Posted by: mynaturaldiary | May 21, 2017

Chicks everywhere!

Chicks are everywhere at the RSPB reserve at Saltholme.

This busy Great Crested Grebe parent has a pair on its back, and another very keen to join them.

Great Crested Grebe (Podiceps cristatus)

(see videos herehere)

The family made its way out onto open waters, before rushing back to the relative safety near the reeds.

(see video here & here).

Moorhen chicks were also on display.

Moorhen (Gallinula chloropus)

(see videos here and here)

One was moving in the green reeds before Wildlife Watchpoint.

(see video here)

Mallard chicks were seen at the same hide.

Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos)

(see video here)

with parents nearby.

Greylag Geese had chicks moving between a pair of watchful adults.

Greylag Goose (Anser anser)

(see video here)

Black headed Gulls and their chicks dominate the island at Paddy’s Pool hide.

(see videos here, here and here).

Their nests are all over the cockle shells that make up the island, together with some twigs.

(see video here).

They act together to form a dread to repel marauders –  in this case Lesser Black backed Gulls on the lookout for an unprotected chick.

(see video here).

Life is a brutal game of survival for young chicks, but if they make it through to adulthood there are quieter moments. I like this solitary Black headed Gull caught with its reflection in the water.

Black-headed Gull (Larus ridibundus)

(see video here).

The villain of the island, a Lesser Black backed Gull rests here.

Lesser black-backed gull (Larus fuscus)

(see video here) Notice its bright yellow legs, which identifies it.

Other predators on the prowl were Grey Herons.

Grey Heron (Ardea cinerea)

(see video here and here).

In the vignette below, set against the reed beds, three different species including Grey Heron, Little Egrets and Canada Geese can be seen.

Canada Geese (Branta canadensis)

(see video here).

Little Egrets were hunting in a scene that looks straight out of the Jurassic, especially in the video below.

(see video here).

Little Egret (Egretta garzetta)

Other ducks seen were


Gadwall (Anas strepera)

(see video here, here and here).

Shoveler (see video here)


Shelduck (Tadorna tadorna)

and Tufted Ducks

Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula)

Waders included Avocets, now a firm fixture at Saltholme

Avocet (Recurvirostra avosetta)

(see video here, here and here)

Lapwings were also there breeding

Lapwing (Vanellus vanellus)

Oystercatchers passed through

Oystercatcher (Haematopus ostralegus)

(see video here)

Two summer visitors, alongside the Avocets were Ringed plover and Little Ringed Plover. First the Ringed Plover

Ringed Plover (Charadrius hiaticula)

Notice the orange bill which is black tipped and the lack of an eye ring.

Next the Little Ringed Plover

Little ringed plover (Charadrius dubius)

(see video here)

Notice the black bill and the yellow eye ring. The differences between the two species is how we tell the birds apart.

In the far distance on the grasslands before Paddy’s Pool were Dunlin.

Dunlin (Calidris alpina)

The Common Terns have returned.

Common Tern (Sterna hirundo)

(See video here and here)

A pair of Mute Swans performed a heart dance.

Mute Swan (Cygnus olor)

(see video here and here)

Sand Martins have returned to the artificial sandbanks we’ve made for them.

Sand Martin (Riparia riparia)

(see video here)

Also Swallows, in the air and outside Saltholme hide.

Swallow (Hirundo rustica)

(see video here)

On the feeders by the visitors centre were Goldfinch

Goldfinch (Carduelis carduelis)


Greenfinch (Carduelis chloris)


In the far distance, our top summer predator, a Marsh Harrier glided by (top right hand side).

Marsh Harrier (Circus aeruginosus)

(see video here)

And finally some curious cattle that roam the reserve, come to visit one of the hides.

(see video here)



  1. […] were very small in May. Now look at […]

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