Today is the launch of the Big Garden Birdwatch. It's our most important weekend of the year when we ask you to spend just one hour of your time recording what birds you see in your garden or park and sending in the results to us so we can find out which species are doing well and which need our help.
The best time to do the Big Garden Birdwatch is first thing in the morning as this is when the birds are most active, but any time today or tomorrow will bring results.
It's a great way of getting the family insipred by nature, but it can also be a nice way of spending one hour of 'me' time, watching the birds with a nice hot cuppa!
To take part, you first need to register online. You then write down the highest number of each species seen at any one time (so if you see two Blackbirds together then later see four, you record four) over the period of an hour and then submit the results to us online by February 17th.
If you need anymore help, why not pop down to Leigton Moss where our staff will be happy to offer advice on taking part.
We would love to know if you enjoyed taking part and if you saw anything unusual.
Happy bird counting....
I’m back again with an update on the wildlife at RSPB Leighton Moss. It’s been a good week here, with plenty of sightings of the female smew, which has been spending a lot of time in Lillian’s pool, but has also been seen from Griesdale hide. It's a lovely bird, quite small, with a grey body and deep red head. The glossy ibis has been back too, seen on Sunday, Wednesday and Thursday. All sightings were in the usual area, the fields down near the level crossing, across the road from the saltmarsh. The green winged teal is still here too, regularly seen down at Tim Jackson hide.
There are plenty of geese on the reserve, the 3 snow geese were last seen on Sunday. There were also around 30 pink footed geese seen near the salt marsh hides on Wednesday, later seen flying over the Causeway.
Some visitors have made it out to Jenny Brown’s Point, which is particularly good around high tide. There have been sightings of eider ducks, goldeneyes, great crested grebes, red breasted mergansers, knots, kittiwakes, herring gulls and large numbers of oystercatchers, and curlew. Red breasted mergansers and greenshanks have also been seen from the Eric Morecambe hide on the saltmarsh.
The otters have not got quite so many mentions in the sightings book this week, last seen on the reserve on Monday at Lillian’s hide. But there have been more sightings of the red deer, the stag has been seen several times, usually at Tim Jackson and Griesdale hides. The bitterns have been flying around, seen at Lower hide earlier this week. The marsh harriers have also been seen flying low over the reeds on a number of occasions.
Other sightings on the reserve include redpoll and siskin on the path down to Lower hide, a kingfisher at the channel across the Causeway, 2 goosanders, 4 little egrets, 2 peregrine falcons and marsh tits.
Don’t forget to take part in the Big Garden Bird Watch this weekend, you can get all the information you need at www.rspb.org.uk/birdwatch We really appreciate every single person who joins in.
This coming weekend (January 28th and 29th) the RSPB will hold their nationwide Big Garden Birdwatch campaign where we ask everyone to spend just one hour of their time counting the birds in their garden or park and sending their results in to us.
It's our most important campaign of the year and over 600,000 people took last year. The data you send us will help the RSPB learn which species are doing well and which need their help.
To take part, you don't need to be an expert as we can send you a free pack to help you identify and record the birds you see.
To find out more and register online, log on to www.rspb.org.uk/birdwatch
You can also call the RSPB's Big Garden Birdwatch hotline on 0300 456 8330 to register and receive your free pack.
Watch this space for more on the Big Garden Birdwatch later this week.....
I’ve been away from the reserve for the last week, so sorry for the lack of blog. Here goes with a mammoth catch up of sightings at RSPB Leighton Moss in the last week.
The cold snap last week made it feel like it was actually winter at the reserve, most of the pools were frozen over not leaving much room for the water birds. But it did give some visitors an absolutely fantastic view of our otter family, seen walking across the ice last Sunday. This photo was taken by Ged Gill, click on the link to see the image; http://bit.ly/zbHLXl. The otters are still out and about most days, with the best views from Public and Lower hide.
The starling roost has been excellent for the past week, the clear and calm weather has meant the starlings have been gathering in large numbers at the reserve and putting on some amazing displays. They are still favouring the Public hide end of the reserve, but did roost down near Griesdale for a couple of nights earlier in the week. On a nice clear day they are going into roost at around 4.30pm at the moment.
We have had plenty of reports of several bitterns on the reserve, best seen from Public hide, although you still need a keen eye, and a telescope, to pick them out from the reeds. The marsh harriers have also been seen regularly, they are over-wintering at Leighton Moss for the first time.
The saltmarsh hides have proved popular over the last week, a merlin was seen there on Saturday, plus spotted redshanks, snipe and goosanders. There have also been pintails, greenshanks, dunlins and red breasted mergansers.
The glossy ibis has taken up residence down near the saltmarsh hides, in the flooded fields across the road; but it hasn’t been reported yet today (Sunday). There have also been 3 snow geese often seen in a similar area to the glossy ibis, but they have also been seen from Lillian’s hide, they are usually with a group of greylag geese.
There have been several sightings of stoats, down at Lower hide and on the causeway and the red deer, including the stag, have been seen near Tim Jackson hide.
The bearded tits have made another rare winter appearance (they are usually easier to see in October and November), on the path down to Lower hide. Other rarities include the snow bunting on the slag tips, a red headed smew, which returned to Lillian’s pool this weekend, and the green winged teal, which has been seen at Lillian’s and Tim Jackson hides today.
There are still plenty of goldeneyes and goosanders best seen from Public, Lower and Lillian’s hides as well as our regulars such as shovellers, tufted ducks, wigeon, teal, pochard, gadwall and little egrets.
We have also had plenty of sightings of woodland and garden birds such as redpoll and siskin on the path to Lower hide, redwing, goldcrest, tree creepers and marsh tits in the wooded path on the way to Tim Jackson and Griesdale hides, plus fieldfare on the golf course and lots of long tailed tits. Which reminds me, don’t forget to join in the Big Garden Birdwatch next weekend, you can pop down to Leighton Moss during the week to get your eye in if you want, and there are still a few spaces on the Garden Birds talk on Tuesday 24 January 7pm-9.30pm, the price (£14 RSPB members, £16 non-members) includes a 2 course meal. Please call us on 01524 701601 to book your place.
This weekend Sat 14th and sun 15th we are holding our 1st Personal Telescope weekend with appointments for a one to one with one of our telescope and digiscoping advisors. We still have a few appointments left for Sunday so if your looking for a new scope or looking to try digiscoping then give us a ring to reserve one of the last few remaining places!
Next weekend the 21st and 22nd of January is our regular monthly binocular weekend with a great selection of Rspb, Viking and Swarovski`s to name a few. Alongside the binoculars you can have a look at the range of telescopes we have on sale with some great impartial binocular and telescope advice thrown in from our experts you can`t go wrong.
Still ongoing in the shop is our sale with a range of gifts etc upto half price off.
BGBW is on its way so look out for upcoming bird food offers in the shop in the next few weeks.