James Walsh, also known as the Mancunian Birder and founder of the Manchester Ship Canal World Heritage Group, launches his book The Birds Of Salford Docklands this Sunday, with a bird spotting walk from The Lowry to the endangered habitat of Pomona.
The virtual book, to be available on Kindle, is a compilation of 35 years of ecological observations on the post-industrial docklands, where a total of 135 bird species have been recorded.
"As a child I was brought up with the Salford dockers, so I feel blessed that I am able to tell the story of Salford Docks from an ecologists' perspective, and this book takes a prolonged, intimate, careful look at a special urban area" James explains "Ever since Salford Docks closed for business during the early 1980s the docklands have become a Peoples' Nature Reserve and I think people should be amazed at the amount of birds seen here."
Three generations of James' family worked on Salford Docks, and he has spent years watching, recording, photographing and filming the wildlife including during time as an ecology student and a professional ecologist with the Greater Manchester Ecology Unit.
"I'm in a pretty unique position to tell the alternative story of the Salford Docklands" he says, adding that the area's wildlife could be the start of something special...
"The Manchester Ship Canal World Heritage Group has already started to do Birdwatching Cruises and environmental walks around the site" he explains "We have an official `Big Five' species to promote the site and Salford Docklands could become an official nature reserve.
The Big Five species are Kingfisher, Northern Lapwing, Mute Swan, Grey Heron and Cormorant, and James reckons they and other birds could be as big a draw as markets and shows on the Quays.
"We are now in the era of the Paris Agreement and we have to look at how we can utilise green assets on our own doorstep in the most positive way both for the economy and the environment" he adds "This book is a big step on that journey."
Interest in the area has heightened during the recent protests to preserve the habitats present on the site of the old Pomona docks, following plans by Peel Holdings to turn it into what campaigners call a `concrete jungle' (see here).
Last month a book was launched to promote the area called Fruitful Futures: Imagining Pomona, and this latest book offering is very much seen as a follow-up. Hopefully it will make people sit up and notice that there is more to the Salford Quays area than luxury apartments, office blocks and big profits for speculators.
The Birds Of Salford Docklands Book Launch Event
Sunday 6th November 11am-2pm
Meet 11am outside The Lowry
For further details see The Birds Of Salford Docklands Book Launch Event Facebook page – click here
Birds Of Salford Docklands costs £5 and will be available via Kindle on the day of the launch (link to follow).