Posted by: mynaturaldiary | October 31, 2019

Whatever the weather

Being a hide guide means you’re on the RSPB reserve at Saltholme, whatever the weather. In this case it went from good to bad (rainstorm), but the birds got on with it, regardless.

First, a fabulous Water Rail, seen from the Wildlife Watchpoint hide.

Water Rail (Rallus aquaticus)

Mallard were also seen from the same hide.

Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos)

Close by in the Phil Stead hide were Snipe.

Snipe (Gallinago gallinago)

Black tailed Godwit were also seen from this hide.

Black-tailed Godwit (Limosa limosa)

Curlew were looking good.

Curlew (Numenius arquata)

Wigeon numbers continue to build. Here’s some preening.

Wigeon (Anas penelope)

And still the geese flew into the reserve.

Greylag Goose (Anser anser)

On the ground were Canada geese

Canada Geese (Branta canadensis)

and Barnacle Geese

Barnacle goose (Branta leucopsis)

together with Lapwing,

Lapwing (Vanellus vanellus)

also Golden Plover.

Golden Plover (Pluvialis apricaria)

Whooper Swans flew in

and endured as the rain began to fall.

Whooper Swan (Cygnus cygnus)

The geese hunkered down.

as did the Golden Plover.

Even the Black headed gull in winter plumage looked soggy.

Black-headed Gull (Larus ridibundus)

And the Little Grebes, true aquatic birds, took the rain in their stride.

Little Grebe (Tachybaptus ruficollis)

If it was too much, like a submarine, they could dive underneath.

(and now, to close with, mega rare shots of your humble correspondent, on duty.)

Posted by: mynaturaldiary | October 4, 2019

Still arriving

Still the geese fly into the RSPB reserve at Saltholme. I’ve never seen so many at Saltholme.

The geese preen and feed once they are on the ground.

Greylag Goose (Anser anser)

It’s been a great autumn passage migration this year, with numbers of birds sharply picking up.

Barnacle goose (Branta leucopsis)

Canada Geese (Branta canadensis)

Let’s hope it continues! Lapwing and Golden Plover numbers are also rising.

Lapwing (Vanellus vanellus)

Golden Plover (Pluvialis apricaria)

When disturbed, they take to the skies and form a congregation of plovers.

Another type seen was a Ringed plover.

Ringed Plover (Charadrius hiaticula)

Notice the lack of an eye ring, unlike the Little ringed plover, which has a prominent yellow eye ring.

Curlew were feeding on the grasslands.

Curlew (Numenius arquata)

And so were Black tailed Godwits.

Black-tailed Godwit (Limosa limosa)

Redshank were feeding.

Redshank (Tringa totanus)

And a rarity – a Green Sandpiper.

Green Sandpiper (Tringa ochropus)

And a small Dunlin was seen.

Dunlin (Calidris alpina)

Mute swans were flying over the waters.

Mute Swan (Cygnus olor)

From the large to the small.

Greenfinch (Carduelis chloris)

Greenfinch numbers have fallen since 2006 following the arrival of trichomonosis; a parasite which can prove fatal.

Ducks were a plenty, as ever.

Gadwall (Anas strepera)

Shoveler (Anas clypeata)

Teal (Anas crecca)

A Grey Heron was on the grass banks.

Grey Heron (Ardea cinerea)

There were predators – a Marsh Harrier.

Marsh Harrier (Circus aeruginosus)

A Kestrel was in a tree close to the Phil Stead hide.

Kestrel (Falco tinnunculus)

And a Merlin was resting on its hunting post.

Merlin (Falco columbarius)

Darters were still seen.

Finally, there are still wild flowers in the gardens.

Posted by: mynaturaldiary | October 1, 2019

Trends for birds in Teesmouth (technical!)

In an earlier post I introduced the idea of doing time series analysis. The basic techniques are explained here.

Let’s apply these methods to the data collected locally across Teesmouth to check the trends in bird populations since 2009 in a monthly measure made mid month. These are listed below alphabetically.

For each bird by clicking the highlighted text you will see the EWMA trend, the monthly data and the yearly (moving 12 mth) total. The EWMA shows each month’s value together with a 12 mth moving average. The monthly trends show the number of birds counted per month (the dotted lines indicate the envelope of the maximum and minimum values, together with the average value in between). The 12mth total plots the sum of the birds seen in the last 12mths, and is useful for determining trends in a resident bird.

Avocet

EWMA and monthly trends are shown. Note the June peak for this summer visitor. The EWMA suggests the population is slowly growing.

Cormorants

EWMA, monthly and yearly trends are shown. The EWMA suggests the population is  stable. There is an increase from July to October.

