The autumn wader fest continues here at Leighton Moss, despite (and indeed because of) the diminishing water levels! The Eric Morecambe Pool remains water-free while the Allen Pool has at least been topped up by last week's high tides. As a consequence these pools are a beacon for passing shorebirds and we have seen counts of up to six spotted redshank, 16+ greenshank (including a striking leucistic individual - pictured here. Photo by Jarrod Sneyd), three little stints and a couple of ruff in recent days, alongside the more numerous redshank and lapwing. And a juvenile pectoral sandpiper made a welcome if brief stop there earlier in the week.
However, the real wader spectacle involves the huge numbers of black-tailed godwits currently roosting on Lilian's Pool on a daily basis. Sometimes reaching as many as 700 birds this chattering flock is a sight, and sound, to behold. A careful scan through them may reveal the odd interloper, such as a knot or snipe so it's worth having a good look! In fact on Wednesday, yet another pectoral sandpiper appeared on these pools and although elusive at times, remains there at the time of writing. Although it may the most regular of the 'rare' North American waders to turn up in Britain, it's still always a thrill to see one here in Lancashire.
Other recent sightings involve multiple bearded tits on and around the grit trays - a little earlier than usual, perhaps indicating a reduction in the number of insects available? Whatever the reason the birds have been delighting visitors and as the weeks go by they will only become increasingly reliable at the trays. If you'd like to join us for one of our Brilliant Breaded Tit guided walks in October, visit our events page for details!
A rather unseasonal little gull dropped in to Causeway Pool earlier in the week. Not a common bird at the best of times, these diminutive seabirds are always a welcome sight. It just goes to show that anything can, and does, turn up at this time of year! More anticipated were the numerous bitterns sightings reported from Causeway and Lilian's in the past week, along with otters from Lower and Causeway.
In other news - one of our moth experts Irene, discovered a spectacular convulvulous hawk-moth in her garden this week and brought it in for us to see. A rare migrant to the UK from the continent, this stunning insect has a wing span of up to 10cm! What a behe-moth! (Pic by Jon Carter).
If you are planning to visit in the coming days, please note that our shop will be temporarily closed for stock-taking on Thursday (23 Sept) afternoon from 12 noon. The reserve and cafe will remain open as usual with the shop reopening on Friday morning at 9.30am.
It really is a great time of year to be out exploring nature; autumn is a period of great change in the natural world and one never really know what one might see. The main thing is to keep your eyes and ears on alert and above enjoy being out there!
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