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Latest from Leighton Moss

Posted by on November 13, 2006 4:13 PM | 


Thanks to Jen Walker who sent me this latest update from the RSPB reserve at Leighton Moss in Silverdale, plus the lovely Mike Malpass scene shot above.....

"I can’t believe it’s now Autumn with the bearded tits on the grit trays and the starling flocks flying overhead at dusk. As always, there has been too much happening to tell you everything that’s happened during the breeding season but I’ll hopefully give you some of the highlights.
Firstly, how have the bitterns been doing?
Thankfully, our male bittern once again started booming in the Spring and attracted two females who successfully nested on the reserve.
As usual, Keith Kellet and a team of volunteers spent hour upon hour monitoring the reedbeds watching for bittern flights or the odd glimpse of ‘toasted heron’ along the edges of the pools.
Marsh harriers have done well too - our regular male returned from Africa and attracted three females to nest.
In the end there were two successful nests being looked after by this one male (quite a job!) with six young fledged.
Bearded tits continue to be closely monitored by John Wilson who has been happy with this year’s gradual increase in population.
Around thirty pairs produced nearly eighty young. Nine pairs of avocets nested near the saltmarsh pools and fledged seven chicks.
We are already noticing some improvements to the reserve after all the major reedbed work that has been carried out over the last few years. There is an increase in the aquatic vegetation in the some of the shallow areas in the pools and the ditches are looking healthier.
There is still a bit more mud pumping and bed lowering work to do but we hope to be finished by Christmas. The outdoor team have worked extremely hard planting reeds in the Barrow Scouts fields.
About 30 more enclosures of transplanted reed rhizomes and thousands of reed stems and plugs have gone in which seem to be establishing well. If Silverdale Moss is anything to go by, it may take 2-3 years until we see an obvious spreading of reeds.
We hope you continue to enjoy Leighton Moss and get pleasure in watching the exciting conservation work that in being undertaken or if you haven’t been maybe you’ll pay us a visit sometime?
If you don’t live nearby then perhaps you might like to arranging a holiday within the beautiful Arnside and Silverdale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and visit Leighton Moss. Call us on 01524 701601 for our leaflet ‘Where to stay near Leighton Moss’. We’d love to see you!"

And there you have it.
Eyes to the skies everyone, eyes to the skies......



Buzzard, Sprawk and Peregrine overhead. Great and Lesser Spotted Woodpeckers, Jay, Nuthatch, Treecreeper. Flockettes of Longtails in the Alders and Willows; a pair of dozing Teal in a tidal creek.

WARRINGTON ! On the sylvan banks of the river Mersey, along the Trans Pennine Trail not 2 km from the town centre.

NOTE Of course, some of the more environmentally irresponsible individuals amongst us, went all the way to south Devon, just to see one poor lost bird.

Thanks for the Warrington gen John, I'm sure you walked there from Southport to save on carbon emissions...but for God's sake, leave it over the murrelet okay?
ONE: I promise to save the planet tomorrow (unless another UK first turns up).
TWO: The Martian Murrelet probably used the hole in the ozone layer to surf the outer atmosphere to travel to Devon in the first place, drawn by the lure of cream teas and Dawlish candy floss.

visited leighton moss on sunday 19/11.we were there from late afternoon,but did not see the great flocks of starlings.we were there from 3:45 to 4:45,was it the wrong time of day?

Nope Michael, your timing was spot on, although Starling numbers have declined from the days when there used to be several mega-roosts in the region (Runcorn Bridge, St George's Hall in Liverpool etc all used to regularly host tens of thousands of roosting birds).
It may be a little early in the winter for really big roosts up at Leighton Moss - anyone know of any large roosts at present?

There has been large flocks of around 25,000 starlings so far this Autumn coming in to roost at RSPB Leighton Moss. There has been up to 50,000 in past years. I was also watching for the Starlings that day along with over 200 other visitors on a Spectacular Starlings event! Unfortunately although it was the right time of day (before dusk) that night the birds flew in really quickly and low down into the reedbed in an area that was out of sight from the usual vantage points. Sometimes they do this rather than flying around in the flocks where you can see really spectacular displays and it was typical that with so many people watching they didn't put on such a performance. Well I suppose that's wildlife for you. It's always worth another visit and ask in the centre where they have been seen most often over the last few days as a guide. Good luck!

My first visit to Leighton Moss was on 27/11/06.The weather was fairly warm for this time of year and quite calm winds.I was visiting with a friend and we recieved good information from a kindly gentleman on the reception desk.
Our first stop was at the feeders.We saw blue,great,marsh and coal tits,nuthatch,greenfinch, chaffinch,and goldfinch.
On the lakes we spotted wigeon, mallard, teal, tufted duck, pochard, shoveler, gadwall, mute swans, coot, waterhen and shelduck.
Unfortunately there was no sign of the elusive bittern.The highlight of the day was watching a pair of bearded tits feeding amongst the rushes what a sight.
This made my day.
We later moved closer to the coast and visited the Eric Morcambe hide plenty of redshank, lapwings, gadwalls, wigeon, mallard, mergansers and a little egret.
I can thoroughly recommend a day out at Leighton Moss and will be visiting again hopefully in the summer to see the elusive bittern and marsh harrier.

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