Posted by: mynaturaldiary | April 16, 2017

New lambs

Spring lambs – how wonderful – have been born at the RSPB reserve at Saltholme.

You can see them in these videos here and here.

The reserve is a working farm, keeping sheep and cows on the grasslands. They feed themselves, and in so doing keep the grass short enough for the birds to get the best from the land too.

Close to the shed where the sheep and lambs are is Paddy pool hide. The pool is guarded by moody Canada Geese, awash with hormones to match the season.

Canada Geese (Branta canadensis)

(see videos here and here)

On the island in the pool, the Black headed Gulls have settled down for the summer to nest before the Common Terns return.

Black-headed Gull (Larus ridibundus)

(see videos here, here and here).

Unlike last month, all the gulls heads have turned brown, ready for the breeding season, which is well underway.

Shelduck were on the wet grassland by Paddy’s Pool hide, and on the scrape by Saltholme hide. They were displaying too.

Shelduck (Tadorna tadorna)

They are very elegant birds to look at, and are our largest duck.

The male is on the left (with the red knob on its bill), and the female on the right (the bill is plain).

(see video here).

Another much underrated duck to look at is the Gadwall. A close up of the male shows a fabulous herringbone pattern, often missed at a distance where it appears grey.

Gadwall (Anas strepera)

(see video here for more detail).

A few Wigeon remain on the waters.

Wigeon (Anas penelope)

Maybe they will spend their summer with us?

Shoveler are also still on the waters.

Shoveler (Anas clypeata)

Their bill is enormous, and makes them easy to spot at a distance.

Tufted Ducks, especially the male are easy to spot. Piebald, daffy ducks, with a trailing tuft at the back of their head.

Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula)

They are diving ducks, and when feeding are difficult to keep a watch on once they go submerged.

(see video here).

Great Crested Grebes are divers too.

Great Crested Grebe (Podiceps cristatus)

(see video here).

Greylag geese are beautiful to look at close up, with their distinct orange bill.

Greylag Goose (Anser anser)

(notice the goosestep!)

(see video here).

Waders were showing well from Saltholme hide. First, Avocets. Notice the display one seems to show here.

Avocet (Recurvirostra avosetta)

(see videos here, here, here & here).

Black tailed Godwits are returning to their summer plumage, which is a deep red colour.

Black-tailed Godwit (Limosa limosa)

(see video here and here).

Redshank showed close to Saltholme hide

Redshank (Tringa totanus)

(see video here).

as did Oystercatchers.

Oystercatcher (Haematopus ostralegus)

(see video here)

Meadow Pipits were also close in.

Meadow pipit (Anthus pratensis)

(see video here)

and Pied Wagtails.

Pied Wagtail(Motacilla alba)

Little Egrets were at the waters edge.

Little Egret (Egretta garzetta)

(see video here).

Finally, a Grey Heron was also stalking, searching for a meal.

Grey Heron (Ardea cinerea)

(see video here)


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