Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Hope Carr Nature Reserve

Tonight I ventured out to a small nature reserve on my doorstep but somewhere I had never been before.  It is called Hope Carr Nature Reserve and it gets the odd sighting reported now and then on the Manchester Birding Forum.  After reading the blurb on the aforemention website I printed out the hand drawn map and set off down the East Lancs Road towards the Greyhound Hotel behind which lies the Hope Carr area.

The nature reserve is next to a water treatment (sewage) farm owned by United Utilities.  Not a pleasant environment you may think but actually many of the filter beds are overgrown with vegetation and are obviously no longer in use (although others still are used).  As one who regularly passes the sewage works in Davyhulme near Urmston I was expecting the worse but there was no unpleasant sewage smell when I visted to night.

Apparently this Nature Reserve is well past its hey-day in the 1980's and 90's. Although the main path is still clear and accessible, many of the lakes, ponds and filter beds have become overgrown or colonised by trees and vegetation somewhat restricting the views.

Although I set off a bit late and it got dark quickly, I did get to see the following birds either along the path or on the main lake tonight:
  • Kestrel
  • Grey Heron
  • Gadwall
  • Mallard
  • Coot
  • Moorhen
  • Canada Goose
  • Magpie
  • Carrion Crow
  • Woodpigeon
I also saw what I first though was a Blackcap although I am by no means sure, as well another small warbler type of bird.  I had a good sighting of about ten Canada Geese flying overhead and then landing with a great deal of splashing in the main lake.

On the way back to the car I came across a young lad who was waiting for his mate so that they could go fishing together.  I asked him about where he goes and the paths around the area.  He told me that he had seen Kingfishers and many other birds here but often in areas where you were not 'officially' supposed to go. I smiled and thanked him for his help. Just before I got back into the car I had a quick look round the working filter beds - this area looked a lot more promsiing for waders and the like, so I'll need to have a good walk round at a future date.

On returning home I sent a message to one of the birders who posts sightings for Hope Carr on the Forum asking if he might show me round the places he goes to see Green Sandpipers and other waders - I now think the filter beds are where I should be looking for these.

Looking forward to another visit during the day when I have more time to look around in daylight hours.  Too dark for pictures today.

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