Tuesday, 21 December 2010

Biting Cold but no Bittern

We had a quick trip to Leighton Moss RSPB reserve on Sunday Morning. The main attraction was the possibility of view of the famous Bitterns there. Mike had had some good views from Lilian's Hide the previous weekend, so we had high hopes.

We got there before the sun was up and although it was extremely cold (-11 deg C) it was fine. A solitary Grey Heron stood on the ice in the middle of the "lake" and a few Coots and Moorhens occasionally showed at the edge of the reeds. Once a Water Rail came into view for a few seconds, but no Bittern.

A scratching noise right underneath the hide turned out to be nothing more exciting than a female Pheasant. After a couple of hours our patience ran out and cold set in, and we decided to walk round. You cant go anywhere at the moment without bumping into a flock of Waxwings, and there were around about 100 in the car park and along the road towards the public hide. They were often sharing their trees with Fieldfares, that looked absolutely fantastic in the sharp bright light provided by the reflective snow. We also saw two Little Egrets and had close views of a flyover Common Buzzard, but also no Bittern, and no Bearded Tits on the grit trays, although we did hear at least one.

On the way back we took the risk of going back via the Trough of Bowland. The view north from by Jubilee Tower was spectacular, with the tops of the Lake District spectacularly snow covered in the distance.

The river around Dunsop Bridge had almost frozen over, the water swirling between large blocks of ice.

At a farm near by a flock of Starlings was making the most of the shelter and food provided by a cattle shed.

I must say that I don't think that they always get the appreciation they deserve. They may not be a colourful as Waxwings but they are full of character.

The roof provided a place to gather snow and hopefully if and when the sun gets to melt the snow a place to do what Starlings seem to like best, bathe and splash.

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