Posted by: mynaturaldiary | March 27, 2016

Storm

A small storm broke out at the RSPB reserve at Saltholme, part of a bigger pattern.

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It is interesting to see how the birds coped. The Black Headed Gulls on Paddy’s Pool were squabbling with each other over possession of a scrap of the island, which will be their breeding ground this season. They are in their summer breeding plumage again, with a chocolate coloured head.

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Black-headed Gull (Larus ridibundus)

They defend their spot against all comers, even Canada Geese, much larger than them.

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And the ducks on the water by Paddy’s Pool carry on.

Then the storm approached.

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Once it has struck, the waters boiled with the hail and heavy rain.

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and the gulls collectively hunkered down on the water; a peace for the duration of the terrible moment.

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Shared adversity brings solidarity, even in gulls.

The Tufted Duck spends part of its life beneath the water, searching for insect larvae, molluscs and a small amount of plant matter.

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Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula)

With a storm above, it sought the quietude and food beneath, and dived like a submarine would in bad weather.

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The storm passed by, leaving a darkened cloud, offset by the white of Mute Swans.

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Mute Swan (Cygnus olor)

And, of course, after the storm, the obligatory rainbow.

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Back to the Canadian Geese, who are pairing off.

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Canada Geese (Branta canadensis)

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Wigeon are still on the reserve.

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Wigeon (Anas penelope)

And Little Egrets were hunting in the shallow waters.

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Little Egret (Egretta garzetta)

And Oystercatchers.

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Oystercatcher (Haematopus ostralegus)

Now some smaller birds. Meadow pipits have returned for the summer, having wintered further south.

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Meadow pipit (Anthus pratensis)

Goldfinches are always on the reserve.

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Goldfinch (Carduelis carduelis)

And as are Great Tits.

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Great Tit (Parus major)

But these birds aren’t; Penduline tits.

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European penduline tit (Remiz pendulinus)

They are very rare (for the UK). They spend their time in the reed beds, and are consequently difficult to see.

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They get their name from the elaborate hanging nests they weave, and the Latin pendeō ‎(I hang). Maybe, since a pair of them are on the reserve, we may get one this summer if we are very, very lucky?


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