Trip reports

Field Trip - RSPB Leighton Moss

Male snipe singing in the rain

Sunday, 14 October 2018

The coach left Sheffield in the pouring rain with everyone hoping the weather would improve - which fortunately it did as we travelled across the Pennines. On arriving at the reserve, some of the group chose to be dropped off to follow the Coastal Trail which runs alongside two coastal lagoons to the Allen and Eric Morecambe hides. A Cetti's warbler was heard by the Allen Hide - the first of several heard and very occasionally seen across the reserve. Also along the Coastal Trail, Wren, Robin, Reed Bunting, Redwing and a female Blackcap were spotted.
 
From the two coastal hides, several species of waders were visible, even though some were quite distant.  These included large numbers of Black-tailed Godwit as well as Knot, Lapwing, Redshank, a Curlew and, more unusually, a flock of 20 Greenshank. Also seen were a Kingfisher, a Kestrel, three Goosander, Shelduck, Mallard, Teal, and Wigeon.
 
From the Causeway Hide on the main part of the reserve, group members saw Cormorant, Mute Swan, Shoveler and Gadwall as well as a skein of Pink-footed Geese. Some lucky group members also had a view of an Otter from this hide whilst others heard and saw both Cetti's Warbler and Bearded Tit nearby along the Causeway. A Water Rail was seen from the Lower Hide along with eight Snipe plus Little Grebe, Moorhen, Coot, Grey Heron, Black-headed Gull, and a juvenile Great-crested Grebe.
 
Later in the day, when the skies had turned blue and the reserve was bathed in sunshine, watchers at Lilian's Hide were treated to a Marsh Harrier flying over - followed shortly after by a Great White Egret which occasionally landed in the reedbeds. Along the Family Trail, local birders were putting food out on fallen trees and stumps and this attracted a range of passerines including Chaffinch, Dunnock, Blue Tit, Robin, Wren, Great Tit, Coal Tit, Greenfinch and some very obliging Marsh Tits, even though these birds had competition from the army of Brown Rats ever on the lookout for easy pickings. In the nearby trees, Nuthatch and Treecreeper were seen whilst, near the bird feeding station, Pheasants were also regularly spotted.
 
A sighting of a Yellow-browed Warbler near the reserve (one of five seen around Morecambe Bay that day by birders) was reported by a group member.
 
Throughout the day, the usual corvids were seen including Carrion Crow, Rook, Jackdaw and Jay. A variety of non-bird species seen included Red Deer, Otter, Field Mouse, Water Shrew, Common Toad and Red Admiral and Comma butterflies. Several dragonflies were also seen including Common Hawker.

All in all, an enjoyable day for the group made better by the good weather and the range of wildlife seen.

34 attended.
69 bird species seen.