Image Credit: Lydia Cave

With December disappearing at an alarming rate, things are beginning to wind down for Christmas in terms of events and reserve work. But that doesn’t stop the wildlife! The lakes, pools, grasslands and hides are all as busy as ever. Read on to find out more.

News from the Estate:

It’s been another busy week for the estates team. With the building of the new predator fence, there has been clearing up to do around the reserve. With so much windblown wood from Storm Arwen, volunteers have been creating log piles around the reserve. This provides a habitat for insects, amphibians and reptiles.

You may also notice that the Saltholme Pools hide has been given some TLC this week. Amongst other things, the wonderful estates team have washed the windows, unblocked the drains and reinstalled the screen which had fallen over next to the hide.

What’s On:

The RSPB has partnered with Aardman and Netflix to bring you the story of Robin Robin. 

With Christmas holidays just around the corner, our Robin Robin Christmas Trail is in full swing. The trail pack includes craft activities, a bird food recipe, a hide-and-seek challenge, and the trail itself. The film is now also available to view on Netflix- it’s fantastic Christmas family viewing!

Our trail will be available throughout the Christmas holidays. Why not visit us and give it a go? 

Sightings:

Image Credit: Roger Tidman, RSPB Images

This past week, a pale-bellied brent goose was spotted on the wet grassland by Paddy’s Pool hide. At Saltholme, dark-bellied brent geese are more common, having come from northern Russia to spend the winter in the UK. On the other hand, the pale-bellied version is more commonly seen in Ireland over winter, having spent the breeding season in either Canada or Greenland.

Image Credit: Graham Goodall, RSPB Images

A snipe was seen from the Saltholme Pools hide on Wednesday. These birds are so well-camouflaged that this was a good spot, despite there being 1 million of these birds wintering in the UK.

Image Credit: Richard Thew (2019). Accessed through https://www.birdguides.com/gallery/birds/cettia-cetti/1014541 

Although it wasn't seen a Cetti's Warbler was heard at Haverton on Wednesday. These stocky little birds are some of the UK's most recent colonists, first being recorded in Kent in 1972. They are more commonly seen (or heard) in Southern England, so our Saltholme visitor is definitely worth mentioning! 

Image Credit: Ben Andrew, RSPB Images

Finally, tufted duck were also seen from the Saltholme Pools hide. Around 110,000 of these diving ducks spend the winter in the UK. 

For a more complete round-up of recent sightings, follow this link to watch a video by our hide guide volunteer Ian Robinson.

This will be our last blog this year, as our reserve opening hours will change over the festive period; see you in 2022!

References and Further Reading:

Bird Guides (2021). Brent Geese Photo ID Guide [webpage]. Accessed through https://www.birdguides.com/articles/identification/brent-geese-photo-id-guide/ [last accessed 15/12/2021]

Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (2021). Brent Geese Migration [webpage]. Accessed through https://www.rspb.org.uk/birds-and-wildlife/natures-home-magazine/birds-and-wildlife-articles/migration/migratory-bird-stories/brent-geese-migration/ [last accessed 15/12/2021].

Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (2021). Cetti's Warbler [webpage]. Accessed through https://www.rspb.org.uk/birds-and-wildlife/wildlife-guides/bird-a-z/cettis-warbler/ [last accessed 16/12/2021]. 

Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (2021). Snipe [webpage]. Accessed through https://www.rspb.org.uk/birds-and-wildlife/wildlife-guides/bird-a-z/snipe/ [last accessed 15/12/2021].

Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (2021). Tufted Duck [webpage]. Accessed through https://www.rspb.org.uk/birds-and-wildlife/wildlife-guides/bird-a-z/tufted-duck/ [last accessed 15/12/2021].

The Wildlife Trusts (2021). Cetti's Warbler [webpage]. Accessed through https://www.wildlifetrusts.org/wildlife-explorer/birds/tits-crests-and-warblers/cettis-warbler [last accessed 16/12/2021].

The Wildlife Trusts (2021). Tufted Duck [webpage]. Accessed through https://www.wildlifetrusts.org/wildlife-explorer/birds/waterfowl/tufted-duck [last accessed 15/12/2021].

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