Photo of the Week - Glossy Ibis

Glossy Ibis, Horwich Moors (c) David Shallcross
There were four of these rarely seen birds giving superb views in and around the fields next to the Bob's Smithy Pub on Chorley Old Road, Horwich, Bolton.  What a cracking photo by David Shallcross.

Here's some more Glossy Ibis photos with video footage taken at the same location by Martyn Jones on 1st October:

Glossy Ibis in Horwich (c) Martyn Jones

L.O.S. Sponsored Birdwatch - 21 September 2013

The day dawned pleasantly weather-wise, and the teams set off with enthusiasm and verve! As they always do, some to keep going to the very end, some to struggle to keep going to nearly the end and others to enjoy what they could and go home for a cup of tea!

The winning team King and Don’t tell him Pike got off to a roaring start, said by some with unfair advantage because of knowing where the birds were but they weren’t shy of sharing so it doesn’t matter. They clocked up their winning total of 57 species including Grey Partridge, Wheatear and Black Redstart - incidenatlly Eddie now informs me he missed a White Wagtail off his list and it should read 58!

The Indian Runners had a good day too but were seen to shoo the birds away when another team arrived in that hide - but this was countered by that team telling them there wasn’t a bird to be seen in any of the other hides, measure for measure.

The third team was the Feather Brains who did sterling work on getting their 55 species and if the Bullfinches and a Thrush had shown up as expected would have given the other two a better run for their money – biased about this team, well yes, because I was in it!  Joe and Phil had a good day and got 49 species a bit low for Joe but I suspect he kept stopping for coffee.

The Bald Eagles came next with 42 species an unusually low count for this trio of birders they must have been having a bad hair day! Last but certainly not least came the Jackdaws and Teals with 37 species they scoured Pennington Country Park to the nth degree and didn’t leave a blade of grass unturned, nor any seat not sat on!

Well done to all who took part  - if you think you can do better then get yourself into a team in time for next year; thank you to all who sponsored any of the teams, there is still time to sponsor should you wish to. It was a thoroughly enjoyable day with friendly banter and some very good companions followed by an evening meal which was enjoyed by all.
Joan Disley

The results of the sponsored birdwatch held on the 21st September 2013 were as follows:

Position Team Name Species
1st Don't tell 'em Pike 57
2nd The Indian Runners 57
3rd The Feather Brains 55
4th Joe and Phil 49
5th The Bald Eagles 42
6th The Jackdaws and Teals 37

After the day's birding exploits many of the members went for a nice meal organised by Al Foy at the Whistling Wren in Leigh where a good night was had by all - thanks Al.

The amount of sponsorship money raised will be announced here shortly.

Brockholes Nature Reserve – 8th September 2013

For our first outing of the new session we were going to Brockholes Nature Reserve near Preston, which was somewhere different we hadn’t been before which is always interesting. It was also nice to have two new members in Keith and Tony who joined us for the first time. This is a new reserve that was only opened to the public at Easter 2011 by the Lancashire Wildlife Trust. It is free to walk round the reserve but there is a charge for parking your car with an increasing amount the longer you are there.  Here's a link to the types of habitat that can be found there: Brockholes Habitats

One part of the reserve edges on to the River Ribble where we were heading first but as we stopped part way to look at a Reed Bunting perched on a small bush Joan spotted a beautiful female Roe Deer just quietly walking into the reeds and long grasses growing all round the bush. There wasn’t much on the river but while we were in this area we saw a Buzzard in the distance being mobbed by six Crows, a Sparrowhawk flew past us and a little later we saw a Kestrel. Later we saw two Buzzards soaring round together over the trees and just after this we once again saw a single bird being mobbed but this time by a Sparrowhawk which would not give up as it went on for some time. On a few occasions we saw the Buzzard flip over onto its back so its talons were now pointing upwards to defend itself against the Sparrowhawk diving at it from above.

From here we made our way to a wooded area but just before we reached this we came across a sheltered corner in the sunshine where there was a Blackberry patch with a lot of Himalayan Balsam growing through it but it was attracting a number of dragonflies that settled on the leaves to enjoy the warm sunshine. There was Migrant Hawker, Brown Hawker and both male and female Common Darter. These were also joined by the odd Speckled Wood Butterfly at times and a Blackbird, which was attracted by the ripening fruit. Once in the wood we had birds such as Nuthatch, Treecreeper, Goldcrest, Coal Tit, Blue Tit and Wren.

In other parts of the reserve are two large areas of water with a few bird hides around the edges but there was nothing too unusual on these waters. We saw the usual Canada Geese, Mute Swan and Mallard plus a few Tufted Duck and Teal. There was also a Little Grebe, some Cormorants and Grey Heron but the only waders we saw were a few Lapwing. On one occasion a small group of these birds took to the air and we noticed they had an unusual companion flying with them which was a single Starling. The ducks on one of these waters had also been joined by a Black Swan that must have escaped from somewhere. As we walked round House Martins had been seen and as we arrived back at the cars a Swallow flew over our heads.

The only other butterfly we saw was Large White but we did get a good look at a caterpillar of the Buff Tip Moth. Most of the flowers were now gone but there were still patches of Bird’s Foot Trefoil in flower Marsh Woundwort and the last remaining flowers on the Purple Loosestrife could be seen. Another bush that was looking good was the Guelder Rose that had clusters of its shiny berries starting to turn red which eventually will provide food for the birds.

This is still a young reserve so hopefully in time it will improve and maybe a visit at a different time in the year might give us more birds to look at, nevertheless I hope everyone enjoyed it, in particular Keith and Tony and we look forward to them joining us again for our trips out etc.

As always thanks to Al for organising the trip and to Joan and Jim for my lift.

Jeff Hurst 

The 2013-2014 Season Kicks Off

Spotted Flycatcher - (c) Martyn Jones
Autumn is with us once again and this always heralds our first indoor meeting of the new season, which this year is on Friday 6th September at 7:15pm in the Derby Room at Leigh Library.

Our first presentation is called 'Birds of the Fylde Coast' (ie, the Lytham, Blackpool, Fleetwood areas etc) and is given by Stuart Meredith. Everyone is welcome to come along and meet the members of our friendly society, and hopefully join the L.O.S. by becoming a member. There's no charge for the meeting and details of our full programme this year and our very low membership fees are on the L.O.S. website here:
Then Sunday 8th September sees the start of our fieldtrip programme and on that day we will be going to Brockholes Nature Reserve near Preston.  We meet on Doctor's Nook car park facing Leigh Library at 8am and share cars and petrol costs. There maybe a small entrance charge to some reserves, ie. Brockholes is £7 per car, so with 4 people it would be just £1.75 each.  Most places to which we go are free however.

We do hope to see some new (and old) faces at either our indoor presentations or on our fieldtrips - it doesn't matter what your level of bird knowledge is, everyone is welcome from beginner to experienced birders - just come along and enjoy yourself with our friendly and helpful members.