Fabulous 3 days at Leighton Moss (concluded)

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Fabulous 3 days at Leighton Moss (concluded)

  • Wow Hazy what a great set of photos you have shown us, the Marsh Harriers you caught really well, so clear, as is the Sedge Warbler and Willow Warbler.   Well done on catching the Crows courtship feeding something I have never seen before.    

  • Very nice pictures Hazel, and you did pick a nice time to go, love the picture of the Weasel.

  • Morning and thanks everyone for managing to stay with this thread for so long  lol      I took 1,300'ish photos in three days so it was hard to choose which to put up once I had chucked out 1,200   !!  

    Well, the last photos to complete this thread were Friday morning before we headed off from Silverdale on to the M6;   thankfully traffic was running !

    As I had already taken so many of the Marsh Harriers, I decided to remove the extender from the 300mm lens, pack it away in the suitcase hidden in the boot of the car and just concentrate on the nearer woodland birds and those right outside the hides.      Yes, you've guessed it -  the Marsh Harrier was giving the best views ever from the Grisedale hide and it landed the closest I've seen it for photos.......... as long as you had an extender on the lens  lol        Anyway, here are the photos which I had to crop harder than I would have wished but to give you an idea of the views we had of this gorgeous male Marsh Harrier landing each time for more nesting material.      One of the males mated twice with the female who was perched on a post near the nest site but too far for the focal length I had on the camera.     There was a little sky-dancing with those beautiful twists and turns and all in all we were treated to some totally wonderful viewing.

    It was a very misty morning which didn't lift completely so we were lucky to get decent enough views through the murk; it was slightly gloomier than the photos really show.......... 

    more nesting in his bill;   

    you can see the length of some of the twigs he had in this pic 

    back for more and a sight of those beautifully marked wings -  they are such breath-taking raptors

    He must have returned half a dozen times, it was awesome to watch him by the edge of the pool 

    this is an uncropped version and to show you how relatively close he was from the hide window;   I would have got better pics with the 300+ 2x but then with the mist the ISO would have had to increase so swings and roundabouts.   

    this shows you the effort he put in to pulling out the reed material - you may just make out his red squirrel type furry legs  lol 

    the female did show too but more distant .....

    anyway, you get the idea and lesson 1 ................. don't ever leave the extender behind, just in case   lol 

    View from Tim Jackson Hide where the Garganey drake appeared, apparently 15 mins after we left   ;)

    another view of the new Sand martin bank

    a lone Greylag one side of the pool 

    and a pair of Greylag with 4 chicks heading to the right hand side of the pool

    Little Egrets, of which there were 4 in total    (this was from Grisedale)

    and to see us off the premises a male Wren silhouetted in the gloom singing its hear out 

    After all the Harrier viewing there was no time to photograph ore woodland/feeding log birds and it was back on the M6 heading south !

    Thanks for sticking with this thread so long !       this concludes the post - I promise !! 

  • That’s sods law Hazel, shame you did not carry the extender in a pocket. It would be nice if the Sand martins did use the nest bank but I don’t think they will this year when it beds in and does not look new they might but will see.

  • HAZY

    talking of courtship, something I had not seen before;   not a good pic but two Crows courtship feeding   !   a sighting first for me.

    Absolutely gorgeous, though I thought only young birds had those beautiful pink mouths.

  • Perhaps this is the youngster being fed Clare ?  I kept looking to see if it was a juvenile but just wasn't 100% sure as it looked fully grown !  I must say with the bill open it does look like a juvie.   Thanks for your input Clare, makes sense as I've never seen adults courtship feeding.

  • Just read tweet saying there is a Garganey Drake at Grove Ferry, not far from mine so might have a look later now that I know what to look for, thanks for your great pics aitch!

  • Love the Marsh Harrier shots.

  • Great additions, Hazel. Cracking shots of the Marsh Harriers - they are not birds I see down here so thanks for all the photos.

    You are doing well with the warblers. I'm hearing them on my patch but they are very tricky to spot.

  • A wonderful thread, Hazel. Too many beautiful shots to pick a favourite but I do like the ‘pulled back’ shot of the Harrier over the reeds (who needs extenders, they can sometimes prevent lovely shots like this).!! I’m glad you got your House Sparrow, she’s a beauty. :-)

  • It was a perfectly timed visit with fabulous weather the first two days and for watching the M.Harrier action plus the surprise sighting of the Garganey drake;  I had only booked this trip a few days before so just goes to show how fortunate we were.    Thank you to all of you for staying with this long thread and taking the time to wade through all the photos !    

  • The Jackdaw I photographed at Bempton also took food and gave it to another. Like you, I assumed it was courtship at first and never considered it might be an early fledgling getting dinner. There were no obvious signs of the second bird being that young but then I wouldn't know how to differentiate them or even if it is possible.

  • Great additions Hazy of the Marsh Harriers especially, what fabulous colouration on the wings.   It has been lovely to share LM with you so thanks for all the work you put in going through all those photos.

  • Finally managed to catch up with your gorgeous thread, Hazel.  You have captured a beautiful collection and no apology is necessary for either the length of the thread or for admiring a Sparrow!  Love the Marsh Harriers.  Saw 3 ourselves yesterday at RSPB Ham Wall, though none as closely as yours.