Saturday, 13 November 2010

Moss Lane and Rindle Road

When I got up at 7:30am this morning it was quite light and the weather looked good, so I decided to go out birding.  I considered going to see the rare Pied-billed Grebe at Hollingworth Lake in Rochdale which has been all over the Manchester Birding Forum and even NorthWest Tonight on the BBC.  However that would take a bit longer and as both the Manchester United and England Rugby Union games were on TV this afternoon, I decided to leave that until tomorrow. So I settled on visiting my local patch at Moss Lane and Rindle Road near Astley Moss to see what was about.

Just before I left I checked my garden to find the usual tits, blackbirds and starlings about.  The Jay I've recently spotted also did another flypast and a skein of well over 100 Pink-footed Geese also flew overhead in a long wavy line heading eastwards. I'm getting to see these more often nowadays.

When I got to Astley Moss I first went down Moss Lane and was pleased to see there were a lot of birds about.  The recent high winds had cleared a lot leaves from the trees and the fields had been either ploughed or cut recently making the birds much easier to see than in recent months.  

I parked at my usual spot on the bend near the end of Moss Lane and walked back along the tree-lined lane.  I was about to start taking some pictures when I found to my dismay that I had no memory card in the camera - I'd left it in the computer whilst downloading my last lot of photos, damn!  As it was a good day for photos, I briefly thought about nipping back home to get the card but eventually decided to stay here with just my binoculars.

Whilst on Moss Lane I saw the following birds:
  • Common Pheasant (male and female)
  • Robin
  • Wren
  • Dunnock
  • Chaffinch
  • Blue Tit
  • Carrion Crow
  • Woodpigeon
Later on I drove round to Rindle Road where I encountered a mass of birds on the floor at the feeding station, the most notable of which were the Fieldfare which gave me a good closeup view being only a few metres away this time. At the feeding station there was also a Robin, various Tits, Starlings and I was almost certain there were some Tree Sparrows.

Just as I was about to leave and go home for breakfast when another birder turned up a the feeding station.  It was Geoff Hargreaves, a name that I'd seen many times on the Manchester Birding Forum especially recording sightings at the Wigan Flashes.  He'd popped in here to see if there was a Merlin about on his way back from seeing the Pie-billed Grebe at Hollingworth Lake and I told him that I was thinking about going tomorrow. Geoff kindly let me look through his scope and helped me to positively identify the Tree Sparrow whilst also pointing out a Yellowhammer which I'd missed.

We went on to have a quick walk through Rindle Wood to look out for Treecreepers following flocks of Long-tailed Tits (apparently a useful thing to look out for) and then along Rindle Hedge where we got a beautiful sighting of a Kestrel hovering low over the fields looking for a meal.  On the way back to the car Geoff pointed out the familiar call of the Jackdaw as several flew over us, but unfortunately there were no Merlins or Treecreepers to be seen.

Thanks Geoff, nice meeting you.

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