Lovely juv Marsh Harrier shot from Mike Malpas, which Jen Walker from the RSPB sent me to go with this press release from Leighton Moss:
"There are some wild and entertaining antics on view now at a reedbed near you. Young marsh harriers at RSPB Leighton Moss nature reserve in Silverdale have started to take to the air and are thrilling visitors with their playful flights.
Jen Walker, Visitor Officer said 'We've been eagerly anticipating our young marsh harriers appearing and it's very exciting to see them. We don't yet know how many there will be, as the four nests are deep within the reeds and the first we see of the chicks are when they start to exercise their wings."
Swooping, diving and gliding, there is never a dull moment when watching a marsh harrier. You can see many of these brilliant birds over the summer months at Leighton Moss, from March to the end of August, but you never tire of them. At the end of the summer they will then embark on their mammoth journey to Africa for the winter.
It is hard to believe that there was only one pair in the whole of the UK in 1971. Thankfully they have made an astounding comeback across the UK in the last few decades to now over 500 birds.
Marsh harriers started breeding at Leighton Moss in 1987 and they now have several nests each year. These beautiful birds are also found in the south and eastern parts of the country and there are even some as far north as Scotland now.
The RSPB has worked hard to help them by managing and creating reedbeds for them to breed in and lobbying for better protection of birds of prey. Although things are looking better for them, they do continue to be at risk from persecution and egg collectors, despite the fact that it is illegal and has been for decades.
Jen continued "New wetlands need to be created to further increase marsh harrier numbers and to help other rare and threatened species such as bitterns as well as lots of other wildlife. The RSPB is working with farmers and other land managers to restore and create areas of wildlife-rich wetlands and other habitats as part of Futurescapes, our national landscape-scale conservation programme".
You can visit and look for these fantastic birds of prey any day this summer at Leighton Moss, but every Wednesday in July you can join a special Aerobatic Harriers Wednesday Walkabout guided walk from 10.30 am to 12.30 pm."
Looked tasty for a seawatch today on the coast, but I was working ....I did manage to notice the odd Kittiwake coming through the surf in the early afternoon at Ainsdale, and the late summer roost of Sandwich Terns was starting to build up (finally), with 17 birds, including five juvs, with a small group of gulls just south of the Green Beach.
The way the wind was gusting down there this evening, it should be good for seawatching tomorrow too.
Red Admiral and Silver Y moth about in sheltered areas.
Thanks and apologies to Ron Jackson, who sent me this link to his footage of Ospreys at the nest in Inverness-shire this year...sorry Ron, I should have posted the link much sooner.
Eyes to the skies everyone, eyes to the skies...