Another week has flown by at Leighton Moss. The weeks seem to be going faster and faster at the moment. I am due to finish my internship with the RSPB in March, so I am trying to make the most of my remaining weeks on the reserve.
We have had a number of sightings of the bitterns on the reserve, there are several bitterns overwintering on the reserve this year, and they have been delighting visitors, many of whom have never caught a glimpse of this rare bird. They are usually seen at Public and Lower hide, but there have been sightings at Tim Jackson hide and Lillian’s hide this week. This brilliant picture of a bittern on the frozen water at Leighton Moss was taken by John Fletcher.
Our otter family have also been out and about on the reserve. In November and December otters were almost a guaranteed sighting at Leighton Moss as the cubs practiced their fishing technique in front of Lillian’s, Public and Lower hide. These sightings have reduced a little bit now, but we are still getting reports of them all seen together, usually at Public and Lower hide. The red deer have also been seen several times, typically from Tim Jackson hide, but they have also been seen at Lower hide.
The two marsh harriers who have chosen to spend the winter with us have also been seen regularly this week, usually flying low over the reeds from any of the hides overlooking the reedbed.
The glossy ibis was seen in its usual spot, the fields near the level crossing, on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday, but there haven’t been any reports since. The green winged teal was seen at Lillian’s on Saturday, but no one has entered a sighting in the book since then. The female smew seems to spend a bit of time here, then disappear for a couple of days before returning back to Leighton Moss. This week it has been seen at Griesdale on Tuesday, Lillian’s on Wednesday.
The elusive water rail has also made several appearances this week, regularly seen at Lillian’s hide, with a couple of sightings at Lower hide too. We have also had sightings of bearded tits, not usually seen at this time of year. They have been spotted at Lower hide on a couple of occasions.
Down at Eric Morecambe and Allen hide there have been goldeneye, gadwall, teal, wigeon, goosander, shelduck, little egret, redshank, shoveler, lapwing and pintails, as well as a common buzzard.
The cold weather seems to have brought out some of our woodland winter visitors, with a number of fieldfares, redpolls and redwings seen.
It’s nearly half term, and we have some great family activities to keep you and your family entertained. There’s the Love Birds trail on from the 11 – 19 February, find out about how birds show off to each other at this time of year, just drop into the visitor centre to pick up a trail sheet. Its £10 for a family to take part, or free for RSPB members. We’ve also got Nestbox Building Thursday 16 February, there’s a morning and afternoon session, please call us to book you spot and pay the £7 for each nestbox you want to make.
I visited on Tuesday , the only dull day this week :( Unfortunately none of your star species put in an appearance for us. I must say what a wonderful place Leighton Moss is. I will be back.