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Recent sightings

  • 22 June 2015

    Father's Day phalarope

    We've had a great weekend here at Leighton Moss. A lot of excitement was caused on Saturday when a female red-necked phalarope was spotted on the Eric Morecambe pool. Unfortunately it only stayed for about an hour before flying off over the marsh, but with fewer than 10 sightings of this little bird on the reserve ever, it was great to have it here even for a brief time.

    If you have never seen (or even heard of) a red-necked phalarope then here's a picture (not taken here)

      Red-necked phalarope by Chris Gomersall (rspb-images.com)

    Now it's quite interesting that the phalarope turned up here just before Father's Day. In the world of birds, we are used to the males being less involved when it comes to raising the chicks. However, in red-necked phalaropes, it is the opposite. The females are larger and more colourful than the males and are actually the ones that pursue and fight over their mate! They will defend their mate from other females until the clutch is complete and then it is the male who carries out incubation. The males are the ones to raise the chicks, while the females may attempt to find another mate. The female that was here at Leighton Moss on Saturday may well be the same bird that has been spotted at our Burton Mere Wetlands nature reserve recently.

    Elsewhere at Leighton Moss, we've been getting some great views from Lilian's hide. As the water levels are lower, the exposed mud has drawn in the wading birds and large flocks of black-tailed godwits are enjoying feeding there. This morning the great white egret was among them too!

    Otter sightings have been brilliant from Public and Lower hides. All those who attended our Birdsong for Beginners walk on Sunday were treated to some fantastic views of them. If you missed it, why not book a place on the next one, details here.

    The marsh harriers are very active all over the reedbed. With three nests, there are lots of hungry mouths to feed. The first young marsh harrier fledged on 18 June so no doubt others will follow suit over the coming weeks. They are like toddlers when they first fledge - wobbly on their feet and their wings. You will see them perching in an ungainly fashion in the trees around the reedbed and taking their first shaky flights. It doesn't take them long to learn though, as they have to be able to migrate south at the end of the summer. Keep up to date with one of our marsh harrier nests by viewing our live webcam here.

    If you've been visiting Leighton Moss for a few years, you'll know that three years ago we received funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund, Lancashire Environmental Fund, Arnside and Silverdale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, Rural Development Programme for England and Higher Level Stewardship to improve some of our facilities. We replaced four of our wildlife watching hides, created our beautiful wildlife sensory garden and have built the Skytower.  This elevated viewing platform will give our visitors a bird's-eye view of the reserve and is due to be opened by mid-July which is very exciting! More on that to come....

     

     

    Posted by Annabel Rushton

  • 17 June 2015

    Otters and egrets and warblers oh my!

    The sun has been cracking the flags here this week, but sadly, it has taken a turn today and it's a bit grey and drizzly. That doesn't mean that wildlife sightings have been dampened though!

    Down at the Allen and Eric Morecambe hides, the great white egret is still around. You can distinguish it from the little egrets by its size as well as the fact it has a yellow rather than dark beak. It also has dark feet (as opposed to the little egrets which look like they're wearing marigolds!) We also still have avocets and oystercatchers on the saltmarsh with chicks - Springwatch eat your heart out!

    Our marsh harriers continue to be very active around the reedbed as they have hungry mouths to feed. We are excited to have been able to get a camera on one of the nests, showing three very healthy chicks! Check them out on our webcam here.

    Otter sightings have been brilliant from Lilian's hide, as well as Public and Lower hides. Look out for the bubbles underwater and their tails flicking up above the surface. Often all the ducks on the water will rush off in one direction if the otter is below the surface so keep an eye out for these tell-tale signs.

    The warmer weather we've been having has brought out insects in abundance. We've spotted small pearl bordered fritillary butterflies up on our nearby Warton Crag nature reserve and the sunshine has also been bringing out beautiful broad-bodied chaser dragonflies like this one.

