Royton ecologist to take part in national ‘Local Big Year’ competition

ROYTON-BASED ecologist James Walsh is taking part in national competition ‘Local Big Year’, a new project from Birdguides and Birdwatch magazine to promote the joys of local patch birding.

“I’m attempting to see as many bird species as possible on my local patch, on bike or on foot from my home in Royton,” explained James, aka The Mancunian Birder.

James Walsh

A local patch is generally considered to be the area on your doorstep and can offer a really good picture of the birdlife, populations and the changing seasons.

James added: “Much of my time is spent in the Tandle Hill and Chadderton Park area and along the Rochdale Canal, and also in Alexandra Park and Snipe Clough near Oldham town centre.

“This is the third year running that I’ve done a year-list on bike and on foot in Greater Manchester, with the occasional trip on public transport. In 2020 I recorded 135 bird species.

“I’m really looking forward to another ‘Big Year’ in Greater Manchester, looking at some of the city region’s finest birding sites and putting Royton and Oldham on the map.

“So far this year I’ve seen some great birds including Caspian Gull and North American Wood Duck in Alexandra Park, a big flock of Northern Lapwings on Higginshaw Lane and Pink-footed Goose, Shoveler, Wigeon, Teal and Snipe on the Rochdale Canal.”

Royton will be the epicentre of James’s ‘Local Big Year’, including sites such as Tandle Hill Country Park.

And one of his aims is to bring attention to the amazing environment of Oldham, including bird species of conservation concern.

He said: “The ‘Local Big Year’ gives people all around the country an opportunity to do something personal to start small steps to address the global ecological crisis. It is something positive you can do on biodiversity and climate.”

The concept started originally in the USA, and it has become so popular globally that even Hollywood got involved with ‘The Big Year’ movie, starring Jack Black, Owen Wilson and Steve Martin.

Find out more online: https://mancunianbirder.wordpress.com

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