Thursday, 9 June 2016

Leighton Moss RSPB

I went to Leighton Moss today, and boy, I've never seen the large pool in front of Lillian's Hide so dry. Apparently it's due to management and not drought or other problems - they're keeping the water levels low to encourage new reed growth for Bitterns to breed in. They've not bred there for a couple of years and the RSPB seem to think it may be due to the current reed bed being quite old and in need of regeneration. This Spoonbill shot was taken at the Eric Morecambe Hide, but more on that later.

They say keeping the water levels low encourages reed growth and it's planned to be like this for another year. I was told that the impact on the other wildlife is not significant enough to be concerned about. I suppose they must know what they're doing, but it looks rather strange, especially when they've just built that Sky Tower hide which mostly over looks dried up pools and desiccation cracks at the moment. I only saw two birds in the whole of that area today.

There wasn't much more at the Public Hide, now rebuilt and called the 'Causeway Hide', but a female Marsh Harrier did put in a couple of distant appearances whilst I was there.

After speaking to a couple of people about what was there, I decided not to go to the Lower Hide, but on my way back to the car a Carrion Crow was sitting in a tree along the causeway. It didn't seem at all bothered my presence and so I got fairly close.

As is so often the case when I visit, the best hides for birds were those on the salt marshes where four Spoonbills were present at the Eric Morecambe Hide. At first there was only the one, but later two more appeared and finally a fourth. I've also seen three at Burton Mere Wetlands RSPB this month as well as one at Marshside RSPB and it's great to see that there are many more of these fantastic birds about in the UK - we seem to have gone Spoonbill crazy!

There were also many Avocets, at least nine Little Egrets, four Redshank, many Lapwing and a few Shelduck and Oystercatchers.

One Oystercatcher was sat on a nest with three eggs on a patch of dry land in front of the hide. This is something I've not seen before here as usually there is a lot more water about. There were even sheep grazing on the grassy islands in front of the Allen Hide, again something which I've never seen before.

Finally, there was a very vociferous Cetti's Warbler right outside the door of the hide whose song echoed so much that it seemed to be inside the hide at times. But as usual, no photos of that one.

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