Spot the merlin and kestrel in the mossland sky

Mossland sky by Dave Steel

A chance to give something back for nature for today was my first of three winter bird counts out on Little Woolden Moss Nature Reserve for the Lancashire Wildlife Trust

I’ve carried these out since the site came a Reserve in 2012 . . . time flies. The sun welcomed my first few steps out onto the reserve but soon the clouds grabbed it back, the sun regained its view of the wild soon enough as I started my recording of the species present.

A couple of snipe zigzagged into the air, whilst reed bunting took time from their feeding to check that I was not a potential predator.

A skein of approximately 110 pink footed geese came in from the north, heading east only to change direction and make a dash for the south. It gave me plenty of time to get the feel of their wild vibes as they kept up their contact calls.

A female merlin then took umbrage at a male sparrowhawk and accelerated through the air above me at what seemed to be nought to 60, as it drove off the slower sparrowhawk which jinked out of view. The Merlin then cut off into the sun and this flash of the wild was gone.

A kestrel, as if wishing to show that the wild can simply hang around rather than cut up the air, then held itself in one spot in the sky. I wonder if I produced an image of the portion of sky it had held as its own, I could run a competition, as the football papers once did, and ask people to mark the exact spot with a cross. Older readers may know what I am referring to.

The count continued as the wind increased from the west perhaps not pushing many more records into my notebook but it did successfully push me home away from this 10th day of Christmas.

The moss is alive with hawks by Dave Steel

The moss is alive with hawks by Dave Steel