• Autumn Delights

    The wind whips across the lake and sends ripples of water spinning in all directions; Autumn is unleashed at Saltholme.  For me, this time of year is as much about sounds and textures as it is about beautiful colours; a season of hot chocolates, wind-swept landscapes, and of course, moving a little out of one’s way to step on that crunchy leaf. 

    Unlike balmy summer days, there’s an air of freshness and trepidation…

    • 26 Sep 2018
  • Under the boardwalk and in the long grasses- A July day in the learning team

    Speckles of colour dot the meadow in the Discovery Zone as flowers burst through long wispy grass.  June drifts lazily into July.  As the sun’s warmth heats up the ground, the paths become awash with damselflies and butterflies, some clinging to grass, others bravely investigating into the undergrowth.  It seems a great time to investigate not only what flies and crawls through our meadow, but what lies beneath the…

    • 4 Sep 2018
  • Saltholme's First Big Wild Sleep Out 2018

    Well you certainly can't control the weather!

    After what was shaping up to be a long hot summer we originally scheduled of first ever Big Wild Sleep Out for the end of July.

    What could be better?

    Long summer days, the chance to sit on our meadow enjoying the plethora of wildlife surrounding you, before heading off to explore the reserve, maybe some sweep netting in the long grass as the warm summer breeze wafts…

    • 19 Aug 2018
  • Summer at Saltholme

    Hello,

    The weather has been good at Saltholme over the last few months with hardly no rain and glorious sunshine. There has been brilliant sightings of butterflies, moths, dragonflies, damselflies and birds.

    Butterflies

    One of the special jobs we undertake on site is a butterfly transect in which we walk along a specific route recording butterflies. The other day we recorded 15 species including holly blue, wall and…

    • 10 Aug 2018
  • Saltholme Pools Hide - closure summer 2018

    The latest instalment of the Saltholme Washlands Project is expected to be underway from Monday 16 July 2018. This initial phase will see work begin on Saltholme Pools hide, as we begin installation of the long awaited tower infill, giving spectacular elevated views across Saltholme Pools and its soon to be re-landscaped edges.


    This does mean that from Monday 16 July Saltholme Pools hide will be closed until the work…

    • 2 Jul 2018
  • Saltholme Pools Hide

    The latest instalment of the Saltholme Washlands Project is expected to be underway from Monday 16 July 2018. This initial phase will see work begin on Saltholme Pools hide, as we begin installation of the long awaited tower infill, giving spectacular elevated views across Saltholme Pools and its soon to be re-landscaped edges.


    This does mean that from Monday 16 July Saltholme Pools hide will be closed until the work…

    • 2 Jul 2018
  • A Different World

    The sun sparkles off the lake as I make my way to the new “office”- Saltholme RSPB Nature reserve. Its mid-May. Spring has awoken all over the reserve, Hawthorns fizz with champagne white blossom and tingle with life as birds and insects alike thrive within its undergrowth. By the ponds, flashes of brilliant blues and reds can be seen as damselflies emerge from aquatic hiding. The occasional electric buzz rings through…

    • 20 Jun 2018
  • Lap Lap Lap Lap Lapwing Lay a little egg for me

    Hello,

    It has been quite some time since I last wrote a blog, this is because I have been busy helping with surveys around the site.

    This week has been a bumper week in terms of monitoring with lots of exciting animals being seen around the reserve, especially chicks!

    On Saturday the Tees Ringing Group were in checking nest boxes around the reserve. They found tiny tree sparrow chicks and well grown blue tit chicks…

    • 13 Jun 2018
  • Spoonbill, Cranes and Ringed Plovers RSPB Saltholme 7th- 13th of April 2018

    Hello,

    It’s been a while since I have written a sightings post for RSPB Saltholme. The run up to the breeding season has proven to be very busy as we prepare the reserve for all things great and small. This week has been a special one for sightings despite the weather!

    On Saturday 7th April 6 cranes were spotted flying north over the reserve, to add to the excitement a Spoonbill was spotted the following morning…

    • 13 Apr 2018
  • Life with plastic, it's not fantastic…

    Why?

    Our everyday lives involve so much plastic that it is hard to imagine life without it. Just think about how much plastic you have handled in the last week and you will get some idea of the scale of the problem. Where does all that plastic go? Can it be recycled? Most of the time plastic ends up polluting different habitats around the world. The marine environment suffers greatly from the plastic problem. It has…

    • 17 Mar 2018
  • Recent Sightings Vlog 3rd-9th February 2018

    Hello,

    Inspired by our colleagues at Frampton Marsh we have decided to try out a new way of communicating current wildlife sightings on the reserve. Today I got the ball rolling with our first video blog featuring wildlife watching highlights from the past week, enjoy!

