The New L.O.S. Season Kicks Off

Hello to all new readers of the Leigh Ornithological Society's website. The 2017-18 season starts on Friday 1st September with a presentation talk by Denis Atherton in the Derby Room at Leigh Library. Full details are here:

www.leighos.org.uk/p/meetings.html

Everyone is welcome to come to our free presentation talks, although we would appreciate a donation to our funds in the form of buying a raffle ticket on the door. Or you can join for a whole year for just £15 single or £20 joint membership.

The 2017-18 field trip programme has now been finalised and will appear shortly on this website.

We also have three Facebook groups here for posting reports, photographs and information about forthcoming events:

HS 2 consultation 2017

Mr David Shallcross
Chairman
Leigh Ornithological Society
28 Surrey Avenue
Leigh
NN7 2NN

17th July 2017

Dear Sir,

HS2 Phase 2b: Crewe to Manchester and West Midlands to Leeds — Consultations on the draft Environmental Impact Assessment and draft Equality Impact Assessment Scope and Methodology Reports

I am writing to inform you of the launch of two consultations for the next phase of High Speed Two (HS2), from Crewe to Manchester and the West Midlands to Leeds — known as Phase 2b.

These consultations are on draft Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and draft Equality Impact Assessment (EQIA) Scope and Methodology Reports (SMRs), which inform the way in which the EIA and EQIA are undertaken.

The Secretary of State for Transport recently announced the Government's decision on the route for the next phase of HS2: Crewe to Manchester and the West Midlands to Leeds. Construction of Phase 2b is expected to start in 2023 ready for the railway to begin operations by 2033. To obtain the legal powers to build and operate this part of the railway, the Government intends to deposit a hybrid Bill in Parliament during 2019.

To prepare for the hybrid Bill, the Government has commissioned consultants to undertake an EIA and prepare an Environmental Statement (ES). The EIA will identify the likely significant environmental effects and appropriate measures to mitigate such effects. The draft EIA SMR consultation document is available online at www.gov.uk/hs2

At the same time, to inform the development of the Phase 2b scheme, the Government has commissioned consultants to undertake an EQIA and prepare an EOIA report. The EOIA will identify any particular groups with protected characteristics that may be disproportionately affected, and actions that may be necessary to limit such effects if they arise. The draft EOIA SMR consultation document is also available online at www.gov.uk/hs2

High Speed Two (HS2) Limited Two Snowhill, Snow Hill Queensway, Birmingham B4 6GA T: 08081434 434 E: hs2enquiries@hs2.org.uk www.gov.uk/h

We are now asking local authorities, relevant statutory bodies and national interest groups along the route to comment on the draft EIA SMR and draft EOIA SMRI to inform the way in which the EIA and EQIA are undertaken.

Responding to the consultations

Arup is co-ordinating the analysis of responses to these consultations. There are separate online and email response mechanisms for each consultation. Please use the correct response channels for each consultation you respond to. The FREEPOST address is the same for both consultations.

To respond to the draft EIA SMR consultation you can:
  • Use the dedicated online response form available at https://ipsos.uk/HS2Phase2bElASMR
  • Email your response to HS2ElASMRPhase2B@arup.com
  • Post your response to the following FREEPOST address (no additional address information is required and you do not need a stamp):
          FREEPOST HS2 SMR PHASE 2

To respond to the draft EQIA SMR consultation you can:
  • Use the dedicated online response form available at https://ipsos.uk/HS2Phase2bEQlASMR
  • Email your response to HS2EQlASMRPhase2B@arup.com
  • Post your response to the following FREEPOST address (no additional address information is required and you do not need a stamp):
          FREEPOST HS2 SMR PHASE 2B

Both consultations close at 23-45 on 29 September 2017. Please clearly mark on your response which consultation you are responding to.

Can we help?

If you have any further questions about these consultations, please contact our
Helpdesk on 08081434 434 (available 24/7),

by email at hs2enquiries@hs2.org.uk

or by using the MINICOM service on 08081 456 472.

