Posts Tagged ‘Leighton Moss


Just a Duck

We called at Leighton Moss RSPB on our way up to Southern Scotland a couple of weeks ago. Why wouldn’t yoy? It’s a great reserve. A duck was in front of one of the hides that I didn’t immediately recognise. Based on the size of the bill it was a shoveler species. An obvious escape. I thought initially Cape Shoveler but no, it was more like something I was much more familiar with … Australian Shoveler.

However, it didn’t match exactly the birds I’d seen on my many visits to the former colony. The breast and flanks seemed to be the wrong colour/patterning and the facial crescent was much more prominent. A 2018 paper in Dutch Birding describes the quest of several Dutch birders to identify a similar hybrid duck on the island of Schiermonnikoog. The article is here. What do you think?


There and back

On our way to, and on our way from, the Solway last month, we called at some prime birding locations. Among the delights around us were a host of Snipe feeding in reedy shallows. Earlier we had a small flock of Pintail. these are duck that are hard to get close to in Norfolk. I particularly like the rear view shot of the drake as it swam away revealling an angle of the neck stripes not often seen in photos.



Booted Eagle and Slender Billed Gull

Falcon Cottage did it again on Bank Holiday Monday.

Distracted from the laptop I kept seeing messages regarding a Booted Eagle over Norwich then North Walsham and Hickling. Given it was probably the same bird that was in Kent the previous day the thought crossed my mind it was heading north and that it was worth a punt to stand outside and watch the southern horizon.

Andrew from the village had the same thought and joined me. It was nice to have a little conversation. We had only just finished pleasantries when I noticed two distant Buzzards both up in the air. Not unusual but previous experience tells me that the local Buzzards get up when large raptors pass through their territory. I panned right a little and there heading north was a large raptor. It was still distant and the heat haze was furring-up detail but it so obviously wasn’t a Buzzard; lots of laboured flight and gliding. Andrew was onto it immediately.

It headed north and was greeted by two corvids obviously so much smaller. The crows pushed the raptor closer to us and lower. I could now see white underwing coverts and black primaries and secondaries. This had to be the Booted Eagle … surely. It went behind trees and hedgerows on strangely bowed wings – like a kite. I never saw the ‘headlights’ typical of this species or the tail pattern. Despite our reorientation to the north of Falcon Cottage to have a clearer view of the west horizon we didn’t see it again. Was this to be the 16th species of raptor seen from the Cottage?

These things can be so frustrating.

Harking back to the 15th May. We were travelling back from Mull and had stopped at Leighton Moss in Lancashire; a great reserve. Sat in the hide I was searching for a Little Gull that had been reported hawking over the main lagoon the previous day. There are a lot of Black headed Gulls around this year. I caught sight of a gull flying high over the hide and away from us to the north east. It had pink underparts. Now this is not unusual in Black headed gulls but for the life of me I couldn’t see a black head. I couldn’t even see a residual spot. It took me a moment as it flew away and out of view but could this have been a Slender billed Gull? Laughable I know given the last record I believe was in the 90’s (correct me if I’m wrong here) but I thought it may have been.

I put a note in the reserve log to say I had seen a ‘possible’ and joked to my guests that if a Slender billed Gull turned up on the east coast  somewhere (the direction it was heading) maybe I was right. Was it coincidence that one turned up in Titchwell in Norfolk this bank holiday Monday 11 days later? – another that got away.

So no photographs of raptors or gulls – no time to take either. However here’s a pristine Broad bodied Chaser that had newly emerged at Leighton Moss – why a photograph of a dragonfly? – principally because it was close and it sat bloody still!

2014 05 14 Broad bodied Chaserl Leighton Moss Lancashire_Z5A8084


Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Apr 2023


%d bloggers like this: