Sunday, 9 May 2010

Rindle Road and Astley Moss

After a short break in my birding activities (whilst I erected a garden shed), I decided to start off tonight by looking down Moss Lane first and I wasn't disappointed. As I made my way up the lane in my car I came across a Red Legged Partridge which took a sudden turn into the excavations of the new pipeline workings on the northern side. I parked up and followed it for a short while when another appeared, and when they spotted me taking photos, both ran off across the field.

Then I tried taking photos of some Lapwing diving down into the fields but without much success - as you can see by the blur, I'm still getting to grips with taking pictures of moving birds. So I drove a little further down to the trees near the bend in the road just before the lane ends. There was nothing much showing down here and so I slowly crawled back along with my windows wound down. Soon I could hear a bird calling from the trees and so I headed in that direction - I was amazed to find it was a Little Owl, the first time I've ever seen an owl in the wild.  The pcture below shows my first view of the bird, and no, it as not been distorted! The owl really did look as squat as that!

I was so excited I just fired off a load of shots on automatic, without paying too much attention to the settings - I didn't want the bird to fly off without me having any record of it. What I find quite unbelieveable about these pictures is that they are of the same bird. The differences in colour are due to the light, camera settings and post processing.

The next time I looked up the owl had gone, and after a quick search failed to find it I moved on down the lane. I parked up again in a small side lane next to wooded area with very thin birch trees which were all gently swaying in the breeze - the effect was quite mesmeric. I thought I caught a glance of something unusual in a tree but it now looks most likely to be a mistle thrush.

After spending ten minutes here I moved down to the layby at the end of Rindle Road just before the level crossing. Once parked up, I scanned the horse paddock and adjacent field from the metal gate, looking for the Whimbrel which are frequently reported here. Sure enough, there they were, but too far off to take even a half decent photo - I'll need to come back for that one.

Whilst I was there I met Phil Owen and his mate Steve who asked me if I'd seen the Whimbrel. For once I could be of some help, but I very quickly explained that I was still a novice birder. We had quite a long debate about whether or not it was a Mistle Thrush sitting on a fence post fairly close to the Whimbrel - we eventually decided it was after looking through Phil's scope.

I then offered to show Phil and Steve around Rindle Wood and the edge of the SSSI as they weren't sure exactly where it was. Like me, they were interested in finding the Ring Ouzel which had been seen here many times in the last few weeks.  I did my best to explain each area where different birds had been seen, all from what Dave Thacker and others have told me and from reading Ian McKerchar's site information on

In the ploughed field we saw some Yellowhammer and a small bird which again was debated about for a while before Phil and Steve decided it was definitely a Whinchat.  And all the time we could hear a Cuckoo calling from trees behind the SSSI.  Not only that, there was a birder stalking it too. As we moved on in search of the Ring Ouzel, the Cuckoo calling got louder and so we stopped.  It was then that we saw our first glimpses of the bird sitting in the distant trees.  We decided to walk back for a better look and hopefully try for some photographs.

The next few minutes were brilliant because we were treated to a fly-past by two Cuckoos, one of which landed in some vegetation directly opposite us. It was here that I managed to get my first identifiable image of the bird. Still a long way to go on that front!

As we marvelled at the Cuckoos, the stalking birder came across from the SSSI and greeted us. He turned out be Denis Atherton who had spent a few hours trying to get a good view and a picture of the cuckoo.  We chatted for a while and pointed out the Whinchat which he hadn't seen. Denis later e-mailed this cracking picture of a cuckoo sitting on the Astley Moss SSSI sign.  It may be a little blurred, but that's really not the point, is it?

Now I must really try to get one of my own!

On the way round the ploughed fields and back to the road we saw a distant Buzzard over the railway line.

And a solitary Wheatear in the ploughed field near Rindle Cottages.

No sign of the male Ring Ouzel anywhere though - shame, he must have moved on.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please leave a comment by typing your message in the text box, selecting 'Anonymous' from the 'Comment as' drop down menu and then finally clicking the 'Publish' button. It would be nice to see your name in the text if possible - thanks.