Posted by: mynaturaldiary | November 2, 2009

Calm before the storm

This weekend offered two contrasting days; Saturdays halcyon calm and Sundays raging storm.

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Thankfully I went to the RSPB reserve at Saltholme on Saturday and enjoyed clear skies, still winds; no hint of the wrath to come the next day with that deep low pressure crossing Scotland.

Leaving the centre to go to the hides, I saw some Greenfinches, taking advantage of the feeders.

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Greenfinch (Carduelis chloris)

And flitting in the long grass, a Wren.

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Wren (Troglodytes troglodytes)

Ensconced in various hides throughout the day, there were plenty of birds on view. First, one of many Coots on the waters.

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Coot (Fulica atra)

And some fine views of Mute Swans, on the water and taking off into the air.

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Mute Swan (Cygnus olor)

In the air and and framed by the industrial backdrop of electricity pylons, I saw a Curlew glide silently by.

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Curlew (Numenius arquata)

Later, I saw one settle on the water’s edge.

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Something now to test all budding augurs. A flight of Greylag Geese came across the sky…

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with a few passing close enough to offer fine views; beating wings, orange bills, sunlight glinting in their eyes, a passing moment before they settled on the water.

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Greylag Goose (Anser anser)

The skies were also filled with a desert of Lapwings and a congregation of Golden Plover, mixed together in a cloud of birds which filled the sky as they escaped a passing (but unseen by me) predator.

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The rounded wings of the Lapwings contrast well with the pointed wings of the Plover. They flew around before settling nervously on the ground. Something else triggered their self preservation instinct, and both species took to the air again, eventually filling the sky.

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Finally, they settle on the ground.

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Lapwing (Vanellus vanellus)

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Golden Plover (Pluvialis apricaria)

A Snipe, up to his knees in the mudflats could be seen from Saltholme hide.

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Snipe (Gallinago gallinago)

Black-tailed Godwits were seen from every hide. Here’s the best photographs of them, showing off their elegence.

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Black-tailed Godwit (Limosa limosa)

This next sequence shows a Godwit preening itself.

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A Moorhen passed behind the Godwit.

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Moorhen (Gallinula chloropus)

There were plenty of Shoveller Ducks on the waters.

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Shoveler Duck (Anas clypeata)

And a fine display from a Male Pintail.

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Pintail (Anas acuta)

There were also plenty of Wigeon in their winter plumage, yellow forehead prominently displayed.

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Wigeon (Anas penelope)

Ever present in the UK waterways are Mallards, with the males distinctive green head and both sexes purple-blue speculum, along the wing.

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Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos)

In the setting sun, Teal showed their wonderful green head band and yellow stripes off.

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And their bottoms…

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Back to their heads.

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Teal (Anas crecca)

Sulking in the long grass were a pair of Little Egrets, one of which played peek a boo enough to be photographed.

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Little Egret (Egretta garzetta)

Across a kilometre of open water, in the shadow of the Transporter Bridge, a Cormorant rested on a post.

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Great Cormorant (Phalacrocorax carbo)

Finally, in the distant skies with a setting sun (red sky at night) a Kestrel patrolled.

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Kestrel (Falco tinnunculus)

Surely red skies at sunset don’t signal storms? Apparently they can do, sometimes…


Responses

  1. I really enjoyed reading your article, keep on creating such exciting posts!


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