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  • Blog Post: Yummy mud

    By carefully drawing down water and exposing wet mud, the larvae of Chironomid midges become easy prey for waders. At this time of year, migrant waders are moving back from their breeding grounds further north and wet mud is where you’ll find them. This last week we’ve had a good variety...
  • Blog Post: Even more mouths to feed

    The UK Tree Sparrow population crashed dramatically between the 1970’s and 1990’s. There were 30 times more Tree Sparrows in our countryside in the 1970’s than there are now. Tree Sparrows feed their young on invertebrates of wetland margins, and so here at Saltholme, our mosaic of...
  • Blog Post: The benefits of the anti-predator fence

    Last year we had an electric anti-predator fence installed around 26ha of the central wet grassland, south of Paddy's Hide. This was primarily intended to prevent Foxes taking Lapwing eggs. Last year in this area, 9 pairs of Lapwing only managed to fledge 5 young. Then came the winter rains and the...
  • Blog Post: You don’t have to be a scientist to discover something new at Saltholme…

    If one thing is for sure, it’s that a day out at Saltholme is full of surprises. Don’t believe us? Well how about this as a great example of what exploring our beautiful nature reserve in the north east of England can uncover… Earlier last month, young scientists discovered a new...
  • Blog Post: Surprising ducks

    Every spring one of rarest ducks, Garganey arrive at Saltholme. Fewer than 100 pairs of Garganey breed in the UK so we’re always filled with excitement and every year I am determined to find where these secretive birds are nesting. But I always fail miserably. We usually get about 5 males which...
  • Blog Post: Saltholme Hide the place to be

    Saltholme Hide is the place to be just now as there are over 30 noisy Black-tailed Godwits in front of the hide, along with Ruff, Dunlin, Common Sandpiper and our very slowly developing Avocet chick. Black-tailed Godwit by Mark Stokeld And on the way to the hide, make sure you see the first of...
  • Blog Post: Fun-filled days for all the family with Saltholme’s Woolly Weekend

    With the season rapidly approaching, we’re sure you’re starting to think about summer holiday activities to help keep the kids entertained, and if you’re looking for family friendly days out in Teesside, you need look no further than Saltholme RSPB. On Saturday 16 and Sunday 17...
  • Blog Post: Time for another family

    As you walk through Haverton Gate listen for the sound of a large grasshopper coming from a patch of scrub in the Wildflower Walk loop. The sound is in fact a Grasshopper Warbler, and it is singing now because the poor bird has decided to go for a second brood. Grasshopper Warbler at Haverton gate...
  • Blog Post: The benefits of being a warden

    One of the joys of being a warden is being on the reserve in the early mornings. I noticed this female Marsh Harrier on the gauge board in the Wildlife Watchpoint cut this morning as I entered the hide. Ed brought the reserve camera and managed to get this shot as I slowly opened a shutter. Just...
  • Blog Post: Come and see the Avocet chicks

    We have week old Avocet chicks in the Saltholme Scrape in front of Saltholme Hide. Come and see them before they grow up !
  • Blog Post: Juicy insects

    Good weather in June means juicy new insects about. Black-tailed Skimmers have emerged from the Main Lake and are sunning themselves on the paths. When Dragonflies first emerge, they are pale and weak and need about 3 weeks of nice weather and munchy food to mature. In this state they are called ‘teneral’...
  • Blog Post: Peanut etiquette

    You can tell what is feeding in the Wildlife Watchpoint Mouse House by looking at the mess left behind. Wood Mice shell the peanuts, leaving the shell intact on the floor, and then run off with the nice white nut. Bank Voles simply rip the shells off in the bowls and leave lots of bits in the bowl. Common...
  • Blog Post: A bit of ruff

    On Wednesday, we went out in the ranger to monitor the breeding birds on the central wet grassland. Although we do seem to have lost a few chicks here and there, generally things are looking quite good. We have 7 fledged Avocets from 3 nests, with another 7 well feathered. There are 14 part grown Avocets...
  • Blog Post: 10 things you can do with a spoonbill bill

    1 - Eat soup 2 - Row a boat 3 - Play tennis (sort of) 4 - Wedge a door open 5 - Prize a fence rail off (it might break) 6 - Throw a small pancake 7 - Remove a bicycle tyre 8 - Keep some loose screws 9 - Put loads of sugar in a cup of tea 10 - Easily win an egg and spoon race...
  • Blog Post: Chick food ?

    It’s been a bad week for creatures of all kinds out there. The newly emerged Four-spotted Chaser Dragonflies must be wondering why they emerged in the middle of winter, and of course if there are no insects about, then there is no bird food, and even seed eating birds feed their chicks on insects...
  • Blog Post: Here they come

    It’s May which means as well as singing birds and woodland flowers, it’s time for Dragonflies, and in particular, the emergence of Four-spotted Chasers at the Dragonfly Ponds. But with the cold weather in April, things in the Dragonfly world are a bit late. So I was delighted on Tuesday,...
  • Blog Post: 8 legs and curved beaks

    You know when you’re out monitoring Lapwing nests and staring hard down binoculars and a telescope looking for chicks amongst tufts of grass, and you see an Avocet with 8 legs ? Well after checking that Avocets aren’t in any way related to spiders, I deduced that there must something...
  • Blog Post: One of his Terns

    It’s been an exciting week for migrant birds. This includes a Great Reed Warbler which is currently hiding in the reeds by the Allotment Pool. It generally sings (I use that term loosely) at dawn and dusk, although it grunted and squawked with it’s teenagers voice breaking throat at about...
  • Blog Post: Our elusive special bird

    We’ve had to wait longer than normal this spring, but Garganey have once again returned to Saltholme. Fewer than 100 pairs of Garganey breed in the UK, so our 5 pairs last year make this a special bird for us. We estimated that those 5 pairs produced 5 fledged young, which is not very productive...
  • Blog Post: Saltholme Knit-A-Thon

  • Blog Post: We found another Wainscot...

    This week we found another 'first' for Saltholme; the Twin-spotted Wainscot ( Archanara geminipuncta ) It was also only the fourth record in the county, with two records from Washington Wetland Centre in 2008 and 2010 and one record of three adults coming from No. 6 Brinefield in August 2013...
  • Blog Post: Lazy days and Migration

    With just over a week left of the school holidays the team at Saltholme have been reflecting on what a fantastic summer we have had so far. We're on Minibeast week this week and the recent spell of damp weather followed by a brighter spell has meant that the invertebrates of Saltholme have been particularly...
  • Blog Post: Haverton Hill Highlights

    Spring well and truly is in full swing here at Saltholme. The sun is shining, the flowers are blooming and more and more we're seeing wildlife in the throws of courtship. The highlights for the reserve this week have really come from the Haverton end of the reserve, if you venture as far as the...
  • Blog Post: Swallows, Sandmartins and Signs of Spring at Saltholme

    Longer days, milder temperatures and the first of the years bank holidays under our belt, it can only mean that spring is here, and at Saltholme that means two things, lambs and migration. The Easter break has seen us welcoming hordes of families on to the reserve for our lambing live event where...
  • Blog Post: Recent Sightings (from the moth trap)

    After 6 months in a dusty cupboard in the warden's office, the Saltholme moth trap emerged and was set a couple of nights ago for the first time in 2015. It's one of the best things about Spring; the start of the moth trapping season. At Saltholme we have been regularly trapping and recording...