Outstanding …..

Marsh Tit, Leighton Moss, Lancashire

A few highlights from a recent trip up north and to the Silverdale and Arnside AONB.

Seems incredible that I’ve now been visiting the RSPB’s Leighton Moss Nature Reserve for the past 40 years. Fortunately I’ve yet to leave disappointed. On this occasion plenty of the more common woodland birds around including the increasingly rare Marsh Tit.

Wood Nuthatch, Leighton Moss

In contrast there appears to be far more Nuthatches around. Surprisingly the ones at Leighton Moss are far less wary then the occasional visitor who drops into the garden. Also seem particularly keen on sunflower seeds. Perhaps the number of people who are leaving high quality food out during the winter is helping the Nuthatches to spread.

Bearded Tit, Leighton Moss

Plenty of pinging calls heard from the causeway. After 20 minutes a pair of Bearded Tits appeared on one of the grit trays. Superb birds and thanks to the efforts of the RSPB their population appears to be relatively stable. Unfortunately the one thing that has changed over the past 40 years is the sheer number of visitors. By early afternoon the procession of visitors between the bird hides became a bit too much so it was time for a retreat to Gait Barrows.

Limestone Pavement, Gait Barrows Lancashire

An almost alien landscape and far more accessible than climbing up Ingleborough or Malham Cove. The limestone pavements around the Morecambe Bay area are superb. With many of them occurring close to sea level they support an incredible range of wildlife. Hard to believe that many of the stunted trees are hundreds,  or in the case of the ancient Yew’s thousands of years old.