Walking with Wildlife
The ramblings of a man with a camera.
2021 - Month by Month
The month started with a really nice day on Monday. I had a very pleasant walk taking in the Rail Trail, the Golf Course and the towpath. The first Kestrel of the year was seen from the Iron Bridge but it was being escorted out of a Carrion Crow's airspace. Nuthatches and Chaffinches joined the regulars on the bridge with more people feeding the birds this year and I got my first shot of the year of Long-tailed Tits on a feeder at the Iron Bridge. Further signs of Spring continued throughout the week and were added to the Daffodil Buds, Snowdrops, Cyclamen and Catkins, (noted last month), when the seasons first Dwarf Iris was seen in Maddock's Wood and Daffodils in flower were seen at Watersmeet. There was a single Male Goosander at Lock 62 but no sign of the others.
I had to go to Middlewich, on the sixth, for my Covid-19 vaccination. It was a nice enough morning so I had a walk along the Middle Branch Shropshire union Canal. It was nice to see everything back to normal and the Narrowboats all back at their moorings. Nothing out-of-the-ordinary seen until I got back to the towpath at Kings Lock and started walking back to Wheelock. The was a single Whooper Swan amongst the Mute Swans opposite Long Lane South. Shortly after taking a shot of the Whooper the hail started and there was a mix of rain and hail for most of the way back. No more photos but just past Crows Nest Farm moorings I saw a Great Spotted Woodpecker and a Female Blackcap, between the hailstones! 8 miles walked, 3 ticks for my yearly list and a shot in the arm. A good day.
Another good walk on the eighth when I went to Borrow Pit Meadows. I got good views of a Jay but no clear shot. The only wildlife on the Pit was a pair of Drake Mallards and a Coot. From the towpath approaching the Iron Bridge I was lucky enough to watch a Herring Gull charming worms out of the ground. Short video on flickr and I also saw a pair of Jays flying across the pond by the Wheelock Bypass. Nothing much else to report for the rest of the week with walks across the Golf Course and a towpath walk to Pierponts Bridge one day.It's been feeling like -6 in the bitter East wind but at least the mud has been frozen the last few days.
15th and what a change in the weather. Parts of the canal are still frozen but not for much longer. Long-tailed Tits are still feeding around the bridge and we seem to have attracted quite a number of Blackbirds. 4 Robins seen on the bridge again and the Female Chaffinch seems to have aquired a mate. Blue Tits, Great Tits, Dunnocks and Nuthatches are all making regular appearances; along with the Corvidae. A small mixed flock of Redwing and Fieldfare were feeding in the field opposite the Rail Trail and towpath. As I watched their numbers were increasing and they were spread out all over the field. They were joined by a flock of Starlings and the worms were soon picked out of the soft ground.
18th. The pair of Jays were seen again but further along and on the opposite side of the pond on the Rail Trail. Another Goldcrest was spotted just before the Iron Bridge. A pair of Buzzards were gliding over the canal and Golf Course. Very low but mostly obscured by trees. Days Birds - Blackbird, Black Headed Gull, Blue Tit, Buzzard, Carrion Crow, Chaffinch, Dunnock, Fieldfare, Goldcrest, Goldfinch, Great Tit, Jackdaw, Jay, Long-tailed Tit, Magpie, Mallard, Mistle Thrush, Nuthatch, Pied Wagtail, Robin, Rook, Starling, Wood Pigeon.
Nothing much of note until 22nd at Maddock's Wood. Dwarf Daffodils, Dwarf Iris and Crocus are showing amongst the Snowdrops. A pair of Buzzards were circling and calling overhead and a Blue Tit was checking out a Nest Box. A Queen Bumble Bee was spotted feeding amongst the Snowdrops. A Male Greenfinch was seen here today and, a bit later on, my first Coal Tit of the year was seen on the Iron Bridge. On the canal CRT have started work at Lock 65. More on this to follow.
The month ended with a couple of good walks which both had Woodpeckers and Jays at various locations. The first being a walk to Tall Chimneys on the 26th and was documented on facebook. The next day I walked the towpath and footpaths to Fields Farm, Pump House and Elton Hall Flashes. Plenty to see on a gorgeous day but nothing ticked off the list. Visiting Teal and Wigeon have not moved on yet but there was nothing out-of-the-ordinary to report. It had gone dark before I got home so I was able to get a couple of nice shots of the Full Moon.
This years Bird List stands at 53 species at the end of the month.