Posted by: mynaturaldiary | July 17, 2017

‘Teenage’ Terns

Quite well grown, but not ready to leave, the ‘teenage’ Terns at the RSPB reserve at Saltholme  are getting large.

Their parents still bring them food, fish from the nearby sea.

Common Tern (Sterna hirundo)

Of course, every other Tern (and nearby gull) is also interested in such a prize, so movement is essential if you don’t want to be robbed.

They are masters of the air. With their long wing to body span, and stabilising tail feathers, they can hover, glide, the lot.

(See videos here, here, here and here)

They form impressive ‘dreads’ which covers the sky when threatened.

(see video here)

The Terns will soon be off to their wintering grounds in West Africa.

Another species with largish youngsters are Canada Geese.

See if you can spot the youngsters in the photograph above. Neck length is a good clue. It’s more obvious in this one, with adults to the back and youngsters to the front.

Canada Geese (Branta canadensis)

This bird gets into the water, almost as getting into a hot bath.

There is a sense of different timescales in this movie. There is the rapid rippling movement of water by the wind, and the slower nods of the flowers by the same; the head movements then even slower movement of the geese across the water, and finally the slowest time signature; the march of the seasons shown by the flowers in bloom signifying summer.

Greylag Geese were on the waters with their youngsters (see the difference in size in the birds in this picture).

Greylag Goose (Anser anser)

(see video here)

And a real treat – a pale bellied Brent Goose.

Brent Goose (pale bellied) (Branta bernicla)

You can see how small it is when compared alongside a Greylag Goose

(see video here)

It’s a goose the size of a typical duck. A duck which is the size of a typical goose is the Shelduck.

Shelduck (Tadorna tadorna)

(see video here).

This female Tufted Duck was looking after its young chick

Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula)

(see video here).

Just as well Mum was watching since a predator was nearby.

Lesser black-backed gull (Larus fuscus)

(see video here).

Black headed gulls, both adult

and juvenile were seen. They still carpet the island in Paddy’s Pool.

Little Egrets were stalking.

Little Egret (Egretta garzetta)

(see video herehere and here).

Waders were increasing in numbers as the Lapwings


Lapwing (Vanellus vanellus)

(see video here)

and Curlews

Curlew (Numenius arquata)

(see video here)

arrive back on the reserve after breeding on the Moors and Fells,

A Dabchick sat on the bank before Paddy’s Pool hide.

Little Grebe (Tachybaptus ruficollis)

(see video here)

Avocets and Black Tailed Godwits were before Saltholme Hide.

Avocet (Recurvirostra avosetta)

The piebald Avocet stands out well from the reddened plumage of the Black tailed Godwits.

(see videos here and here).

Black-tailed Godwit (Limosa limosa)

(see video here and here).

Dunlin have returned to the reserve. They are very small waders – see the scale in the last picture when against a first year gull and Lapwing.

Dunlin (Calidris alpina)

(see video here).

There was also a Common Sandpiper.

Common Sandpiper (Actitis hypoleucos)

(see video here and here).

A Redshank was seen at Saltholme Hide.

Redshank (Tringa totanus)

(see video here).

Also a Ringed Plover

Ringed Plover (Charadrius hiaticula)

(see video here)

On the feeders were Blue Tits

Blue Tit (Cyanistes caeruleus)

And Tree Sparrows

Tree Sparrow (Passer montanus)

Sand Martins are still nesting in the artificial banks at the Visitors Centre.

Sand Martin (Riparia riparia)

And finally, a Red Admiral butterfly.

Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta)

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