We are the Custodians of our Environment

Here is a short excerpt from the video of Dave Wilson's presentation about the history of the L.O.S. and its involvement with Pennington Flash.
We, as individuals and as society, are the custodians of our environment.
It’s my firm and unconditional believe that we should all strive to ensure that those who come after us will be able to inherit at least what we inherited and have the opportunity to enjoy their surroundings and the creatures that they attract.
We can’t keep passing the buck onto somebody else, certainly not councils or other professional bodies. Already this Society, the L.O.S., is heavily involved in positive ventures, visits, active conservation work, involvement with schools, and so on.
If, at any time in the future we don’t have the answers to a simple child’s question, “Where have all the butterflies gone?” or “Where did the Skylarks used to sing?” then we will have failed in our work.
We have to triumph for the sake of ourselves, those who come after us and certainly those who came before us.

Busway Poppy Memorial

https://www.leighobserver.co.uk/news/tribute-at-busway-in-leigh-is-blooming-beautiful-1-9317104

L.O.S. Move Westward to Little Woolden Moss

Date: Saturday 9 September 2018
Time: 0800-1315 hours
Weather: Rain - Grey Skies - Rain Grey Skies followed by a drop of Dry - Grey Skies!

Was this a day to invite regret at perhaps too much hoping for things that, once they appear, cause us to hear that refrain..."be careful what you wish for"... Let me explain ...


The schedule of life said that this was the day on which that enthusiastic team of birdwatching stoics from L.O.S. had requested a wander about Chat and Little Woolden Moss (LWM) having recovered from their wander over Barton Moss last winter thus up I rose to that which I have craved for this summer of relentless baking sunshine .... Rain..glorious rain...err but thought I, not today please! Well didn’t you so wish for such weather, said the contrary sky.

OK it’s true I craved rain because I have watched the ‘wader life force’ that has sat out on LWM become a desiccated sweep of uninviting barren peat which should at this time of year be giving life sustaining rest recuperation and rewarding snippets of refuelling food to migrating waders but with the ironies of ironies here was my beloved rain not yet capable of creating pools of delight for wildlife but otherwise ensuring that it could but only create a damp squid of a day out on these ‘my’ sweet Mosslands whilst not bringing in birds to delight in seeing by our visitors...such is the way of all things ... it will be overcome for whomsoever meets me on the moss cannot help but find a gleaning gem of landscape which is so underrated by those who wear life limiting blinkers.

Windscreen wipers on full alert, off I trundled to Moss Farm Fisheries where right on cue I found nine ‘let me at it’ members of L.O.S. disdainfully regarding the glowering skies and ready to hit the glistening trail of rain-clad tracks. A Kestrel started off the day list... we were up and at it...

Field number two held a flock of Black Headed Gull, a few Woodpigeon and not the Swallow it has hosted this summer for they had moved on ... and so did we, heading north up Cutnook Lane.

Croxden Peatworks with its tenacious pools which have fought off the previously referred to dehydrating sun hosted a Green Sandpiper which gave a nod to autumnal wader movement and a positive spring to our collective stride. Onward we pushed soon heading in a westerly direction.

Rain kept at bay allowing our faithful day list recorder to almost end up with writer’s cramp as we encountered the double delight of more pooled areas coupled with a ‘lovely sweet smelling’ (oh the irony) pile of night soil. This pairing combining to host a flush of birds which were soon lifted into the air as a female Sparrowhawk swept in without an invitation to the insect picnic.

Pied Wagtail, Meadow Pipit, Reed Bunting, Goldfinch, Yellowhammer and Greenfinch took to the sky which had but a few seconds before had been occupied by departing Swallow which barely ruffled the air in their haste to get out of town as they saw but South Africa as their yearned for winter home... offended that they choose not to stay with me on our Moss? I am not, for I do realise that the rain I have so wished for will then lead to insect depleting weather... our list had grown.

A slight retracing of steps as no one it seemed wished to trudge through the four foot deep pile of treated sewerage (did I tell you about my encounters with a cloying mass of such that I once waded through at Tyldesley Sewerage Farm back in the sixties to check out a small Black Headed Gull Nesting Colony?) brought us back over to Twelve Yards Road, but not before we had noted a couple of obliging Linnet which were perched out on some power lines.


