Posted by: mynaturaldiary | October 13, 2009

Hare

The RSPB reserve at Saltholme marshes has Hares as residents that are occasionally seen. Normally they keep well hidden, but I saw one on my most recent trip as it bounded to the edge of the waters at Wildlife Watchpoint, the hide nearest the reserves main building.

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Hare (Lepus europaeus)

There were fine views of Redshanks on the mud flats.

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Redshank (Tringa totanus)

The mudflats also attracted a pair of Dunlin.

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Under bright sunlight, the speckled pattern along their wings can be seen.

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As soon as the cloud dims the light, they appear much duller.

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Dunlin (Calidris alpina)

These birds are probably Juveniles, as they do not show the distinctive black patch on their bellies, seen in the breeding season. In winter they look grey.

Black-tailed Godwits were present at a number of the hides. Firstly from the new viewing point (close to the car park) called Back Saltholme. This sequence shows off the wingbars in flight and the black tail.

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These show the elegance of the birds when feeding in the mud.

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They often group together.

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From Saltholme Pool, I saw through the spotting scope a Black-tailed Godwit in the water, again displaying the wing pattern and the black tail before flying off.

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Black-tailed Godwit (Limosa limosa)

Needless to say, Bar tailed Godwits have a barred tail, amongst other distinguishing features. I didn’t see any bar tailed godwits this day, but I did see a Greenshank on Back Saltholme.

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Greenshank (Tringa Nebularia)

Ruffs were along the waters edge…

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Ruff (Philomachus pugnax)

… as were Snipe.

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Snipe (Gallinago gallinago)

In the background, you can see a Lapwing.

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Lapwing (Vanellus vanellus)

It was a windy day, so I didn’t see many flying Lapwings. However I did see two great displays of flying geese. First Canadian Geese, who noisily honked their way across the waters, before settling down again.

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Canada Goose (Branta canadensis)

Later a gaggle of Greylag Geese followed the same path.

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Greylag Goose (Anser anser)

Whether flying in a gaggle as above, or in pairs

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or singly on the ground

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these birds always elicit a huge warm smile from within me; les oies sauvages.

Lurking in the long grass was a Grey Heron.

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Grey Heron (Ardea cinerea)

And there were plenty of Little Egrets to be seen all day.

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Little Egret (Egretta garzetta)

Ducks have begun to reappear in numbers. First, a newcomer to this diary, a male Pintail.

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Pintail (Anas acuta)

Now, a welcome return to the shores of Saltholme by the Wigeon.

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Wigeon (Anas penelope)

The last two pictures shows the male duck changing from summer to winter plumage, with the distinctive yellow forehead and the white band on the wing.

Next, Gadwalls. They are large ducks, and the males in winter have a wonderful, complex grey colour in full sunlight.

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Gadwall (Anas strepera)

Teal have also returned in numbers. These are much smaller ducks and the males have a delightful pattern on their head. The first few pictures were taken under cloudy, windy conditions as the Teal rides the waves. The last pictures were in still, sunlight conditions and show off their colours to their best.

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Teal (Anas crecca)

Mute Swans are always present at Saltholme.

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Mute Swan (Cygnus olor)

Another new visitor to this diary; a powerful Great Black-backed Gull swept over the reserve.

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Great Black-backed Gull (Larus marinus)

That beak looks vicious!

This next little bird is most definitely finch like.  I’m going to identify it as a female Reed Bunting, but I’m open to other suggestions…

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Reed Bunting (Emberiza schoeniclus)

Finally, a congregation of Golden Plover, swept over the water.

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Golden Plover (Pluvialis apricaria)

I await the huge, shimmering flocks of Golden Plovers that can be seen later in the year at twilight.


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