Robin seen on Gatley Carrs

News & Events

Gatley Carrs Bird Report December 2016

Friday, 9 Dec 2016


The total number of birds seen up to date is 54 and I look forward to the New Year to carry on searching for new birds to add to the list.

Although we were all shivering this month the birds around the Reserve were practising their song ready for Spring. Blackbird, Mistle Thrush, Robin, Great Tit, Blue Tit and Bullfinch could be heard during the sunnier days of the month. Courtship behaviour was also seen as birds were inspecting nest boxes.

Of note 14th, a Grey Wagtail seen along the stream by Peter Owen. Peter also saw a Jay and several other birds as previously mentioned.

The pond was frozen for a number of days so bird counts were low. Grey Heron and Moorhen were the only birds seen here.

Other birds seen this month were many Dunnock and Wren.  Goldfinch always around as were Coal Tit, Nuthatch and 2 Song Thrush.

The only other birds worth a mention were 20+ Black- headed Gulls as they fed on the Top Field along with a few Carrion Crows.


Total Species now 54!! Above photo of a Teal courtesy of Paul Brewster

The very poor weather in November made it quite difficult to watch birds at times. Heavy rain and strong winds keep birds at bay. The pond was frozen on quite a few dates and this reduced the number of birds to be seen also. The first day of November was a great start to the month as I found 2 Female Teal on the pond. These pretty little ducks are quite elusive at times, but I was lucky to get very good views of them. It is very unusual to see this small duck on a pond of our size. We had strong winds the night before, and I guess, they took refuge before they continued their journey. New bird for the list now totalling 54.

The only other birds seen on the pond all month were 2 Moorhen and 2 Mallard.

The rest of the month was quiet but plenty of Jays, Blackbird, Robin, Wren and Dunnock were all busy searching for food around the Reserve. 3 Black- headed Gulls were often seen, searching for worms, on the saturated Top Field. Also seen were 2 Lesser Black- backed Gulls as they flew over the Reserve. A pair of Bullfinch were seen close to the Car Park and several Nuthatch were vocal.


GATLEY CARRS BIRD REPORT 16/9 - 30/10 2016

Photo above: Wood Pigeon seen on Gatley Carrs, courtesy of Paul Brewster

For more photographs please see our page dedicated to Birds, Ducks and Geese

The weather continued to be very mild well into October. Leaves were dropping from the trees, and by the end of the month, everywhere was carpeted. Such a lovely crunchy sound and so very colourful as you walked around the Reserve.

Fewer birds this month as expected. Robins could be heard, singing their winter song in many parts of the Reserve. Wren, Dunnock, Goldfinch, Long-tailed Tit could also be heard. Jays were seen flying over carrying acorns to their favoured hiding places and their raucous call could often be heard close to the car park.

Of note were 2 Chiffchaff seen on the pond island. One was an adult the other a Juvenile. A nice surprise was a Snipe, in view for several minutes, seen from the screen. Whilst watching the Snipe a Buzzard flew over. Throughout the month the pond had 2 Little Grebe, 2 Mallard and 3 Moorhen but only one sighting of a Grey Heron. An unusual sighting was a baby Wood Pigeon which I startled as I walked past the Dog Memorial. Although Wood Pigeon breed at any time of year, this was still a surprise to see. Plenty of Magpie, Carrion Crow and a few Jackdaws fed on the Top Field during the wetter parts of the month. Other birds this month were Bullfinch seen close to the Car Park. Nuthatch were seen in several places and a Great-spotted Woodpecker was along the stream path.

The bird feeding rota began at the start of October. As the weather got colder the birds were waiting at the tables for us to put out the food for them. Robins were the main birds, but also, Blue Tit, Great Tit and Blackbird were grateful for the food. So rewarding for us to see how important it is to provide the birds with a lifeline as the harsher weather of winter sets in.



