Recent Wildlife Sightings – 25/04/2024

It’s been an exciting few weeks for the wildlife of the Tawd Valley Park. First up, and perhaps the most interesting species to report, a male Pied Flycatcher was found near Summer Street on April 10th – this species migrates to its breeding sites further inland around this time of year, after spending the winter in West Africa. This stunning bird was the first Valley record for over 30 years, drawing a decent crowd of local birders, and was found by FoTV’s very own Mike Flaherty. Nice work, Mike.

Next up, raptors – and what a few weeks we’ve had for them! For starters, a member of the public living on the edge of the Tawd Valley has described what could only be a Red Kite over his home – this is a great record for not only the Valley, but also for West Lancs as a whole. If this wasn’t enough, a group of FoTV volunteers spotted a bird shooting above the woodland, which was unanimously decided to be a Peregrine Falcon – whilst this bird has been recorded in the Valley before, previous appearances are scarce, with the last record being fairly recently (involving a young bird, rescued from dire straits by two dedicated FoTV volunteers!) – another epic Valley record. Tawny Owls have been heard calling to one another, even in daylight, and both Kestrels and Buzzards are becoming very territorial in certain areas of the Valley.

Other species, such as Grey Wagtails and Nuthatches, have been seen to be showing signs of breeding in the Valley. Even more exciting is the pair of Kingfishers that have appeared on the river recently – after raising two broods in 2023, their return bodes well for the coming season. Migrant warblers, such as Chiffchaff, Blackcap and Willow Warbler, have all been singing their hearts out in the Valley – the mobile app Merlin is great for identifying their calls.

So, that’s it for birds – what about mammals? A Roe Deer has been seen recently in the wooded areas of the Valley, the first sighting since the small group which overwintered here. Rabbits and Grey Squirrels continue to be seen fairly often, too, and rat tracks continue to appear on the River Tawd’s banks. A FoTV Bat Walk, assisted by Billinge Bat Rescue, recorded three species of bat – Brown Long-eared, Common Pipistrelle, and Soprano Pipistrelle. Great stuff.

Lastly, the amphibian breeding season has almost come to a close. Tadpoles have been seen in the Valley, and the number of newts in ponds is beginning to decline, as they move from their breeding grounds. Both Smooth and Palmate Newts have been seen on the Manfield Allotments compound, however, showing they haven’t all disappeared just yet.

As always, I hope you enjoyed reading. Do let us know if you spot anything interesting in the Valley, and hey – why not consider becoming an FoTV volunteer? Who knows what you might spot whilst at one of our events?