The rain then set its flowmeter to ‘high’ therefore on our arrival on LWM we decided to take refuge in the poly tunnel which is now seemingly in its last days of existence as it has been blessed with yet another batch of those who see only negative destruction as their salvation. What always bemuses me with such types is their so predictable pattern of behaviour:
  1. Find somewhere where positivity exits 
  2. Take advantage and shelter of this site 
  3. Get bored and start to damage it 
  4. Revel in the fact that those who care for the site try to repair the damage 
  5. Redouble the vandalism first started..
  6. Finally destroy the whole edifice...
  7. Err, ‘we’, the vandals now have nowhere to hang out.
WHAT! ... say I ....

The rain abated, we headed further west, the erstwhile pooled area had not captured this morning’s rain (as we had) and few birds were noted as we moved about the site, but orientation lessons were taken on board for future visits by members of the team. Success on a birdwatching day out comes in many forms!

Then after adding a lone Whitethroat and a few heard but not seen House Martin, we decided that a genteel chatty retreat back east which offered a welcoming ‘hug’ from the comfort zone of the Fisheries Cafe and but half an hour later ambrosial food and cuppas were served up in warm welcoming surroundings The day had been won - one nil for Team L.O.S. - whilst Team Weather took its defeat in style, for as we left for home it cried buckets of crocodile rain-shaped tears.

Dave Steel


L.O.S. Fieldtrip to Little Woolden Moss - Saturday 8th September 2018


The new 2018-19 L.O.S. fieldtrip season kicks off with a visit to Little Woolden Moss on Saturday 8th September 2018. Once again we have Dave Steel, an authority on the mosslands, as our guide.

We are meeting at Doctors Nook Car Park (opposite Leigh Library) at 7.15am prompt and we are aiming to arrive at Moss Farm Fisheries for 8am.

Anyone wishing to go straight to Moss Farm Fisheries can find directions using the post code M44 5NB. The guided trip starts at 8am prompt.

I would ask if anyone going directly there could leave a comment below saying so. Any further enquires please contact me at leighos.trips@gmail.com.

I look forward to meeting you all on the day.

Paul Pennington
L.O.S. Fieldtrips Officer

The 2018-19 L.O.S Season Kick Off

The Leigh Ornithological Society 2018-19 season kicks off next month starting with our Annual General Meeting on Friday 14 September followed by the second part of Dave Wilson's talk on the history and future of the L.O.S.  As usual this will be in our 'spiritual home' of the Derby Room at Leigh Library, meeting at 7:15pm for a 7:30pm start.

The new programme of Friday night presentation meetings and fieldtrips are now available in the links below and by clicking the appropriate tab across the top of this page.
Everyone is welcome to come and meet us at any any of these talks and fieldtrips - we're a friendly bunch and we're always looking forward to new members joining us.

Pennington Flash Volunteers

Major progress has been made today on the children's dipping pond, we have opened it up to get more light into the pond, but of course leaving some shaded areas. Several species of Damsel and Dragonflies were skimming over the water and landing on the vegetation. We now need some funding to renew and make safe to platform.

Thank you, volunteers and Geoff Fletcher for assistance.


It's the End of the 2017-18 L.O.S. Season

Well, the L.O.S. presentation and fieldtrip season is over for another year and we now look forward to a summer break to recharge our batteries and get ready for the new 2018-19 season which starts in September.

We have a new Fieldtrips Officer, Paul Pennington, who will be taking over the planning and fieldtrip arrangements from September onwards. I'm sure we'll have lots of great places to visit, as usual, some old, some new but always great days out.  There is no charge for these (except petrol-sharing costs and parking/entrance fees on a few reserves) and everyone is welcome to come along and bring friends and family.

If you'd like to contact Paul with some ideas for new fieldtrips within an hour and a half traveling distance of Leigh, he can be reached using the following email address:  leighos.trips@gmail.com or via a private message on one of our two Facebook groups:

www.facebook.com/groups/leighos
www.facebook.com/groups/leighosnaturephotos

The new fieldtrip programme will be announced on this website during the summer, as will the Friday night indoor meeting programme of presentation talks in the Derby Room at Leigh Library.

We also now have a members-only L.O.S. WhatsApp Chat group which can be used for chatting to L.O.S. members in-between meetings and frieldtrips and which may occasionally be used for arranging additional fieldtrips at short notice in-between the planned ones.

If you'd like to join the L.O.S. WhatsApp Chat group, please contact me, Martyn Jones using either of the two Facebook addresses above or by email using the following address: leighos.webmaster@gmail.com.

