L.O.S. Fieldtrip to Leighton Moss RSPB and Sizergh Castle – 9th November 2014

Some of our members started their bird watching at Sizergh Castle in the hope of seeing Hawfinch and were again successful, although I believe only a distant view up in some trees.

Leighton Moss RSPB (c) Alan Wilcox 2014
The other members went directly to Leighton Moss but a few decided to travel up there while it was still dark so they could be there for first light to try to see the Otters. One member arrived before we did and as he parked his car he saw a Barn Owl fly away. A little later, when we were parking up I heard some Redwings calling as they flew over and as we were walking a few Curlews flew past.

Our patience was finally rewarded by the sight of three otters although again only a distant view but we could make out two of them, possibly young ones play fighting and as they tumbled round in the water. Occasionally we could see their tails flip up into the air.

While we were waiting for the others to arrive we had time to look at the birds that were there. A male Pheasant walked past in front of us, a Grey Heron was feeding, a few Snipe were nearby and a Water Rail briefly came out from the reeds a few times. In the distance on the far side of the water we could just make out a Peregrine Falcon perched in the bare branches of a tree, and out on the water there were Teal, Gadwall, Shoveler, a female Goldeneye, a pair of Mute Swans with six large young that were now as big as their parents and a group of Greylag Geese flew in.

We were told the Bearded Tits had been seen on the grit trays, so our next stop was the public causeway where some of our members were lucky and saw some but although we stopped there for quite a while none showed up while we were there so we eventually walked onto the public hide where the birds were much as had already been seen, except for a Marsh Harrier that flew past and away in the distance.

Not long after we thought it was coming back again as we saw this large birds in the distance over the reeds and flying towards the hide but suddenly the bird turned to one side and we could see it was Bittern now showing up well with the sun shining on it. Flying over the water for a short distance then over the reed beds again where it dropped into and out of sight. While on the causeway some of our members also heard a Cetti’s Warbler.

As we walked between the various hides, I noticed that odd plants still had a few flowers on them. I saw Ragwort, Knapweed, Herb Robert and some of the Blackberry still had some blossom. It was interesting to see some of the old gnarled trees covered in various Lichens, Moss and Polypody ferns growing on them. Joan also identified one fungus we saw as Verdigris Roundhead.

From another hide we had another good view of a female Marsh Harrier, a Kingfisher was perched in a tree for a few minutes and a Buzzard flew over. It was also from this hide that we saw two Red Deer feeding along the edge of the reeds. While walking back from this hide we saw a single Oystercatcher flying over and later saw a Goldcrest and a Marsh Tit from quite close.

Throughout the day various members had seen Nuthatch, Bullfinch, Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Greenfinch and Reed Bunting among other more common birds. As we thought there would be difficulty parking near the hides on the coast, we came straight home but some members were lucky to get in and rounded off their day by having good views of both Little Egret and Great White Egret.

Great White Egret (c) Alan Wilcox 2014
We had seen some really good birds and some members even saw the three otters later in the morning from the public hide. We had been out much earlier to have distant views of them, but it was worth it to be out early and then see the sun just showing through and giving a golden glow to the reed beds that only a minute earlier had been dull and in shadow.

I still have not had a good view of an otter, I could make out some details but I suppose this gives me a good reason for trying again sometime.

Thanks to Al for organising this trip and to Joan and Jim for my lift home.
Jeff Hurst


LeighOS Webmaster said...

Phew, what a great selection of birds - looks like you had a great day.

GeekTeacher said...

That's a cracking photo of a Great White Egret Alan.

David Shallcross said...

I agree it is a cracking Photo, well done Alan....and compliments to you too Jeff for yet another great article

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