Posted by: mynaturaldiary | October 8, 2017


Greylag geese have returned in skeins at the RSPB reserve at Saltholme .

They flew past the Transporter Bridge, the local landmark.

Then onto the grassland by Holme Fleet.


Once on the ground, they were feeding on the grasslands close to Saltholme Hide.

Greylag Goose (Anser anser)

This pair showed a wonderful duet of drinking.

It’s nice to see them back in such numbers.

In the middle field a few Barnacle Geese fed.

Barnacle goose (Branta leucopsis)

I hope we see more as winter arrives.

We always have Canada Geese present, and a small flock were on Paddy’s Pool.

Canada Geese (Branta canadensis)

Large deceits of Lapwings have also reappeared as the birds congregate off the Moors and Fells for the winter by Teesmouth.

The skyline around our reserve is a mixture of countryside with heavy industry, mostly chemical. The Lapwings wheel around in front of them, oblivious to the distillation columns and their contents.

On the ground, they still keep together, ready to fly at a moments notice from the passing danger of birds of prey. They also feed at the waters edge.


Lapwing (Vanellus vanellus)

Their cries echo over the reserve, and will do so until the spring.

Ah, but I think him better than I say,
And yet would herein others’ eyes were worse.
Far from her nest the lapwing cries away:
My heart prays for him, though my tongue do curse.

The Comedy of Errors, Act IV, scene II

In addition, congregations of Golden Plover rise into the sky.

They make twisting patterns when flying, the better to confuse the falcons that hunt them.

Once they are on the ground, they rest in a group.

Golden Plover (Pluvialis apricaria)

A Ruff was seen from Saltholme Hide.

Ruff (Philomachus pugnax)

Also a Black tailed Godwit

Black-tailed Godwit (Limosa limosa)

And a Curlew

Curlew (Numenius arquata)

The other wader showing well was a Redshank, that staged a Zen like performance in the waters before Saltholme hide.

I love the ripples of water

as well as the bird’s behaviour.

Redshank (Tringa totanus)

Another bird hunting in the waters before Saltholme hide was a Little Egret, successfully fishing.

Little Egret (Egretta garzetta)

They are very skilful in catching their prey.

Swans were on the reserve – a Black Swan (and a Greater Black-backed Gull)

Black Swan (Cygnus atratus) & Great Black Backed Gull (Larus marinus).

Also Mute Swans, which are always there.

Mute Swan (Cygnus olor)

Ducks were present too. First, Gadwall.

Gadwall (Anas strepera)

then Tufted Duck

Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula)

and Shoveler

Shoveler (Anas clypeata)

Finally Wigeon, which are returning in numbers.

Wigeon (Anas penelope)

Notice the distinctive orange stripe on the head which has just reappeared. The males only display this in winter.

Finally, some cows. A young Highland Cow munches on grassland

whilst another walks on water (apparently) in a trick of perspective.


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