Birdwatching has been great on the reserve with lots to see. From occasional bittern sightings at Lillian’s and Lower hide, great white egret (pic by Martin Kuchczynski) at Lillian’s and Tim Jackson (at least 3 birds) and 7 marsh harriers showing well (there have been up to 10 in the last month)
Our unusual cinnamon teal x shoveler hybrid has also remained and there have been regular sightings in the last few weeks. An easy way to recognise this individual is looking out for an odd looking shoveler with a white band around the area just behind their beak. Lillian’s and Grisedale pools are particularly good for wildlfowl at the moment, with around 40 tufted duck and a handful of goldeneye at Lillian’s pool – but good numbers of teal, shoveler, gadwall, wigeon and pintail across Leighton. Black-tailed godwit numbers have dropped on the saltmarsh pools (approx. 25 in the last few days), with up to 1300 lapwing, 100-200 redshank, odd greenshank and several hundred wigeon, with red-breasted merganser among the wildfowl.
The path off the Causeway towards Lower hide has also been a hub of activity, with groups of siskin (pic by Martin Kuchczynski) and redpoll being spotted along with our regular smaller residents such as the marsh tits and robins.
The starlings are still murmurating on the main reserve, though their roost location is still changing on a daily basis, so the best area to watch is the sky tower to avoid missing them. The numbers have peaked at between 80 and 100,000 (you try counting them!) and are a great spectacle on dry, clear evenings. With sunset becoming later every day, the best time to be situated is around 4:45 to 4:55. Of course, the time changes depending on sunset times and weather conditions. For up to date information feel free to ask a member of our team on the day of your visit or ring our visitor centre.
As the light fades, now is the time when our first bittern might boom. It’s more like a caugh when they start and not identifiable as a proper boom – best place to listen is the Causeway just before it goes dark – do let us know if you hear anything.
Back for another year is the #Showthelove campaign. This is an event focused on making a difference, whether that be encouraging our local MPs to take steps to combat climate change in their area and in bigger debates. And also taking personal steps to protect nature one small decision at a time.
The campaign runs from 5-29 February, and we hope all of you will take part. There are many ways you can show your love, from sending green hearts to your MP to show how important nature is to the community or creating/taking part in one of the many events being held around the country.
One thing you can do at home is take a pledge. It could be to travel sustainably, or to use bags for life. And of course, you could give nature a home in your garden.
If you take part, make sure to post a tweet under #Showthelove to show your support. Let’s get this trending!