News archive

July 2017

Sunday, 9 July 2017

Leighton Moss - A success story for marsh harriers

Leighton Moss - A success story for marsh harriers

RSPB Leighton Moss celebrates thirty years of this iconic bird of prey nesting on the reserve. In April 1987 a pair arrived at Leighton Moss and successfully raised three chicks. For the first time in well over a hundred years, one of Britain's rarest birds, the marsh harrier, had returned to nest in Lancashire. They have nested here ever since. In the early 1970s just one pair of marsh harriers was known to nest in the whole of the UK. Marsh harriers are large and impressive birds of prey which usually spend the winter in Africa, returning here in the spring. It is thought that there are now around 400 pairs that stay and breed in Britain every year. At Leighton Moss, staff and volunteers have been keeping a close eye on this year's two nests and on 30 June they were thrilled to see the first chick taking its inaugural flight. Over the coming weeks, the young birds will be stretching their wings and learning to hunt for themselves.

For the chance to see these iconic birds pop along to the visitor centre at Leighton Moss between 9.30 am and 5 pm, where staff and volunteers will happily direct visitors to where the birds might be.

On Friday 25th August we have a group outing at Leighton Moss. We are to meet at the car park for the Allen/Morecambe hides but there will be a chance to also visit the main area of reed beds where the marsh harriers can usually be viewed.

The RSPB is working with a range of organisations and people to give nature a home across Morecambe Bay. The Morecambe Bay Futurescape project aims to improve, createand connect places for wildlife across the landscape and develop the area into a world-class nature tourism destination.