Moss Ramblings with Dave Steel

A Grey sky suddenly lights up… an encounter with a Hobby…

A grey sky which was taking a brief  time out from raining , it was guaranteed that the rain was to return to me—this mattered not for before me lay an hour or so out on Little Woolden Moss Nature Reserve …I had been elsewhere this morning…I was returning home…the time lapse filled with this visit.

A few Willow Warbler still eked out some of their remaining notes of sweet cascading song from the trickle of days left for their need to advertise their breeding territories in this their summer visit which has almost fulfilled their need to produce just one nest full of young before their African wintering grounds drew them away until next year.

From early April their song has filled the air with sublime refrains on each day of spring into early summer but now most now had young free of the dangers of being in a nest when any number of predators or dry summer arsonists (yes we had some of these this year ready to flip their slanted view into this world of nature by starting fires. ..Why…well because they can…of nature they appear to be devoid…of wildlife they care but nothing…how sad the human condition can be at times.

Swift busied themselves at much lower elevations than they seem to prefer as their insect prey was now compressed to lower levels a few Swallow not quite managing the speed or even the agility of the Swift still impressed with their ability to swerve and sweep the airwaves one step ahead of their insect prey.

Linnet betrayed their downfall of old when people caught and cruelly kept these delicate bundles of life in cages for their chiming songs of delicate sweetness…all these distractions taking my mind’s eye from peering across this so revived area where just one wildlife organisation saw through the bare landscape wrought by the irony of Peat extraction which gave pretty little pot plants cheaply to our homes at the expense of so much beauty and wildlife such areas as this held…this wildlife is now returning…all is now not lost.

Six or so Reed Bunting ambled through their summery song that tells of perhaps brighter days than this one had to offer whilst a few Woodpigeon just sat about probably grateful that someone wasn’t interested in shooting them today.

A Blackbird which in truth I usually expect to be in more wooded areas sang from atop a small birch but soon flushed off into the distance the moment I raised my camera in an effort to capture this image.

This brief visit was opening up the world of our Mosslands wildlife in such a short window of opportunity with a Gatekeeper Butterfly flipping ironically into view.

The irony being in that some of those who care not one jot about the ethos of this reserve (run by a charitable organisation the Lancashire Wildlife Trust) in their latest incarnation had decided to remove two of the gates to this site in order that they could/can do their own selfish ignorant approach to this wildlife nurturing site of charging their Horse along a none Bridleway. ..Cycling often at breakneck speed their bikes along a quite FOOTPATH which is intended for people to quietly wander along and be at peace with nature. .well in truth it only added to the vandalism and theft this Gem of a nature reserve has been tarnished with since the reserves inception in 2012.

Then to counter the rapidly declining feelings of positivity that such visits bring to me and those who care to ‘care about’ such beautiful landscapes a vision of the heights to which nature is prepared to offer our world weary eyes for there perched a neat sweet looking compact flight of feathers that was taking time out from its ranking the Red Arrows into second place to its ‘Out-Swifting’ Swift flight as it classically perched upon a birch which itself is now in its statuesque quiet years of decline.

The raptor was well aware of my presence…it had no doubt nay had definitely spotted me before I had cast my eyes upon its imperious beauty…it tolerated my gaze, it allowed my camera to insult it with attempts to try and capture the essence of the essence of its presence in the upper echelons of nature’s beauty.

It flew, I was happy to have had this sighting…I moved on West but soon steps taken were stopped for there the Hobby was again on another retired birch a photo shoot gave some improved images for my camera a brilliant replaying of special moments with wildlife.

It flew off after allowing this momentary connection between me the admirer and it the admired, it was time to think of home but as in all visits to this site I expected more distractions whether I looked for them or not.
A Curlew tried to slip by unnoticed, unlike the three to four pairs that until recently had tried to fill the airwaves of our moss with their haunting song…I fear sadly that this year these remaining and rapidly declining birds of Europe that try to raise young on our Moss have failed in this year’s attempt.

Oh dear the uplifting connection between the Hobby and I seemed already to be fading….but along came the cavalry of hope when five juvenile Yellow Wagtail wandered along a track which leads to the reserve.

This vision of these young birds raised within a cereal crop grown on fields adjacent to the reserve threw my positivity meter into the red almost reaching levels my old heart might not be able to contain for it took so much joy in knowing that in spite of all the negatives the few rain down upon our world of mossland wildlife nature still fights on for survival and still holds such delights to behold.

I wandered back home content with the positives the natural world is still able to offer out on our mosslands if we but care to look.

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