Posted by: mynaturaldiary | May 21, 2017

Chicks everywhere!

Chicks are everywhere at the RSPB reserve at Saltholme.

This busy Great Crested Grebe parent has a pair on its back, and another very keen to join them.

Great Crested Grebe (Podiceps cristatus)

(see videos herehere)

The family made its way out onto open waters, before rushing back to the relative safety near the reeds.

(see video here & here).

Moorhen chicks were also on display.

Moorhen (Gallinula chloropus)

(see videos here and here)

One was moving in the green reeds before Wildlife Watchpoint.

(see video here)

Mallard chicks were seen at the same hide.

Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos)

(see video here)

with parents nearby.

Greylag Geese had chicks moving between a pair of watchful adults.

Greylag Goose (Anser anser)

(see video here)

Black headed Gulls and their chicks dominate the island at Paddy’s Pool hide.

(see videos here, here and here).

Their nests are all over the cockle shells that make up the island, together with some twigs.

(see video here).

They act together to form a dread to repel marauders –  in this case Lesser Black backed Gulls on the lookout for an unprotected chick.

(see video here).

Life is a brutal game of survival for young chicks, but if they make it through to adulthood there are quieter moments. I like this solitary Black headed Gull caught with its reflection in the water.

Black-headed Gull (Larus ridibundus)

(see video here).

The villain of the island, a Lesser Black backed Gull rests here.

Lesser black-backed gull (Larus fuscus)

(see video here) Notice its bright yellow legs, which identifies it.

Other predators on the prowl were Grey Herons.

Grey Heron (Ardea cinerea)

(see video here and here).

In the vignette below, set against the reed beds, three different species including Grey Heron, Little Egrets and Canada Geese can be seen.

Canada Geese (Branta canadensis)

(see video here).

Little Egrets were hunting in a scene that looks straight out of the Jurassic, especially in the video below.

(see video here).

Little Egret (Egretta garzetta)

Other ducks seen were

Gadwall

Gadwall (Anas strepera)

(see video here, here and here).

Shoveler (see video here)

Shelduck

Shelduck (Tadorna tadorna)

and Tufted Ducks

Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula)

Waders included Avocets, now a firm fixture at Saltholme

Avocet (Recurvirostra avosetta)

(see video here, here and here)

Lapwings were also there breeding

Lapwing (Vanellus vanellus)

Oystercatchers passed through

Oystercatcher (Haematopus ostralegus)

(see video here)

Two summer visitors, alongside the Avocets were Ringed plover and Little Ringed Plover. First the Ringed Plover

Ringed Plover (Charadrius hiaticula)

Notice the orange bill which is black tipped and the lack of an eye ring.

Next the Little Ringed Plover

Little ringed plover (Charadrius dubius)

(see video here)

Notice the black bill and the yellow eye ring. The differences between the two species is how we tell the birds apart.

In the far distance on the grasslands before Paddy’s Pool were Dunlin.

Dunlin (Calidris alpina)

The Common Terns have returned.

Common Tern (Sterna hirundo)

(See video here and here)

A pair of Mute Swans performed a heart dance.

Mute Swan (Cygnus olor)

(see video here and here)

Sand Martins have returned to the artificial sandbanks we’ve made for them.

Sand Martin (Riparia riparia)

(see video here)

Also Swallows, in the air and outside Saltholme hide.

Swallow (Hirundo rustica)

(see video here)

On the feeders by the visitors centre were Goldfinch

Goldfinch (Carduelis carduelis)

Greenfinch

Greenfinch (Carduelis chloris)

 

In the far distance, our top summer predator, a Marsh Harrier glided by (top right hand side).

Marsh Harrier (Circus aeruginosus)

(see video here)

And finally some curious cattle that roam the reserve, come to visit one of the hides.

(see video here)

 

Posted by: mynaturaldiary | May 13, 2017

White Walk

Mid May, and the Wild Garlic is back out by

It carpets the ground.

along with Pink Campion

Ascending up into the woods are Bluebells.

The woods are now carpeted in white

and paths cut through this.

At the very top is Cow Parsley,

and some welcome horses,

The descent goes down a ravine, again carpeted by Wild Garlic in bloom.

(see video here)

And right at the bottom, the Hawthorn is back in bloom.

Posted by: mynaturaldiary | May 12, 2017

Dawn Chorus 2017

4am, dawn chorus near Café Twich, and a Blackbird sing his heart out.

Blackbird (Turdus merula)

(see video here)

 

 

 

 

Posted by: mynaturaldiary | April 23, 2017

Lizard

Whislt acting as sweeper to the Moors race, a solitary lizard crossed my path close to Black Nab, highlighted in the yellow circle.

Common Lizard (Zootoca vivipara)

 

Posted by: mynaturaldiary | April 21, 2017

Hanami at Highcliff Nab (again)

The cherry blossom is in full bloom now.

As the blossom waxes, the daffodils wane.

Posted by: mynaturaldiary | April 16, 2017

New lambs

Spring lambs – how wonderful – have been born at the RSPB reserve at Saltholme.

You can see them in these videos here and here.

