What a wonderful week we have had here at Leighton Moss. Evidenced by some of the amazing photos coming out on our Facebook group, the sky has been blue, the bird song strong and the great sightings have continued.
The major theme across the reserve at the moment is young birds. Whilst we are still yet to see those bittern young, it’s definitely something to keep an eye on over the coming days. The female’s flights across the reserve and down to barrow scout have continued with those larger gaps, in comparison to the days in early may where she was spotted every hour or so. But those larger gaps are a great sign, and in recent days she has been seen feeding along the waters edge in the lower pool. Treating everyone to some amazing views of such a rare bird in the UK. (Pic by Mike Malpass)
We also await those first sightings of the young marsh harriers from any of the four sites across the reserve. I would definitely suggest a trip down to Grisedale hide on your next visit, to look out for those first vertical flights of the young marsh harriers. Whilst amazing views of adult marsh harriers continue across the reserve. Watch out for females circling their nests encouraging the first flights of their young.
Elsewhere on the reserve, young birds continue to fascinate visitors, from the strikingly friendly mallard ducklings around the visitors centre, to the young bearded tit spotted down along the causeway/lower paths or the swallow young spotted down by the meadow. Its certainly a great time of year to visit for beginners and experts alike, test your ID skills on young vs mature individuals or just watch young birds as they gain independence.
Other things to look out for on the reserve include large numbers of sand martins, most likely either early or failed breeders returning to feed. Osprey sightings continue daily, coming in to feed down on the causeway pool. Chetti’s warblers, reed warblers, sedge warblers, blackcaps all still visible around the reserve. Along with great numbers of garden and woodland birds across the sensory garden and woodland paths down to the Tim Jackson hide.
Down on the saltmarsh pools, there’s still a good chance of being able to test your identification skills, to find those Mediterranean gulls of various life stages hidden within the black headed gull colony. Whilst in avocet news, one nest is still yet to hatch but is balanced quite precariously on the waters edge, and a small number of successful avocet chicks remain. Whilst the non breeding waders on the pools still include black-tailed and bar-tailed godwits and knot. Whilst a little egret has been seen coming in periodically to feed.
With the weather improving, don’t forget that its not just birds that you can spot around the reserve. On your next visit have a look out for the common darter, broad-bodied chaser and emperor dragonflies. Just some of the dragonfly species your likely to see around the reserve. (Pic Dave Middleman)
Meanwhile moth traps as part of an ongoing study have resulted in the recent identification of poplar hawkmoths, nut-tree tussocks, white ermines and flame shoulders. If your interested in getting to see some of these species, and learning more about identification check out one of our upcoming moth events
Lucy Ryan – Visitor Experience Inten