Reserve some time for nature this springtime
A LITTLE bit of sunshine goes a long way, and last weekend was a great way to kick-start Spring.
Personally, I spent the weekend in Southport: ice-cream on the prom, face-painting, and the kids’ train along the pier - well, I was with the Rugby Club lads as our 1st XV were playing Southport.
As for regular readers, I wouldn’t recommend the face-paint, although it did seem like a good idea at the time to be made up as blue tigers.
However, I would encourage you all to visit one of my favourite reserves over the next few months, and you can make a start this Easter by heading up the M6 to discover wonderful wildlife at RSPB Leighton Moss nature reserve.
Leighton Moss is the largest reedbed in north-west England, and home to some really special birds including the star species...
Avocets can be seen from the hides overlooking the Allen and Eric Morecambe pools in spring and summer, while bearded tits are a year-round attraction in the extensive reedbeds.
The tits form flocks in autumn and can often be seen picking up grit from special tables on the causeway or directly from the paths.
Bitterns can be heard ‘booming’ from the causeway between March and May. Scan over the reed beds and you may catch a glimpse of one in flight - particularly in May and June. You may also see one sitting at the edge of the pools on frosty winter days.
Spring brings displaying marsh harriers to Leighton Moss. The males and females are busy feeding their young throughout summer and can often be seen hunting over the reed bed.
Watch from the hides for water rails emerging to feed on the edge of the channels and pool within the reed bed. They may venture onto exposed mud when the water drops in late summer and autumn or onto ice in winter.
Of course there are many more species to see, and you may spot otters and deer as well.
Over the next few weeks the wardens have organised some great fun events for the kids.
‘Birds in the Barn’ offers families a rare chance to explore the new wildflower meadow at Leighton Moss and learn more about birds through this exciting orienteering event.
No need to book just drop-in between 1-3pm on Wednesday, April 5, 12 and 19.
Families are invited to uncover ‘What Lives Beneath’ at a special pond dipping event on Thursday, April 6 and 20. Drop-in between 10.30am and 3.30pm to take part.
Ever been on safari? ‘Minibeast Safaris’ at Leighton Moss offer the chance for visitors to turn detective and experience the fascinating world of creepy crawlies.
Drop-in between 10.30am-12.30pm, 1.30-3.30pm on Thursday, April 13.
‘Tots Tile Trail’ is an adventure trail which provides the youngest visitors with the chance to explore the sensory garden at Leighton Moss.
Drop-in sessions on Wednesday, April 5, 12 and 19, and Thursday, April 6, 13 and 20 April, between 10.30-11.30am.
It’s at RSPB Leighton Moss and Morecambe Bay nature reserve, Myers Farm, Storrs Lane, Silverdale, LA50SW.
For further details visit rspb.org.uk/leighton moss or phone 01524 701601.
An avocet with its distinctive features
The Laughing Badger Gallery, 99 Platt Street, Padfield, Glossop