There is something magical about nature reserves. They’re safe havens for creatures great and small, where both food and shelter are plentiful. For photographers, they’re gold mines on the right day.
Alas, for me Leighton Moss Nature Reserve did not reveal its treasures. I wandered through the woods wide-eyed, hoping to catch a glimpse of the red deer. We sat huddled in hides for otters, but they too missed the memo that we were coming. The lone bittern remained in the marsh and the crested tits stayed nestled out of view.
It was a long shot, hoping to see so much in a single day. It’s a shame Leighton Moss is an hour’s drive away, otherwise I’d be there all the time. I didn’t bring a car to uni because of the expense that comes with it, but hopefully we can go to some closer sites over the coming weeks.
Although we didn’t see any rare gems, we were entertained over lunch by a very bold robin who sat perched on our picnic table, chirruping. I offered some crumbs and was amazed to watch him hop over and peck the food out of my hand!
Despite a lack of deer and otter, I was fortunate enough to tick off four new birds: shoveler, greenshank, water rail and kingfisher! I was astounded at how tiny kingfishers are; a rapid flash of blue and he was gone, but I definitely knew I’d seen my first king of the pond.
It’s so thrilling being around other people my age that cherish wildlife. The excitement around me from others on my course was contagious.