Sunday, 28 February 2010

From Scotland to England

On wenesday evening we moved south from Scotland, we were heading for Leighton Moss RSPB reserve in Lancashire. Wednesday night was spent in the nearby town of Carnforth. We stayed at a Hotel which had Carnforth in its title, it may have simply been the Carnforth hotel, I cant recall. It cost us twenty pounds for a room each, I had a twin and Chris a single. I am not exaggerating when I tell you the place was a tip, the rooms were clean but at the same time grotty, the bedding was very basic and the room was freezing despite having the radiator on full blast. There was a shared toilet/ bathroom which stank of cigarettes a half full ashtray was on the floor next to the toilet. Would I stay there again? No.

However all that said, we had a cracking evening in the bar, music videos, chat, and good alcohol made for a great evening, The elderly landlady was very entertaining.

The next morning after a breakfast in a nearby cafe, which I would reccommend, we headed out to Leighton Moss. We called first at the Eric Morecambe and Allen hides. Unfortunately due to the cold conditions the scrapes were frozen over so other than a few Lapwings and Redshank there was nothing to see.

Bittern were or target species. I have no pictures of Bittern so any shots would have been appreciated. The Lower and Public hides were reputed to be the place for Bittern so it was to these we headed next.

On route to the first of them I spotted what I thought was an Otter in the distance, a quick hop to the first hide proved me to be right. We saw 3 Otters, probably a mother and two cubs. Unfortunately they were too far away to photograph.

The lakes were frozen over too so the chance of seeing the Bittern were good. First however I was amused by this Coot who seemed bemused by the ice.

He did brave it, but looked very unsure of the whole thing.

Our first sighting of a Bittern was some way in the distance. This is a heavy crop so It gives you an idea of how far away it was. Still it was my first shot.

This was the only sighting we had so we decided to head back nearer to the centre and we called into the Lillian Hide. This Bittern had been moving around, again at distance infront of the hide, but it flew across the ice and came a little nearer. Again this a crop, but not such a heavy one.
The closest we got was on the occasion that a Bittern was flying across the front of the hide. These two shots are cropped but they are the best I managed.
I am happy though, I got to see Bitterns and photograph them. I also saw Otter, something that I had only seen on two previous occasions. I also got to see a lifetime first first for me. Snow Geese. There were four of them mixed in with a flock of Greylag Geese. They are beautiful birds.
Our trip to Scotland had been largely successful, we had seen and photographed a number of species, a number of which I hadn't photographed before. Some very challenging conditions and some different techniques used. All in all a very enjoyable experience.

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