Sunday, 24 October 2010


Sunday morning and its a bright, clear, crisp Autumnal day down at Neumann's. The lights fabulous and I've got the camera so what better than a photo tour of the most magnetic part (at present birdwise that is) of my local patch namely Neumann's Flash. Parking at the 'layby' on the B5075 Debs, Mia (the pooch) and I commenced a clockwise tour recording what we saw.
Green Woodpecker calling, Jackdaw chasing a Kestrel, Robin and Crow started off the list.

The 'Mound' the best place for a quick pre work bird spot and scope, takes 5 minutes I've timed it just incase I'm running late i:e I've had a lie-in.

Handy signage just in case you get lost, shows the figure of eight jogging/cycle/pram pushing/horse riding motorway known locally as the Patch M1. Theres even room to land an AirBus A380 if Manchester's ever fogged bound.

Viewing from the mound and the quick scan revealed - Magpie, Mute Swan, Teal, Mallard, Lapwing, Black-headed Gull, Wren nearby, Moorhen, Redpoll (20) over, Grey Heron, Cormorant and Redwing over. As you can see, soon the view will disappear as the adjacent foliage grows ever upwards unattended by the 'invisible' Ranger(s) that are supposedly paid to service the area. We sat briefly on the vandalised seat admiring the view and counted the empty discarded cans of beer...we moved on towards a more user friendly birding location.

On the bund between Neumann's and Ashton's Flashes we have 'Bund Hide'...mad dog only appears when I'm there. This is probably the best hide to see whatevers happening on the 'Spit' a muddy promontory on the far bank opposite Bund Hide and where most of the gulls, wildfowl and waders congregate. The now famous 'Stilt Island' is just to the left and now treeless!!

Today its just the usual fare - Golden Plover about 20+, Pied Wags, Common Snipe, a pair of Wigeon, several Gadwall, 15 Shoveler and best of all a pair of Pintail (a sometimes difficult year tick to catch up with). The Little Stint (latest patch year tick) has done one unfortunately.

Continuing clockwise we pass the 'gap' in the birches and Ashton's Flash is revealed. Wood Pigeon, Blue Tit, Skylark, Greenfinch 40+!!, more Redpolls, Reed Bunting are added to the list.

Still a bit early for the hoped for wintering Short-eared Owl.

The Patch M1 heading towards Witton Brook car park. The post and wire fence either side is soon to disappear, letting all and sundry walk all over the place...great!

Manage to miss 150 Pinkfeet flying over the Patch just to the North, ah well this local Robin will have to suffice. Note the berries ready for the incoming flocks of Scandinavian thrushes...and hey presto just round the next corner Redwing and Fieldfare plus Bullfinch, Chaffinch, Blackbird.

The hedge surrounding most of Neumann's is higher than the old Berlin Wall and designed to keep out the 'locals' and hide the birds within. Strategic cut throughs are all us birders get for a glimpse of the flash...anyone got a chainsaw?

Pooch spots one of the resident tree rats more commonly known as Grey Squirrels.

The path down to 'Old Hide' with the Screen to the left, great for reed watching apparently.

View from Old Hide looking south ish, another foliage hindered vista. Birds just visible include Great Tit, Dunnock, Goldfinch, Jay and Moorhen plus more aquatic type things floating on the flash nicely silhouetted by the sun.

From the north corner one can see the 'Pipe Bridge' and stream valley that runs from Fodens Flash. The stream is superb in Summer for dragonflies. Its also the best place on the patch for the last remaining pair of Willow Tits, usually heard rather than seen.

Third hide (about 3 o'clock from the layby) known as 'Scrapyard Hide' cos just over the way theres a scrapyard (genious what!). From here you can't see anything cos the vegetation is ridiculously too high. Good place to see Reed Warblers according to the October?

From the roof of Scrapyard Hide you can see our resident pair of Black Swans attempting to build a nest (fourth time lucky) obviously they still think their down under. Good luck mate!

When you can see the birds for the reeds, theres loads of'em really close and obliging. A step ladder could be useful here.

The last bit before you arrive back at the layby and have walked about 2 km or so.
38 species not alot I know but it wasn't hardcore stuff. Mornings and evenings are the best times statistically but who wants to get up at 5am in the morning (Insomniacs 'R' us). See you at the biggy or not.

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