Wet and overcast
Team Tuesday *abandons the Arc and wanders about Windy Bank Wood
Precipitation preceded our wander about this sweetly quiet backwater that sits on the most north-westerly part of my Mossland patch and most assuredly this ‘Gardeners Delight’ made every effort to accompany Team Webbed Feet aka TT throughout our late June amble about the site ensuring a comforting continuity of soggy visits that go ‘way-back’—well at least as far as last year anyway!
Deterred we were not and this year as there was a lessening of outpourings from the sky at the stroke of ten we made a rush away from the fleshpot of Bents and its warm inviting cafes and shops but not before we had carefully started our list with Goldfinch, Chaffinch and Song Thrush oh and not forgetting the Woodpigeon…for on this trip every little helps our meticulous recorder who at times at this venue struggles to gain a tally of twenty species!
Soon the Rubicon (the Glaze) was crossed and once more we were in the comfort zone of Greater Manchester where we added Mallard and Canada Goose …at this point the two members of the team who had recently returned from Switzerland where they had been feeding their breakfast scraps to Alpine Accentors were heard to say ‘the birdwatching here is so much more superior to those distant Alps’—well I think that’s what they said as they sighed!
Then as the clouds went into free-flow mode we peered across to a nearby and well established hedgerow (now there is a rarity these days) and along its leeward side skimmed at least twenty five Swallow which were seemingly unaffected by this poor weather once they had adopted their clever feeding strategy for in such relatively sheltered spots whole hosts of insects hide from the rain—-but not the hirundines’ gapes!
Then it was time for a Farming Today interlude as a couple of cows and their calves were encouraged not to trample our assemblage but to instead be gently persuaded to wander into a nearby field…at this point I would like to thank my able Assistant Rancher Alan who held the gate!
Chiffchaff song emanated from cover (well let’s face it who would be so foolish as to be exposed in such inclement weather???) which indicated that these plucky migrants were prepared to have a go at producing a second brood of young whatever the weather.
We were then onto the ‘Reserve’ proper with its well appointed paths which run through a mixed swathe of wildflower meadows and stands of relatively new plantations all with a backdrop of more mature trees giving pleasing aspects which I’m afraid at first seemed relatively devoid of birdlife—-this being emphatically disproved by Team Tenacious, for slowly but surely we kept our dedicated recorder on her toes.
Whitethroat tried their best to give us glimpses of themselves as family parties flitted about in their efforts to grab some insect-Fayre whilst Willow Warbler still persisted in their cascading song of delightful summer days with one even allowing our gathering to see it as it sat atop a tall Birch.
A trio of calves were also encountered as we ambled about these pathways but as they had seeming heard of the antics of the duo of ‘Gil Favor’ and ‘Rowdy Yates’ in a recent episode of ‘Rawhide’ they swiftly retreated before anyone could utter ‘Head ‘em up, Move ‘em out and Move ‘em on’!!!!
Then came the audiology test as a couple of Grasshopper Warbler reeled out their own song of celebration of dank places to which these birds fly thousands of miles from Africa in order to raise the next generation of these enigmatic ear testing and eye yearning birds.
Once all had happily passed their hearing test for yet another year we moved on in happy relief that the world of nature was still audible, a point most emphatically made when we then encountered a family party of Nuthatch which could ‘almost’ out-decibel my dulcet tones!
A Garden Warbler then decided to test our ability to decipher our Chromatic Scales as we ‘compared’ its song to that of the more familiar outpourings of the Blackcap which sits more easily in our memory than that of this elusive and rather plain looking bird —-well it is in my opinion rather attractive when it allows itself to be viewed!
Then after a wander through a section of birch woodland we emerged almost back at the start of the Reserve picking up Mistle Thrush and Stock Dove as we moved into a more open aspect.
Swift swept about the sky as did a Kestrel as we headed for the bridge in what we could only describe as ‘balmy’ conditions compared to what we had experienced for most of the morning (well everything is relative as they say).
Then after pausing to note a few Banded Demoiselle from this ‘Border Crossing Bridge’ we headed off into Cheshire and bid farewell for the Summer with a large proportion of Team Tuesday ‘having’ to formally end another year of great birdwatching with firm friends (old and new) by indulging in a visit to the comfy environs of Bents Restaurant!
*—yes I know I used this on last year’s write up but using the analogy ‘if the cap fits’…!
(the unmistakable and unmissable words of DS)
Bird list (MH)
- Canada goose
- Grey heron
- Common buzzard
- Black-headed gull
- Lesser black-backed gull
- Stock dove
- Wood pigeon
- Collared dove
- Feral pigeon
- House martin
- Song thrush
- Mistle thrush
- Willow warbler
- Blue tit
- Carrion crow