A quiet sort of wild

A rare bee orchid by Dave Steel

Even on a quiet day our mosslands birding legend Dave Steel is bitten by the 30 Days Wild bug - and a horsefly.

It was, I admit, quiet as I stepped out onto the moss and in a way that is not quite noteworthy or is it? As to me, it meant that the wild was quietly getting on with its midday activities.

Adult swallow cleared my pathway of insects as they gathered food for their young, which were nonchalantly preening their growing feathers between receiving juicy beaks full of insects. Their only effort was to out-beg their siblings for the latest treat.

Pristine plumaged yellow wagtail busied themselves about the remnants of the night-soil stack which was, as last year, bubbling with insects. Smelly and unattractive to humans this stack may be, but to these parent birds with their nest of young, hidden deep in a nearby wheat crop, it was the best takeaway in the area.

Bees busied themselves on the umbellifers (wildflowers of the carrot family), which lined the track, whilst a horsefly surreptitiously lifted me from my quiet appreciation of this peaceful looking day and brought me back to the wild side of wild as it bit me. Ouch! First of the year.

Then a quick move on home with an errand on foot which took me past a pair of grey wagtail, which were in alarm at an unseen, to me, predator. Their bills were full of food for their waiting young. Now, these birds, at this time of the year, are normally found nesting by flowing waters, yet here in the middle of Irlam they had decided to bring the wild to our doorstep.

To finish I passed along the new station park and, aligning its undulating pathway, wildflowers were starting to take hold adding white campion, tufted vetch and knapweed to our quiet wander in the wild.  This is another area which has brought the wild to our doorstep and, in spite of the road below, it gave a quiet comfy feel to be enjoyed by all.

I then passed by a dedicated pair of collectors who were part of a charitable event at the station and, in a most civilised way, a couple of bob flew from my pocket. This gave a thoughtful end to a “quite quiet” Wild.


30 Days Wild