Nat­u­ral­ists head for coast to check out marsh wildlife

Rochdale Observer - - SON LEFT AFRAID TO LEAVE HOUSE BY ATTACK AT SCHOOL -

THE monthly coach out­ing of the Rochdale Field Nat­u­ral­ists’ So­ci­ety was to More­cambe Bay, where they walked across marsh­lands to­wards Glas­son Dock and then along the coast to Cock­er­sands Abbey.

The weather fore­cast was dire, but this did not de­ter the in­trepid group, who were kit­ted out to with­stand the el­e­ments. On ar­rival, there was only light, wind-blown driz­zle.

Af­ter a short time spent look­ing at birds on the marsh and plants grow­ing be­tween the path and the marsh, the group fol­lowed a dyke along the coast of More­cambe Bay.

On the land­ward side of this dyke, trees and bushes had been planted, prob­a­bly as a wind­break.

The walk­ers ben­e­fited from the shel­ter from the south-east­erly breeze and could pay more at­ten­tion to the plants and an­i­mals.

A brown hare in a field nearby was a wel­come sight­ing, as were a lit­tle egret and a heron on the marsh nearby.

As ex­pected near the coast, many of the plants iden­ti­fied there have the words ‘sea’ or ‘marsh’ as part of their names, like sea rocket and marsh cud­weed. This dis­tin­guishes them from their rel­a­tives that grow in other habi­tats, such as sea radish and wild radish.

As the tide came in, it brought a va­ri­ety of wad­ing birds and sea ducks closer to the dyke and sea wall, and soon af­ter for­ma­tions of pink-footed geese started to fly over on their way to suit­able graz­ing marsh, and the evoca­tive clam­our of their contact calls could be heard from afar.

Later that day, some peo­ple vis­ited the re­mains of Cock­er­sand Abbey, while oth­ers wan­dered back to Glas­son Dock.

There was plenty of time for tea and cakes and chat.

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