Sunday, 27 May 2012

RSPB Leighton Moss 26th May 2012

Me and Mrs Wildlife love Leighton Moss, we have learnt so much about birds and wildlife in general from our visits there, having not been for over a month we decided a trip into Lancashire was overdue!

Very warm weather at this time of the year is not ideal for watching wildlife, birds in particular, with renewed foliage on bushes and trees making them hard to see and most either sitting on eggs or feeding youngsters sightings and photographs can be few and far between.

Even the feeding station at Leighton Moss did not have the usual number of visitors when we checked it before setting out into the reserve, thsi lovely great spotted woodpecker was having a good feed though.

Of the various hides that can be utilised we decided to visit two on a short loop in the morning, enabling an easy return to the car for lunch and replenishment of water supplies from a freezer bag we had stored in the boot of the car. A very hot day, a breeze was coming in from the coast but with a big viewing scope, binoculars and camera to carry it was warm work!

We had the expected views of various ducks, swans, moorhens and coots from one hide, nothing of note and little to photograph as they were all a long way away. We moved on to another hide...good timing as a red deer appeared from the reeds and fed for a while.

Soon after this we noticed some movement in another reedbed, cameras and binoc's were trained where the motion was happening and then this cutie appeared!

I had one effort at a long range shot of some black tailed godwits...

We decided on a refreshment break soon after this and wandered back to the car park, the feeding station is always worth checking and this visit yielded a greenfinch and a nuthatch.

Our afternoon loop is down the longer side of the reserve, the Lower Hide is about a mile from the car park, not a long walk but not one you want to do twice on a very hot day! Checking another hide on our way down we were treated to a black headed gull extravaganza, hundreds of them with their raucous calls made it deafening and not a place to linger too long!

Leighton Moss has quite rightly received a lot of plaudits for its conservation and restoration work, the results of the work are evident in the number of dragon and damselflies to be seen.

A broad bodied chaser, large red damselfly and a blue tailed damselfly, please correct me if I've incorrectly named these!

We had a brief sighting of a male marsh harrier as we wandered on towards the Lower Hide, a wonderful graceful bird and we were optimistic of a better view later. Once across the causeway most of the walk is done but it is worth pausing along the way, some of the channels can be full of wildlife, not on this occasion though:-)

The shelter of the hide was most welcome after our hot trek, I took the opportunity to practice my birds in flight photography as black headed gulls hovered briefly to catch insects on the water.

It is a difficult skill to master especially with a relatively new camera but soon afterwards I was glad I had done some preparation as a male marsh harrier came into view. They do fly quite slowly as they hunt for food and I had chance to find it in my viewfinder, the unease they show near people was superbly demonstrated as it accelerated past the hide and I had only the chance for one close shot.

Little else was seen despite close inspection through the scope and we decided to pack up and walk back, a reed bunting was spotted along the way.

We called in at the public hide which is about the mid point of the walk back to the visitor centre, more black headed gulls were in evidence.

A bit of a commotion on one of the islands caught my eye, a great crested grebe which must have ventured a little too near their chicks.

We then saw a four spotted chaser, another dragonfly, as we neared the car park.

Another check at the feeding station resulted in a lovely male bullfinch feeding greedily!

Another superb day at Leighton Moss, a thoroughly recommended place to visit if you are in the area.


  1. Great blog David. Love the pics & write up.
    Leighton Moss is fast becoming one of my fave places to visit also.
    Thanks for sharing. :)
    Regards Deb.

  2. The blue tailed damselfly is actually an Azure Damselfly (Coenagrion puella)