Risley Moss 20.03.18

Calm, generally overcast, but a few sunny intervals

A good number of the Team gathered in the car park at Risley Moss for a return visit to a site we had not been to for some time. Conversations and the awarding of the prize for the Christmas Quiz (congratulations Mike, and thanks to Hilary and John) were interrupted, first by the sight of a lone buzzard being harried by a crow and then, soon after, by the appearance of one, two, three and finally four of these graceful raptors, enough surely to justify the use of their collective term: a Wake of Buzzards.

Having decided to follow one of the trails round the reserve, we headed first for the Woodland Hide, some catching sight en route of a small flock of starlings and others of a pair of Ravens that flew over us. At the hide the feeders were drawing in a number of birds, all looking very fresh in their spring plumage; Nuthatch, Coal tit, Blue tit and both a male and a female Bullfinch. On the path behind the hide the cheeck, cheeck of a woodpecker drew eyes upwards, but catching sight of what proved to be a male Greater Spotted was not easy, at least until it flew off in its usual undulating way. Jay and Magpie were noted and pressing on to the now sadly vandalised Observation Tower some Goldfinch were sighted in the trees alongside the path.

With the sunshine having broken through the clouds, the picnic tables overlooking the moss suggested it was time for coffee, but there was little to entertain us, apart from the usual friendly chatter amongst the Team, until a solitary Reed Bunting was spotted, more or less straight in front. Despite our best efforts, little else, apart from a pair of Mallard, was revealed and we decided to head for the Mossland Hide. Along the way, although we could hear plenty of birds, catching sight of anything other than Robins proved difficult. In front of the hide itself, although there had been a welcome effort to clear vegetation that had previously obscured the view, all was quiet, save for alone duck that quickly made itself scarce before anyone could identify it!

Our onward progress was briefly halted by a glimpse of a shy Moorhen taking cover, from which it determinedly refused to move, under the overhanging bank of a small pond more or less adjacent to the path, and by the activities of a Treecreeper that briefly teased us with its antics before flying further off into the woodland. Gulls, probably Herring, were seen circling high overhead, but by this time, the cloud had thickened and, in the increasingly gloomy conditions, the former noise of bird activity seemed to have died down, apart that is from the noisy call of a Wren (heard but not seen!) and the cross-sounding alarm calls of a number of Great tit, which we came across just as we approached the Visitor Centre.

In the centre itself there was a display showing photos of the mindless destruction of the Observation Tower, as well as plenty of information about the history and ecology of the site, which, during the Second World War, housed a Royal Ordnance bomb-making factory. A Nuthatch was making a show on the feeders in front of the VC, and its bright colours afforded a suitably pleasing memory to take away with us after our morning’s unusually quiet, but nonetheless enjoyable, birding.

Bird List (MHa)

  1. Nuthatch
  2. Buzzard
  3. Robin
  4. Blue tit
  5. Blackbird
  6. Chaffinch
  7. Bullfinch
  8. Long-tailed tit
  9. Great-spotted woodpecker
  10. Dunnock
  11. Starling
  12. Raven
  13. Jay
  14. Magpie
  15. Goldfinch
  16. Wood pigeon
  17. Mallard
  18. Carrion crow
  19. Reed bunting
  20. Great tit
  21. Canada goose
  22. Moorhen
  23. Tree creeper
  24. Herring gull
  25. Coal tit

Photos DC & CG

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