On the 12th day of Christmas

The moon over the moss by Dave Steel

Somehow today’s dawn seemed to be aware that the final day of my festive odyssey was at an end and Christmas, with all its fizz and sparkle, was over for another year.

Today the sky lacked all but grey and the wildlife seemed a little reluctant to make much of an appearance.

The wild being what it is a 365 - 366 this year - day event soon dispelled the quiet start to the day with a steady flow of 30-plus chaffinch moving from their roost off to find food in a nearby field.

A kestrel then appeared out of the gloom and the wild world slowly wound its way into the day. It still took a while for my steady steps to catch up with their activities until a flock of redwing moved restlessly about the sky.

An untidy field of abandoned wheat which was coupled with a ditch that neatness had passed by then gave a boost to my hope for the wild on our greenbelt. From this area rose over 100 reed bunting. These birds are in decline in the UK and here was brightness on a dull day.

Then as my walk today had limited time I moved on at a steady pace but the Wild had other ideas for, along the way, a flock of 40 tree sparrow and a small flock of yellowhammer demanded my attention.

The Wild was thriving here thanks to this farmer, my hopes for the future of such now uncommon farmland birds were lifted by this wildlife friendly approach to our food production. My hope for the future is that, along with the Lancashire Wildlife Trust, who are dedicated to giving the wild a space in our lives, such wildlife-aware farmers will help future generations to walk amongst the Wild. I have happily recorded much of this wildlife during this past 12 days of Christmas.

As the sky, limited time and inability of the wildlife to stay still in its race to survive another wintry day, my photo selection will rely on a random selection of  images taken this year out on what we collectively refer to as Chat Moss. I believe both my camera and I cannot do justice to this Chat Moss.

It is a last bastion of hope we have on the western edge of Greater Manchester to act as a buffer zone to the spread of concrete. Will it survive? I cannot say but I hope it does.