Trip reports

Field trip to Leighton Moss

Field trip to Leighton Moss
Carol & Paul Barrett

Saturday, 12 October 2019

Leighton Moss is described as a wetland. Today it was all wet and very little land!
A beautifully, dry day saw a group of us leaving Shipley and heading west over the Pennines to the reserve on the edge of Morecambe Bay. Having been pre-warned about the conditions at the reserve, everyone brought along various styles of boots. A short walk from the Visitors Centre and we encountered the water: throughout the site, the pathways were flooded, occasionally over-topping the tallest of boots. Unfortunately, for a couple of our party, the footwear was not up to the task - wet feet resulted.
Because of the underfoot conditions, the bearded tits were showing well on the grit tables near Grisedale Hide and on the Causeway. At Grisedale, one particular robin appeared to be upset at the attention that the tits were getting and continually hopped around amongst the watchers.
The ducks were a little scarce, having taken themselves elsewhere as the water around the hides was too deep for them. Water rail and red deer were heard but not seen. Cetti's warblers could be heard and although very elusive, were eventually seen after some of the group had waited patiently near the reed beds along the Causeway.
Some members managed to get a bird's eye view of the magnificent marsh harriers from the top of the Skytower.
Dragonflies were in abundance skimming over the pools and around us as we waded along the pathways. Comma, painted lady and red admiral butterflies were also seen, although looking rather ragged at the end of the season.
At 3pm our coach driver obligingly dropped us off at the Coastal trail, which gives views of Morecambe Bay from Allen hide and Eric Morecambe hide. We were rewarded with sightings of flocks of redshank, shelduck and little egret, and a very active kingfisher in the late afternoon sunshine.
Sightings: bearded tit, robin, little grebe, blue tit, crow, coot, teal, moorhen, mallard, great-crested grebe, great tit, dunnock, coal tit, chaffinch, mute swan, gadwall, shoveller, wigeon, kestrel, magpie, heron, black-headed gull, marsh harrier, nuthatch, cormorant, blackbird, greylag goose, wood pigeon, lapwing, redshank, shelduck, little egret, great white egret, kingfisher, sparrowhawk, red-breasted merganser, merlin, curlew, black-tailed godwit, blackcap, Cetti's warbler, tufted duck, pheasant.
Butterflies: comma, painted lady, red admiral.