Trip reports

What no rain

What no rain
Lapping by Duncan Turner

Wednesday, 12 June 2019

What no rain?

Well today the weather forecast was dire, rain potentially everywhere all day. What no rain been our first choice but as it is very exposed we decided to play safe and go to a site with lots of hides. Consulting the weather forecasting oracles it seemed that heading north would get us marginally better weather so Leighton Moss it was. Unfortunately, Donald had a windscreen wiper malfunction on the way up and had to abort the mission. This was a shame as we had no rain whilst out around the reserve and none during our drive back, but you can't take a chance on the weather.

The website had said that a Bittern was nesting near the lower hide and that Bearded Tit were showing regularly there too. So our first destination was the lower hide confident that as usual we could guarantee not to see either of them. We were right to be confident as we did not see either bird. What we did see were lots of Swift, House Martin, Sand Martin and Swallow swooping low over the lakes for flies. Overhead there were regular views of Marsh Harrier, both male and female. We did not see any of the male "sky dancing" where they perform aerobatics and pass food to the female, but we saw them hunting over the reeds. In the reeds we saw and heard Reed Warbler, Sedge Warbler and Reed Bunting. The Reed Warbler and Reed Bunting song followed us around all day. In the shrubs and scrub we could hear Willow Warbler and Chiffchaff. Once or twice we also heard Blackcap and there were lots of family groups of Great Tit and Blue Tit but no Long Tailed Tit surprisingly.

Our passes by the bird feeding station before and after lunch in the car park, added Nuthatch, and Marsh Tit but not Treecreeper. Bullfinch was seen and heard on the path to Lower Hide, Andy saw a Kingfisher at lower hide. A Song Thrush called from the trees with the other usual suspects, Robin, Blackbird, Chaffinch, House Sparrow, Magpie, Woodpigeon, Collared Dove, Jackdaw, Carrion Crow and Buzzard.

By the time we were on the way back the species count had reached 51. We had not been to the saltmarsh hides where we might have added a few more species emphasising how rich the variety of species are at this premier RSPB site in North West England. We had another great day out in good company and I would like to thank everyone for making the effort to get out in spite of the threatening weather forecast. See you next month for another magical mystery tour, let's hope the weather is more summery and we can get a tan instead of rust!

Duncan Turner