Thursday, 19 January 2012

Weekend in Ramsbottom 14/15-1-12

With arranging to meet my friend Jacqui in Ramsbottom for the weekend who is also a very keen birder/photographer,I arrived at The Grant Arms Hotel around lunchtime where I was staying for the weekend a real nice place to.
Once checked in Jacqui came and picked me up and we set off for Calf Hey Reservoir & Haslingden Grane Moor at Helmshore,we arrived after a short drive and my guide for the weekend shown me the feeding station first and we sat in the stone hide which must have been the remains of a old building but it was great with lots of activity with plenty of Coal,Blue,Great & Long-tailed tit also coming to the feeding area were Nuthatch,Treecreeper,Great spotted Woodpecker & Lesser Redpoll along with Green & Goldfinch after a while it was time for a walk down to Calf Hey Reservoir not very big as reservoirs go,as we walked along the causeway stopping to have a scan across the water the sun was blinding so didn't help matters but managed to pick out a pair of Goldeneye & a lone male Goosander amongst the Mallards.
Making our way along the far bank we stopped for a look at the gulls but only picked out a immature lesser black backed gull in with the black headed gulls.
We then made our way up to Haslingden Grane Moor with lots of old ruins and dry stone walls,I would imagine this would be great in summer for migrants such as Ring ouzel,Wheatear & Whinchats anyway we walked up the hill to the top and it kicked in that I had not done this recently as North Lincs is flat but never mind it wasn't that bad.
We walked around the top of the moor trying to follow a path that kept disappearing and then Jacqui told me that she had never been up this way,but me being me didn't really care just nice being out somewhere different but we did manage to find our way back,The moor itself was quiet with the usual corvids flying around but I was trying to find Short eared owls but no luck.
We returned back to the feeding station which was still quite active but we called it a day with the light fading.
On arriving back at the Hotel we agreed on going out for a meal which we did sort of,firstly nipping down to the India restaurant but we had to book a table but with time getting on we nipped up to a country pub,but they only done carvery meals but we had a quick drink whilst we decided on what to do and decided on the pub down the road,we got a drink and sat down then asked the waitress what time did they serve food till and she replied 9pm and it was 9.15 so there goes my steak I was looking forward too so we ended up with a Chinese Takeaway and sat and ate it in the Land Rover well at least they gave us a fork each what a disaster for me anyway at the time but funny looking back on it :) ( sorry Jacqui).

Sunday Morning I was rudely woken by my alarm at 4.45 am still set for work pitch black outside and no work today that soon got sorted and back to sleep,I re-woken and got up around 7am which was more like it after a coffee and everything else sorted I just went for a walk around Ramsbottom until Jacqui came to pick me up for todays adventures,we set off for Springdale & Burrs Country parks for a walk along the River Irwell in search of one of my favourite birds the Dipper with a bright but cold start we started off at Springdale Country park and  walked the banks of the river we came across some canoeists launching themselves from the bank and became a bit of a annoyance when we found Dippers as they were getting pushed around a lot with a couple of shots we continued down into Burrs Country park which was more quieter on the river as far as canoes go but no luck with Dippers but we did manage to find a very nice male Goosander which wasn't bothered about our presence but the light was playing havoc with the photo's sun and white birds don't really mix well but not complaining.
On the walk back to the car I was glad to find Jacqui a life tick in the form of Redwings as they flew from a tree but will get her better views next time.
With time getting on and Jacqui on nights she decided we had time for a quick look at Elton Reservoir a place you would never know it was there a bit like going to Paxton Pits but without the sign posts,with not much time a quick walk and a few scans around only picking out the usual waterfowl and a distant Kestrel but a real enjoyable weekend all the same.
After Jacqui left me back at the hotel I had a few hours spare so I got changed from my muddy clothes and boots and went for Haddock and chips then a walk down to the river just in case a Kingfisher or Dipper shown but nothing after making my way back to the hotel my friend rang me to say he was going to be a couple of hours still,so I sat and watched the football on that was on while a couple of pints of  Peroni went down.Arriving back at Barton and dropping my gear back at home we decided on finishing the weekend at The Old Mill with a cold pint.
Thank you Jacqui for a real enjoyable weekend



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