Posted by: mynaturaldiary | June 3, 2018

Young Ducks

Young Mallard ducks were everywhere at the RSPB reserve at Saltholme. 

With ever watchful parents nearby

Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos)

they made their way beneath the feeders at the Wildlife Watchpoint hide to enjoy a free meal, courtesy of the finches feeding above them.

Mother Duck keeps on watching, looking for predators

in the verdant reeds

The male duck appears to have gone into eclipse, when they lose their bright breeding plumage.

They are delightful to watch, and a reminder we are at a critical point of the season, when the young must make their way in this world.

As mentioned, Goldfinches were on the feeders, and their actions make seeds fall to the ground for the young ducks beneath them.

Goldfinch (Carduelis carduelis)

Another group of goslings on the horizon were Canadian geese chicks, looking quite large.

Canada geese (Branta canadensis)

Greylag geese were also on the reserve

Greylag goose (Anser anser)

as well as a rarer visitor – a Pink footed goose.

Pink-footed goose (Anser brachyrhynchus)

In the far distance was a Shelduck, our largest duck.

Shelduck (Tadorna tadorna)

Other ducks seen were a lost Wigeon (who should have migrated to the North, such as Iceland, Scandinavia or Russia).

Wigeon (Anas penelope)

This male has still got his breeding plumage (the orange stripe on his head), despite no sign of a mate.

Also Tufted Ducks

Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula)


Gadwall (Anas strepera)

Pochards (resting on a strip of land)

Pochard (Aythya ferina)

and Shoveler

Shoveler (Anas clypeata)

Moorhen were passing through the reeds.

Moorhen (Gallinula chloropus)

And a pair of Great crested grebes greeted each other, in a display of avian love.

Great Crested Grebe (Podiceps cristatus)

Little Egrets were hunting in the reeds.

Little Egret (Egretta garzetta)

Reed buntings were also in the reeds.

Reed Bunting (Emberiza schoeniclus)

and in a fleeting glimpse, so was a Reed Warbler. These are more often heard, not seen.

Reed Warbler (Acrocephalus scirpaceus)

Now more young chicks – these are from the colony of Black headed Gulls on Paddy’s Pool.

Black-headed Gull (Larus ridibundus)

Alongside them are Common Terns, also nesting on the island.

Common Tern (Sterna hirundo)

Finally, a summertime sight – dark Swifts, with long, scythe-like wings and a short, forked tail flying over the waters.

Swift (Apus apus)


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