Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Radcliffe Nature Trail - Tuesday 17th Dec'13.

Here at Radcliffe nature trail, there are a few good sit spots around this area behind Asda in Radcliffe. One of my favourites is a large rock where previously we have sat with the bat detector at dusk.

 It overlooks the river Irwell and in the distance you can see Knowle hill and the wind farm up past Norden in Rochdale. 
The views from here are pretty spectacular in the right light.

At the moment, the trees are sparse, all shed their leaves and there are a lot of rotten branches on the ground. These will collectively create nice little habitats for the mosses, lichens, fungi and bug life in the coming months.

The bird life is quite quiet at the moment however I think I can hear a Jay but cannot see it at the moment. There are  also a few magpies and blackbirds flying about and moorhens chatting on the river. I can also see a lone Swan gliding back and forth along the river. I know that there are at least two Heron's in this system having sighted them in the past but as yet I haven't located a nest. I'm guessing that they would nest and look after their young in a nice secluded area near to the river away from the beaten track but I'm an amateur with no qualifications, just a life's knowledge of searching the outdoors and watching documentaries.

Recently, quite late in the summer, I also spotted a lone Cormorant along the river, being alone, I guessed that it could be a male, however, again, I'm no expert.

The sit spot is pretty quiet so now I am going to take the path that will lead me past a small weir and closer to the river.

Here there is a lovely view of the weir and you sit on this raised bank in amongst the trees which provide you with some good shelter as well as keeping you from the view of anything on the river itself.

To my right there is a family of mallards swimming around in an almost conga like fashion and down to the left of me on the river bank is something that makes me really disappointed indeed and ashamed of what we have become;

 an ignorant dredge of polluting imbeciles...

There is enough plastic down there to make a cul-de-sac's worth of wheelie bins!!

After looking at the mess I decided to move to another regular viewing spot of mine. It is parallel with the first spot and the view is the reverse of it. It is a nice place to have a sunbathe in the summer with it's nice setting and viewpoint and you are out in the open here so there is not much chance of many animals coming up close unless you are really still and quiet. The only real sightings from here were the family of Mallards in the distance from before and a couple of other birds here and there.

From there, I decided to carry on walking down river to the Footbridge which crosses the river and leads to a path that takes you to the canal that joins Radcliffe with Bolton and in the other direction, back towards Bury. However the footbridge was found to be closed until further notice by an electricity company until further notice.

 (Human pollution and electric companies don't hinder your adventures in the Lakes Dad!)

As I approached the footbridge I noticed some discarded cable next to the footpath in two places, (which I didn't find very amusing) so I promptly chucked it over the caged in area to make sure that the council would remove the scrap and not leave it lying around for a fox or even a child to impale themselves on the stuff. I also made a mental note to go back and check the state of the areas in the future.
From here I decided to retrace my steps and head back towards the rock to see if anything else was up and about. 

And there it was, a Jay. It was really close to the rock on a tree seemingly looking out for anything encroaching on it's preverbial turf. It was close enough to get a good picture of it with a proper camera, however numpty here only had his phone camera and a set of bins. So I just settled down to watch the Jay through the binoculars without getting a picture :(

The Jay seemed to be concentrating on something from it's perch from the tree and then, all of a sudden I saw a Magpie about 150 metres ahead darting about some higher trees. The Jay, with it's Spitfire like wings darted off and up to screech at the Magpie to tell him to remove his feathery butt away from his territory which in turn developed into a slanging match between the two birds.

This was the best wild sight of the day for me. If you have never seen a Jay, I think you should. They are the most colourful member of the crow family and the size of a small crow but a light brown colour with these colourful feathers..

From there I walked back towards the start of the trail and onto the canal towards Water Street. Along the canal there are good parts and unfortunately the shopping trolleys within the canal put a downer on the end of the journey which included sighting canada geese, bulrushes, robins and woodpidgeon. 

The only tracks/game trails of the day to speak of were dog and horse andof course human.

Here is a summary and map of distance/trail covered using the Map My Walk app on my phone.

Not too wild then! Not a bad start though.

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