While it's not exactly been blistering summer weather of late, we still have pretty low water levels across the reserve due to a relative lack of rain. This has resulted in Lilian's Pool providing the perfect place for hundreds of black-tailed godwits which have been roosting and feeding here, providing visitors with fabulous views. These impressive waders can be heard chattering away as one approaches the hide and the sight of birds flying in and out as they to-and-fro from the coastal pools can create quite a spectacle. The shallower water has also resulted in excellent fishing opportunities for great white egrets and grey herons

Meanwhile, out at the aforementioned salt-water pools the number of waders continues to fluctuate. Spotted redshank, ruff, little stint, little ringed plover and snipe have all been sighted among the commoner species, while a few avocet still hang on. The spoonbills have continued to play cat and mouse with birdwatchers but they have been seen most days. 

On those warmer days when the dragonflies are active we have been treated to the aerobatic antics of hobbies as they twist and turn in pursuit of their insect prey. Never a common bird in this area, these dashing migratory falcons are always a real treat to see. Ospreys too have been regular at the Lower and Causeway pools and some of our visitors have been able to capture terrific shots of the birds as they fish in the meres. 

 One of the things that has been notable over the last 18 months or so has been the lack of otter activity across the reserve. We have seen spraints and foot prints here and there but nowhere near as many as we would expect to. There was a single dog otter frequenting the Allen Pools earlier in the summer but as far as the main reserves goes they really have been in short supply. This could be partly due to decreased observations during the pandemic, plus the fact that Lower Hide was closed for some time but we are pretty convinced that we have not had any regular otters in residence for some time. Hopefully that is set to change as lots of sightings have been made in the last couple of weeks, indicating a potential return to form for these wonderful animals (pic from archive: copyright Brian Howson).

 As many of you will be aware, the founder of what was to become the RSPB was a woman called Emily Williamson. What many people may not be aware of however is that she was born very close to us here at Leighton Moss, in nearby Lancaster. As well as plans to erect a statue of this remarkable woman in Manchester, where she formed the fledging RSPB, plans are also afoot to have a plaque placed in Lancaster in her honour. Remarkably, she will be the first woman to be recognised with a plaque in the city! A crowdfunding page has been set up to raise funds for the plaque and you may find out more and donate towards it here.

In September we will be proudly hosting the four shortlisted designs for the statue of Emily here on the reserve. The miniature statues, or maquettes, will be on show on Wednesday 8 September and visitors will be invited to vote for their favourite. You may also meet Tessa Boase on the day, author of 'Etta Lemon; the woman who saved the birds' (first published in 2018 as Mrs Pankhurst's Purple Feather: Fashion, Fury and Feminism – Women's Fight for Change) who will be here doing a book signing. Find out more about the statue campaign here.

Jon

                             

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