Posted by: mynaturaldiary | September 29, 2013

To yellow autumn turn’d

Autumn returns at the RSPB reserve at Saltholme. The winter ducks are returning, and skeins of geese are in the air.

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Wigeon (Anas penelope)

The male Wigeon are mostly in their eclipse plumage. They haven’t yet developed the bright orange stripe along their forehead, which is typical for their winter breeding plumage.

Shoveler with their huge bills were on the waters.

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Shoveler (Anas clypeata)

and so were Gadwall.

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Gadwall (Anas strepera)

Plenty of Greylag Geese were in the air, instantly identifiable by their orange beaks.

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Greylag Goose (Anser anser)

and on the waters.

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A Mute Swan flew past the outline of Roseberry Topping on the horizon.

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before landing on the waters.

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Mute Swan (Cygnus olor)

Take off and landing is always dramatic, with such a large bird.

Redshank are much smaller waders.

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Redshank (Tringa totanus)

Curlew are much bigger, and have distinctive curved bills.

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Curlew (Numenius arquata)

Golden Plover have returned from the uplands and Moors to winter with us (at least until the snows begin in earnest, which is?).

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Golden Plover (Pluvialis apricaria)

They are mixed in with clouds of Lapwing. These are a sure sign we have autumn again, and together they will dominate the skies until the snows.

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These clouds of birds bring out my inner augur.

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Lapwing (Vanellus vanellus)

In the far distance were some Ruff.

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Ruff (Philomachus pugnax)

And also many Little Egrets.

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Little Egret (Egretta garzetta)

Far away on a post was a Cormorant.

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Cormorant (Phalacrocorax carbo)

Closer to one of the hides was a Goldfinch, (not in his breeding finery).

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Goldfinch (Carduelis carduelis)

Finally, high in the sky, a Marsh Harrier circled.

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Marsh Harrier (Circus aeruginosus)

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