Once again the week's headlines have been dominated by those amazing bearded tits. They do seem reluctant to use the grit trays so far this year for some reason and are instead gathering their much-needed grit from the pathways. Hopefully visitors will be able to continue enjoying these stunning little birds as they go about their grit-gathering for a few more weeks yet.

Of course working here I’m very fortunate in that I get to see bearded tits and lots of other really great wildlife all the time but I can clearly remember the first time I ever saw a bearded tit – right here at Leighton Moss over 40 years ago. I recall being absolutely blown away by them. And I love seeing our visitors getting an eyeful of these rare reedlings for the first time - sheer magic! 

 Another big feature of this time of year is the red deer rut; the stags have started roaring in recent days. Generally they’re more vocal in the mornings and again at dusk and may be glimpsed from the Skytower or the Causeway. In most years these huge mammals can be seen from the Grisedale Hide during the rutting season but as this area is closed at the moment you’ll have to take my word for it that they’re not showing much there at the moment. This is more than likely due to the fact that we are having some major engineering work done on that bit of the reserve and the disturbance is shifting them to other parts of the site. The work is part of a massive cell bed project which will result in yet more habitat for bitterns. It’s a really exciting piece of landscape work and we’ll be sharing more with you about this in the coming weeks. Photo of red deer by Mike Malpass

 Back to bird news and recent sightings include the return of the North American ring-necked duck which appeared on Causeway Pool for a couple of days, our first whooper swans dropped in along with goldeneye plus we had our first redwings and brambling of the autumn. There were also a couple of yellow-browed warblers: little gems all the way from Siberia! Photo of brambling by Mike Fraser

Black-tailed godwit numbers have been building up nicely at the Allen and Morecambe Pools while kingfisher & great white egret continue to entertain the crowds there. 

Our shop and café are now open until 5pm every day – so now you have more time to relax with a hot drink and a slice of cake after a busy day’s birdwatching!