Thursday, 19 February 2015

It's becoming something of a habit.

It seems that without really planning it, my visits to RSPB Leighton Moss are becoming something of a routine, and a very enjoyable routine at that. As I've mentioned before, planning weeks ahead allows for bargain train travel, this return trip costing £22.00 from the Midlands to Silverdale.

For the first time this visit I didn't head straight for the visitors centre and Leighton Moss main reserve, but decided to find the main Hides overlooking some of Morecambe Bay. It wasn't much of a walk and on route I passed a field full of Greylags, I had a scan through them but found nothing unusual.

On reaching the first hide, the Allen hide, I set up my scope and started having a scan about. There were loads of Black-Tailed Godwit and plenty of my favourite duck the Pintail. The Godwit flock was impressive to watch, as were the three Red-Breasted Mergansers that appeared from behind one of the small islands. All year firsts for me and already making my effort to travel here worthwhile.

Red-breasted merganser

I was surprised and couldn't help but smile on reaching the Eric Morecambe memorial hide. Brilliant!

I spent a good hour in this hide. There were plenty of waders to watch, the Mergansers moved to this end of the bay and a Perigrine put in regular apperances causing all the waders to simultaneously take flight, a real spectacle.

Some birders that had arrived at the hide informed me some White Fronted Geese had been seen in flight heading in this direction but had not been located yet. I made a mental note to myself to check that field full of Greylags on my walk back to the visitors centre. I did exactly that, and as luck would have it there they were, five White Fronted Geese.

White Fronted Geese

On arrival at the visitors centre I popped into the cafe and had two very nice cups of coffee. One to drink now, and one made in my thermal mug to drink later. I decide a nice piece of homemade shortbread would probably go well with this, I was right, it did!

I had a slow walk around the reserve visiting most of the hides. On the pathway I noticed a Marsh Tit and decided to try and Digiscope it. They never keep still, out of over 30 pictures, this one was the best.

Marsh Tit

As usual, all the bird pictures taken today were taken through the scope with a little Nikon P300 camera.

I decided to have a good scan about from the Grisedale hide and picked up a Spotted Redshank. I watched it working the water and catching and eating small fish. I have never seen a Spotted Redshank eating fish before. This one caught at least 5 small fish and struggled to swallow everyone of them.

Spotted Redshank
Struggling with another fish


I also saw two magnificent Red Deer Stags looking very impressive with their antlers adorned with reeds from the Reedbed they emerged from. They grazed for a minute or so then dissapeared back into the reedbeds.

What can I say? There was so much going on the day flew by, and I'm already thinking about planning my next visit.


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