      Broad-bodied chaser by Richard Cousens

    The reserve is alive with the sound of our summer visitors - Cetti's warblers, reed warblers, chiffchaffs, sedge warblers, blackcaps and willow warblers are popping up all over the site and our Warden Richard regularly hears a grasshopper warbler singing down on the path to Allen and Eric Morecambe hides as he cycles to work each morning. The sound of swifts screaming over the reserve as they zoom around hunting insects is a very welcome one too! If you'd like to learn more about identifying birdsong, why not book a place on our Birdsong for Beginners walk this coming Sunday? Details here.

      Cetti's warbler by Mike Malpass

    Speaking of Sunday - it will be Father's Day this coming weekend (21 June). Why not bring your dad along to the reserve where he will be treated like a king for the day - gaining free entry to the reserve and a free tea and scone in our Café. You could also treat him to a new pair of binoculars or a telescope by trying them out at our Binoculars and Telescopes Open Weekend.

    Posted by Annabel Rushton

  • 9 June 2015

    Hey hey ospreys!

    Everyone at Leighton Moss was delighted to hear about the success of the ospreys in the Lake District. Two chicks have hatched at Bassenthwaite this year. This is the 15th  year of successful hatching for the Lakes ospreys, that’s more than 30 chicks! The ospreys at nearby Foulshaw Moss have also got three chicks. The parents sometimes come and fish here at Leighton Moss, so keep an eye out for them at Public and Lower hides.

    Though they're smaller than ospreys, our very own marsh harriers are equally spectacular and are being very cooperative at the moment. I saw a fantastic food pass from Lilian’s hide the other day. The female swiveled onto her back and caught food that was dropped from above by the male, a truly fantastic sight! They are showing all over the reserve, you would be very unlucky to spend a day out and about and not see them.

    On the other hand, a roosting tawny owl is incredibly difficult to spot; even though you may be standing right next to it! It is one of the most incredibly camouflaged birds I’ve ever seen - its dappled feathering fitting in perfectly with the bark around it. Keep your eyes peeled for it in the trees around Lower hide. Whilst you're there, have a look for a great white egret that has been seen by several of our regular visitors. It is quite active, so has also been seen down at Allen and Eric Morecambe hides.

       Great white egret by Richard Cousens

    The otters are being as wonderful as ever, often playing and catching fish at Public and Lower hides for hours on end. Visitors who have travelled all over the country in search of otters have said that they have had their best views ever at Leighton Moss-praise indeed!

    Things are also rather busy down at the Allen and Eric Morecambe hides too. There are plenty of avocets down there and the two Mediterranean gulls have stuck around. They can be seen from the Eric Morecambe hide. We've recently also been spotting a pair of pintails down there. These elegant ducks normally breed further North in places like Scandinavia so we generally see them here during the winter when they come south. This pair have obviously decided not to make the journey with the others. I wonder if we'll get some pintail ducklings!!

    The reedbed is alive with the sound of warblers at the moment, listen out for reed warblers, sedge warblers, chiffchaffs, blackcaps and willow warblers as you walk round. If you would like to learn more about how to identify different bird songs then why not come on our Birdsong for Beginners walk on Sunday 21 June? Details here.

      Willow warbler feasting on a damselfly by Richard Cousens

    If you're planning to visit us this Saturday, come along to our Meet the Moths at the Moss event in the morning - you'll discover all about these fascinating (and often overlooked) creatures. Details of the event here.

    Huge thanks to intern Anya for this latest sightings post. This will be Anya's last blog for a few weeks as she has just started working on the Manchester Peregrines Date with Nature, so look out for her if you're shopping in Manchester in the coming weeks. Congratulations Anya!

    Don't worry, we'll still be keeping you up to date with the latest goings on here in her absence.

    Posted by Annabel Rushton

  • 26 May 2015

    Why are A’s like flowers.....?

    ......because bees come after them! Sorry folks, I couldn’t resist. With plants bursting into flower all over the reserve, many of the accompanying insects are starting to be seen here at Leighton Moss. I saw my first bumblebee of the year the other day, nestled in our sensory garden. If you take a wander down to Allen and Eric Morecambe hides, look out for butterflies on your way. Many of our visitors have spotted orange tips on that walk recently. Which butterflies are you seeing where you are? Another sure sign that summer is on the way is the emergence of dragonflies. A few broad-bodied chasers have been seen on site, so keep your eyes peeled!

