Monday, 14 March 2016

Dove Stone (but not really) and Etherow Country Park

The day after Frodsham, we drove east into the Peak on the assumption that the snow of a few days ago would have thawed by now. How wrong we were. The Peak was snow-tastic and the tarmac path up from Dove Stone reservoir was a slippery nightmare. The car park at Binn Grene was also a slippery nightmare (actually it was fine going in but getting out again took some serious driving skill from N).

So my hopes of finding Mountain Hares fell apart and I came away with only a pic of this smug male Pheasant and this smirking female Chaffinch.

All was not lost though as the way back took us to a place called Etherow Country Park, on the edge of Stockport, where Nick said we would find Mandarins (a year-tick for him) and Dippers (a year-tick for both of us).

Here there was much less snow, though the weather remained very dull and dark. We parked by a big lake full of manky Mallards, dodgy farmyard geese and a lot of Black-headed Gulls. The path took us along a wall-sided canal, that ran alongside an actual river.

People were feeding the ducks on this river - and most of said ducks were Mandarins - proper free-flying wild ones.

The path crossed the canal and we could finally see down to the proper river that rushed along at the bottom of a steep gorge. It looked good for Dippers, especially when we found a Dipper, standing on a boulder in true Dipper style and contemplating the rapids. A little way ahead was a rather spectacular weir.

We veered away from the river at this point and followed an uneventful looping path through hilly woodland, where we found a small party of Goldcrests but nothing else.

Back at the top of the weir we found a pair of Grey Wagtails.

The return walk didn't produce anything new apart from rain. I couldn't resist another quick go at the beautiful Mandarins though.

1 comment:

Phil said...

Not sure i like the snow in your post Marianne. Hoping for more of a Spring like feel to the weather now:-)
The Mandarins look too exotic for a snowy background too.
Pleased to see you finally got a Sparrowhawk though, I was thinking I'd have to take you to New Hythe to get one!
Poor old Foxy, sounds a bit uncomfortable to say the least.
Great read and packed full of pics as ever.
Never did get the elusive Richard's Pipit.........