Northern Greenhouse Book Relaunch


“Northern Greenhouse” Relaunch On June 5th, World Environment Day 2018

The book “The Northern Greenhouse – A New Vision Of The North Volume 1” is being relaunched to coincide with World Environment Day, June 5th 2018


“The Northern Greenhouse – A New Vision Of The North Volume 1” James Walsh & Shaun Hargreaves, Published On Amazon Kindle


“The Northern Greenhouse – A New Vision Of The North Volume 1” Promotional Film


“The Journey To Zero Carbon”


Author, ecologist James Walsh says “In July 2017 I published a book, “The Northern Greenhouse”, to give an alternative vision of how we might be able to achieve real progress on balancing economy and ecology in the North of England”

“Since the publication there have been some very positive steps, but with starker warnings about the state of the environment, species decline and climate change, the need for a new vision and radical action is getting more and more urgent”

“The positives have included lively Conferences such as “The Peoples Powerhouse” Conference in Doncaster, Fylde Future Conference at Blackpool Solaris Centre, Centre for Alternative Technology Conference and “Greater Manchester Green Summit” in March 2018 that showcased the huge ambition and great potential of Greater Manchester, the UK’s Urban Pioneer, to be a world-leading Green City Region”

“The business case for ecologically sound alternative land use is becoming more compelling and we have also recently seen the publication of a number of Natural Capital reports, attempting to quantify the environment from a sustainable perspective, and a number of reports looking at just how important our parks and greenspaces are”

“In terms of nature reserves, the Salford Castle Irwell Urban Wetlands recently opened, and there are plans for an “Eden Project North” in Morecambe Bay, one of the North’s most progressive EcoTourism locations”

“People power in the North is on the increase, with the anti-fracking movement and Save The Greenbelt movement increasing in size, and gaining some notable wins, showing the way and giving confidence to the people new to environmental campaigning! The Turn Moss community win could really prove to be a turning point!”

“Also positive is the creation of World Bee Day, to recognise the global importance of bees, on 20th May, and the upcoming launch of Green Oldham, also on Tuesday 5th June, World Environment Day”



Greater Manchester Birding City Region Launch

One Day In The Oldham Borough

Oldham EcoTour, Alexandra Park

International Dawn Chorus Day 2018

The Natural Beauty of the Salford Mosses

Isle of Mull – The UK’s Premier EcoTourism Site

YouTube: Mancunian Birder



For interviews call James: 07465-724-472

For media enquiries call Shaun: 07472-557-855

Email enquiries:


Social Media

Twitter: @MancunianBirder

Twitter: @MancunianSpring

Twitter: #NorthernGreenhouse #greenoldham



James Walsh “The Birds of Salford Docklands”

James Walsh “The Big 400”

James Walsh “Fruitful Futures: Imagining Pomona”


Green Oldham Launch

Green Oldham Launch Film

Green Oldham Campaign Set To Launch

Enjoy Nature On Your Doorstep


Greater Manchester Represented On Global Big Day 2018


Photo: James Walsh at the start of Global Big Day 2018

GLOBAL BIG DAY, one day in the year when birders from all over the world take part in a mass, simultaneous birdwatch, was on Saturday 5th May this year

Globally, more than 28,000 birders set a new world record recording more than 6,800 bird species

Six birders represented the Greater Manchester area with James Walsh, aka The Mancunian Birder, recording the most number, 56 bird species, during the day

James, the author of “The Birds of Salford Docklands”, “Northern Greenhouse” and “The Big 400” conducted a Greater Manchester Bird Race on Global Big Day to highlight the extraordinary wealth of nature sites on our doorstep

James, who currently lives in the Oldham borough, says “At the recent Greater Manchester Green Summit I pledged to promote the birds, and the environment, of Greater Manchester City Region and this huge international event, Global Big Day, was a great way to start, especially being involved in the creation of a new world record!”

“I set myself the challenge of recording the highest number of bird species I could on foot and with just one all-day Metrolink ticket for transport, to highlight the amazing birds and habitats we have in the urban Greater Manchester area and keep it green!”

