Posted by: mynaturaldiary | March 24, 2019

Ratty’s riverside home

Ratty (the Water Vole, from Wind in the Willows) made a guest appearance at the RSPB reserve at Saltholme.

Nestling inside a tunnel, covered by grass, he came out and nibbled away, much to the delight of the visitors.

Notice his caution, mixed with speed in retreat when daring out into the open.

Northern Water Vole (Arvicola amphibius)

He was with us for a good 10 minutes or so, just in front of the windows of the Wildlife Watchpoint hide.

They have a high metabolic rate, so must keep eating.

He ventured some way from his bolt hole, down along the waters edge.

Before returning back to its relative safety.

What a treat to watch!

Why would ‘Ratty’ want to keep his head down? Look carefully in the reeds and you’ll see a Grey Heron.

Grey Heron (Ardea cinerea)

Notice in the video below how still it keeps its head as the rest of the body sways with the wind.

Also in the distant reeds was a Little Egret.

Little Egret (Egretta garzetta)

There was another predator on a fence post; a female Sparrowhawk.

Sparrowhawk (Accipiter nisus)

Over on the feeders were Tree Sparrows, feeding but keeping watch at the same time.

Tree Sparrow (Passer montanus)

Also on the feeders were Goldfinches.

Goldfinch (Carduelis carduelis)

There were plenty of ducks to be seen, including

Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos)


Teal (Anas crecca)


Wigeon (Anas penelope)


Shelduck (Tadorna tadorna)


Gadwall (Anas strepera)

Tufted Ducks

Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula)

and Little Grebes

Little Grebe (Tachybaptus ruficollis)

There were geese in smaller numbers as they begin pairing off for the breeding season.

Greylag Goose (Anser anser)

Canada Geese (Branta canadensis)

The Black headed Gulls have returned to the island on Paddy’s Pool.

Black-headed Gull (Larus ridibundus)

Finally the Primroses are flowering again.

Primrose  (Primula vulgaris)


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