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18 June 2014
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Wetlands | Leighton Moss

Watery world

Leighton Moss

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 and mammals.

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.

Bittern c/o David TiplingBittern paradise

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.

The Bitterns 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.

BitternBird watching

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.

The 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.

Leighton Moss and hide c/o RSPBConservation

Conservation work is important for the survival of the wetland habitat at Leighton Moss.

Small 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.

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Photographs courtesy of RSPB.

 

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