Posted by: mynaturaldiary | February 27, 2010

Steel and Nature

We in general prefer in Teesside if our salamanders weren’t tapped; the river of steel continued to flow and the other natural salamanders lurked in wetlands, such as you might find at the RSPB reserve at Saltholme. As a passing nod to our fading local industry, here’s a picture of the finest steel structure in the area, counterpointed by nature, in the form of Canadian Geese.

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Canada Goose (Branta canadensis)


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The geese look more at ease than last month
when much of the reserve was covered in ice,


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forcing the geese onto the frozen surface.

Tucked away in a group of Canadian geese is a pale bellied Brent Goose, seen on the right of this image.

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Then on the left.


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Brent goose (Branta bernicla)
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It’s much smaller than the Canadian Geese that surround it.

Greylag geese were on the ground, not much in evidence on the wing.


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Greylag Goose (Anser anser)

Mute Swans are ever present at Saltholme. They are ever beautiful too.

Mute Swan (Cygnus olor)

Coming down in size, Shelducks were on the waters.


Shelduck (Tadorna tadorna)
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The plaintive cry of Wigeon haunts the reserve.
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The yellow-orange head stripe, and pink belly of the male are very distinctive.
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Wigeon (Anas penelope)
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Mallards are also a very common sight (everywhere, as it’s the UK’s commonest duck!).
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The blue-green irridescent head of the male is best seen in full sunlight.
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Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos)

Pochards were out on the waters.


Pochard (Aythya ferina)

This one is a male.

Gadwall were also there.


Gadwall (Anas strepera)

as were Goldeneye,




Goldeneye (Bucephala clangula)

and Pintail.



Pintail (Anas acuta)

Now, some waders. A Redshank displayed well in front of Saltholme hide.




Redshank (

A Little Egret showed well from the Wildlife Watchpoint hide.

Little Egret (Egretta garzetta)

It stalks through the water, looking for fish.








Its patience is occasionally rewarded!



Black-tailed godwits were also hunting on the mudflats.


Black-tailed godwit (Limosa limosa)

In the far distance, a Cormorant perched on a post.

Cormorant (Phalacrocorax carbo)

In the sky, a Skylark ascended, singing.

Skylark (Alauda arvensis)

This is a sign that summer will come (eventually!).

The river of Charadriidae in the sky still continues. First Golden Plover.

Golden Plover (Pluvialis apricaria)

Then Lapwings – hundreds in the sky at once.






Lapwing (Vanellus vanellus)

Curlew also congregated in numbers in the skies.




Curlew (Numenius arquata)

Curlew were also on the ground, especially before Saltholme hide.





Safety in numbers…

On the feeders at Wildlife Watchpoint were Buntings and Finches.



Reed Bunting (Emberiza schoeniclus)

Goldfinches showed their dazzling colours.

Goldfinch (Carduelis carduelis)

Alongside was a Greenfinch.

Greenfinch (Carduelis chloris)

A Blue Tit nipped in onto the feeder, once the finches left.

Blue Tit (Cyanistes caeruleus)

Finally, in the trees were some Twites.

Twite (Carduelis flavirostris)
More Soon!


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