Bright, sunny and fresh
The disappointment was palpable—it oozed in waves from the normally upbeat Team Tuesday, and I can honestly say that I have never experienced this show of almost utter dejection emanating from one of our gatherings in the twelve or so years that we have wandered about in search of birds —- “oh look over there a beautiful Pied Wagtail” someone was heard to say and as all eyes turned to check this our first bird record of the day, ALL the angst wrt the cafe being closed melted away!
Thus with Motacilla alba yarrellii we launched off onto yet another mossland wander where each bird has to be gained with the maximum of effort, but all the more rewarding for being so very elusive, it is generally agreed by our stoic team.
The amble about the pools gained a few waterfowl for our tally with Kestrel and Sparrowhawk inducing our gaze away from the water and into a bright fresh blue autumnal sky.
Then it was time for the Team to keep their attention focused upon an adjacent fallow field which is at present blessed with quite a swathe of marsh, which it was soon revealed (owing to a pair of size twelve wellys and long legs to match) to be holding least twenty five Snipe plus a couple of Meadow Pipit.
Then it was time for all to enter into that comfort zone of one leg put conversationally in front of the other as we made our way out onto the moss picking up a mixed flock of titmice which were, as far as the soundscape was concerned, dominated by the Long Tailed Tit, some of which were clearly seen as they bounced across a gap in the tree-line.
Then before we knew what we were doing Raspberry Lane drew us in an eastward direction—a path we have not traditionally trod, but hey-ho Chat Moss does this to you and whatever path we were to take there was bound to be some interest … provided we gave it maximum footfall.
Goldfinch and Linnet perched upon some wires were our first distraction but the birds perhaps winning our affection for this part of our trek were the Mistle Thrush bathing in a puddle for all to see—have they no shame these handsome birds?
We then hit Fiddlers Lane down which we moved at quite a rapid pace for admittedly there was little to see apart from a few Carrion Crow and some indecipherable small brown birds (most likely Meadow Pipit and Skylark), but our direction north more or less guaranteed a few species we could note with relative ease … inspite of the abundance of stubble that enables birds to pick and choose areas that could easily be beyond our sight.
Chaffinch pink-pinked onto our total for the day as did a lone Yellowhammer which owing to this day’s blessed bright sunshine gave not the best view we have had of this iconic farmland bird nor did the Goldcrest which called enough for identification but posed not one jot for admiring views.
A flock of Lapwing then made an effort to show themselves to us as they nervously ebbed and flowed above a distant marshy area of a large field, which they shared with quite a sizeable flock of Starling, many of which by this time of the year could easily be migrants from Europe.
At this point we could easily have retreated back to base but as there was a promise of an outside chance of seeing a bird we often associate on our mossland travels all put an extra stride or so into the day, and were duly furnished with a brief encounter with a covey of Grey Partridge.
The withdrawal then took place but this proved not to be a rout for instead of turning south when we eventually hit Cutnook Lane we headed north which led us to the now defunct Peat extraction site over which I’m afraid on this visit gave nothing but open vistas to Scout Moor and Winter Hill, but at least on the adjacent pools we noted a small flock of Teal—these birds closing our list for the day thus enabling our well earned retreat to base—Chat Moss conquered once more by TT Birders. (DS)
Bird List (RD)
21.Long tailed tit
33.Black headed gull