Saturday, 3 January 2015

Notes from Redesmere

Redesmere, viewed from Northern end
Some time off work over the Christmas holidays has allowed me time for some visits to a great spot for watching wildlife locally this week, and after a busy couple of months it has been great to get back out with the camera again. Redesmere, situated in East Cheshire close to the village of Siddington, is popular with birdwatchers, photographers and families alike. 

Canada x Greylag goose

The car park is adjacent to the southern end of the mere from where many visitors feed the large numbers of Mallard ducks and Black-headed gulls (the latter particularly in the wintertime). Many people are happy to stay and watch the birds from the parking area but it is also possible to walk around to the mere's  Northern side, and there are plenty of interconnecting footpaths in the area.

The arrival of 'person with bread' is greeted with a cacophony of honks, quacks and squawks as the more confident and familiar birds jostle to get the offerings thrown their way, the gulls flying up to catch bread in mid-air. Mute Swans mix with Mallard and Tufted ducks, Greylag and Canada geese (and an individual that looks to be a Canada/Greylag cross), Coot and Moorhen, there are several birds which look like they could have escaped (or been released) from a nearby farm at some point - a flock (or perhaps gang would be more appropriate!) of large white geese, and Mallard hybrids, (considerably larger than a regular Mallard with interesting colour variations) of what sorts I can only guess (Cayuga perhaps?).

One of the resident Mallard duck hybrids
Looking a little more closely (and a little further away) and a number of less familiar birds are there to be seen. Amongst the hundreds of Black-headed gulls, are the occasional gulls you might more closely associate with the coast rather than inland sites - Herring gulls with their classic seaside (or Desert island disc) calls, a not so common 'Common gull', also a Lesser Black-backed gull - the mix of different types of gulls with their plumages differing between summer and winter as well as at different ages providing a challenging test of bird identification skills!  

Not so common... A Common Gull (adult winter plumage)

Flight formation... Goosanders (some distance away!)
With some guidance from a far more experienced bird watcher than myself and some good fortune, Wednesday's visit was particularly interesting with small flocks of both Shoveler and Goosander spotted in the distance in the middle of the mere, a female Goldeneye (I didn't see the male though he was also there somewhere), several Great Crested Grebes, and also good views of Grey herons, a Buzzard and Cormorants flying overhead. 

Nearby Rowan trees popular with one of our winter-visiting thrushes - Fieldfares, still had some berries but no birds present when I looked, though I was reassured when a flock flew over the mere that they were there after all, just not where I'd been looking for them. The familiar sound like an old-fashioned football rattle indicated that a Mistle thrush was present - heard but not seen this time. 

As with any large area of open water inland, different, sometimes unexpected species turn up from time to time. A Snow Goose and Red-breasted Goose have been photographed there recently (most likely to be escapes from wildfowl collections). In spring 2013, a beautiful Mandarin pair were in residence for a while, a real joy to see so close. 

Taken in March 2013, a male Mandarin duck in full breeding finery


  1. So beautiful, very well worded and I love the colourful photos! A wonderful place to find wildlife. Well done, a very interesting read... :)

    1. Thanks so much Kez for your support - I don't know if you know Redesmere at all but it's well worth a visit if you're up this way. :)

    2. I'm not familiar with it at all but it looks great. Will definitely check it out of I'm in the area. :)

  2. Excellent stuff - know a lot of these places very well - particularly Redesmeer - I used to live in Wilmslow

    1. Thanks Phil, there are a few great spots to visit in this neck of the woods, a shame that much of the eastern side has been fenced off for the angling club now, still, there's always a lot going on at the car park end!

    2. When I had a prolonged period of immobility, I'd go with my Dad at least once a week to Redesmere - Dad would go for a walk and I'd birdwatch from the car - at the car park.

      Nowadays, I'm more mobile and I usually manage to sneak in to the angler's bit