Naturalists head for coast to check out marsh wildlife
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.