Posted by: mynaturaldiary | November 23, 2014

Wizard Bird

The Wizard bird at the RSPB reserve at Saltholme was a Merlin. A female sat on a fence,

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scanning the skies for prey by constantly turning its head.

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It had a quick poop (to lighten the weight?) before flying off.

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Merlin (Falco columbarius)

Being Britain’s smallest falcon means there is a size limit on the bird it can catch.

One bird on the lookout for such predators are Golden Plover, now on the reserve in their hundreds. They roost on the ground feeding, until something triggers a cloud of them to take to the skies, in a murmuration.

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Golden Plover (Pluvialis apricaria)

They work their way into much larger Lapwings, who also take to the skies in numbers for safety.

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In the setting sunlight, the Lapwings dazzle, both in flight with their white wingtip feathers, and their iridescence on the ground.

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Lapwing (Vanellus vanellus)

Also caught in the setting sun were Curlews.

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These are big waders, with beaks that curve downwards.

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Curlew (Numenius arquata)

Their cries are quite haunting; once heard never forgotten.

On the water was a Little Grebe

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Little Grebe (Tachybaptus ruficollis)

And Redshank were at the waters edge. Their legs are self descriptive!

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Redshank (Tringa totanus)

The ducks present were

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Teal (Anas crecca)

Shoveler (this one’s a male).

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Shoveler (Anas clypeata)

And in the far distance, a delightful male Pintail.

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Pintail (Anas acuta)

In the air, Wigeon.

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Wigeon (Anas penelope)

Shelduck, the symbol for the Teesmouth Bird Club were close to Salthome hide.

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Shelduck (Tadorna tadorna)

In the air, a Little Egret passed by, with its green legs.

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Little Egret (Egretta garzetta)

A wonderful new visitor to the reserve were Whooper Swans.

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Whooper Swan (Cygnus cygnus)

Their yellow bills mark them out from Mute Swans.

Merlins and Whooper Swans are new birds for me; so what a day’s treat!

The sun sets on the reserve behind the old ICI fertiliser tower, marking a brilliant day’s birding.

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