TAILS OF A NATURE RESERVE: Feeding Robins and Photographing a Kingfisher at Leighton Moss

Earlier this year, before starting my blog, I visited a nature reserve in Lancashire.

For me, it was such a magical and memorable experience that I felt it definately deserved a place on my wildlife blog.

Leighton Moss is an RSPB reserve about an hour and a half car journey away from where I live. I have always wanted to visit after it featured on Autumnwatch last year. So, one Saturday morning when the weather was chilly and clear, I booked a hotel and set off on the spur of the moment.

The reserve has various hides where wetland birds such as bittern can be spotted, deer and other wildlife. The reserve has reedbeds where bearded tits and water rail can be seen.

On my way to the causeway (where the reedbeds are located) I walked along a quiet path next to a field. A very bold robin appeared on the fence quite close to me. I remembered I had a supply of bird seed in my pocket. I held out my hand to the robin  (definately wishful thinking I thought). But after some patience, he hopped onto my hand! I was absolutely ecstatic. The feeling of this little bird perched on the end of my fingers is something I will always remember and treasure. It has to be one of my favourite wildlife moments. It is certainly a tick on my wildlife to do list for 2014.

My phone camera came in handy that day…

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I spent the weekend at a hotel near Leighton Moss, and early the next morning, I set off again to the reserve. I approached the lake where 3 women were standing. They told me they had spotted a kingfisher on the bullrushes. Photographing a kingfisher was also on my wildlife to do list, so I stood by a tree and waited…and waited. An hour later and the three women left and I was joined by two other wildlife watchers. Another hour gone. My fingers were starting to feel numb from the cold, but I couldn’t leave. I had been standing by the tree since 9.00am and it was now approaching 12.00 noon. And that is when he appeared. My patience had paid off. He sat on a bullrush quite a distance away and then flew closer. And within ten minutes he was gone. But I got my photo.

The kingfisher appeared but he was quite a distance away...
The kingfisher appeared but he was quite a distance away…
But luckily he flew a little closer...
But luckily he flew a little closer…
...And then he was gone.
…And then he was gone.

I had waited 3 hours, but it was certainly worth it! I had planned to wait all day, so I was lucky he came within 3 hours. It wasn’t until I started walking off that I realised my teeth were chattering and my fingers had turned white. I made my way to the cafe and rewarded myself with home made butternut squash soup and bakewell sponge cake. I may not have spotted any bearded tits, water rail, bittern or red deer that weekend, but feeding a robin from my hand and photographing a kingfisher for the first time was definately worth the visit! I enjoyed it so much that a couple of weeks later I took my Mum. I am glad to say, the robins were still there and I was able to share this amazing experience with her. The kingfisher also put in an appearance.

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We didn't realise until we looked at this photo that there was another robin watching from the bush.
We didn’t realise until we looked at this photo that there was another robin watching from the bush.
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