Yours faithfully,

Paul Griffiths Phase 2b Director
High Speed Two (HS2) Limited

Open Green Spaces Need to be Appreciated

L.O.S. founder member and champion of so-called 'brownfield sites' Dave Wilson had a letter published in the Leigh Journal last week in which he puts the case to our newly elected MP for them to renamed as 'open green spaces' in order for them to be better appreciated by all concerned. 

You can read it here:

http://www.leighjournal.co.uk/yoursay/leighetters/

L.O.S.Trips and Private Trips

There seems to be some confusion over L.O.S. trips and private trips - L.O.S. Trips are those published on your membership card, on this website or in the newsletter. Any others that a group of friends go on are their own private trips and nothing to do with the society.

I don't want members and friends thinking there is a clique at this club.

There most certainly isn't.

Yours, David

New Ideas for Fieldtrips Needed


The L.O.S. Committee are meeting on 12 June (next Monday) to discuss the birding field trips for the 2017-18 season which start in September. We're looking to find some new places to visit within an hour and a half travelling time of Leigh if possible. 

So it would be great if L.O.S. members could suggest some places they've been or would like to go to help us decide on a programme. The best time of year and target birds in the location would also be very helpful. Looking forward to reading your suggestions in the comments below. 

Thanks, Martyn

Bickershaw Masterplan with Amendments - November 2015

New funding has been awarded to the Bickershaw site and further consultation will take place prior to a final adoption of the Bickershaw Masterplan which is now available to download or read online.

You can download the document in Word format here:
Bickershaw Masterplan

or just follow this online link:
Bickershaw Masterplan

Comments please to David Shallcross,
L.O.S. Chairman: leighos.chairman@gmail.com

Funding Secured for Bickershaw

Wildflower Meadow at Bickershaw (c) Dave Wilson
Having been involved with a few other Society members since 2003 in trying to acquire protective status for the Bickershaw site, I was delighted to receive an e-mail from Martin Purcell, Wigan Council's Greenheart Project Officer, informing me that
"funding has been secured from 'The Deal' to help reclaim the 247-hectare former Bickershaw Colliery site as a green haven .... "
Narrow-bordered Five-spot Burnet Moth (c) Dave Wilson
This is the most encouraging piece of local wildlife conservation news to emerge for many a day, and I wish to point out that members owe a huge debt to Roy Rhodes, the Society's former Conservation Officer for his enormous commitment to the project over recent years, our Chairman David Shallcross, and one our two others, for attending umpteen meetings with me to fly the flag for this hugely important, predominantly grassy 'brownfield' site.

Female Four-spotted Chaser (c) Dave Wilson
Hopefully, David and I will continue to be involved in meetings to ensure that wildlife considerations remain paramount and that the site achieves its full habitat potential. Other members may wish to support us in the continuing venture to help shape our green environment for its present and potential wildlife benefit and for the enjoyment of our fellow citizens.

Grasshopper Warbler at Bickershaw - May 2017 (c) Martyn Jones

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


PLEASE NOTE WE ARE IN THE GALLERY TONIGHT WHICH IS OPPOSITE 
THE DERBY ROOMS UPSTAIRS IN THE LIBRARY




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.

The Jack Critchley Book Collection Sale

The remaining books from Jack's collection will be on sale at our Open Day at Leigh Library on Saturday 28th January 2017. Please note that some have already been sold.

Here's the original post:

Members and other readers are informed that Jack Critchley, a Society stalwart for many years, has decided (for personal reasons) to dispose of his collection of bird books. He and Doris have asked me to arrange to sell several books in the collection by means of advertising the sale through the pages of this site, the Society's November newsletter and the Manchester Birding Forum.

Once interested buyers have seen the attached list of about half the collection, I will receive bids by telephone on 01942 605627 between 7.00 and 9.00 p.m. on Wednesday 23rd and Thursday 24th November. To ensure that everybody has an equal opportunity to express an interest in purchasing books, there will be no preferential arrangement for anybody to make bids before those days, but potential buyers may examine the full collection at my house and at my convenience. All the proceeds from the sale will go to the Society.

