A mix of strong westerly wind/heavy showers/bright fresh sunny conditions
Dave Steel very kindly turned out, in what initially were rather discouraging conditions after the reasonable weather of late, to lead us (and I for one had forgotten just how long his stride was!), and he has also penned the following report:
The Chat Moss micro-climate did little to deter the Stoic Sale Set from Stampeding into the Fit City car-park at the appointed hour. In fact it seemed to Spur Team Tuesday into Summoning up a Stupendous effort to Smile-Smile-Smile into the teeth of the weather propelling all out of the car-park and off in Short order to the Fisheries where a well appointed Cafe awaited their presence. (Some did miss Mistle Thrush and Redwing that were in Princess Park but, hey-ho, whenever have these meet-ups been all about birds anyway?)
Over vaporous vessels of Tea and Coffee all settled into another New Year of comfy chat that has so characterised the gatherings of TT (and I admit TF) throughout our years together. In fact I believe at one point the hot-air exuded from this animated hubbub of close friends overtook the steam exuded from our cuppas!
Then, after a call to arms from the old Recruiting Sergeant all propelled themselves into the teeth of a stiff Westerly breeze upon which sat for our list Reed Bunting and Chaffinch. After a few footfalls over to the Deep Pool we added Tufted Duck and Mallard, and oh, just for old-time’s sake, an ‘unidentified’ Little Bundle of Feathers was identified by Sight/Sound and Jizz as a Meadow Pipit, as it disappeared into the ether.
A serious amount of stomping then followed, as earnest step followed earnest step in our quest to reach Little Woolden Moss, but this proved to be less of a trudge than hinted at for we found enough to distract us along the way with Fieldfare, Grey Partridge and Buzzard being some of the highlights.
The order of the day was also noted as unchanged from the old WEA times with the team’s progress perpetually punctuated by easy flowing conversation and laughter making the distant goal seem a mere cock-stride from our starting point, and thus the wondrous Lancashire Wildlife Trust Reserves of Cadishead Moss and LWM were ‘soon’ achieved.
A quick appreciation of the beauteous Purple Moor Grass clad Cadishead Moss was followed by a pause to absorb the extensive view that LWM afforded; for here before our eyes lay a work in progress which will one day bring into the ‘heart’ of Salford a magnificent re-imagining of a raised peat bog that once may have deterred all but the faint hearted to wander into its boggy beauty 10,000 years ago.
(Can you believe that such a RARE GEM lies but 10 miles from the centre of Manchester???????????????????? A place that simply needs appreciating for its raw beauty and timelessness—-a place to quietly visit and simply peer across allowing our imagination to see how this precious lowland raised peat bog habitat is being and WILL be restored to its ancient glory in the caring hands of the non-profit making Lancashire Wildlife Trust).
A part circumnavigation of the reserve along its well appointed and newly completed pathway gave a wind-refreshed wander along which we added a 200 strong flock of Stock Doves which were taking advantage of that now ultra rare modern farmland habitat (due to the proliferation of Winter Wheat) …. Stubble.
A desire to push on and try and connect with a large flock of Skylark that were noted on these stubble fields the day before may have been in the mind of ‘Moss-Man’, but even he admitted that, at this juncture, a retreat homeward was the better option, rather than face a rebellion from what is now a ‘free-spirited’ team who were once under the iron-fist of an exacting Tutor. (Yeah … right!!!).
The Bimble back then added Raven, Bullfinch and most EMPHATICALLY a lone person sighting of a Merlin all of which are to be recorded by the scribbler of this piece of doggerel whose rules (if he has any) seem (if TT don’t mind me saying) a little less exacting … but that’s what you get when those in the upper echelons of The Wilmslow Guild are allowed their sway….!
Fisheries reached, all but a few melted away into the distance, whilst those who love a nice bit of well prepared and reasonably priced food retired to the superb cafe for a well-earned bit of grub with one of this select group having to force himself to wade through a generous mixed grill—inspite of him already having had a sandwich …. what a hero, especially as he started his diet — ‘err’ – yester … tomorrow!
Bird List for Chat moss/Little Woolden Moss (BP)
- Tufted Duck
- Grey Partridge
- Stock Dove
- Meadow Pipit
- Mistle Thrush
- Great Tit
- Blue Tit
- Carrion Crow
- Reed Bunting
Thanks to Barbara for the list and to John Hancock for the photographs, both of the visit and of the starlings he and Joan saw on their way home.