Friday, 12 June 2015

Stoately Stupendous!


A week off, and I can’t tell you how good it was to be off from work, and what a good choice. The weather was glorious.

Needless to say that meant we had no reason to stay indoors and do tedious household chores. It was boots, cap and sun cream on, and ‘where are we going next?!

Up the M62, 20 minutes later and we’re at Clock face Country Park. Opened in the late 1990s, this was formerly a colliery site and is linked to ‘The dream’ statue at Sutton Manor. Fifty seven acres of meadows, woodlands, wetland, intersected by footpaths and a popular fishing pond. 
Last time we'd visited it was winter, some snow still on the ground.
Fishing pond
Adjacent is Maypole Wood, in 2003 the Forestry Commission planted thousands of trees to form the young woodland, a new section of the expanding Mersey Forest.

The park gives extensive views from its highest point and has a toposcope to guide your eye (probably best viewed from in winter, when the woodland foliage doesn’t obscure some of the vista).

Fiddlers Ferry power station

It was a windy day and I must admit birds were mainly heard rather than seen, the usual summer migrants were prevalent, Chiff chaff, willow warbler, black cap, and whitethroat accompanied by familiar home birds, finches, tits, robins, jays and thrushes.

The meadows were now in bloom, patches of wildflowers flourished such as orchid, birdsfoot trefoil, buttercup  and ragged robin
Ragged robin

However the highlight of out trip was about to occur, a most unexpected encounter with a rather attractive stoat and an unfortunate bunny.
As I said a windy day  and at first I thought the form flying across the path was a piece of cardboard, however the sudden dash back across the path of a red and white furry thing with a black tail tip, led me to inspect the said  ‘cardboard’, only to find a dead although still warm Rabbit! This was exciting just like Springwatch on the telly. We backed off a way and watched, sure enough the stoat returned to retrieve her (Admittedly I can’t say I know whether it was a she or a he) dinner.  How vigorous these little mammals must be, carrying home a quarry at least twice it’s size.

Stoat in meadow
Through the buttercup meadow she bounced, occasionally stopping for a rest? Or more likely a watchful lookout for any bigger predators about intent on stealing her dinner; certainly we had seen buzzard and kestrel hunting overhead. Finally she reached the edge of the woodland and disappeared into the tree line, back to the den and maybe her kits?
What a treat, to observe this formidable little predator. It's beauty, amazing strength and perseverance. Yes sad for the bunny but this is the natural world all in order, in blood and claw.




RSPB Liverpool Local Group. The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) is a registered charity: England and Wales no' 207076, Scotland no. SC037654 said...

love the video...............Sean

phil said...

love this, what part was it the country park, the manor or maypole? going to go myself have a look im stil waiting to see a stoat for more than a 1 second glimpse lol

RSPB Liverpool Local Group. The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) is a registered charity: England and Wales no' 207076, Scotland no. SC037654 said...

On the path between the pond and the toposcope, see buttercup pic in blog