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Recent sightings

  • 8 April 2014

    Crossbills are back at Binn Green - including a rare Scandinavian

    A week last Sunday crossbills were spotted for the first time this year at Binn Green, by Dove Stone's stalwart Sunday volunteer John Parker.  One of the 8 or 9 birds looked different - and Dove Stone had its first rare bird find!  It is a male Two-Barred Crossbill  - quite bright red, with two white wing bars, the second of which is really broad - a lovely looking bird.  The accompanying Common Crossbills are fine looking too - this morning four Common Crossbills were with the Two-barred.  They do range over quite a large area, but seem to return to the Larch trees at the Binn Green car park at least a couple of times a day.     

    Bird ringing at the feeding area was relatively quiet, but quality rather than quantity - after a few Chaffinches and Great Tits, a female Great-spotted Woodpecker and  then a stunning male Brambling was ringed - it will be interesting to see if he returns in future years.  And down around the main Dove Stone trail chiffchaff and willow warbler are now singing... who will hear the first cuckoo?

     a brambling in the hand....

    Posted by Dave O

  • 18 March 2014

    Frogs a-croaking, strange fungi, bat boxes and other Dove Stone news

    Lots of Spring activity at Dove Stone this week...

    Great spotted woodpeckers carrying nesting materials, as sure sign Spring is on the way, seen at Binn Green, along with 30+ siskins, a redpoll and the usual colourful chaffinches and tits.

    Meadow pipit and grey wagtails at Ashway Gap with ravens displaying overhead. The pintails and oystercatchers are still on Dovestone Reservoir along with a brief sighting of a cormorant.

    Thanks to our Monday volunteer Rich for this update!

    The pond in the woods below Binn Green is full of croaking frogs - Ken - another of our amazing volunteers spotted 24 on Sunday (thanks for this info and for the photo below!)

    For those who care to take a closer look, Ken also spotted an unusual fungus at Binn Green growing as a parasite on a lichen with the exotic name physcia tenella. The tiny fungus, with the even more unusual name marchandiomyces aurantiacus (I won't try and say that one!), was fruiting which is also rare to see.

    Something else worth a look are the really rather attractive new bat boxes, which have been installed by 2 regular volunteers, Jess and Stuart, on a tree at the bottom of the Binn Green steps. Hopefully these should attract some activity over the coming months, so watch this space (or even better, watch the boxes for signs of life!)

    That's it for now - more to follow soon!

    Posted by Miriam B

  • 16 March 2014

    Stonechat, Meadow Pipit, Curlew....and Pintail!

    Spring arrivals are definitely making an appearance now, as well as a few unusual visitors passing through...so a quick update of what's been seen at Dove Stone over the last week or so, starting with today and a beautiful Stonechat male and female, perched on the fence on the other side of the watercourse above Ashway Gap.

      

    Along with a Meadow Pipit heard, a Pied Wagtail in the watercourse below the bridge at Ashway Gap, and a Blackbird feeding from a suet feeder hung in a tree (unusual to see a Blackbird do this!), it's been a busy day! And that's even before mentioning that the Peregrines were both up today too! We'll be keeping a close eye on them to see how they get on over the next few weeks. They've already had a run-in with the Ravens! Also seen at Ashway Gap recently was a Treecreeper - nice to see one here as well as at Binn Green - and today we saw a very vocal and brightly coloured male Chaffinch, along with Robin, Great Tit, Blue Tit and Coal Tit. A big thank you goes out too to the families who helped fill the suet feeders today, good fun and the birds appreciate it!

    At Binn Green we're still seeing the Brambling - yesterday I saw 3 males and 2 females and we saw some again today, along with Siskin, and some really stunning-looking Lesser Redpoll - if you don't see them at the feeders then have a look in the Spruce trees next to the viewpoint.

    And yesterday two male Great Spotted Woodpeckers were there too, one on the peanut feeder and the other drumming on a nearby nestbox! The Mistlethrush is singing every day, as well as the Dunnock and others - great to hear.

    Down at the main car park we had a great view on Friday of 3 Curlew flying over the back field - it's such a beautiful sound, I love it, and a real sign of Spring, along with the disappearance of the Redwing and Fieldfare that we've seen there recently. 

    Also on Friday I was lucky enough to get a photo through the scope of the Oystercatchers mating - what beautiful birds they are!

     

    But to top it all we had a first for Dove Stone - Pintail! We've never had a record of them here before, and there they were - two handsome males and two females, along with two male Tufted Ducks! By saturday they had gone of course, off to their breeding grounds no doubt, but great to see here albeit briefly. My blurry shot of them doesn't do them justice so here's a really nice library photo of a male and female Pintail instead. Thanks to the guy who mentioned they were there when he saw me at Binn Green! 

