Wintry showers including sleet + Bright sunny periods + Heavy cloud
Team Tuesday thwarted the best efforts of a wintry day, which made every effort to stop their progress around Little Woolden Moss. I do admit, though, that it was a close run contest in which a number of the prop forwards decided to scrum down at home being held down by enticing armchairs and kettles ready to refill their comforting cups of tea.
For those who missed the refs whistle to abandon the sleet filled pitch it actually proved to be a worthwhile game in which (and in spite of new flurries of winter wonderland snow) there was plenty of action which resulted in a surprisingly high score being achieved by close of play…match report follows.
My take on the day was based on the fact that as I was up at 0545 this morning for grandchildren school duties and after safely discharging those in a wintry walk to their school the day was young and it needed me to be out there retesting the waterproofing of my hands face and outdoor gear. I also strongly suspected that several members of TT, having known them now for quite a few years, would turn up rain hail or shine.
Thus by approximately 10 am I had a gathering of nine members of the Team ready to lift their binoculars to the sky and grab a host of sightings which were soon off to a pretty start when we encountered a flock of seventeen Long Tailed Tit, which were accompanied by an energetic and relatively easily seen Goldcrest. A flock of Black Headed Gulls, a pair of Pied Wagtail and a huddle of Woodpigeon hung around the trees which were on the perimeter of our viewing area — Glazebury Sewerage Farm —ahh the romance of locations TT chose to visit!
Moss Lane then invited us to amble ever eastward towards the open Mosslands but made us pause to listen to the song of a Nuthatch that was trilling from the tree line.
Then after an orientation lesson whilst stood outside The Moss House bungalow in which we learnt that to wander south was to reach Little Woolden Hall or to set off north would take in Windy Bank Wood…
Geography interlude over we then had to do our best and see a flock of Fieldfare with a few Redwing mixed in followed by even greater efforts being taken to see a hundred strong flock of Lapwing whilst we did battle with a dazzling sweep of sunshine as the days weather swung between the sublime and the ridiculous. A move onward then took us into a ticker tape reception of snow as the weathervane swung rapidly in the direction of challenging. Fortunately we were but a few paces from an open barn that ‘invited’ us to take shelter. Then, as some of our gathering dug into their K rations, I mauled about in an area blessed with large deposits of Owl guano until I managed to find a Barn Owl pellet. Then as an appetiser to those who were still ‘Snacking’ the said pellet was rubbed gently on palm until it revealed numerous small bones and two skulls of mammals which I believe were those of shrew.
The snow was still persisting but what the heck we had birds to see out there on the windswept open plains of the Mosslands thus off we trooped shoulders set to the whiteout. Houseand Tree Sparrow did their utmost not to be seen although they were clearly heard but this mattered not for we did eventually gain views for our growing day list, noting the Tree Sparrows especially as some of these appeared to be chasing after the snowflakes (I can only assume that prosaically they thought this was a food source or imaginatively simply enjoying chasing these live ghosts). A flock of Starling came in and out of view as they created their own flurries of flight whilst several Carrion Crow rose from the nearby turf field and removed themselves from our gaze, all the while we stepped boldly onward with a stewardship crop in mind. This crop, sown purely to keep wild birds alive in winter, was then reached and here, busily gorging themselves on Sunflower seeds, was a mixed flock of Finches which was at least two hundred birds strong. We indulged ourselves in this flight of delight in which we noted Chaffinch, Greenfinch, Linnet and with a touch of luck a couple of us noted Brambling.
A final push over to a field which has lain fallow all winter then gave yet another treat for our eyes as a flock of two hundred plus Skylark moved restlessly about the area. Reed Bunting numbering up to thirty grabbed our attention as they diligently took weed seeds from this area. Then after a brief recognition that having two such areas of farmland, which had been left in a less tidy manner for wildlife, was perhaps and in fact is the key to survival of birds in the winter being proved by the numbers of birds we had noted.
This was then rapidly followed by a pitch for our own survival as this wintry day plodded ever onward. Steps and Chat then brought us quite rapidly back to our cars with the chime of a victorious day ringing in our ears. (DS)