I have been studying dippers in Saddleworth, mostly in the River Tame and tributaries like Diggle Brook, for several years. A couple of years ago they were plentiful, now much harder to find. Is this other people's experience? I have no idea why.
By the way, many Saddleworth dippers are ringed, by BTO, I think.
from John Harris, local RSPB member.
hi john i have been watchin 2 for the last week on the river in stalybridge town center.
There's a stretch of the River Tame in Mossley where for many years I've enjoyed watching the dippers- I managed to see what I think was quite an elaborate courtship ritual earlier in the season. I know that your interest is in the dippers, but the same stretch also has a kingfisher that nests in amongst a clump of japanese knotweed, although it's a little while, maybe May, since I've seen it.
Within the last few days I've also seen a jay and a green woodpecker on adjacent scrub/ heathland.
It's not my perception that the population is under threat, although this particular stretch does (or did) have a population of mink. The last time I saw one it was swimming in the Tame and had a bird in its mouth.
I posted that a year ago, and I agree, it is not as bad as I feared. I know several places on the Tame round Diggle and Uppermill where I can more or less guarantee to see Dips. Now a woodpecker...! I don't recall seeing one in Saddleworth in quite a few years.
Yes, I know it was an old post! I thought it might be worth resurrecting with another season behind us.
The green woodpecker is the second one I've seen around here, the last was on the fields just below Buckton Castle. And of course there's no shortage of lesser spotteds in the clough beneath Castle Farm, as well as around Crows i'th Wood and the woodland along the canal.
Sorry! I meant I hadn't seen a kingfisher in Saddleworth. But, nor have I seen a lesser spotted w/p! Where is Castle Farm and the other places you mention in relation to Mossley?
John- Castle Farm is at the Carrbrook end of the roman road, by the entrance to Buckton Quarry and beneath Buckton Castle itself. The clough beneath it can be accessed opposite Buckton Vale Institute in Carrbrook village, from the S-bend on Huddersfield Road underneath Micklehurst Cricket Club, or from the footpath that goes up the side of Cocksfoot Drive off Micklehurst Road in Mossley. Wellies are advisable to negotiate the brook- there are dippers here as well. On either side of the culvert under the s-bend (you can walk through this) there are hollowed trees with woodpeckers nesting, and there's a lot of dead wood. It's mostly sessile oak on acid grassland here.
Crows i'th wood is the woodland off Crowswood Drive in Millbrook- there are patches of ancient semi-natural woodland here, although there's also a lot of secondary woodland on the site of the old Millbrook Sidings, which goes down to the Canal. There's standing dead wood between the canal and river, this is off the second pound downstream from Scout Tunnel and this is where I tend to see them.
Thanks Andy! I will go see...
Coincidentally, saw a g/s woodpecker in the cutting between the sidings and the footpath up to Miller Hey about half an hour ago.