Quiet morning harvesting sphagnum

Grey partridge hiding by David Steel

“And on the seventh day the moss took its ease,” Dave Steel continues his 30 Days Wild mossland adventure.

Yes, there was almost a Biblical rest day out there on the moss starting with a pheasant, careless of my car, just sauntering down the road whilst a grey partridge decided that its camouflage and stillness would save it from beating an energetic exit out of my way.

Then, there was some thoughtful harvesting of sphagnum moss by the solidly dedicated team from Little Woolden Moss Nature Reserve who have given countless voluntary hours to re-propagating the once-bare peat desert after its years of commercial harvesting.

Their gathering of this so special vegetation was being carefully carried out from a plot owned by a local farmer who has given me permission to lead this team onto this quiet corner of his land. He is happy for this occasional work to take place, a community in harmony with its vital food producers is, to me, a way forward for our wonderful mosslands and the wildlife it can support.

In truth I feel that the wild of the moss was still very much in evidence as a male sparrowhawk drifted in what seemed to be a sauntering style of flight. Make no mistake, he had young to feed and within his ambling gaze some unsuspecting prey awaited its fate. Wild is raw, we all know that, it’s nature’s balancing act.

The yellowhammer kept in cover, the yellow wagtail with food for its young kept as low a profile as it could and the, recently emerged, four-spotted chaser dragonfly was simply happy that the raptor wasn’t a hobby, the agility of which puts dragonflies firmly on its list of delicacies!