Leighton Moss

Marsh Tit on a moss covered branch at the RSPB Leighton Moss reserve.
A later than usual start to the day but there’s few better ways of starting the new year than a visit to Leighton Moss.

Great to see plenty of Marsh Tits around the fringes of the moss. Sadly across the rest of the country they’re becoming increasingly uncommon. Apparently improved management of the Red Deer population is allowing the shrub layer to recover with Marsh Tits being one of the birds to really benefit.

Marsh Tit at Leighton Moss
Blue Tit foraging amongst the Ivy
With the Big Garden Birdwatch due to begin in late January I thought I’d better get into the spirit of things so at number 3 on the list of most recorded visitor to the nation’s garden is the Blue Tit. Despite being taken for granted the warmth of the mid afternoon sunshine really does help to illustrate what an attractive bird it is.
A Christmas cracker or perhaps next year's Christmas card
And at No 8 on last year’s list is the Robin. Strange how individual birds will follow visitors in the hope of a tasty morsel.
Hmm…….. not too sure where the Nuthatch ended up in the 2018 results however they’re definitely continuing to spread north. Although normally shy the ones at Leighton Moss are quite approachable and tolerant of visitors.
Owl carving in a dead tree stump at Leighton Moss
Great to see the remains of a recently felled tree being put to good use.
Common Snipe at the edge of the reedbeds
Plenty of Snipe around the Moss and in particular the edges of the reedbeds.

Seems almost beyond belief that they’re considered to be fair game. How people can take pleasure in hunting birds is beyond me. Fortunately Snipe are renowned for their erratic flight pattern and combined with their camouflage at Leighton Moss they remain fairly common. Sadly as a species they are on a steady and long-term decline with the likeliest of causes being the drainage of wet meadows and habitat destruction.

Scarlet Elfcup emerging from the woodland floor
Even though it’s been relatively mild still surprising to see the Scarlet Elfcups beginning to emerge.
Common Snipe close to the Lower Hide
Yet more Snipe close to the Lower Hide
A pair of Snipe
The beginnings of a murmuration
The beginnings of a murmuration gathering over the causeway before heading over to roost close to the salt marsh.













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