The Big Twitch on the Big Ditch – Eastham Locks to Salford Docks
The Inaugural Manchester Ship Canal
Bird Race 24.05.13
The Team – James Walsh, Shaun Hargreaves and Steve Burke
Eastham Locks – where the Manchester Ship Canal meets the River Mersey
Sign at Salford Docklands 100 year Anniversary Walkway (1894-1994)
Manchester Ship Canal Coat of Arms
The Manchester Ship Canal, also known as “The Big Ditch”
Moore, Moore, Moore
We arrived at Moore Nature Reserve at 04.30 hrs with the aim of the day, to record as many species as possible at sites along the Manchester Ship Canal. The first birds of the day were a singing Yellowhammer, Grey Partridge, a dashing Hobby, plus around the woods, lakes & reeds – Great Spotted Woodpecker, Treecreeper, Jay, Bullfinch, Reed Bunting & Greylag Goose.
Frodsham Marsh was next up and a Marsh Harrier quartered the reeds, another Hobby & Raven flew through, whilst a big surprise was a male Merlin!
Eyes on the Prize
Thanks to the wonderful chaps @ Woolston, we gained access to this superb reserve, scoring Black-necked Grebes, Pochard & yet another Hobby!
Hobby at Frodsham, one of 3 birds seen during the MSC bird race (Steve Burke)
The river splashed on the rocks @ Eastham Locks, with very strong winds making birding difficult but a cruising Peregrine, Great Black-backed Gull & Linnet were additions to the days total.
One of two Red-legged Partridge on the north track by No 6 tank
Pair of Avocet on Frodsham Marsh (James Walsh)
Frodsham (again) Red-legged Partridge on the number 6 track, Curlews & Wheatear at Marsh Farm, Grasshopper Warbler near the River Weaver and a bonus pair of Avocet on Number 6 tank, and later, relocated on Frodsham Score. This bird is the symbol of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds and a story of nationwide, and regional, conservation success.
At Salford Docks a Kingfisher zoomed along the Manchester Ship Canal, whilst at North Wharf the only “birds” (excuse the pun times 50) were the ones dancing around on Captain Salts Party Boat, and the flashing lights and booming house music emitting from the Princess Katherine seemed an appropriately surreal way to round off an educational day of 80 species.
Thanks to Frodsham Marsh Birdblog (frodshammarshbirdblog.wordpress.com), Woolston Eyes (woolstoneyes.com).