Northern Greenhouse Book Relaunch

northerngreenhousebook

“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

Link: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B073WCV4FN/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_apa_pmNzzbYJ85MRC

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

Film: https://youtu.be/6keMu3aAHpw

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

Link: https://youtu.be/CSc6F1VmXt8

“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”

 

LINKS

https://youtu.be/ataRCr1lcEw

Greater Manchester Birding City Region Launch

https://youtu.be/UTnOSoY6lu0

One Day In The Oldham Borough

https://youtu.be/COSUp98r0pM

Oldham EcoTour, Alexandra Park

https://youtu.be/ESNZJRSvmKM

International Dawn Chorus Day 2018

https://youtu.be/NQ_jq5LJs_s

The Natural Beauty of the Salford Mosses

https://youtu.be/0xzBQth7LSo

Isle of Mull – The UK’s Premier EcoTourism Site

YouTube: Mancunian Birder

 

Media

For interviews call James: 07465-724-472

For media enquiries call Shaun: 07472-557-855

Email enquiries: northerngreenhouse@gmail.com

 

Social Media

Twitter: @MancunianBirder

Twitter: @MancunianSpring

Twitter: #NorthernGreenhouse #greenoldham

 

Books

https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B01MQICE2S

James Walsh “The Birds of Salford Docklands”

https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B077GCFK1L

James Walsh “The Big 400”

https://issuu.com/livinginfutureecologies/docs/fruitful_futures_imagining_pomona

James Walsh “Fruitful Futures: Imagining Pomona”

 

Green Oldham Launch

https://youtu.be/1MnMmbttrzM

Green Oldham Launch Film

https://www.oldham.gov.uk/news/article/1533/green_oldham_campaign_set_to_launch

Green Oldham Campaign Set To Launch

http://www.oldham-chronicle.co.uk/news-features/139/main-news/119301/enjoy-nature-right-on-your-doorstep

Enjoy Nature On Your Doorstep

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Greater Manchester Represented On Global Big Day 2018

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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”

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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

Twitter

James Walsh, The Mancunian Birder: @MancunianBirder

The Mancunian Spring: @MancunianSpring

Team E-bird: @Team_eBird

Global Big Day News: #GlobalBigDay

 

Links

https://ebird.org/globalbigday

https://ebird.org/news/global-big-day-2018-a-birding-world-record

https://www.birdguides.com/news/global-big-day-2018-breaks-its-own-world-record/

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Photo: James Walsh on Global Big Day 2018

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

GMBCRworldsfirstbirdingcityregion

 

The Mancunian Birder Joins Global Big Day 2018

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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:

@MancunianBirder

@MancunianSpring

Email enquiries: northerngreenhouse@gmail.com

 

LINKS

 

https://ebird.org/globalbigday.

Global Big Day

 

YouTube: Mancunian Birder

 

https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B01MQICE2S

James Walsh “The Birds of Salford Docklands”

https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B077GCFK1L

James Walsh “The Big 400”

https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B073WCV4FN/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_apa_pmNzzbYJ85MRC

James Walsh “Northern Greenhouse”

https://issuu.com/livinginfutureecologies/docs/fruitful_futures_imagining_pomona

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

 

Greater Manchester Birding City Region Launch

GMBCRworldsfirstbirdingcityregion

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

gmbcrkestrel

 

Carbon Landscape Conference

Monday 19th March 2018

Time: 10am-4pm

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

Email: carbonlandscape@lancswt.org.uk

http://www.cityoftrees.org.uk/event/towards-carbon-landscape

carbonlandscapeconference

Greater Manchester Spatial Framework

Tuesday 20th March 2018

10:30am-12:30pm

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

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/public-meeting-greater-manchester-spatial-framework-tickets-42348416253

https://thenorthernspring.wordpress.com/2017/01/16/greater-manchester-spatial-framework-respsonse/

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gmgreenbelt

 

