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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 we spoke to them about why Saltholme is such a special place and how our fabulous flock of Shetland sheep help to keep this place special.
Thanks to Lockhart Horsburgh for his pic of some of the lambs having a bit of a play.
Which brings us nicely to migration.
This last couple of weeks we've started to see our summer residents arriving, Chiffchaff, yellow wagtail and skylark and swallows being on my list of favorites.
Stunning yellow wagtail taken by Peter Garbutt.
we do of course have some custom built accommodation here on the reserve for some of our more conspicuous visitors. Sand martins have begun to excavate the bank by the visitors centre this last week or so, with 20 holes being investigated but we're yet to see the arrival of the stunning common terns.
Sand martins using our custom built bank.
Enough of my musings...
Here's the list for 14 April courtesy of Dave Atkinson.
Shovler, gadwall, mallard, lapwing, Canada goose, graylag goose, moorhen, black-tailed godwit, tree sparrow, blackbird, black-headed gull, dunnock, great tit, reed bunting, snipe, woodpigeon, teal, coot, herring gull, starling, goldfinch, swallow, magpie, curlew, redshank, wren, chaffinch, greenfinch, tufted duck, mute swan, sand martin, stock dove, great crested grebe, shellduck, lesser black-backed gull, wigeon, pochard, red-breasted merganser, goldeneye, little egret, grey heron, carrion crow, wheatear, pied wagtail, pheasant, meadow pipit, skylark, greenshank, blue tit, willow warbler, little grebe, cormorant, little ringed plover. *
Dean also let us know about common sandpiper over at Saltholme Pools Hide this morning.
*Dave would like it noting that this is HIS list for the day and may not be exhaustive. :)
Posted by Lydia T
The days are lengthening and getting a little warmer. Wildlife responding with some species waking up and looking for homes for the next generation.
Lockhart saw this Peacock Butterfly at Dorman's Pool yesterday newly emerged from hibernation. There are already new shoots on the nettles on which the eggs will be laid - the adults need nectar from the spring flowers.
With bumble bees as well as butterflies a good range of flowers in any garden will be of value. We have Crocus, Arabis (rock-cress), Primrose and Hellebores in the Wildlife Garden, all easy to grow and giving nectar and pollen to the bees and butterflies. On the reserve Sallow, the Pussy Willow, is a vital pollen source for the bumble bees.
Birds are busy with prospecting nest sites and collecting nest material.
It was windy yesterday when the Magpie was collecting for the nest.
The Tree Sparrows are seen going into the nest boxes and many birds are in their best plumage.
and Shellducks as seen yesterday by Lockhart.
Today a Great White Egret was seen, and if it follows the usual pattern may stay for a few days.
Posted by Peter Langham
Several wild geese come to Saltholme during the winter - and so do a few feral, white geese. But his last few days we have had a visit from a Snow Goose. This white goose has black tips to the wings and these can clearly be seen on this bird. I have not yet been able to get a photo.
Over the last few years the Barnacle Geese visiting us have increased and Lockhart did get a good view yesterday.
As they move to their breeding grounds they are slowly reducing in number here on the reserve.
While looking for the Snow Goose today some visitors saw a ripple on the Haverton Hole pool and saw a couple of Otters. We have seen evidence of them but this time - in broad daylight - they were seen. There are fish in the pool and recently I saw a large eel in saltholme West near the main road. Hopefully that is enough to keep them here.
Did you see Saltholme on Look North tonight? A volunteer, new to the reserve, was interviewed as he cleared out a drianage ditch and he said how wonderful it was to have seen a Kingfisher. I guess that he had been looking out of the Visitor Centre and saw it on the Sand Martin bank. I saw it there on Saturday and Sunday as did many visitors - some while having a bite to eat in the cafe. Having worked by the Sand Martin bank I know that there are lots of sticklebacks in the pool which must be the attraction for the bird.
I have not been able to get a photo but if anyone has a good shot taken from the visitor Centre then it would be great to see it posted on the Forum.
If you don't know, today has been World Wetlands Day and we invited anyone interested to volunteer for a day - which is why the BBC were here. It also fits in nicely with our 'Welly Season' when we have lots of activities involving wearing wellies. If you wish to try out your wellies then we still have our Welly Splash and games based on the rubber boot - great for all the family. But if that is not for you then a nice cuppa and some chips in the cafe and watching out for the Kingfisher...
Posted by Dean H
Strong winds have been the feature of the last few days with snow now possible, but our volunteer guides have still been out and able to show visitors the Long-eared Owl roosting in the tree at the Clarences scrub. We have been able to get the maximum number of people to see the owl with minimum disturbance.
The wind has not made everything easy - as Lockhart, one of our guides - said to me, even the Moorhens are flying rather than swimming across the water. Even so Lockhart did get good views of a Snipe
and a Reed Bunting which was sheltering by Saltholme Pools hide
and it has been fun watching the birds on the feeders displaying their flying skills.
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.
Grid reference: NZ5023 (+2km)
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