Dry with some bright periods
Cars aplenty lined Weir Lane on this cool slightly murky morn as I arrived to touch base with that force for life Team Tuesday who seem to go from strength to strength in their weekly amblings about the Northwest near and far in search of wildlife with birds still atop their list.
A quick de-brief to the sound of a chattering flock of House Sparrow (becoming a rarity these days) was quickly followed by a move over to check out the nearby a loop of the River Mersey which held a drake Goldeneye which soon caught the eye of all assembled. Then after suitable homage had been paid to this smart winter visitor we scanned the rest of the water to find Tufted Duck, Gadwall, Moorhen and Coot….yes this was to be at the very least a wildfowl day.
We then made steady progress around the west bank of No2 bed adding Cormorant, Long Tailed Tit and Mute Swan before we crossed onto No3 bed which was to be our goal for the day as this ‘isle of tranquillity’ houses a good mix of birds-more than enough to keep our Team occupied for a couple of hours.
The platform hide vantage point then enabled all to gain views out onto the now transformed habitat of No3 bed with its channels cut through the reeds affording great views over water and thanks to a much better regime of water level control muddy edges to this water (a wader ‘magnet’ we soon discovered) here our faithful ‘Keeper of the List’ added Teal and Wigeon.
We then made quick progress over to the Morgan Hide owing to the fact that this was an autumn visit hence we were unencumbered by those blessed summer visitors and their confusing songs which inevitably slow us down although a Bullfinch was heard piping it’s contact call from deep within a stand of Blackthorn it slowed us not a jot.
A hurried ‘kerfuffle’ then overtook our quiet comfortable autumnal mood owing to the fact that the Morgan Hide offered a vista which was ‘filled’ with birds all of which clamoured to be seen and named but this rush for knowledge then settled back into the ‘British Library Reading Room Mode’ once we had noted the fact that ‘the birds weren’t in any hurry to leave’ and were happy to oblige us with relatively easy viewing. Thus we set about studiously finding each species in turn and labelling same one by one all the while not straying from our desire to admire each and every one of them —- once we had got that first sighting out of the way!
Snipe, Lapwing, Coal Tit, Greenfinch and so on were soon swelling our day-list with ease whereas a Water Rail both seen (by a few of our gathering) and heard (by most of same) had to in that classical Oliver Twist style beg for inclusion….magnanimity prevailed and this species was then added to the ‘Heard’ List!
With so many eyes occupied in scrutinising the vista that lay before us it was not long before Black Tailed Godwit, Shoveler and Grey Wagtail were captured into our memory banks making this yet another superb Woolston visit to add to our tally of same over the past few years.
The comfort of the hide then quietly paled and all rose and made a move to wander around the rest of the bed which kindly laid on a Pintail (female), Reed Bunting, Linnet and Redwing for our perusal. Thus step by step we once more reached the footbridge with this now offering the pathway to lunch thus we happily succumbed and headed back towards our cars picking up two overflying Skylark en-route.
I personally then called in to ‘My Moss’ on the way home (Little Woolden Moss Nature Reserve to be precise) noting Pink-Footed Geese and a Peregrine birds which I am certain Team Tuesday will easily add to their list as this season progresses. (DS)