The new bird in town is ruffling some feathers

Date published: 15 October 2020

A rare, white, heron-like bird is attempting to become the Oldham borough’s most famous bird and is likely to ruffle Chaddy The Owl’s feathers in the process! 

The Little Egret was spotted on the Rochdale Canal just north-west of Chadderton Hall Park by James Walsh - who's also known as the Mancunian Birder yesterday (14th October).

He said:

“The Rochdale Canal is a great area for birds.

"I’ve been watching the birds all year along the canal from Chadderton Hall Park to Littleborough in Rochdale and seen birds such as Wigeon, Goosander, Teal, Mandarin, Little Grebe, Buzzards, Kingfisher, Redwings, Blackcap, Chiffchaff, Swallow & Goldcrest.”

Unfortunatley, COVID-19 has prevented James from spreading his knowledge and enthusiasm of bird-watching:

The Big Garden Birdwatch event in January
The Big Garden Birdwatch event in January

"I hosted a 'Big Garden Birdwatch' event in January 2020 with the Chadderton Steppers walking group.

"It was really popular and sparked an interest in birds within the group.

"I was planning similar events with the Steppers and Northern Roots but the events were cancelled for health and safety reasons - the Covid restrictions prevented the events from going ahead."

Back in 2019 bird watchers flocked to Royton to catch a glimpse of the rare birds after James spotted a group of three Great Egrets on Tandle Hill. 

James added: 

“Egrets – I’ve had a few! It’s great to see these amazing birds strutting around the Oldham countryside.

"It highlights how great the greenbelt is for wildlife & what you can see when you dare to be wise."

Manchester has a very strong connection with Egrets. In 1889 Emily Williamson founded the Society for the Protection of Birds in Manchester.

This society campaigned against the cruelty of the fashion industry using Egret plumes on women’s hats.

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