Today I decided to try my new tripod out at Rumworth Lodge in Bolton, a place I've often driven past but never visited before. I wasn't impressed when it took me three attempts to find the right place to turn off the main road and park in the tiny parking area!
When I did get down to the 'viewing area' I was soaking wet from walking through the long dewy grass, but the location looked very promising. There were two islands on one side of the lodge and these seemed to have been gravelled for ground nesting birds. After setting up my scope, my first sighting was of a Grey Heron catching and eating a fish. There were also lots of gulls about in two shallow patches of water to the left and right of the two islands, mainly juvenile Black-headed Gulls but also a Great Black-backed Gull with a possible large juvenile too.
After scanning the water past the two islands I spotted a Great Crested Grebe sleeping on the water, and a Little Grebe and a Cormorant on the far side of the Lodge. There were also quite a few Swallows skimming the surface of the water catching flies as well as two parties of Mallard, one consisting of nine ducks and the other consisting of seven. I also caught a glimpse of what I think was a group of four Snipe in silhouette flying over the lodge.
I wasn't entirely sure of where I could go to view birds here and so I stuck to the 'viewing area' next to the fence - unfortunately this made it difficult to see past the two islands in the lodge and so I did walk a little further to the right to get a better view. This revealed two further Great Crested Grebes on the water in the distance.
After an hour or so the weather started to turn to light rain and I decided it was time to go but, just as I was setting off, I spotted another birder walking down to the Lodge. I always like to have a chat with other birders where possible to gain some local knowledge of a site and so, after my usual greeting, I asked him about where it was possible to walk around here. The birder was Steve Almond, a name I had frequently seen on the Manchester Birding Forum for Rumworth Lodge and he very kindly showed me around part of the site, poiting out some good viewing spots.
Steve told me he only goes birding around Rumworth Lodge, which is his local patch as he only lives a few hundred yards from it - he likes it mainly because it is largely underwatched and he doesn't run in to many other people as he rambles round on his own.
Well, Rumworth Lodge seems to be a great place for birding and I'll definitely be back when the season for passing migrants hots up later this month.