Timed our visit to Leighton Moss perfectly for the glorious weather on offer, not so well timed for the Black headed Wagtail as it hasn't been sighted (as far as I know) since the day before we arrived, however, we were treated to the sight of a handsome Garganey Drake from Lilian's Hide (now it has relocated to Tim Jackson Hide) and it was good to see the Warblers back: Willow, Sedge, etc, The Marsh Harriers, 2 males and 5 females were giving us great views and there was a lot of nest material collecting and some sky dancing. At the feeding logs the Marsh Tits, Nuthatches and other tit members were enjoying their free mealie/waxworm supply and when I added a suet pecker ball a Weasel turned up LOL We met so many regulars and also new visitors to the reserve and as always the L.Moss staff are simply the best ! (no offence to other RSPB's lol ) We've had such a lovely time and glad I booked this trip last week which was a last minute decision.
Well, where do I start ? I'll add a few at a time in this post as I don't want to swamp the forum with multiple threads which would result in other folks threads being dropped down the list. So here's some pics from Wednesday, our first day and our start at the salt marshes.
It was wonderful to see the Avocets back and busy nesting and foraging - this one has colourful leg warmers on lol - the bird is already reported and known so I didn't forward the info.
the other beauty was a Black-tailed Godwit in breeding plumage - spectacular wader
Black-headed Gulls being BHG's lol
A pair of Oystercatchers who kept getting bombarded by the BHG's
poor Oycs - they were knocked off their feet as the gulls swooped !!
not a great pic but it shows the B-t-Godwit, a Redshank and the Avocet in same pic
With no sign and a dozen people looking for the Black-headed Wagtail, we headed to the main reserve ..............
My disappointment at the lack of B-h-Waggie was quickly forgotten when I finally caught up with this bird (if you can tell from a bad pic lol )
I would rather have a bad pic than none at all and this is the first time I had 5 seconds to photograph this Cetti's Warbler !! I wouldn't have known it was there had it not have suddenly burst into full volume song right by the footpath near the dipping pond ! I told Paul (MC) I had a choice .......there were 2 robins courtship feeding right next to the Cetti's and I opted to photograph my nemesis bird rather than the robins - not sure I've been forgiven yet !!!!
The next bird on the "specials menu" was a stunning Garganey drake outside of Lilian's Hide
one of my other favourite birds, the beautiful Marsh Tit
Scarlet Elf Cap fungi
Rather than placing food at the long feeding logs, I opted for the tree stump as there's less chance the squirrel and pheasants will raid the food !
Nuthatch .... he had a selection of foods including live mealworms and live waxworms !
greedy guts !! he ate one and took two away each time
Finally I can hear Paul (MC) saying where's the robins ? ............ well..... here it is !!
this robin had a tick on right side of his face next to the bill
and what a surprise this next creature was when a Weasel crossed the footpath and came to the feeding stump ! The first weasel I have ever seen so was well chuffed :)
and here it is inside the feeding stump enjoying a berry pecker ball LOL
can you see it licking it's lips lol
I will pause here for now and then load more from Wednesday shortly
HAZYthe L.Moss staff are simply the best ! (no offence to other RSPB's lol )
At last you've had some good weather for a trip to LM. It makes it so much more enjoyable when the sun shines and it's warm.
Cracking shots of the Avocets and Black-tailed Godwits. Both such elegant waders. That poor Oyc being given such a hard time. The BHG's are such stroppy gulls.
Well done on getting the Cetti's I've tried so ften and failed to get a shot of one.
For me the star of the birds is that gorgeous drake Garganey. What a beautiful bird and quite scarce. Got to laugh at the cheeky Weasel.
Great set Hazel, especially good shot of the Garganey - usually a bit skulky.
Certainly a good start, especially with a Cetti's, a Garganey out in the open and a Weasel, not to mention all the others. I bet the Weasel kept the Water Rail in hiding (if it hasn't slunk off due to the time of year).
How wonderful that you had good weather for your visit, Hazel--makes a change from wading or skating along the paths! Congratulations on your photographing the Cetti's and on seeing your first weasel. I love the Garganey, too, like everyone else and it has such beautiful plumage.
I kept this to read this morning over breakfast, knew it would be a good read, and you have definitely produced some lovely birds to peruse Hazy. The little Marsh Tit and Coal Tit are some of my favourites, but the Weasel sticking out it's tongue has to be special.
Thank you all for your generous comments, I must say it was a change not to be wearing wellies and sou'westers or snow-boots lol and couldn't have wished for more pleasant weather and folk on the reserve and in reception and café :) I think LM is like a magnet that keeps pulling us back so often. Until I sort out more pics, here's a couple more of the stunning Garganey drake ........
