I have to start my blog with my own sighting, and my apologies for the bad pun in the title, but I couldn't help myself! I had the great fortune to see some otters on Monday morning, which made for a fantastic start to my day, particularly as they were the first ones I have ever seen in the wild. There were two of them playing and fishing in Lillian’s pool at 9am for about 15 or 20 minutes, definitely my wildlife highlight so far at Leighton Moss. Three otters were seen on Tuesday morning from Public Hide at 8.15am, so you have to be on the reserve early if you want to catch a glimpse of them.
We’ve had a brilliant few days of sightings at Leighton Moss, numerous sightings of the marsh harriers, who seem to be sticking around at the reserve much later than usual, as well as several sightings of bitterns, all seen from various locations on the reserve, but Public Hide seems to be a good spot for them both, but Lillian's Hide and Lower Hide are always worth a try too.
The great white egret has also been around quite a bit, seen from Lillian’s hide and Griesdale on Sunday, and over the River Keer, towards Carnforth on Monday. The little egrets have been on the reserve in good numbers, seen from Tim Jackson Hide, Griesdale, and in the roost near Island Mere. The usual wetland birds such as teal, pintail, shoveller, wigeon, mallard can all be seen on the reserve, we’re getting several sightings of goosander, and goldeneye, plus eider duck.
The bearded tits have been seen a few times, at the grit trays on the causeway, there have been some precise recordings of them visiting the grit trays at 11.38am on Sunday, and 11.30 on Monday. We’ve also had plenty of fieldfare, usually seen over by the golf course as well as some redwing.
Some of our reserve team have been out carrying out the wetland birds counts and saw European white fronted geese and shore larks at Carnforth Marsh. Also down at the bay we’ve had sightings of red breasted merganser from Eric Morecambe hide and spotted redshank and flocks of curlew, oystercatcher and knot from Allen hide.
As we all know it’s getting close to Christmas, the Coca Cola advert has been on tv, we are getting the decorations ready at Leighton Moss, and we will be holding a special Christmas meal and shopping night on the 13th December. There’ll be a turkey dinner and 10% discount in the shop (excluding optics, good natured gifts, memberships and stamps). The cost is £17, £15 for RSPB members, places are limited so please contact us to book on 01524 701601
Well since Beki's last blog on Wednesday we have had a mediterranean gull at Lilian's hide on Thursday and although the rest of the wildlife sightings are similar they are still great to see!
Two marsh harriers are still around, two bitterns were seen at public hide, the odd bearded tit has popped out the reeds to the grit tray, red deer can be seen and the great white egret was seen at public hide on Thursday which is great indeed!
Snipe have been seen feeding around the edges of the pools.....find out more about them here: http://www.rspb.org.uk/wildlife/birdguide/name/s/snipe/index.aspx
Our starlings are still here in huge numbers.....it seems to be a bit weather dependant at the moment as to how well they stay up in the air. Some people have had brilliant displays but other times they fly at full speed into the reeds (still a wonderful sight seeing them all tumble and drop in). Let us know how you get on seeing them below.
It's still quite mild here at Leighton Moss, despite being late November, there was a common darter seen at Lillian's hide on Tuesday! Other than that we have had lots of our fantastic regulars for this time of year. Bitterns have been seen most days, three at Public Hide on Monday and Tuesday, plus sightings from Lower Hide and the Causeway on Tuesday. The bearded tits are at the grit trays on the Causeway most days, we've had sightings there for the last couple of days at around 10.30am.
Four otters were seen from Lillian's Hide on Monday morning at around 8am, so if you're on the reserve early you may have a good chance of seeing them. The great white egret is still around, seen from Tim Jackson Hide today, and Grizedale hide on Tuesday. We're also still getting plenty of sightings of marsh harriers, with sightings every day this week, from Lillian's Hide and Grizedale on Monday, and Public Hide and the Causeway on Tuesday. There was also a sighting of a peregrine on Tuesday, but I am not sure where it was seen.
The starlings are still putting on their spectacular show every evening, at around 4pm. They have been going into roost down by Lower Hide most of the time, so visitors on the Causeway have been getting great views of them flying overhead.
There have been a good number of goosander on the reserve, with 12 seen from Public Hide on Tuesday, as well as several pintails. There are also plenty of goldeneye, with several pairs at Lilian's Hide on Monday. This photo of a goldeneye was taken by Ben Hall (rspb-images.com)
Hi, I’m Beki and I am the new Visitor and Publicity Intern at Leighton Moss. I am on a 12 month placement with the RSPB and I just moved here after spending 6 months at RSPB Fairburn Ings near Castleford, West Yorkshire. I had a great time at Fairburn Ings, had some fantastic experiences and I’m already missing all the great friends I made whilst I was there. But I have been looking forward to coming to Leighton Moss, to meeting a whole new group of people and getting to know this amazing reserve.
Whilst I’m at Leighton Moss I’ll be helping the team here make the reserve a fantastic place to visit, I’ll be involved in all sorts of things including guided walks and other events at the reserve, if you come into the visitor centre you may well see me at the welcome desk, so please come along and say hi. I’ll also be updating the recent sightings blog, Twitter and Facebook and making sure you are all kept up to date with the latest goings on at the reserve.
I have come to Leighton Moss at a great time of year, the starling roost is such a brilliant spectacle, and I have had the opportunity to see it a few times already. With around 100000 starlings roosting at the reserve we have had some spectacular murmurations (the collective name for a massive group of starlings). With this many starlings roosting at Leighton Moss it is hard to believe that they are an endangered species in the UK. But the majority of the starlings roosting here have come from continental Europe.
Hopefully I will get to see many more wildlife spectacles whilst I'm at Leighton Moss, and I look forward to telling you all about what is going on here.