Water Park Life

Unlike the preening Canada Geese pictured above I wasn’t able to turn a blind eye to the hordes of people walking round Chorlton Water Park today. That isn’t to say that it was unpleasant, but it’s always a bit galling to see dogs chasing swans into the water whilst their owners often find it all a big joke.

My eldest Sabine lives just down the road from the water park, which is a former gravel working that has been made into a country park. There’a path round the lake and it’s fringed by trees and in some places small reedbeds. If you can shut out the background noise on a busy Sunday afternoon it’s quite serene for the eyes if maybe not the ears.

Among the Coots and Mallard were some more several flocks of Tufted Duck, a group of four drake Gadwall and a couple of Great Crested Grebe. The resident drake Pochard with the damaged wing was also present. I did a double take when it suddenly appeared flying strongly across the expanse but it turned out a second bird was also present.

There were plenty of gulls in two states of being, loafing or chasing airborne loafs. The birder in you never switches off and whilst I knew there wouldn’t be any unusual visitors I diligently worked the flocks. The scan of Black-headed Gulls was interrupted by the occasional example of Common, Herring and Lesser Black-backed.

I hung around the most favoured bird feeding area near the ice cream and coffee vans to see if any of the gulls were colour ringed. They weren’t, the swan family was and there was a Coot with a Darvic ring probably hand caught here. Lingering in this area of avian-human interaction saw the usual contrast, between people of all ages who find birds entertaining and engaging and others who treat them with disdain.

If you read yesterday’s blog the first rate service regarding the feedback on the Black-headed Gull at Skippool continued. This morning I hear back from Morton Helberg with the details of JMT3. Perhaps the ring is damaged and that’s why it hasn’t been seen since being caught in the Oslo area in April 2020, or maybe it just normally winters where nobody checks gulls for rings.

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