothing for it then but to walk the stretch to the Ethylene Pumping Station and stop every 100m or so to have another scan. TBH that whole grassy area, from the gorse past the warehouses to Randal's Sluice is ideal for passage passerines, feeding up en route... it's often a great place to pick up Wheatear so always worth a shufty. Today tho...Magpie, Magpie, Wood Pigeon, Carrion Crow, Magpie, Carrion Crow, 2 Wood Pigeon, 6 Magpie... White Wagtail... Magpie... hang on, WHITE Wagtail... oh cool. Passage Passerine. Tick. Lovely male in the sunshine. But Ring Ouzel? Nope.

Ah well, maybe worth another try I thought, so I strolled up to the piers to find another birder scanning the gorse with his bins... chap called Graham I learned la little later. Well, we had a brief chat and I said how I thought it might well have headed west and if so it could beon the horse paddocks by the  Big Hand Ranch just over the swing bridge (another good place for passage wags 'n'wheats) when another birder turns... chap called Richard I learned a little later. Now, he had heard that the bird had been seen not more than 45mins earlier right oipposite where we were standing...left of the first pier... so we set up camp and began our six-eyed perusal of the gorse-draped far bankage...initially to no avail...until Graham spots it. Just hopped out from under a gorse bush and is facing away but we can just get a notch of its white bib on the left side... turn you bugger. And he does... cracking male. Spends the next half hour pottering about in the open on the grass taking worms. That is until the bloody model aircraft brigade send up one of their giant mosquito-like drones and scare it off back into the gorse!!! Thankfully tho, damn thing ran outta fuel and got landed after about 10 mins at which point the Rouzel popped out again.

Get a phone call from a very good friend of mine who wants to drop something off to me and so I stay on the bird in the hope that I'll be able to show them the luck. But another birder arrives just in time for me to get him onto it before it flies to a gorse, gives us a full-frontal and then about turns and flies off south. How far and if it'll hang around or not, I...know not...

Year tally 62... (paultry I know, but give me time to catch up...)

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