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Great British Bird Watch 2020 at Sale Water Park

event report

After last year’s successful visit to Fletcher Moss, our Nature volunteers invited bird lovers to join us in the RSPB’s annual bird survey at Sale Water Park, further down the Mersey Valley. This is an excellent spot for seeing a wide range of species, with a nature reserve and bird hides, and it’s an important refuge for one of our most endangered birds, the willow tit (although we weren’t lucky enough to spot any on our visit).

As its name suggests, the RSPB’s Big Garden Birdwatch is all about counting garden birds, and it takes place in the middle of winter to give a picture of the number of birds that live here all year round. To improve our chances of spotting a good number of garden bird species, we spent the hour of the survey following a circular route around the woods and fields between the lake and Jackson’s Boat pub.

With the help of binoculars and a bit of bird ID expertise, we saw at least 15 species during our tour despite the fairly steady rain. Among the commonest species were the blue tit – six of which crowded round the bird feeders at the Visitor Centre – and the woodpigeon, with nine feeding in the long grass at the foot of the Mersey embankment. We also saw a heron perching patiently among the trees at the edge of the lake.

After comparing our sightings ready for sending off to the RSPB, we set about planning our next nature-themed expedition, which is likely to be a bat walk. This should happen in the late spring or summer, and hopefully in better conditions – check our website calendar and social media posts for information nearer the time!

You can see some of photos from our bird count walk on the Manchester Friends of the Earth Flickr site.

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