Greater Manchester Green Summit

Wednesday 21st March 2018

10am-3:30pm

@ Manchester Central (Windmill Street)

https://mancunianbirder.wordpress.com/2018/03/01/greater-manchesters-natural-capital/

greensummit

 

Frack Free Greater Manchester Conference

Wednesday 21st March 2018

7pm-8:30pm

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

http://salfordstar.com/article.asp?id=4408

ffgmconference

 

 

 

Greater Manchester’s Natural Capital

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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

greensummit

Mancunian Birders Notebook 2016

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A great year for new birds! My first ever Dalmatian Pelican, White-tailed Eagle, Demoiselle Crane, Hudsonian Whimbrel, Cliff Swallow, Brunnichs’ Guillemot, Siberian Accentor, Eastern Black Redstart and Dusky Thrush, plus first ever UK Blue Rock Thrush! Celebrations aplenty for reaching The Big 400 UK Bird Species and the publication of my first books

The New Year 2016 rather appropriately began with a Salford Docklands trip to see the Great Northern Loon

This bird remained on-site until April and attracted hundreds of visitors, providing many birders with their first trip to this site

Link: https://youtu.be/-vRmB4UuWMo

Film: Great Northern Loon @ Salford Docklands

James walsh mancunian Birder

There were many local patch visits to Salford Docklands during 2016 gaining data for the book “The Birds of Salford Docklands”

Link: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B01MQICE2S

“The Birds of Salford Docklands”

Early in the year, a Pallas’ Warbler showing in the hedgerow adjacent to Heswall ETW on Target Road on the Wirral

Link: https://mancunianbirder.wordpress.com/2016/01/08/on-target/

Mancunian Birder Article – On Target

Link: https://youtu.be/x7arYcLjgj4

Film: Pallas’s Warbler, Merseyside

January & February sightings of Chiffchaff on Pomona Docks yet again showed how very important this site is for passerines, and in the Spring Willow Warbler, Blackcap and Whitethroat on territory, Little Ringed Plover, Northern Lapwing, Common Sandpiper and a large Sand Martin colony were again noted!

With the Greater Manchester Green Summit happening in March 2018 it really is time to be talking seriously about how valuable urban nature reserves are to humanity

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Pomona Docks on Salford Docklands, Greater Manchester

Link: https://youtu.be/dsm0rZS6_jE

Film: Pomona Docks, Eden Project North

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Return To Pomona public event, Pomona Docks, Salford Docklands, Greater Manchester

Saturday 28th May was a superb day showing more people around this urban ecological paradise on the Return To Pomona event! In June I visited the Eden Project in Cornwall for the first time, and it really makes you think we need something similar here in the North!

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Architects’ Ecology Centre plans on Pomona Docks, Salford Docklands, Greater Manchester

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Cornflower, Pomona Docks, Salford Docklands

Ecologist Zoe Barrett found Northern Wheatear and a drake Northern Pochard on Pomona Docks, plus rare Bee Orchids showing the floral value of this urban site

Film: https://youtu.be/Opj22mU4yWc

Drake Northern Pochard, Pomona, Salford Docklands

In June, a research trip to London that included a stroll through St. James’ Park to have a look at the Pelicans, recording a personal moment recalling how seeing these birds helped get me into birding when I was a young lad !

Link: https://mancunianbirder.wordpress.com/2016/06/16/a-mancunian-in-london/

“A Mancunian In London”

Link: https://mancunianbirder.wordpress.com/2016/06/10/the-family-crest/

“The Family Crest” Red-crested Pochard Article

Link: https://youtu.be/t3CZfWQF_E4

@MancunianBirder shares birding memory in London!

