Image Credit: Drew Buckley (RSPB Images)

It’s National Cake Day! So, the café team has ‘stollen’ the limelight this week. It’s far from a piece of cake to run such a large part of Saltholme, so it’s only right that we let the team have their cake and eat it. We’ll still do our weekly round-up of reserve news, so you could say this is the icing on the cake!

So, what do the café team do? The answer is simple: a lot. They are responsible for:

  • Making all the freshly-baked scones you enjoy
  • Coordinating the orders of cakes, traybakes and pastries according to what customers enjoy the most
  • Serving visitors to the café
  • Keeping café and kitchen facilities clean and tidy
  • Decorating the café in season-appropriate fashion
  • And lots more!

You may be asking why all this is so important. Well, besides the obvious need for caffeine and cake whilst birdwatching, the income generated by our café goes directly back into conservation. Furthermore, the produce used in the café is- wherever possible- sustainably sourced. For example, did you know that our coffee is ‘bird friendly’? It is grown under trees in the tropics, rather than in clearings. This way, our coffee is not tied to the hugely destructive and nature-damaging practice of clearing forest to make way for plantations or grazing land.

Why not drop into our café when you next visit Saltholme? That way, you’re directly contributing to worldwide bird conservation!

News from the Estate:

Visitors to the Wildlife Watchpoint hide may have noticed how much more they can see. This is thanks to the estates team, who have spent the week cutting and raking vegetation from the front of the hide. Who knows, maybe that bittern will be less elusive now!

What’s On:

Image Credit: Ben Hurst (RSPB Images)

The Soup and Starlings event concluded on Thursday with the most spectacular murmurations yet- an estimated 30,000 starlings showed off in the gaps between rain on Sunday evening.

As one event finishes, another begins! Thirteen people came along to our Dawn Waders and Wildfowl walks on Wednesday and Friday this week. The sunrises were spectacular (well worth getting up for) and the wildlife was out in force; mallard, teal, gadwall, goldeneye, barnacle geese, canada geese, coot, moorhen, little grebe, little egret and many many more species were spotted. 

Those attending our outdoor events were well aware of the nip in the air this week. So, it seems appropriate that our Eco and Artisan Christmas Fair is taking place this weekend! We’re really looking forward to welcoming local businesses into our visitor centre for you to browse at your leisure, especially given the restrictions of last Christmas.

Sightings:

Image Credit: Ben Andrew (RSPB Images)

Reed bunting are often present at Saltholme, but are very good at hiding amongst the lakeside vegetation. They were spotted this week by a number of our hide guides and volunteers. These birds form mixed flocks with finch and other bunting species over winter, and the females of these species all tend to look quite similar!

Image Credit: RSPB Images

Linnet have also been sighted around the reserve this week. These farmland birds tend to form flocks in the winter, feeding on insects and seeds in fields. Partly because of their preferred habitat of less intensively-managed farmland, linnet numbers in the UK are estimated to have dropped by 57% between 1970 and 2014. So, it’s good to have them here!

Image Credit: Paul Chesterfield (RSPB Images)

Perhaps because of the presence of these smaller birds, a sparrowhawk made its presence known this week. As the name suggests, these Birds of Prey specialise in catching small birds in confined habitats such as woodland. They are so agile that they have even been known to catch bats! They hunt a wide variety of bird species; the female sparrowhawk is larger than the male, so can catch birds of a larger size.

For a full run-down of the species seen this week, check out the latest video by Ian Robinson here

References and Additional Reading

Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (2021). Reed Bunting [webpage]. Accessed through https://www.rspb.org.uk/birds-and-wildlife/wildlife-guides/bird-a-z/reed-bunting/ [last accessed 26/11/2021]

The Wildlife Trusts (2021). Reed Bunting [webpage]. Accessed through https://www.wildlifetrusts.org/wildlife-explorer/birds/finches-and-buntings/reed-bunting [last accessed 26/11/2021]

Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (2021). Linnet [webpage]. Accessed through https://www.rspb.org.uk/birds-and-wildlife/wildlife-guides/bird-a-z/linnet/ [last accessed 26/11/2021]

The Wildlife Trusts (2021). Linnet [webpage]. Accessed through https://www.wildlifetrusts.org/wildlife-explorer/birds/finches-and-buntings/linnet [last accessed 26/11/2021]

Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (2021). Sparrowhawk [webpage]. Accessed through https://www.rspb.org.uk/birds-and-wildlife/wildlife-guides/bird-a-z/sparrowhawk/ [last accessed 26/11/2021]

The Woodland Trust (2021). Sparrowhawk [webpage]. Accessed through https://www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/trees-woods-and-wildlife/animals/birds/sparrowhawk/ [last accessed 26/11/2021]

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