Posted by: mynaturaldiary | January 10, 2016

Cold Curlews

It was cold, but the Curlews carried on at the RSPB reserve at Saltholme.

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Curlew (Numenius arquata)

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Their distinctive bills which curve downwards makes them instantly recognisable.

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Walking through their numbers was a Black tailed Godwit, with its long straight bill, with a dark tip.

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Black-tailed Godwit (Limosa limosa)

The Blackwit is a very elegant bird, but seems small compared to the Curlew.

A deceit of Lapwings fills the skies whenever predators threatened.





Lapwing (Vanellus vanellus)

They settle on the ground again when the danger from a predator is diminished, but wheel around to confuse them when in the air. The ‘deceit’ is an old English term – ‘the false lapwynge, ful of trecherye’ of Chaucer, which stems from their habit of feigning injury to lead a predator away from their nest by dragging a wing along the ground.

A pleasant surprise were a bunch of Knot in their grey winter plumage.

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Knot (Calidris canutus)

Geese are always at Saltholme. There was a large flock of Barnacle geese.

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Barnacle goose (Branta leucopsis)

And skeins of Greylag geese kept on flying in.

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Greylag Goose (Anser anser)

Wigeon were also on the reserve in large numbers.

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Wigeon (Anas penelope)


Their venery term is company. They certainly look as though they enjoy each other’s company when they take off and land, always pointing in the same direction to avoid collisions.

Plenty more ducks were on the reserve, including one special rare one, a female Smew, who seems to have made the reserve her winter home.


Smew (Mergus albellus)

Gadwall were there in  numbers.

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Gadwall (Anas strepera)

Together with Shoveler

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Shoveler (Anas clypeata)

The Mallards were breeding (caught in the act 🙂 )

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Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos)

I hope the winter doesn’t get cold again and catch you out…

And also there were Teal, with this male resting.


Teal (Anas crecca)

There were a few pairs of Red breasted Mergansers

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Red breasted merganser (Mergus serrator)

Little Egrets have stayed for the winter.

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Little Egret (Egretta garzetta)

Now onto finches. First, Greenfinches clustering around the feeders by the visitors centre.


Greenfinch (Carduelis chloris)

Then Tree Sparrows.

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Tree Sparrow (Passer montanus)

Let’s leave the reserve with the sun setting, and a few Wigeon racing across the waters against the backdrop of the Transporter bridge.

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