Saturday, 9 April 2016

Whixall Moss

It was a beautiful sunny morning at Whixall Moss, we started off on the road to Morris Bridge overlooking the flooded fields at a fine selection of birds. On arrival there was a spoonbill actively feeding close to the road and this took most of my attention for the first 15 minutes or so, though I was peridodically called away to look through a scope at a stunning Channel wagtail or one or two green sandpipers. After about half an hour, the spoonbill flew up and over our heads to land much further away on the opposite side of the road. It then adopted a more typical spoonbill position, tucking its bill under its wing and having a nap.

Later we had a walk across the moss itself, in the hope of spotting an adder, but no sign of any today. However we did find a smart  jumping spider, Salticus cingulatus.

Year: 189 (Spoonbill, green sandpiper)

I think the European spoonbill is the nicest of all the spoonbills, most of the other species look a bit grotesque to me.

The black wing tips indicate that this is a 1st winter bird. Adults would have white wing tips. Adults would also have yellow on the "spoon" and breast, and a crest.

Not a bad garden tick!

Maybe not as stunning as some of the Australian jumping spiders, but not a bad looker non-the-less. This  is Salticus cingulatus. Apparently quite scarce in the UK, the NBN map shows a dot on Whixall moss, but not many other places in the North West / West Midlands.

One of the commonest sphagnums we saw during our brief visit to the moss was this, Sphagnum cuspidatum.  Of interest here is the fact that this is both the green and pale forms of the species, and you can see where they meet there is some overlap. Interestingly the pale form doesn't just get gradually greener, there is very much a dividing line between the two, almost as if they are two sepreate species. However if you look closely, some of the capitulums (the head of the sphagnum) have bits of pale and bits of green.

Morris Bridge on the Shropshire Union Canal.

1 comment:

  1. Excellent Post, thank you.
    Spoonbill and Green Sandpipers still showing well on the pools to the left today


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