Chat Moss and Little Woolden Moss 05.05.15

Dark rain-laden clouds; heavy rain; gusting SW wind; bright sunshine (finally!)

A couple of months ago when the weather was still happily buffeting Team Tuesday about, whilst out on their weekly jaunts, a date was set for what held promise of a sweet becalmed morn in May when the changeable first month of spring (April with its expected showers) gave way to a blossom blessed saunter of a day upon which we could wander onto my beloved Moss-lands. Thus with this image in mind the 5th May was innocently scribed into diaries allowing ‘Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow’ to creep in its petty pace’ until this very morn when blinds and curtains revealed this Lake Woebegone of a day howling its way from the Southwest threatening nought but a total washout of a wander—–but then again when has the weather EVER put TT off from turning out—well apart from that one day at Moore when I was left to view a Bittern for at least 5 minutes ALL ON MY OWN—putting that aside—-sure enough in a rain swept car park in Irlam all members of the ‘WE LOVE DAVE’S MOSS’ fraternity had arrived on time and ready to do ‘battle’ upon the nearby ‘plains’!

A buffer zone of tranquillity was, I admit, first happily ‘retired to’ where we happily re-grouped in the extremely welcoming ‘Cafe by the Lake’ which proudly sits within the grounds of Moss Farm Fisheries allowing all to consider the day ahead cuppas in hand. This huddle of a comfort zone then allowed the rain to ‘go-wander’ elsewhere freeing our feet to first step about these amazing fisheries which whilst serving the needs of keen fishermen also provide a haven for wildlife – even on such a blustery day thus before we set off onto the open moss-lands Swift/Swallow/Tufted Duck and Linnet set off our day list (the adjoining half of this once sometimes bland farmed field also gave Lapwing/Mistle Thrush and Pied Wagtail).

Dixon’s Wood which earlier rang out with bird-song kept most of its inhabitants quiet as they sheltered from the wind but we did manage to catch snatches of a song from a Blackcap as we made our way over to Croxden Pools. A ‘testing’ wind howled about our well-clad frames pushing binoculars hither and thither but in-spite of this observational hindrance we still connected with Redshank/Curlew and thanks to the eyes of one of our new ‘recruits’ a lone but very welcome Black Tailed Godwit. In turning our eyes from the Pools a male Wheatear then lit up the adjacent and somewhat uninspiring landscape which is a sorry testimony of man’s greed and ignorance in turning one of the UK’s rarest habitat (Lowland Raised Peat-Bog) into a brown flat-land, cruelly devoid of its once vibrant mix of Sphagnum/Heather/Cotton Grass /Purple-moor Grass sweep of nature supporting a micro Amazon Jungle mix of insects and birds, all in the race for cheap peat—(in my opinion NOTHING is cheap: something always pays a price and this something is usually our flora and fauna).

Moving westward (for we all relished the challenge of striding into the teeth of this day’s gusting wind) we step by solid step made our way over to Little Woolden Moss which gave our collective a burst or two of Willow Warbler song as one or two of these Summer Migrants faced up to the wind and proclaimed their territorial syllables for all of their twelve centimetres was worth! The Pool adjacent to the now well appointed pathway that runs round most of this Reserve then added a mix of spice to our day’s wader list, for out upon this now brightly lit ‘in-restoration-phase-from-a-harrowing-life-of-Peat-extraction-107-hectares-of-a-Lancashire-Wildlife-Trust’ Reserve (in my opinion the best thing that has ever occurred on My Mosses) stood Little Ringed Plover/Ringed Plover/Dunlin and Oystercatcher, whilst above it flew Swallow and Sand Martin. A final push was made in order to gain the new Hide and pay homage to a Ten-Thousand Year Old Bog Oak (all surely falls into place when we can see such artefacts that really put into perspective our walking shadow’, which in my opinion should cast itself in saving rather than destroying nature!

Lunch then called all back to the lovely cafe thus without further ado we allowed the wind to aid our ‘yomp’ back which was at times happily interrupted by a Goldcrest/a Whitethroat and a pair of Yellowhammers.

Farewells then rung out in the Fisheries car park to those who had others at home resurrecting memories of the ‘old-days when a ‘set’ two-hour wander with Dave ALWAYS took a mite (or two) longer…..the remaining few then indulged themselves in a bit more chat (this is really why we meet up surely?) and platefuls of food at its best! (DS)

Bird List (MH)

  1. Swallow
  2. Cormorant
  3. Swift
  4. Carrion crow
  5. Blackbird
  6. Grey heron
  7. Canada goose
  8. Buzzard
  9. Mistle thrush
  10. Black headed gull
  11. Oyster catcher
  12. Pheasant
  13. Pied wagtail
  14. Mute swan
  15. Tufted duck
  16. Coot
  17. Mallard
  18. Lapwing
  19. Moorhen
  20. Skylark
  21. Goldfinch
  22. Linnet
  23. Lesser black backed gull
  24. Curlew
  25. Sand martin
  26. Wheatear
  27. Redshank
  28. Black-tailed godwit
  29. Reed bunting
  30. Whitethroat
  31. Dunlin
  32. Kestrel
  33. Chaffinch
  34. Stock dove
  35. Willow warbler
  36. Little ringed plover
  37. Ringed plover
  38. Robin
  39. Gold crest
  40. Great tit
  41. Yellowhammer
  42. Blue tit
  43. Magpie

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