Thursday, March 19, 2015

Leighton Moss Tufted Ducks

I visited my spiritual home at Leighton Moss RSPB again last week! I headed straight for the Public Hide which is situated halfway down the main causeway. This hide overlooks a large expanse of freshwater and is surrounded by extensive reedbeds. It is one of the best places on the reserve to view fabulous species such as Bittern, Marsh Harrier and Otter.
After a dull start to March we were lucky that the sun was shining on the day of our visit. I quickly found a the mother Otter and her two cubs swimming in the distance, but they soon swam out of view. A female Marsh Harrier flew across the reeds on the far side of the reserve and it too disappeared. And the Bitterns failed to materialise while we were there.
But a very common species gave what twitchers would call "crippling views!" There was a small flock of Tufted Ducks milling around right in front of the hide and they provided superb close photographic opportunities for about twenty minutes. The black heads of the males occasionally flashed with a blue iridescence as they swam in the sunlight. I tried to catch this colouration on my camera with moderate success, but they were a joy to watch nevertheless.
There were also six young Mute Swans still sporting some brown juvenile feathers that were also fun to photograph. Two adult swans, most likely the parents of the cygnets, swam past the hide; they will probably not tolerate the presence of these young birds much longer.

Female Tufted Duck


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