    Our video blog can be viewed on the Saltholme YouTube channel or click the play button on the image below.

    www.youtube.com/watch

    Hopefully see you soon…

    • 10 Feb 2018
  • Swan wars episode 2 – revenge of the duck strikes back

    A new darkness has fallen. A new army of clone ducks is ruled by Donald Duck, who controls the ducks with …….. tweets. He is helped by Darth Huey, Darth Dewey, Darth Louie and Vladimir Puffin, even though he lives far, far away on a different land mass, although it is not blatantly obvious that this is true. Barrack Obarnowl has been frozen in a large block of stuff by Vladimir Puffin, but Princess Kylie dresses up in…

    • 4 Feb 2018
  • Not that long ago, in a nature reserve, not very far away………

     

    Cue the music

     

    It is time of great unrest on the main lake of Saltholme. Birds live in fear of the Emperor Hissy and his evil hench swan, Darth Scratchy and the clone ducks. A small band or rebels are led by George Icewalker, the black swan who came here from Australia with his sister Kylie. But no-one has seen Princess Kylie for some time now and George fears the worst, that she has been imprisoned and will be forced…

    • 26 Jan 2018
  • Hog help 2

    On the 11th December, I wrote about how hedgehogs wake periodically through the winter, and it is important to try and provide food for them when they do. From experience, it seems that a warm spell following a frozen spell is when they are likely to wake. And sure enough, yesterday afternoon, Michael the 3 legged hedgehog who lives in my garden, emerged from his box and started rooting around in the leaves. Luckily,…

    • 24 Jan 2018
  • Mole Hills and Knitted Creatures

    What a week at Saltholme.  It’s been wet and windy with a touch of snow thanks to storm Fionn.  With the amount of water increasing so has the abundance of mole hills.  Now on a walk down to the Saltholme Pools hide, you will notice the shear quantity of mole mounds. Moles are very elusive spending most of their time deep underground in their tunnels, but if you stare at a mole mound for long enough you may see it moving…

    • 22 Jan 2018
  • Important notice - Reserve Closure 19/01/18

    Due to the icy weather we've taken the difficulty decision to close the the reserve for today. The paths are incredibly icy and whilst our team are out gritting it's just not safe for our visitors to be out on the reserve.

    The Visitor Centre, cafe, shop and Phil Stead Hide are open as usual but there is currently no access to the rest of the reserve.

    We'll keep you updated with what happening and we expect to…

    • 19 Jan 2018
  • Weird going ons at Saltholme

    Hello and happy new year!

    There has been some weird and unusual sightings this week at Saltholme. Yesterday I had a little walk around and noticed a variety of animals and creatures great and small located around the lake side path. Two green woodpeckers and one kingfisher were found in the walled garden.  Puffins and giraffes have been spotted from visitor centre windows (Look for the ark). Avocet and flamingos have been…

    • 12 Jan 2018
  • What colour is this ?

    Like many terrestrial birds that come here for the winter, numbers of brambling vary each year according to the availability of their food. They breed in sub-arctic areas and breeding success has been linked to the abundance of Geometrid moths (the ones that eat tree leaves) in Norway and Sweden. Following good moth years, we can expect more of them to arrive here for the winter, when their diet changes to seeds, mainly…

    • 8 Jan 2018
  • Weekly Sightings 15th- 22nd December 2017

    Yes it 's time for another weekly update on the wildlife spotted at Saltholme. Having finally reached the winter solstice we can now look forward to longer days and begin to have thoughts on the upcoming spring. It has been a milder week than of late which means the water body’s have thawed allowing the wetland birds to spread out across the reserve.

    Great spotted woodpecker by Peter Garbutt

    Red-breasted…

    • 22 Dec 2017
  • Down on the farm

    An area of farmland lies north west of Saltholme, between the reserve and Cowpen Bewley, which you can see as you drive along the A1185. Although It is always a good idea to look out of the front window on that road as some of those tankers are a tad large. This farm habitat comprised pasture grassland with gappy hedgerows and was heavily overgrazed. However, RSPB have now managed the reserve for a couple of years and…

    • 18 Dec 2017
  • Walking in a winter wonderland. Weekly sightings 7th-14th of December

    Yes it’s that time of the week again - the weekly sightings update and once again I'll start with the weather.

    Since it snowed on Sunday (10th December), the temperature has remained mostly below zero.  On Monday the water bodies around the reserve had frozen completely. This was an interesting start to the week, presenting one of the spectacles of winter … tracks in the snow. The trails around the reserve showed…

    • 15 Dec 2017
  • It may look pretty ….

    I’m not sure I know what a brass monkey is, and I’m quite sure I’ve never seen one, but if there is one at Saltholme today, as several people have suggested, it will be wearing extra underwear, a thick coat, hat, gloves and scarf. Which may make it difficult to spot, so I suggest check all the visitors for a furry tail.

     

    Snow is interesting in that we can see the tracks of the various mammals and where…

    • 11 Dec 2017
  • Wildlife Sightings 1st December - 8th December

    Hello

    Another cold week here at Saltholme, you definitely need your hat and gloves in this weather! Despite the weather there has been some interesting sightings this week. The cold snap has seen thrushes passing through the reserve including, mistle thrush, redwing, blackbird, song thrush and fieldfare. These birds are on the move to find suitable habitat with plentiful berries. With the cold weather set to stay a while…

    • 8 Dec 2017
  • Squidging benefits.

    In October I wrote about organic week at Saltholme, when we experimented with different ways of putting organic matter into the substrate in front of various hides. Organic matter is necessary not as bird food itself, but as the food of invertebrates such as midge larvae, which the birds feed on. We tried adding turf, cowpats and rotting vegetation.

     

    Looking back, I think placing turf upside down onto the clay in front…

    • 3 Dec 2017
  • Wildlife Sightings 24th November - 1st December

    Hello

    Another week has flown by here at Saltholme, as we reach the final month of the year. The weather has been bitterly cold with wind blowing from the north. To the surprise of many we had a good covering of snow and ice yesterday. However, the green sandpiper and water pipit can be seen at Phil Stead Hide. Up to 3 marsh harriers have been seen regularly this week from all over the reserve. At Watchpoint Hide a sparrowhawk…

    • 1 Dec 2017