Wednesday, 30 October 2019

Lake District, October 2019. Day 5.

Another frosty morning today but by the time we left for Morecambe it had clouded over somewhat.  It was only my second visit, the first to start the Way of The Roses cycle trail several years ago.  This time though it was to photograph our third Time and Tide bell which had been installed last March.  We were soon parked up by the front and quickly found the bell.  I love these sculptures by artist Marcus Vergette.  This is our third and, at the moment, there are 4 more with another 8 to come.  We hope to visit the one at Berneray on the Isle of Harris next year and also perhaps the one in London.  They are designed so that they ring when the tide comes in and are to draw attention to the dangers of a warming planet  not just sea levels rising but sea temperatures rising too.  The average sea temperature in Morecambe Bay has risen by 1C in the last 100 years and is set to increase.  This poses a threat to all the species that thrive in the bay and to future generations' enjoyment of its beauty.  After photographing the bell we walked out to the end of the pier.  Views across to the Lakes were stunning.  The tide was up but on the ebb and I was amazed at the strong current and white water as it swept past the end of the pier.
It was time to move on to Leighton Moss RSPB reserve and the drive took us along the beautiful coast road and through Carnforth where we glimpsed some of the old locos in steam.  Once at Leighton Moss it was time for lunch and then a wander around the reserve.  I felt undressed without the big birding lens.  We climbed up the towering Sky Hide for wide views of the reserve in lovely light before moving onto the more conventional hides.  We stopped at the grit trays designed to attract bearded tits, but sadly there were none in evidence.  These birds eat grit which enables them to crush seeds in their crops.  In the hides it was good to have good views of water fowl.  Shoveler were plentiful as was the delicate teal.  Understated but beautifully marked gadwall were feeding quietly on the reed edges.  I particularly enjoyed the wigeon with their yellow-cream crown and piercing whistle which echoed over the reserve.  A heron stalked the reeds in golden light and marsh harriers made forays putting up all the birds on the water in a flurry of panic.  A possible bittern lurked in the reeds but none of us could decide if it was a bird or a trick of the light.
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