The watery world of plants and animals has disappeared from much of the UK
- but at Leighton Moss in Lancashire the water has been put back... and the wildlife
has simply flooded back in. This stunning wetland attracts a wide range of birds
|Leighton Moss. Photo - RSPB.|
Leighton Moss is the largest remaining reedbed in North West England,
with shallow meres and fringing sedge, and woodland.
Its wetland wonderland
attracts a wonderful range of wildlife from rare birds to mammals and moths.
Leighton Moss is a mosaic of reedbeds, shallow open water and
dykes, with areas of mixed fen, scrub and grassland.
Nature lovers can
explore Leighton's range of habitats including saltwater lagoons, rich in crustaceans,
and the freshwater wetland.
Among its special birds are breeding Bitterns,
Bearded Tits and Marsh Harriers, and diving ducks like Pochards.
are one of Britain's largest and rarest birds characterised by its stocky brown
body and pointy bill.
Its distinctive fog horn 'boom' can be heard from
a great distance.
The Bittern loves to feed on Eels in the freshwater wetland
area of the reserve.
Also look out for mammals including Roe and Red Deer.
The saltwater lagoons nearby have a totally separate
eco system from the rest of the wetland.
These lagoons on the edge of Morecambe
Bay have a distinctive habitat which attract different types of birds.
lagoon's food supply including Flounder and Crustacea makes it a rich feeding
ground for many birds.
There are five birdwatching hides at the RSPB reserve,
four with wheelchair access.
You can also take your pick of long or short
nature trails - shorter ones are suitable for wheelchairs and pushchairs.
Children, as well as adults, will enjoy finding out more about the reserve from
the imaginative displays in the visitor centre.
work is important for the survival of the wetland habitat at Leighton Moss.
areas of the reed beds are cut back every 25 years to enable more plants and animals
to come in and increase the bio-diversity.
Work is also focusing on the
urgent need to create further reedbed for breeding Bitterns and Marsh Harriers.
By 2006, Leighton Moss hopes to have restored a further 250ha of reedbed,
one of the most rare habitats in the UK.
There's also a handy Wild Explorers'
back pack which visitors can borrow including guides to the different habitats,
plants and wildlife.
Photographs courtesy of RSPB.