Posted by: mynaturaldiary | January 23, 2011


A special resident is well camouflaged at the RSPB reserve at Saltholme. Blink when walking past and you’d miss the Long-eared Owl, hiding in the thickets of a communal roost in the woods at Saltholme. Thankfully the reserve guides will point it out to all passing visitors.

Long-eared Owl (Asio otus)

It keeps very still, the blink of its eye giving away its presence. The ear tufts are down, showing the bird is very relaxed.

Fieldfare were feeding on the fruit placed out on the reserve.

Fieldfare (Turdus pilaris)

The reserve was still partly frozen, cutting down the number & variety of birds seen. Ducks made their way across the waters. In the far distance were Shelduck.

Shelduck (Tadorna tadorna)

Closer in were Tufted Duck.

Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula)

And by the edge of the waters, a brace of Teal.

Teal (Anas crecca)

But the duck delectation of the day belonged to the Wigeon, who were present in their hundreds, calling with their plaintive cry. They flew into Paddy’s Pool,

before wheeling round to land on the waters by the edge of the ice.

Notice the reflection of the ducks on the ice.

In close up the fine orange stripe on the males head becomes apparent, together with the pink breast feathers.

Wigeon (Anas penelope)

They stayed on the water and ice for a few minutes, preening themselves.

Soon they flew off again, in small clusters.

Let’s finish with an image from Paddy’s Pool of the Transporter Bridge together with the remaining ducks, reflected off the ice on a cold January’s day.

n.b. this winter’s cold… the negative phase of the North Atlantic Oscillation.

NAO Jan 2011 article-1341618-0C9420C2000005DC-791_468x457

It will turn, eventually.

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