Pennington Flash - 15th December 2018

At 9am on Saturday 15th December 13 cheerful hardy bird watchers met at Pennington Flash for the Christmas meeting. It was a bitterly cold dull morning with an easterly wind.

Pennington Flash is an impressive country park on the outskirts of Leigh. The term flash refers to the lakes on the site which were formed over time as a result of mining subsidence. It is a good example of how our industrial past has developed a beautiful location for wildlife.


By the lakeside and on the lake Canada Geese, Mallard, Moorhen and Coots congregated. Lesser and Great Black-back Gulls were seen in the distance.Goosander, male and female Goldeneye, Grey Heron, Tufted Ducks, Herring Gull and a Great Crested Grebe were also seen

Leaving the lakeside Magpie and Wood Pigeon were noted, with a Mallard sitting on a bird table enjoyed a feast of seeds. Arriving at Horrocks hide we quickly spotted many Cormorants and a lone Common Gull. The handsome Gadwall, Lapwing, Oystercatcher and more Goosanders male and female were lovely to see. Mute Swan and Great Crested Grebe were also spotted. Views of male and female Goldeneye were delightful, great to see close up to note the white beauty spot. A Dunnock foraged in the undergrowth while a little Dabchick passed by the reeds. A flotilla of Teal sailed past showing off their beautiful colours. 2 Grey Herons standing erect and stock still waiting for prey added to the list as we left to walk along the path to Tom Edmondson hide. Passing the area where bird feeders used to be, Blackbird and Goldcrest showed up, with Long-tailed Tits and Blue Tits flitting in the trees.


Arriving at the hide we saw more Grey Herons, and a Shoveler with his striking long and broad bill. A call to see a Buzzard in a tree, he soon dropped down perhaps having spied his prey for lunch. The pool was icy, and so was the group, therefore we soon moved on to Ramsdale hide but not before seeing Robin and Marsh Tit (spotted by Robert). At Ramsdale hide more Teal, Moorhen and Great Crested Grebes with Bullfinch and Carrion Crow made an appearance.

We then walked along the wooded pathway and did not see any of the smaller birds who very wisely must have hunkered down to keep warm. Passing the golf course we had a good view of 2 Little Egrets beside the stream.


Teal hide found us all now feeling the chill but were rewarded by seeing again Teal, Goosander, Gadwall, Heron, Mallard and Shoveler. Our penultimate port of call was the Bunting hide with the bird feeders. Amazing to see a pile of courgettes and parsnips on the ground along with large slices of white bread. The birds seemed uninterested in this feast, preferring the many feeders of nuts and fat balls. Final additions to our day list included, Robin, Great Tit, Blue Tit, Nuthatch, Willow Tit, Great Tit, Coal Tit, male and female Chaffinch, male and female Bullfinch, Reed Bunting, Goldfinch and Siskin. We finally left for a brief visit to Pengy’s hide to see again Mallard, Mute Swans, Shoveler and Gadwall.

Total count for the morning was 42.

Back in the car park the predicted sleety rain had started falling and we were relieved to be back in the car to drive to the Rope & Anchor for our Christmas lunch organised by Annette.

A warm greeting at this Dunham Massey country pub was welcome as we thawed out, joined by other WGBG members to make up a party of 20. We all enjoyed a hearty Christmas lunch and refreshments. Many thanks to Annette for organising this event and to Brian for all his efforts over the years, especially this the 50th year of WGBG.

Photos by Robert D


Long-tailed Tit

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