article by our first president, the late Bill Mulligan published in The
Manchester Evening News in January 1974.It reveals something of his enthusiasm
and love of birds and birding.
Some call it the Lay-by; others, striving for a more colourful description, say Bird Wood.
Neither term does the place justice, for if ever a tiny area of woodland, enclosed on the roadside by a wire fence, deserved a name which hinted at the magic spell it could exercise, this is it.
Go there any day of the week, any time in the daylight hours, and you will invariably find a string of cars, and from every window a hand protruding offering crumbs or nuts for the birds perching expectantly on the wires.
It is a ritual which enchants us all. Just no-one can pass without stopping, if there is room for a car to squeeze in. The place? Immediately before you get onto the road along the Tatton Park wall, quite close to the main entrance, the is a narrow fringe of trees lining the back road from Rostherne village. If one is unfamiliar with the spot, the tin lids sitting on top of the score or more fence posts, with their offerings of titbits for the birds, will identify it for you.
Can we squeeze in? Sure, there's just enough room, gently does it! Slide the car windows down, keep perfectly quiet. Push out a hand, keeping the palm taut, and in no time at all you should have one of the vivacious company of small birds coming to snatch at the morsel presented or even, if one is more than usually favoured, lingering there searching for more.
Don't we all in this harsh and bitter world find joy in the simple things that give relief from pressures? we certainly do. The warm-blooded touch of a blue tit's tiny feet on the hand; the flicker of the slightly larger and more boldly plumaged great tit as it swoops and retreats with it's prize; the transcendent pleasure of playing host to the lovely and acrobatic nuthatch, if only for a second or two - these are some of the simple pleasures which make so many bird lovers, expert or otherwise, regular visitors to the wood.
Whatever your degree of ornithological experience there are thrills to be had here. The titmouse - the marsh and coal tits, the long-tailed tits as well as the blue and great - are always the more venturesome.
The house and tree sparrows, the dunnock, the robin, the chaffinches, the blackbirds and thrushes come eagerly to the fence but stop short of more intimate contact, preferring to pick the dainties from the ground.
An occasional Jay will come up close and survey the offerings with a wary eye, and on the great days a great spotted woodpecker may swoop boldly on to the fence showing off his brilliant vestments, of black, white and reds.
Winter is the best time to enjoy this pageant of birdlife, for then the natural food supplies are scarce, and the birds are glad to welcome the hand that feeds them.
Many people will remember this site with fondness, alas it had to be closed off due to the nocturnal activities of sundry car thieves, druggies and shirt-lifters.Poor old Bill would have had a thing or two to say on the matter in the local newspapers.