Total Species now 54!! Above photo of a Reed Bunting courtesy of Paul Brewster

The start of August weather conditions were very windy and often wet too. This type of weather is not enjoyed by birds, so reduces the number that are seen and heard.

There is always plenty of other wildlife to be enjoyed and the start of this month, there was a Weasel, seen on an evening walk, with a visiting group from Sale. It ran across in front of us and disappeared into the Wildflower Meadow but at least a lucky few of us saw it.

Birds of note this month were an Adult and 2 Juvenile Little Grebe, 2 Adult and 2 Juvenile Moorhen on the pond. They were still around into September. The highest count of 11 Mallard was seen on 18/8. Coal Tit, Long-tailed Tit and Goldfinch were around all month but only one sighting of a Nuthatch close to the Dipping Pond.

2 male Bullfinch were in the Orchard, probably, taking buds from the fruiting trees. A Great-spotted Woodpecker was close to the Car Park. A nice sighting was a male Blackcap seen feeding 2 young. A pair of these birds have held a territory close to the Dog Memorial so it was no surprise to see this little family there.

Still plenty of colourful flowers around the Reserve. Wild Carrot, Ragwort, Purple Loosestrife, Canadian Goldenrod, Rosebay Willowherb, Meadowsweet, Great Willowherb, Clover and Bramble to name a few.

In total contrast, September started with a long spell of dry, warm and often hot sunshine. This brought out numerous Butterflies and Dragonflies. Brown Hawkers and Common Hawkers were seen most days as they flew just above the water on the pond. Common Darters and Red Darters were seen also. Plenty of Butterfly species were seen, on warmer days, including Small White, Green-veined White, Peacock and Common Blue.

Robin, Wren, Dunnock, and Blackbird were seen in many areas of the Reserve. A Song Thrush was singing and a Buzzard flew over the Top Field.



A difficult month to produce an interesting report, as so many birds are coming to the end of the breeding season, and are not so vocal now. A surprise was a very late Whitethroat singing in scrub close to the Railway. Plenty of young birds were seen around the Reserve, excellent proof of breeding success, including Robin, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Magpie, Wood Pigeon and House Sparrow, Wren and Blackbird.

On the pond 12 Mallard were seen, also Moorhen and Little Grebe juveniles. A male Blackbird was seen feeding fledglings on the pond island. The Moorhen pair had 2 new tiny young. One of them had an injury on its head, and as only one young has been since, it is probable the injured baby did not survive.

Three Blackcap and 2 Chiffchaff were singing till the middle of the month. Other birds seen were Swift, Goldfinch, Chaffinch and Greenfinch, Nuthatch and Jay.

The few days we had warm sunshine brought out the beautiful Butterflies that could be see all over the Reserve. Plenty of Small Tortoiseshell, Speckled Wood, Red Admiral, Small White and Orange Tip, also Cinnabar and Burnet moths.

Plenty of colour also to be seen in the glorious wildflowers everywhere around the Reserve. A few Dandelions still in flower as were the other yellow flowers, St. John’s Wort, Ragwort and Ladies Bedstraw. Convulvus everywhere displaying its trumpet like flowers also the sticky Cleavers which can often be such a garden pest. Meadow Vetchling, Red Clover, Red Campion, Herb Robert, also, Meadow Cranesbill. The Teasels around the Dipping pond provide plenty of seeds much enjoyed by Goldfinch.



This June was much the same as last year as it was extremely quiet for bird watching. During the month there were some pleasant surprises. On 3rd of June there were many Blue Damselflies around the pond and other boggy areas. 2 Mallard and 2 Moorhen were on the pond and several young Blue Tits were on the island with their busy parents feeding them. At a later visit it was nice to see the Moorhens had a new brood of 3 chicks and also 2 birds from their previous brood were with them. Yet another surprise, 2 juvenile Little Grebe obviously born on the pond. A good example of how secretive birds can be by hiding away their young.

