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:

More ideas for your Halloween event:

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


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:

You can also send a Batty Halloween E-Card which are available on the Bat Conservation Trust website too.

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 or call us on 020 7820 7181

So please help support bats this Halloween!

halloween-1001676_960_720 (1)

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Alexandra Park WEBS Count for September/October 2017

The following links give information of the WEBS count for Alexandra Park compiled by Tony O’Mahony, local ornithologist and member of the Alexandra Park Wildlife Forum.

The lists record the types and numbers of species of birds identified during the months of September and October.  Previous months recordings can be viewed on this website.

There will be a full report of the year’s sightings at the end of this year.

If you would also like to submit your own sightings to this website, please do so.  We also welcome any photos and videos.  This includes other wildlife/nature.

WEBS Count September 2017

WEBS count October 2017

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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:

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

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 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 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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DEFRA has recently approved the use of the A24 trap in England – Hedgehogs at Risk!

DEFRA has recently approved the use of the A24 trap in England. The traps (see are sold to kill hedgehogs (amongst other species), in New Zealand where hedgehogs are a non-native and considered a ‘pest’ species.

Following DEFRA approval, the traps can now be used in the UK.

In the UK, hedgehogs are a protected species through being listed on Schedule 6 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act and may not be trapped without a licence.

Could you please sign the petition by clicking on the link below? It only takes a minute and it will help prevent the nation’s favourite animal – the hedgehog – from suffering further and unnecessarily cruel decline. If the link doesn’t work then please visit the British Hedgehog Preservation Society website where you wil see the petition at the top of the home page:


Please sign their petition against traps that kill hedgehogs.









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RSPB Big Garden Watch 2017 Results


If you took part in the RSPB Big Garden Watch, or you went to your local park to participate, the national results can now be viewed via the link below:

If you are a local resident who did the RSPB Big Garden Watch in your garden or in Alexandria Park, we would love to hear of your reports and see any photos/videos you took.

Please submit your reports onto this website or email:



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Spring Equinox Celebration in Alexandra Park

Continuing our celebration of the changing seasons, the Spring Equinox, which fell on Monday 20th March, was marked with another short friendly informal event in Alexandra Park to connect with natural cycles.

The Spring Equinox is a time when light and dark are in equal balance and the days start to grow longer and the nights shorter.

As the following day of 21st March was the International Day of Forests, the Spring Equinox celebration was held in the woodland area where there are some lovely old trees and a circle of yellow daffodils.

If you would like to join in future seasonal celebrations, please email:



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International Day of Forests 21st March 2017

banner_en_website920“This global celebration of forests provides a platform to raise awareness of the importance of all types of forests and trees outside forests.

Forests cover one third of the Earth’s land mass, performing vital functions around the world. Around 1.6 billion people – including more than 2,000 indigenous cultures – depend on forests for their livelihood.

Forests are the most biologically-diverse ecosystems on land, home to more than 80% of the terrestrial species of animals, plants and insects. They also provide shelter, jobs and security for forest-dependent communities.

They play a key role in our battle in adapting to and mitigating climate change. Forests contribute to the balance of oxygen, carbon dioxide and humidity in the air. They protect watersheds, which supply 75% of fresh water worldwide.

Yet despite all these priceless ecological, economic, social and health benefits, global deforestation continues at an alarming rate – 13 million hecatares of forest are destroyed annually. Deforestation accounts for 12-20 per cent of the global greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change.

The theme for this year is ‘Forests and Climate Change’ highlights forest-based solutions to address climate change mitigation and adaptation, and more broadly forests and sustainability.”

The above text is taken from:

Further information is available via:

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Spring Has Sprung in Alexandra Park!

Flowers are starting to bloom and birds are starting to build their nests to welcome the new season of Spring which is arriving in Alexandra Park as can be seen in the photos above.

The Spring Equinox falls on 20th March this year and on the 21st March is the UN International Day of Forests.

If you have been out and about in Alexandra Park please send your photos and if  you have any poems or stories to share especially with the theme of International Day of Forests, please send them in and they will be posted on this website for International Day of Forests.  Alexandra Park may not be a forest but it does have beautiful trees. You may want to think about the trees in Alexandra Park. Do you have a favourite tree in Alexandra Park?  Why are trees important to you?

Julie Boyd


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‘FRIENDS AND FEATHERS’ in Alexandra Park – Report from Wednesday 22nd February 2017.

On Wednesday 22nd February, Sarah and Ian of One Green World brought their ‘Friends and Feathers’ event to Alexandra Park.  (See February 13th Post)

This was a very successful event with 42 members of the public including families engaging with the activities.  They received some very positive feedback with mums mainly wanting more events and activities like this to be held in Alexandra Park.

They sent this report about how the day went:

“We set up in the pavilion next to the cafe and waited for our first visitors. We got families making bird boxes and the younger ones making feeders and doing surveys of bird sightings in the park. We  also had a drawing of a bird for the young ones to colour in. We had a fantastic response and everyone really enjoyed themselves. Everyone made a promise to Ian to put up their bird box this week in their garden so we let them all take them away. We really enjoyed our time in Alexandra Park and look forward to coming back in the future. Sarah and Ian of One Green World”

We really hope to see more activities and events like this one being delivered by Sarah and Ian for users of Alexandra Park.

For more information about One Green World see:


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Alex Park Goldcrests

There’s more singing going on and birds being more visible as they search for nests and mates. If you see a tiny bird (smallest in Europe) making a short flight seem like a long journey, it may be a Goldcrest. There is a picture of a female here which was pecking for spiders and insects on a tree by the lake.