Curlew

EWMA, monthly and yearly trends are shown. The EWMA suggests the population is slowly declining after a peak in 2013-2104. There is an increase in the winter, peaking in February.

Gadwall

EWMA, monthly and yearly trends are shown. The EWMA suggests the population is slowly growing. There is a peak in numbers from August to October.

Golden Plover

EWMA, and monthly trends are shown. The EWMA suggests the population is static, with the dip in numbers in 2017 recovered in 2018. There is a peak in numbers November and December.

Great Crested Grebe

EWMA, monthly and yearly trends are shown. The EWMA  and yearly data suggests the population has decreased. There is a spring peak, between March and April.

Greylag Goose

EWMA, monthly and yearly trends are shown. The EWMA suggests the population is currently stable, having increased from 2009. There is an increase in the autumn migration, peaking in October.

Lapwing

EWMA, monthly and yearly trends are shown. The EWMA  and yearly data suggests the population dropped recently in 2017, but recovered in 2018. There is a winter peak, between November to January.

Little Grebe

EWMA, monthly and yearly trends are shown. The EWMA  and yearly data suggests the population is slightly increasing. There is a summer peak, between August to October.

Mallard

EWMA, monthly and yearly trends are shown. The EWMA  and yearly data suggests the population has declined slightly from 2009. There is a summer peak in August.

Mute Swan

EWMA, monthly and yearly trends are shown. The EWMA  and yearly data suggests the population is slowly declining. There is a summer peak, between June to September.

Redshank

EWMA, monthly and yearly trends are shown. The EWMA suggests a peak in the population mid 2009 -2010, then a decline, followed by a stable population. There is an annual peak August to December.

Shelduck

EWMA, monthly and yearly trends are shown. The EWMA suggests the population slightly declined since 2009. There is an annual peak January and February.

Teal

EWMA, monthly and yearly trends are shown. The EWMA suggests the population is stable. There is an increase from September to December.

Wigeon

EWMA, monthly and yearly trends are shown. The EWMA and yearly trends suggests the population is growing. There is a winter peak in January and February.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted by: mynaturaldiary | September 20, 2019

Wave after wave

Wave after wave of geese flew into the RSPB reserve at Saltholme after flying across the North Sea, which is only 2km away.

I’ve never seen so many Greylag Geese on the reserve in the 10 years this reserve has been open.

Greylag Goose (Anser anser)

Mixed in amongst these geese were Barnacle and Canadian Geese

Barnacle goose (Branta leucopsis)

Canada Geese (Branta canadensis)

We were treated to a Whooper Swan, which is a rare visitor to the reserve.

Whooper Swan (Cygnus cygnus)

as well as Mute Swans which are resident.

Mute Swan (Cygnus olor)

Black-tailed Godwits were feeding by the side of the main lake, which is being redeveloped.

Black-tailed Godwit (Limosa limosa)

Redshank were there too.

Redshank (Tringa totanus)

A Grey Heron was on the causeway of Saltholme West pool.

Grey Heron (Ardea cinerea)

Lapwings are beginning to return to the reserve in numbers.

Lapwing (Vanellus vanellus)

as have Golden Plovers

Golden Plover (Pluvialis apricaria)

Perfect slow TV now with some clips of Teal resting on the waters of Wildlife Watchpoint.

Teal (Anas crecca)

Little Grebes were also seen

Little Grebe (Tachybaptus ruficollis)

Finally the day was filled with Dragonflies in the air.

including one star performing Common Darter

Common Darter (Sympetrum striolatum)

Posted by: mynaturaldiary | September 13, 2019

Merlin Magic

A Merlin was hunting dragonflies at the RSPB reserve at Saltholme. It was hiding in reeds when I saw it at the Phil Stead Hide.

 

Merlin (Falco columbarius)

Dragonflies were everywhere.

Common Darter (Sympetrum striolatum)

And the butterflies were feeding on the flowers in the pollinator garden, close to the main building.

Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta)

Speckled Wood (Pararge aegeria)

Small White (Pieris rapae)

Peacock (Aglais io)

There was a brief appearance of a Reed Warbler in the Wildlife Watchpoint hide.

Reed Warbler (Acrocephalus scirpaceus)

And on the feeders were Great Tits

Great Tit (Parus major)

A Water Rail gave a fine display in the same hide.

Water Rail (Rallus aquaticus)

Black-tailed Godwits were feeding on the waters by Paddy’s Pool hide

And also on the waters by Saltholme Hide

Black-tailed Godwit (Limosa limosa)

We were treated to the great sight of Greenshank, a passage migrant on its way south back to Africa for the winter.