      Bee on the lambs-ear plants by Miriam Hooson

    Some slightly larger residents of Leighton Moss are also being spotted regularly. Our otter families are showing off at all times of day and in all weathers. Some lucky visitors were telling me this week about how they had travelled most parts of Scotland to see otters, and been unsuccessful, yet spent one afternoon at Leighton Moss and saw six!

    No doubt many of you watched the first episode of the new series of BBC Springwatch last night. We absolutely love that programme and are very excited that it is being filmed at our big sister reserve - Minsmere in Suffolk.  If it got you enthused about all things reedbed - we have a lot of the same wildlife here, a bit closer to home for you to come and spot in real life perhaps? The ultimate reedbed hunters - our marsh harriers have been seen all over the reserve today. With three nests and lots of hungry mouths to feed there have been plenty of sightings of the two males taking food to their females. At Tim Jackson and Grisedale hides, our largest residents - the red deer have started to bring out their spotty babies to snooze in the grass. Down at the Allen and Eric Morecambe hides, we also have nesting avocets with their chicks too!

    There have been some slightly more unusual species seen and heard down at our Lower hide. A cuckoo was heard singing down there in the morning, so listen up, you can’t mistake it for anything else, as it says its own name!

    Visitors have been reporting lots of views of great spotted woodpeckers at the feeders in the garden, along with nuthatches, bullfinches and a couple of tree sparrows among our other garden favourites.

    The sensory garden at the back of our visitor centre is great for exploring - the plants have been selected to be attractive to insects and we have filled it with lots of different nestboxes and bug bungalows. You can also have fun in our den building area and play pit. If you fancy making your garden, school grounds or window box more wildlife friendly why not click on the link here to get your very own Giving Nature a Home guide!

      Den building by Amy Grace

    There is plenty going on here over the next couple of weeks and we'd love to see you! Click here to see a full list of exciting events.

    Huge thanks to Intern Anya for this recent sightings blog.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Posted by Annabel Rushton

  • 24 May 2015

    Forget Eurovision, we've got the best songs around!

    The UK may once again have failed to bring home the goods in last night's Eurovision Song Contest, but here at Leighton Moss, we're really excited that our retired Warden and still active volunteer David Mower has heard a cuckoo calling down by Lower hide! These beautiful birds are a real sign of summer, with a telltale call that says their own name. They were once commonly heard around the UK, but sadly their numbers are now in huge decline and they are being closely monitored to try and understand the reasons why. Find out more here.

    Also down at Lower hide, a tawny owl is spending a lot of time snoozing in a tree as you approach the hide. It can be difficult to spot due to its fabulous camouflage, but keep your eyes peeled. It is these owls that make the classic 'twit-toowoo' sound, although when you hear that, you are actually listening to two tawny owls - the females say 'twit' and the males say 'toowoo'.

    At both Public and Lower hides, the otters are still regularly coming out and about. A bar-headed goose has also been seen there. These attractive birds are not native to the UK and this one is likely to be an escapee from a collection.

      Bar-headed goose by Howard Stockdale

    The reedbed is alive with our summer visitors - willow warblers, chiffchaffs, reed warblers and sedge warblers are all blasting out their songs. Listen out for the explosive voice of the Cetti's warbler close to the pond dipping area too, as well as a grasshopper warbler on the way to Allen and Eric Morecambe hides. Huge thanks to all those who joined us for our Birdsong for Beginners walk this morning! If you missed it, then there is still space on our next one - details here.

    It's the time of year when young animals are everywhere! The first of the years red deer calves have started to be born - look out for them snoozing down at Tim Jackson and Grisedale hides. Our friendly robins (who have reached celebrity status with our regular visitors) have also been spotted feeding their chicks along the paths. As you can see from the cute picture below, young robins don't have the classic orange breast of their parents - they develop these after their first moult at around seven weeks old.

      Robin feeding young by Richard Cousens

    With the lower water levels on the southern end of the reedbed, wading birds are often amassing at Lilian's hide to take advantage of the exposed mud. Huge flocks of black-tailed godwits in particular can be seen feeding, but have a good scan round, as you never know what else may be among them.

