A leisurely day out at Leighton Moss

I've been just a little too busy to get stuff done over the past couple of weeks but a few plans are falling into place. Our trip to Cuba in March is all booked so I'll need to start genning up on the local avifauna and the language!
Marsh Tit
Last week we had a very nice, calm, sunny spell of weather at last and so Mark and I managed a morning's ringing in my garden with a few Lesser Redpolls included. Rishton Reservoir has continued to attract the geese with the white-fronts around on and off. Last week there were several skeins of Pink-footed Geese overhead and a Kingfisher darted past, its iridescent blue back catching the sun.
Pink-footed Geese heading west over Rishton
The weather pattern has returned to the same one we've had for weeks now - more rain and string winds from the west/north-west. At least that's meant no snow but it's been a bit miserable. However today I had 21 Lesser Redpolls in the garden briefly and Bullfinches continue to visit.

I needed to replenish the sunflower kernel supply so after a visit to Bamford's at Midge Hall, we set off to Leighton Moss for some birding and a good walk. I was firstly pleasantly surprised to find that the shop at Leighton only had a few unsold copies of the 2010 Bird Report and then very pleased to find a drake Green-winged Teal showing distantly from Lillian's hide.
Green-winged Teal in amongst Eurasian Teal
the bird was asleep most of the time but later in te day it became more active but still remained towards the back of the pool. There were lots of Teal as well as Goldeneye, Pochard, Gadwall, Shoveler & Pintail but no sign of any Bitterns. We headed off to the causeway and around the loop to the Lower hide and the 'Blue gate' which is brown these days!

Again, there was nothing too exciting but Bernie and I enjoyed the close attention of a pair of Marsh Tits as they 'pitchoo'd' in the alders near Lower Hide. In the fields above the Moss, there was a small flock of Fieldfare with a couple of Redwings. These are a bit scarce this winter but the sight of these fine birds in the early afternoon sun gladdened the heart!

After lunch at the Cafe, we headed out to see the Glossy Ibis which was keeping its distance in a field adjacent to the Moss.
Immature Glossy Ibis
A few glossy feathers were showing on the back and in the wings but it had mostly brown juvenile feathers. Still, a splendid bird though I note that Birdguides have now demoted its rarity value - a sign of the times.

A quick visit to the Allen Pools resulted in a lovely Spotted Redshank but there weren't too many birds actually on the pools themselves. Plenty of Wigeon and Lapwings on the marsh though.

Finally it was back to Lillians for a final look at the Teal and a fly-past from a female Marsh Harrier.


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