Posted by: mynaturaldiary | February 19, 2017

Welcome visitors

A return of welcome visitors to the RSPB reserve at Saltholme – four fine looking birds appeared in the trees before the Phil Stead Hide.

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Waxwing (Bombycilla garrulus)

(see video here).

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Their feathers have a very smooth appearance.

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so much so that a blemish stands out (in this case a seed located by its cheek).

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(see video here and here).

These pictures show off the striking plumage on their tail feathers and wings.

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(see video here and here).

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Their propensity to flock together (in a museum of Waxwings!) means they will often be seen in the same tree.

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They strip the food off a tree with great aplomb.

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They are most elegant birds.

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Stonechat were on the path to the Saltholme hide.

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Stonechat (Saxicola torquata)

Sitting on a fence post some distance from the Paddy’s pool hide was a female Kestrel, being harassed by a crow.

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It saw off the threat, before taking off itself (see video here) to resume the hunt.

In the air these falcons become masters of being able to hover over one spot (all the better to pounce).

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Kestrel (Falco tinnunculus)

The waders are beginning to thin out in numbers. The golden Plover have mostly left, and the Lapwing numbers are also down from their peak around December.

(see video here and here).

They take to the air at the first sign of danger (see video here). Once there, they form a cloud of birds, to help deceive predators, such as the Kestrel above.

(see video here).

They are one of my favourite birds, and I love their cry in the breeding season, which gives their common name (Pee-wit).

Lapwing (Vanellus vanellus)

You can see in this picture some Redshank in addition to the Lapwing.

Redshank (Tringa totanus)

Curlew were also still on the reserve.

Curlew (Numenius arquata)

Their cry is also haunting, and is the sound of spring and early summer on the Moors.

(see video here).

This delightful bird preened itself.

(see video here).

In the field with the Curlews were Wigeon.

Wigeon (Anas penelope)

(see videos here and here).

They have a plaintive cry.

They cluster on the waters for safety (see video here), and struggle to get out onto the grassy bank (see video here). They too will soon depart for Scandinavia for the summer. We’ll see them again in the Autumn.

Other ducks included

Teal

Teal (Anas crecca)

Gadwall

Gadwall (Anas strepera)

Pintail

Pintail (Anas acuta)

Mallard

Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos)

(see video here)

and Shelduck

Shelduck (Tadorna tadorna)

A pair of Mute Swans flew past Paddy’s Pool hide.

Mute Swan (Cygnus olor)

They always make a strong sound in the air.

The Black Swan was also on the waters before Phil Stead Hide.

Black Swan (Cygnus atratus)

Coots are ever present on the reserve.

Coot (Fulica atra)

And finally, a Cormorant, drying its wings.

Cormorant (Phalacrocorax carbo)

 


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