    With half-term this week, why not bring your children, grandchildren or nieces and nephews along to our Family Ramble in the Reeds on Thursday? This interactive walk is guaranteed to get the whole family discovering and exploring new things - click here for info. If you can't make Thursday, there's always our self-led Marvellous Minibeasts Trail running every day in May too!

     

    Posted by Annabel Rushton

  • 18 May 2015

    Not just swanning about

    When the new series of BBC Springwatch starts we know spring is definitely in full swing. This year the program is once again coming from our big sister reserve - the fabulous Minsmere in Suffolk. The series will be packed full of exciting wildlife action, so tune in at 8 pm on Monday 25 May for the first installment. Our very own Assistant Warden Alasdair Grubb has gone down to assist the camera crew, so look out for his name in the credits, and who knows, maybe even a glimpse of him on our screens! The program will celebrate all that spring has to offer, but if you fancy getting a bit closer to the action then why not come and see it in real life here at Leighton Moss!

    One of our most anticipated days of the year arrived last week. After days of waiting and worrying, mallard ducklings have finally arrived! Anyone who has been to Leighton Moss will know that we are often joined by friendly mallards at the front of the visitor centre, but if you’re wondering around site at the moment you’ll be sure to spot lines of ducklings  following mum along the paths.

    All manner of young wildlife is out and about at the moment. A lucky visitor spotted a red deer calf sunning itself in the reeds on Friday, look out for them from Tim Jackson and Grisedale hides.

      Can you see me? Red deer calf by Brian Salisbury

    A red kite has been seen flying over the reserve so keep your eyes peeled. They seem to be making more and more regular appearances, not surprising considering the success of the conservation work that has gone into saving this species.

    When you think of large conservation projects you may think of the panda or the Sumatran tiger, but it is a little known fact that the red kite has actually been subject to the longest continuous conservation project in the world. The first Kite Committee was formed in 1903 by concerned individuals appalled at the continuing destruction of kites, who initiated the first nest protection schemes. The RSPB is thought to have been involved continuously since 1905. In the 1980s the red kite was one of only three globally threatened species in the UK, and so it was a high priority for conservation efforts. 93 birds of Swedish and Spanish origin were released at various sites across the country, which continued for many years. Local to here are the red kites at Grizedale Forest in the Lake District and Harewood House near Leeds.

    The first successful breeding of red kites was recorded in 1992, and two years later kites raised in the wild reared young themselves for the first time. Successful breeding populations have now become established across the UK. The birds have now made one of the most successful recoveries of any species, so we're chuffed to have them passing over Leighton Moss!

    Another once incredibly rare raptor that has made a come back and is also being seen in the Morecambe Bay area is the osprey. They are nesting nearby at a Cumbria Wildlife Trust reserve called Foulshaw Moss. Click here to see a live nest webcam and read their blog. As Leighton Moss is so close to the nest point we hope to see the male fishing on the reserve more and more as he will soon have plenty of mouths to feed!

    Our very own resident marsh harriers are being very active around the site. We have three females sitting on nests and two males providing for them. The males are being very active and you can see them from all the hides round the reedbed.

    With the breeding season in full swing, males and females throughout all of nature are getting very friendly, but it means that the males are being particularly aggravated by one another. A regular visitor to the reserve witnessed an epic mute swan battle recently, lasting over 30 minutes! A greylag goose got involved and then called for back up and things got very heated! Have a look at the fabulous photos that captured the events as they unfolded......

              

    Epic swan battle by Richard Cousens

    Our resident otter family are still putting in lots of appearances at Public and Lower hides. Our retired Warden David Mower recently captured this beautiful picture

    Down at our saltmarsh there is plenty of activity - the avocets can be seen with their chicks from both Allen and Eric Morcambe hides. There are also quite a few black-headed gulls down there with two Mediterranean gulls mixed in with them, so keep a look out! A great white egret was also seen flying over the other day, and there are lots of little egrets dotted around so make sure you look closely.

