Leighton Moss RSPB Fieldtrip – 17th November 2013

Although we sometimes combine this trip with a visit to Sizergh Castle in search of Hawfinches, today tt was decided to go straight to Leighton Moss RSPB and make for the public causeway in the hope of seeing Bearded Tits that had been coming to the grit trays that have been provided for them. At first there was nothing there so we made a quick visit to the public hide, but all we could see were the odd Gadwall and Shoveler plus a few Mallard and Black-headed Gulls.

Male and Female Bearded Tits on the grit trays
So we returned to the grit trays and met up with the others in our group who were just arriving. We stood around for a while and were eventually rewarded with a male and female Bearded Tit on the trays for a few minutes. They soon moved back into the reeds and out of sight but not before a Wren had got in on the act and joined them on the trays.

While we were waiting to see Bearded Tits we heard a Water Rail squealing from somewhere in the reed bed and on a few occasion, I also heard a Song Thrush from some nearby bushes, a Great Spotted Woodpecker flew across to one of the trees, a Cormorant flew over and a Marsh Harrier flew low over the reed bed. Two of our members had arrived a lot earlier than most of us and so had walked to the “lower hide” where they had also seen Pintail, Kingfisher and Bullfinch.

Back to the main reserve where Nuthatch, Marsh Tit, Mistle Thrush and House Sparrow were seen. A short walk to “Lillian’s Hide” gave us Tufted Duck, Teal and a distant view of a few Goldeneye making frequent dives but one of these was looking a little different from the others and some careful checking through the scope showed it was a female Long-tailed Duck. Also from here we could see a Common Gull perched on a stump in the water and a Grey Heron flew in and landed nearby.

From the “Tim Jackson Hide” we had some good views of a Marsh Harrier flying round and eventually perching on an old tree stump and there was a small group of Wigeon not far from the hide.

Our last stop was at the hides near the coast where we saw a number of different waders such as Snipe, Redshank, Spotted Redshank, Lapwing; Knot and Curlew were heard. A Kingfisher flew past the hide and we also saw Shelduck, Pintail again, a small flock of Starlings, Little Egret, Kestrel and a distant Peregrine perched on a stump out on the saltmarsh. With the help of a telescope, on another patch of water in the distance we could see two Whooper Swans, Great Black-backed Gulls and some Black-tailed Godwits.

In all we had 55 different species of birds, some common, some we were hoping to see and some we didn’t expect to see. Thanks to Al once again for the trip and to Martyn for my lift.
Jeff Hurst 

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