Little Woolden Moss to become nature reserve

Further to our recent post on peat extraction being refused on Chat Moss, an area of peat-extraction damaged mossland in Salford is now being turned into a nature reserve. This article is from the BBC Website:

Little Woolden Moss is part of Chat Moss, a larger area of peat bog land - (c) BBC
Lancashire Wildlife Trust has bought the 100 hectare (247 acre) site at Little Woolden Moss, near Cadishead.  The trust has used grants totalling around £1m from the Heritage Lottery Fund to buy the land and fund the conservation work.

By filling in the ditches, the Trust hopes cotton-grass and carpets of sphagnum mosses can be grown. The mosses store carbon, preventing it from entering the atmosphere and contributing to global warming.

This will obviously have a great impact on the birds and other wildlife in the area.

Read more about it from the BBC Website here: Little Woolden Moss to become nature reserve

Martyn's Live NestCam Video

Snapshot from 15 February 2013
I've currently got a Blue Tit roosting overnight in one of my nestboxes with a video camera.  I'm now streaming the live video on my blog so you can have a look. Click here to go to my blog to see the live video.

The bird comes into roost at dusk between 5pm and 6pm every night and leaves between 6:30am and 7:30am in the morning when it's light.

Not much happens whilst it is roosting, but if you leave the video on screen for a while you will see the occasional flutter and bit of preening.

The video is obviously taken in the dark with an infra-red camera so don't expect any colour or much detail.  It's much better during the daylight hours, but the bird isn't there for long at the moment.  I'm hoping it will eventually find a mate and nest here in the spring.

To watch the video you need to have Java installed and running on your computer.  You may need to update this but it's free and safe to do so.  If any 'pop-up' windows appear you can safely click OK to install or update Java or to 'accept a connection' to my camera.

It would be great to see some feedback in the comments underneath the video on my blog.

Pauline and Ian Greenhalgh - A Shot at Wild Life Images 2011

Kingfisher at Pennington Flash
Well, I've just got back from an L.O.S. Friday night indoor presentation by Pauline and Ian Greenhalgh entitled 'A Shot a Wildlife Images 2011' and I feel like giving up bird photography now!  Pauline has been a photographer for over 40 years and all that experience certainly shows in the quality and diversity of her and husband Ian's photographs.

From highly detailed close-up bird and animal shots, through multi-coloured fungi to breathtaking landscapes, Pauline's and Ian's photos were a simply stunning collection of wildlife images that would grace the pages of any book or magazine.

Short-eared Owl
Pauline had been coaxed out of 'presentation retirement' and was a little nervous before the start of the show - she needn't have been, as her photos did the talking for her.  The audience could be heard to sigh with delight as each superb photograph appeared on screen season by season.

As well as iconic birds such as KingfishersShort-eared Owls, Red Kites and Capercaille, we saw animals such as Pine Martens and Badgers, lots of fungi and wild flowers and many beautiful landscapes from the Yorkshire Dales, the Lake District and Scotland.

At the end of the presentation Charlie Owen, another local well-respected birder and photographer and lifelong friend, did the honours of thanking Pauline and Ian and capped it all by saying that he was now going to sell his camera!  You can view Pauline and Ian's photos online here: Pauline and Ian's Wildlife Images.

This truly splendid evening was enjoyed by everyone who attended and we're now all looking forward to the 2012 version next year! 
Martyn Jones

Big Garden Birdwatch event at Pennington Flash - 27th January 2013

(c) Shannon Shaw
On Sunday 27 January, Wigan Leisure and Culture Trust (WLCT) held another birding event at Pennington Flash to coincide with the RSPB's 'Big Garden Birdwatch' weekend.

The event began at 11am on a bitterly cold and windy day, but that didn't seem to dampen the enthusiasm of the volunteers and families too much.  There were still some remnants of the previous day's snowfall in some parts of the Country Park, but nothing that proved too much of a problem for access.

Eagle Owl (c) Alan Flavell
The RSPB had a stall to attract new members as well as selling a variety of bird books and related items and WLCT staff were on hand making fat feeders.

Matt Holker from the Greater Manchester Ecology Unit shared a stall with the L.O.S. and was engaging young people in birding and nature quiz games as well as asking their parents to complete a short survey.

Great Grey Owl - (c) Alan Flavell
Nestboxes could be bought and many families were seen later going home with youngsters carrying them. There was also a craft stall selling hand-made products, but for many the main attraction was the display of several stunning birds of prey by Vicky Jolley.

On display was an Eagle Owl, Barn Owl, Scops Owl, Great Grey Owl and Harris Hawk and the public could have their photograph taken holding one of the birds for a small charge.

(c) Shannon Shaw
Dave Wilson very kindly offered to take interested adults on a walk around the north western side of the Flash - as this would take an hour or so it was more suitable for adults and older children and a party set off around 11:30am.

(c) Shannon Shaw
Joan Disley and Jeff Hurst were based in Bunting Hide feeding station where the youngsters and families enjoyed looking at the smaller woodland birds such as Willow Tits, Bullfinches, Reed Buntings as well as the more common Chaffinches, Blue Tits, Great Tits, Dunnocks and Robins.

Bunting hide rarely disappoints even the most casual birdwatcher!

Joan said the youngsters really enjoyed identifying the birds and ticking them off on the checklist, and some of the adults did too!

Inside Bunting Hide (c) Martyn Jones
Inside Bunting Hide (c) Martyn Jones

Scoping from Horrocks Hide (c) Shannon Shaw
George Pike, Brian Fawcett and Eric Munro were based in Horrocks Hide with a spotting scope overlooking the spit. The prospects weren't too good as the cold wind was blowing in through the hide windows and the birds were all taking shelter amongst the vegetation on the edges of the water. However they did manage to see some Goosanders, Cormorants, Teal, Coots, Moorhens, Black-headed Gulls and they were treated to a brief flypast by three Pintails.  Once again the youngsters who visited the hide enjoyed identifying the birds using the photo sheets and checklists.

Keeping a checklist at Bunting Hide (c) Martyn Jones
A couple of days earlier, Roy Rhodes had very kindly pre-seeded the two bird tables sited just off the paths on the way to Horrocks and Ramsdales hides to ensure some birds along the way, and based himself at the Ramsdale's Hide end of the path.

The aim was to take people round to the reedbeds where it was presumed most of the water fowl would be sheltering from the harsh wind.  However, the poor weather conditions meant that very little birdlife was in view here.

The L.O.S. Stall (c) Martyn Jones
Back on the stall Jim Disley did a sterling job of advertising the L.O.S. and handing out flyers and information sheets whilst Martyn Jones was busy moving about between the hides and the stalls checking that everything was going as smoothly as possible.

Some of the pupils from our recent visits to local primary schools turned up and took part and even one of the teachers brought her family, which was very nice to see.

(C) Shannon Shaw

On the whole it was a successful start for the L.O.S. Young Birders' Club and we hope to follow it up with another event soon, where we will take youngsters on a longer walk round the hides here with hopefully more waterfowl in view!

Thanks to all the L.O.S. members for turning out on such a cold and windy day when they could have stayed in bed - at least the snow had gone as quickly as it had arrived yesterday. And thanks must also go to Michelle and the WLCT staff team for organising the day and putting up the stalls in the wind, but most importantly for the tea and biscuits which were very well received!
See you all next year!

Did you see it ? (c) Shannon Shaw
Martyn Jones

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