      Mediterranean gulls by Brian Salisbury

    You can hear some of the most iconic sounds of spring around on the reserve at the moment, from chiffchaffs to Cetti’s warblers. One of the slightly more unusual spring singers around is a grasshopper warbler (not surprisingly, it sounds just like a grasshopper). They have been heard from the path to Lower hide and down on the path to Allen and Eric Morecambe hides.

     With so much to offer on the reserve at the moment and half term just round the corner, why don’t you grab a waterproof (just in case!) and come and see us!

    Thanks to Intern Anya for this recent sightings post.

    Posted by Annabel Rushton

  • 6 May 2015

    Waders and warblers and more

    It's been fine weather for ducks today at Leighton Moss! The rain was belting down this morning but thankfully that didn't put the wildlife off coming out and about, and they were rewarded with the sun emerging this afternoon.

    If you have been down to Lilian's, Tim Jackson and Grisedale hides recently you will have noticed that it looks like someone has pulled the plug out. You can read all about why this is occurring in my blog here. The lower water levels have exposed more mud, which has really drawn in the wading birds. Ruff, black-tailed godwits, knot, a wood sandpiper and even a whimbrel have all been spotted feeding in the mud over the past few days from Lilian's hide.

      Black-tailed godwits by David Mower

    Down at the Eric Morecambe and Allen pools, the wader fest continues with two spotted redshanks, a greenshank and lots of avocets. The avocets are nesting (32 nests in total), so we should start to see their little fluffy chicks hatching out any day now. Two Mediterranean gulls are also down there too.

    As you walk round, the sound of warblers fills the air - grasshopper warblers have been heard close to both Eric Morecambe and Lower hides, as well as lesser whitethroats. There are several Cetti's warblers singing around the reedbed. If you'd like to learn more about the impressive sounds of our birds, why not book a spot on one of our upcoming Birdsong for Beginners events, details here.

      Cheeky Cetti's warbler by Martin Kuchczynski

    The female marsh harriers are hunkered down on their nests at the moment (three nests in total so far) so they are not visible, but the two male marsh harriers are very active around the reedbed. Whilst the females are nesting, the males are the bread-winners so they have to ensure they are bringing in enough food for their expectant females.

    A male garganey has been seen infrequently seen at Lilian's hide. They are a shy duck, so can be out and about one moment and then disappear into the reeds the next - keep an eye out for his distinctive white eye stripe.

    We've not had any sign of the rare pied-billed grebe since Monday, but the spotted crake continues to be heard along the path to Lower hide, so keep an ear and an eye out for that. Pop into Public hide too, for views of arguably one of our most elegant residents - the great crested grebe.

      Look at that ruby eye! Great crested grebe by Martin Kuchczynski

    It's not just birds that love Leighton Moss. Our reliable otters are still being seen most days down at Public and Lower hides, and up to five red deer stags have been seen from Grisedale hide. Along the paths, the wildflowers are really coming out now too, adding lovely splashes of colour to the reserve. Come and see it all soon!

    Posted by Annabel Rushton

  • 30 April 2015

    Not just rare, ultra rare!

     

    As I was cycling to Leighton Moss the other day, I noticed lots of excited looking visitors walking along the road to get to the causeway, something must have happened! I stopped and asked what had been seen and was informed that a pied billed grebe had been found the previous evening by our very own Kevin, and that it wasn’t just rare, it was ultra rare! Needless to say, hundreds of dedicated birdwatchers flocked to the reserve to spot this small and chunky member of the grebe family. Looking back over the records, this is the first record of this American grebe at Leighton Moss, and it has only been seen once before in Lancashire.

    A pied billed grebe was seen in Gloucestershire, before this birds arrival so it is believed that that it is the same individual we now have at Leighton Moss at Lower hide. The bird is normally found in ponds throughout the Americas, and heads north to Canada to breed (hence why it may be heading north here, despite the fact it’s on the wrong continent!).

