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Pennington Flash Country Park - BirdForum Opus

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Photo by johnnyoxygen
Sundown over Pennington Flash

England, Lancashire


Near Leigh in Lancashire, Pennington Flash is one of the North West's premier sites for birdwatching with over 230 species recorded, including many local and national rarities.


Notable Species

Every season has something different to offer making bird watching at the Flash a rewarding year-round experience. The feeding station at Bunting Hide is popular throughout the year and attracts large numbers of common woodland birds along with Bullfinch, Reed Bunting and Willow Tit.

Spring and Autumn sees the passage of a variety of migrants, often including Little Gull, Black Tern, Garganey and occasionally Osprey. Many species of wader rest and feed on the scrapes before moving on.

Summer brings a brief lull to migration but breeding birds include Common Tern, Great Crested Grebe, Gadwall, Little Ringed Plover and up to 9 species of warbler.

Winter is the time for waterfowl with Northern Shoveler, Common Teal, Common Goldeneye and Goosander usually present in good numbers. A scarce visitor such as a Smew sometimes joins them whilst Water Rails frequent many of the reed beds.


The most notable record was Britain's first Black-faced Bunting in 1994. In recent years rarities have included five species of duck from North America - Ring-necked Duck, Blue-winged Teal, American Wigeon, Canvasback and Lesser Scaup; whilst vagrants from Europe have included Spotted Crake, Little Egret, Eurasian Spoonbill, Whiskered Tern, White-winged Black Tern and Marsh Warbler.


Birds you can see here include:

Great Crested Grebe, Little Grebe, Great Cormorant, Grey Heron, Mute Swan, Ruddy Duck, Northern Shoveler, Common Teal, Eurasian Wigeon, Mallard, Gadwall, Common Pochard , Tufted Duck, Canada Goose, Common Goldeneye, Goosander, Common Buzzard, Peregrine Falcon Common Kestrel, Common Pheasant Common Coot, Common Moorhen, Northern Lapwing Common Snipe, Herring Gull, Common Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Black-headed Gull, Common Woodpigeon, Eurasian Collared Dove, Meadow Pipit, Pied Wagtail, Grey Wagtail, Eurasian Wren, Dunnock, Eurasian Blackbird, Song Thrush, Mistle Thrush, Eurasian Robin, Long-tailed Tit, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Willow Tit, Carrion Crow, Common Magpie, Reed Bunting, Chaffinch European Goldfinch, European Greenfinch, Eurasian Bullfinch

Other Wildlife

To do

Site Information

Leigh, Lancashire

History and Use

Pennington Flash was formed by mining subsidence; the vast amounts of coal extracted by local collieries (all now closed) eventually caused the land to sink and by 1905 a large lake had formed. Pennington Flash Country Park was officially opened in 1981

Areas of Interest

To do

Access and Facilities

Pennington Flash is signposted from the A580 East Lancashire Road. The Country Park is also only approx 1 - 2 miles from Leigh Town Centre with a regular bus service from Leigh Bus Station. For routes contact GMPTE on 0161 228 7811.

Contact Details

There are Rangers on hand all year round (except Christmas Day) To find Out more Tel: 01942 605253 or email [email protected]



Recommended Citation

External Links


knick knack's review

I found the location with no problems after being recommended by a birder while I was at Bempton Cliffs. He told me where it was and then showed me on a road atlas. It took only an hours drive from the outskirts of Leeds to reach The Flash as the locals call it. On the day I went I noted 46 different species all together. A thoroughly enjoyable day bird watching. Pros

  • Easy access to all areas. Good hides. Good footpaths.


  • Couldn\'t find any
  • but a proper cafe would be great instead of a mobile one.

Osprey_watcher's review A great variety of birds and the Bunting hide with the feeders was particularly good.


  • Good hides
  • good footpaths
  • plenty of birds


  • No coffee ready to go with bacon sarnies.

2520years's review

I go there from time to time. It's got a large flash (lake) and a few smaller lakes with reedbeds. Most of the hides overlook reedbeds and water, but one is in the trees and always has well stocked feeders. The new feed is put out about 9am, in my experience this is a good time to go. It's well maintained and has relatively clean toilets, a play area for kids, some fields and picnic areas and often a burger van and ice cream van. Consider taking your bike too as it adds to the fun.

As for birds, it has a great variety of water fowl and woodland birds, but don't be confused by the cross-bred mallards and geese.

It's easy to find and close to the A580 (East Lancs Rd), M62 and M6. I'm only a novice birder, but I certainly recommend it even for those with experience. Pros

  • Plenty of variety


  • None

gbh1812's review

Bunting hide was recommended by a fellow birder as was the entire place. Has to be 'Bullfinch Capital' of the North West (I thought it was boast but was proven wrong.) Saturday 29 December saw Song Thrush, Long-tailed/Great/Blue/Willow Tits in abdundance. Also Chaffinch, Greenfinch, Robin, Dunnock as wel as Sparrows at the Bunting Hide. Main flash hide saw some great examples of Goosanders with fine salmon-pink tinges to body. Good paths and excellent hides, good access for those with limited mobility. Pros

  • Several Hides
  • Variety of Birds
  • Parking
  • Toilets etc


  • Gets very busy (screaming children)

Content and images originally posted by peterbest37