Trip reports

Arnside to Silverdale Walk

male stonechat perched on bramble

Thursday, 8 November 2018

In spite of the forecast for rain 24 people gathered on the platform of Arnside Station for the 4.5 mile walk back to Leighton Moss. A stop at the start of the path along the old railway embankment provided wader sightings, including a mixed flock of redshank and dunlin close in on the salt marsh. Both goosanders, and red-breasted mergansers could be picked out on the River Kent. Half a mile along the embankment we cut inland to make our way to the Arnside and Silverdale AONB Landscape Trust Local Nature Reserve of Teddy Heights, a pleasant woodland section with nuthatch calling, and blackbirds and redwing feeding in the yew trees. Further footpaths took us to our lunch stop at the edge of Silverdale Moss, with the predicted rain arriving there just in front of us. Nevertheless it was a pleasant location, and lunch could be enjoyed looking out over the reed-bed where a juvenile marsh harrier was disturbing potential prey, 2 stonechats were mobile on the nearest edge, and a roe deer scampered along the far bund.

After lunch the rain impeded bird watching as we made our way into Gait Barrows NNR, where explanation was provided of the recent work undertaken by Natural England to restore the marl grassland, and its associated flora. Here, the decision was also made to omit the Leighton Moss option from the route, and take the shorter line through Trowbarrow Quarry, another Local Nature Reserve, where geological interest included a good range of fossils. By now members were ready for the comforts of Leighton Moss cafe. We exited via the permissive footpath through the carabiner - shaped gate to the hot drinks, seeing a male marsh harrier quartering over the reed bed as we followed the path beside the lane.

It was over refreshments that the day's list was compiled and we realised, that in spite of the conditions, 52 species had been recorded.

Species recorded: cormorant, little egret, grey heron, mute swan, canada goose, shelduck, teal, mallard, tufted duck, red-breasted merganser, goosander, marsh harrier, sparrowhawk, buzzard, pheasant, moorhen, coot, oystercatcher, lapwing, dunlin, snipe, curlew, redshank, black-headed gull, lesser black-backed gull, herring gull, great black-backed gull, woodpigeon, collared dove, pied wagtail, wren, robin, stonechat, blackbird, redwing, mistle thrush, long-tailed tit, coal tit, blue tit, great tit, nuthatch, jay, magpie, jackdaw, rook, carrion crow, starling, house sparrow, tree sparrow, chaffinch, goldfinch, bullfinch.

John Webb, Walk Leader