Tuesday, January 07, 2014

Putter... a little poetic patchery and a sprinkling of fear

Today when the six alarms went off (randomly spaced 5-10 minutes apart)... I awoke to find that the early morning mind-spiders had already spun their silken snares across my cerebellum. This was not good. Things to do. Things to DO. Now as I was unlikely to get much work done in this semi-somnambulistic state I decided against the usual caffeine and/or taurine in favour of a gentle gust of cool, morning patch air. It was, I decided, to be a short visit... energetically impoverished... a mere stroll... an amble... a dawdle... a meander... a pootle...or, as it turns out... a putter. Now I had no idea until now that 'putter' was a synonym of /strəʊl(don't you just love phonetics?), but I suspect it may become a word I use more often as of today because it was to become somewhat poetic in the context of my brief puddle-and-mud-dodging hopscotch along Lapwing Lane.

I hadn't really gone to Moore with any other intent than to keep the patch yule ball rolling and to clear my head and so wasn't expecting much... which... as it turned out was scarily prophetic of me. I parked up, unusually for me in the actual Car Park and togged up. The place seems to have had a bit of a 'revamp'... new wooden signs everywhere pointing the way to the various paths and hides... and a noticeboard too. Hmmm. This did not bode well. This could encourage more people to visit the patch. A patch full of strange people... and their dogs... and maybe even... ch... ch... children... (shudders)... waaaay too much potential for hustle, bustle and noise. What bode even worse was the official list of species seen on the reserve neatly typed up and placed behind plexiglass for all to see.

First, it was 'the list' for October 2013 (it's now January 2014)... and second it was...well... you judge for yourselves. Is it just me? Here are some selected examples taken, as written, from 'the list' ...

Sandpiper... Wrens... Greater Spotted Woodpecker... Gold Finch... Swans... Sparrow hawk... Moor hen... Tree Creeper... Bull finch.

Am I wrong to fear for the reserve? I hate to think what's going to happen to the management of the wonderful mosaic of habitats created in past years if the plexi list is anything to go by... Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear.

So, it was with a heavy sigh that I set off down Lapwing Lane. I could hear Wigeon on Lapwing lake. There were 30+ there today along with a sprinkling of Tufted Duck, Mallard and Coot. Nothing in the trees. All eerily quiet. Maybe the birds too has seen 'the list'. Added a few more year ticks at the newly signposted feeding station... Coal Tit, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Nuthatch, Jay, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Chaffinch... No Tawny Owl that I could see on the once regular, ivy-covered tree. Think the Jackdaws have taken over again.

Birchwood Pool had a sprinkling of gulls (mostly Black-headed Gulls with a few Herring Gulls) and couple of 'new' duck species... Shoveler, Pochard... plus the usual Little Grebes (4), Great Crested Grebe (1), Coot, Moorhen, Canada Goose, Tufted Duck, Gadwall, Grey Heron (4). Pretty quiet all in all.

Walk back to the Car Park across the dog field yielded only Mistle Thrush for the year. Thrushes seem thin on the ground so far... only one or two Redwing about and I've yet to see or hear any Fieldfare. Usually they're present in numbers on the fields by the Big Hand Ranch... but today the fields were completely devoid of birds... although I did add Feral Pigeon on the swing bridge on my way to the patch earlier.

And that... as they say... was pretty much it... until... skein of 57 Pink-footed Goose over N... and... Green Woodpecker yaffling somewhere nearby. So short and sweet (ish). Which brings me to the title of this post. The fear is of the slow demise of the patch as I know it. I guessed it was coming when I caught wind of the planning shenanigans and talk of roads through the east end and the landfill site winding down. And then of course Brian left... so the height of my hopes were eroded still further... and now the plexiglassed list and shiny signage. Ho hum... at least Halfway House is unlikely to deteriorate any time soon... I always have my beloved bend in the river to retreat to. And that leaves the poetic bit. Well, as I bleaped the door unlocked on the little red Citroen (no way I'm taking the Cooper S to Moore... what with the car break-ins... another sign of the times perhaps...) than I heard the twinkle of a dozen Goldfinch flitting into the trees by me. You see that's something else I didn't know until today... in the Netherlands Carduelis carduelis is not known by it's British moniker of Goldfinch... but by its Dutch name... Putter. How poetic.


  1. Hi Mark, John Doherty here, we met a cold evening in the Eastern Reedbed last year. Glad to see you're blogging from Moore. I continue to visit and enjoy the reserve. Last visit was TORRENTIAL downpour premature against the forecast... scored Green Woodpecker, as I always seem to. Keep birding, keep blogging (good blog, really enjoy it)

  2. Hey, John :) Many thanks, glad you like it... and I shall indeed continue to blog. Waaaay too therapeutic not to!. Ah, the ERB... why are the evenings ALWAYS cold there lol

  3. Doh! Seem to be logged on as my other half :D