Birding up north

Whilst on a recent family visit to the North, I ventured out for a day of birding. First port of call was Pennington Flash near Leigh. It boast to be ‘one of the premier bird watching sites in the North West’ so surely it had to be worth a visit.

We called in at the first hide and met some friendly locals who told me many a story about the place. How the flash is a 70-hectare lake created by coal mining subsidence. They also proudly mentioned the list of over 240 species of bird that had been seen there.

Whilst there I saw as many as 6 kingfishers, lots of Willow Warblers and Chiffchaffs along with lots of wild fowl. The highlights of the trip around the flash had to be Willow Tit’s feeding behind the first hide, unfortunately they were being heavily papped by some seriously large lensed photographers. Another highlight was a female Garganey which was a nice one for the year list. There were a couple of Arctic Terns when I was there and the following day there were up to 9, along with three or four Green Sandpipers.

After leaving Pennington Flash I moved onto Elton Reservoir as I has seen there were at least 2 Black-necked Grebes.


Now Elton Reservoir is in a place called Bury. You drive through an estate and then out the back you go over a bridge and it looks like to are heading to a prison, which actually turned out to be hospital. I wasn’t sure if the fences were to keep people out or to keep patients in. Either way to get the reservoir you follow a drive way to the sailing club and you come to this beautiful reservoir (well it was on this day I was there as it was beautiful and sunny). There were views over the town and to the hills beyond. There were sailing competitions going on whilst I was there, which made it look very picturesque. Luckily though the boats were only at one end of the reservoir. At the far end I could see large numbers of Coot with several Great Crested Grebe and when I got down there a Family of little Grebe. Then in and amongst this lot were two Juvenile Black-necked Grebe. Looking back through my note pads etc I could find no record of me having ever seen one before so I had bagged myself another lifer.

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