Dry, bright and blessed with a westerly breeze
A ‘collective’ of smiling faces seemingly (no most definitely!) brought a sea change in the weather out upon our rain blessed moss which up until this ‘wave of warmth’ arrived at the appointed hour of ten was set to rain upon its open landscape- barometer and from that hour the day was set to fair (nay lovely)…the only difficulty being that the birds seemed not to get the message that they could come out to play in the incrementing sunshine…. Today was the opening gambit of a new season of birdwatching encounters that have been diligently choreographed by Clive in such a way that all may dance their way to Christmas as le Corps de Ballet Team Tuesday with aplomb…but as with Napoleon’s army our team too marches upon its stomach thus refreshments at our welcoming venue of Moss Farm Fisheries were grabbed by most before we set off on our Moss-lands amble.
Then, better late than never, we set out to tackle Chat Moss – again – , first with a potter about the grounds of this wildlife friendly Fisheries with birds noted ranging from Goldfinch (a healthy flock of up to 50 noted) to Snipe (two of which were flushed by a leaping Carp which was, shall I say rather large…not being someone who fishes I felt I had not the precise measurement terminology….such as a ‘whale-of-a-fish-that-got-away’ etc…
Next a paddock which lies just outside the Fisheries…oh yes we were brave enough to leave the cafe comfort zone behind…gave a sunlit mix of birds with an autumnal flock of Starlingrubbing bills with a late summer handful of Swallow.Pied Wagtail took advantage of the horses by dancing about their feet as each plod of a hoof disturbed more insect prey whilst loftily occupying the sky above a Buzzard surveyed its domain.
Chiffchaff vied for our attention as we moved north up Cutnook Lane for these birds constantly called to one another as they encouragingly chivvied their fellow migrants to move ever southward in their quest for distant wintering grounds in North Africa. Jay were notable by their raucous contact calls with one uttering a crafty ‘note perfect’ call of a Buzzard….I being convinced that they do this to test our birdwatching skills—-We knew what bird it was and outfoxed this deceiver!
A bit of open moss had eyes and heads spinning as if they were lights on a speeding police car for the sunshine seemed to have brought a touch of activity into view…I think we all then caught up with the Fox/Pheasant/Carrion Crows/ Buzzards and Kestrel that were about before we headed off onto Croxden Peat area. A Small Copper Butterflythen allowed all to admire its compact radiance before it hurried off on its late summer dash for life beyond its own, to be found, once a mate was discovered—-we wished it well, for we need a Copper bottomed guarantee that such beauty continues out in our countryside for generations to come. A visit to an aromatic pile of ‘night soil’ didn’t quite bring in the birds that this edifice has brought to my attention of late, but at least it held a juvenile Pied Wagtail and in truth our attention was easily swayed from admiring this insect rich host as a Green Sandpiper came into and rather too rapidly out of view…as ever, moving on…
A retracing of steps then led all onto the cushioned carpet that only peat can bring as we headed once more westward into a refreshingly light southwest wind which felt quite pleasant…even if it seemed to cause many of our hoped for small passerines into cover out of it breezy caress…although a Male Yellowhammer did pop into view…if only briefly. More ‘off piste’ wandering (what an adventurous lot) brought us over to Astley Road bringing along but only two extra flyby species…Stock Dove and Linnet…but forget-we-not that this is week one’s ‘catch-up on summer; a conversation-driven walk’, and thankfully not an all-out attempt to break any day list records….
Little Woolden Moss reached, this was our turntable point of the trip where our steam engine of chat and birdwatching was turned back in the direction of the sheds where it could be restocked on the lovely fayre offered by Henry and Yvonne. Thus all happily regained Twelve Yards Road and steamed off eastward where no further bird distractions were on offer…an almost welcome relief for lunch demanded our attention. (DS)
Bird List (M.Ho)
- Canada goose
- Grey heron
- Common buzzard
- Green sandpiper
- Common snipe
- Black-headed gull
- Stock dove
- Pied wagtail
- Long-tailed tit
- Blue tit
- Great tit
- Carrion crow
- House sparrow
Butterflies: Small White, Red Admiral, Small Copper, Speckled Wood, Comma
… and ONE large Fox