Tuesday, 1 March 2016

It's a Hard Life

It's a hard Job being Jack's transport manager this week. Today I was forced to spend the day at Leighton Moss RSPB Reserve while Jack gained a little more insight into the world of RSPB work.

I must admit that Leighton Moss is one of my favourite reserves, one that I first visited around 38 years ago, Boy it has certainly changed since then,

 There are seven hides on the reserve and it's annex down the road, adjacent to Morecambe Bay and I started at the Causeway Hide. It used to be called the Public Hide,because it is on a public footpath and is open to all. However since it got an upgrade and is now an out standing modern viewing point it also acquired a new name. I feel a bit at home here because you look out to an island, in a lake with Lapwings on it. (Like a much bigger version of the Restharrow scrape).

 And to add to the comparison there was a pair of Oystercatchers along side.

 When I arrived there was quite a large group of Tufted Ducks and they were escorted by several Coots. I think there was some sort of feeding synergy going on.

 There were a few Great Crested Grebes at the back, but just this one ventured close enough for a picture.

 Leighton Moss was one of the first reserves to have an established Marsh Harrier population, before the boom in their numbers and it is still one of the highlights. On my first visit, all those years ago we also saw one of the other specialities, a Bittern. They are still around, but not easy to see and today I didn't hear a BOOM.

 A few more Lapwings and Black-headed Gulls.

 No wild Geese here but a pair of Greylag Geese.

 Not very many Galdwall around but a few scattered over the reserve.

 Drake Mallards were looking particularly smart and were already stalking the ducks!

 Another March Harrier over the trees. I saw at least four, two males, and adult female and a juvenile.

 Always good to see a Duck Gadwall, such a nice looking and  sweet duck.

One of just a few Cormorants sitting around.

Lower hide was the place to go, I was told, for the best chance  of an Otter sighting, but no luck today. I did hear a Water Rail and a couple of Cettis Warblers, with the briefest glimpse of the latter, on the way down to the hide.

 A Moorhen in front of the Hide.

 Back at the Causeway Hide and Carrion Crow serenaded me noisily.

The once rare but now unexceptional Little Egret, a few were around the reserve.

A few Redshank sat on a ridge in front of the Tim Jackson Hide along with some Teal and a couple of Wigeon.

A whirring of wings and around 300 Redshanks invaded the ridge.

Some of the 80 or so Black-tailed Godwits that dropped in  the water in front of the Grisedale Hide.

A drake Pintail from the Tim Jackson Hide

A late return to Lillian's Hide to see the reported Goldeneye Drake. 

Two Pochards at the back seen from Lillians Hide. The reed beds are fantastic and somewhere there are some Bearded Tits, still around although the high water levels has made the winter difficult for them. I didn't see or hear any today.

View from Lillians Hide

Four views of the Reserve from the new Tower

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