Golden Plover on Marsden Moor

Birds on Marsden Moor

Over the past few years, out hiking on the hills above my home town of Marsden, I’ve seen a wide range of birds on Marsden Moor.

And other animals too of course but these can be harder to spot. No doubt the odd Stoat or Weasel has been within inches of my boots when I have been off-piste but I’ve never actually spotted one. Now voles.. different matter.

Back to birds: this page is about the many species of birds you can see on Marsden Moor. I’ve also seen lots of different species within walking of distance of the village. But that’s, for example, in the woodlands above the Sparth reservoir area. And of course in the village itself-  in the park or in gardens.

But this page is focussed on birdlife spotted on the moors.

Birds that (mostly) need a bit of walk to get to see.

Disclaimer:

I’m not a birder in that I have very limited avian natural history knowledge.

I definitely have limited camera gear (an old Canon 450D and a 300mm lens that isn’t always great a capturing a bird in flight).

– If I see that species, I add the fact here. And a photo or two that I have taken (not stock shots).

But as much for me as anyone, I thought it would be fun to list as many of the birds that can be seen in the area (and predominantly centred around the National Trust Estate).

I do have a slightly obsessional collector’s mind but I don’t go out looking for new species to tick off a list, I just enjoy watching a wren hopping about in the bilberries, goldfinches flocking around a rowan tree or a kestrel perched on a drystone wall.

The list comes from some information kindly provided by the Marsden Moor National Trust team and some desk research done by me e.g looking on birding forums for the wider Saddleworth and West Yorkshire area.

I live within ten minutes of the boundary of the NT Moors and you can see ‘ garden birds’ on occasion on the lower slopes of (say) Scout Moor. So I’m including those species if I’ve seen them away from the village and on the edges of the moors, even if they are not found up on ‘the tops’.

A note on ground-nesting birds on the moors:
A lot of the species found on the moors nest on the ground .. so please keep your dog on a lead in the nesting and fledgeling seasons (to my mind that’s between March and July).

The photos: if there’s more than one photo, you can click on the thumbnail of each to run a slideshow of the larger sized images.


Buzzard

Seen by me: Very rarely and mostly near Pule hill. The photo here is awful (I know) but the only one I have to date.
If photo taken, where: Taken near ‘Scout’ area of Marsden Moor.

Buzzard above Scout area Marsden Moor


 

 

 

 


Species:  Canada Goose
Seen by me: 
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Carrion Crow

Seen by me: Yes, pretty frequently.
I have even kept an eye on a fledgeling that spent two days wandering around a footpath near our house, not yet ready to fly. I was worried that it was vulnerable to the local cats and foxes but I let it alone (seems that was the right thing to do).

I love the Crows, once you tune into the Carrion Crows you hear a mix of calls, they are pretty vocal – it isn’t all about the slightly abrasive caw caw caw.

I have seen them hassle a kestrel on a few occasions: cantankerous corvids.

If a photo was taken, where: All over Marsden Moor. The photos here are from near pule Hill and also in the Scout quarry area.


Species: Common Sandpiper
Seen by me: No
If photo taken, where:


Species:  Cuckoo
Seen by me: No (and it’s our ‘village mascot’ – oh well). Heard: yes definitely, many a time in the trees near our house
If a photo taken, where:


Species: Curlew

Seen by me: Yes on quite a few occasions around the Marsden Moor estate. The oft-described plaintive cry is just that.. especially on a cold day with wide skies.

If a photo was taken, where: This one was taken on the Northumberland Coast but I have seen a few (and heard many) on the Marsden moors

Curlew Marsden Moor



SpeciesGolden Plover

Seen by me: Yes but only once or twice up close, over the years.
If a photo taken, where: Up near Swellands reservoir area. I had to crouch / shuffle (with to the dog tethered to me, not easy!) in a clough, so I could get in front of these lovely birds and slowly stand to get a couple of photos. Well worth the backache.

Golden Plover on Marsden Moor


 

 

 


Species: Goldfinch

Seen by me:
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Species: Grey Wagtail
Seen by me:
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Grouse

Seen by me: yes – everywhere. The Grouse is ubiquitous on the moors around Marsden, a ‘cash crop’ that (from all I have seen myself, heard or read) diminishes the populations of other birds – particularly raptors. They’re great birds to observe but too much of one species isn’t great, to my mind.

For a round up of the views on Grouse shooting the effect on the moors in various ways (or not , depending on who is talking) have a look at this RSPB thread.

If photo taken, where: This selection of grouse photos comes primarly from above the Scout rea of Marsden moor and from the Wessenden Valley and moor.

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Species: House Martin
Seen by me:
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Species: House Sparrow
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Species: Jackdaw

Seen by me: Yes, constantly in the village (they hang out like bored teenagers around The Mechanics Institute). But you also find them on the lower reaches of the moors, flocking in spring. Like a raucous badly choreographed small murmuration.
If a photo was taken, where: Up near Scout Quarry

Jackdaw Crow Hill Marsden

Jackdaw flock Scout quarry Marsden Moor

 

 

Marsden wildlife birdlife Jackdaw flock


Species: Kestrel 

Seen by me: Yes, a handful of times on open moorland or sitting on a post or quarry ledge.
If a photo taken, where: The first photo is a Kestrel at Scout Quarry.

The next two photos here are of the same Kestrel sat near the Deerhill catchwater near Shooters Nab. 

Kestrel Scout Quarry Marsden Moor


Species: Mallard
Seen by me:
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Species: Meadow Pipit
Seen by me:
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Species: Merlin
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Species: Moorhen
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Species: Oystercatcher
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Species: Peregrine
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Species: Robin
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Species: Short-eared Owl

Seen by me: Yes. On a few occasions in various parts of the moors.
If photo was taken, where: This photo was taken near ‘Scout’. I was off-piste and mooching about when this owl arose from the dry grass and circled around to give me a good look.

Short Eared owl on Marsden Moor as seen by halfwayhike hike blog

 


 

 


Species: Swallow

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Species: Swift

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Species:Tufted Duck

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Species: Willow Warbler

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Species: Wood Pigeon

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Species: Wren

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Are there any species in the Marsden Moor estate area that you’ve spotted that I have missed out?

Drop me a note.