“Highlights of the day were a singing male Wood Warbler in Brookdale Park, a singing male Lesser Whitethroat and Willow Warblers on Pomona Docks, Peregrine Falcon at Salford Quays, Sand Martins, Dipper and a symphony of singing Chiffchaff and Blackcap in the Medlock Valley, Buzzards circling over Manchester city centre, Bullfinch, Tufted Ducks and a Grey Heron nest in Alexandra Park, Oldham, Ring-necked Parakeet, Reed Bunting, Little Grebe and Kingfisher in the Mersey Valley” says James

“I walked 18 miles and took a total of 7 Metrolink journeys, starting at Derker around 6am, I wanted to highlight all of Greater Manchester, so I chose Oldham’s Alexandra Park in the north, Brookdale Park and the Medlock Valley, the green wildlife corridor to the city centre, and the Mersey Valley in the south, I even visited Albert Square to try and see the Black Redstart on the Town Hall”

“It was great to see Fletcher Moss, the birthplace of the Royal Society of the Protection of Birds, and Carrington Moss, a very fragile, essential farmland habitat in Trafford, represented on Global Big Day”


Photo: Singing male Wood Warbler, Brookdale Park, Newton Heath


James Walsh aka The Mancunian Birder

Bird Species List

Global Big Day, Saturday 5th May 2018

Species Scientific name
1 Mute Swan Cygnus olor
2 Canada Goose Branta canadensis
3 Mallard Anas platyrhynchos
4 Tufted Duck Aythya fuligula
5 Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo
6 Grey Heron Ardea cinerea
7 Little Grebe Tachybaptus ruficollis
8 Sparrowhawk Accipiter nisus
9 Buzzard Buteo buteo
10 Peregrine Falco peregrinus
11 Moorhen Gallinula chloropus
12 Coot Fulica atra
13 Black-headed Gull Chroicocephalus ridibundus
14 Lesser Black-backed Gull Larus fuscus
15 Herring Gull Larus argentatus
16 Feral Pigeon Columba livia
17 Woodpigeon Columba palumbas
18 Collared Dove Streptopelia decaocto
19 Ring-necked Parakeet Psittacula krameri
20 Kingfisher Alcedo atthis
21 Great Spotted Woodpecker Dendrocopus major
22 Magpie Pica pica
23 Jay Garrulus glandarius
24 Jackdaw Corvus monedula
25 Carrion Crow Corvus corone
26 Goldcrest Regulus regulus
27 Blue Tit Cyanistes caeruleus
28 Great Tit Parus major
29 Coal Tit Periparus ater
30 Sand Martin Riparia riparia
31 Swallow Hirundo rustica
32 Long-tailed Tit Aegithalos caudatus
33 Wood Warbler Phylloscopus sibilatrix
34 Chiffchaff Phylloscopus collybita
35 Willow Warbler Phylloscopus trochilus
36 Blackcap Sylvia atricapilla
37 Lesser Whitethroat Sylvia curruca
38 Whitethroat Sylvia communis
39 Nuthatch Sitta europea
40 Treecreeper Certhia familiaris
41 Wren Troglodytes troglodytes
42 Starling Sturnus vulgaris
43 Dipper Cinclus cinclus
44 Blackbird Turdus merula
45 Song Thrush Turdus philomelos
46 Mistle Thrush Turdus viscivorus
47 Robin Erithacus rubecula
48 Dunnock Prunella modularis
49 House Sparrow Passer domesticus
50 Grey Wagtail Motacilla cinerea
51 Pied Wagtail Motacilla alba
52 Chaffinch Fringilla coelebs
53 Greenfinch Carduelis chloris
54 Goldfinch Carduelis carduelis
55 Bullfinch Pyrrhula pyrrhula
56 Reed Bunting Emeriza schoeniclus


Social Media


James Walsh, The Mancunian Birder: @MancunianBirder

The Mancunian Spring: @MancunianSpring

Team E-bird: @Team_eBird

Global Big Day News: #GlobalBigDay




Photo: James Walsh on Global Big Day 2018


Photo: The event highlighted the environment of Greater Manchester, including Pomona (Artwork: Liz Ackerley)



The Mancunian Birder Joins Global Big Day 2018


James Walsh, aka The Mancunian Birder, photographed at Sale Water Park in the Mersey Valley, a top birding site in Greater Manchester


Ecologist/author James Walsh, also known as The Mancunian Birder, is taking part in Global Big Day on Saturday May 5th 2018

The Mancunian Birder is joining 20,000 other birders around the world for Global Big Day, one day in the year that unites birdwatchers worldwide across political boundaries and language barriers, all brought together through the shared passion for birds, and the results help scientists to learn about bird populations and migration patterns

James, the author of “The Birds of Salford Docklands”, “Northern Greenhouse” and “The Big 400” is doing a Greater Manchester Bird Race on Global Big Day to highlight the extraordinary wealth of nature sites on our doorstep

James, who currently lives in the Oldham borough, says “At the recent Greater Manchester Green Summit I pledged to promote the birds, and the environment, of Greater Manchester City Region and this huge international event should be a great way to start!”

