Posted by: mynaturaldiary | May 8, 2010

Baldpate bonanza

American visitors to the RSPB reserve at Saltholme are a cause for celebration, but this one, an American Wigeon looks at a distance very much like his european cousin. Closer examination of some pictures taken at extreme distance reveal he has a paler head stripe than the yellow stripe of the (Eurasion) Wigeon.


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American Wigeon (Anas americana)

Most of the local Wigeon have now left, but one duck that made a fine display were a pair of Gadwall.


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Gadwall (Anas strepera)

As did the Tufted Ducks.

Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula)

Greylag geese are ever present on the reserve.


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Greylag Goose (Anser anser)

The other resident geese are…

Canada Goose (Branta canadensis)

A pair chased away a Redshank which strayed to close for comfort, eliciting a formidable display.


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There were plenty more Redshank.


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Redshank (Tringa totanus)

Most Lapwing have gone to the high moorland, but a few pairs have stayed.


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Lapwing (Vanellus vanellus)

A Little Ringed Plover also made an appearance.


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Little ringed plover (Charadrius dubius)

As did a Turnstone.

Turnstone (Arenaria interpres)

Gulls are always present on the reserve. At this time of year, Black headed Gulls nest on the island in front of Paddy’s Pool.


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Black-headed Gull (Larus ridibundus)

High in the skies are plenty of Skylarks, singing out.

Skylark (Alauda arvensis)

The summer migrants have returned. First, Yellow Wagtails.


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Yellow wagtail (Motacilla flava)

Then in the sky, moving very fast – Swifts, with their unmistakable curved wing shape.

Swift (Apus apus)

By the visitors centre, a special nesting area has been made, the home for Sand Martins. Together with the Swifts and Swallows, they’ll spend the summer slimming the surfaces of the lakes for insects.


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Sand Martin (Riparia riparia)

A bit further up the road from the RSPB reserve is Greatham Creek Saline Lagoon, offering a fine place to see Avocets.


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Avocet (Recurvirostra avosetta)

They are nesting on the island.

The peace of this Avocet was disturbed by a Mute Swan.

Mute Swan (Cygnus olor)

On the far shore, Oystercatchers rested.

Oystercatcher (Haematopus ostralegus)

And high in the sky, a flock of Shelduck flew past.

Shelduck (Tadorna tadorna)

Closer to the ground, a Swallow flew over the resplendent dandilions, that carpet in yellow the verges by the sides of roads.

Swallow (Hirundo rustica)

Finally, over on the marshy sandbanks of the creek, Harbour Seals bask.



Harbour Seal (Phoca vitulina)



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