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Post Info TOPIC: Leighton Moss RSPB

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RE: Leighton Moss RSPB

Early start to get to Leighton Moss for first light for the bearded tits.
- Bittern - flew over Causeway by the grit feeders and back again c. 9:15am
- Bearded Tit - after an hour and a half wait a male and female showed on the grit feeders c. 9:45am. Local birder said that the best time at the moment is c. 9:30-10am. But the time they showed could have been because of the lifting fog, and/or a sudden thinning out of the "scrum". No sign in afternoon
- Great White Egret - Lillian's pm (reportedly 3 on the reserve today)
- Chiffchaff - one in view, one singing distant (at same time) - from the new tower hide
- Cetti's Warbler - heard from tower
And from the Eric Morcombe hide;
- Spotted Redshank
- Greenshank
- Turnstone
- Peregrine
- Merlin
- Kingfisher
- plus usuals
2 x otter from the public hide c 10am.


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Yesterday 2 Bearded Tits at the grit trays but it was a bit overcast early morning - sunnier later.

Marsh Tit 4 showed really well in a mixed tit flock with 2 Goldcrests in there too 

Great White Egret and Otter from the Public Hide

2,000 Black-tailed Godwits from Lilian's around high tide time

Apologies for the double-spaced lines - no idea why


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We had one of those days out birding yesterday (Sunday 11th Oct)  that only come round very occasionally when the venue is not a traditional migrant hotspot like Spurn or Scilly in Autumn. We had decided on a pop up to Leighton Moss for the day after looking at weekend weather forecasts and not wanting to venture too far afield. So we woke early (4.55am!) and got on the road before dawn.

First port of call was, of course, the grit trays by Public Causeway. After a bit of a wait, once the sun came up, a few Bearded Tits started to arrive, one pair at first and then up to three pairs wowing the growing throng of watchers. As it inevitably started to get noisier with such a gathering we headed off to 'do our own thing'  and have a relaxing, peaceful day out. We headed down towards Lower Hide with thoughts of Otters uppermost in our minds. A car parked at the end of the causeway told me that ringers were going to be in their usual spot just off the path, so we would keep an eye out in case they had caught anything of interest. As we got level with the ringing nets one of the ringers raced up ad said "we've just caught a Yellow-browed Warbler" and glancing at his hand there it was, freshly extracted from the mist net!! He kindly let me take several photos before taking it off to show other birders down the causeway. Talk about right place, right time!! Luckily in this huge influx year for the species I had seen one 10 days earlier at Spurn 'in the wild' for tickable views!!

We then walked along the side track towards Lower Hide & were entertained for a full 10 minutes by a party of 10 Bearded Tits, clambering about, perching on the phragmites and gritting on the path just in front of us..... and all on our own this time, somehow it felt a nicer experience than the grit trays 'scrum' (although that does a fantastic job for folk to get views of this enigmatic little bird). Then, on walking into the hide, we discovered that 4 Otters were showing really well, a mother & 3 cubs, playing in the middle of the lagoon. Again we watched mesmerised for about 15mins before they headed off down a cut in the reeds, fantastic!!!

In the afternoon we headed to Jenny Browns Point to escape the crowds on the excellent RSPB reserve. In a watch over high tide I found a lone Avocet in amongst thousands of Oystercatchers. There was some satisfaction in finding this one white & black bird amongst the hordes of black & white birds!! I also found a single female Eider that drifted closer on the incoming tide and close by a single drake Scaup, even getting a digiscoped shot of the two in the same scope view! The ivy here attracted Red Admiral, Comma & Speckled Wood too as we did our wildlife watching in pretty warm sunshine in the second week of October, not a bad little country we live in really, just don't mention the summer wink


-- Edited by Doc Brewster on Monday 12th of October 2015 10:27:58 AM


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Yellow browed Warbler was caught by the ringers today and they were king enough to show us and allow photos. Also Several bearded Tits  at the grit trays.


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Marsh Harrier and Otters close view at Causeway and Lower Hides with Goldcrest Marsh Tit and quite a few Siskin
Ruff, Dunlin, Curlew Sandpiper, Spotted Redshank, Greenshank, Knott,Kingfisher Sparrowhawk and Peregrine chasing most waders around the Lagoon to right under the Hide with more usuals at Eric Morecombe Hide.

-- Edited by Ian McKerchar on Saturday 19th of September 2015 07:05:47 PM


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all day here, 57 species seen.

2 garganey, both eclipse, 1 at lillians & 1 at lower hide showing really well.
1 great white egret
2 greenshank over visitor centre
1 peregrine falcon
2 buzzard
plenty of water rails heard around, 3 seen.
2 snipe
60+ black tailed godwit
2 little grebe
3 jay
1 great spotted woodpecker
6+ marsh tit
1 chiffchaff
several nuthatch & treecreeper around visitor centre & feeder area.
hundreds of house martin around especially at lower hide with several sand martin, few swallow, 1 swift.
tit flock at lower hide held, long tailed tit, blue tit, 1 marsh tit, 4+ goldcrest, 3 chiffchaff, 1 treecreeper.
big numbers of teal around, other ducks inc... tufted duck, shoveler, gadwall & wigeon.

field next to level crossing had 300+ lapwing & 1 ruff

eric morcambe hide, very quiet...

500+ redshank
3 spotted redshank
1 dunlin
1 ruff
30+ black tailed godwit
2 little egret
2 shelduck

plus all usuals around


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Also here yesterday; similar sightings to below, though there were nearer 500 black-tailed godwits at Lilian's in the morning. Also with them at least 1 ruff, 3 dunlin and a handful of redshank. Good numbers of ducks here, too, with teal, wigeon, shoveler, gadwall and mallard all about. Great white egret seen from the tower on this pool in the evening, too.

Greenshank, redshank, 3 ruff, a sparrowhawk and great white egret of the most interest from the new Public Hide (I agree it's great). Waders all congregating on the small stony island right in front of the hide, so were easy to observe. They tolerated a grey heron that landed amongst them with nothing more than a little fluttering, but a carrion crow doing the same later scattered them.
Probable linnet from Grisedale's; it was very distant, but I'm pretty sure. A reserve first for me, if so; two (definite) goldfinches with it were literally the only birds I saw from here.
Lots of sand martin and quite a few house martin at lower hide.
Great spotted woodpecker and nuthatch at the feeders.
Stayed late for a bat walk, so several tawny owls heard calling when I was stood waiting for my train.

The saltmarshes were extremely quiet; one solitary black-tailed godwit, a few little egrets in the fields, a kingfisher, a couple of carrion crows and a single black-headed gull was all there was when I was there. Picked the wrong time, obviously!

-- Edited by Shannon Llewellyn on Sunday 30th of August 2015 03:50:30 PM


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A strangely quiet day with only 45 species seen (with 3 extra heard but not seen). This is the lowest species I've had at Leighton Moss since August 2009 (which was also 45), Dispite this, there was still plenty of interest. The main highlight was a great white egret that came in front of the new causeway hide (and i must add the hide really looks great!) A juvenile marsh harrier was seen. Other highlights were a spotted redshank, 14 greenshanks, about 200 black tailed godwits (lillian hide), wigeon, juvenile Bullfinch, a pheasant in the upstairs window, and directly close outside the Morecambe hide; a dozen dunlin and 40+ redshanks. And that's that till next time....

I heard a lot of chatter coming from my garden today and discovered it was a Sparrowtalk. . https://www.flickr.com/photos/135715507@N06

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Nice to meet you too Jane ... the Water Rail chicks were good weren't they !

I get called lots of names but never "lovely" ..... not sure if it's any good for my street cred ? biggrin

Blessed is the man who expecteth little reward ..... for he shall seldom be disappointed.

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Slightly off topic, but pertaining to a lovely day I had at Leighton Moss on Saturday. Met two lovely guys who introduced me to this forum whilst also helping me with identifying birds on just my second day out birding - thank you to Ian and Roger! Great to see the water rails in action.

-- Edited by Jane Daffern on Monday 10th of August 2015 10:42:07 PM


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Eric Morecombe/Allen Hides

2 Great White Egrets on the saltmarsh.

On the pools, lots of Redshanks, Dunlin and Lapwings, with lesser numbers of Black Tailed Godwits and Oystercatchers plus a single Curlew.

Main Reserve

The Southern part of the reserve as largely been drained, with just mud in front of the Tim Jackson hide.

Just 4 Black Tailed Godwits, a few eclipse Mallard and a couple of Lapwings on the pool in front of Lilian's Hide.

The drama in front of the Public Hide made up for any disappointment at Lilian's Hide, a large Otter was fishing near the centre of the pool, giving great views.

Most of the waterfowl was concentrated on the Northern side of the pool, with another Great White Egret plus 5 Grey Herons also here.

Large numbers of Swifts were above the pool, and amongst the Swallows skimming the surface were numerous Sand Martins.

A small pile of sun flower hearts put on a post near the Lower Marsh Hide attracted a couple of Marsh Tits.

The only raptors seen were a couple of Buzzards, as the Marsh Harriers having bred, have now dispersed, although a juvenile was seen yesterday.

John Williams

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A blustery but nice day spent here today; quite quiet, in terms of actual numbers of birds, but some good species and those that were around were being very amenable in letting you have good views.


40+ redshank
13 greenshank
14 black-tailed godwit
3 oystercatcher
c30 lapwing
1 shelduck (landing in the fields behind the pool)
2 little egret (likewise, in the area behind the pool)
1 cormorant
100+ starling
Quite a few swift, a few swallow, and one each of sand and house martin
2 buzzard

Main reserve:

2 common sandpiper (Lilian's)
2 dunlin (Lilian's)
12 black-tailed godwit gave a flypast at Lilian's, and one feeding there late in the day
Plenty of lapwing
1 shelduck (Lilian's)
Tufted duck with 3 young (apart from the shelduck, the only non-mallard duck I noted; whether that was down to eclipse and imperfect views or not, I don't know)
Marsh tit (on the feeders)
A willow warbler with food and a juvenile chiffchaff, the only warblers I encountered all day
2 marsh harrier
30+ sand martin feeding at Lower hide
50+ swift, too
3 great created grebe at Lower hide, one juvenile, and one, for about 30 yards or so, in flight; I don't think I've ever seen one flying before.
2 grey heron
3 little egret
1 great white egret (Lower)

-- Edited by Shannon Llewellyn on Friday 17th of July 2015 10:37:24 PM


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post for yesterday 4th july, not a great deal of birds about but still managed 68 species, part of the day spent with roy ridings.

white-winged black tern seen from public hide, but spent most of the time down opposite lower hide.
2 osprey, great views for over an hour from 6pm from public hide whilst they hunted & fed.
1 garganey drake moulting seen from lillians hide.
1 great white egret
several marsh harriers about inc juveniles
juvenile cettis warbler, great views as it was getting fed by one of the parents.
sedge warbler, blackcap, willow warbler, chiffchaff
100+ black tailed godwit from lillians hide.
great spotted woodpecker
no sight or sounds of any marsh tits

eric & allen hides, not a great deal of water there.

black tailed godwit
2 greenshank
cettis warbler singing outside eric hide.

plus all the usuals around


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A much needed day out for me. 61 species seen from 9 am till 6 pm. Highlights include, a great white egret flying over Lillian pool with about 100 black tailed godwit on the mud there too, a male and juvenile great spotted woodpecker on a small peanut feeder together close (a simular thing happened with the nuthatch later too), odd enough, I never saw an adult Robin all day until 5:30pm, reed warbler, sparrowhawk, 2 common gulls, 2 dunlin, 2 shoveler, 1 drake teal, 1 drake wigeon and a Leighton Moss first for me- a stock dove near the lower hide in a field.

I heard a lot of chatter coming from my garden today and discovered it was a Sparrowtalk. . https://www.flickr.com/photos/135715507@N06

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Another day spent here today; not the best weather (though by no means terrible), and despite feeling like it was quite a quiet day, I still saw a round 60 species.

The sighting that I found most surprising were 3 common gulls on the Allen pool with the multitude of nesting black-headed gulls; I don't think I've ever seen this species this far south at this time of year before. All sub-adult birds. Also seen around this part of the reserve:

Sedge warbler (several singing)
Cetti's warbler (outside the Eric Morecambe hide, with the most fleeting view imaginable)
3 skylark, which are a reserve first for me.
A family of extremely recently fledged wren
Greenfinch, reed bunting, willow warbler, etc.
30+ avocet
10+ oystercatcher
3 redshank
c15 black-tailed godwit
1 curlew (lurking in the fields at the back)
4 shelduck
3 wigeon
7 pochard
4 gadwall
1 pintail
3 little egret
2 great black-backed gulls

Also a few lapwing on the sheep fields, a lesser whitethroat showing well on scrub by the level crossing, and a great spotted woodpecker along that road, too.

Around the rest of the reserve:

c200 Swift
30+ house martin
Nuthatch feeding its chicks in a nest box
2 blackcap
Cetti's warbler singing on the causeway
1 marsh tit
Plenty of reed bunting heard singing, and a few reed and sedge warbler, too.
50+ black-tailed godwit from Grisedale's
Great crested grebe
Beautiful views of male and female marsh harrier; the female from the Public hide (though seen from Lilian's, too), and the male from the causeway.


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Spent around seven hours today at Leighton Moss arriving at 10.10 - weather cool and blustery and bird wise decidedly flat. Amongst others :-

Little Grebe
Great crested Grebe
Little Egret
Marsh Harrier (1)
Avocet (45+)
Black tailed Godwit (c.120)
Swift (250+)
Sand Martin (c.25)
House Martin (c.10)
Cetti's Warbler (4-6)
Sedge Warbler (1)
Reed Warbler (35+)
Marsh Tit (1)
Reed Bunting

On the plus side there were at least 4 Cetti's Warbler ranging from near Allen Pools to right down by the public causeway. A single Marsh Tit at the feeders. Still good numbers of Avocet (many nesting) and Black tailed Godwit around. No Bearded Tit or Bittern seen or heard and dipped on Lesser Whitethroat near the railway adjacent to Allen Pools despite spending some time there. Whilst there were decent numbers of Willow Warbler, Chiffchaff and Reed Warbler, there were only a couple of Blackcap around, only one Sedge Warbler and no Common Whitethroat at all.


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Saturday 9th May 11:30-16:30, visited by train. Highlights:

40+ Avocet - from Allen Hide
3 Dunlin - from Allen Hide
1 Little Egret - against railway embankment, from Eric Morecambe Hide
2 Cetti's Warbler - top of public causeway, saw one briefly
1 Marsh Harrier - female perched in dead tree, visible on right from Public Hide
175 or so Black-Tailed Godwit - Grisedale Hide. Some in breeding plumage.
2 Marsh Tit - one on feeders, one in bush near railway station
1 Blackcap - railway station platform

Usual common tits, finches and warblers in abundance.

Overcast, cool and reasonably still - fine for birding but not for butterflies.


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Great to meet you, too. :)

The only things to add to below (no cetti's warbler, whimbrel - from that hide - or otters for me, though) are from the salt marshes side, which contained:

Several singing sedge warbler, including a few, and one especially, giving stunning views
2 willow warbler
1 house martin
1 swift
2 spotted redshank looking resplendent in their summer plumage (which I've not seen them in before)
c50 avocet
5 redshank, 10+ dunlin (in the distance), 10+ black-tailed godwit (in the distance)

Immediately before the level crossing, on the right hand side, as you approach from the main reserve, is a small loose-stone track that leads to a locked gate before a sheep field; always worth checking this field, last time I was here it contained white-fronted geese, and this time there were:

2 oystercatcher
2 lapwing
9 black-tailed godwit
4 whimbrel
c10 swallow
1 raven (looking incongruous and massive compared to the other species, as it stomped along)
greylag geese, carrion crow, jackdaw and a pied wagtail

Also worth mentioning that the Butterfly Conservation's Myers Allotment reserve is also here (a minute's walk up The Row), and is well worth an hour or two of anybody's time; birdwise, I saw here a pair of marsh tit, blackcap, chiffchaff, and a singing coal tit.


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Public Hide

Pied-billed Grebe, as per M Gannon's comments - favouring edges of reedbeds, not always visible or offering close views.
2 Marsh Harrier - At one point, I had scope trained on the Pied-billed Grebe, looked away briefly, then when I looked back, the scope was full of Marsh Harrier! Fortunately, it didn't fly off with our American guest in its clutches.
2 Great Black-backed Gulls, nest-building
2 Great Crested Grebes, displaying (including memorable 'weed dance')
2 Otters

Eric Morecambe Hide

1 Spotted Redshank

Lillian's Hide

1 Whimbrel
2 Dunlin
c100 Black-tailed Godwit
5 Ruff
Magic views of female Marsh Harrier
1 male Garganey

Marsh Tits on feeders, also one in trees at start of causeway

Cetti's Warbler singing from causeway

Great to meet Shannon Llewellyn, enjoyed comparing notes on the train back to Manchester.


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Pied billed grebe showing distantly but well through the scope from the public hide. It spent a while peeping over the top of the reeds before coming out for a swim around 3:30pm.
4 marsh harrier
1 male garganey from Lillian's hide
3 ruff
200 black tailed godwit
1 marsh tit
6 bullfinch
2 treecrreeper
2 blackcap
7 chiffchaff
2 willow warbler
3 sedge warbler
2 reed warbler

-- Edited by Ian McKerchar on Monday 4th of May 2015 07:44:01 PM


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Highlights of a couple of visits on Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning:
Pied Billed Grebe showed well from lower hide
Spotted Crake calling frequently near path to lower hide
Drake Gargany from Lillians
Summer plumage Spotted Redshank from Eric Morecambe
8 Black Tailed Godwit
80+ Avocet
2 Marsh Harrier
3 Sedge Warbler

Otter from Lillians too


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Highlights from this morning/early pm:

Pied-billed Grebe still showing well from Lower Hide. A lifer for me.
Cracking male Garganey from Lillian's Hide, giving full, close views
1 Knot in among a large flock of Black-tailed Godwit, also from Lillian's. A Wood Sandpiper had been reported this morning but I missed it by seconds thanks to a passing Marsh Harrier spooking it into the reeds.
2 Marsh Tits by the feeders
1 Cetti's Warbler from the path from Lillian's to the Causeway, seen well and heard
1 fantastic summer plumage Spotted Redshank from Eric Morecambe Hide, also good numbers of Avocets
A couple of otters, best viewed from Public Hide

As usual these were accompanied by a great mix of more common woodland birds, waders, wildfowl and warblers - Sedge Warbler everywhere, in particular. The only frustration of the day was hearing a clear Lesser Whitethroat call (or three!) on the path to the shore hides, but, despite a group of us staring into the thickets for almost an hour, the bird eluded us. Would have been a lifer (sighting wise) for me, but mustn't grumble I suppose!


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An all-to-brief visit here on the unlikely off chance of catching the Pied-billed Grebe. It wasn't to be. It had last been seen at 12:30 and wasn't seen again until an hour after I left. Such is life.

Small consolation was a smart drake Garganey from Lillian's Hide but, more welcome was a showy Lesser Whitethroat just outside Morecambe Hide.


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Another cracking days birding with Steve Burke and Simon Gough on Sunday covering here, Pendle Hill and Royton.
Nice to bump into Holly Page.

87 Bird species seen on the day with 80 here alone and some Mammals too!

Pied-billed Grebe - 1 (a Lifer for me)
Distant but very much easily identified. It showed at Public Hide then as the mobbing increased from a Coot it finally had enough and swam back towards Lower Hide where we caught up with it again. This time it really was distant and parked itself rear-end sticking out of the reeds.
Some Great Crested Grebe around as well


14 Wildfowl species including...
Mute Swan
Lots of Greylag Goose
Canada Goose
Pink-footed Goose 2 (well picked out Steve)
Tufted Duck
Wigeon 1 at Eric Morecambe hide
Pintail 4 at EM hide
...and a cracking female Red-breasted Merganser resting on the bank at EM Hide found by Steve
Cormorant 1 at Lower Hide
Common Gull 1 at Lilian's Hide
Lots of Black-headed Gulls
Lesser Black-backed Gulls
Great Black-backed Gulls 4 adults 1 juv on small island infront of Public Hide
Oystercatcher (2 in level crossing field 2 at Allen Hide)
Avocet 47 at Allen Hide then 6 at EM
Black-tailed Godwit I reckon around 400 maybe more
Greenshank 1 smart spot by Simon
Few Redshank
Ruff 5 at Lilian's
Little Egret 2
Grey Heron 2
Lots of Coot and Moorhen
Plenty of Pheasant
Common Buzzard 1
Marsh Harrier at least 2 different ones seen a few times
Sparrowhawk 1
Kestrel 1
Peregrine 2 circling over Allen/EM Hides path
Some Feral Pigeon
1 Collared Dove
2 Stock Dove feeding in level crossing field
Plenty of Woodpigeon
Great Spotted Woodpecker 1 on feeder near Causewsay cottage
Jay 1
Plenty of the other Corvids but No Raven
Swift 4
House Martin around 8
Plenty of Sand Martin and Swallow
Few Blackbird around
1 Song Thrush
Lots of Great Tit and Blue Tit
Coal Tit 1 near log feeder


Nuthatch 2 on log feeder
Wren 1, more heard
Dunnock few seen
Robin lots around
Cetti's Warbler 2 separate birds seen up close and very vocal, more heard
Garden Warbler 1 self found in trees opposite end of Causeway
Blackcap 1
Whitethroat 1 in Brambles near level crossing/car park

LESSER WHITETHROAT 1 belter along path to Allen/EM Hides, call gave it away, only ever had a glimpse of one at Pennington Flash, so chuffed with this one

Willow Warbler 1 seen, heard everywhere
Chiffchaff 1 seen, more heard
Sedge Warbler 2 seen, lots heard
Reed Warbler 1 seen, lots heard
Meadow Pipit few over outer path to Causeway
Skylark 2 over at Grizedale
Bullfinch 1f 1m at different locations
Few Reed Bunting around
Plenty of Chaffinch
Few Goldfinch and Greenfinch
House Sparrow 1 seen down Yealand Storrs Rd where I always see them
Starling 2 only, at base of reeds at Lilian's Hide

Of note...
Steve also had another Lesser Whitethroat along path linking Causeway to reserve and another birder also reported one.
Grizedale Hide was a very poor showing with low water levels and hardly any birds apart from a few Teal and a Lapwing, but on the whole, I've said it before...this place never disappoints, and yesterday again was no exception, it was a brilliant few hours and we always seem to come up with the goods when we go somewhere as a trio!

-- Edited by Rob Creek on Monday 27th of April 2015 05:10:40 PM

-- Edited by Ian McKerchar on Monday 27th of April 2015 06:56:55 PM


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Having spent all day at work on Saturday and news of a massive Mega in Somerset (Hudsonian Godwit) teasing me every hour I was desperate to get out Sunday. After waiting forlornly for the godwit to reappear I decided to take a trip closer to home - Leighton Moss to be precise.

On arriving I was amazed at the lack of cars, on a sunny Sunday, with a Mega bird on show!! I parked at the top of Public Causeway, something I often can't do on a 'normal' Sunday and was greeted by all coming back with news that it was present but always distant. Getting down to Lower Hide there were even seats free! The grebe was missing but about 10 minutes later it appeared swimming straight towards us. It came within 20m or so of the hide showing very well and then nipped through the reedbed to the smaller pool on the right. The hide was in danger of tipping as everyone (bar a couple of us who were happy with our views already!) ran down to the far righthand end!! Everyone had excellent views, I had the bird in my scope for latecomers who couldnt get to a window through the scrum, several of whom thanked me and informed me that it was a lifer, great smile

Just 25m or so short of the hide a stunning Tawny Owl was roosting in the trees and giving fantasic views to all too, again by setting my scope up all passers by could see it, even kids who were having a bit of difficulty picking it up in the tangle of branches which obscured it partially. Marsh Harriers showed closely and Willow Warblers were everywhere. A Red Deer was in nearby fields and the sun shone, but as is always the case the hide was more like a fridge!! Having other commitments I had to head off home, good timing as it happens since news of a Hoopoe broke, in Royton, see other thread smile After sorting a few bits & bobs that would be my next destination smile

p.s. a q.edit - The Pied-billed Grebe is still present this morning (Monday 27th) in case anyone wants a trip out today smile

-- Edited by Doc Brewster on Monday 27th of April 2015 10:12:35 AM


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Breeding plumaged Pied-billed Grebe present again this morning; from the Public Hides.

Info thanks to Steven Burke

Ian McKerchar (forum administrator and owner)

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9.30-6pm 75 species seen.

at least 3 marsh harriers
4 buzzard
3 raven
cettis warbler showed very well just beyond the feeders, several more heard around.
1 garden warbler, singing & feeding just at the start off the causeway opposite the house, a grasshopper warbler was also heard reeling nearby & another next to the grit trays.
lots of reed warbler & sedge warbler heard all around with a few briefly seen.
blackcap, chiffchaff, willow warbler all around, no whitethroats.
large numbers of swallows & sand martins, several house martins, few swifts.
small numbers of the usual ducks
at lillians hide water levels low & had 250+ black tailed godwit & 3 ruff.
4 marsh tit
1 great spotted woodpecker
3 nuthatch

fields next to the level crossing...

8 whimbrel with 1 curlew to show for comparison.
3 wheatear

eric morcambe & allen hides...

large numbers of black tailed godwits
1 knot
1 greenshank
several redshank
60+ avocet
then heard the news when I was on the train going home that a pied-billed grebe was at lower hide & typically the only hide I never visited, what a bummer no
and I heard when I got home that a spotted crake was there also nono
still a great day out wink


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The weather forecast seemed like we might be in for some rain last Sunday, but, we decided on a trip anyway. We met in Norden and with Chris B at the wheel we headed of to Sizergh Castle. Nearly a full A team arrived at a wet venue to see Hawfinch, a species we do not often miss here. We missed last time and after 20 minutes of standing under the National Trust cafe verandah in wet and cold conditions it looked like another dip. We decided to "tough it out" and were rewarded when a single Hawfinch was seen feeding along with Bullfinch and Chaffinch, quite a sight in breeding plumage. It was time to employ operation, "Find a Hide", as we headed for the Allen and Morecambe Pool hides at Leighton Moss. Greenshank and Ruff were again our target species as we had missed out a few weeks ago and as the rain lashed against the hides it did not look good. Lots of Black Tailed Godwit, Avocet and Black Headed Gulls were present, but alas no target waders. A stop to listen for Cetti`s Warbler was also fruitless, can we blame the birds for not singing in these conditions really? We stopped at the "Blue Gate" at Leighton Moss (well it used to be blue) and heard and saw Willow Warbler and Blackcap. Real harbingers of spring these two species, Chris pointed out a couple of fungus, one called King Alfred`s Cakes quite a curious shape and all black! We carried on to the Lower hide as the rain just fell from the sky, I re-told my story about the Golden Oriole that I saw one December along this path, don't know if I have told them that story before as they appeared to not be listening! On arrival we tried to dry out a little bit with distant views of Sand Martin,House Martin, Swallow and quite a few ducks then, someone saw 2 Otters. We were then treated to 10 minutes watching these beautiful mammals swimming, diving and generally enjoying themselves in the monsoon conditions. It's a long time since I have seen them, we all enjoyed every minute of it. We decided to head for home the scenic route and check the area out as the rain did slightly subside. We came over the "Cross of Greet" road, always looks good for various hill dwelling birds, but unfortunately it is well gamekeepered and we know what that means. As we used the car as a hide we searched for returning migrants and were lucky to see a male and female Ring Ouzel sat close to the road, they then landed on a dry stone wall and after chasing each other up a boulder strewn valley were lost to view, excellent! We called in at Stocks Reservoir and a male Mandarin duck was found but not much else, we will be back soon when the Cuckoo comes back in few weeks though. We all got home before 3-45pm and in time to watch the Manchester derby football match. Even the excesses of the weather did not prevent us from all enjoying the day out.

Dave O.


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8am till 6pm. With over 60 species seen. A few highlights were, (saltmarsh) 2 knots, 1 dunlin, 250+ black tailed godwits, 40 avocets and, 1 female red breasted merganser. Interestingly, the avocets are nesting next to the black headed gulls without any issues between them. (Main reserve) 1 treecreeper close, 2 goldcrest, 2 nuthatch, all the willow warblers, swallows and sand martins have arrived, 1 marsh harrier, 1 cettis warbler and at least 3 great black backed gulls (possibly 5?). Heard but not seen was reed and sedge warbler. A nice day in all, esp. once the sun came out!

I heard a lot of chatter coming from my garden today and discovered it was a Sparrowtalk. . https://www.flickr.com/photos/135715507@N06

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Haven't been able to get away from my local patch for a while so I today took my frustration out on Leighton Moss with an all dayer and 68 species seen. Weather cool and blustery but warmish when the sun came out, 8.45 to 16.45, amongst others :-

Great crested Grebe
Little Egret
Tufted Duck
Red Kite (1)
Marsh Harrier (2)
Buzzard (2)
Water Rail (2)
Avocet (79)
Grey Plover (1)
Dunlin (1)
Ruff (c.8)
Black tailed Godwit (1000+)
Spotted Redshank (1)
Turnstone (2)
Green Woodpecker (1)
Sand Martin (c.30)
Swallow (c.12)
Cetti's Warbler (1)
Chiffchaff (c.30)
Willow Warbler (c.10)
Reed Bunting

I have been going to Leighton since 1973 and always start down at the Public, on to the Lower, then do the main reserve and finish with the Allen Pools. Daft really because of the light situation and having to look into the sun mid afternoon onwards at Allen Pools. Today I broke the habit of a lifetime and started at Allen Pools which paid dividends. A superb flock of Black tailed Godwit, between 1000 and 1500, many resplendent in near summer plumage, together with good numbers of Avocet. Singles of Dunlin, Grey Plover and Spotted Redshank were picked out from within the Godwit gathering and over on Eric Morecambe Pool a couple of Turnstone were mixed in with the Redshank flock.

Back on the main reserve there were definitely a male and female Marsh Harrier, could have been more as I had probably 15 or so separate sightings of the Harriers. Nice to see a Red Kite from the public causeway late afternoon. Great day.


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Several Marsh Harriers, Treecreepers, lots of Goldcrest, Water Rail, several Marsh Tits on the feeders front and back and near reed bed, Cettis Warbler, large flocks of Black-tailed Godwits, 6 Avocet 2 Spotted Redshank with Redshank in fields near railway crossing and the more usuals and pretty sure 4 Otter in a pair and two very separate single animals almost at the same time.

-- Edited by Ian Boote on Wednesday 1st of April 2015 05:44:21 PM

-- Edited by Ian McKerchar on Wednesday 1st of April 2015 05:47:42 PM


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Nice walk around Leighton Moss today in glorious sunshine, 54 species seen, Highlights

Marsh Harrier 2
Marsh Tit
Avocet 32
Common Snipe 9
Jack Snipe
Whooper Swan 10
Chiffchaff singing

Unfortunatly no sign of the White Fronted Geese that have been seen recently


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Also here today. Saw the white-fronted geese, though only picked out one pink-footed.

Saltmarshes, I also saw 13 black-tailed godwits, 4 oystercatcher and a spotted redshank (as well as a handful of redshank, too) to add to the sightings below (though I didn't see all of those species), with four shelduck and two curlew in the fields behind the water. Two pintail giving particularly lovely views.

Also noticed large numbers of goldcrest, probably saw about ten in the wooded area by the lower hide. Other highlights from around the reserve:

5 snipe (wonderful views, too, of one of my favourite birds)
11 wigeon
c10 shoveler
loads of teal
quite a few gadwall
10 pochard
lots of tufted duck
1 tree sparrow
1 chiffchaff (first of the year)
2 marsh harriers (maybe more; two was the most I saw together, and a male was giving great views all afternoon)
3 marsh tit
2 treecreeper
2 nuthatch
4 little egret
3 great spotted woodpecker
2 great crested grebe beginning to display
1 sand martin (first of the year)
Best of all, possibly, the day was rounded off by the sight of a barn owl hunting over the reed bed. smile

I do love this place, it doesn't disappoint.

-- Edited by Ian McKerchar on Wednesday 18th of March 2015 11:12:41 PM


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A nice round 70 figure of species found with the following highlights....on the Saltmarsh area was. 1 red breasted merganser, 6? Pintails, 1 spotted redshank, at least 40 avocets, a dozen dunlin, 2 jays, 1 male kingfisher, 1 green woodpecker and 5 white fronted geese with 2 pink footed geese. Main reserve area included 2 tree sparrows (with the male showing of to his mate very close). At least 8+ goldcrest, 1 marsh harrier, 1 redwing, 5 snipe, and a few gadwall and teal. Someone reported 2 bean geese near the level crossing, but I had scanned that area thoroughly and only definitely found 2 pink footed geese, so possible error? Guess I will never know! A very good relaxing day out. But I thought at lunch time I will be very good by skipping the sticky toffee pudding...... so I had an apple pie and custard instead! (10% off for those who travel by train in the cafe.)

I heard a lot of chatter coming from my garden today and discovered it was a Sparrowtalk. . https://www.flickr.com/photos/135715507@N06

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Mike Chorley wrote:

Jonathan Platt wrote:

May be better to PM on this issue Rob, my fault for mentioning mammals on a birding forum!smile

Or continue on "Out of County" on the "Other Wildlife" thread. May be a minority of one biggrin but I find it quite interesting

Cheers guys, I've done exactly thatsmile


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Jonathan Platt wrote:

May be better to PM on this issue Rob, my fault for mentioning mammals on a birding forum!smile

Or continue on "Out of County" on the "Other Wildlife" thread. May be a minority of one biggrin but I find it quite interesting

You don't HAVE to be mad to go birding but :-D

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Rob Creek wrote:

Jonathan Platt wrote:

Worth keeping an eye out by Tim Jackson hide, there was a Stoat in partial ermine pelage when I was up there last week.

...a good sighting that Jonathan, I've seen one myself in that state (although not at L.Moss) and it is simply because the moult from full Ermine to familiar brown is alot slower in Spring than the reverse moult in Autumn due to the longer Photoperiod at this time of year.

I think it may be a little more complicated than that Rob. As I understand it temperature at the time of moult determines the extent of white in a Stoat's coat. Cool temps = less melanin produced = white coat. Fur is replaced unevenly during autumn moult, therefore varying temps can result in piedball individuals. White winter coats are also thought to be hereditary, and females are more likely to moult to ermine than males.

May be better to PM on this issue Rob, my fault for mentioning mammals on a birding forum!smile


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Jonathan Platt wrote:

Worth keeping an eye out by Tim Jackson hide, there was a Stoat in partial ermine pelage when I was up there last week.

...a good sighting that Jonathan, I've seen one myself in that state (although not at L.Moss) and it is simply because the moult from full Ermine to familiar brown is alot slower in Spring than the reverse moult in Autumn due to the longer Photoperiod at this time of year.


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Worth keeping an eye out by Tim Jackson hide, there was a Stoat in partial ermine pelage when I was up there last week.


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Sunday visit in the quality company of Simon Gough.

This place never fails to produce some fantastic sightings including a Lifer for me, and a whole plethora of species including 16 of our Wildfowl
European White-fronted Goose - 5 (a Lifer for us both)
Couldn't see them at first as they were feeding just beyond one of the ridges at the end of the field near the level crossing. Thanks to the 2 birders who assured us there were at least 3 birds present. Turned out to be 5 and in the end we got some spectacular views.

Greylag Goose - lots of them allover the reserve
Canada Goose - a few around
Pink-footed Goose - a few tiny skeins over, plus 1 feeding with Greylag's near Siskin Wood.
One of the staff told us a Tundra Bean Goose had been reported but he thought it is probably confused with the single Pink-footed Goose that's with the Greylag's. I suspect there probably was a Tundra Bean present.
Mute Swan -
Shelduck -
Mallard -
Tufted Duck -
Wigeon -
Pochard - 12
Teal - we tried to sift through the vast numbers for the Green-winged but no luck
Shoveler -
Pintail - approx 8
Gadwall -
Goldeneye - 1m / 3f
Red-Breasted Merganser - 1 pair dropped in at Allen Hide
Black-tailed Godwits - lots of them 50+ (Allen Hide)
Avocet - 15 (Allen Hide)
Dunlin - approx 8 (Allen Hide)
Spotted Redshank - 1 beautiful bird at Allen Hide
Redshank - quite a few about
Oystercatcher - quite a few around and very vocal
Curlew - 20+ in fields near the Geese
Lapwing - plenty about
Common Snipe - 12 (Lilian's Hide)
Great Crested Grebe
Little Egret - 10-15
Grey Heron - 3
Cormorant - of note 2 striking adults in breeding plumage infront of Public Hide right next to...
...2 Great Black-backed Gulls (2 also at Allen Hide)
Lesser Black-backed Gull - 2
Herring Gull - a few about
Common Gull - 1 on a post infront of Lilian's Hide
Black-headed Gull - uncountable
Marsh Harrier - around 5 or 6 sightings, at least 3 individuals due to colouration differences
Sparrowhawk - 1 being tailed by a Jackdaw and a few small birds
Kestrel - 1
Common Buzzard - at least 6
1 of which was being guided away by a Raven, infact we thought it was 2 Buzzard at first
Plenty of Rook, Carrion Crow, Jackdaw, Magpie
Jay - 1
Mistle Thrush - 2
Song Thrush - 1
Fieldfare - approx 50-60 in field near the Geese
Redwing - approx 20 with the Fieldfare
(1 Redwing in shrubbery near Lilian's Hise)
Lots of Blackbird and Robin - including Simon's new hand fed friend
Marsh Tit - at least 6 individuals, 3 together near the car park feeding in brambles on railway embankment then 3 singles in various parts of reserve
Lots of Great Tit, Blue Tit, Coal Tit
Few Long-tailed Tit
Skylark - 8 then 2 over (calling)
Nuthatch - 1 in car park, 1 near feeding log
Treecreeper - 1 in Siskin Wood near Lower Hide
Lesser Redpoll - 2 together near the Treecreeper
Goldfinch and Chaffinch
House Sparrow - approx 10 in hedge along the Yealand Storrs road nearing reserve
Reed Bunting - some on feeders near Allen Hide, others on reserve
Goldcrest - 1
Wren - 2 seen, lots about
Dunnock - plenty about
Great Spotted Woodpecker - 1 on feeder near reception
Lots of friendly Pheasant
Starling - not many, probably 40-50 at most and not all at once

Plenty of other usuals including...Coot, Moorhen, Woodpigeon, Collared Dove and Feral Pigeon.
and Grey Squirrels and Common Rabbit

Never disappointed when we come here!

Birds heard only...
Green Woodpecker - heard 4 or 5 times near level crossing and near Lilian's Hide
Cetti's Warbler - plenty heard on reserve and near Allen Hide
Water Rail - 1 heard squealing near Public Hide
Possible Tawny Owl heard too near Causeway

-- Edited by Rob Creek on Monday 9th of March 2015 03:44:13 PM

-- Edited by Ian McKerchar on Monday 9th of March 2015 08:11:52 PM


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Couple of hours first thing before heading home to do work . Most of the waders were hunkered down under the far bank at Allens Hide but good views of
Spotted Redshank
Small number of Ruff with two individuals showing significant size variation.
Male & Female Red Breasted Merganser
10 plus Pintails

3 European White Fronted a Geese in amongst the Greylags near the level crossing.

On the main reserve
Green winged Teal showing brilliantly well from Grisedale Hide
11 Snipe
2 Marsh Harriers
Marsh Tit on the feeders
Out at 7 back by 11


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Treated myself to a day out here on Friday; an absolutely stunning day it was too, bright sunshine and blue skies all day. Otters showing well pretty much all morning from the public and lower hides (first time I've ever seen wild otter), and as for the bird life, 55 species seen, with some of the highlights being:

Public hide / lower hide / woodland areas:

3 marsh harrier (all female, showing well all day, but to see 3 together felt a treat)
teal (lots)
tufted duck
c30 fieldfare making a hell of a racket
marsh tit
great spotted woodpecker
the robin that joined me in the lower hide; sadly, I had no mealworm to give it.

treecreeper and more marsh tit in trees on walk from Lilian's hide, and more snipe and a male goldeneye to be seen from it.

Salt marshes:

reed bunting around the feeders, males coming into their summer plumage
1 little egret
a couple of hundred lapwing (probably more)
plenty of redshank (one of whom was embroiled in a mighty battle with a lugworm; very amusing)
1 spotted redshank
stunning views of a greenshank, one of my favourite birds; utterly beautiful.

In one of the fields in the walk back to the main part of the reserve from the salt marshes was a flock of roughly 100 greylag geese, which also included:
2 pink-footed geese
1 bean goose


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An unusually very quiet day, plus I didn't get round to the saltmarshes. Dispite this, still managed over 50 species including lesser redpoll, little egret, water rail, marsh harrier, goldcrests very close to 3ft (they sneaked up at my side while I was crouched down to take pictures of marsh tits), treecreeper, a very freindly nuthatch, common snipes, a common gull and a jay. All water levels were a tad higher then normal. Recently but not seen since Sunday was tree sparrows and firecrest. These are a very hit and miss from what I was told. Otters showed well through the day too. Ps. Not forgetting the 10% off the cafe if you use public transport to get there...

I heard a lot of chatter coming from my garden today and discovered it was a Sparrowtalk. . https://www.flickr.com/photos/135715507@N06

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Bittern showing well from Public Hide
3 Water Rail near the bridge on the public Causeway and 2 further squealing elsewhere
Cetti's warbler - along causeway
4 Bearded Tit also along causeway
20 Snipe flew around public mere
2 Marsh tit and Great spotted Woodpecker - visitor centres

Good numbers of Greylag, Shoveler, Teal and Gadwall on the open water

Didn't get to the Salt Marsh as the road was closed at the level crossing (so the sign said)


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Sunday 28th December from 9am-3pm 1+ Bittern showing well from the public hide at 9:45. It barely moved for a couple of hours giving great views for many. It then flew to the distant reedbeds at 2.30. Lifer for me :) 1f Bearded tit feeding at the grit tray at 2.40. Another lifer :) In addition: Fieldfare around car park Great Spotted woodpecker Marsh tit Marsh harrier Redshank Little egret Curlew Water Rail Red-breasted merganser Snipe Wigeon Nuthatch Treecreeper Shoveler Shelduck Teal Lapwing Reed Bunting Pink-footed goose Goldcrest Bullfinch 6 otter giving great views from lower hide, in 2 separate groups of 3.


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Great and lengthy views of 3 Otters playing and fishing from Public Hide 9.45am ish this morning. Well worth a visit, really nice to see; one caught an eel that seemed almost as long as it was.

Bittern from Public Hide also.

1 m. Bearded Tit on Trays.

1 m Marsh Harrier over Causeway.


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Not a great day for birds with nothing unusual for the site, but fantastic vies of up to 3 Otters from Lower and Public hides. Starling roost is building - certainly a sizeable flock now - and there was a bit of a display over the eastern end of the reserve, but over very quickly. Felt a bit sorry for the folks waiting on the footpath by the road who missed it all.

No one on their death bed ever said they wished they'd spent more time at work. http://bitsnbirds.blogspot.co.uk

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Bumper day at Leighton Moss 10am - 5.30pm. 55 species seen, 4 more heard only

Bearded Tit 9 - 3 males and 6 females/juveniles taking grit not from the trays but from the path
Bittern 2 from the Public Hide in different locations, one or the other showing well for all and one in flight
Water Rail 2 sometimes showing at the same time as the Bitterns
Marsh harrier 1 but more about according to others
Marsh Tit 2 (see em every day
Whooper Swans 9 over
Pink-footed Geese skein of 109 over

Otters 2, maybe 3 - my first ever!
Red Deer stag Griszedale hide
Rabbits in field near VC
Grey Squirrel
Martin Hughes-Games in a Land Rover coming down the Causeway

At Eric Morecombe/Allen Hide:

Red-breasted Merganser 3
Pintail 12
Great White Egret


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Thanks for this Rob. I was just wondering if we could document it as October records are always noteworthy. Most of the very late records on Heysham outfalls tend to be juv Arctics. Common Tern is like rocking horse dung up here these days in contrast to the significant spring Arctic passage

On past experience, I suspect at least one tern spp will appear on Heysham outfalls after Monday night's storm but it all depends on the track - we need a good dose of SW/W for the main target - Leach's Petrel. This autumn has been very unusual with a complete lack of onshore strong winds so far (today is still too southerly) - I've done no/had no incentive to do any seawatching at all!


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Just incase you weren't aware, Commic is an fairly old term used for unidentified Terns of COMMon / arctIC species, and to be honest it is still difficult even for experts with these 2 (I've got it wrong on many occasions) as there is some overlap between the tail fork /streamers, the bill colour, and the outer edge wing colours, all giving rise to ID confusion.

Out of interest though...
There was a possibility a few years back of a real COMMIC TERN in Weymouth. Apparently an Arctic Tern decided to set up territory in the Common Tern colony. It bred with a Common, the egg hatched but never fledged.

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This forum is dedicated to the memory of Eva Janice McKerchar; rest in peace mum.