@ Ann The Foulshaw Osprey dived in to the water whilst a few of us were engrossed viewing and photographing this drake, the osprey apparently took a fish but dropped it and then headed off again..... but we didn't see it lol The chap who spotted the Osprey had a bad throat so couldn't "squeak" loud enough to let us all know it was there ! The Osprey was calling in to Causeway area pool too a couple of times a day - and we missed that one too as we were at the other end of the reserve each time. The Marsh Harriers were entertaining the crowds throughout the day and there are active nests (including males taking away twigs to build their cock nests) There are 5 females, 2 males so the "boys" are busy lol We saw mating taking place, sky-dancing and soaring in pairs, it was truly beautiful to see but somewhat distant at times to get detailed photographs of them in the air. However, here's a couple of pics from Wednesday, still our first day on the reserve .....
and down on the ground searching for more nesting material
No sign of great egrets although we believe they are in the local area nesting (if I heard correctly) but here's one of several little egrets
talking of nesting, down at the Causeway pool a pair of beautiful G.C. Grebes were on the nest; here's one bringing back nesting material
and the other guarding the nest, taking turns.
changing of the egg guard lol
now don't laugh at me but I don't see house sparrows in the garden so it was a thrill for me to see them at LM !!
and probably one of my favourite photos to end Wednesday was a male Wren in full voice (which I'll save for end of month pics) but here's another pic of him
I'll sort out Thursday pics later; I've got to make the most of this glorious weather and get some gardening done today !!
@ Nigel, no sign of the Rails; water looked quite deep in the brook by the feeding logs and as you say, probably hiding from the Weasel !
Lovely set of photos Hazel, never heard or seen a Cetti's, love the Avocet and Black Tailed Godwit ones.
Really great stuff again aitch, looking forward to some more!
Ok, a few more photos from LM, this time Thursdays photos:
our day started with fabulous sunshine and the first bird to greet us was a very vocal Sedge Warbler, it had such a wide repertoire and I'm sure I detected some sounds like the Blue Tit churring !!
next another warbler, this time Willow
also singing its head off !!
my favourite Marsh Tit bird again
foot firmly holding on to the live mealie; this one did courtship feed the female although they were obscured by a twig - as always !
next, a handsome male Reed Bunting
Tufted ducks were seen around the reserve and these were on Causeway pool
the purple head plumage highlights were showing up really well
Coots were busy nesting too
as were the G.C. Grebes, still collecting nesting
plenty of Shoveler ducks too
It was changeover time for the GCG's
A Grey Heron flew in and gave wonderful close ups
there were 4 little egrets in flight but far to distant to get clear photos
The Marsh Harriers were taking to the air too but I got better photos at the other end of the reserve which I'll add later from Grisedale Hide
this was seen from Causeway Hide
More pics to come but time for a cup of tea first !!!!! don't want to overload you in one go ;)
Nice to see the Sedge Warblers arriving back. The G Heron was definitely showing well, too. I do like GCGrebes too (as you probably know) but even I struggle to call what they make a nest. I think, technically, it's a better known as a heap :)
@ Nigel, I agree the nest is more of a heap on one of the new floating platforms that has been put in. There's such a lot of work keeping this reserve in good order and lots of improvements including the new Sand Martin bank .... which I hope attracts the birds, if not this year then next.
Ok, onwards and upwards ............ we ventured back on to the main reserve and stopped off at the tree stump to feed the various woodland birds
the ever gorgeous Nuthatch ..........
the much underrated Dunnock
the robins were courtship feeding but chose to pass the worm behind the spike on the tree stump !
I know Paul (MC) will still like to see these as it is possibly FMR (Four Minute Robin)
talking of courtship, something I had not seen before; not a good pic but two Crows courtship feeding ! a sighting first for me.
Post edit: this crow maybe a youngster being fed by the adult - makes more sense, many thanks Clare :)
Then down to Grisedale Hide for the Marsh Harriers.......
and a pair of M.Harriers together - the male is flying at the top of the pic
Just realised I missed out the Mallard and Gadwalls from Causeway area so will add them now.....
and this one shaking his head and water droplets flying off !
Mr Mallard - how handsome he looked with the sun on his plumage
a Greylag in a hurry !
Been away for a while I seem to get involved in one particular forum to the detriment of the rest, and suffer for it by missing out on some fantastic posts. Pleased to have come back again to this fabulous post from Hazel, some outstanding photo's here, really envious of the Sedge Warbler, thanks for sharing Hazel.
Hi Terry, it' so good to see you back on here but I understand with other forums it's often hard to keep up with them all. Thanks for returning :) and for your lovely comments as always.