Whos keeping an eye on me....

Monday, 17 October 2011

rspb Leighton Moss

A visit once a year if I can to rspb Leighton Moss normally gets me a few year ticks but nonetheless is a lovely scenic reserve to visit on the coast at Morcambe bay in Lancashire.
Leighton Moss has Seven bird and wildlife watching hides a well equiped visitor\ Educational centre aswell as a cafe it also has three nature trails within the reserve with plenty more trails out and about the vicinity of the reserve.

A misty morning
(The Causeway to the public and Lower Hides through reed-bed habitat)


This is the largest remaining reedbed in North West England, with shallow meres and fringing sedge and woodland, attracts a wonderful range of wildlife to Leighton Moss. The reserve also has two large pools and scrapes further towards the coast of Morecambe bay.

.....  into the Bay
(Looking from the Eric Morecambe hide out across the pool and wader Scrape)


Among its special birds are breeding Bitterns, Bearded Tits and Marsh Harriers, its mammals include Otter and Roe and Red Deer.

Yesterdays visit was a bit of a whistle stop tour as I could only really afford the morning there. I was hoping for 1 life tick (Bittern..... I have been countless times and never seen one) and a year tick (Marsh Tit).

From the public hide a female Marsh Harrier hovered in the distance over what was probably her old nestsite, she dipped down for a few minutes before reappearing and taking roost in a dead tree, meanwhile in front of the reeds were 3 Otters although very very distant on the far shide of the pool.
I happily Counted 4 or 5 Marsh Tits - not sure how many to expect on a given day but certainly the most I have seen.
Year tick in the bag....
Marsh Tit

I Didnt go onto the reserve proper, so went over to the scrape hides.
I missed the Green Sanpiper that had been seen in front of the Allen hide but other highlights on show were: Perigrine perched for 2hrs preening at the back of the main pool and 400+ Knot (it only seems like chaos)
I love this image... not an ounce of focus but who really cares when you can capture the spectacle of huge numbers of waders taking off in unison.
If you click on the image and look closely you will see some Redshanks right at the bottom

Other waders of note were 1000+ Black Tailed Godwits

in flight

having a scratch


and a ruffling of the feathers


lone Godwit in a Knot


3 Spotted Redshank, 25+ Greenshank, huge Skien of Pink feet over, and the first winter female Goosander dropped into the marsh at the back of the main pool.

I missed the Bearded tits on this occassion but waited and waited between 09.30 and 10.30am however these images are from last years visit.

Female Bearded Tit


Male Bearded Tit


A total of 61 species seen from 08.45 - 13.00hrs (not bad as I spent 60 mins waiting in one place for Beardies and didnt venture on the main part of the reserve due to lack of time)

Yet again I didnt get to see the Bittern but this time of year plenty of Red Deer are about.

Both these images are from a visit in 2009


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19 comments:

Andrew said...

Lovely images Dave... the last two are stunning.

Gary said...

Beautiful place, and great photos, Dave. Boom & Gary of the Vermilon River, Canada.

Larry said...

This looks like a magical place Dave. Super shots of all the birds but the Lone Godwit in a Knot is truly awesome!

Pieces of Sunshine said...

Wonderful photos. So much variety in vegetation as well as the water. Great bird captures and I love your first shot too, very inviting.

eileeninmd said...

Awesome photos! I love all the birds but the Godwits are my favorite.

Martha Z said...

Wow! Great shots and a great day birding and nature watching. It looks like a wonderful place to spend the morning even without the wildlife.

TexWisGirl said...

beautiful images! all of them!

mick said...

It looks like a fantastic place and the birds are all great but I especially like all the waders.

Carole M. said...

...birds I've never seen before; enjoyed your wonderful photography excursion

Stewart M said...

Hi Dave - as I was reading you post I was getting more and more nervous - I knew it was going to happen - and there was the Bearded Tit! It’s my bogey bird! I used to live about an hour form Leighton Moss and must have been there well over 2 dozen times - No beardies! But what is strange is that I would have seen Bittern on more than half of the visits! Weird!

Cheers - Stewart M - (now in) Australia

Dave said...

Cheers Everyone.

Hi Stewart. it is funny how these things happen, I would swap a Beardie with you for a Bittern. Its another reason to continue to look and get that excitment of anticipation and often the feeling of gloom when you inevitably dip yet again...lol

Lovely place though isnt it? may fav reserve in the North West

fjällripan said...

Wonderful photos, looks like a great place for birding. Beautiful with the mist on the first one to.

Springman said...

The thrill of being out in the field, the surprise of the next great sighting, these things can not be purchased. It takes a personal commitment, it takes time, and no one can do it for you. The rich sense of adventure in your post is intoxicating. That's about the greatest compliment I can give a blog post, that it makes me want to turn off this laptop and get out in our world and drink such inspiration from it! Well done Dave!

joo said...

I love misty mornings, birds and Red Deer so your post is perfect for me:)

NatureFootstep said...

beautiful scenery. The bearded tit is high up on my wish-list. I really want to see it. All of your shots are really great. Nice to see them. :)

Pat said...

YOur photos are beautiful, Dave!

Jean said...

I love your photos of the Tits. They so remind me of our Chickadees.
OK...that deer has one nice rack!

Adam Tilt said...

Great post Dave and some lovely images. Sounds like you had a great time. It's not a place I've visited before but looks like it will have to go on the list of places to go.

JM said...

Fantastic set of shots, Dave! Some of them just look like paintings. Awesome!