    So a great week at Dove Stone, and I must say I'll miss it....keep enjoying this fantastic place!

     

    Posted by Mandy

  • 6 March 2014

    While Spring is springing...

    With the current mild weather there are lots of signs that Spring is springing - lets hope we don't get a sudden cold spell to confuse everyone!

    Yesterday the wardens saw their first curlew and lapwing of the season up on the bog and also heard a skylark calling high above.

    A pair of ravens were circling with aerial acrobatics above the rocks and there is plenty of oystercatcher Spring-time activity on the reservoir! From the main car park we've seen a large flock of redwing, fieldfare, jay, goldfinch, greenfinch, pied wagtail, jackdaws and blue,coal and great tits. A woodpecker was drumming away in the background and mistle thrush heard singing in the fields. Mountain hare are still visible with a telescope or binoculars as their coats are still patchy white and stand out against the gritstone.

    At Binn Green the feeders have been alive with greenfnches, goldfinches, chaffinches and brambling as well as redpoll, nuthatch and mistle thrush.

    The peregrines have been spotted above Ashway Gap soaring high on the thermals, a dipper has been seen on the edge of the watercourse and unusually there have been a few sightings of a treecreeper which we haven't often seen in this area.

    There are also water crickets to be seen in the pools around Chew Brook.

    Thanks to Ken - one of our volunteers and local naturalist, for the following fascinating Spring snippets and photos (as well as the water cricket photo above!):

    Its a great time to watch out for dunnocks in your own garden, as they flutter around like mad to attract a mate. These little birds are a pretty, velvety grey-brown and have a lovely song as they pair up.

      

     Its also an important time for flowering trees like the willow, which provide a vital food source for early insects like bumblebees and hoverflies. There are some of these coming into flower in the wood beside the picnic area at Ashway Gap - the flowers are just soft, furry buds at the moment but will become beautiful yellow flowers like the ones below.

    As well as willow, look out for tiny hazel flowers which develop into hazelnuts and larch flowers (below) which develop into cones. Again these are grogeous to look at and great for birds like siskin (male pictured below) which we see at lot at Binn Green.

     Trees make wonderful overwintering sites for some insects like these harlequin ladybirds who shelter under the bark and in crannies.

     

    If you can want to help early season wildlife in your garden try planting something like mahonia or even gorse which seems to flower all year and provides a great source of food for all sorts of insects. You can also have a look at the RSPB website for lots of tips and ideas http://homes.rspb.org.uk/

     

     

     Happy planting, happy watching, happy Spring!

    Posted by Miriam B

  • 20 February 2014

    Oystercatchers and more!

    Quick update of recent sightings, starting with a pair of Oystercatchers seen on one of the pontoons on Dove Stone reservoir - thanks for the report Rachel from your WeBS count! One Oystercatcher was seen again this morning, and was heard calling as it flew - I really like the sound of it. If you want to hear it there’s a sound clip at this link on our bird identifier part of the website http://www.rspb.org.uk/wildlife/birdguide/name/o/oystercatcher/index.aspx . In real life it's really loud and carries far, so why not come down and have a listen instead! As well as sounding great, this Amber Listed bird is really stunning-looking, black and white with a long, orange-red bill and reddish-pink legs, so it’s easy to spot amongst the Black-Headed Gulls on the pontoon - in flight too, it shows a wide white wing-stripe, a black tail, and a white rump that extends as a 'V' between the wings. They mostly breed on the coast, but over the last 50 years more have started breeding inland, hopefully like these Dove Stone birds. Last year after the breeding season we did see 3 Oystercatchers flying together so fingers crossed for this year.

     

      

     

    Also seen on Sunday – Mountain Hares! Two were seen through the telescope from the main car park, and one was seen along the Chew path during our mountain hare talk and walk – thanks to everyone who joined us, and to our volunteers: John who gave the talk and led the walk, and to Rich, George and Irene who helped out on the walk. Our Dove Stone vols are great!

     

    Other sightings at Binn Green today – two Robins being all territorial and then one taking seed from the lone feeder that still had seed in it (before I filled them all up! Cue feeding frenzy....), a male Great Spotted Woodpecker having a long feed on the suet balls I’d just put up, plus a few Brambling (not as many as we’d seen previously), lots of Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Coal Tit, Blue Tit, Great Tit, and quite a few Siskin which didn’t arrive until all the feeders were full again!

     

    And also seen this week – an adult Peregrine stooping, and flying onto the Quarry – we’ll be keeping an eye out for more activity over the next few weeks!

