Unfortunately this event has had to be cancelled due to the presenter, Ron Downing, being unable to travel from Dundee due to the extreme winter conditions.

We apologise for any disappoint or/and inconvenience this may cause.

We hope to re-schedule the event at a future date.

However, please check for any upcoming events and activities on both this site and Facebook Page https://www.facebook.com/WhalleyRange4WildlifeAlexParkMCR/

Apologies on behalf of Ron and the Alexandra Park Wildlife Group.

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The park in the snow

In between the snowing, there are birds making themselves more visible than usual: a Mistle Thrush in a tree full of berries, one of many Redwings visiting for the winter (my favourite birds) and a Shoveler drake – one of 3 on the lake yesterday, plus two females. Small ducks, big beaks.

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Raptors: Birds of Prey Presentation/Talk in Chorlton Lodge, Alexandra Park – Sunday 4th March 2:30pm-4:00pm

Alexandra Park Wildlife Group presents:

Raptors: Studies of Two Falcons in East Scotland and North West Europe

Merlin 8 Sibiria T Pröhl fokus-natur.de.jpg

8 Hobby in flight

Join us for a double talk presented by Ron Downing on (a) The Merlin in the Angus Glens and (b) The Hobby of North Germany and the Netherlands.

  • Date:Sunday 4th March
  • Time: 2:30pm -4:00pm
  • Venue: Chorlton Lodge, Alexandra Park, Manchester

The talk will be about one hour long with time for questions afterwards.

Ron Downing has been a member of the Scottish Raptor group and a volunteer with the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) for 40 years.

Ron has studied Merlins and Hobbies in Scotland and Germany.

In this short talk he will look at the habitats and life cycle of Merlins and Hobbies from the nest, the egg, fledgling, and migrating.

Please note that this Presentation/Talk may be too advanced for younger children under 14.

This is a free event and places are limited. Book your place via Eventbrite:

Photos were taken by members of the Scottish Raptors Group.112 Kennring 15[1].Juni 2010 Spanien







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Fallen Tree in Alexandra Park – Sunday 11th February 2018

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This fallen tree in Alexandra Park seems to have been blown down by the strong winds. It was totally uprooted. The tree was lying partly across the bottom of Lime Walk.
It is a shame as it looks like it was beginning to bud for Spring with small red buds on the tips of its branches. 
These pictures were taken just before 3pm on Sunday 11th February 2018. 
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The Big Garden Birdwatch was this weekend.  If you forgot or were unable to get round to doing it at the weekend, there is still time!

TODAY is the last day to take part.

If you have not already submitted your results to the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB), you can still do so.

You will also get a sneak preview of the latest results as they come in. Once they hear from you, their scientists get to work analysing the data. It all adds up to a snapshot of how our garden wildlife is faring. Who will come top of the garden stars this year?



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Winter Solstice in Alexandra Park – Thursday 21st December 2017



On Thursday morning of the 21st December, a group of local folk gathered together in Alexandra Park to celebrate the Winter Solstice of 2017.

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Alexandra Park Wildlife Group Stall at Christmas Crackers Event Sunday 10th December 2017

On Sunday 10th December, the Alexandra Park Wildlife Group held a stall at the Alexandra Park Christmas Crackers event.

We showed some wildlife videos and Tony, one of our members hosted a Bird Walk around the lake and Stuart, another member, displayed a pile of litter he had retrieved from the lake. Please see previous posts.

During the day, we had an elf sitting on the table who we asked visitors to our stall to guess his name and whoever guessed his name correctly could take him home!  We had a list of names from A-Z and visitors could tick next to the name which they thought was the correct one and leave their contact telephone number.

The winner was Judith and the name of the elf was Patrick!

Judith has claimed Patrick and we are sure he has gone to a very good home!

The day ended and we made our way home – taking in the view of the lake as dusk fell.



Alexandra Park Wildlife Group


Patrick the Elf


Alexandra Park Lake in the Winter Twilight

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Alexandra Park Bird Walk Sunday 10th December

Alexandra Park Bird Walk Sunday 10th December

As part of the Christmas Crackers event the Wildlife Forum put on a short bird walk. The weather was cold, with light snow falling continually, so the walk was limited to one circuit of the lake.

Despite the weather, eight people completed the walk. The lake was unfrozen so there were good numbers of common waterbirds present. The stars of the show were three Shoveler which had only appeared on the lake that morning. Everybody was amused to see them swimming around in circles, keeping their heads level with the surface of the water. This behaviour proves to be an effective feeding technique for disturbing small invertebrates. The small creatures are then collected and strained in the shovelers’ large spatulate bills.

Other species seen included Tufted Ducks, Moorhens, Coots, Canada Geese and a single Cormorant. The four regular Mute Swans were present as well as three species of gull – Black-headed, Common and Lesser Black-backed.

