Birdwatching and cycling are becoming ever more popular pursuits, combining the two is fun, here I recount a day spent cycling around Salford, Sunday 6th May 2007, recording 59 species
Starting cycling at 4am, Barton Moss was the first sight visited at dawn – this site is part of the patchwork of mosses in the south west of Salford. The first highlight of the day was sat atop a small hawthorn here – a singing male Corn Bunting. In Botany Bay Wood amongst the commoner woodland species were a singing Cuckoo, a male Bullfinch and a pair of Grey Partridge. I heard a slightly unfamiliar song coming from an oil seed field north east of Bartonmoss Farm. Bizarrely, there had been an arm chair dumped by the road here and I was able to rest for a short while and use my telescope to the pick up the songster – a Tree Sparrow. Morning on the mosses are full of bird song with birds such as Lapwings, Skylarks, Whitethroat, Song Thrush, Blackcap and Yellowhammers adding to the highly tuneful soundtrack.
On the fields were small flocks of Stock Dove, Lesser Black Backed Gulls and Carrion Crows. The latter flew up in alarm and gave away the presence of a pair of Common Buzzard, circling over Twelve Yards Wood. Also on Chat Moss, a pair of Shelduck were on the fields at Olive Mount Farm. Astley Peat Pools were full of Plover activity – with Little Ringed and Ringed Plovers giving close views for identification and Lapwing chicks being looked after by watchful parents.
The brook and pools by the opencast workings site southwest of Boothstown added several more species including several singing Sedge Warblers and Reed Buntings, a pair of Tufted Duck and a pair of Mute Swans.
From here, I made my way along the Bridgewater Canal cycleway hearing my first Chiffchaffs of the day. During a drink break at Booths Hall Bridge I had superb views of a Willow Tit (identitifed by its’ strong pale wing panels), this was followed by Great Spotted Woodpecker, Jay and Long tailed Tit in Bittern Pits Wood, and the overcast and rainy conditions had brought large numbers of hirundines – Sand and House Martins and Swallows – and Swifts over the reedy pools northwest of Alder Forest. One of the highlights of the day was a gorgeous Kingfisher at the picturesque Dukes Wharf
What could be healthier than birdwatching and cycling ? It’s healthy for you and healthy for the environment