Trip reports

Evening at Leighton Moss

View over reedbed, Leighton Moss
rspb images

Friday, 26 May 2017

Towards the end of a day of warm sunshine ten members gathered for the first of the 2017 Evenings at Leighton Moss. On this occasion the party was led by Sheila Cooper and myself as John Wilson was due to unforeseen circumstances, unable to be with us that evening.

As in previous years, our observations were centered around the reserve's reed beds and meres. We began our evening near the bird feeding station at the back of the reception centre where we had a good view of a male bullfinch that was resplendent in his crimson and black breeding plumage. Leaving this area we made our way towards the causeway where we caught a glimpse of what is perhaps the shyest member of the crow family - a jay. From the new boardwalk and in the reedbed, we could hear the chattering song of a sedge warbler, although one or two of us thought that this may have been mimicry by a reed warbler. As we approached the Causeway Hide, some of our party had a good view of an osprey (possibly one of the Foulshaw Moss pair).
From the Causeway Hide we observed the various species of wildfowl that were present along with raptors such as buzzard and marsh harrier; this latter species is now a well established breeder at Leighton Moss and it is always pleasing to see these handsome birds of prey flying low over the reedbed.

We ended our evening at the Tim Jackson Hide where in the distance we saw two red deer stags, (their antlers still in velvet), browsing the vegetation,and nearer to, we had excellent views of that very shy reedbed inhabitant, a water rail.

Other species seen that evening were: mallard, magpie, dunnock, pheasant, blackbird,
black-tailed godwit, blackcap, little grebe, swallow, grey heron, mute swan, pochard, Canada
goose, greylag goose, coot, tufted duck, gadwall, house martin, little egret, cormorant, cettis warbler, starling, tree creeper, and house sparrow.

Michael Gardner.