The continuing strong winds have made for a birder’s lazy week, so today I thought I’d pay one of my rare visits to the RSPB Leighton Moss Nature Reserve a fifty minute drive up the M6. With a bit of luck I’d see a few birds in shelters spots and get a few photographs to share with blog followers.I ended up with an enjoyable few hours birding, a good list of birds, but not too many pictures.
The “summer visitors” Marsh Harriers are still in residence and with three birds this morning, it seems likely that at least one may spend the winter here. It’s not so long ago that Marsh Harriers reappeared in the North West, now they are a common enough sight in most seasons. At first light two harriers were hunting across the reeds, one of them taking a Coot from the water and then flying off with the hapless bird.
Little Egrets were leaving the roost some distance away, and later on I would see at least nine throughout the reserve. Several Grey Herons at first light too.
With being a wetland reserve Leighton Moss holds lots of wildfowl, with today many Wigeon and Teal together with smaller numbers of Gadwall, Shoveler, Pintail and Shelduck. 6 Whooper Swan were my first of the autumn.
Out from the salt marsh hides were plenty of rather distant and “into the light” waders. All the better to promote some of the very expensive optical equipment on sale at the visitor centre a cynical birder might say!
There were high numbers of Black-tailed Godwit and Redshank, with 1 Knot and 3 mostly sleeping Curlew Sandpipers. A Kingfisher gave a double flypast, not stopping to pose. Raptors out here were the third Marsh Harrier, a Sparrowhawk and a Kestrel, and passerines a couple of Grey Wagtails, Linnets and Skylarks.
So that's probably my annual visit to Leighton over for another year. Join Another Bird Blog soon for more far far away adventures.