Mrs B. and I found ourselves with some free time this morning so we decided to take a trip up to Leighton Moss RSPB for a change. Heading north up the M6 after our usual leisurely Sunday breakfast the weather looked OK with cloudy conditions and an icy feel to the morning. We decided to have a go for my favourite bird first and called in at Woodwell near Silverdale in hope of Hawfinch. I've been pretty lucky with these at this site in the past, usually seeing them straight away or not at all! Plenty of Nuthatches, Marsh Tits, Goldfinches and a few Bullfinches about but no sign of any Hawfinches this morning for us. So it was a short drive down to the causeway at Leighton next after a quick coffee and a stroll to an open patch in the reed beds. Initially no indication that there were any Bearded Tits around but the high "ping" calls lifted our spirits as we kept an eye on the grit trays. Mrs. B was pleased to announce the arrival of a pair moments later, especially as it was a bird she'd dipped on many times. Wonderful views for a few minutes before they disappeared again.
There were plenty of birds at the public hide, including a Bittern (apparently) which kept out of sight while we were there (we could see reeds moving but not the bird). Wildfowl included a couple of Pochards, several Gadwall, Shoveler, Teal, Tufties and a few Goldeneye. A pair of Goosander were at the back of the pool and Water Rails squeeled from the dense cover.
We finished our afternoon at the Allen and Eric Morcambe Pools where Spotted Redshank, Greenshank and a Peregrine were the noteworthy birds.
I finished a fine afternoon by dropping Mrs B off for a "social" with her work mates and getting great views of the Clifton Marsh Barn Owl on the North Ribble Marshes at dusk.