    Posted by Mandy

  • 11 February 2014

    Last week's wildlife at Dove Stone

    Last week was mixed weather-wise but there have still been some good bird and wildlife sightings at Dove Stone. Earlier in the week a stoat in ermine (white winter coat) was spotted up near Chew Reservoir and a pair of stonechats at Ashway Gap picnic area. There are still lots of bramblings to be seen, with 20 plus spotted at Binn Green on Sunday, as well as siskins, goldfinches, male great spotted woodpecker, greenfinches, chaffinches, great, blue and coal tits and a mistle thrush. Two ravens were again seen flying acrobatically above the top end of Yeoman Hey Reservoir.

    Posted by Miriam B

  • 5 February 2014

    Dove Stone wildlife update

    Good numbers of beautiful, bright bramblings seen on the feeders at Binn Green, also large numbers of siskins, alongside the chaffinches, great tits and great spotted woodpeckerMistle thrush also heard singing. We've had some great views of mountain hares - easily seen at the moment as their coats have turned white but the landscape hasn't (yet!), and a magnificent buzzard was seen flying across Dovestone Reservoir towards Pots and Pans. There also seems to be some evidence of ravens being active around the quarry near Ashway Gap. Bit of a wet one today - more to follow soon...!

    Posted by Miriam B

  • 8 January 2014

    Binn Green Birding

    Today's 30-minutes at Binn Green.  Good numbers of Goldfinches on the feeders along with a few Siskin, Greenfinches and Coal, Great and Blue Tit, plenty of Chaffinches groundfeeding,  6 Blackbirds and a Dunnock. Also seen today which I haven't seen so far in these half-hours was a Mistle Thrush perched at the top of a Larch singing and a Jay repeatedly collecting peanuts before flying in the direction of Yeoman Hey. So with Jay and Mistle Thrush the 30-minute-birding list now stands at 21.

    Elsewhere around Dove Stone this morning around the main trail generally there seems to be lots of Goldfinches around as well as the above mentioned birds at Binn Green.  On the peanut feeder at the main carpark there was a Nuthatch. On Dove Stone res. all quiet with a Grey Heron on the banks where Chew Brook runs into the res and 20+ Canada Goose in this same area.  On the sailing club raft there were circa 70 Black Headed Gulls.  Yesterday late afternoon there were circa 60 Bramblings seen around the sailing club boatyard, as reported on Manchester birding's forum http://www.manchesterbirding.activeboard.com/f303986/greater-manchester-bird-sightings/.  No sign of any Brambling this morning - perhaps they're roosting in the vicinity.

    Down at Chew Brook there was a Kestrel sat in one of the mature beeches there and in Chew Piece there was a large flock of Woodpigeon - I didn't count them but I'd estimate there must have been easily 50+ birds. Only other bird to report - two Carrion Crows. More soon with an update on any Peregrine and Raven activity and other 'recent sightings'...

    Posted by racheldownham

  • 8 January 2014

    30-minute birding is back

    Continuing with sightings from 30 minute birding - the idea being to take time out - even if it is just half an hour - from a day to connect a bit more with our everyday surroundings and discover what's about.  Here's what I saw in 30 minutes spent at Binn Green watching the feeders yesterday afternoon:

    Great Spotted Woodpecker (m), Treecreeper, Goldfinch, Greenfinch, 30+ Chaffinches, Blue Tits, Great Tits, Coal Tits, Blackbird, Siskins - male and females. So, that's 10 species yesterday. Might not seem much but that's okay. It's all about just getting in touch with what's on our doorsteps, although admittedly not everyone's got somewhere like Dove Stone on their doorstep, but the idea applies whether you're here on in the middle of Manchester.  Anyway, there were high winds at Binn Green yesterday and the birds were put up frequently. 

    So, to date I have a record of 19 species recorded through ''30-minute-birding'' with  Treecreeper being the latest, bringing us up to 20. More soon...

    Posted by racheldownham

Your sightings

Grid reference: SE0103 (+2km)

Two-barred Crossbill ()
16 Apr 2014
Whinchat ()
13 Apr 2014
Grey Wagtail ()
13 Apr 2014
Dipper (1)
12 Apr 2014
Ring Ouzel (2)
12 Apr 2014
Wheatear (2)
12 Apr 2014
Sparrowhawk ()
20 Apr 2014
Siskin ()
20 Apr 2014

Contact us

  • Tel: 01457 819880

Where is it?

  • Lat/lng: 53.529355,-1.981482
  • Postcode: OL3 7NE
  • Grid reference: SE013036
  • Nearest town: Mossley, Greater Manchester
  • County: Greater Manchester
  • Country: England

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