Half term events, bitterns, osprey and new arrivals. Plus more recent sightings

Hello everyone, The spring bank holiday and school half term are almost upon us now. So for those of you still yet to make plans for what we hope will be a sunny week ahead. Here is what’s happening at Leighton Moss over the coming days. (* Family orientated events)

 * Nature themed colouring, puzzles and origami. Independently lead garden trails hunting for animal tracks or hidden ceramic tiles! All available from the Holt – our education room.

* “Let Nature Sing!” Wild Challenge family trail (Wednesday 1 May to Friday 31 May). (Picture by Peter Wilde)

Optics weekend (Saturday 25 to Monday 27 May).

* Independent Pond Dipping (Saturday 25 May to Sunday 2 June) £5 (£4 RSPB members) per pond dipping kit.

* ”Butterflies in the Barn” Thursday 28 May, Drop in 1-3pm).

* “What Lives Beneath” expert guided pond dipping (Thursday 30 May, Drop-in 10:30-12:30pm and 1:30-3:30pm). £5 (£4 RSPB members) per pond dipping kit.

“Meet the Moths at the Moss” (Saturday 1 June, 10am-12pm).

* “Giving Nature a Home” Wild Challenge family trail (Saturday 1 June to Sunday 30 June).

That rounds up the events for the coming bank holiday weekend, and school half term. For more information about any of our activities, follow the individual links to our events pages or check out the RSPB Leighton Moss Events page. I hope to see you around the reserve and enjoying the activities over the coming week.

In terms of sightings there’s no doubt the bittern will remain our star attraction for the coming week, with consistent long flights across the reserve up to barrow scout for feeding. With amazing views seen from Lower Hide every hour or two, and sightings from Skytower, Lilians Hide and Grisedale Hide. The frequency of osprey sightings on site is still increasing, with the feeding flights required to support their growing young at Foulshaw Moss. (Picture by Mike Roberts, marsh harrier left, osprey right).

 The other day (Wednesday) brought us a honey buzzard circling above the Skytower for a short period of time, before heading northwards. Combined with sightings of black terns and wood sandpiper over recent weeks. It goes to show, you never quite know what unexpected species you might spot on site. This was emphasised further by the arrival of a cattle egret at Grisedale over the last few days, and a hobby in the evening over lower pool. 

Sightings of bearded tit down by the Grisedale Hide area continue, along with regular sightings of marsh harrier with four active nests on site. Kingfisher continue to excite guests down at both Lower Hide and Grisedale Hide. Whilst reed and sedge warblers continue to provide a wonderful soundtrack to the reserve, with support from garden warblers and blackcaps down by Lower Hide.

Throughout the woodland and garden, there’s regular sightings of robins, bullfinch, greenfinch, blue tit, great tit, mallards and pheasants. Which are sure to keep the family amused whilst eating lunch or completing one of our many garden or woodland focused family activities.

Otter sightings are increasing, with wonderful sightings reported both yesterday and this morning (23 May). There’s also been some great photos of the tawny owl and red deer in the evenings and mornings down by Lower Hide and of course of the Broad-Bodied Chasers spotted along the paths.

Down on the Saltmarsh pools, the avocet chicks continue to hatch with most of the successful chicks now spotted on the back flood of the Eric pool. Other sightings include black-tailed godwits, greenshank, redshank and of course the black-headed gulls.

Lucy Ryan - Visitor Experience Intern