Love is in the air at Leighton Moss as spring comes into full swing. If you arrive in the morning you will be greeted with a symphony of sound as birds sing to compete and court. Even one of our very special species are joining in. If you head up to the Causeway or Lower Hide just before the sun rises you might be able to hear bitterns booming. We have two booming males on-site, which is amazing since we have only had one male booming here for the last two years! This means we are heading in the right direction with our conservation work. It shows that the reserve is now land that the bitterns want to compete for, and a place where they want to breed. This is one step forward for increasing the bittern populations.
Speaking of courting, our marsh harriers have started to skydive and food pass. The male passes food to the female during incubation and hatching stages. It’ll be interesting to see how many nests we’ll have on the reserve this year.
Singing and courting are not the only behaviour changes we have seen for spring. We have had a loved migrant species return for the breeding season. The avocets have settled at the Allen and Eric Morecambe saltmarsh hides. Up to 14 have been counted, and with the flooding having receded from the salt marsh it’s a great time to visit.
However, though it is fine to visit the saltmarsh without wellies, we still recommend that you wear wellies on the main reserve to be able to enjoy it to its fullest. Without wellies you can reach Lillian’s Hide and the Skytower. Which is perfect if you are visiting to see the starlings. They are still performing great mumurations, though they are getting later and later every day. The show starts as the sun begins to set, though the time and length can depend on other factors such as the weather conditions.
For up to date information on the flooded areas of the reserve, the starling mumuration or recent sightings, ask a member of our team when you visit, or call our visitor centre. We also post updates on our Facebook and Twitter.