    After a related bird, the Atitlan grebe became extinct it is now the only remaining member of its genus, making it a rather special little bird indeed! We hope that it stays, we’ll be sure to keep you informed.  Pied-billed grebe by Kevin Kelly

     

     

     

    We are just completely spoilt at the moment, as if that mega rarity wasn’t enough; a spotted crake has also been heard from the bridge on the way down to Lower hide. They are especially secretive during the breeding season, and are only usually heard and not seen. Their song however is very distinct. They make a series of ‘whiplash’ sounds, normally very early morning and early evening, and will continue through the night. So make sure you have your eyes and ears open! I was near RSPB Insh Marshes in Scotland last summer and saw a spotted crake being startled by a snipe. It has a rather comical reaction as it jumped up and down and fluttered towards cover with its legs dangling, which is a classic reaction for this species.

    Joining the two unique arrivals above, we also have a male garganey out at Lilian’s pool at the moment, they are a scarce and very secretive breeding duck in the UK, and so we’re glad to have one on the reserve at the moment. They are smaller than mallards, but bigger than teals and the males are easily recognised as they have a broad white stripe over the eye. If you see one in flight, look out for a pale, almost bluish forewing.

    A normally secretive, night time hunter has been spotted during the day, dosing in a tree. As you head on the path to Lower hide, look out for a tawny owl perched amongst the branches. I stood and watched it for an hour or so on Monday, I had a feeling that it was only pretending to sleep though, as every now and again it opened one eye!

    As you head out of the centre and towards the path to get to the Causeway, look out and listen for chiffchaffs and willow warblers. We have quite a few out and about on the reserve at the moment so keep your eyes peeled. Some people struggle telling these two species apart, as I did until one of our wardens here at Leighton Moss gave me a few handy hints. They do look very similar, especially if you only get a brief glance. Some good points to remember are the colour of their legs. Chiffchaffs have dark brown legs and willow warblers have pinkish red legs (but this does vary and isn’t a key feature on it’s own). Willow warblers are also more thinly built and look a bit more delicate than chiffchaffs, with a cleaner looking appearance below. The other key feature are their wings. The wings of willow warblers are longer as they migrate further, chiffchaffs in comparison have smaller, stubbier primary feathers as their migration isn’t as far. If this all sounds a bit daunting then you’ll be happy to know that there is a far easier way to tell the two species apart...their songs! Chiffchaffs helpfully sing their own name “chiff chaff chiff chaff” (though if you do wait long enough they do sometimes get muddled and get it the wrong way round). Willow warblers on the other hand have a lovely fluty descending tremolo.

    If you would like to learn a bit more about bird calls then why not join Andy Chapman on one of our upcoming Birdsong for Beginners events. Click here for more information.

    As well as the rarities on the reserve the otters, marsh harriers and avocets have all been wonderful, check the recent sightings book and board when you arrive for more information, and the staff on the front desk will be happy to tell you what’s out and about!

    If you have had great visit to Leighton Moss then why not pop a review on Tripadvisor? Click here.

     

    Thanks to intern Anya for this recent sightings

    Posted by kevin

  • 21 April 2015

    A very hoppy day

    The first sounds of a grasshopper warbler were heard by our Warden Richard at the end of last week. It was on the path to the Allen and Eric Morecambe hides in the bushes. Listen out for its distinctive call (not surprisingly, it sounds like a grasshopper). Its high reeling song is the best clue of its presence, as they are often pretty difficult to see. They creep through foliage, almost like a mouse. Sadly dramatic population declines have made the grasshopper warbler a red listed bird, but we always have a few on the reserve each spring.

    Grasshopper warblers are not the only warbler on site, we have also been joined by willow warblers, which have been seen and heard at the bottom of the Causeway. They are small birds, with a yellow tinge to the chest and throat and a pale stripe above the eye (also known as a supercillium). They look very similar to the chiffchaff, but can be separated by their song. The sound of the willow warbler is a series of descending notes whereas the chiffchaff quite helpfully says its own name. If you'd like to learn more about birdsong, why not book onto one of our Birdsong for Beginners walks - details here.

      Willow warbler by Brian Salisbury

      Chiffchaff by Martin Kuchczynski

    If you’re down on the Causeway looking for the willow warblers then it is definately worth popping into Public hide. I went down there on Thursday evening and the great crested grebes were displaying near the hide- always a fantastic sight! Just as I was getting ready to leave a swarm of swallows, house martins and sand martins flew over the top of the hide, and started catching insects right in front of it. They are wonderfully agile birds and seeing them flying so close was an experience I won’t forget in a hurry! The otters were also around, where the channel narrows between Public and Lower hides.