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Alex Park spring changes

redwing-rec-11-1If you look at the main island from the Demesne Road end, you can see a Heron hunkered down in the nest, presumably sitting on eggs.

The so-called Blackheaded Gulls are losing their winter pattern (dark marks on the cheeks) and the whole head is turning a deep chocolate-brown. Last week, only one had a “black” head, yesterday there were three. Counting black heads is a way of seeing spring approach.

There are still Redwings about. Soon, they’ll be flying north to breed: Iceland, Scandinavia and some in Scotland.

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Alex Park ducks & drakes

Julie suggested I showed what our visiting Shoveller ducks looked like, which was when I realised I didn’t have a decent picture of one. I have taken a few now.

Well, all year round, you will see Mallard and Tufted Duck. Like most ducks, the males have distinctive plumage but the females are brown and camouflaged. Mallards upend to feed; Tufties dive. Top pictures: male and female Mallard; bottom pictures: male and female Tuftie.


In the winter, we have Goosanders visiting from time to time. They are long and sleek and hunt fish. There is a photo on an earlier blog. We have also had Shovellers – sometimes half a dozen, sometimes just a pair. They have big shovel-beaks, chestnut sides and white breasts. Male and female shown here. Soon the winter visitors will vanish, as will the Redwings in the park. The dawn chorus is already on the increase as the songbirds build up for the breeding season.


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‘FRIENDS & FEATHERS’ Half-Term Activities: Alexandra Park Wednesday 22nd February 2017

“One Green World is a new business in the North West developing, improving and conserving open green spaces. One Green World offers a comprehensive and extensive consultancy service and implements practical solutions and projects within public places, schools, gardens and private green spaces. They offer activities and training opportunities, woodwork and construction projects and open spaces conservation and improvement. They can also provide an end to end project management service, allowing your dream to become reality with seamless professionalism and continuity. Their website will give a much wider flavour of what they can offer and link you to Facebook and Twitter too where there are lots of photos” 

One Green World have been commissioned to deliver a week of bird themed activity sessions and one of the parks they will be in is Alexander Park. Below are all the details of the sessions and the one in Alexander Park is on Wednesday 22nd February.

One Green World will be delivering 5 days of activities with a bird theme in 5 different parks during the February half term 2017. Timings are 10-12 and then 1-3 at each venue.

Venues are as follows:

Monday 20th February – Wythenshawe Park

Tuesday 21st February – Fletcher Moss Gardens

Wednesday 22nd February – Alexander Park 

Thursday 23rd February – Chorlton Park on Nell Lane

Friday 24th February – Ladybarn Park

The sessions will be run as on a drop-in basis and will include making rustic bird boxes and bird feeders out of up cycled materials. They will also offer information on bird species in the parks and the chance to undertake a small survey of the park. The bird boxes and feeders can be taken away by the participants if they promise to put them up in their gardens, otherwise, One Green World will install them in the park on the same day as part of the session. They will also have bird images and paper and pens for the younger participants to draw and colour in. They are also inviting the RSPB to attend as much as they can offer.

Please click onto the links below to see documents for more information.




Julie Boyd

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The Herons are building

Alexandra Park is full of singing birds – Songthrushes, Robins, Wrens warming up for Spring. Winter birds from the north are still about: Redwings poking around in the grass or twittering from trees, with the occasional Fieldfare among them. Herons nest earlier than the others and can already be seen in nests at each end of the island. These two are in the North nest, easily watched from the play area.


copland smith

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GREEN AND BLUE SPACES PROJECT: Meeting in the Lodge, Alexandra Park on Thursday 9/02/17 at 2:15pm


The Blue and Green Spaces Project is based on “age-friendly” research into blue and green spaces (i.e.nature/trees/woods/fields and water/rivers/seas/oceans).

It is now known that the natural environment is beneficial for our health and well-being, yet for many of us living in urban areas this can often mean that we have less access to nature then we need especially older people, who are more likely to suffer from poor health.

There will be a meeting in the Lodge, Alexandra Park, on Thursday 9th February at 2:15pm.

Chris Phillipson, Professor of Sociology and Social Gerontology at the University of Manchester, has been working on a project relating to examining the extent to which green and blue spaces can contribute to the health and well-being of older people.

Recent publications:

(with Buffel, T) ‘Can Global Cities be Age-Friendly Cities: Urban Development and Ageing Populations’, Cities, 55, 94-100, 2016

‘Global and local ties and the reconstruction of later life’. In Twigg, & Martin, W (eds) Routledge Handbook of Cultural Gerontology, Routledge, 2015

Ageing, Meaning and Social Structure (co-edited), Policy Press, Pbk, 2014

Ageing, Polity Press, 2013

Julie Boyd

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Have you, or someone you know, lost a rabbit?

A young domestic/pet rabbit was found in the area around Yarburgh Street/Withington Road in Whalley Range on Tuesday evening, 31st January 2017, at around tea-time (5:30pm-6:00pm).

The rabbit has dark grey and white short smooth fur and was in clean condition and friendly though a little timid.

The rabbit has now been collected by the RSPCA and will be kept for 7 days before attempts are made to rehome it.

The RSPCA telephone number to contact is: 0300 1234 999 and the Reference Number to quote is: 1498/31/1/17 and the name of the RSPCA lady who collected it is Lauren.img_20170131_184913


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