Walking back to the Pavilion we searched unsuccessfully for the Redwings and Mistle Thrushes that had been feeding on the South Oval earlier in the day, so we decided to return to the warmth of the Cafe and the Wildlife Forum stall.



Red Robin


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‘ A Christmess Carol’


‘ A Christmess Carol’

Lake litter 10Dec17

‘In the First Week of December, some park users gave to me…’‎

Many Plastic bags

‎A Child’s pink sandal

Some Fishing Floats

NINE Bottle tops

EIGHT Crisp packets

‎SEVEN Plastic bottles

SIX Drinks containers


FOUR Tennis balls

THREE Cig lighters

TWO Lego bricks

AND A-Plastic-Garden-Chair-Green!

The above photo was taken by Stuart (Alexandra Park Wildlife Group member and volunteer) of a selection of items which he retrieved from the lake in Alexandra Park on Sunday 10th December 2017.

His accompanying ‘Festive’-themed carol may sound like fun but it does have a serious message!

Please help us create a cleaner, more attractive lake for wildlife by reducing litter, feeding the birds with seeds from the cafe (NOT bread which pollutes the water and upsets their digestion) and reporting any food-dumping to the park management!


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As part of the Annual Alexandra Park Christmas Event ‘Christmas Crackers’, the Alexandra Park Wildlife Group will have a stall inside the Pavillion and Wildlife Group, Tony, will provide a Winter Bird Walk at 2pm prompt!

Come and join Tony and see what types of birds are in Alexandra Park at this time of year!

Please bring binoculars if you have them.

Sunday 10th December 2017.

For the Winter Bird Walk  – Meet outside the Pavillion ‘Coffee Cranks’ Café facing the lake at 2pm prompt.




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Red Robin




As part of the Annual Alexandra Park Christmas Event ‘Christmas Cracker’, the Alexandra Park Wildlife Group will have a stall inside the Pavillion and Wildlife Group, Tony, will provide a Winter Bird Walk at 2pm prompt!

Come and join Tony and see what types of birds are in Alexandra Park at this time of year!

Please bring binoculars if you have them.

This is a free event – All ages welcome

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Recent Bird Sightings in Alexandra Park


Alexandra Park is currently a very active environment with various species of birds, which seem to have descended upon us at the start of winter 2017!  So far, a member of the Alexandra Park Wildlife Group (Stuart) has recorded 15 goosanders, plus the red-breasted merganser which seems to have moved over to Alexandra Park from Plattfields Park. Also nuthatches, goldcrests, great spotted woodpecker, grey heron, grey wagtails and mistle thrushes along with the usual ducks, crows, tits and finches.  Therefore, Alexandra Park is well worth a visit right now!

By the way, if anyone does go to look for the merganser, note that it can be a bit difficult to pick out from the female goosanders at first.  It is often either close to the island or floating about with its head tucked under its wing – but as well as its ‘grubbier’ fading rust-into-grey neck; it is smaller, sits slightly lower in the water with no obvious white chest, and with binoculars you can see the red bill is straight, even slightly sloped up, rather than curving down at the end.

The lake area has also been recently weeded by the fenced area around the lake – which took 3 days to do by Stuart– who also spent a very long day clearing the lake of surface litter with the new net.  Well done Stuart!

Also, the Wildlife Group are featured in an article in the latest ‘Open Up’ Community Magazine.  If you have not yet picked up a free copy, the Lodge in Alexandra Park has some.  You can also view the magazine online via:


Please note though that the article went to print before the name and date of Alexandra Park’s Christmas Event was changed at the last minute.

The new name and date for the event is:

Christmas Cracker – Sunday 10th December 12 Noon to 4pm.  Full details to be posted



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Alexandra Park Owl and Bat Boxes

On Thursday 19 October, Mandy Elford from the Greater Manchester Ecology Unit carried out an inspection of the owl and bat boxes in the park, assisted by two members of the Alexandra Park Wildlife Forum.

These were the findings:

Location no 6: One bat box contained recent bat droppings (presumably of a Pipistrelle species). This was the box facing north-east. A second box contained some nesting material, the third was clear. It was recommended that branches be cleared below the boxes to facilitate access for the bats.

Location no 7: Two out of the three boxes contained nesting material. No sign that any had been used by bats. It was recommended that ivy needs clearing if boxes are to remain here.

Location no 9: Owl box contained much nesting material, but was situated too high up for proper checking. It was recommended that the box be lowered so that it can be checked and cleaned out.

Location no 13: The plan showed a bat box on this tree but nothing was found.

Location no 15:  The owl box looked clear but was too high up to be properly inspected. It was recommended that it be lowered (as for no 9).

Location no 18: Snails present in both bat boxes but they were not badly infested. It was recommended that some branch clearance takes place to make them more accessible for bats.

