Team Tuesdays Chat Moss Long Distance Ramble
Blue Skies….Sunshine…Heat…impossible, it cannot be so, something is rotten in the state of Denmark and quoting a Tennis Player of yore; “You cannot be serious” – were but a selection of the words and thoughts fleeting through the minds of Team Tuesday as they arrived at Moss Farm Fisheries in almost perfect weather – I repeat – almost perfect weather!
Yes, this was a wander about Chat Moss that bucked the usual trend, BUT most assuredly the rest of the day fell into its usual pattern starting with several members of the Team dibbing into the delights of the food and drink on offer at ‘our’ Gem of a cafe out on Salford’s Mosslands. Then once the sun cream had been applied, water supplies loaded and the debrief by TT’s usual Kapitan was over, the taskmaster for the day outlined the arduous route that needed to be followed in order that objectives were to be attained. This even excluded the usual wander about the lovely environs of the Fisheries grounds owing to our need for some backtracking along our ‘normal’ route during our annual late spring wander—needs must and all accepted with good grace thus we were off!
Willow Warbler sang out, as did a Chiffchaff, as we moved north up Cutnook Lane giving all cause to pause in some shaded spots in order to try and discern where these ‘leaf’ Warblers were hiding within the fresh flush of leaves that now make ‘woodland’ birdwatching a test of our bird recognition by call; for to actually see them is now almost an impossibility unless they sit atop the trees. Open mossland then brought us out into the heat of the day, but at least now we were able to see our next group of birds with ease – well that did apply to the pair of Oystercatcherwhich had a nest out on the bare peat but to note the Little RingedPloverand the Curlew … well a little more effort was required owing to the heat haze but see them we did … just.
A wander west along a lovely weed strewn and young birch growth blessed track (yes nature does it better if the landscape is a bit ‘rough and ready’) then brought us Linnet, Whitethroat and Goldfinch after which we gained views across some open pools. Lapwing, Tufted Duckand Pied Wagtail came easily into view, as did the Greylag Geese which were nosily enjoying the established, but more enclosed pooled part of this ex-Peat Milling site.
Hearts and Lungs were then subject to some aerobic exercise as we retraced our steps back as far as Twelve Yards Road along which we then proceeded once more in a westward direction. A ploughed field then drew our attention, for within its peaty brown furrows sat a pair of Yellow Wagtail which, as a young lad does with a pocket mirror, played games with the sun, reflecting back its rays to dazzle our eager eyes. The female proved a little less co-operative moving in and out of view whilst the male thankfully, for our ‘eager-to-see-team’, sat atop a clod of soil and gave us an audience in order that we could admire his supreme beauty. Then a rather understated plumaged bird came into view adding Stock Dove to our list whilst an elusive, but brightly coloured, Yellowhammer gave more of an perfunctory performance, preferring to shun the limelight on this occasion. Then as we continued towards our next destination butterflies in reasonable number and variety flitted about our chosen route, allowing our identification skills to discover Orange Tip, Brimstone, Peacock, Small Tortoiseshell and Comma, thus proving once more that there is much more to being a birdwatcher once wildlife enters our souls.
Little Woolden Moss reached, and a serious bit of sky searching led us into the blue, but within it moved but fragments of cloud until a serious kerfuffle broke out over a pooled area. Lesser Black-Backed Gulls which are normally the aggressive birds on the block screeched into the air, Blacked-Headed Gulls screamed in fear, and a lone Oystercatcher threw itself into the water ALL avoiding the fervent attention of an Peregrine which on missing these prey settled on a peat bund and calmly devoured a few recently emerged Dragonflies. As this scene was being digested by us awestruck bystanders to nature in the raw, our attention was then quickly drawn skyward as a shout rang out by a determined Team member who had not given up on searching for our original raptor of the day: thus all then delighted in the mastery of the sky being blithely demonstrated by a Hobby which was taking high flying Dragonflies with aplomb.
It was then time for that wander back along that highway that always seems on the return journey to have increased in length by many a Twelve Yards. Conversation and the prospect of a spot of nice food for lunch in Henry and Yvonne’s lovely cafe, which is set in a piece of scenery that easily morphs to a gentle bend in a slow moving reed fringed river, made our return to Moss Farm Fisheries a mere bagatelle of sun blessed steps. (DS)
Bird List (MHa)
- Blue tit
- Wood pigeon
- Canada goose
- Lesser redpoll
- Carrion crow
- Little ringed plover
- Willow warbler
- Pied wagtail
- Reed bunting
- Greylag goose
- Tufted duck
- Black-headed gull
- Stock dove
- Yellow wagtail
- Lesser black-backed gull
Heard – wren, song thrush, sedge warbler, robin, chaffinch, greenfinch