24 Hour Birding People


The big Salford Docklands bird news this winter is the confirmed presence of Aythya diving ducks on-site night-feeding with 3 Northern Pochards and 21 Tufted Duck spotted at 11:15pm on Monday 5th December 2016

With streetlight & moonlight it is possible to birdwatch on the Salford Quays area of the docklands 24 hours per day and the site is famous for Aythya ducks utilising the docklands for feeding during the night-time

Huge numbers of up to 2500 Northern Pochards and 1760 Tufted Ducks were present on Salford Docklands during the winters of the 1980’s and 1990’s up to 2002, however, numbers are generally just double figures these days; but it is still a somewhat magical urban birding experience to see night-feeding Aythyas


James Walsh “The Birds Of Salford Docklands”


Peak District Hosts Mega-Twitch!


The small village of Beeley in the Peak District area of Derbyshire has seen an influx of hundreds of birders today due to news of a mega rare Dusky Thrush from Siberia being present in the orchard & gardens of the village being broadcast this morning

Rachel Jones posted pictures of the bird on facebooks’ UK Bird Identification Forum on Sunday 4th December and very quickly experienced birders made the identification of Dusky Thrush, a species that is usually in Asia in the winter

The location of the bird was released this morning via the Bird Information Services such as Rare Bird Alert and Birdnet, whilst social media lit up with news of the birds’ location, and straight away, there were birders turning up from around the country!

Many thanks to the residents of Beeley who have hosted hundreds of birders today, whilst in turn the many visiting birders have made donations to a local charity – the events of today in Peak District Derbyshire were a great advert for birding; a fine example of a twitch being managed properly

The name Dusky Thrush does not really do the species justice, perhaps the name Chestnut-winged Thrush might be more appropriate ?

For birders this “Sibe-heaven” Autumn continues up into the festive season (& beyond ?)




Green Party Win First Online Greater Manchester Mayoral Debate


The Green Party Mayoral candidate Deyika Nzeribe won the first real online major debate of the Greater Manchester Mayoral campaign with 78% of readers agreeing that we should NOT build on Greater Manchesters’ Greenbelt – a big issue that could be very important with voters during the Greater Manchester Mayoral Election Campaign in 2017


The article “Should Greater Manchester Build On The Greenbelt” was printed online on the Manchester Evening News website on 6th November 2016

Curiously, the Labour Party Mayoral candidate Andy Burnham did not provide the Labour response, instead Jonny Reynolds span some claptrap from the New Labour spinbook, this could be a big tactical mistake from Andy Burnham, who had been attempting to prove some environmental credentials through an inaugural speech at an anti-fracking event

The Green Party are light years ahead of the Labour Party regarding environmental policy in Greater Manchester – although Jeremy Corbyns’ environment manifesto promises a much more balanced UK ecosystem in the future, Labour share complicit responsibility for the presence of IGas at Barton Moss during the winter of 2013/14, whereas the Green Party were supportive of the anti-fracking protests on Barton Moss from day one!

Queenslanders enlighten global film scene



If you are contacting your MP with seasonal greetings, perhaps also suggest that they get a copy of this for Chrimbo! “Frackman” tells the story of accidental activist Dayne Pratzky and the Australian peoples’ struggle against the fracking industry that Forbes noted was a Ponzi Scheme 5 years ago!!

The media bumph says

“Australia will soon become the world’s biggest gas exporter as more than 30,000 wells are sunk in the state of Queensland where Dayne lives, with many requiring controversial “fracking”. He and his neighbours have unwittingly become the centre of a massive industrial landscape and they have no legal right to stop mining on their land. Dayne embarks on a journey that transforms him from conservative pig-shooter to sophisticated global activist as the Frackman. He meets the people drawn into a battle that is crossing the ideological divide, bringing together a peculiar alliance of farmers, activists and political conservatives. Along the way Dayne encounters love, tragedy and triumph”

Good on the Australian Environmental Movement for bringing this big issue to the big screen!

Manc Yanks


American waterfowl are a rare, yet regular treat for Mancunian birdwatchers, with seventeen accepted records of eight different species – the three big records are the drake Canvasback at Pennington Flash Country Park, 11th-30th July 2002, drake Bufflehead Astley Moss, 11th April 2004 and the Pied-billed Grebe on Hollingworth Lake in November 2010

The commonest Greater Manchester Yankee ducks are the Green-winged Teal (5 records) and Ring-necked Duck (5 records), with Lesser Scaup (2 records),  American Wigeon and Blue-winged Teal both have one record each; the premier “Yankee” site in the county is Pennington Flash with the Wigan/Leigh area having the lions’ share of records

Also worthy of discussion is the North American Wood Duck and Cinnamon Teal, neither species are on the official British List – the Wood Duck occurrences need at least another article to provide a scientific picture & a drake Cinnamon Teal at Elton Reservoir arrived on a perfect day for a genuine trans-Atlantic vagrant in October 1991

Snow Geese are generally accepted as being wild if they over-fly the county with Pink-footed Geese, whilst Ross’s Goose & Cackling Goose have also been recorded

A long-staying “blinged-up” female Hooded Merganser on Etherow Country Park had a plastic zoo/aviculturalist-style ring, illustrating the baggage that generally arrives with rare wildfowl!

Any rare wildfowl that a birder finds should be photographed and notes taken regarding state of plumage and rings on legs, especially if the ring looks like it might be one from a genuine North American ringing programme



Pied-billed Grebe, Hollingworth Lake




Pied-billed Grebe on Hollingworth Lake


Canvasback at Pennington Flash


North American Wood Duck in Manchester






Peoples’ Plan For The Future


On Thursday 1st December 2016 the Peoples’ Plan Greater Manchester hosted an Environment Conference in Manchester city centre to get a formula together for a more prosperous and greener future

The four themes of the Conference included Energy, Greenspace, Access To Nature & Land Usage including Food & Resources – Manchester is known for radical action & this Conference represents civil society action!

The peoples’ work is being sent to a team of academics, who are writing a report on the findings & this report represents the Greater Manchester Peoples’ Plan For The Environment

A big range of topics formed the big chat, with conservations ranging from a possible new Mancunian currency, to how urgent an Environmental Plan For Greater Manchester is, to the state of the Arctic sea-ice, to the Salford Mosslands, to Redlines Protests, to how can we influence the Paris Agreement ?

Priorities for Greater Manchester include


  • An urgent intervention regarding the GM Spatial Plan for referral to ecologists
  • The formulation of a Greater Manchester EcoTourism Plan
  • Planning for Manchester National Park City