“My only source of transport on the day is the Metrolink to cover as many sites as possible, and at the same time keep it green!”

“The plan is to get on the first tram of the day at 6am at Derker, visit Oldham’s Alexandra Park, and then make my way into Manchester centre via Newton Heath and the Medlock Valley, then visit Salford Quays, the Mersey Valley and Wythenshawe Park recording the incredible variety of bird species along the way”

“The record number of bird species seen in a calendar day in Greater Manchester is more than 100 so I’m attempting to see 100 bird species but I’ll need a lot of luck to see that many!”


For interviews call James: 07465-724-472

For media enquiries call Shaun: 07472-557-855

Follow the event on Twitter:



Email enquiries:



Global Big Day


YouTube: Mancunian Birder

James Walsh “The Birds of Salford Docklands”

James Walsh “The Big 400”

James Walsh “Northern Greenhouse”

James Walsh et al “Fruitful Futures: Imagining Pomona” (now available as a FREE e-book)


Greater Manchester Birding City Region Launch


Monday 19th March – Wednesday 21st March 2018 sees the launch of the brand new Northern Greenhouse project GREATER MANCHESTER BIRDING CITY REGION

Follow on Twitter: @MancunianBirder  @MancunianSpring

#GMBCR   #BirdingCityRegion   #GMGreenCity  #MetrolinkBirding



Carbon Landscape Conference

Monday 19th March 2018

Time: 10am-4pm

Venue: St Peters Pavilion, Hurst Street, Hindley, Wigan WN2 3DN



Greater Manchester Spatial Framework

Tuesday 20th March 2018


Friends Meeting House, 6 Mount Street, Manchester M2 5NS




Greater Manchester Green Summit

Wednesday 21st March 2018


@ Manchester Central (Windmill Street)



Frack Free Greater Manchester Conference

Wednesday 21st March 2018


@ Central Methodist Hall, Oldham Street, Manchester M1 1JQ





Greater Manchester’s Natural Capital


Photo: The Willow Tit is the most special bird in Greater Manchester in terms of population size and ecological significance on a national scale (Photographer: James Walsh @MancunianBirder)

Natural Capital is the generally accepted word for the economic value of the environment from a conservation perspective – nature conservation is an industry, and nature reserves can be big money spinners and provide more decent jobs for local people than, for example, the fracking industry, if conservation organisations with the know-how can work with business, local entrepreneurs and the community

The BBCs’ Springwatch has unlocked the British peoples’ love for the environment, but how many people in Greater Manchester realise that we have equally fascinating and enthralling wildlife on our own doorstep in the city region as can be watched on TV – it is surely not long before Springwatch is broadcast from Greater Manchester, or we have our own similar style of television programme

As an environmental purist, perhaps it is slightly unpalatable to put a price on wildlife and the environment, but it could be argued that in todays’ current capitalist system we risk losing even more habitat and species if we don’t maximise the natural capital potential of our wildlife and environment

Greenspaces are great for peoples’ mental health and dog-walking, but how many Councils are likely to refuse planning permission to big business because local people like to walk their dog around what is now likely to be eyed up as prime real estate land ?

I believe that we need to recognise the full potential of our environment and that the conservation movement, including the Save The Greenbelt movement, need to work in a much more business-like manner, and, likewise, the business community, including politicians, need to understand the value of natural capital, and perhaps we can meet somewhere in the middle

If we organise, educate and promote in a sustainable, positive and efficient manner, how much could each bird, flower and tree be worth to the Greater Manchester economy ?

For example, Peregrines are now present in several urban habitats around Greater Manchester, yet hardly anyone knows about them, they are not promoted and in that sense, perhaps we are missing a trick in terms of positive publicity for the environment – the business community, politicians, tourism industry and mainstream media in Greater Manchester just doesn’t seem to have cottoned on yet to the natural capital value of the city region

Another example is the Willow Tit, how many people know just how special this bird is on a national level ? Ten per cent of the UK population calls Greater Manchester home, and with this species being increasingly confined to the North of England, we find ourselves in a unique position of responsibility in terms of conserving this species that is on the brink of extinction in the UK

The extreme weather event happening at the moment (late February/early March 2018), the Arctic-like weather in Europe coinciding with an unprecedented temperature rise around the Arctic circle, is an urgent reminder that we are in the Anthropocene, a new geological epoch, where human, industrial activity is adversely affecting weather systems on a huge, planetary scale and we need change now!