Greenshank (Tringa Nebularia)

Geese are returning in numbers. First, Canada Geese

Canada Geese (Branta canadensis)

and Greylag Geese

Greylag Goose (Anser anser)

A single Avocet was seen, sleeping behind an earth bank.

Avocet (Recurvirostra avosetta)

Finally, some more predators were on the reserve. First, in the heron family were Grey Heron

Grey Heron (Ardea cinerea)

and Little Egrets

Little Egret (Egretta garzetta)

and in the distance, a Marsh Harrier feeding on the ground.

Marsh Harrier (Circus aeruginosus)

High in the sky a brief appearance of a Peregrine Falcon was seen over Saltholme West Pool.

Peregrine (Falco peregrinus)

The berries ripen

and the waters are still

Posted by: mynaturaldiary | September 10, 2019

Off the coast of Whitby

Down to Whitby for a fishing trip and the sea is calm.

Out at sea, were Gannets

Gannet (Morus bassanus)

and Great Black Backed Gulls

Great Black-Blacked Gull (Larus marinus)

Like us, they are out at sea for the fish.

 

 

Posted by: mynaturaldiary | September 1, 2019

Harvest Time 2019

Tableaux from the 2019 harvest.

Give us this day our daily bread.

 

Posted by: mynaturaldiary | August 23, 2019

Heather Time

The Heather is at its peak on Rosedale Moors

and Guisborough Moors, with Sleddale in the distance.

The view reminds one of the poem

Poems of Home: V. The Home
The House Beautiful
Robert Louis Stevenson (1850–1894)

A NAKED house, a naked moor,
A shivering pool before the door,
A garden bare of flowers and fruit,
And poplars at the garden foot;
Such is the place that I live in,
Bleak without and bare within.

Yet shall your ragged moors receive
The incomparable pomp of eve,
And the cold glories of the dawn
Behind your shivering trees be drawn;
And when the wind from place to place
Doth the unmoored cloud galleons chase,
Your garden blooms and gleams again
With leaping sun and glancing rain;
Here shall the wizard moon ascend
The heavens, in the crimson end
Of day’s declining splendor; here,
The army of the stars appear.
The neighbor hollows, dry or wet,
Spring shall with tender flowers beset;
And oft the morning muser see
Larks rising from the broomy lea,
And every fairy wheel and thread
Of cobweb dew dediamonded.
When daisies go, shall winter time
Silver the simple grass with rime;
Autumnal frosts enchant the pool
And make the cart ruts beautiful.
And when snow bright the moor expands,
How shall your children clap their hands!
To make this earth our heritage,
A cheerful and a changeful page,
God’s intricate and bright device
Of days and seasons doth suffice.

 

The contrast in colours is great to see.

The Grouse butts stand out clearly.

As do the Red Grouse when flushed.

Red Grouse (Lagopus lagopus)

Look hard and you can see Meadow Pipits on the heather.

Meadow pipit (Anthus pratensis)

 

Posted by: mynaturaldiary | August 12, 2019

Tern Chicks

Common Terns have chicks on Paddy’s Pool island at the RSPB reserve at Saltholme,

A little over a month ago, the island was awash with Black Headed Gulls and their chicks, which have now vacated the place, to be replaced by Terns. They are busy getting food in for their hungry chicks, who will have to migrate soon enough.

 

Common Tern (Sterna hirundo)

They hover above the ground, searching for their young and keeping a watchful eye out for prey and predators.

By September, all these birds will have begun their migration to their winter homes on the west coast of Africa.

Also on the waters by Paddy’s Pool were Little Grebes (dabchicks). Blink and you’ll miss them

as they are constantly diving for food.

Little Grebe (Tachybaptus ruficollis)

Gadwall

Gadwall (Anas strepera)

and Shoveler

Shoveler (Anas clypeata)

were also seen by Paddy’s Pool.

On the fields were Canada Geese

Canada Geese (Branta canadensis)

On the waters before Saltholme hide

and in the air, flying in skeins were

Greylag Goose (Anser anser)

The skeins are a sure sign that the families are now strong enough to fly together and that the northern birds are returning to Teesmouth for the winter.

Occasional Lapwing were seen.

Lapwing (Vanellus vanellus)

They will soon be picking up in numbers as the light continually falls through autumn, so by early winter, we will be home to thousands of these birds.

Finally, the Avocets are still with us.

Avocet (Recurvirostra avosetta)

These too will be heading south soon as the seasons progress.

Posted by: mynaturaldiary | July 24, 2019

Partial Lunar Eclipse

The full moon rises over Guisborough Moor, but this time in a partial eclipse.

 

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