Posted by: mynaturaldiary | January 26, 2014

Catch and Dispatch

Red Foxes are the top mammalian predator at the RSPB reserve at Saltholme. One appeared before Saltholme hide.

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Red Fox (Vulpes vulpes)

He seemed to be passing by, but suddenly became very interested in a patch of grass by the water’s edge.

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The moments passed,

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and then he lunged.

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It’s probably a Field Vole that he caught. He swiftly dispatched it

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before preparing to eat it

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And then the vole was gone; the life/dinner principle before our eyes.

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Then he was off, in search of the next meal.

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In the trees of the Phil Stead hide were Lesser Redpoll, with their distinctive red head markings.

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Lesser Redpoll (Carduelis cabaret)

And numerous Blue Tits

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Blue Tit (Cyanistes caeruleus)

There were Greenfinch. I haven’t seen any south of the river Tees, since I found one dying on my lawn in 2012. It’s a great bird.

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Greenfinch (Carduelis chloris)

Long may  Trichomonosis stay away!

Chaffinches were in the woods too.

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And on the ground.

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Chaffinch (Fringilla coelebs)

There are always Goldfinches at Saltholme.

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Goldfinch (Carduelis carduelis)

And Robin’s in the trees.

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Robin (Erithacus rubecula)

Now back onto the waters of the reserve. Moorhens are ever present.

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Moorhen (Gallinula chloropus)

And delightful Gadwall, with the male showing his herringbone pattern.

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Gadwall (Anas strepera)

Wigeon were also present on the reserve.

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Wigeon (Anas penelope)

Teal were also on the reserve,

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Teal (Anas crecca)

as were Pochard.

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Pochard (Aythya ferina)

Pintail are very elegant ducks, even when upending to feed.

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Pintail (Anas acuta)

Mallard are permanent residents on the reserve.

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Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos)

No sign of mass displays of Lapwing or Golden Plover. Perhaps they have returned to their upland habitat, preparing for the breeding season. There were still large numbers of Curlews.

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Curlew (Numenius arquata)

Greylag geese flew onto the waters, before settling onto the grasslands. We get used to seeing them fly level, but they will twist and turn to get the right landing spot.

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Greylag Goose (Anser anser)

Barnacle geese are a great sight this time of year.

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Barnacle goose (Branta leucopsis)

Finally, a more uncommon visitor (for me, at least). A Pheasant prowled around the Phil Stead Hide, looking for scraps.

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Pheasant (Phasianus colchicus)

A fabulous looking bird!


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