On Monday, 17 September, a black swan was stood right in front of Lilian’s hide for most of the day. This Australian species is all black with a bright red bill and has unusual looking wavy wing feathers. It is likely that this bird has absconded from captivity rather than come from a wild population, but according to the Collins Bird Guide there is a self-sustaining wild population in the Netherlands. It is an unusual sighting for Leighton Moss.
A crossbill was reported appearing at the feeding station on Monday, 17 September, and there are still a few remnants of summer birds including around 20 house martins over the visitor centre, a few swallows and the odd willow warbler and reed warbler here and there.
Up to 2 otters have been seen over the last two days at Public and Lower meres. One was seen at 1.00 pm on Monday, 17 September from Public hide and another sighting occurred that day by the bridge a little further up the Causeway. There have been two sightings this morning, Tuesday 18 September: Two otters were about early this morning on Public and Lower meres and then around 10.00 am at Public mere.
Our star reedbed birds have been putting in appearances too: A bittern was seen from Lilian’s hide at 11.15 am today (18 Sept); 4 bearded tits were seen flying away from the grit trays by the Causeway at 10.40 am (18 Sept); and up to 2 marsh harriers have been seen around the reedbed from various hides over the last three days.
Other sightings around the reedbed include a merlin (16 Sept, Lilian’s hide), a common gull (17 Sept, Lilian’s hide), 4 red deer from Tim Jackson hide, a Cetti’s warbler heard singing near Griesdale hide plus a pair of them were seen near the grit trays by the Causeway. Kingfishers continue to show well. The usual line up of waterfowl bobbing about on the water are: coots, mallards, shovelers, gadwalls, a few great crested grebes, little grebes, cormorants, mute swans with cygnets, Canada geese, the occasional moorhen and wigeon here and there, and a few tufted ducks are reappearing. Also pottering about are little egrets, herons, lapwings, black headed gulls in their winter outfits and a small group of greenshanks quietly sharing the stony island on Public mere with the juvenile great black-backed gull. Buzzards and sparrow hawks have been seen overhead from the Public / Lower end of the reserve.
My apologies for this tiny photograph! If anyone's got a better one, please let's have a look :-)