Bickershaw Birding Walk - Wednesday 24 May 2017

L.O.S. founder member Dave Wilson will be leading another 'Warbler Walk' around Bickershaw on Wednesday 24 May starting at 9:30am.  

There will good chances of seeing Grasshopper Warbler, Reed Warbler, Sedge Warbler, Stonechat and possibly Garden Warbler and Cuckoo too along with the regulars of Whitethroat, Blackcap and others.

We are meeting at the top of the 'road to nowhere', just off the Leigh end of Bickershaw Lane.  Everyone is welcome.

Another Season Over

Well that's it, another L.O.S. season has come to a close this week with our final field trip and Friday night presentation talk.  Doesn't the time pass so quickly when you're having fun?

We had a great day out at RSPB Blacktoft Sands and North Cave on Sunday 7 May with a nice sized group of 14 L.O.S. members turning up on a cloudy day with sunny intervals.

Highlights included a female Montagu's Harrier, male and female Marsh Harriers, a flying Bittern, many Avocets, some Bearded Tits, Cetti's, Reed, Sedge, Willow and Grasshopper Warblers, Blackcap, countless Swifts and Sand Martins and few Swallows, four summer plumaged (black) Spotted Redshanks, two Greenshanks, Black-tailed Godwits in summer plumage, Ringed and Little-Ringed Plovers, Common Sandpiper, Whimbrel, Common Terns, Yellow, Grey and Pied Wagtails, Reed Bunting, Ruffs coming into summer plumage, a single Wigeon, Redshank, Tree Sparrows galore, as well as many of the usuals including Little Egrets, Little Grebes, Great Crested Grebes, Shelducks, Tufted Ducks, Greylag Geese, Mute Swans, Mallards, Gadwalls, Robins, Blackbirds, Blue Tits, Great Tits, Chaffinches, Goldfinches, Lesser Black-backed Gulls, Black-headed Gulls, Herring Gulls, Moorhens, Coots, Grey Herons, Carrion Crows, Kestrels and Dunnocks.

And then last night (Friday 12 May) we had an excellent talk by the 'Shropshire Birder' Jim Almond entitled 'Shropshire's Peregrines' with a host of other birds of prey thrown in for comparison.

Jim took us through the complete lifecycle of the Peregrine Falcon from eggs to fledglings and adults using his superb closeup photographs taken under a Schedule 1 license and he gave us a lot of interesting information about these stunning birds.

Jim's a great birder and speaker and a very professional presenter -  we hope to see him again.

So that's it for another year. We hope you have a great summer break and we'll see you all again in September with another programme of talks and field trips.

Spring is Sprung

And Spring is sprung again this morning, as it was on Monday when I bathed in the joys of watching the comings and goings in my garden and the brookside close to the flash. At just gone eight o'clock, a male Bullfinch offered the same three-noted phrase of its weak "song" from the top of a hawthorn where a pair nested successfully a few years ago and a pair of Long-tailed Tits flitted here, there and everywhere in agitated fashion.

Later in the morning, both birds carried nesting material into the upper reaches of a leylandii - next to the tree where a conspicuous one had been predated in the past. And, as nest-building goes, and hopeful that the Bullfinches would return to the hawthorn, what a world of difference their structures would be - the tits' marvellous oval-shaped masterpiece and the Bullfinches' seemingly precarious twiggy scaffold-like offering. Within minutes of moving away from the brook bank, a fine Grey Wagtail alighted in my corner rowan and began calling, as did a Kingfisher from further down the brook.

Later a Goldfinch twittered away from my roof-top, close to one of its past preferred nest sites, and both Coal and Willow Tits flitted between my neighbours' feeding station and the sanctuary of our hawthorns. And, to crown a wonderful little interlude, a gorgeous sunlit male Sparrowhawk traced an oval-shaped course as it flapped briefly and glided over a traditional territory. What makes this small collection of encouraging events so special is that there have been huge positive changes in recent times in the local status of all eight species, due to both natural and man-made factors.

Milder winters have boosted Kingfisher populations everywhere and Grey Wagtails, once confined to moorland streams for breeding purposes, have extended their range to include lowland sites; Sparrowhawks have recovered well from the agricultural chemical abuses of half-a-century ago; Bullfinch, Goldfinch and Long-Tailed Tit, virtually unknown at the flash in the past, are now fairly common breeders; and Coal and Willow Tit have benefited from the maturing of trees in gardens and at the flash.

If there is a downside to these and other habitat changes at the flash, it is that our wonderful grasslands were sacrificed to the whims of those addicted to an inexplicable tree-planting frenzy, for it is their actions which almost eliminated previous successful tenants - Skylarks, Meadow Pipits, Linnets, Lapwings, Partridges and others. At six o'clock this morning, a back garden Blackbird began the dawn chorus. In the next two or three weeks, first Chiffchaff, then Blackcap and Willow Warbler are sure to enrich nature's sounds, and all will be well with the world as another season blossoms forth.
Dave Wilson

L.O.S. Presentation - Friday 3rd March 2017


Tonight we have Stephen Culley presenting 'My Family and Other Animals - Birding in Blighty'

This  presentation talk is about Stephen's bird and wildlife watching around the UK with friends and family in 2015, from Land's End to John o' Groats. 

Stephen has been to the L.O.S. before and his talk went down really well, so why not join us for what should be a wonderful evening's entertainment .

Everybody is welcome, both members and non-members.

L.O.S. Open Day - Saturday 28th January 2017 at Leigh Library

We are pleased to announce that we are having our second Open Day on Saturday 28th January 2017 from 11am until 3pm upstairs in the Derby Room at Leigh Library.

It will be very similar to last year's successful event with displays and stalls by the RSPB, British Trust for Ornithology, Lancashire Wildlife Trust, Bolton and Bury Swifts, Lowton Hedgehog Rescue as well as local conservation and friends groups such as Low Hall and Amberswood.

There will also be projected displays by several local photographers, as well as a range of second hand birding and other books and some bird food on sale.

The event will be attended by the Mayor of Wigan and local M.P. and prospective Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham.

Refreshments will be available so why not come along and put a few names to the faces that you've read about on Facebook?

Everyone is welcome and admission is free.