Posted by: mynaturaldiary | January 15, 2017

Skitey Ducks

A grand Northumbrian word, skitey means slippery. That’s what the waters were at the RSPB reserve at Saltholme when they froze over. The ducks have to manage this change to conditions.

This Shoveler seems not to have minded (I guess the big webbed feet helps).

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Shoveler (Anas clypeata)

(See video here and here).

They manage to steer their way between the ice sheets.

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The water is freezing, but the ducks just get on with it.

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Wigeon (Anas penelope)

Wigeons land gently on the ice, and try not to go flying across it as a flat stone does when thrown on the surface of water.

(See video here and here).

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They cope with the ice and water well.

Pintail kept to the waters to feed.

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Pintail (Anas acuta)

(See video here).

Mallard were also walking on water ice.

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Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos)

The female in the pair got a soaking when the male took off to walk on the ice.

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(see video here)

But she too got her turn on the ice.

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Teal were also on the waters

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(see video here)

and on the ice.

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Teal (Anas crecca)

(see video here).

The Teal were getting frisky, and into courtship displays.

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Notice the bottom waggling and head stretching between rival males.

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(see video here).

Gadwall were also on the reserve. This male was upending to feed.

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Gadwall (Anas strepera)

Notice the black bottom, and the white patch, which helps identify it when its head is under the water.

Shelduck were also on the reserve.

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Shelduck (Tadorna tadorna)

(see video here and here).

In the last video link, a Black Swan appears.

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Black Swan (Cygnus atratus)

Golden Plover are still on the reserve in small flocks.

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Golden Plover (Pluvialis apricaria)

(See video here).

This last bird was showing signs of the dark underbelly which marks their breeding plumage.

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They will soon be leaving for their breeding grounds on the Moors ( North Yorks Moors and Teesdale at the source of the river Tees).

Goldfinch were on the feeders at Wildlife Watchpoint.

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Goldfinch (Carduelis carduelis)

(see video here)

They squabble too!

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Despite it being freezing, there were flies in the air.

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A Little Egret was stalking on the edge of Paddy’s Pool.

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Little Egret (Egretta garzetta)

(see video here)

Finally a poser for us Hide Guides… when is a small gull a juvenile or another species? Look at the bird on the left hand side. Is it a Black Headed Gull, or a Little Gull?

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Black-headed Gull (Larus ridibundus)

We think, after debate it’s a Black Headed Gull juvenile. It’s small (hence the doubt), but a Little Gull has shorter legs. So it’s a little Black Headed Gull.


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