Northern England Raptor Forum Conference 2019

The Northern England Raptor Forum Conference (NERF) is taking place on November 23. in Chester. NERF is normally held in North East England and rarely comes west of the Pennines. It's always excellent and invariably over-subscribed. With the Cheshire Raptor Study Group joining NERF in 2017, they are hosting it this year and so we in Greater Manchester have a chance to attend.

Please note that it costs £28 to book which includes refreshments and a buffet lunch as well as a copy of the 2018 NERF Annual Review.

Details of the location, programme and a booking form are in the file which can be downloaded from either of the links shown below:
Here is a summary of the conference:

L.O.S. Fieldtrip to Blacktoft Sands RSPB - Sunday 8th September 2019


Our first Leigh Ornithological Society Fieldtrip of the season took us to RSPB Blacktoft Sands on the south side of the Humber Estuary. The group met at Doctors Nook Car Park 7.30am, joining up with others at Blacktoft Sands just after 9.00am. The weather was perfect: still, sunny and warm. A promising day lay ahead.

Avocet (c) Paul Pennington
Leaving the car park we walked over the small hump-backed bridge, to the site of the feeding station. Here there were good numbers of Tree Sparrow which are always nice to see, the odd Chaffinch and Greenfinch, and a Goldfinch on the Teasel feeding its young.

Goldfinches (c) Paul Richardson
After a brief visit to the Visitor Centre Hide for all the formalities and the low down on recent sightings, we decide to head off in a westerly direction. But this was not before getting good views of Green Sandpiper, Redshank and Spotted Redshank. A superb start to the day. So onward to the Xerox Hide the Marshland Hide, and our final destination the Ousefleet Hide.

Green Sandpiper (c) John Preston
Visiting each hide in turn produced some wonderful birds including a female Hen Harrier, Marsh Harrier and a Barn Owl. Bearded Reedling could be heard with their signature "ping ping" call, seen only for a split second before taking cover in the Fragmates reedbed. Other notable sightings, Sparrowhawk, a juvenile Garganey, Gadwall, the usual Reed Buntings, good numbers of Teal, Meadow Pipit, Grey Wagtail, and Linnet, amongst others.

Lapwing (c) Mandy Robertson
We added a few butterflies such as Painted Lady, Speckled Wood and numerous Large White with a couple of Dragonflies too - Common Darter and Emperor both male and female. A nice number of species had been accumulated during the morning session before returning to the car park - picnic area, for a well deserved spot of lunch.

Migrant Hawker (c) Graeme Robertson
After lunch we headed in an easterly direction from the Visitor Centre. Visiting First Hide, Townend Hide and Singleton Hide. First Hide produced an excellent Greenshank the usual Redshank and Teal.  At Townend Hide we saw Ruff and had our first glimpse of a Water Rail, eleven Black-tailed Godwits and four wonderful Avocet which are always nice to see.

Marsh Harrier (c) Keith Williams
Finally we visited Singleton Hide where we stayed for quite sometime. With wonderful views of Marsh Harrier, five or six in number, appearing and reappearing while quartering their hunting ground. A couple of Water Rail on the far reedbed showed out in the open now and again. Some six or seven Bearded Reedling feeding on the muddy reed margins, and stayed for most of the time we were in the hide, albeit at distance.

Tree Sparrow (c) Martyn Jones
Others to add to the day list were three Kestrel, a single Peregrine Falcon, Little Egret, Little Grebe, Dunlin, a few Buzzard and a very distant Arctic Skua spotted by Pekka, our eagle-eyed friend from Finland who is an excellent birder.

Making our way back to the car, we added a Willow Warbler and a yet to be confirmed Weasel. 60 plus bird species were recorded during the day - well done to one and all. Thanks to all twelve people who attended, I had a wonderful day in great company as usual. Until next time
Paul Pennington
L.O.S. Fieldtrips Officer

L.O.S. Fieldtrip to Blacktoft Sands RSPB - Sunday 8th September

Marsh Harrier at Blacktoft Sands RSPB (c) Martyn Jones
The first L.O.S. fieldtrip of the new season takes us to Blacktoft Sands RSPB. There may be a possibility of also calling in at North Cave Nature Reserve if time permits.

We will be meeting at Doctors Nook Car Park facing Leigh Library and leaving at 7.30am prompt, on Sunday 8th September. The postcode for Blacktoft Sands RSPB is DN14 8HR for those going directly there to meet at Blacktoft at approximately 9.00am.

Any enquiries can be made to myself, by comment or private message on Facebook or by email:

Hope to see you all there.
Paul Pennington
Fieldtrips Officer

Spoonbills at Blacktoft Sands RSPB (c) Martyn Jones

L.O.S. Friday Night Presentation - Friday 6th September 2019

Wandering and Wondering in the Far West

Following our short Annual General Meeting, L.O.S. founder member Dave Wilson will present a journey through several wonderfully diverse habitats in the Western USA, reminiscing and wondering if a final visit will be undertaken.

We meet in the Derby Room upstairs at Leigh Library at around 7:15pm for a 7:30pm start. Car parking is free. 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, become a member. Just ask one of us on the door for information on how to join.