All the above locations were in the western part of the park known as the “Wild Area” between Lime Avenue and the North Oval.

Location no 1:  In the north-west copse just one location held an owl box which was inspected from a distance using binoculars. It appeared to be clear. It was recommended that the box be lowered and repositioned facing south west to give owls a better flight path.

Note: Location generally refers to a single tree but there may be more than one box attached to it.


24 OCTOBER 2017




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Birds on the lake – winter

11am Today at the lake:

10 Goosander present, including 4 adult males
4 Mute swan including 1 1st winter
14 Canada goose
23 Mallard
5 Tufted duck
6 Coot
7 Moorhen
54 Blackheaded gull (plus 35 on the football field, making 89)
1 Grey heron
1 Grey wagtail

The Goosanders (Mergus merganser) are back to tell us it’s winter. They’re the long-bodied ducks sitting low in the water. Females and young birds have red heads and the adult males have dark heads and creamy flanks.

Less than a mile away, on the lake at Platt Fields, a close relative of the Goosander has visited – a Red-breasted Merganser (Mergus serrator). It’s was seen there for  3 days, before it relocated to Alexandra Park lake on Thursday 16 November. It’s smaller, thinner beaked and the head colour fades gently to the breast.

copland smith.


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Free Falconry Event in Alexandra Park Tomorrow Saturday 28th October.

Birds of Prey Demonstration

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Are You ‘Bats’ for Halloween?!


It’s that ‘batty’ time of the year when bats (and batty-themed décor) are ‘hanging around’ in many shops, supermarkets and fancy dress suppliers as we approach Halloween. Bats are so much more than just a spooky little decoration though!  They are unique mammals who are essential for our environment but their numbers are on the decline so they really do need all the support they can get. With this in mind, the Bat Conservation Trust has created a brand new Halloween Fundraising Pack!

However, Halloween can often perpetuate some of the misconceptions about bats but it is also an opportunity to celebrate how wonderful bats are and make more people aware of this. Although real bats across the UK may well be hibernating during Halloween (depending on how cold it is), they are included, along with owls, crows and spiders, as being the traditional ‘spooky’ creatures to be seen during Halloweeen. Bats are really misunderstood and undervalued and are much more than a scarey Halloween decoration.  With this in mind, the Bat Conservation Trust are asking everyone to make this a very positive Halloween for bats.  You can do this by raising awareness of bats and also funds to help with their conservation.

The Bat Conservation Trust have created a brand new Halloween Fundraising Pack.

If you are planning a Halloween party, you could also use the opportunity to celebrate bats.  The pack includes ideas and tips for events you could organize for your family, friends or a community with lots of ideas for your event that will keep your guests entertained; from funky cocktails to batty games for both grown-ups and children.

Halloween Fundraising Pack 2017: http://www.bats.org.uk/data/files/publications/1546/Halloween_Fundraising_Pack_2017.pdf

More ideas for your Halloween event: http://www.bats.org.uk/pages/halloween.html

The Bat Conservation Trust would also love to see your photos so if you want to share them on social media or email them please do so –at comms@bats.org.uk


If you can donate for bats this Halloween then do visit the Bat Conservation Trust Justgiving page HERE and please do share it widely. They are hoping to raise £1,500 this Halloween so all donations, large or small, will help them to get a little bit closer to that target. Donate to their Halloween Justgiving campaign here: https://www.justgiving.com/campaigns/charity/bats/halloweenforbats17

You can also send a Batty Halloween E-Card which are available on the Bat Conservation Trust website too. http://www.bats.org.uk/ecards.php

Help and advice
The Bat Conservation Trust can answer any questions you may have about fundraising for bats and to help you if you need some inspiration or want to run an idea by them. You can email them on fundraise@bats.org.uk or call us on 020 7820 7181

So please help support bats this Halloween!

halloween-1001676_960_720 (1)

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Welcome Wildlife To Your Garden! Help to Save Our Native Species!



Across the UK, nature is struggling to survive!

This includes species such as bees, hedgehogs, and house sparrows to name but a few who are increasingly threatened with loss of habitat and other factors contributing to their decline.

However, we can all do our bit,  no matter how small, to help!

It does not matter if you have a large garden, a shared communal garden, a tiny urban balcony, or a small backyard it is surprising what you can do to help give nature a home.  This can be anything from growing flowers to feeding birds.

The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) have produced a helpful and informative guide called:

‘Welcome Wildlife To Your Garden’.

You can request a copy of the guide from their website:


Alternatively, download a guide here:


Let’s try to help rescue and save our dwindling wildlife before it’s too late!

