Posted by: mynaturaldiary | May 8, 2016

Fabulous Five

The combined odds of seeing today’s rare birds at the RSPB reserve at Saltholme are small (maybe 1:10,000?) And yet it happened 🙂

First, 5 (five!) Spoonbills were feeding on the flooded grasslands overlooked by the hide at Paddy’s Pool.

160508#100

160508#101

160508#102

Spoonbill (Platalea leucorodia)

This looks all too much like an African scene, rather than North Yorkshire. The heat haze, is driving off the last of the sea fret which blanketed the reserve earlier.

vlcsnap-2016-05-09-07h34m45s57

vlcsnap-2016-05-09-07h33m45s233

vlcsnap-2016-05-09-07h33m55s83

vlcsnap-2016-05-09-07h34m06s192

vlcsnap-2016-05-09-07h34m29s132

What a treat! But then, another rarity flew in; a Black Tern in breeding plumage.

160508#3657

It fed on flies by skimming low across the waters of Saltholme, in a more lazy flight than that of Common Terns and their brethren, faintly reminding me of Nightjars.

160508#3586

We might expect to get a few hundred of these birds in the UK annually, so the chances of getting one this far north aren’t high.

160508#3460

160508#3565
Black Tern (Chlidonias niger)

We have had strong southerly winds recently, so maybe these birds have been blown off course, captives to the fluid air in which they fly.

We have our normal summer visiting terns, all the way from Africa.

160508#3617

Common Tern (Sterna hirundo)

More of these in later reports in the summer. They haven’t begun to nest yet, unlike the Black headed gulls.

160508#3275

2016-05-23-08h26m15s65

They are squabbling amongst themselves, as ever.

160508#3538

160508#3537

Black-headed Gull (Larus ridibundus)

They also squabble with other birds, like Lapwings.

160508#3527

Lapwings have beautifully rounded wings.

160508#3475

160508#3514

Lapwing (Vanellus vanellus)

Another beautiful wader in the summer we see is the Avocet.

2016-05-23-08h28m08s166

2016-05-23-08h28m33s158

160508#3571

Avocet (Recurvirostra avosetta)

And a Common Sandpiper, spotted at distance.

2016-05-23-08h25m13s212

Common Sandpiper (Actitis hypoleucos)

On the waters were Great crested grebes.

160508#3284

Great Crested Grebe (Podiceps cristatus)

They are pairing off and mating.

160508#3596

That’s when they aren’t eating.

160508#3635

Also seen were Tufted ducks, both male (piebald) and female.

160508#3266

Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula)

Mute Swans

160508#3693

Mute Swan (Cygnus olor)

and Greylag Geese.

160508#3398

Greylag Goose (Anser anser)

Seen in the air were other summer visitors; Sand Martins.

160508#3375

Sand Martin (Riparia riparia)

and Swifts.

160508#3673

Swift (Apus apus)

Skylarks

160508#3709

Skylark (Alauda arvensis)

and a male Kestrel, hovering above possible prey.

160508#3384

Kestrel (Falco tinnunculus)

On a fence post was a Meadow Pipit.

160508#3714

Meadow pipit (Anthus pratensis)

And by Saltholme hide, a Pied Wagtail (slightly out of focus!).

160508#3610

Pied Wagtail(Motacilla alba)

Up in the rafters was a Male Tree Sparrow, gathering food for its young.

160508#3389

Tree Sparrow (Passer montanus)

Flying across the fields from Saltholme were a pair of Shelduck.

160508#3430

Shelduck (Tadorna tadorna)

Finally, whilst the dandelions flower around Salthome hide

160508#3299

some have formed blowballs (or clocks, their other common name), ready for seed dispersal.

Cows graze the fields across the reserve, which helps keep the grass short for the wading birds.

160508#3707

I wonder if they like dandelions as much as rabbits do.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Categories

%d bloggers like this: