In the late 80s & early 90s I often went to Leighton Moss for a day's birding.
I lived in Warrington so it wasn't too far, my parents also had a caravan nr Blackpool
so when we were up there it was even closer.
Living in North Wales means it's just that bit further away so I haven't been often enough.
My last visit was in 2009 on the way back from Mull, so as I left home for Scottish Birdfair
I decided it was time to pay a quick visit to this wonderful reserve.
It was teeming with rain as I got there but I was encouraged to see so much activity
on the feeders in the car park.
A couple of Coal Tits zipped frantically back and forth between the feeders and nearby bushes,
whereas their commoner Blue & Great relatives stayed put for far longer.
Dunnocks picked away at whatever had been spilt on the ground, while House Sparrows used
both ground and feeders.
A pair of Mallard wandered about aimlessly while a pair of Collared Doves strode more
purposefully in front of the automatic doors. Actually they looked like they meant business -
I almost felt like showing them my membership card as well as the people inside!
I had a quick look round the shop but decided to get going to the reserve as I needed to carry on to Scotland fairly soon.
I went down to Lillians hide where around 20 years earlier I'd marvelled at my first ever Bittern
and Marsh Harrier. Can it really be over 20 years?
Anyway, the bad weather seemed set in so but it was really active out on the water.
Black Headed Gulls were everywhere, calling loudly so no other bird sounds could be heard.
Quite a few Coot bobbed on the choppy water along with Mallard, while further out
there were some smart Tufted Duck and colourful Pochard.
A pair of Greylag Geese flew down in to the reeds as Swifts and Swallos seemed to struggle
against the wind and rain.
I decided to head back, stopping for a while near a busy feeding station. Blue and Great Tits
were constant visitors, as were Chaffinches. A few Coal Tits visited while Mallards and a
Moorhen fed on the ground.
The best was left til last though as I saw Marsh Tit, beautiful birds which I hadn't seen for
a long time.
Pretty soon it was time to leave and make my way up to Edinburgh.
Leighton Moss is a lovely reserve and I really will have to visit again soon and give
it the full days birding it deserves.