Already this year, a decent number of green listening events have happened in preparation for the official Greater Manchester Green Summit, at Manchester Central, Wednesday 21st March 2018, and all these events are moving Greater Manchester City Region in a much more positive angle in terms of awareness of the concept of natural capital, but we now have to translate words to action


Greater Manchester Winterwatch



Photo: A Green Sandpiper was seen at the traditional site of Hope Carr Nature Reserve

Winter is usually a fairly quiet season in the birders’ year, but winter 2017/2018 was particularly lively on the birding scene in Greater Manchester, yet again proving what an amazing geographical/ecological area we have for birds!

Little Egret counts during the winter included 3 on Elton Reservoir, 3 on Dunham Massey/Bollington, 2 on Carrington Moss, 1 Cutacre Country Park and 1 on the River Glaze

Film: Little Egret, Pennington Flash

Pink-footed Geese “on the deck” are becoming a more regular sight for Greater Manchester birders with up to 550 on the Little Woolden Moss Lancashire Wildlife Trust Nature Reserve, plus 2 on the Manchester Ship Canal and 2 on Hollingworth Lake

A Greylag Goose on Chorlton Water Park in February was wearing a neck collar and was traced to the Lake District

Film: Pink-footed Geese, Salford Mosses

Greater Manchester is a great place to watch ducks, especially in the winter, and some of the highlights were a drake Northern Pintail on Chat Moss on the Croxdens Pools 15th-17th November, 33 Mandarin Ducks counted on 30th January at Etherow Country Park, female Greater Scaup and drake Smew on Elton Reservoir

Film: Drake Smew, Elton Reservoir

A Red-breasted Merganser was present in urban Manchester on Platt Fields Park and Alexandra Park from 13th-27th November, perhaps the same bird was present at Chorlton Water Park intermittently from 29th January-7th February, also one toured the reservoirs of the Piethorne Valley, Rochdale, 5th January-3rd February

Film: Red-breasted Merganser, Alexandra Park

Film: Red-breasted Merganser, Chorlton Water Park

Two iconic duck species here in Greater Manchester in the winter are the Goldeneye and the Northern Pochard

48 Goldeneye were counted on 24th January on the River Irwell and high counts of Northern Pochard included 17 on Audenshaw Reservoir, 14 on Chorlton Water Park, 10 on Moses Gate Country Park and 7 on Hollingworth Lake

Film: Northern Pochard, Chorlton Water Park

Film: Goldeneye, Mersey Valley

Film: Goldeneye, Salford Docklands

Peregrines continued to give spectacular views to birders around the urban environments of Manchester city centre and Salford Quays, and a Hen Harrier was reported on Lightshaw Meadows–ufE

Film: Peregrines on That’s Manchester TV

Green Sandpiper were present on Hope Carr Nature Reserve and Audenshaw Reservoir and a Woodcock was present on Pomona Docks

A very confiding and long-staying first-winter Glaucous Gull attracted crowds to the picturesque Hollingworth Lake from 25th January and it was still present in mid-February

Film: Glaucous Gull, Hollingworth Lake

Iceland Gull, Caspian Gull, Yellow-legged Gull and Mediterranean Gull were seen at a number of sites, especially the Pennington Flash roost

A 2nd-winter Caspian Gull on Cowlishaw Moss, Shaw, Oldham, 21st January-11th February – this bird, carrying a big yellow ring X106, drew large numbers of birders to the fields on Cocker Mill Lane as it was a very difficult bird to see, with some birders taking up to 10 attempts to see it!

Film: Caspian Gull, Cowlishaw

Film: Yellow-legged Gull, New Smithfield Market

Big passerine sightings were a Hooded Crow in Ashton-in-Makerfield, Mealy Redpoll Elton Reservoir 7th -29th January and a Hawfinch, part of the invasion of this species into the UK, was present in Flixton from 2nd-12th December

Film: Hooded Crow, Wigan

Film: Mealy Redpoll, Elton Reservoir

Film: Hawfinch, Flixton

In conservation news, a new urban nature reserve was opened in Salford and ecologists began Willow Tit survey training with the Lancashire Wildlife Trust and Greater Manchester Ecology Unit as part of the Carbon Landscape Citizen Science Project

Film: Castle Irwell Urban Wetlands, Salford

Carbon Landscape Citizen Science Project

Film: Great Spotted Woodpecker, Carbon Landscape Project




Northern Pochards on Salford Docklands

Salford Quays could regain Site of Biological Importance status on the strength of the recent revelations that Aythya diving ducks, and in particular, the Northern Pochard, still feed at the site

The biggest numbers of this species on the Salford Docklands are seen during the night, when the species most actively feeds, alongside bigger numbers of Tufted Ducks

The sightings are courtesy of some of Greater Manchesters’ most hardcore birders, who have been visiting the site during the night-time, you might have heard of Madchesters’ “24 Hour Party People” but these are the “24 Hour Birding People”

The Northern Pochard (Aythya ferina) is one of the most iconic species of bird associated with the Salford Docklands with large numbers present in the 1980’s and 1990’s during the winters that included a high count of around 2500 birds, occurring in January 1997

Academics and students from Manchester Metropolitan University, including Stuart Marsden, recorded these birds during special night-time birding sessions and produced a big paper; Salford Quays was given Site of Biological Importance status with the GMEU, Greater Manchester Ecology Unit

Numbers have reduced in the 21st century, due to a combination of climate change, the species not visiting the UK in the same numbers and the changing waters of the Salford Docklands – oxygenation of the water happened prior to the 2002 Commonwealth Games that seemed to reduce the availability of the birds’ food source

In recent years there have been a number of sightings of flocks of Northern Pochards feeding at night on Salford Docklands and these birds traditionally roost at Chorlton Water Park during the day

Birds that have been present during the day-time are a drake present from January 1st – 15th March 2014, three, a drake and 2 females were present during the afternoon of 1st December 2015 and a drake present 11th – 26th July 2016

Recent Northern Pochard (Aythya ferina) sightings on Salford Docklands

A drake was present from 1st January – 15th March 2014, favouring the Manchester Ship Canal from Clippers Quay to Pomona

In February 2015 it was confirmed for the first time in more than ten years that Northern Pochards were present on Salford Docklands during the night-time with a series of 5 sightings of 7-20 birds, located under the streetlights / moon-light from Trafford Whar,f on the south side of the central docklands area


Photo: The Salford Docklands under streelight/moonlight; a unique birding experience!

On 9th February at 2035 hours 9 Northern Pochard were present with 57 Tufted Ducks, seen at just 40 yards range

On 11th February 19 Northern Pochard were seen at 0525 hours with 12 seen at 0525 hours on 12th February and 14 with 45 Tufted Ducks at 2230 on 16th February

The highest recent count was on 17th February when 20 Northern Pochards were counted with 50 Tufted Ducks at 2130 hours

On 1st December 2015 3 Northern Pochard, 1 drake and 2 females, were present on the central docklands area during the afternoon, viewable from Trafford wharf

On 23rd December 2015 6 Northern Pochards were present during the night-time with 7 Tufted Ducks, viewable from Trafford Wharf at 2210 hours

On 11th-26th July 2016 a drake was present on Pomona Docks

In 2017 a series of four night-time sightings on the central docklands area starting with 11 on 4th January at 2215 hours with 91 Tufted Ducks

The highest count of 2017 was from Ecologist Zoe Barrett, 17 on 26th January around 2100 hours with 56 Tufted Ducks, 4 on 31st January at 2210 hours with 19 Tufted Ducks and 5 on 1st March at 2210 hours with 17 Tufted Ducks completed the sightings

January – March is the best time of the year to see these birds, therefore, why not take a trip to the Salford Quays and try to find these beautiful birds that are now listed as Globally Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List


To attempt to see the Salford Docklands Northern Pochards, try Trafford Wharf, the path along the south side of the docklands, the Lowry Bridge or the path in front of the Lowry Mall, any time between 2000 hours and 0600 hours 


Photo: This drake Northern Pochard, pictured with a Mallard for convenient comparison, was present on Salford Docklands from 1st January – 15th March 2014


Photo: A drake Northern Pochard on the Manchester Ship Canal – a real urban scene!


Could the Greater Manchester Green Summit on Wednesday 21st March 2018 agree to a Greater Manchester Northern Pochard Plan ?


Photo: The drake Northern Pochard is a very distinctive bird to identify during the daytime and its’ unique shape makes it possible to identify this species at night on silhouette

For more information, see the book “The Birds of Salford Docklands”


Photo: Tufted Ducks (Aythya fuligula) gathering at night on the Manchester Ship Canal


Photo: Tufted Ducks feeding at night on the Manchester Ship Canal – these distinctive diving ducks are often present in the same flocks as the Northern Pochard


The Salford Docklands’ rarest ever bird species, the Ferruginous Duck, has twice occurred on-site in with flocks of Northern Pochard and Tufted Duck


Could Salfords’ docklands regain Site of Biological Importance (SBI) status due to the new evidence of Northern Pochards still utilising the site as a winter feeding area