Irlam Moss 21.02.2017


Dry but overcast with a smattering of rain later

Team Tuesday’s initial plan to visit the Moss from the Glaze area soon got scuppered when I updated them on the fact that the cafe which had been temporarily closed on their last visit (boy was there a great deal of disappointment that day) was once more running at full steam…

Thus there I was after yet another trundle across the *Moss from home entering the cafe to discover some of my old Team Tuesday WEA class clutching steaming mugs of coffee….the only trouble with this welcoming cafe is it can get a little too comfortable proving it hard for me to encourage everyone away from their relaxed chat mode but then again when they were reminded of the beauty spot outside and the fact that we had a fair old wander about it to complete before they could return for lunch all moved on outside and off we went.

*PS you know I will mention seeing Lapwing/Yellowhammer and Skylark yet again—why wouldn’t I for these are the very essence of OUR Greenbelt Farmland specialities.

The Pools held the usual wildfowl and relaxed bunch of anglers whilst the sky above offered a masterful display of spring territorial ownership of the sky by one of our local Kestrels which was announcing its ‘mastery’ of this patch for the coming breeding season by its winnowing flight of courtship which took it rapidly over its domain.

Moving on but not before casting a nod in the direction of the two now resident Oystercatchers which were unusually quiet but worry not for soon they will be piping their clear and far reaching calls over this patch when they too will be pronouncing another breeding season out on our Greenbelt.

Lapwing displayed calling out one of their alternative names  ‘Peewit’ and apt naming bestowed upon them long before the naming of birds became more scientific—mind you their scientific name although not onomatopoeic in being Vanellus-vanellus  does sum them up nicely for vanellus means ‘winnowing fan’ which is a reference to the sound their wings make!

Moving on we headed over to check out the Pools on the Reserve ‘that never was’ (but who knows may be one day) the old Peat workings of Croxden Peat and here more signs of the next season came in the raucous cries of a flock of restless Black Headed Gulls and the less noisy but equally far carrying ‘whistles’ made by some pristine looking male Teal which were displaying out on the water.

Then back to Twelve Yards and a move east pausing on the way to marvel at the fact that we could hear Skylark broadcasting their choristers  song above the sounds of the M62 Ttraffic which was roaring by for a very rare change—school half-term no doubt allowing traffic flow for once—now there was a ‘Preston Guild’ moment out on this overburdened road!

Goldfinch and Lesser Redpoll then demonstrated the art of acrobatics as they flitted about the tops of some tall birch trees in their ever restless search for seeds whilst moving through the lower levels of this line of trees were a party Long Tailed Tit which were as ever engaging in their constant chatter which to me is saying “here I am… OK well I’m over here come and follow me” …birds that flock often use such calls to stay in contact.

Then open fields led our eyes to a couple of Buzzard which were sat on a pylon surveying their domain no doubt whilst skittering  across a remnant potato crop was a lone Grey Partridge which on landing was soon lost to the eye such is the efficiency of its feather camouflage.

A flock of Starling swirled about the sky with a large group of Lapwing whilst seemingly bouncing along on hidden elastics a flock of Linnet stayed ahead of these birds as they sought out some more food within the life supporting cereal stubble that lay before our eyes over this big country of food production.

Then a familiar ‘chack-chack’  sounded out as a number of Fieldfare called out their contact calls as they moved restlessly about a field division of trees and as we turned our attention to these a few Redwing (other Scandinavian winter visiting Thrushes) cut across the sky issuing their ‘tseep’ contact call.

Yellowhammer and Chaffinch were also present but these proved harder to see although I could clearly hear their calls…then a the rain started to mist up our sweeping views of this superlative Mossland (of Salford did you know!!!!) we gently moved on back to the cafe pausing at one stage for the Team to see a couple of our area’s iconic Willow Tit as they moved about with other Titmice.

Then as some of our gathering moved off into busy afternoons the remaining six of us retired to ‘Super’ Cafe and tackled some lovely food…ah what a fitting end to yet another splendid journey about this unsung hero of an area. (DS)

Bird list (DS)

  1. Canada goose
  2. Mallard
  3. Teal
  4. Grey partridge
  5. Grey heron
  6. Buzzard
  7. Sparrowhawk
  8. Kestrel
  9. Moorhen
  10. Coot
  11. Oystercatcher
  12. Lapwing
  13. Snipe
  14. Jack snipe
  15. Black-headed gull
  16. Feral pigeon
  17. Stock dove
  18. Woodpigeon
  19. Great spotted woodpecker
  20. Skylark
  21. Pied wagtail
  22. Wren
  23. Dunnock
  24. Robin
  25. Song thrush
  26. Mistle thrush
  27. Redwing
  28. Fieldfare
  29. Blackbird
  30. Great tit
  31. Blue tit
  32. Willow tit
  33. Long-tailed tit
  34. Magpie
  35. Jay
  36. Carrion crow
  37. Starling
  38. House sparrow
  39. Chaffinch
  40. Linnet
  41. Lesser redpoll
  42. Goldfinch
  43. Yellowhammer




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