Posted by: mynaturaldiary | November 17, 2013

Chased and Chastened

Lapwing and Golden Plover form wheeling clouds of birds at the RSPB reserve at Saltholme whenever a predator appears.

On the ground, hundreds of Golden Plover shine in the sunlight.

131117# (96)

131117# (65)

131117# (68)

131117# (70)

Golden Plover (Pluvialis apricaria)

Mixed in with the Golden Plover are Lapwing.

131117# (69)

Lapwing (Vanellus vanellus)

These birds live on a hairline trigger; the slightest disturbance (like a crow flying too close), and up they rise to form wheeling clouds in the skies, the better to confuse any predator. The Lapwing have rounded wings, with white feathers at the tip.

131117# (84)

131117# (88)

Whereas the Golden Plover have pointed wings.

131117# (91)


Their response to a threat is in earnest, as are the predators attacks. It is, after all, the life – dinner principle. A Peregrine appears in the skies.

131117# (99)

131117# (100)

It chases a Plover, catches it, then takes it to ground to be dispatched…

A few moments later, the falcon returns to the sky, with its kill in its talons.

131117# (101)

131117# (103)

131117# (80)

131117# (81)

Peregrine (Falco peregrinus)

The chased and chastened survivors make their way back down to the ground

131117# (79)

131117# (83)


131117# (87)

There to begin once again, between feeds, their patient scanning of the skies for threats.

They weren’t the only waders on the reserve. Curlew (taken in low light levels)

131117# (116)

131117# (117)

Curlew (Numenius arquata)

and Redshank were there.

131117# (111)

131117# (108)

Redshank (Tringa totanus)

Ducks were on the reserve in force, especially Wigeon,

131117# (64)

Wigeon (Anas penelope)


131117# (63)

Teal (Anas crecca)

Shoveler (with their large beaks)

131117# (107)

131117# (90)

Shoveler (Anas clypeata)

Mallard (ever present)

131117# (115)

131117# (114)

Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos)

Shelduck (somewhere in size between a duck and a goose). the one below is a female, since it doesn’t have the large red knob at the top of its bill.

131117# (109)

131117# (112)

Shelduck (Tadorna tadorna)

and finally, some fine Pintail.

131117# (72)

131117# (66)

Pintail (Anas acuta)

On a post in the middle of Back Saltholme pool was a Cormorant.

131117# (93)

Cormorant (Phalacrocorax carbo)

Geese were also present. First, our two local species; Canadian geese and Greylag geese.

131117# (85)

Canada Goose (Branta canadensis)

131117# (94)

131117# (95)

Greylag Goose (Anser anser)

Then a flock of magnificent Barnacle geese flew past.


131117# (77)

131117# (76)

Barnacle goose (Branta leucopsis)

These are always a lovely sight. Finally, there were many Little Egrets.

131117# (61)

131117# (113)

Little Egret (Egretta garzetta)

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