    Our marsh harriers are as active as ever, with pretty much guaranteed views if you’re out and about on the reserve. We have four females and two males here and I had a lovely view from Grisedale hide on Friday of one of the males (can be identified by the pale under wings) hunting over the reedbed. Black-tailed godwits are on both Grisedale and Tim Jackson pools at the moment, but keep your eyes peeled, I spotted some ruff mixed in with them the other day.

      Male marsh harrier by Brian Salisbury

    A few blackcaps have been seen on site too. If you head out of the centre and turn left, just by our insect home 'Bugingham Palace' both a male and female blackcap have been seen. The male does exactly what he says on the tin, whilst the female  Blackcaps have a lovely, almost fluty song which has earned them the nick name of 'northern nightingale.' They are mostly summer visitors but the birds from Germany and North East Europe are increasingly spending the winter in the UK.

         Male and female blackcap by Martin Kuchczynski

    We feel quite spoilt at the moment, as if all this wasn’t enough, we have the avocets as well! Numbers have quite drastically increased at the moment, with around 80 down on the Allen and Eric Morecambe hides. The first couple of nests have been spotted, so we hope for new additions very soon!

    History was made the other day when the first bearded tit was spotted on our satellite site Barrow Scout Fields. We all have our fingers and toes crossed that this year will be the first year they nest there.

    Lucky visitors spotted a common crane flying over the saltmarsh at the weekend. They are a huge yet graceful bird that you definitely can’t miss. Small numbers pass through Britain in spring and autumn, and there is a population in Eastern England around our Lakenheath Fen nature reserve and a re-introduced population in Somerset. They are by no means commonly seen over the reserve here though. It's a shame it didn't want to stop off.

    We also had the very exciting news that ospreys have been spotted flying over the reserve early last week, and for the 14th year running have started collecting nesting material and assembling a nest near Bassenthwaite Lake. If you would like to visit the osprey view point click here for more information. Our pals at the Cumbria Wildlife Trust have also informed us that ospreys are back at their nearby Foulshaw Moss nature reserve. In previous year the ospreys have come to fish at Leighton Moss quite regularly, so we hope to see them again this year.  

    Huge thanks to Intern Anya for this recent sightings update.

    If you've visited Leighton Moss over the past few months, you'll have noticed a new structure by the side of Lilian's hide. This is our new, elevated viewing platform known as the Skytower. We are really excited about this project as it will allow visitors to see Leighton Moss from a bird's eye view as well as out across the surrounding Arnside and Silverdale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and over to the stunning backdrop of Morecambe Bay. It is not a hide, as it doesn't  have a roof, but it is around 9 metres tall, canopy level and will give a heightened experience to those visiting the reserve. Spotting marsh harriers hunting over the reedbed and elusive bitterns moving around will be given a whole new angle.We've had a few enquiries recently about when our Skytower will be opening. It needs another coat of paint, so it's not quite ready yet, but I will post on here once it is.

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Posted by Annabel Rushton

Your sightings

Grid reference: SD4775 (+2km)

Avocet (5)
27 Jun 2015
Cetti's Warbler ()
27 Jun 2015
Water Rail ()
27 Jun 2015
Cuckoo ()
22 Jun 2015
Spotted Redshank (1)
22 Jun 2015
Grasshopper Warbler (1)
22 Jun 2015
Shelduck ()
28 Jun 2015
Great Black-backed Gull (3)
28 Jun 2015
Green Woodpecker (1)
28 Jun 2015
Great Spotted Woodpecker (1)
28 Jun 2015

Contact us

Where is it?

  • Lat/lng: 54.16814,-2.80107
  • Postcode: LA5 0SW
  • Grid reference: SD478750
  • Nearest town: Carnforth, Lancashire
  • County: Lancashire
  • Country: England

Get directions

Note: Some reserves are not served directly by public transport and, in these cases, a nearby destination (from which you may need to walk or take a taxi or ferry) may be offered.