English Honey Bee (Charlesjsharp, Creative Commons)
Hedgehog (Tony Wills, Creative Commons)
House sparrow  (“Photo by DAVID ILIFF. License: CC-BY-SA 3.0”)




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PARK SECURITY 0161 224 4237

If you need to report any incidents or anti-social behaviour in Alexandra Park please call the Park Security on 0161 224 4237



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Celebrating the Seasons in Alexandra Park – Autumn Equinox 2017

Autumn Equinox in Alexandra Park 2017

Autumn Equinox fell on Friday 22nd September and to mark it, a group of local people and children held a small celebration in Alexandra Park in the evening just before dusk – although the actual Equinox occurred about 9:02pm.

After the celebration, and as darkness fell, an owl was heard loudly hooting very close by and torch light revealed that a tawny owl was perched high up on a branch on the tree right by where the celebration was held. It was wondered how long the owl had been observing before making his/her presence known. (A photo of the owl high up in the tree was taken in the torch-light on a mobile phone and the white shape can just be made out in the photo below). The owl then flew off and hooted in the distance, and a small branch also fell off.

The Solstices and Equinoxes are regularly celebrated in Alexandra Park as it offers an opportunity for folk to connect with nature and acknowledge the seasonal cycles with others in this lovely green space near to where they live.

The next celebration will be for the Winter Solstice and will take place in the morning time. If you would like to come along to the next one or any of the celebrations, please email and you will be placed on the mailing list.

Photo of owl taken by Annabel

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Report of Alexandra Park Bat Walk Wednesday 6th September 2017

On Wednesday evening, Alexandra Park hosted a Bat Walk provided by the Alexandra Park Wildlife Forum and the Greater Manchester Ecology Unit (GMEU).  The event was held between 7:30pm and 9:30pm and started with a Presentation given by representatives from GMEU in the Park Depot.  The Presentation provided a very interesting introduction to bats, the different species and how we can hear them using bat detectors.

As dusk approached, everyone went out into the park with bat detectors to listen and look for the bats.  We were lucky to be entertained by one bat, probably a Common Pipistrelle, who seemed to be giving a performance as it flew between a couple of trees beside the cricket field for some time delighting both children and adults.  Later on we walked around the lake where there was a lot of audio activity from the bat detectors but as the evening was growing darker it was getting more difficult to spot the bats.  Tony, a member of the Wildlife Forum, had earlier spotted a fox through his binoculars on the opposite far side of the lake which probably accounted for the swans gliding across to the other side of the lake!

In total, about 50 people attended the event, including children and one dog, with a couple of others who were already in the park taking an interest and deciding to join in!  There were more people on a Waiting List!

This was a very successful event as we got to hear a lot of bats and see some of them flying around.  It was noted that there were Common Pipistrelle, Soprano, and possibly Daubenton’s species of bats in the park during the evening and that Alexandra Park appears to host a large number of bats for any urban location.

For those who were not able to attend due to the event being fully booked, the Wildlife Forum plan to organise another Bat Walk in the future as these prove very popular.  So watch this space!


Pipistrellus_flight2 Common Pip

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Wildlife Forum Stall at Annual Celebration Day in Alexandra Park – Sunday 10th September 2017



On Sunday 10th September, the Alexandra Park Wildlife Forum hosted a stall as part of the Annual Celebration Day in Alexandra Park.

Despite overcast weather and a blustery wind at times, the day went well.

Tony, a local ornithologist and member of the Wildlife Forum, provided two Bat Walks during the day attracting about 12 people in all.

Many people came up to the stall enquiring about the Wildlife Forum and future events and activities.

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10.30AM and 2PM





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Report on Insects Day in Alexandra Park – Sunday 6th August 2017

 Insects Day in Alexandra Park – Sunday 6th August 2017


On Sunday 6th August, the Alexandra Park Wildlife Forum in conjunction with the Greater Manchester Ecology Unit (GMEU) held an Insects Day event in Alexandra Park.

The day went very well with fine weather and a variety of invertebrates which were found by the attendees. The park already supports such interesting fauna and showed opportunities for further improvement, particularly around the lake (marginal, emergent and aquatic vegetation) and the grassland/flower/woodland edge habitats.

55 species were recorded with 34 invertebrate species. If anyone who attended the event – or for that matter anyone else who visits the park – can think of any that were not found and recorded on the day which have not already been noted then please advise us so that we can add them!

So if any attendees or readers have any specific thoughts/ideas on this, please let us know. If you have seen anything else then please let us know what you have seen, the time, date and location. Photos and videos are also a good idea.

The Biological Records that were collected between the organisers and attendees are now attached.

Alexandra Park Records 06Aug2017

Stuart Fraser (Stuart is a member of lexandra Park Wildlife Forum and a volunteer for Greater Manchester Ecology Unit)

Photos of insects courtesy of GMEU and Copland Smith.

If any readers are interested in joining the Alexandra Park Wildlife Forum, please email:


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New Moorhen Chicks Sighted in Alexandra Park


Tony O’Mahony, a local ornithologist, has reported seeing two new moorhen chicks on the lake in Alexandra Park.

