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Marsh Harriers, Leighton Moss

Bearded Tits

Bearded tits and bitterns are an excuse for dropping in any time; harriers are an added bonus in the summer. So, I got one tit pinging its way… hmm, perhaps I’ll use its alternative name of reedling – anyway one bird across the Griesdale Hide’s path – a reasonably regular spot for it – and distant harriers once inside. Views of the raptors were much closer when I got back to Lillian’s Hide, near the RSPB Visitor Centre. The tit became my 180th year tick – a list that had stalled somewhat since the beginning of the month.

That was all I had time for but the Morecambe and Allen section of the reserve was devoid of water anyway, so it didn’t matter. That’s certainly worth knowing in advance if one arrives by train, to save a trek down the road. Not that I had gone by rail but isn’t it great to know that one of the country’s top sites is right next door to a station?

Bird Tour by Train through Britain

Silverdale in this case, on the line from Carnforth to Barrow, Whitehaven and Carlisle. You’d be tempted to think you could take this little detour off the West Coast Main Line by changing at Carnforth but no… There are no platforms by those tracks and you have to change at Lancaster, further south. This is a shame because if you were touring by train, say, there are plenty of handy overnight options at Carnforth. Those at Lancaster are less convenient and pricier.

I stayed at the cheapest and cheerfullest to watch the Americans depart the World Cup at the hands of the Ghanaians. At the time I considered we might have done well to draw the Germans: I don’t think we would have coped with the Africans. As it turned out, I don’t think we would have coped with schoolboys, of any nationality.

I remember 1966. Oh how naive I was. I thought England winning the Cup was the natural order of things. Halcyon days! At least birds are rarely disappointing.

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