Wildlife in Fletcher Moss Park and Gardens
This is a new page on our website. Previously, wildlife information and sightings have been written about on the 'What to See' page. Now, however, we are highlighting 'Wildlife' in this separate section. We hope you will like it.
In part we have been prompted by the recent joint initiative of Manchester City Council, the RSPB, Southway Housing, and the Friends' group, to set up a Wildlife Garden at Fletcher Moss Park. The start of the garden is near the gate by the small car park on Millgate Lane, to the right along the path towards the boardwalk.
A bird feeding area and 'bug hotel' are already under way, and wild flowers and wildlife-friendly plants and shrubs are being provided for our birds, insects and small mammals. There is a path though the garden which leads on to a lovely small meadow area and then to our dipping pond.
In this section we want to to tell you what there is to see at different times of the year. But we also want you to tell us what you have seen. And we want to try our best to answer your questions.
Are you interested in wildlife? We would also like to hear from you if you want to be involved or help in any way with our wildlife garden.
You can get in touch by using the 'Contact' button on the left of this page. We would very much like to hear from you.
Wildlife Garden Event - Saturday 30th January 2016, 10.00am - 3.00pm, Fletcher Moss Park
Come along and take part in lots of interesting and exciting wildlife activities as we officially open our new wildlife garden. Find out more.
What to see and hear in December and January
December is a fairly quiet month for birds and insects. The main job for most birds each day is to find enough food to eat, and shelter to keep warm. Birds don't sing anything like as much now as they will be doing in spring, when they sing to establish a territory and (for males) to attract a mate. One of the birds that does sing for most of the year is the Robin, and wherever you go (even at night!) you are quite likely to hear a robin singing. If you walk through the park you will see and hear other birds too. Blue tits and Great tits are busy hunting for food and flitting through the trees. One of the loveliest songs is that of a Nuthatch, and we are fortunate to have several nuthatches in the park and Stenner Woods. Other birds you might see around are Sparrows, Blackbirds, and Thrushes (both Song Thrushes and Mistle Thrushes); if you are lucky you might spot a Treecreeper working its way up one of the trees in Stenner Woods.
On the river Mersey we are beginning to see an increasing number of Goosanders. These beautiful ducks have come to spend the winter in this area. Some of them have come from Scandinavia (Norway and Sweden), some have come from further north in Britain (north Scotland) and some have already spent the summer in the north of England. Quite often you will see a male and a female together as they are already forming bonds which they will keep when they start breeding in the spring.
You can find out more about all our birds by going to the RSPB website where they have videos and sounds of hundreds of birds:
If you have any interesting sightings, or questions you want to ask, just use the e-mail CONTACT button at the far left of this page. We would very much like to hear from you.
On Thursday 10th December 2015, Simon Gough wrote:
A nice walk down the river to Millgate Fields, hoping for some winter birds. First notable sighting was the first local flocks of Redwings I've seen this winter. I don't know about anyone else but I've seen plenty of Fieldfares and hardly any Redwings. As I walked up the (Poplar) path along the side of the rugby pitches I saw a male Bullfinch, then a female, and then another male, and eventually 5 birds materialised, 3 male and 2 female.
Next up was the main species I was hoping to spot, Siskin. Having heard a rather wan call, I noticed 2 birds, then a couple more and eventually I was sure there were 10. They were so mobile it was impossible to count them, and I had run out of fingers anyway to be fair...Some dog walkers wandered past and the flock flew off, and I counted 12 or 13 birds in the air, and 2 were left, so I ended up going with 'about 15'. Don't sign me up for any surveys I guess...
Walking back through Stenner Woods I picked up a nice Reed Bunting. What adaptable birds these seem to be. I saw one in a tree with a Yellowhammer in farm fields on Sunday, then today in woodland with Chaffinch and Great Tit. Neither of which is really what you think of as their core habitat, although to be fair in both cases some prime habitat was nearby.
Also seen, Mistle Thrush, Song Thrush, Nuthatch, Common Gull and a Cormorant over. Lots of Long-tailed Tits and Black-headed Gulls. The river was very high and I saw no Goosander, I guess they prefer shallower water?
[Thank you Simon. Have you any bird sightingings to tell us about?]
On Wednesday 16th December 2015 we had a visit from Class 4S, Broad Oak School
Class 4S came to Fletcher Moss to help us construct some bird boxes and to make and put up some bird feeders. They worked hard and enthusiastically and we were very grateful for their help. Looking after our birds in the winter is very important. Thank you very much.
Class 4S from Broad Oak School hard at work making nesting boxes for birds
On Wednesday 6th January Linda Otten saw a small flock (16-20) Siskins feeding on the alders at the side of the path (southern section) around the Hay Meadow.
Knowing more about local Wildlife
If you would like to know more about the birds of Fletcher Moss we have two information sheets. The first is mainly about the birds you will see all year round - the 'resident' birds:
The second includes the 'migrant' birds - those that are not here all the year round but come here to breed in the summer, or to find food and shelter in the winter - though there are some 'resident' birds on this sheet too:
If you want to know more about our local wildlife and how you might be able to play your part in helping protect our wildlife at home and in the local area, click on this link:
On Saturday 30th January Alan Hill saw, near the wildlife garden: Blue Tits, Great Tits, Coal Tit, Wren, Robins. On the boardwalk and near the dipping pond: Long-tailed Tits,Treecreeper, Jay, Nuthatch, Goldfinches, a small flock of Redwings, Thrush. Parakeets heard but not seen. Another birdwatcher reported having seen a Goldcrest.