Setting Off From Sandwell valley

Friday, 25 June 2010

Leighton Moss - The Biking Birder Visit

OK, can someone help me with the meaning behind my recurring dream. I frequently dream that i am driving a double decker bus. No problem here one might think but I am always driving it from upstairs and always worried about two things. One I can't reach the brake pedal and 2 I can't see what's immeadiately in front of me. I've had this dream with a lot of variations for years and had the same last night. All thoughts would be gratefully received.

An hour's birdwatching from 6.30am with marsh harrier and bearded tits seen.

So to the morning moth breakfast on Sunday the 20th of June. All previous night's moths neatly arranged in plastic containers on the table of the education room, ready for everyone's perusal. people arrived and I sat chatting and photographing each species. One thing I liked is that with birds aI would be thinking that a golden eagle is a better bird to see than a blue tit. Both lovely birds but one has the wow factor and it's not the blue tit. With the moths I had no idea on their relative 'values' and enjoyed each. I knew quite a few from when i had my own trap but quite a few were new to me. 40 species photographed and then outside for the opening of a trap that had been left on all night. More new species and the fun of release.

Off to explore the reserve. First to the Eric Morecambe hide but no birds because no water. Lunar landscape of a totally dry scrape with only sheep tracks crossing the mud. Then to Wharton Crag RSPB reserve with peregrine chicks attended by the female on the cliffs of the quarry and the male some way to the left. Up the crag and soon saw small pearl bordered and high brown fritilaries and northern brown argus butterflies seen.

Back to the reserve at leighton and off with Dagmar, Ruth and 'oh dear I've forgotten her name' to see the fly orchids near by. A new orchid for me so chuffed to bits and afterwards explored the quarry face by climbing around the edge to get to the top.

Back to the reserve and this time a walk with Michael, an assistant warden to see lady slipper orchids. I couldn't believe that I was seeing this and despite the fact that the flower head had faded to a seed head I was thrilled to get another orchid sp. on the list. I remember that not so long ago lady slipper was down to one plant so where did this one come from. Glad to see that it's protected by CCTV.

Late evening 9.15 onwards spent birdwatching for a change. Marsh harriers, little egrets and a great-crested grebe with a chick. 4 red deer at the Grizedale hide.

Still time for bat detecting before bed. Pipistrelles heard, sounding like "a massage from the Swedish Prime Minister!"

Monday 21st June

Early morning quest to see 50 bird sp. before breakfast and moth trap opening at 8.00am. Made it with a lapwing and a swallow at 3 minutes to 8. Male and female marsh harrier and very close party of bearded tits preening seen. All of these over at the west end of the reserve so now I'd walked around the whole area.

27 moth sp. in the trap; after which I met a wonderful assitant warden, David, who had started his RSPB career at Minsmere many years ago, with Bert Axell as his much appreciated mentor.

So thanks to all at Leighton Moss. A fabulous reserve which must be in the top 5 RSPB reserves. Brilliant place with brilliant people.

Off to Gait Burrows after a bit of hassle over getting a new tyre but thanks to DYNO START in Carnforth. Found dark red helleborines at the reserve and this made 3 new orchid species in 2 days. I'd seen these in Switzerland but never over here.

Cycled to Arnside and on lorraine's advice [a superb volunteer at Leighton Moss] had fish and chips here. Met children from Kendall College before cycling to camp in a field nearer to Kendall itself. I don't know whether there has been an explosion of scarlet ermine moths but 35 meters of the hedgerow was covered with what looked like huge spider's webs with thousands of pupae visible inside.


Thanks to everyone who has donated :-

Edna and Grayson from Carnforth.
Lorraine from Leighton Moss.
Magada and John from Bolton Le Sands.
Iver and Wendy nr Kendall.
Zaedd and Jude from Kendall College.
Bev and Allen from Perth Australia.
Annie from Penrith.
Chris from Bretherdale.
Graham at the pub!!
Pete at Hillcrest.
Carl and maxine at the totally dry Yew Tree tarn   and
Jan and Graham.

Also to those who have donated using the JUST GIVING sites on the right.

Many thanks to you all.

All the very best,


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