Also seen on further visits young Blue Tits and Great Tits being well looked after by their parents. Plenty of Magpie, Crow and Wood Pigeon on the Top Field. Three Chiffchaff and just one Blackcap were singing throughout the month. Other birds of note, were, Goldfinch, Great Spotted Woodpecker, many Song Thrush, Blackbird, Grey Heron and constant Swifts flying overhead.

By far the best bird of the month was a male Reed Bunting seen for several minutes on Nature Awareness Day. This was the first one I have seen at the Carrs so now the total of species seen is 53! On a sad note, I have not seen or heard a Whitethroat this year at the Carrs.



Surprisingly, this was not a very good month for birds.

At the start of the month the Canada Geese appeared with 7 new goslings. A Kingfisher was watched for several minutes as it dived from the "No Fishing "sign but no other birds were seen on the Pond.

On the 9th of May, the Canada Geese family were still around. 3 Chiffchaff, Blackcap, and many Song Thrush were singing. Dunnocks, Robins, Wrens and Blackbird were in abundance adding their song with gusto.

Several Stock Dove were seen on the 12th, one carrying twigs to a nest site along the brook. This is certain proof that they are nesting at Gatley Carrs. 3 Swifts flew high above the Top Field.

Also on this date the Canada Geese were seen with 9 young and an additional adult bird, thought to be a bird from the previous brood, in close attendance, providing extra support for this little family.

On a sad note, I noticed the Long-tailed Tit nest I had been monitoring for several weeks had been damaged. Whether this was done by human intervention is not known. So sad to see this but it is possible the birds will try again.

A Garden Warbler was seen the 19th and several other dates till month’s end and also plenty of Butterflies including Peacock, Whites and Orange Tip.

On the Pond 24th, 2 Moorhen, Little Grebe carrying vegetation, 3 Canada Geese and several Mallard. The family of Canada Geese had relocated to a spot with less disturbance. A Great spotted Woodpecker family were seen close to the Dipping Pond. A Sparrowhawk flew over and plenty of Swift were flying above the Reserve.

The wildflowers were definitely the stars this month adding a mosaic of colours around the Reserve. Meadow Cranesbill, Speedwell, Comfrey, Mallow and Vetch provided purple and blue hues. Red Campion, Clover, Yellow Flag, Cow Parsley and Buttercup with the various colours. A few Fritillary were still on the Meadow and plenty of Orchids were appearing. The delightful smell of Hawthorn blossom was everywhere, a sure sign that spring is well and truly with us at last.



April was cold, very wet and windy month with only a few pleasant days to enjoy.

12/4: A male Blackcap was seen and heard singing and the Chiffchaffs increased to 4. Plus 2 Willow Warblers were in song, one close to the Dipping Pond and the other was in trees on the left hand path close to the pond. It was nice to see these birds had returned to the Reserve. Several other birds were active, with a pair of Mistle Thrush seen carrying nest material. I realised I had not recorded this species before at GC so the species total is now 51.

On my next visit, Blackcap, Chiffchaff, Blackbird, Great-spotted Woodpecker, Nuthatch, Mistle Thrush and at least 6 Song Thrush were all vocal. Also seen this visit 2 pairs of Bullfinch, nesting Great Tit and Coal Tit and a Pied Wagtail. On the pond I watched as two newly hatched Moorhen chicks were leaving the nest, to begin their new lives, with their proud parents. Also here, Mallard, Grey Heron and increasing numbers of Canada Geese making a nest attempt.

A Sparrowhawk was a nice sight as it flew over, but even better, was a Cormorant flying above. First time I have recorded this species. The species total now is 52!

On my final visit for April, I watched a pair of Blackcap busily building a nest. At least 3 Bllackcap and 4 Chiffchaff were singing. Moorhen chicks thriving and my first sighting this year of a Little Grebe on the pond.

