Posted by: mynaturaldiary | March 29, 2015

Lambkins

The RSPB reserve at Saltholme has resident sheep, all the better to keep the grass short for the birds. And at this time of year, we get lambs. These are a few days old.

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They are kept well away from the attention of Foxes by an electric fence (more on the mammal predators at the end of this post). Bach would approve.

Schafe können sicher weiden, (Sheep can safely graze)
Wo ein guter Hirte wacht         (where a good shepherd watches over them)

There is a definite feeling of spring in the air. The birds are mating again.

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Black-headed Gull (Larus ridibundus)

The black headed gulls have their summer breeding plumage back. Behind the gulls in this picture are Redshank, waders that are found most of the year on the reserve, apart from May and June.

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Redshank (Tringa totanus)

There are others waders present. The Black tailed godwits are just beginning to show signs of their redder breasts that marks their summer finery.

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Black-tailed Godwit (Limosa limosa)

There are plenty of Blackwits on the bottom tank at the Phil Stead Hide.

At the waters edge are Gadwall. This is a most handsome duck under bright light, which shows off the herringbone pattern on the male.

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This one was sleeping, and behind it a Lapwing passed.

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Gadwall (Anas strepera)

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Lapwing (Vanellus vanellus)

In the reeds by Phil Stead hide is a Water Rail. It moves quickly from one patch of reeds to another.

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Water Rail (Rallus aquaticus)

Its plumage is quite distinct, and once seen is never forgotten.

The Great Crested Grebes are on the waters once again.

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Great Crested Grebe (Podiceps cristatus)

Another fabulous bird on the water is the Red breasted merganser. This one is diving for its dinner.

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He stayed on the surface long enough to be photographed, albeit at some distance.

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Red breasted merganser (Mergus serrator)

Little egrets are in the distance too.

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Little Egret (Egretta garzetta)

Other ducks present are Teal

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Teal (Anas crecca)

Wigeon, still in plenty of numbers, and with the male showing the orange head stripe.

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Wigeon (Anas penelope)

Pochard (this male is caught in the act of diving!)

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Pochard (Aythya ferina)

Here’s a picture of a Mallard taking off.

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Also a pair of Mallard.

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Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos)

Tufted Duck (the black and white male is unmistakable).

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Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula)

And finally, the Shelduck; the largest duck, and symbol of the Teesmouth Bird Club.

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Shelduck (Tadorna tadorna)

Greylag geese are still in flocks (although this one was on its own). They will be soon paired off for the mating season.

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Greylag Goose (Anser anser

There are plenty of woodland birds too on the feeders. Greenfinch

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Greenfinch (Carduelis chloris)

Blue tits

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 Blue Tit (Cyanistes caeruleus)

Great Tits

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Great Tit (Parus major)

and Reed Buntings were all on the feeders at Wildlife Watchpoint.

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Reed Bunting (Emberiza schoeniclus)

The reeds themselves at the back of the hide await the return of the summer warblers.

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Now, about those predators… a male Kestrel displayed well between the visitors centre and Saltholme hide.

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Kestrel (Falco tinnunculus)

And on the ground, mammals. First, a Weasel.

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Least weasel (Mustela nivalis)

And finally, a Fox.

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Red Fox (Vulpes vulpes)

Stick to the bird food, and away from those lambkins.


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