Field Trip To Leighton Moss April 2016

The Group enjoyed a successful visit to Leighton Moss reserve on 26th April. Here are some of my photos from the trip.

[click on a photo for a larger view]

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There was a sizable flock of Black-tailed Godwits in full breeding plumage visible from the Tim Jackson hide. They are much more colourful than the drab grey birds we usually see in winter time. These birds will be en route to their Arctic breeding grounds.

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Some nice close-ups of the Godwits. The red colour is quite stunning.

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This handsome drake Shoveler was feeding in the pool in front of the hide.

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Red Deer are usually present in the reed bed. However usually very difficult to see!

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The new Skytower gives impressive views over the reed beds.

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There are usually a few cheeky Robins about the reserve. They are very bold and sometimes come a bit too close.

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A nice drake Pochard seen from the Causeway hide.

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His mate was close by. She is much duller than the male.

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There are a lot of Black-headed Gulls on the reserve. Sometimes they just sit and doze.

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A nice reflection.

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Most of the birds were paired up for the breeding season. Looks like love is in the air.

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A couple of views of the northern lagoon, seen from the Causeway hide.

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A view over the reed bed showing the Phragmites seed heads. The seeds blow away on the wind.

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A very distant view of a female Marsh Harrier. They usually breed here every year.

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Willow Warblers had arrived for the summer.

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After the song, time for a stretch.

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If you look very carefully you can see that he has a ring on his right leg.

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This Tawny Owl was roosting in a tree near the lower hide. It was so deep in that it was impossible to get a clear shot.

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The male Marsh Harrier was busy collecting nesting material.

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He came much closer in than the female.

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Here he is quartering over the reed beds.

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From Marsh Harrier to Marsh Tit. It would come into the feeder but then disappeared straight away.

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We have now moved down to the pools overlooking Morecambe Bay. Several Mediterranean Gulls were visible from the Eric Morecambe hide. Unfortunately they stayed over on the far side of the pool, just a bit too far away for a good photo.

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Although superficially similar to the more common Black-headed Gull (seen in the foreground) there are several key differences. The Mediterranean Gull is slightly larger, it has a true black head (while that of the Black-headed Gull is actually chocolate brown), lacks the black wing tips, and it has a brighter red bill and legs.

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The Mediterranean Gulls were constantly harried by the Black-headeds, particularly if they got too close to the breeding colony.

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A part of the Black-headed Gull colony on an island in the pool. The Gulls are particularly vocal and constantly squabbling amongst themselves.

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A Little Egret was patrolling the edges of the pool on the lookout for a meal.

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Finally, everyone's favourite, the striking Avocet. Using its curved bill to feed by sweeping through the water.

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Several pairs of Avocets were present. These are some of the most northerly breeding Avocets in the UK. Some also breed over on the Northumberland coast.

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Obviously found something interesting down there!

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