Sunday 13th May 2018: Exploring Fletcher Moss, Didsbury – Birthplace of the RSPB

The Wildlife Explorers visit to Fletcher Moss Park and Parsonage Gardens took advantage of a glorious sunny day.

There are two main buildings on the site, one of which, The Croft is famous as the birthplace of The RSPB. In 1890, Emily Williamson held a meeting at The Croft to discuss the exploitation of bird for their feathers. The Plumage League was formed and great work was done campaigning against the use of bird feathers in fashion, particularly millinery. Birds like the Great Crested Grebe were saved from the brink of extinction. On joining forces with Croydon’s Fur and feather Group the RSPB was formed.

One of the Park’s Trustees spent a few moments telling the group about the history of the other important building on the site – The Parsonage – and about Mr Fletcher Moss himself, the public-spirited alderman who donated his property to the local Council on his death 1919.
We then went on to explore the Parsonage Gardens. They looked wonderful, bursting with flowers, colourful foliage and interesting trees. The Rockery (originally created by Emily’s husband, Robert Wood Williamson) boasting a stunning collection of specimen trees surrounding a central pond with lush vegetation was a favourite with many of our group.

After taking in the formal gardens we then walked around the woodland and up to the River Mersey, taking note of the native bird, insect, tree and wildflower species we could identify. As well as appreciating the area’s value for wildlife everyone was fascinated to learn about the area’s use as a flood basin.

We spotted lots of wildflowers including carpets of cuckoo flower, lesser celandine and stitchwort. Insects were out in force in the sunshine. As well as speckled wood and orange-tip butterflies, dock-leaf beetles and alder beetles were spotted by eagle-eyed explorers. This lovely location, despite being so close to Macclesfield was new to most of the group and they are all planning to visit again with family and friends.

The full bird list for the day was:

Blue tit
Carrion crow
Coal tit
Great tit
Grey wagtail
Long-tailed tit
Ring-necked parakeet
Song thrush

Wildlife Explorers would like to thank the Friends of Fletcher Moss for their hard work maintaining this beautiful a gem of a park and particularly Alan Hill who provided lots of information and made our preparations for the visit so much easier by spending time with us during the site recce.




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