If you have seen any of the new chicks, or for that matter any other wildlife in Alexandra Park, and have taken photos or videos then please let us know and/or upload onto this site. We are always happy to receive new photos and videos of our local wildlife.

Tony has also submitted WEBS count data for the months of June, July and August 2017

WEBS count June 2017

WEBS Count July 2017

WEBS Count August 2017

Photo of a moorhen chick is courtesy of:





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International Bat Night 2017 – This Weekend 26/27 August.

Take Part in International Bat Night 2017!

This Weekend Saturday 26th and Sunday 27th August.


Pipistrellus_flight2 Common Pip

Common Pipistrelle bat in flight (Wikimedia Commons)

International Bat Night has taken place every year since 1997 and over  30 countries all over the world join in with this celebration which takes place on the last full weekend of August. The 21st International Bat Night will be held on the weekend of 26-27 August 2017.

International Bat Night is an opportunity to raise awareness of bats as well as highlighting the need for the conservation of bats and their habitats. Nature conservation agencies, Non-Governmental Agencies (NGOs) and bat enthusiasts from across the world engage with the public about the way bats live and their needs by using presentations, exhibitions,  bat walks and other events, often offering the opportunity to listen to bat sounds with the support of ultrasound technology. UK Bat groups, park rangers and community groups organise bat walks and talks at dusk, as well as some day time fun days! Everybody across the UK can celebrate bats whether it is by going out and seeing and hearing them in their natural environment or by taking part in a range of events organised by local bat groups, wildlife trusts, countryside rangers and other organisations across the country.

To check if there are any events near you during International Bat Night visit:


To know what other countries in Europe are up to visit:


If you are planning on organizing your own event, have a look at The Bat Conservation Trust’s International Bat Night Pack to give you some ideas and which you can download by CLICKING HERE. Please also consider fundraising for bats as every donation whether large or small makes a difference and enables the Bat Conservation Trust to continue to protect and speak up for bats. You can send them your donations via this JustGiving page:  https://www.justgiving.com/bats

In addition, Alexandra Park will be hosting a Bat Walk on Wednesday evening of 6th September.

This will be a free event and you can register onto it via the link below:


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Rare Fox Sighted in Greater Manchester!?




Photos of Black Fox from Wikimedia Commons

One of Britain’s rarest animals has been spotted roaming the streets of Sale, Greater Manchester!  According to recent media reports.

The animal was said to be a black fox which was seen by a man in his van who later filmed it walking around an industrial unit.

However, it was actually a runaway pet, called Wilf!

On their Facebook page called, Adventures of Wilf, the two sisters who own Wilf, writing from his perspective, said: “I, Wilfred the Silver fox would like to admit to purposely escaping from my house/outdoor enclosure to get more Facebook likes and make the newspapers. I apologise to my owners and followers for causing any worry and panic… but I can’t promise it won’t happen again.”

Wilf previously disappeared at the end of July and was found after a social media appeal.



Sadly, black foxes have largely disappeared from the UK due to past extensive hunting for their unique black fur but odd ones have been spotted here and there.


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Total Solar Eclipse – An Important Reminder


On Monday, 21st August 2017, thousands travelled and gathered to observe the once in a lifetime celestial celebration of the Moon passing the Sun in a total solar eclipse along the East Coast of the USA.

Millions more watched it on their TV and Internet. For many it induced feelings of excitement and awe as they watched day turn into night if only for a couple or more minutes. During this time, birds stopped singing, flowers closed and the air got cooler in the absence of the heat and light from the Sun.

It is at times like this, that we can recognise how important the Sun is to our planet and for sustaining all life on Earth.

Retired NASA astrophysicist, Fred Espenak, has stated:

“You get an overwhelming sense of humbleness and how small and petty we really are compared to the mechanics of the solar system, the clockwork of the universe, these events that are taking place that we can in now way affect or stop.”

Although this recent solar eclipse was an important reminder of just how important the Sun is, people have always gathered at other times to celebrate less dramatic reminders of how much we depend upon the Sun for our life on Earth.

These observances took place at the Solstices and Equinoxes each year.

A Solstice is an astronomical event that happens twice each year when the sun reaches its highest position in the sky as seen from the North or South Pole.  The day of the Solstice is either the “longest day of the year” which takes place in summer or the “shortest day of the year” which takes place in winter for any place on earth. The length of the time between sunrise and sunset on that day is the yearly maximum or minimum for that place.

An Equinox occurs twice a year (in March and September) when the tilt of the Earth’s axis is inclined neither away from nor towards the Sun – the centre of the Sun being in the same plane as the Earth’s equator.

