Posted by: mynaturaldiary | November 1, 2016

Stock Still

At the RSPB reserve at Saltholme, the Long eared Owl has returned to its daytime roost. It is very difficult to see, standing stock still in a hedge about 300m away from a path.

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Long-eared Owl (Asio otus)

Only its movement gives it away (see video here). A casual observer has little chance of finding it, but it’s a great sight if you do. more Long eared Owls will shortly join it as the winter progresses.

The Black-necked Grebe was showing well on Paddy’s Pool.

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Black-necked Grebe  (Podiceps nigricollis)

(See video here).

A similar sized bird, far less rare, but a fabulous sight to watch are Little Grebes. They were all over the reserve.

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Little Grebe (Tachybaptus ruficollis)

It’s wonderful seeing them dive, and leave a ripple on the surface.

(See video here).

This was filmed from Wildlife Watchpoint hide. Another bird seen from this hide was Moorhens, with their long green legs.

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Moorhen (Gallinula chloropus)

(See video here).

It’s in eclipse, when the plumage is duller than in the breeding season. A Mallard joins it feeding.

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Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos)

Both are feeding from the seeds falling from the feeder above it, where finches get a free meal. First Goldfinches,

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Goldfinch (Carduelis carduelis)

and Tree Sparrows.

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Tree Sparrow (Passer montanus)

(See video here).

Starlings are back in numbers

(See video here)

They are beginning their murmurations again.

(See video here).

In among the Starlings were Lapwings.

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Lapwing (Vanellus vanellus)

The sunlight shows their iridescent markings well. They keep very still, until they quickly move, before keeping still again.

(See video here, and video here).

The green tinge on their upper body acts as good camouflage.

(See video here).

I suspect the white underbody and back and white wingtips, when flying in a deceit of Lapwings acts as dazzle camouflage when a predator is around. Adopted by the allied navies during World War One, unlike other forms of camouflage, the intention of dazzle is not to conceal but to make it difficult to estimate a target’s range, speed, and heading. Likewise in nature, we have a dazzle of zebras as a venery term that is self descriptive.

The Golden Plover are joining the Lapwing on the ground and in the skies.

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Golden Plover (Pluvialis apricaria)

They also keep still as much as possible.

(See video here).

Closer to Saltholme hide was a Redshank.

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Redshank (Tringa totanus)

(See video here).

And, elegant as ever, were Black-tailed Godwits (Blackwits in local birder talk).

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Black-tailed Godwit (Limosa limosa)

(see video here, here and here). They are constantly probing the mud for their food.

Hidden amongst green reeds was a Snipe, just peeking through.

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Snipe (Gallinago gallinago)

In the far distance from Saltholme hide were Curlew.

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(See video here).

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Curlew (Numenius arquata)

The ducks in the video link above are Wigeon. Closer up, you can see the winter orange stripe on the head of the males.

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Wigeon (Anas penelope)

(see video here).

Shoveler are ducks with very broad bills. They were before Phil Stead hide on the Bottom Tank.

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Shoveler (Anas clypeata)

And Pochard could be seen on Paddy’s Pool.

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Pochard (Aythya ferina)

Male Teal are beautiful ducks in bright sunlight, when the iridescent stripe on the side of their heads flash blue/green.

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Teal (Anas crecca)

(see video here and here).

Pintail are also back on the reserve.

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Pintail (Anas acuta)

They are dabblers, and upend into the water to feed (see video here).

In the far distance, a Cormorant dried its wings.

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Cormorant (Phalacrocorax carbo)

(See video here).

Greylag geese numbers continue to build up. This one was caught calling to one flying in the sky to join it.

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Greylag Goose (Anser anser)

It did!

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(See video here).

Canadian Geese are always present, mixed in with the Greylags.

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Canada Geese (Branta canadensis)

(See video here).

Finally, Redwings appeared in the trees by Phil Stead hide.

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Redwing (Turdus iliacus)

(see video here)

 

 


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