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Recent sightings

  • 17 October 2014

    Friday 17th October 2014.

    The highlight for me this week was the jack snipe present and bobbing in the cut at Watchpoint on Tuesday and Wednesday, giving close and excellent views. The Pectoral Sandpiper hasn't been seen since Tuesday but we've had bittern, whooper swans and a kingfisher delighting visitors on the Main Lake and at Watchpoint. We had max counts of 950 golden plover on Wednesday and 900 wigeon on Monday. This weekend we'll be undertaking our WeBS counts, where we count all the water birds using the site and its surrounds. This involves one count per month on a Sunday at high tide, and we rely heavily on volunteers. If you would like to give us a hand, please get in touch.

    Posted by Dean H

  • 10 October 2014

    Friday 10th October 2014

    There is definitely a winter nip in the air now, but some autumn passage waders are still around, most noticeably the Pectoral Sandpiper which can still be seen from the Saltholme Hide. Little Stints can be seen from both Saltholme Hide and Phil Stead Hide and there are 6o Black Tailed Godwits and 500 Golden Plover on the Causeway across Saltholme West Pool. Dorman's Pool also remains good for waders with 300 Dunlin and 200 Redshank. All these waders are preventing us from raising the water levels for winter wildfowl, however we already have in excess of 300 Wigeon, some of which can be seen grazing from the Visitor Centre Café. Up to 10 Pintail can also be seen from Saltholme Hide. Other regulars include Marsh Harriers which are seen daily, with a female roosting in the Haverton reedbeds, and a stonechat has taken up residence on hawthorn bushes on the Wild Flower Walk. Oddities this week have included Jays which have come in from Europe and several Buzzards. Our knowledge of Harvest Mice in the reserve continues to grow, with 4 nests found on the Wild Flower Walk yesterday. There's a challenge for photographers !

    Posted by Dean H

  • 3 October 2014

    Friday 3rd October 2014

    That Pectoral Sandpiper is still here on Saltholme West Pool, and giving good views from Saltholme Hide. The Great White Egret is also still around, but tending to spend more time on Cowpen Marsh than the main site. There are also a pair of Scaup on Cowpen. Dorman's Pool continues to hold good numbers of waders with 239 Dunlin counted yesterday, 3 Ruff and a couple of Little Stint. On the main site, we had a Whimbrel, 35 Black Tailed Godwit and 2 Green Sandpipers yesterday. Both Marsh Harrier and Merlin are currently seen daily. Interestingly, this week we have been removing vegetation from Saltholme and Paddy's Islands, and found Wood Mice and Bank Voles living on them, prompting much speculation about how they may have got there. As the dry weather has continued, Hedgehogs are now regularly seen out and about during the day, particularly under the bird feeders, attempting to replace a worm and mollusc diet with one of bird seeds. If you have Hedgehogs in your garden, don't give them bread or milk as it is bad for them - but they do like puppy food !

    Posted by Dean H

  • 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.

    Peter

     

     

     

    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.

    Peter

     

     

    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.

    Peter

     

    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.

    Peter

     

    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.

    Peter

    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)

Rough-legged Buzzard (1)
20 Oct 2014
Pectoral Sandpiper ()
14 Oct 2014
Great White Egret ()
7 Oct 2014
Whooper Swan (10)
23 Oct 2014
Red-throated Diver (3)
23 Oct 2014
Snow Bunting (2)
23 Oct 2014
Spoonbill ()
23 Oct 2014
Red-breasted Merganser (3)
20 Oct 2014
Black-tailed Godwit (12)
20 Oct 2014
Migrant
Bittern (2)
20 Oct 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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