So we now look forward to having a great new season with lots of old and hopefully some new faces joining us in our forthcoming presentation and fieldtrip programmes.

L.O.S. Fieldtrip to Bempton Cliffs RSPB - Sunday 13th May 2018


This is the last formal L.O.S. fieldtrip of the 2017/18 season and what a cracker it will be. Bempton Cliffs RSPB on the east Yorkshire coast never fails to deliver at this time of year. Gannets, Kittiwakes, Razorbills, Guillemots, Fulmars and Puffins are a nailed on certainty in this massive and spectacular seabird colony.

There could also be a supporting case of Peregrine Falcon, Barn Owl, Rock Doves, Tree Sparrows and many more farmland birds. If there is time and the inclination, we may visit another reserve along the coast too.

Meet at Doctors Nook car park in Leigh for an early start at 7am to arrive at Bempton Cliffs car park at around 9:30 to 9:45am. If you are not an RSPB member there is a small charge for parking. Please tell us in the comments below if you intend to go straight there. No need to say if you can't make it.

So everyone is welcome for our final trip of the season - it will be fantastic.

P.S. A recent sightings board from Bempton Cliffs RSPB:


L.O.S. Presentation - Friday 4th May 2018

Please note that there has been a change to the presentation originally advertised


This talk is a result of three separate trips to this amazing country. Lots of photos of the brilliant birdlife, the fantastic variety of species and colours. Funny stories about safe birding in this superb country and unsafe birding like when I fell into the swamp and the time I almost stepped on a crocodile, the £500 photograph and how not to wake up with frogs in your shoes!

Meet at 7:15pm in the Derby Room at Leigh Library for a 7:30pm start. Entrance is free and everyone is welcome to come to this, our last presentation of the 2017/18 season.

L.O.S. Fieldtrip to Bolton Abbey - Saturday 28th April 2018


For a change this year we have decided to run two Saturday fieldtrips for those who can't make Sundays and this, the second of them, is to Bolton Abbey near Skipton in Yorkshire. It takes about 90 minutes to get there via the M65 motorway and there is an admission fee which covers entry to the grounds and parking which is £10 per car. We hope to share the costs of this by getting four people in each parked car when we arrive making it just £2.50 each.

The walk itself is along one side of the River Wharfe and returning along the other. It's 5-6 miles in length with the only toilets at the Cavendish Cafe at the beginning and end of the walk. We can have a packed lunch at the first bridge where some may decide to return. However there is a further bridge another 15 minutes up the river and it is well worth going to this as currently there are Mandarin Duck, Common Sandpiper and a Treecreeper nest there along with House Martins, Sand Martins and Swallows.

Strid Woods at Bolton Abbey is usually home to three superb summer migrant birds: the Wood Warbler, the Redstart and the Pied Flycatcher and we could see all three on our trip although on a recent recognisance trip no Redstarts or Wood Warblers were currently being seen or heard.

It's a beautiful place with many Dipper, Grey Wagtail and Goosander on the River Wharfe and all the common woodland birds you would expect.

Meet at Doctors Nook car park at the slightly earlier time of 7:30am to arrange car sharing and minimise the number of cars travelling from Leigh - please note there is a charge at Doctors Nook car park on Saturdays. Bring a packed lunch and appropriate footwear. Everyone is welcome.

L.O.S. Presentation - Friday 6th April 2018


"The Society - A Wondrous Tale"

Dave Wilson

This will be one of our founding member’s reminiscences of the evolution of The Leigh Ornithological Society – its historical connections, its aims, its characters and achievements and its future fortunes.

Pictures and music will supplement the story telling.

L.O.S. Fieldtrip to St. Aidan's RSPB - Sunday 25th March 2018

Our next fieldtrip on Sunday 25th March is to the St. Aidan's RSPB nature reserve in Yorkshire, which is a newly developed part of Swillington Ings.  For those who wish to continue, there will also be the opportunity to go on to see the Red Kites at the Muddy Boots Cafe in Harewood if desired.


St. Aidan's has a range of habitats including reed beds where we may see BitternsMarsh Harriers and Black-necked Grebes as well as a number of lakes for Kingfishers, dancing Great Crested Grebes and various other types of waterfowl, and rucks for Skylarks.  There's even a chance of seeing Short-eared Owls and Peregrines in the area.


