The Safari was back at Leighton Moss with CR, more to do with the weather forecast than anything else, the plethora of hides to bunk in to meant a soaking from isolated heavy showers was less likely than anywhere else. Our day started before we'd even got to the Feeding Station. A member of staff was putting thr moth trap away so we asked what they'd caught. She kindly showed us the pots of moths they'd trapped that night. As we don't often trap in woodland and rarely this late in the season most of them were new to us...Large Wainscot, Pink Barred Sallow, Black Rustic, Feathered Ranunculus and a few more we can't remember (should have taken phone pics and/or used a notebook!) were all good to see.
The Feeding Station was busy with a number of Coal Tits going back and forth and we spotted a Marsh Tit doing a smash and grab raid on the sunflower heart feeder. Best was a stiking male Bullfinch that sat at eye level just a few yards away. Always good to see these close up and personal.
Marsh Harrier was harder, and had perhaps stopped flying around. Eventually we found it tucked up in a bush miles away right on the far side of the reserve. Far to far for a pic but always good to get one on our day list. Red Deer and Marsh Harrier early on in the day makes for an already good day! Now for those pesky Bearded Tits we missed on our previous visit a couple of weeks earlier, would they show this time. A photographer with all the gear was already in situ at the grit trays and told us 'we should have been here five minutes ago'...dohhh...we could hear their 'pings' further back in the reeds and got brief views of a couple flitting over the reed tops going further away...not the best news. We'd have to come back this way after visitying the hide so all was not lost.
The hide was quiet with only a Great White Egret, a Grey Heron and a few Gadwall on offer. The egret, however, was worth the watch as it stalked around the pool.'Jack' Pike.
With afternoon pushing on we decided to call it a day here and head over to the saltmarsh hides for the final session. A quick pitstop at the visitor centre gave CR the chance to have a shuffy round the little wildflower garden where he found a Hummingbird Hawkmoth...nice one, we saw it very briefly before it shot off to who knows where. And we had a Sparrowhawk unsuccessfully attack one of the feeders and perch up atop it briefly.Great White Egret - well it all kicked off down on the saltmarsh.
Now a Redshank isn't going to be able to swallow something that size whole is it? No siree deffo not! What did it do? It wrangled the crab to a patch of slightly deeper water and then shook it vigourously to remove a leg at a time. Was the water being used as some kind of vice tostop the body moving so much enabling a leg to be pulled off more easily???
Spoobill had relocated too and was now much nearer than earlier.Redshanks, we couldn't find any Spotted Redshanks lurking furtively among them, Lapwings, a few Black Tailed Godwits, loads of Teal tucked up undere the bank fast asleep. A smattering of Shelducks were further out on the pool, mostly juveniles and single Wigeon caught our eye. The birders sat next to us with telescopes found a humungously distant Peregrine sat out on the farthest edge of the marsh which we eventually picked up in the bins when it flew a couple of hundred yards but not getting any closer.