The recent strong easterly winds and warm weather had brought plenty of summer migrants into the country.A rare pallid harrier had been discovered in Bowland and was setting up territory and displaying over the fells. Sadly it couldn't have picked a worse location as Bowland is a no go area for harriers and any chance of breeding is snuffed out by the shooting fraternity who despise anything other than grouse.The harrier is still around and is attracting birdwatchers and photographers from all parts of the country.Despite mobility problems I did manage the six mile walk with Mike to see this very rare visitor to our shores.I did get some record shots and may post at a later date.
The easterlies had also brought a number of spoonbills into the country and eight birds had turned up at Leighton Moss RSPB.I had seen spoonbills previously at Leighton but they were distant or asleep as spoonbills often are.I arrived at the Allen Hide to find the six spoonbills sleeping and I waited with the others present for some action.Eventually after an hour or so the spoonbills slowly came to and for the rest of the afternoon provided some nice images as they fed,preened and flew around .They were all immature birds and had not yet reached breeding age and didn't have the yellow bills and neck bands of full adults.In flight they could be identified by their black wingtips.
A few days later I visited Marshside RSPB where spoonbills had also been reported.A full adult had been seen around the pools on the reserve and I hoped to spot it.A visit to Fairclough's pool drew a blank and no other large white birds could be seen anywhere.I spent the rest of the afternoon at Nel's Hide and was delighted to find that lots of birds were present right ii front of the hide.The conditions for photography were spot on and the strong afternoon backlight brought out all the colours and detail in the birds.My next post will concentrate on the many waders present including avocets,ruffs and whimbrel and the ever present black tailed godwits.
I couldn't believe my luck when out of nowhere the spoonbill turned up right in front of the hide.It was now late afternoon and the light just got better and better.I made the most of this opportunity to grab as many images as possible of the very good looking spoonbill.All too soon it flew away but I suspect it may hang around as spoonbill has I understand bred on the Ribble marshes in the past.Hope you enjoy my spoonbill images shown below and as promised I will post more from Marshside at a later date.