The floodplain of Stretford Ees is a secret birding site next to the River Mersey and Turn Moss in Chorlton.
This undiscovered gem in the Mersey Valley is the perfect place for urban birding in South Manchester and I only discovered in during lockdown, even though I’ve lived on Merseybank Estate for six years.
The reason that Stretford Ees is such a great place for wildlife is that it is wet grassland so it can attract marshland birds that are desperate for flooded fields like this. There is a small pond in the corner where reeds grow and wildlife can feed off insects that are attracted to it and take a drink here.
Trees and bushes
There are a few trees dotted around the field that attract birds like this robin feeding off berries.
Blue tits and great tits also feed in the bushes in and around the field.
Groups of long-tailed tits often pass by to feed here.
A pair of beautiful chiffchaffs spend a lot of time feeding in the trees and around the flooded marsh.
One of the most exciting visitors was this pair of stonechats, one male and one female who spent the autumn to winter here. I spotted the female eating this juicy caterpillar in autumn.
She was never far from the male stonechat and they share the field with groups of reed buntings too.
There is a small piece of woodland next to the Ees which is where a group of ring-necked parakeets come to roost. Crows, magpies, thrushes, woodpigeons, jays and wrens also feed in the woodlands.
Grey herons feed both in the grass and in the flooded area as they’re great at catching voles as well as fish!
Always look up at the pylon as there is always a bird perching there! Mostly it is crows and magpies but I spotted these noisy ravens too.
Birds of prey naturally like hunting on the field, buzzards often made an appearance as do kestrels. I found a male and female pair of kestrels right at the top of the pylon, using it as a vantage point for hunting.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this journey through the secret bird life of Stretford Ees. Keep up-to-date with the sightings recorded at Stretford Ees on the Manchester Birding Forum depending on the season.
Birds list for Stretford Ees:
- Black-headed gull
- Blue tit
- Carrion crow
- Great tit
- Grey heron
- House sparrow
- Long-tailed tit
- Reed bunting
- Ring-necked parakeet
- Wood pigeon
SIGHTINGS BY OTHER BIRDERs:
Kingfishers, meadow pipit and snipe have also been spotted here. The most exciting spot was a peregrine falcon in the summertime.
If you’re wildlife watching in your neighbourhood with little ones then download my Birdy Bingo card game to see how many points you can score!
Read more like this:
- Urban birding on the River Mersey in Manchester
- Urban birdwatching at Sale Water Park and Sale Ees in Manchester
- The secret wildlife of a Manchester power station
What birds have you spotted in Stretford Ees? Share your sightings in the comments below!
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