Although such celebrations may be steeped in tradition, they are nonetheless an important reminder of how everything is interconnected and how much we rely on natural cycles for our benefit and for life on Earth to exist and grow.

Julie Boyd




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A New Community Garden in Whalley Range!


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The Sunset/Sunrise Survey Summer 2017

The Sunset/Sunrise Survey – Monitoring Bats and other Wildlife
Chris Packham has recently promoted this survey on Springwatch! This survey can be conducted until September and is ideal for complete beginners as well as the more experienced volunteers who also enjoy this survey because it is a great way for locating roosts in your area.

You do not need any specialist equipment or previous experience.  You just need to go out at dusk and/or dawn and look for bats! Going out at dawn increases the chance of locating a roost through spotting bat swarming behaviour.

This is a perfect opportunity to get together with family/friends and discover bats and other wildlife in your local area. Simply head out at dusk or before dawn, or both! Spend an hour in your garden or walking around your local area and look out for bats.

  • You can carry out your survey anytime from now until September.
  • You will need: Survey form, pencil/pen, torch, watch.
  • If you are doing your survey in the evening start at sunset. If you are doing your survey at dawn start one hour before sunrise.
  • Spend an hour looking for bats and any other nocturnal animals you can see or hear.

A downloadable form and instructions and link to the online recording form can be found on the Bat Conservation Trust  Sunset/Sunrise Survey page which also includes videos of different sights you might see when carrying out this survey.


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small skipper on devils bit

Small Skipper on Devil’s Bit – Photo Courtesy of GMEU

SUNDAY 6TH AUGUST 2017 10:00am – 3:00pm

Join the Alexandra Park Wildlife Forum for a wonderful day looking at some of the amazing insects in Alexandra Park with insect specialists from the Greater Manchester Ecology Unit (GMEU)! The day will include looking at insects up close, learning how to identify them, the different species that inhabit the park. The day will be concluded with a quiz. Although this event is aimed primarily at adults, children are welcome if accompanied by a responsible adult

Please bring a packed lunch. Tea and coffee will be provided. Please also bring weather-suitable clothing, cameras/video recorders, smart phones for taking photos

Numbers will be limited so please reserve/book your place via email:Whalleyrange4wildlife@yahoo.com

Chrysotoxum bicinctum

Chrysotoxum bicinctum – Photo Courtesy of GMEUB

Banded Demoiselles

Banded Demoiselles – Photo Courtesy of Copland Smith

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TODAY! Urban Naturalist at Manchester Museum


Event to be held at the following time, date, and location:

Saturday, July 29, 2017 from 2:00 PM to 3:30 PM (BST)

Manchester Museum
Oxford Road
M13 9PL Manchester
United Kingdom

View Map


David Winnard is a naturalist and forager from Greater Manchester.

For many years he has studied the botany and mycology of our ‘urban jungle’ and has used nearly 200 species for culinary purposes. Having led foraging events across Europe David is skilled in the identification of plants and fungi and has learnt many different ways of using these species from our neighbours across the channel.

This event will showcase some of Manchester finest flowers, fruit, foliage and fungi and we will discuss their edibility (or not in some cases), medicinal value and whether these species are increasing or decreasing and what is causing that.

Greater Manchester may be perceived as an ‘urban jungle’, but jungles are the perfect place to find some weird and wonderful plants and fungi…

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Swans and Cygnet on Alexandra Park Lake

These latest photos of the Alexandra Park swans were taken on Wednesday evening 26th July 2017. The cygnet is now about 3 months old.

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Go wild in your park with the RSPB and Aldi!

In Alexandra Park, Whalley Range throughout August 2017, the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) will be delivering free nature activities in Alexandra Park exploring the abundance of nature and wildlife in the park.


Tuesday 1st August

Tuesday 8th August

Tuesday 22nd August

Tuesday 29th August



11am – 4pm

To encourage more children and their families to take a step closer to nature, the RSPB in partnership with Aldi have launched Wild Parks, aimed at getting people to uncover the wild side of their city. Families will be able to join an RSPB expert in parks across 17 UK cities for a range of fun and engaging activities, aimed at helping families take their first steps on their own wild adventure. There are a number of activities on offer ranging from minibeast safaris and scavenger hunts to bioblitzing and national treasure hunts, which are all free and do not require pre-sign up.The RSPB Connecting with Nature report revealed that children in the UK were missing out on a wealth of mental and physical benefits from not spending enough time outside, with only one in five having a healthy connection to nature.

Nature near you is in trouble: 60 per cent of UK species have declined in the last 50 years.

