An audience with the Chatterley Whitfield Worminator.


Having collected Neill at a reasonably civilised hour this morning I careened down the M6 to Chatterley Whitfield in Staffordshire to have a squint at the young Red Footed Falcon, lured by tales of the close encounters many birders have had with the falcon, and the fact that the last time I clapped eyes on a Red Foot it was so long ago smoking was still cool and social media hadn’t been invented.
When we got there, as is often the way with youngsters, the bird was in a petulant mood, skulking and preening in a hawthorn – Look Mom No Head! (ahh, how I miss Lux and Ivy….)


This was okay, as it gave us time to have a look at the young Black Redstart through the fence at the old colliery entrance, while the falcon sorted itself out.


After an hour or so, the Red Foot swept out of the hawthorn and pitched down to hunt worms and other insects on the short turf of the roadside paddock – it might have been grasshoppers it was catching, but “grasshopperinator” just doesn’t work as well as “worminator”…
Whatever, it was pretty successful, scurrying about on short runs to catch its prey several times before flying up to a convenient old phone pole in the warming sun.




Very nice indeed – splendid views of the thing.
Then it shot back into the hawthorn for another sulk, so we headed out onto the reserve area and old spoil heaps to see if any butterflies were on the wing – the site is a stronghold of Dingy Skipper and although it is past that species’ flight season now, I thought it was worth a punt as everything is so late this year.
No Dingy joy, but an obliging Small Skipper is always worth a closer look…


Wished I taken a few shots of the old mine buildings – you see ’em so rarely now, but I can’t be expected to remember everything.
Paused on the way back to the wheels for another look at the Red Foot, but it was still having a hissy fit in the hawthorn, so we trundled back north for a sunny Sunday cold beer afternoon. Just as it should be.


2 thoughts on “An audience with the Chatterley Whitfield Worminator.

  1. Manx Shearwaters feeding off Ainsdale on the falling tide again early this evening, perhaps 40+, with Gannets passing (22), Common Scoter (38) and a single Scaup – which I wasn’t expecting!


  2. Fancy helping to give nature a home this summer holiday? Then why not join one of the Giving Nature a Home events at RSPB Marshside for family-fun and wildlife activities.
    From making butterfly feeders to bug bungalows, there will be plenty of wildlife-friendly crafts on offer – and everyone will be able to take their creations home to help the wildlife in their gardens.
    Running from 11 am-3 pm, these drop-in events will be held on Wednesday 29 July, Sunday 16 August and Thursday 27 August.
    Nick Godden, Warden at RSPB Marshside, said: “The hands-on Giving Nature a Home events are ideal for all ages and a fantastic way to discover more about how to create a home for wildlife where you live.
    “Children will have great fun making the crafts, which they can then take away to encourage a variety of birds and bug to visit their gardens, or simply add another dash of colour to an outdoor space of any size.
    “Not forgetting, it’s also a great excuse to head outdoors and discover the stunning wildlife and scenery that the Ribble Estuary has to offer.”
    There is no need to book for the drop-in events, which costs £4 for RSPB members and £5 for non-members.
    The Giving Nature a Home events will take place at the RSPB Marshside Sandgrounders’ Hide (near Marshside Road junction), Southport, Merseyside, PR8 1RY. Instead of driving, why not take the bus? Arriva Bus 44 from the town centre stops near the fog bell. Then it’s a 10 minute light stroll up Marshside Road from the bus stop to the car park, which will take you through the heart of the reserve.


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