After teasing us with a taste of spring last month, the chillier climes of the past week have seemingly stunted migration slightly. However, there is still plenty to see on the reserve!

 Chiffchaff and blackcap, the earliest of the warbler arrivals, are making their presence known; their distinct songs have made our woodland trails a little livelier over the past fortnight. We have been receiving our first reports of willow warbler along the path to Lower hide; their cascading song should soon be accompanied by sedge and reed warbler. Sand martins are regularly being seen at present, and the first house martins and swallows are just starting to arrive on the reserve. Osprey sightings are becoming a more frequent feature of Leighton Moss, with Causeway becoming a favourite spot to watch birds catching a fish feast. On the same pool, we are still having regular reports of garganey, in amongst the rest of the wildfowl.  And of course, the Causeway is also a likely place to hear the boom of the ever-elusive bittern.

(Blackcap image by David Mower)

A notable sighting from last week was a report of an adult kittiwake on Lilian’s pool.  These gulls spend their breeding season in large colonies on the coast, and the winter months out at sea. It’s unusual to see them in Morecambe Bay, and usually when they’re spotted, they’re often out over the water. This scarce spot is a good reminder to always scan through the gangs of noisy gulls on the reserve. In amidst the black headed gulls, we are also having regular reports of a pair of Mediterranean gulls at present – easily identifiable by their vibrant bills and darker heads.     

Our warden team have been working hard to resurface the track to the Eric Morecambe car park, filling in the potholes. The car park is now re-open and we would certainly recommend a visit down to the saltmarsh complex.  Our seemingly ever-increasing godwit flock is now reaching numbers of 2100 birds, largely comprised of black-tailed godwits, but an eagle-eyed birder might spot small number of bar-tailed godwits amongst the group. The avocets are displaying unusually early nesting behaviour for Leighton Moss, which hopefully will give them plenty of opportunity to raise a successful brood over this spring and summer. 

Now, we’ve plenty of activities on here at Leighton Moss over the Easter break. Along with pond dipping and our Easter Eggstravaganza trail, Nature Up Close will be running in the Holt on the Tuesday 12 and Wednesday 13 April – a perfect opportunity for you and your family to get to look into a secret world through our microscopes.

From the 16 to 18 April, the Holt will also hold host to Julie Amanda’s Nature To Your Home exhibition. Julie has produced a line of homeware inspired by the wildlife and landscape images of Dean Andrew Photography, an exceptional photographer who has the ability to capture a story and the beauty of nature in every image. Pop into the Holt over the Easter weekend to meet Julie and where her products will be available to view and purchase!

We hope to see you over the Easter holidays!