Monday, 27 August 2012

26th August, Leighton Moss RSPB reserve

We had decided on a later start than normal for a trip over near Carnforth to the splendid RSPB reserve at Leighton Moss, two reasons...we wanted to stay a bit later than we had before, it can be a tiring day and we usually are ready for home in late afternoon, secondly it was due to rain in the morning!

It was raining when we arrived but the forecast said sunshine later so we firmly crossed our fingers and set off to explore, the dampness is well shown by the droplets on these reed grasses.

Bird sightings were not too exciting at this point but a couple of red deer appeared, one with very funny ears!

The rain eased a little, but it was still unfortunately grey as we saw a marsh harrier appear and settle in a bush, camera speed not good enough to get a sharp shot. Leaving the hide we heard a noisy little bird in the reeds, a couple of brief sightings ensued and a passing RSPB warden confirmed it was a cetti's warbler, very rare!

If I started posting about birds and pole dancing readers could be a little alarmed to say the least, but this was in a purer sense than is usually referred to:-))

We had a break for some lunch and then set out for the lower hide, we have some tremendous and memorable sightings from there and it never disappoints.

On the way down there are some small ponds lined with reeds and foliage, ideal for butterflies and dragon and quick succession we saw a speckled wood butterfly, a black lined skimmer and a ruddy darter.

We had barely settled in our seats in the lower hide when a call of "Osprey" went up, heads turned binoculars and cameras were trained as the bird came closer, this numpty was still in macro mode so the pix were not as I good as I hoped for..but the sight of this magnificent bird hovering over the water, then diving and catching a fish before flying away with its catch was awe inspiring.

We watched as it soared higher and higher before making its way over the distant woods.

After correcting my camera settings I did manage a decent action shot of a swan during a take off, complete with droplets of water.

Fortune or fate decreed that we would call in the public hide on our way back to the centre, on the way across the causeway this beatiful patch of tranquility caught my attention.

There are always plenty of coots to be seen from the public hide.

Mrs Wildlife is a redoubtable spotter, often seeing things before me, on this occasion she beat about twenty seasoned birders in spotting a kingfisher arrive on a distant post!! We watched through binocs and scope as the little fella fished happily, chuckles abounded as he held a small fish in his beak and proceeded to bash it about before swallowing it. A range of about 70 yards is way too far for a good clear shot of a small bird even with a powerful zoom, this is the best one I got.

A couple of greenshanks on the island completed my photographs for the day, the drive home was thankfully uneventful, what a brilliant and unforgettable day!!


  1. A great choice for a trip out, you were both well rewarded. Loved the osprey photos and the one of the swan taking off was brilliant. Clarity on the skimmer and darter was amazing again. Lucky you spotting the kingfisher.

  2. Hi, your Black Lined Skimmer? (Black-tailed Skimmer) and Ruddy Darter are a freshly emerged Migrant Hawker (hence the lack of colouration) and a Common Darter (yellow stripe on legs instead of all black legs for Ruddy).