At last Alan and I managed to find the time to put the habitat boards in place. These boards provide suitable habitat for many species. If you come across one of these boards (they are well hidden) please do not walk on them or try to lift them as this could disturb any creatures making use of them.



Another unsettled month often cold, wet and windy.

At the start of the month on the 7th, plenty of Goldfinch were seen and at least 6 Blackbird around the Reserve. The Grey Heron was on the pond, my first sighting of this bird for the year, busily fishing. Also here, 3 Mallard, 6 Canada Geese flew in, and 2 Moorhen were busy carrying vegetation to build a nest. A pair of Long-tailed Tits were watched as they were nest building. 7 Black- headed Gulls were on the Top Field.

On the better sunny days, Buzzards were a welcome sight. On the 17th a pair were seen displaying low over the Reserve. Their courtship antics were enjoyed, not only by myself, but several dog walkers marvelled at the display also. On the following day, 18th, 3 Buzzards were seen, high over the Car Park, as they slowly drifted off to the East.

March 28th. A Kingfisher was seen by Peter Owen who was lucky enough to watch this bird for over 20 minutes.

March 29th. The first migrant of the year was a Chiffchaff seen and heard by Alan Butler. A budding birdwatcher in the making I think!! Is there no ends to this man's talents?

March 30th. 2 Chiffchaff today. the birds were watched along the left hand path as they chased each other.

March 31st. Several Nuthatch calling around the Reserve. 3 Chiffchaff today, one by DM, and 2 more around the pond.

As the days are now lengthening it is a great time to get out and enjoy all the Carrs has to offer.



We were lucky to have some bright, although still breezy, sunny days this month. It was very pleasant to walk around the Carrs and see the evidence that Spring draws ever closer. The Snowdrops were still on show also Daffodils and Lesser Celandine were in several areas. Hazel and Alder catkins were also appearing.

Not to be outdone, plenty of birds were in full song. Dunnock, Robin, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Wren and at least 6 Song Thrush were all around the Reserve at the start of the month. Coal Tit and Nuthatch could be seen and heard close to the stream. A pair of Bullfinch were by the Dipping Pond, and 2 other pairs were around the Car Park and Pond island. Later on in the month Jays were seen displaying close to the Dipping Pond where Mallards were also seen in courtship. Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Greenfinch, Blackbird and Long-tailed Tit were also very active and vocal. Wood Pigeons and Magpies were seen carrying twigs to build their nests. Black-headed Gulls were seen on several dates often on the Top Field or lamp posts.

On the last day of the month a Grey Heron flew over, as did 8 Canada Geese that landed on the Pond. Also on the pond 2 Moorhen and 4 Mallard but no sign of Little Grebe. A great month for getting to grips with the various calls and songs that birds make as they get ready to begin their breeding season.



The start of the New Year continued with the awful wet and windy weather we had so much of as 2015 ended. On the few bright days we had, it was enjoyable to hear several species of birds were already singing, as they heralded the onset of Spring and start of the breeding season.

Several pairs of Blue Tit and Great Tit were noisily defending the area around their chosen nest boxes. Courtship behaviour was also seen as a pair of Goldcrest noisily chased each other around a large tree. Dunnock, Robin, Song Thrush and Blackbird could be heard singing on most of the visits I made.

19th Jan. Nuthatch, Jay and Great-spotted Woodpecker were seen. Also on this date, 4 Jackdaws were seen on the top field. This is the first time I have seen this species at GC. A Lesser black-backed Gull was drinking from the pond.

22nd Jan. A Treecreeper (see image below courtesy of Les Holmes) was a good find for Peter Owen. These tiny birds are numerous around the Reserve but not so easy to see. Their call is so high pitched, it is not audible by many people.

26th Jan. Plenty of activity on the pond with 4 Mallard, 4 Canada Geese, 2 Moorhen and a Little Grebe. A nice surprise was a female Sparrowhawk hunting over the Reserve.

Tree Creeper
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