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Recent sightings

  • 26 September 2014

    Friday 26th September

    Today we have a Pectoral Sandpiper showing from the Saltholme Hide. The Great White Egret is still around, but constantly moving between pools in the area. Dorman's Pool still has at least 4 Little Stints and Curlew Sandpiper, but you'll need a telescope for those. Wildfowl continue to arrive with 300 Wigeon, 300 Teal and 5 Pintail now on the main site. In addition, we have at least 300 lapwing, 200 golden plover, and up to 4 marsh harriers, one of which has green wing tags, meaning it is a young bird from Norfolk.

    Posted by Dean H

  • 19 September 2014

    Cowpen Marsh, Great White Egret

    Yesterday we were working on Cowpen Marsh. As grazing is needed to keep the vegetation in perfect condition for breeding waders we need to allow the graziers access to all parts of the marsh to look after their cattle. This means bridging the Fleet at several points to let them cross.

    Ed took this photo of us putting the final touches to one of the bridges we had just built, with me on the left, Ayleen, Josh, Bethany, Matthew and Molly. Just before the photo was taken the Great White Egret ( or Great Egret) flew over and settled on Greatham Creek giving us all lovely views. It may be in the area for some time.

    As readers will have seen from the previous blog Josh is now starting university. Also Matthew, who has been with us for the summer, has returned to his university, so seeing the Egret was a bonus. We wish them both well. Of course we all spent a little time after work with a little food and drink.





    Posted by Peter Langham

  • 31 August 2014

    Grasshoppers and Migrating Birds

    This last week we have seen many grasshoppers, most easily seen by the South door of the visitor centre on the paving and board walk.

    This one was on the wall of the building. After looking on the National Biodiversity Network Gateway web-site which shows only a couple of species recorded in this hectad (a square of 10x10 kilometers) I think it is the Field Grasshopper, Chorthippus brunneus , but I stand to be corrected.

    And while putting the finishing touches to the fencing at Cowpen Marsh (see the previous blog by Josh) I heard a distinctive call and we saw a Whimbrel fly over us heading South. This is not a bird that we usually get good views of except if we take a winter holiday in warmer countries where they can be seen on beaches frequented by tourists in most unlikely places. Or if we visit their northern breeding sites.




    Posted by Peter Langham

  • 25 August 2014

    Why We Like Mud

    We put a lot of effort into creating mud to give ideal feeding places for the waders. Many different invertebrates live in mud and birds have evolved to probe for them, but the bill can get a little dirty...

    ... as this Lapwing shows. We can expect flocks of these to be on the reserve over winter, along with Golden Plovers - the first of which were seen this week end. On a crisp winter's day when the low sun catches a flock in flight they look magical.

    Not all our birds probe in the mud, some catch fish.

    This Little Grebe has found a meal.

    Thanks to Lockhart for the photos taken on Saturday.

    He also caught a shot of Little Egrets fighting

    and a Meadow Pippit.



    Posted by Peter Langham

  • 19 August 2014

    Glossy Ibis on Fire Station Field

    We are working on getting the water levels correct and today we put a pump to move water from bottom tank to the fire station field. Just as we were about to bring the pump back to our workshop a Glossy Ibis landed just where the water was flowing onto the field. We had no choice but to collect the pump, and although we got a good look it did fly, first to bottom tank, then farther away.

    I did not have a camera so to see the bird follow the link which will take you to Frampton Marsh (which is where our former assistant warden, Toby Collett, is now the warden).

    Luckily our bird returned to the fire station field just as we were locking the reserve so it could be around tomorrow.



    Posted by Peter Langham

  • 29 July 2014

    Leaf-cutter Bee

    Not everything in our Wildlife Garden goes to plan. We had planted a musk rose (Rosa moschata) to give scented, single flowers around a seat. Bees love single flowers and the birds eat the hips. However, it has been slow to grow and has no flowers. But I had noticed there were bits taken from the leaves.

    I suspected the culprit, but on Sunday got the evidence while I was working in the garden - Leaf-cutter Bees were making their nests in one of the logs.

    This is the evidence seen today - the bits of rose leaf neatly rolled and placed in the log, but I did not see a bee this time.

    Close inspection showed several other insects - many good for the garden - also using cracks in this and other logs.

    Well worth a look but for the time being it is best not to use the logs as seats! Someone with a good camera may even be able to get a good shot of a bee for us.


    Posted by Peter Langham

  • 27 July 2014

    Weekend Photos, 26th July

    As Josh was talking about thistles in his last blog here is a photo of some.

    Lockhart saw this Linnet on thistles on Saturday. For the next few weeks there will be lots of seeds from thistles and other weeds so the seed-eating birds - Gold Finches most noticably - do not need to visit the feeding stations quite so often. The finches will be seen in the coarse vegetation eating these seeds and are less interested in the food we provide - I have noticed less nyger seed being eaten on the reserve.

    Other birds search for food in mud.

    A couple of Snipe

    And a Lapwing.

    The storm surge of last December had damaged the pumps which provide our water so making control of the mud rather difficult. But his weekend some water was once again being pumped to us, and with luck, we will be able to control the levels to give these birds lots of food-rich mud.

    The CommonTerns have now fledged and it seems there is a little confusion as this offering of food is a courting ritual.

    The photo I don't have is of the White-winged Black Tern which has been showing well today from the Visitor Centre and Paddy's Pool hide, but follow the link to get a look - including shots from today.

    Thanks to Lockhart for these photos.

    Not all of the reserve is visible to the public, and for obvious reasons this includes our workshop area, but at about 0830 hrs yesterday our Swallows fledged and we can report four healthy youngsters which should be seen well from the cafe balcony.


    Posted by Peter Langham

  • 12 July 2014

    White winged black tern

    We currently have a white winged black tern feeding over Back Saltholme and Saltholme West Pools.

    Posted by Dean H

  • 29 June 2014

    As seen from the hides

    Widlife Watchpoint is still attracting the Water Voles

    Our guide Brian D saw this one on Saturday, but as Lockhart found out it is not the only mammal.

    He saw this weasel on the same day just by the vole feeding station.

    This side of the hide gives excellent views of the Water Rail family

    Dean in his blog earlier this week talked about the Roseate Terns, and to give a comparison with Common Terns look at this shot from Lockhart.


    For a good chance of seeing Garganay young then either Wildlife Watchpoint or Phil Stead hides are where they are showing well - until one of our guides wants to get a picture for my blog!

    Lets end with a show of bravado

    A Black-tailed Godwit with attitude as Lockhart says.

    Thanks to Brian and Lockhart for the photos.



    Posted by Peter Langham

How you can help

Coast on a stormy day with heavy rain falling on coastal headland

We're setting up an emergency fund that we can use to get our reserves back into shape and repair the damage caused. Please help us rebuild from the worst storm in 60 years.

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Your sightings

Grid reference: NZ5023 (+2km)

Great White Egret (1)
28 Sep 2014
Pectoral Sandpiper (1)
28 Sep 2014
Glossy Ibis (1)
18 Sep 2014
Avocet (5)
29 Sep 2014
Black-tailed Godwit (1)
29 Sep 2014
Merlin (2)
29 Sep 2014
Wheatear (2)
29 Sep 2014
Tree Sparrow (6)
29 Sep 2014
Marsh Harrier ()
28 Sep 2014
Little Stint (2)
28 Sep 2014

Contact us

Where is it?

  • Lat/lng: 54.600995,-1.217496
  • Postcode: TS2 1TU
  • Grid reference: NZ506231
  • Nearest town: Middlesbrough
  • County: Cleveland
  • Country: England

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