Nature needs children: If the next generation don’t want to protect nature, we will lose it forever. With the amount of time children and families are spending outside in nature in decline, the RSPB and Aldi, are challenging families to get out and go wild in their local city park this summer. Wild Parks also offers the opportunity for families to start their own wild adventure at home with the RSPB Wild Challenge. With 24 activities to choose from, the Wild Challenge will take you from your own back garden to exploring wildlife in towns, cities, woodlands and even the coast. Participants can then log their achievements and collect their bronze, silver and gold awards. To find out more about the RSPB partnership with Aldi, visit here




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Free event to be held at the following time, date, and location:

Saturday, July 29, 2017 from 2:00 PM to 3:30 PM (BST)

Manchester Museum
Oxford Road
M13 9PL Manchester
United Kingdom

“David Winnard is a naturalist and forager from Greater Manchester.

For many years he has studied the botany and mycology of our ‘urban jungle’ and has used nearly 200 species for culinary purposes. Having led foraging events across Europe David is skilled in the identification of plants and fungi and has learnt many different ways of using these species from our neighbours across the channel.

This event will showcase some of Manchester finest flowers, fruit, foliage and fungi and we will discuss their edibility (or not in some cases), medicinal value and whether these species are increasing or decreasing and what is causing that.

Greater Manchester may be perceived as an ‘urban jungle’, but jungles are the perfect place to find some weird and wonderful plants and fungi.”




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LOVE PARKS WEEK Tuesday 14th July – Sunday 23rd July




Love ParksIt’s Love Parks week starting today!

This is for everyone to get out into their local park and enjoy its green space.

This coming Tuesday 18th July, in Alexandra Park, the City Council will be holding various activities for everyone to participate in and blog about.

In particular we will be launching the Sprytar app which will allow people to go on a virtual tour of the park, informing you of features past and present of historic value to this park and other things of interest. This will be taking place at the Pavilion. The Lodge will be open too so please call in and say hello.




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Tangled Dance Company Presents Once Upon A Twisted Tale in Alexandra Park

The Tangled Dance Company performed a free event called Once Upon A Twisted Tale in Alexandra Park on Sunday 2nd July. The park experienced a day of enchantment and magic as the performances invited onlookers to immerse themselves in a fairy tale atmosphere. The day was warm and sunny and these are some of the photos from the day. 

Julie Boyd


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The Banded Demoiselle

banded demoiselle-5

Around the lake in Alexandra Park, you might see some of these rather beautiful damselflies called Banded Demoiselles, because of that black band on the wings of the males. The females have metallic green bodies and no bands on the wings. They are usually near water, but may be fluttering about on the grass.


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Today! Saturday 1st July

National Meadows Day at Chorlton Ees

Join the ‘Friends of Chorlton Meadows’ and the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) to celebrate their magnificent local meadows. Drop in anytime for their free family friendly nature discovery and craft activities, plus:

Wildflower Walks at 10 am and 12 pm

Bee and Butterfly Safaris at 11 am and 1 pm.

Follow the signs from Brookburn Road car park, M21 9ES.

Tomorrow – Sunday 2nd July

Alexandra Park

Tangled Dance Company are performimg their promanade show around Alexandra Park:

Tangled Dance Company invites you to lose yourself as faiytales are awoken in an enchanting promanade dance performance. Follow the charactures through the grounds and woods as the captivating story untangles, and help break the spell of the poisoned apple, in search for the golden thread.”

The performances will be at the following times:

  • 12 Noon
  • 2pm
  • 4pm

Meet at the lake

Alexandra Park Heritage Group will also be holding an Open Day in the Lodge and Ann Beswick will be giving another of her guided tours around Alexandra Park. Both events will start at the Lodge from 12 Noon to 2pm.  So come along and discover about your local lovely park!



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IMG_20170621_191314On Wednesday 21st June at 7pm, there was a small celebration to mark the Summer Solstice in Alexandra Park. This followed on from previous traditions of marking the seasons in the lovely Alexandra Park by a group of people who want to connect closer to the natural environment.

It was a lovely warm evening and symbols representing the Summer Solstice were placed in the middle of a tree which is said to be split across a path of ley lines.  The area was the focus of a Dowsing Workshop which was held during the Summer Solstice Weekend in Alexandra Park in June 2015 which suggested that there are ley lines which run through the Alexandra Park area.

The floor of the park was also covered in a carpet of soft ‘cotton wool’ – like pollen which had been falling from the trees.




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The Urban Naturalist

 Saturday 24th June : 2-4pm

The Manchester Museum runs friendly, practical workshops run by leading naturalists. From wild food-foraging and composting to bird song and insect identification, explore biodiversity on our doorstep.

Join Leila Nicholson, a local bee expert, as she leads a workshop focused on the important role that bees play in the environment, including urban areas. You will explore the distinguishing features of bees that can allow you to tell the sex and species of the bees you encounter, using microscopes and magnifying glasses. There will also be an opportunity to learn how to catch bees without harming them, which in turn will help us discover what species are visiting the gardens around Manchester Museum.

