Rare bitterns have bred successfully at the nature reserve in Silverdale, following the introduction of new methods of managing the site’s vast reedbeds.
Visitors to the site may be rewarded with sightings of the bitterns from either the Lower or Causeway hides, along with a variety of the reserve’s other special wildlife such as the breeding marsh harriers, otters and bearded tits.
And there’s plenty of other activities at Leighton Moss - nature trails, sensory garden, the Skytower for impressive bird’s-eye views, gift shop and a café.
After an absence of breeding for almost a decade, the elusive birds nested in 2018 as a result of a four-year programme to rejuvenate the wetlands, and this year, they have continued to thrive, raising three chicks.
Jarrod Sneyd, site manager at Leighton Moss, said: “Bitterns like young, wet reedbeds where they can catch fish, so RSPB staff and volunteers spend a lot of time managing the site in a way that halts its aging process and creates the conditions that bitterns need to thrive.”
As an unusual cousin of the more familiar grey heron, bitterns rely on reedbeds to live in - a now rare habitat in the UK, with Leighton Moss being the largest one in North West England.