Posted by: mynaturaldiary | October 1, 2016

Something Fishy

At the RSPB reserve at Saltholme, a Redshank performed a star turn in front of Saltholme hide.

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Redshank (Tringa totanus)

It caught a fish, then tried to swallow it.

(See video here)

It failed to swallow it, and flew off with its prize still in its beak.

A Black tailed Godwit appeared before the same hide.

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Black-tailed Godwit (Limosa limosa)

(See video here)

Notice how far it pushes its bill into the muddy waters. They are delightful birds to watch, with very elegant bills.

Other waders included Dunlin ( a much smaller bird than the Blackwit above)

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Dunlin (Calidris alpina)

(See video here)

They move very quickly over the muddy waters in search of food.

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In this photo they passed behind a Lapwing, which gives some sense of scale between the birds.

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Lapwing numbers are steadily increasing, and will reach a peak on the reserve mid winter.

They have iridescent feathers, which change from green to blue to black looking, depending upon the light and the distance.

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Lapwing (Vanellus vanellus)

An unexpected summer visitor still present was a Little Ringed Plover.

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It is incessantly bobbing up and down.

You can tell it’s a ‘LRP’, rather than a ‘RP’ by the yellow eye ring.

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This one is probably a juvenile bird.

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Little ringed plover (Charadrius dubius)

Notice the bird has been ringed on its right leg (which makes it a ringed Little Ring Plover?).

Off in the far distance were Curlew.

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Curlew (Numenius arquata)

A Little Egret was hunting.

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Little Egret (Egretta garzetta)

In the far distance, a summer visitor, still on the reserve; an Avocet.

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Avocet (Recurvirostra avosetta)

It is instantly recognizable by its distinctive bill which curves upwards, and black and white markings on its body.

Wigeon are returning in numbers to the reserve.

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Wigeon (Anas penelope)

They eat greenery, as the following video shows.

(See video here)

Tufted Duck are one of the reserves regulars. This piebald one is a male.

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Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula)

This is a Shoveler, with a large bill.

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Shoveler (Anas clypeata)

And Gadwall.

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Gadwall (Anas strepera)

A Black headed Gull was in its winter plumage.

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Black-headed Gull (Larus ridibundus)

On a fencepost on the path down to Saltholme Pools hide were Stonechat.

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Stonechat (Saxicola torquata)

And another bird, a Meadow Pipit was outside the Saltholme Pools hide.

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Meadow pipit (Anthus pratensis)

(See video here)

Close by, a Pied Wagtail moved past.

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Pied Wagtail(Motacilla alba)

In the far distance, a Peregrine rested.

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Peregrine (Falco peregrinus)

And more visibly, a Marsh Harrier was on the wing.

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Marsh Harrier (Circus aeruginosus)

These are big birds, judged by their wingspan.

(See video here)

Geese abounded on the reserve. First Greylag Geese, in their hundreds. At a distance, they can barely be seen, but often heard.

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Only later do they become apparent.

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It’s flying in tight skeins that is impressive to watch as they fly past with powerful wing beats.

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The birds seem unperturbed by the background oil refinery.

Barnacle Geese also were flying.

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Barnacle goose (Branta leucopsis)

On the ground, they are very vigilant.

(See video here, and here)

Darters & Hawkers were still flying.

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Azure Hawker (Aeshna caerulea)

As were Red Admirals

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Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta)

Lurking in a corner of a window frame, an autumnal garden spider waits for a mistake from the two above.

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More Soon!


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