Sometimes it amazes me just how wonderful this place is!
With only half an hour to spare, nipping down to Lillian’s hide is one of my favourite options.
Today I decided just to see how many different birds I could spot in 30 minutes from this one hide. I’m no twitcher or even a list maker normally so it was just a bit of fun. Spotting the Long tailed duck in amongst all the goldeneye was an interesting first challenge as there were plenty of them around. There were lots of tufted ducks too and since the water level has dropped a bit there were lots more other things too. Gadwall were in plentiful supply as were the usual mallard and coots. There were also plenty of shovellers and teal to be seen. The family of mute swans were still being elegant over at the far island and a cormorant sailed past looking most unconcerned with the world. Then I spotted a bittern over to the right hand side of the pool as it worked its way back into the reeds.
A female marsh harrier displayed beautifully across the whole width of the reeds and a couple of lesser black back gulls flew overhead. A couple of grey heron were fishing off to the left hand side and there was some sort of grebe out at the far left hand end but too far for me to identify it properly.
My attention was grabbed at the right hand end of the hide by some little birds flittering in the bushes so I went over to have a look and saw a lovely collection of long tailed tits in the trees, There was quite a few blue tits in the reeds near the feeder and then to my surprise half a dozen bearded tits came across and joined them in the reeds. A lone chaffinch tried to steal my attention away along with a couple of great tits.
All in all not a bad collection for half an hour but it was time to go – a quick check at the left hand end before leaving added a black headed gull to the list and as if to make sure I left on a high another bittern flew across and landed just to the left of the remote camera.
All in all it made for a brilliant day – even though I’d only been there half and hour!
I wonder if the starlings will be out tonight!
As we reported a couple of weeks ago, network rail are currently undertaking repairs to the railway bridge over the track to the Allen & Eric Morecambe hides car park, which is causing disruption to the access to the car park and hides.
The work has been held up for some reason and the closure of the track didn’t happen until this week.
This means that the timetable has now changed to -
Monday 25 November – Fri December 6 (two weeks) - working on bridge itself to sandblast and repaint the half over the track from scaffolding - No vehicle access under bridge during this period but pedestrian access will be maintained.
The main reserve car park, visitor centre facilities and Leighton Moss will remain open as normal and unaffected by this. Please ask in the visitor centre for an update on your arrival if you would like further clarification.
We seem to have moved into a cold start to the winter but with the cold has come some nice dry weather which means that its a really great time to get out early to see what is about.
This morning we held a Birding for Beginners walk around the reserve and we were joined by 14 enthusiastic people who all enjoyed the fresh morning and their encounter with nature.
From Lillian’s hide we saw some lovely goldeneye, plenty of teal and mallards and the long tailed duck that appeared just before Autumnwatch is still there too.
There were a couple of snipe in the grass just along from the hide and a marsh harrier that sat in a tree over towards the woods in the background.
From there we wandered up to Public hide to see what we could find and had another great view of a female marsh harrier, a bearded reedling “pinged” nicely to announce its presence off to the right of the hide where it was spotted. There were plenty of shovelers and mallards around plus a goosander and a couple of pintails too. The highlight for the lucky few was a brief glimps of a bittern at the edge of the reeds.
We headed back to the Tim Jackson hide, getting close encounters with some of our very sociable robins, one or two dunnock, great tits and blue tits and of course the usual mallards and pheasants. At Tim Jackson’s hide we again saw loads of teal , and mallards, some gadwall and a few more pintails.
All in all a nice few birds to encounter especially if you’ve never been birding before and personally I can’t wait to see what the starlings get up to tonight!
On other days there have been good sightings of kingfishers at both Public and Eric Morecambe hides, and up to 16 bearded reedling on the grit trays. There are four marsh harriers around and the otters have been seen at Lillian's hide regularly as well as at the Public and Grisedale hides.
Autumnwatch may be over but the wildlife is just as spectacular as ever!
Get out of bed early and come down to the reserve and see what you can spot.