Wednesday, 15 July 2009
Harriers and Red Deer
Yesterday afternoon I visited Leighton Moss again with Kath and her grandson Timothy. Timothy is a budding photograher and I had promised him a trip to Leighton Moss, where we hoped to see Marsh Harriers and Red Deer. We parked at the roadside at Island Mere which I have found to be a good spot for excellent views of harriers as they fly over the reed beds. We hadn't been there long when one of this years newly fledged youngsters came and performed nicely for us at times flying over our heads. This was a great start to our afternoon so we then popped into the recently refurbished shop and cafe for tea and cake. The rest of the afternoon we visited Lillian's, Griezdale and Tim Jackson hides hoping for sightings of the red deer. Lillian's was busy with coots and gulls so we moved on to Griezdale Hide. This hide often provides good views of red deer but none were seen whilst there. Up to then the weather had been kind to us but the skies were going very dark and it looked like we were in for more heavy downpours. This has been the pattern during this week with thundery activity and very heavy rain. We just made it to the Tim Jackson Hide as the first drops arrived.
For the next hour or so we were confined to the hide as the heavens opened and it poured with rain. We saw a red deer feeding distantly and then noticed another one much nearer to the hide with just it's ears and top of head visible through the reeds. Eventually our patience was rewarded as the red deer, a hind, came into view and treated us to some wonderful views and excellent photographic opportunities. The heavy rain and thunder eventually moved away and we returned to the car park for the journey home. On the way home we treated ourselves to some very nice fish and chips from T'Other Chippy in Carnforth, a great way to round off an exciting afternoon at Leighton Moss. Images show the Marsh Harrier, Red Deer and a very wet Heron enjoying the downpour as he looked for his evening meal.