Trip report - Greater Manchester, Lancashire, Cumbria and south west Scotland

16th January 2013
Dates: 12th to 16th January 2013

Destination: Greater Manchester, Lancashire, Cumbria and south west Scotland

Purpose of trip:

The purpose of my trip was to visit Pennington Flash in Greater Manchester, Martin Mere WWT reserve in Lancashire, the Solway Firth coast of Cumbria and Dumfries and Galloway and various other sites in Dumfries and Galloway.

Primary target areas:

The primary target areas for wildlife watching were:

Greater Manchester: Pennington Flash

Lancashire: Martin Mere WWT reserve

Cumbria: southern Solway Firth sites

Dumfries and Galloway: northern Solway Firth sites including Caerlaverock WWT reserve and Mersehead RSPB reserve, Loch Ryan and Wig Bay, Ken-Dee Marshes RSPB reserve

Getting there and getting around:

I travelled up to Manchester by Virgin trains on 12th January 2013 and returned on 16th January 2013 having obtained an extremely good value advance return ticket for £31.50. I booked my return ticket via and by using Tesco clubcard vouchers on this website, my ticket cost me nothing .... a bargain!

In Manchester, I hired a car for the whole trip from Hertz for £54.30 reduced by 10% Quidco cashback to £48.87.

I stayed in Travelodges in Manchester, Carlisle and Dumfries and by booking well in advance my 4 nights accommodation only cost £74.


The weather during my trip was mostly dry, sunny and cold other than the morning of 14th January 2013. This provided excellent opportunities for wildlife watching and photography.


During my short trip, I was able to record 87 bird species (a reasonable total for such a short trip) and 3 mammal species.

Trip list - Greater Manchester, Lancashire, Cumbria and south west Scotland

With regard to the birds, I was able to add 17 species to my 2013 list. This included a male Green-winged Teal at Martin Mere WWT reserve, a scarce north American visitor to the UK which I have seen twice before in Norfolk.

Apart from the Green-winged Teal, the highlights were the very large numbers of ducks, Whooper Swans and Pink-footed Geese at Martin Mere WWT reserve, the very large numbers of Barnacle Geese, ducks and waders on the Solway Firth, large numbers of sea duck on Loch Ryan in Dumfries and Galloway and stunning views of a Short-eared Owl near Cummertrees in Dumfries and Galloway.

The following summarises the notable wildlife species seen on my trip, many of the birds being first records for 2013.

Martin Mere WWT reserve, Lancashire: Pink-footed Goose, Whooper Swan, Wigeon, Teal, Pintail, Shelduck, Tufted Duck, Common Pochard, Goosander, Green-winged Teal, Black-tailed Godwit, Ruff, Lapwing, Common Buzzard

Pennington Flash, Greater Manchester: Willow Tit, Bullfinch plus a wide variety of other commoner species and Grey Squirrel at the Bunting Hide “feeding station”

Solway Firth, Cumbria (Bowness-on-Solway-Cardurnock-Anthorn-Kirkbride-Abbeytown-Silloth): Barnacle Goose, Pink-footed Goose, Whooper Swan, Shelduck, Wigeon, Mallard, Teal, Curlew, Oystercatcher, Lapwing, Golden Plover, Common Redshank, Dunlin, Little Egret, Heron, Merlin, Common Buzzard, Kestrel, Tree Sparrow, Fox

Solway Firth, Dumfries and Galloway (Newbie-Powfoot-Cummertrees-Mersehead-Caerlaverock): Barnacle Goose, Pink-footed Goose, Whooper Swan, Shelduck, Wigeon, Teal, Mallard, Shoveler, Pintail, Gadwall, Scaup, Red-breasted Merganser, Curlew, Oystercatcher, Lapwing, Short-eared Owl, Common Buzzard, Kestrel, Tree Sparrow, Yellowhammer, Linnet, Fox, Roe Deer

Loch Ryan and Wig Bay, Dumfries and Galloway: Pale-bellied Brent Goose, Red-throated Diver, Slavonian Grebe, Great Crested Grebe, Little Grebe, Scaup, Long-tailed Duck, Common Scoter, Goldeneye, Eider, Red-breasted Merganser, Shelduck, Mallard, Wigeon, Pintail, Black Guillemot, Guillemot, Mute Swan, , Cormorant, Shag, Curlew, Oystercatcher, Common Redshank, Bar-tailed Godwit, Ringed Plover, Turnstone

Ken-Dee Marshes at Mains of Duchrae, Dumfries and Galloway: Greenland White-fronted Goose, Greylag Goose, Wigeon, Lapwing, Red Kite, Common Buzzard

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