Sail Of The Century


Photo: Kingfisher, the star bird of the Salford Docklands, and a symbol of halcyon – happy and peaceful times

James Walsh aka The Mancunian Birder describes seeing 100 different bird species on Salfords’ Docklands

There are not many people can say they have seen a hundred bird species on Salford Docklands – in actual fact there are just two at the moment

I have been recording birds on the site of the old docks from the Mark Addy Bridge on the north side of Pomona Docks to the Millennium Bridge west of Media City for 10 years now and have recently reached the milestone of 100 species

My favourite bird in all that time is the Whinchat, a small perching bird that I have found 3 times on Pomona, a male in May 2012, a female in May 2014 and a juvenile in September 2015

This, along with sightings of Garden Warbler, Wheatears, Stonechats, Redstart, Sedge Warbler, Spotted Flycatcher, Skylarks & Reed Bunting, highlights how great the habitat is on Pomona

One quality aspect of birdwatching is those magic moments and more experiences filed in the magic moments file include watching Peregrines display over Pomona, a singing male Black Redstart on the new Coronation Street set, seeing 200 terns flying around Salford Wharf one Spring day, a big flock of Waxwings on the Ordsall estate, the night-feeding flock of Northern Pochards, a Little Egret fishing alongside the resident Herons, and the recent Great Northern Diver

I have had some magic moments watching wading birds Little Ringed Plover, Ringed Plover & Northern Lapwing with chicks, but unfortunately all these species are declining due to habitat loss, and need a Conservation Plan

Finding your own birds rates highly for birdwatchers and I have been lucky to find Iceland Gull, Mediterranean Gull, Raven, Marsh Harrier, Northern Pintail, Pink-footed Goose, Mandarin, Greylag Goose, Ring-necked Parakeet, Woodcock, Lesser Whitethroat & Yellow Wagtail

It has also been wonderful to win a Big Draw Award with Ordsall Community Arts for a bird inspired art project, and to be at the forefront of starting the Docklands Birdwatching Cruises, showing newcomers to the area amazing sights such as Sand Martins at their breeding colony

So many people visit The Quays but it is still relatively unknown as a wildlife site – perhaps the BBC should consider broadcasting Springwatch from Salford, on the door-step of MediaCity ?



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