New trail is fit for a kingfisher
ABOUT a year ago I mentioned that I had seen a kingfisher sitting on a branch over our local river.
Since then I haven’t seen it again. In fact, in 10 years living here I have only seen it that once.
In the local pub I have been told there could be three kingfishers nesting along a stretch of about half a mile, but I haven’t seen them.
However, I do have high hopes for one of The Lancashire Wildlife Trust’s new projects, the Kingfisher Trail.
This 11-mile route runs from the West Pennine Moors above Bolton through Salford and into Bury, following the course of the rivers Croal and Irwell.
It takes in Bradshaw Brook which is proper kingfisher territory, close to our Greater Manchester headquarters in Bolton.
The trail will provide an opportunity to see kingfishers, dippers and other river wildlife in relatively clean waters.
Bats will swish past your ears in the evenings, owls will hoot and deer will be around at the right times of day.
There will also be history lessons as this trail was one of the arteries of the Industrial Revolution and we are still cleaning up the pollution and mess. We are actually looking for local people to tell us stories about their experiences of working, resting and playing in the area.
Of course the fact that kingfishers are present is evidence that the water is clean enough to support fish, which is good news.
The kingfisher can be spotted sitting quietly on low-hanging branches over the water, suddenly diving in to catch a small fish. Kingfishers breed near lowland watercourses and lakes which have suitable banks for burrowing nests and shallow edges for feeding.
They occasionally visit gardens.
The striking mix of its bright-blue back and metallic copper breast make the kingfisher unmistakable. Male kingfishers have an entirely black bill, females have an orangey-red patch at the base.
So my plan is to walk the Kingfisher Trail to spot these wonderful birds and, in the future, walk a little more stealthily along our local river in the hope of seeing a local flash of blue.
To support the work of the Wildlife Trust for Lancashire, Manchester and North Merseyside, Text WILD09 with the amount you want to donate to 70070. The Wildlife Trust for Lancashire, Manchester and North Merseyside is dedicated to the protection and promotion of the wildlife in Lancashire, seven boroughs of Greater Manchester and four of Merseyside, all lying north of the River Mersey. It manages around 40 nature reserves and 20 Local Nature Reserves. The Trust has 26,000 members, and over 1,200 volunteers. To become a member of the Trust go to the website at www.lancswt.org.uk or call 01772 324129. For information about Cheshire Wildlife Trust call 01948 820728 or go to cheshirewildlifetrust. org.uk.
●● The kingfisher can be spotted on low-hanging branches looking for fish in the water