It was therefore a full circle moment, on 19th June, to be seeing a DALMATIAN PELICAN in Cornwall, the first time I have seen a Pelican in the wild in the UK

Link: https://youtu.be/LZDhkEwxCh0

Film: Dalmatian Pelican, Restronguet Creek, Cornwall

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@MancunianBirder, Slimbridge Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust

A pair of Ruddy Shelducks on the Slimbridge WWT nature reserve on 21st June were a fine Summer solstice surprise and looked like they had just arrived – but where from ?

https://youtu.be/v662T7MjCTE

Film: Ruddy Shelducks, Slimbridge, Gloucestershire

After paying homage to the long-staying south coast / Radipole Lake RSPB eclipse drake Hooded Merganser, we began a long pilgrimage North, via the Red-necked Phalarope on Grindon Lough in Northumberland, to the Isle of Mull, the EcoTourism Paradise, to look for my 400th UK Bird Species, WHITE-TAILED EAGLE

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The Big 400 moment! Connecting with my first White-tailed Eagles!

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Celebrating Good Times on the Isle of Mull #TheBig400

Read all about it!!

https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B077GCFK1L

“The Big 400 – A Personal Journey To 400 UK Bird Species”

Thanks to Shaun @MancunianSpring for the photos!

Link: https://youtu.be/0xzBQth7LSo

Film: @MancunianBirder talks about The Isle of Mull

On 11th July, after 12 hours of searching, I connected with the DEMOISELLE CRANE (also known as the Koonj) in Northumberland – this was apparently the last sighting of this bird in the UK, reports suggest it was relocated in Denmark

Link: https://youtu.be/N0ZuUej3k8Q

Demoiselle Crane, Grindon Lough, Northumberland

A summer of White Stork research, including many hours spent searching fields and suitable habitat, such as a rubbish tip in the Midlands, and visiting the inaugural East Anglia Re-wilding programme

A sighting in the wild in Worcestershire on Monday 18th July of a White Stork in flight at Throckmorton Tip flying towards Wyre Piddle, picked up after hours of mooching and scanning !

In September, I saw my first EURASIAN BEAVER along the beautiful River Otter in Devon, it took three days to see, including some very early mornings

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Eurasian Beaver, River Otter, Devon, September 2016

Trenow Cove, with it’s spectacular views on Mount’s Bay in Cornwall, is the very picturesque site for the famous mega HUDSONIAN WHIMBREL

Link: https://youtu.be/q_yNJzlU7Tw

Film: Hudsonian Whimbrel, Trenow Cove, Mount’s Bay, Cornwall

The Dalmatian Pelican was still on a long summer residence, and whilst birding the Hayle Estuary news came through that Graham Gordon, a colleague from the infamous Brit birders “Birding In The USA” Cape May days, had found a mega rare American hirundine, a Cliff Swallow, on the Isles of Scilly!

Many thanks to George Kinnard for arranging the charter boat, and to Shaun for skilfully filming my Baywatch impression!

Link: https://youtu.be/xsJoHXEkwIw

Film: Onboard the Falcon charter boat from Penzance to Scilly

On the Isles of Scilly CLIFF SWALLOW, Lesser Yellowlegs, Temminck’s Stint and Whinchat seen in just 2 days! Really great to be on the islands again, for the first time since 1995!

Link: https://youtu.be/tGdG0NrzDas

Film: Whinchat, St Mary’s, Isles of Scilly

Link: https://youtu.be/QD4WckZb180

Film: Lesser Yellowlegs and Temminck’s Stint, Isles of Scilly

In Cheshire Yellow-legged Gull Sandbach Flashes and a pair of Ruddy Shelduck at Winsford Flashes

Thanks to Paul Brewster, Focalpoint Optics Manager, for the digiscoping equipment!

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Yellow-legged Gull, Sandbach Flashes, Cheshire, September 2016 (@MancunianBirder)

Whatever the origins of the Manchester North American Wood Duck/s this species certainly caught the imagination of the local media and resulted in an interview on That’s Manchester with Chyaz Samuel, and a newspaper article, birders should always be looking to find the angles that inspire to bring birds and the environment to the attention of the masses

Link: https://youtu.be/v4V9QFQWaw4

Film: Mancunian Birder That’s Manchester interview

Link: https://youtu.be/JRPh4j8lbUs

Film: Drake North American Wood Duck, Manchester

http://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/news/greater-manchester-news/rare-duck-getting-bird-spotters-11913559

Newspaper articles on birds are notorious for fake news!

