Posted by: mynaturaldiary | July 19, 2015

Struggle

Tho’ nature red in tooth and claw  returns to the RSPB reserve at Saltholme.

The waters are alive with ducks and their ducklings, including Tufted Ducks.

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Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula)

The little ones are safe from predation if they dive quick enough, and yet, periodically, the waters are swept by Lesser Black Backed Gulls.

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Lesser black-backed gull (Larus fuscus)

And they are occasionally quicker than the ducks; the life-dinner principle in action.

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The Lesser Black Backed Gull is pursued by a Black Headed Gull.

Are God and Nature then at strife,
That Nature lends such evil dreams?
So careful of the type she seems,
So careless of the single life;

That I, considering everywhere
Her secret meaning in her deeds,
And finding that of fifty seeds
She often brings but one to bear.

Alfred, Lord Tennyson, In Memoriam

When the Lesser Black Backed Gulls try the same trick on the colony of Black Headed Gulls and Common Terns, the collective response from the parents is an outraged attack on the intruders; attaque à outrance.

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Black-headed Gull (Larus ridibundus)

The other cohabitant on the island on Paddy’s Pool are Common Terns.

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Common Tern (Sterna hirundo)

The Terns carry sand eels for their young.

When threatened, a ‘dread’ emerges to mob the intruder.

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This is too much for most of them, who swiftly leave.

On the waters were Barnacle Geese.

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Barnacle goose (Branta leucopsis)

Contrast this to the Canadian Goose. You can see its longer neck and different pattern of white on its head.

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Canada Geese (Branta canadensis).

Oystercatchers flew over.

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Oystercatcher (Haematopus ostralegus)

Other waders were Lapwings.

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Lapwing (Vanellus vanellus)

and Redshank.

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Redshank (Tringa totanus)

Egrets and Herons showed well.

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Little Egret (Egretta garzetta)

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Grey Heron (Ardea cinerea)

In the skies were Sand Martins

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Sand Martin (Riparia riparia)

and Swifts (who are as their name suggests, very fast moving!).

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Swift (Apus apus)

Young birds were on the ground. A brown Starling, looking quite different to the adult.

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Starling (Sturnus vulgaris)

and a Pied Wagtail.

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Pied Wagtail (Motacilla alba)

And on the feeders, a Greenfinch.

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Greenfinch (Carduelis chloris)

Insects were on display; it being high summer.

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Finally, some butterflies.

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Large Heath (Coenonympha tullia)

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Meadow Brown (Maniola jurtina)

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Small Tortoiseshell (Nymphalis urticae)


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