29th August 2015 – a rare North American visitor to Pennington Flash

This isn’t about some rare bird species but a visit from Professor Heather Bateman, field ecologist at Arizona State University, Phoenix, USA. Heather was over in Britain for a week attending an ecology conference in Manchester. She had spontaneously contacted Joan Disley, LOS Editor, via the LOS website and asked if it would be possible to meet with some members for a day’s birdwatching. Joan arranged it all from this end; she collected Heather from Leigh Bus Station and brought her along to Pennington Flash shortly before 9.00 a.m. to be joined by Dave Wilson and myself (George Pike).

A leisurely tour of the hides gave us 43 species including a Common Tern, one Common Sandpiper, two Willow Tits and a pair of Blackcaps. There was a very brief glimpse of a Cetti’s Warbler at Tom Edmondson’s hide and fine views of a colourful Kingfisher. Dave’s excellent knowledge of American birds helped Heather compare all these somewhat strange British birds with related species in the States.

Dave left us shortly after midday and then, after lunch, we were joined by Angela Pike to go to Risley Moss. Its reputation as an excellent raptor viewing area is well founded – the first bird we saw was a Hobby chasing dragonflies in a marvellous flying display. A second Hobby appeared and joined in the fun – they are the sort of bird I could watch all day! It was then a short drive back into Leigh and a stroll along the canal where notable birds included a Grey Wagtail, spotted by Heather, and then a female Sparrowhawk chasing feral pigeons. All this activity was carefully watched by one of our local Peregrines, perched high above.

Luckily the weather remained fine throughout the day and it was soon time to drop Heather back at the bus station and say goodbye. A thoroughly relaxed and enjoyable day’s birding in the local area gave us 50 species in total, including five types of raptor. It was a pleasure to meet up with our charming American visitor.
George Pike


Pauline Greenhalgh said...

Nice work Joan, Dave and George and some decent birdwatching to make the event even better!

john said...

Nice to meet Heather and she also saw some nice Little owl shots on the back of my camera ,well done everyone .
John Tymon

GeekTeacher said...

Great report George and well done to everyone involved. We should do a lot more of this kind of thing.

David Shallcross said...

Great stuff well done team and great report George.

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