First Sightings at RSPB Leighton Moss, Lancashire (6th September 2014)

I drove to Leighton Moss, my favourite nature reserve outside the Staffordshire area early on Saturday morning. I was aiming to get there for 11.00am to meet John. John is an RSPB volunteer at Leighton Moss in Lancashire. Like me, John has a keen interest in birds and wildlife particularly butterflies and moths. As a volunteer John regularly sets up moth traps at the Leighton Moss reserve.

The first thing John said to me that day when I met him outside the visitor centre was ‘I have just seen a kestrel in a tree just up the road.’ Unfortunately the kestrel had gone by the time we reached the tree, but we saw plenty of other interesting wildlife that day.

We spent some of our time in the hides where we spotted a kingfisher, great white egret as well as other wetland birds…

snipe
‘Snipe’ photographed by John that day
Great white egret
‘Great White Egret’ photographed by John that day.

‘My First Gold Spot Moth’

During lunch John told me he had caught an interesting moth in the moth trap that morning. He had brought it with him to show me. I have to admit I have never paid a lot of attention to moths, I see a lot of house moths in my flat. However, after seeing this very beautiful, metallic looking moth I soon became intrigued! It was the most interesting moth I had ever seen. After studying it for a while, John let me set him free at the reserve…

gold spot
‘Gold Spot Moth’ photographed by John that morning.

My First ‘Pond Snail’

After lunch we went across the road to an area with a quarry. I had never visited this area before. We came to a very small pond where I had my first sighting of a pond snail. Ok, a pond snail to most people isn’t that exciting, but this was the first time I had seen one and a first sighting is always exciting for me!

The pond snail and pond where we found plenty of these.
The pond snail and pond where we found plenty of these.

My First ‘Brimstone Butterfly’

We also saw a butterfly around the pond, one I had never seen before. Being a butterfly enthusiast John pointed out that it was a female Brimstone. Another first for me…

Brimstone2
‘Female Brimstone butterfly’ photographed by John.

My First ‘Broad-leaved Helleborine’

We then went in search of a broad-leaved helleborine. I am no expert when it comes to wild plants and flowers and without Johns expertise I would have walked straight past this unusual orchid. It is unusual as it grows and flowers at the darkest and shadiest time of year. They are able to do this with the help of fungus around their roots that provides them with extra nourishment.

LM3
‘Broad-leaved helleborine’

And of course, no visit to Leighton Moss is complete without a sighting of a robin. I saw this robin as I was getting into my car on the Leighton Moss car park that evening…

IMG_8867

I have seen so many robins that I wouldn’t be able to keep count. Although first sightings are always exciting, seeing something for the hundredth time is equally as rewarding. This is the reason why I could never get tired of watching wildlife.

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