Posted by: mynaturaldiary | December 10, 2017

A company of Wigeons

A deep midwinter freeze has gripped the RSPB reserve at Saltholme . Most of the lakes are now partially frozen, and the ducks, particularly Wigeon crowd what remains of the open waters when a predator appears.

See how the birds sweep in; a company of Wigeon.

Wigeon (Anas penelope)

When the threat has passed, the birds slowly climb out of the water, onto the ice and make their way back towards the grasslands where they feed.

The Wigeon fly around the reserve to find a suitable place to feed.

Curlew flew into the Wigeon as the light dimmed.

Curlew (Numenius arquata)

They passed out onto the grasslands, where they were joined by Lapwings.

In the air the Lapwings flock together for safety.

Lapwing (Vanellus vanellus)

as do the Golden Plover.

Golden Plover (Pluvialis apricaria)

You can see a few Golden Plover moving in amongst the Barnacle Geese in this video.

Barnacle goose (Branta leucopsis)

There were also Canada Geese amongst the smaller Barnacle Geese.

And they were also out on the waters.

Canada Geese (Branta canadensis)

Gadwall were also dabbling around the ice.

Gadwall (Anas strepera)

As were Shoveler.

Shoveler (Anas clypeata)

On the ice were Moorhen

Moorhen (Gallinula chloropus)

And making a swift dash across the ice, a Water Rail.

Water Rail (Rallus aquaticus)

Snipe were in the distant reeds.

Snipe (Gallinago gallinago)

In the hedges were Reed Bunting.

Reed Bunting (Emberiza schoeniclus)

Mute Swans were on the ice, then taking off

before landing on the waters by the visitors centre.

Mute Swan (Cygnus olor)

And then a passing Mute Swan gave the ‘cold shoulder’ to our resident Black Swan.

Black Swan (Cygnus atratus)

Finally, one of the birds of prey that the ducks and waders are keen to avoid – a Kestrel seen hovering in the twilight.

Kestrel (Falco tinnunculus)


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