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A twitch to Fife in Scotland for the Anstruther Harbour BRUNNICH’S GUILLEMOT, a species from the Arctic Circle

The trip was successful with the bird filmed in the harbour, with some accompanying genuine Scottish harbour sounds!

Link: https://youtu.be/LtEBTEtX5jo

Film: Brunnich’s Guillemot, Anstruther Harbour, Fife

Link: http://www.rarebirdalert.co.uk/v2/Content/Finders-in-the-field-Brunnichs-Guillemot-Anstruther-Fife.aspx?s_id=415753041

Rare Bird Alert! Finders In The Field – Brunnichs’ Guillemot

On 1st October I found a duck that resembled a possible mega Western Spot-billed Duck at Fog Lane Park, south Manchester

In my opinion this species could be a potential vagrant to the UK from Asia, therefore I documented the bird as fully as possible, just in case! It took a while to see that the open wings were heavily pinioned, therefore, this bird was very obviously a bird that had been placed on the park duck pond from a collection, especially as it might have been a Mallard hybrid?! This was yet another episode filed in the “Educational Birding” file

As the Western Spot-billed Duck is closely related to the Mallard and are found on ponds, it is possible that a vagrant could actually turn up in the UK with Mallards on a duck pond, but not this one! A first-winter drake in Cumbria on the River Eden in March 2014 might be a candidate for the British List

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Western Spot-billed Duck (or perhaps WSBD x Mallard hybrid?), Fog Lane Park, Manchester, October 2016

Moving swiftly on to perhaps one of the biggest ornithological events of the 21st century! The mythical SIBERIAN ACCENTOR influx into Europe, numbering a huge 213 birds between 4th October and 6th November, including 69 in Sweden and a bird at Easington, East Yorkshire that attracted thousands of birders to the Old School House grounds, where this bird fed in the open, famously around a big yellow skip, much to the joy of the huge crowds!

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MEGA! Siberian Accentor, Easington, Yorkshire, October 2016

Link: https://youtu.be/2TKPhgeeCWM

Film: Siberian Accentor, Easington, Yorkshire

Link: http://www.rarebirdalert.co.uk/v2/Content/Finders_in_the_field_Siberian_Accentor_Easington_Yorkshire.aspx?s_id=385593560%20via%20@RareBirdAlertUK

Rare Bird Alert! Finders In The Field – Siberian Accentor

Link: https://www.birdguides.com/articles/britain-ireland/bird-of-the-week-siberian-accentor-easington/

Birdguides “Bird Of The Week” Siberian Accentor, Easington

Link: http://www.dailypost.co.uk/news/local-news/russian-invasion-puts-britains-birdwatchers-12039826

Julian Hughes of RSPB Conwy on the Siberian Accentor influx

Also, around Spurn a Shore Lark near the Bluebell Café, plus a very elusive OBP, and flocks of White-fronted Geese

The Lancashire Ross’s Goose that arrived as a first-winter bird in November 2013 again returned in the Autumn, firstly onto Newton Marsh on The Fylde, then Marshside Marsh RSPB, where three Cattle Egret were also present

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Ross’s Goose, Marshside Marsh RSPB, Lancashire, October 2016

On 1st November a party of four adult Whooper Swans flew onto Castleshaw Reservoirs, one of my local patches amongst the hills above Oldham, Greater Manchester, giving some superb views

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Whooper Swans, Castleshaw Reservoir, Greater Manchester, November 2016

A trip to the North-East, to the Cleveland coast, for my first EASTERN BLACK REDSTART and a Barnacle Goose flock at Saltholme RSPB Reserve

Eastern Black Redstart

The famous Eastern Black Redstart on the Cleveland coast, November 2016

Link: https://youtu.be/1PJiOuq2NrA

Film: Eastern Black Redstart, Skinningrove, Cleveland

It was a mega carry on into the winter, with a DUSKY THRUSH being found near Chesterfield in December, however, this wasn’t even the rarest thrush to be found in the Midlands during the winter!

Link: https://youtu.be/a-G2wX_iKqU

Film: Dusky Thrush, Beeley, Derbyshire

Also in December, following up a report of 2 drake Barrow’s Goldeneye on the River Mersey east of Chorlton Water Park, a pair of Goldeneye were seen, presumably not the same birds that were reported! I find it’s always worth following reports like this as you just never know your luck in the big city!

Link: https://youtu.be/9YPjC6VtXHU

Film: Goldeneye on the River Mersey

SALFORD SHINES

2016 was completed in fine style with the publishing of my first books, a joint effort on “Fruitful Futures: Imagining Pomona” and a solo effort, “The Birds of Salford Docklands”, two books on the ecology of the area of docklands located to the west of Manchester, now generally known as Salford Quays

Link: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B01MQICE2S

“The Birds of Salford Docklands”

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booklaunch

“Fruitful Futures: Imagining Pomona” Book Launch, Manchester

Also in the Salford area a Great Grey Shrike over-wintered on the Mosslands, and the Little Woolden Moss Lancashire Wildlife Trust Nature Reserve continued to progress from strength to strength

https://youtu.be/Mkm8PBWq2Ew

Great Grey Shrike, Salford Mosses

https://youtu.be/CDc9mliYjmM

Pink-footed Geese, Salford Mosses

https://youtu.be/NQ_jq5LJs_s

Natural Beauty of the Salford / Manchester Mosses

A BLUE CHRISTMAS !

During the festive season, another sub-urban mega, this time in the Midlands! A male BLUE ROCK THRUSH in the Cotswolds, giving great views around the gardens and houses of Stow-on-the-Wold! Although I have seen this species on Mediterranean birding trips this was my first UK sighting – happy days!

https://www.rarebirdalert.co.uk/v2/Content/12-Rares-of-Christmas-2017-Day1-Blue-Rock-Thrush.aspx?s_id=837502481

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Male Blue Rock Thrush, Stow-on-the-Wold, Gloucestershire, December 2016

Wood You Believe It ?

Photo: The stunning drake North American Wood Duck at Fairfield on the Ashton Canal, photographed in September 2016 (James Walsh @MancunianBirder)
A pair of North American Wood Ducks have been spotted at Fairfield on the picturesque Ashton Canal just 2 miles east of Manchester, to the surprise of local birdwatchers

James Walsh aka The Mancunian Birder, a qualified Ecologist who has researched the species both in America and the U.K. says “The North American Wood Duck, commonly known as the Wood Duck, is a unique species, it is one of just a small number of duck species that perch and nest in trees, they like secluded still and slow moving water with plenty waterside vegetation and trees, therefore they are very much at home on the Ashton Canal

Sightings of this species are very rare in Europe with most relating to birds that have escaped from zoos or collections/formed feral populations, however, it is also scientifically proven that Wood Ducks are flying the Atlantic and arriving in Europe naturally – a drake on Stronsay in Orkney in January 2016 was another Scottish Isles sighting that might be a genuine vagrant

The North American Wood Duck is a symbol of successful conservation in the USA as the species was almost extinct around the turn of the 20th century, but good folks of America have worked together to restore habitat and put up special nesting boxes, and now the USA population is on the up

The drake is renowned for spectacular colours, while, like most ducks, the female is a brownish colour, so she is camouflaged on the nest and when looking after ducklings

A drake Wood Duck attracted many birdwatchers to Mersey Vale Nature Reserve just west of Stockport from October 2015 – February 2016, and there was also a sighting of a drake Wood Duck at Chorlton Water Park in July 2016”