Individual books will be sold to the highest bidder, but the prize item - all nine volumes of 'Handbook of the Birds of Europe, the Middle East and North Africa : The Birds of the Western Palearctic' in excellent condition - will not be sold piecemeal.


Other selected titles from Jack's collection are:-

Local and Regional:
Dean, T - 'The Natural History of Walney Island' (1990)
Hardy, E - 'Birdwatching in Lancashire' (1979). Loose pages!
Holland, P. et al - 'Breeding Birds in Greater Manchester' (1984)
Mellor, P (LOS member) - 'North West Nature' (1987)
Wilson, J.D. (LOS member) - 'Birds and Birdwatching at Pennington Flash' (1985).

Other British:
C.G.Booth - 'Birds in Islay' (1975)
C.G.Booth - 'Birds in Jura' (1976) Only 7 pages of text!
R.E.Elliott - 'Birds of Islay' (1989)
R.J.Fuller - 'Bird Habitats in Britain' (1982)
J.Gooders - 'Where to Watch Birds' (1974)
C.Hutchinson - 'Watching Birds in Ireland' (1986)
R.Lovegrove - 'RSPB Guide to Birdwatching in Snowdonia' (1987)
A.J.Prater - 'Estuary Birds of Britain and Ireland' (1981)
N.Redman and S.Harrap - 'Birdwatching in Britain - A Site by Site Guide' (1987)
D.Saunders - 'A Guide to the Birds of Wales' (1974)
D.Saunders - 'Where to Watch Birds in Wales' (1987).

Miscellaneous:
T.A.Coward - 'Bird and Other Nature Problems' (1931)
J.H.Elgood - 'Birds of the West African Town and Garden' (1982)
N.Elkins - 'Weather and Bird Behaviour (1983)
R.Engvik - 'The Birds of Runde and Norway's Western Seaboard' (1986)
J.Fisher - 'Bird Recognition' - Vol 1 (1947); Vol 2 (1951); Vol 3 (1955)
P.J.Grant - 'Gulls: A Guide to Identification' (1982)
J.T.R.Sharrock - 'The Atlas of Breeding Birds in Britain and Ireland' (1976)


Unsold books, and twenty other unlisted ones, will be available for viewing at the L.O.S. Open Day at Leigh Library on 28th January 2017.

Happy perusing, thinking and spending !!!

L.O.S. Field trip to Marbury Country Park


Today's trip to Marbury Country Park with the (almost!) impeccable navigation of Alan Wilcox took in Budworth Mere, a lot of fine and varied woodland, some meadow and scrubland, Neumann's Flash and Haydn's Pool.

Those of us who hadn't been before were pretty impressed by the variety of habitat, though the murk and mist didn't help the viewing over the various pools. I recorded a total of 39 species (Geoff Hurst might have had more) including impressive numbers of Great Crested Grebe on the Mere, some of which were displaying already, Wigeon, Little Egret and a Common Gull on Neumann's, and woodland species including Goldcrest, Treecreeper and Great Spotted Woodpecker

A Raven called from somewhere in the canopy, and was glimpsed by some of us. The Lesser Spotted Woodpecker and Bittern did NOT show themselves, but the photo of Budworth Mere will explain the problem of Bittern-spotting today!

A really good trip in great company as ever, and thanks to everybody who came along. 

Leigh Journal 'Picture of the Week'

Congratulations to L.O.S. member Anne Johnson whose Coal Tit photograph from the Three Sisters Nature Reserve got 'Picture of the Week' in the current edition of the Leigh Journal.


Click the link below to see the full article on the Leigh Journal website.

L.O.S. Presentation - Friday 6 January 2017


Just a reminder that we have our first talk of 2017 on Friday 6th January at 7:30pm in the Derby Rooms, Leigh Library. 

This is the K&J Gallimore Memorial Meeting when our very own local wildlife photographers Pauline and Ian Greenhalgh will present 'A Shot at Wildlife Images 2014' which is a compilation of images taken on their travels around Britain in that year. 

So do come and join us, all are welcome for what I am sure will be a great evening's entertainment.