Trip reports

There be Hobby's and Dragons in these here parts

There be Hobby's and Dragons in these here parts
Hobby - Neil prendergast

Sunday, 19 July 2015

We arrived with the car booters and managed to get past the sites 30 white farm yard 'guard' geese, you don't wanna mess with these guys.
Rixton Cley pits is a wildlife haven, Easy to follow grassy paths, with the odd stile, take you to ponds, calcareous grassland, wildflower meadows, and woodland.
Although not teeming with birds, other wildlife of interest kept us entertained, butterflies, fabulous hawking dragon and damsels and gt created and smooth newts in the ponds.
Fortunately the reserve wasn't flooded this year despite a bit of a deluge earlier in the week.
Baaaa. we were not alone!. Hebridean sheep have been introduced to the site and are playing an important part in conserving this special wildlife Reserve & SSSI. The rare plants which grow on Rixton Clay Pits grasslands are under threat from scrub-invasion and rougher grasses. The plants need a short turf to survive and the sheep will graze out the scrub to allowing the plants to flourish.
Highlight of the site were great views of a kestrel family, juv's perched on wires, parents hunting on grassland over an adjacent field. We did see hobby briefly but better was to come.
Risley moss has a visitor centre and its paths are broader and more defined.
Our main location was by the tower hide, which gave us extensive views over the surrounding woodland and peat bog, and a distant view of the tip and it's swarming gulls.
Highlight of this visit was a fabulous hobby; Who when not perched in an oak, frequently swooped over the bog, catching and eating dragonflies on the wing. Oh and a yellowhammer, a little golden singing beacon.

Bird list : Reed bunting, cormorant, blackbird, carrion crow, white farm geese, canada geese, mute swan, gadwall, coot, moorhen, mallard , goldfinch. yellowhammer, whitethroat, blackbird, song thrush, bullfinch, chiff chaff, willow warbler, blue tit, great tit, swallow, jay, magpie, house martin, dunnock, nuthatch, swift, chaffinch ,long tailed tit, blackcap, heron, house sparrow, greenfinch, feral pigeon, wood pigeon, starling wren, buzzard, kestrel ,hobby, black headed, lesser black backed, herring gulls