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 canÃ¢ÂÂt believe itÃ¢ÂÂs 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 thatÃ¢ÂÂs happened during the breeding season but IÃ¢ÂÂll 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 Ã¢ÂÂtoasted heronÃ¢ÂÂ 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 yearÃ¢ÂÂs 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 havenÃ¢ÂÂt been maybe youÃ¢ÂÂll pay us a visit sometime?
If you donÃ¢ÂÂt 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 Ã¢ÂÂWhere to stay near Leighton MossÃ¢ÂÂ. WeÃ¢ÂÂd love to see you!"
And there you have it.
Eyes to the skies everyone, eyes to the skies......