The reserve is a working farm, keeping sheep and cows on the grasslands. They feed themselves, and in so doing keep the grass short enough for the birds to get the best from the land too.

Close to the shed where the sheep and lambs are is Paddy pool hide. The pool is guarded by moody Canada Geese, awash with hormones to match the season.

Canada Geese (Branta canadensis)

(see videos here and here)

On the island in the pool, the Black headed Gulls have settled down for the summer to nest before the Common Terns return.

Black-headed Gull (Larus ridibundus)

(see videos here, here and here).

Unlike last month, all the gulls heads have turned brown, ready for the breeding season, which is well underway.

Shelduck were on the wet grassland by Paddy’s Pool hide, and on the scrape by Saltholme hide. They were displaying too.

Shelduck (Tadorna tadorna)

They are very elegant birds to look at, and are our largest duck.

The male is on the left (with the red knob on its bill), and the female on the right (the bill is plain).

(see video here).

Another much underrated duck to look at is the Gadwall. A close up of the male shows a fabulous herringbone pattern, often missed at a distance where it appears grey.

Gadwall (Anas strepera)

(see video here for more detail).

A few Wigeon remain on the waters.

Wigeon (Anas penelope)

Maybe they will spend their summer with us?

Shoveler are also still on the waters.

Shoveler (Anas clypeata)

Their bill is enormous, and makes them easy to spot at a distance.

Tufted Ducks, especially the male are easy to spot. Piebald, daffy ducks, with a trailing tuft at the back of their head.

Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula)

They are diving ducks, and when feeding are difficult to keep a watch on once they go submerged.

(see video here).

Great Crested Grebes are divers too.

Great Crested Grebe (Podiceps cristatus)

(see video here).

Greylag geese are beautiful to look at close up, with their distinct orange bill.

Greylag Goose (Anser anser)

(notice the goosestep!)

(see video here).

Waders were showing well from Saltholme hide. First, Avocets. Notice the display one seems to show here.

Avocet (Recurvirostra avosetta)

(see videos here, here, here & here).

Black tailed Godwits are returning to their summer plumage, which is a deep red colour.

Black-tailed Godwit (Limosa limosa)

(see video here and here).

Redshank showed close to Saltholme hide

Redshank (Tringa totanus)

(see video here).

as did Oystercatchers.

Oystercatcher (Haematopus ostralegus)

(see video here)

Meadow Pipits were also close in.

Meadow pipit (Anthus pratensis)

(see video here)

and Pied Wagtails.

Pied Wagtail(Motacilla alba)

Little Egrets were at the waters edge.

Little Egret (Egretta garzetta)

(see video here).

Finally, a Grey Heron was also stalking, searching for a meal.

Grey Heron (Ardea cinerea)

(see video here)

 

Posted by: mynaturaldiary | April 13, 2017

Farndale valley

The entrance to the valley of Farndale from Blakey Ridge shows the vast space of the North York Moors (click on photos for full scale).

On the valley floor, the Blackthorne is in full bloom, making the hedges turn white.

Blakey Ridge looks down on all of this.

But the great glory of Farndale this time of year are the daffodils.

These line the side of the riverbanks.

(see video here).

A great walk, some 3 1/2 miles long runs down the dale, with a river flanked by the daffodils.

In the distance the hills rise

along with this years lambs, close to their mothers.

In the hills, farm houses nestle too.

The valley is very quiet and peaceful.

Depending on where you start, the Daffy Cafe either is close to the start and end, or at the apogee. Among the tea and cakes, Blackbirds look on for scraps.

Blackbird (Turdus merula)

Posted by: mynaturaldiary | April 10, 2017

Passover Moon

Tonight’s sky belongs to the Passover Moon, and to Jupiter (bottom right).

Posted by: mynaturaldiary | April 5, 2017

Hanami at Highcliff Nab

Hanami (花見) is the tradition of enjoying the transient beauty of the cherry blossom flowers on the tree.

A trick of perspective allows the pink and white blooms on the trees to be seen against the seeming impermanence of distant Highcliff Nab.

The blooms are wonderful to see in bright light.

A walk to the top of the Moor shows that the leaves on the trees in the forest are growing once again.

At the top of the path, a Wren sings, making a very loud noise for the size of the bird.

Wren (Troglodytes troglodytes)

and Highcliff Nab stands out well.

A Meadow Pipit rests at the edge of the wood.

Meadow pipit (Anthus pratensis)

On the Moor, Sleddale stands out; a oasis of green in a sea of dormant heather.

The heather provides food and shelter to Red Grouse.

The birds fly when approached, using out their distinctive chiding call.

Red Grouse (Lagopus lagopus)

On the descent back down, the rock face of Highcliff Nab can be seen, together with some daffodils nestling away.

A Peacock butterfly rests on the ground.

Peacock (Aglais io)

At the bottom of the woods, a Song Thrush sings out.

Song Thrush (Turdus philomelos)

Let’s leave this day of sunlight and bloom with a few more shots of blossom.

And a special shot of agelessness and modernity, a transient moment.

Posted by: mynaturaldiary | March 20, 2017

Vernal Equinox

We welcome back equal night and equal day, before heading into the light half of the year.

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