Trip reports

Monday 19th April 2021 Whixall Moss

Monday 19th April 2021 Whixall Moss
Brian Lyon

Monday, 19 April 2021


It was so pleasant to do something so "normal" with a small group of like-minded people for a few hours. The weather was lovely for such an auspicious occasion; cool to begin with but soon warming up for a lovely spring day with little wind. After a spatially aware catch-up in the car park we set off to amble along the Llangollen Canal towpath in a westerly direction.
We saw many birds which we would expect to see in this location including house sparrow, robin, blackbird, song thrush, blue tit, dunnock, goldfinch, chaffinch, greenfinch, wood pigeon, collared dove, stock dove, magpie and carrion crow. In addition, a male bullfinch was sitting in a bush eating the blossom and was discovered by the petals gently falling to the ground underneath him. Shortly afterwards a jay came along and disturbed a tawny owl who was settling down for a nap in a fir tree on the edge of the woodland bordering the canal. The owl did not move far before settling on another branch still on the edge of the trees to continue his rest. As we were watching we were able to pick him out amongst the branches. Brian was able to record the sighting with his camera as you can see. The majority of us thought this sighting alone made for a successful trip.
As the temperature began to rise we saw and heard a number of summer visitors including blackcap, chiffchaff, willow warbler and whitethroat.
The fields on the other side of the canal were pretty dry due to the lack of rain this month. Canada geese, shelduck, mallard and shoveler were seen and those with telescopes probably saw some additional species to those I was able to identify with binoculars.
We were nearing the lookout over the moss when Estelle said "treecreepers are often seen in this patch of overgrown woodland by the canal" when a treecreeper carrying nesting material was spotted right on cue!
We had a snack and drink at the picnic spot by the lookout watching peacock, brimstone and orange-tip butterflies before setting off across the moss back to the car park.
We spotted a kestrel and buzzards circling in the distance as well as a heron and black-headed gulls. Teal were spotted on one of the ponds and stonechat, reed bunting, wren and linnets on the scrubby vegetation.
Spirits raised by an enjoyable morning in "nature" we departed for lunch. I hope to see more members in the great outdoors over the coming summer months.