Moss Ramblings with Dave Steel – 03/05/2020

Personal ley-lines… we subconsciously follow…

We, I believe, are led to think that the modern world in which we live sets us apart from how nature and its aim to keep us following well-trod, predetermined ley-lines is nothing to do with us in our technological age…yet and I really do not look back at what where why and how I dealt with previous years of my life, for example , I never compare the dates of my first Willow Warbler song in spring …when I hear it…l know how deep it cuts into my love of wildlife on the moss., whether this is earlier or later than when I had this shiver of song down my spine last year matters not to me…

Yet here I am, iPad to hand, TV on in the living room perhaps not being part of the relaxation that 9pm should expect of me realising that the wander I was itching to record reflects a rambling that I had noted for virtually the same date, save for one week later, that I had scribbled last year.

The next step is do I continue with a repeat rambling of this journey which simply came about today…well because that’s just how it fell… when words stack up said I…just let them flow…as below.

Well there it was I had a late start to my day…I didn’t think it was a true Moss day…I had missed dawn…I felt that Princess Park…The Locks…and a wander westward trying to follow the Ship Canal to the Glaze was a good choice, a choice that needed simple footfalls from the door of home…how lucky we are in our area to simply wander along such routes.

Princes Park and the marshy jumble of habitat looked almost in flood it held a couple of Teal which were taking seeds from within the flooded vegetation, Blackbirds scolded, like they do, a flock of 42 Goldfinch chivvied about the tops of seed bearing trees feeding with gusto and the regular dog walkers walked by slightly bemused by my peering up into grey skies… to me there was gold (finch) in ‘them -thar’ trees…

A circuit back east along the south bank of this defunct loop of the Irwell gave chattering House Sparrows happy in their jumble of slightly less tidy track vegetation, long may this jumble of the natural world exist for without this the cheery squabble of these once abundant birds would be lost.

Views along the open waters of this popular pathway through nature gave the almost expected ‘still life’ statues’ that turned out to be Grey Heron in their ‘stealth mode’ whilst closer to the eastern end of this waterway a pair of Goosander whiled away the morn…”yes” said I to myself “weren’t these here at the same time last year?

It seemed that my unbidden internal clock at least knew that I was on one of those ley-lines of life that the natural world subtly draws me along almost to the day.

A move over to the locks gave thrashing waters at the control gates area and out on the quieter areas westward a mix of Moorhen/Mallard, Black Headed Gulls with a couple of Cormorant thrown in, all took food from this mighty man made waterway that still drains the surrounding land as did the natural waterways before its construction.

The bypass then filled my ears with noise but on the access to the estate that robbed me of so much wildlife as it was merely regarded as a Brownfield site then invited me to pay homage to my past for here a Green liveried Salford City Bus was parked, with ironically the number 15, phew now there that ley-line of my life held me, in its unseen power, for this was the bus number that was the one I always noted on my early days of birdwatching along the Bridgewater at Worsley….

Nostalgia left behind, I next sought more views of the Ship Canal in my move west and soon amongst more birds already noted I found a Common Gull (a gull that only spends the winter in our area) and one which can easily be overlooked…but ironically there are usually one or two interacting with other Gulls over the Tesco car park…their identity easily achieved as they sound out their mewing call…their other name being Mew Gull based in this notable call…

A move through the remnant parts of the old steelworks that is now the North Bank Industrial Estate brought memories of earlier times when I roamed this area with my then young son as we tracked about this regained wildlife area..Skylark/Grey Partridge/Lapwing and even the rare Little Ringed Plover bred on this site between its closure as a steelworks and development as the site it is today….yes it was/is only a Brownfield site…but and as a conservationist I apologise not for my regret that once more WE can blithely sweep away nature..As David Attenborough said it’s about time that WE realised that WE are not the ONLY ones that count in this world…..

Then a Cronk-Cronk call set my eyes to the rather magnificent railway structure that is the old bridge over to Timperley…such splendid skill in each brick laid by older generations….and here two Raven took a few moments out to preen, much to the consternation of the local Carrion Crows who were obviously upset at having their larger cousins on their patch and they showed it by attacking them!

Then the Ship Canal Pilot boat swished by making waves along the banks of the Canal much to the consternation of a lone Little Grebe which had been swept from its hiding place beneath overhanging vegetation…I tried to photo this distant bird which to me seemed quite indignant at its disturbance…the water quieted…it settled…preened and carried on in its quiet way.

A move along the rest of the by-pass then took me to point where the Glaze flows into the Ship Canal. Views westward from here led my eyes to the Warburton bridge expanse whilst upon the water those often overlooked but so delicately plumaged wildfowl, Gadwall quietly dabbled about upon the still waters of the Canal…it was time to head on home…

1 Comment on "Moss Ramblings with Dave Steel – 03/05/2020"

  1. Margaret Tideswell | May 12, 2020 at 5:50 am | Reply

    A thoroughly enjoyable ramble, read from our armchairs.
    Dave covers routes previously enjoyed by local walking groups, before lockdown.
    Plenty of routes there still, from our doorsteps, for our daily exercise, if able to go out.
    The added bonus of this armchair ramble, we get to see and hear the different birds, with Dave’s extensive knowledge of them, and our local patch.

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