Saturday, January 14, 2012

Friday 13th

As a birthday treat for my friend Jane I bought her vouchers for Airkix in Manchester to experience indoor free-fall. It was great fun especially when the instructors spun us up to the full 11 metre height of the wind tunnel, fantastic!
Afterwards we zipped up the motorway to spend the afternoon at Leighton Moss RSPB. The Glossy Ibis was still feeding distantly in the field by the level crossing. We had our picnic in Lilian's Hide and were rewarded with great views of a Bittern catching a fish. Unfortunately, I'd only brought a smallish lens with me due to being in Manchester for the morning, but the pictures aren't too bad; I think the bird has caught a small fish in one of  the photos.
We went in search of the Otters and managed a brief glimpse of one animal as it swam into the reedbed on the far side of the Lower Hide. Undaunted, we waited and and were overjoyed when three Otters re-appeared and began chasing, diving and catching fish in full view. The views through the telescope were magnificent, what truly magical animals they are. It was almost night as we walked back up the public causeway, but Leighton Moss had one more stunning visual treat in store for us; the evening roost of thousands of Starlings. It's almost a cliche to say the sky was black with birds, but it was! You could hear their wingbeats and chattering calls as they flew over us, not to mention their droppings falling like rain. And more than one Sparrowhawk was attracted to this mobile feast. It was a fitting finale to a fabulous day.

Starling Roost at Leighton Moss, November 2011

Photo courtesy of Airkix Manchester
Training update - ran 15 miles today at 7.06 min/mile, (14th Jan), very cold, pleased I completed the distance. Saw Purple Sandpiper for the year list in New Brighton.

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