Event to be held at the following time, date, and location:

Saturday, June 24, 2017 from 2:00 PM to 4:00 PM (BST)

Manchester Museum Oxford Road M13 9PL Manchester

Adult Event, Free, Book on mcrmuseum.eventbrite.com or 0161 275 2648

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Insects in the Museum – This Saturday – Manchester Museum

The Manchester Museum will be hosting:

The Urban Naturalist – Insects behind the scenes

Saturday 27th May : 2-3:30pm

The Manchester Museum is offering friendly, practical workshops run by leading naturalists. Activities range from wild food-foraging and composting to bird song and insect identification, and how to explore biodiversity on our local doorstep.

Join resident entomologist Phil Rispin to explore the techniques of preserving and mounting entomological (insect) specimens. There will also be an exciting opportunity to see some of the extensive collection behind the scenes at Manchester Museum. This will be guided by Phil Rispin who will provide his expert insight into the fascinating collection of insects and much much more.

This event is aimed at adults.

Book on mcrmuseum.eventbrite.com or 0161 275 2648

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The Vegan Organic Network (VON) are holding a vegan picnic in Alexandra Park on Sunday 14th May.

Start 12pm

Finish 4pm

There will be vegan food, music and games and possibly a Bird Walk at 2pm.

Please bring vegan food to share or just come along and join in the fun.

There will be VON flag to mark the spot of the picnic which will be in the main football field.



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There will be a Bird Walk at Hough End Clough tomorrow morning Saturday 13th May starting at 10am.

Meet at Mauldeth Road West (Rugby Club) entrance. Details are also in the free community magazine, ‘Open Up’.

Bring along your binoculars and if you see/photo/video any sightings, please send to WR 4 Wildlife.  We are always interested to include on the website!

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Sunday Butterfly (& bird) walk on Chorlton Meadows

You’re invited to a ‘Butterflies of Early Summer‘ walk this Sunday (7th May).

The walk will be led by local aurelian (butterfly-watcher), copland smith.
orangetip m-2-2            Orange Tip male

Meet: Ivy Green Car Park on Brookburn Road, Chorlton (diagonally opposite the Bowling Green pub)

Time: 11:00 am

We’ll walk in a leisurely way for a couple of hours at least, but participants can drop out any time they want. If you want to do some research first, then the ones we might see are: Comma, Small Tortoiseshell, Peacock, Brimstone, Speckled Wood, Orange Tip, Small White, Large White, Greenveined White & Holly Blue. I’ve seen these ten this year. An early Common Blue is a possibility. Interesting birds & plants may well be pointed out along the way. Some of us may retire to a pub at the end of the walk, probably the Bowling Green.

We’ll mostly be on good paths, but walking boots would be advisable. The wind should have dropped by Sunday, which suits small creatures with big wings, so I’m hopeful of seeing most of the 10 species that are about. If you have binoculars, you will get better views.

All are welcome to join this Friends of Chorlton Meadows event. We hope to see you there.

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Hedgehog Awareness Week – 30th April to 6th May 2017

Be Aware and Take Care for hedgehogs when gardening!

Hedgehog Awareness Week runs from 30th April to 6th May 2017 and hedgehoggy events are being organised all around the country already!

Hedgehog Awareness Week is organised by the British Hedgehog Preservation Society and takes place every year.  It aims to highlight the problems hedgehogs face and how you can help them.

This year efforts are focussed on their strimmer campaign.  They are advising that people be aware of hedgehogs in their gardens and their website states:

As well as checking areas before cutting there are other things we can do to help too:

  • Ensure there is hedgehog access in your garden – a 13cm x 13cm gap in boundary fences and walls.
  • Move piles of rubbish to a new site before burning it.
  • Ensure netting is kept at a safe height.
  • Check compost heaps before digging the fork in.
  • Stop or reduce the amount of pesticides and poisons used.
  • Cover drains or deep holes.
  • Ensure there is an easy route out of ponds and pools.


Please go to the British Hedgehog Preservation Society website for full details:


Photo by Mike Pennington –


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BIRD WALK – HOUGH END – SATURDAY 13th MAY – 10:00am Start

There will be a Bird Walk at Hough End Clough on Saturday 13th May starting at 10am.

Meet at Mauldeth Road West (Rugby Club) entrance. Details will also be in the free community magazine, ‘Open Up’.

Bring along your binoculars and if you see/photo/video any sightings, please send to WR 4 Wildlife.  We are always interested to include on the website!


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Heron chicks

The Heron “chicks” are as big as the adults now. 2 active nests on Alexandra Park’s lake-isle this year, with (I think) 2 chicks in each.

heron chicks 2

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Running for Bats in the London Marathon

Steve Parker from the South Lancashire Bat Group is running in the London Marathon today!

If you would like to support him please have a look at his fundraising page to find out why he is running and if you would like to donate.


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