The address is: St Aidan's Nature Park, Astley Lane, Leeds LS26 8AL and you can either meet us on the car park there at around 9:15am or at Doctors Nook car park facing Leigh Library at 8:00am on the Sunday morning.

Here are a couple of useful links:
L.O.S. fieldtrips are free (unless there is an entry charge to a reserve) and everyone is welcome to come along and join us.  We usually decide on car-sharing on the morning of the trip. Bring a packed lunch and warm clothing as well as your binoculars and cameras.

L.O.S. Presentation - Friday 2nd March 2018

In our next Friday night indoor meeting,  Louise Bentley from Bolton & Bury Swifts will present:

"A Swift Recovery?"



Find out all about these enigmatic birds, what makes them special, their marvellous migration, why they are in trouble and what we can all do to help them.

We meet in the Derby Room upstairs at Leigh Library at around 7:15pm for a 7:30 start. Everyone is welcome and entry is free, although we would appreciate it if you'd buy a raffle ticket or two.

Do come and join us, bring a friend, and perhaps become a member - just ask one of us on the door for information on how to join.

L.O.S. Erects Bird Boxes for Wigan Hospice

Eddie King has made some bird boxes and he and Tony Bishop have erected eight of them in the grounds of Wigan and Leigh Hospice. This was initiated by a friend of the Society who informed us that the hospice were creating a facility for day patients to visit and wished to include some bird related interest.

The committee also agreed to fund some feed and feeders for the facility and Martyn Jones will be advising them on the fitting of a camera to one of the bird boxes so that the birds might be watched using the boxes. 

We have received an email thanking the Society and a feature will appear in the Hospice's next newsletter.

L.O.S. Fieldtrip to the Local Mosslands - Saturday 17 February 2018

In a break to our usual Sunday tradition, today’s Saturday L.O.S. fieldtrip to the 'Local Mosslands' of Irlam, Barton and Chat Moss was a complete success, with twenty people turning out on what was a wet start to the day. But the rain soon disappeared and starting from the Irlam Fisheries, Dave Steel led the group on a five mile circuit of this fascinating area.


The highlights of the day were Brambling, Yellowhammer, Tree Sparrow, large flocks of what were mainly Chaffinch and Goldfinch, a male Stonechat, some Snipe as well as two Roe Deer and a Brown Hare. We finished off with tea and cakes at the lovely cafe which is alongside the Fisheries.


Many thanks to Dave Steel for leading us on this fieldtrip and imparting all his endless knowledge of the Mosses to us, and also thanks to Eddie King for organising the day.
Alan Wilcox

L.O.S. Presentation - Friday 2nd February 2018

Kevin Briggs is a retired environmental consultant who has been studying Oystercatchers in the Lune Valley for over 40 years. His talk will illustrate the changes which have occurred to Oystercatchers, Ringed Plovers, Goosanders and Yellow Wagtails, and the habitats they use.

We meet in the Derby Room upstairs at Leigh Library at around 7:15pm for a 7:30pm start. Everyone is welcome and entry is free, although would appreciate it you'd buy a raffle ticket or two.

Do come and join us, bring a friend, and perhaps become a member. Just ask one of us on the door for information on how to join.

Water Pipit Identifciation

With the recent appearance of a couple of Water Pipits at Astley (Rindle Road), some people were struggling to I.D. them. The following BTO video may help:

The L.O.S. '12 Birding Months of 2017' Photo Album

Why not have a look at our excellent L.O.S. '12 Birding Months of 2017' photo album on Facebook here:

The 12 Birding Months of 2017

Probably the best way to view them is to click the above link and scroll through the photo thumbnails. From here any photo can be clicked to to enlarge it if required.

Unfortunately, you will need to be logged in to Facebook to see them I'm afraid, so if you're not a member yet why not try it out by joining now - it's free.

From Boxing Day onwards over the 12 Days of Christmas, some members of the L.O.S. Nature Photography group on Facebook submitted one photograph per month from 2017.

Then, on 12th Night (6th January 2018) these were compiled into a single album so that they could be viewed as a whole.

UPDATE: https://youtu.be/F1StFupy1vM

I've just made the above video slideshow of the photos with a bit of music. Please don't sit down to watch this as it's over 20 minutes long. Put it on your computer when you're doing something else, turn the sound on to enjoy the music and you can just look up now and then and see some great bird photos .