We're all very excited here at Leighton Moss as the much anticipated 'H-Day' approaches.

Yes folks, May 17 is (hopefully) the day when we get to open our hides to visitors! If nothing changes drastically in the next few days, we can look forward to welcoming people back into our hides as of Monday next week. There will of course be some restrictions in place to ensure everyone's safety and comfort, such as maximum number of occupants at any one time (this will vary from hide to hide depending on available space in each), wearing of face coverings will be mandatory (unless one is specifically exempt) and we will have to clean the hides daily. 

We are planning to open all of the hides (with the exception of Lower Hide which will remain closed) on Monday May 17 but do please check the website, Facebook page and Twitter account for updates.

Of course at this time of year, there is much to see on the majority of the reserve without having to step foot in a hide - marsh harriers, ospreys and bitterns can be seen from the Causeway or Skytower while reed and Cetti's warblers are far more likely to be encountered along the paths. The sounds of spring too are best enjoyed in the open air. However, the hides really come into their own at this time of year down by the saltmarsh and a visit to the Eric Morecambe and Allen Pools will be high on the list for many visitors. Here you will see nesting avocets (already some chicks have hatched) as well as the active and enthralling black-headed gull colony in full swing! Spoonbills are a fairly regular feature here in spring and summer too, always bringing a splash of the exotic to a day's birdwatching. 

 One of the truly awe-inspiring features of spring is of course the dawn chorus. Variations of this early morning symphony take place the length and breadth of the country, from city centres to remote wild woodlands. Here at Leighton Moss, it's a genuinely stunning experience as such vociferous songsters as reed and sedge warbler, song thrush, wren and blackcap belt it out alongside willow warbler, swallow, reed bunting and even booming bitterns. We still have a few places available on our special one-off dawn chorus walk, taking part on Sunday May 23. This exclusive event will include small intimate groups joining our expert guides for an early morning, 3-hour stroll around the reserve listening for and identifying the various species that make up our avian orchestra. Afterwards, we will warm up with a hot breakfast bun and a brew! Numbers are strictly limited -  for details and to book your tickets please click here   

May really is an exciting month in the birding calendar and one never knows what might turn up - what oddity might we have drop in this year? Even in the absence of a rare or scarce bird the profusion of wildflowers, butterflies, first emerging dragonflies and multiple nesting birds makes any day spent on the reserve at this time of year a real joy!  

We hope to see you soon,

Jon

Birdwatcher pic by Darren Andrews

Avocet pic by Alan Coe

            

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