Another busy week at Saltholme. Read on to find out more! 

News from the estate:

Thankfully, the storm this week wasn’t up to Arwen standards; the estates staff and volunteers could therefore get back to a more normal manner of working. This week, the mesh on the stock fence that runs along the England Coast Path was tied down. This mesh was originally added to prevent bird strikes along this footpath, particularly whilst the planted vegetation was becoming established. While they were there, the team also picked up any litter they saw to keep the path safe and tidy for both people and wildlife.

And they didn’t stop there! On Thursday, trees planted along the boundary of the reserve had their tree guards removed. Tree guards are plastic tubes that are placed around the bases of young trees. They prevent wildlife such as rabbits or deer from eating or digging up the trees before they become established. They also help protect the plants from extreme weather, or any machinery that might otherwise get too close. Once the trees are 5-6 years old, they no longer need this protection so the guards can be removed.

What’s on:

On 4 December, Santa visited Saltholme! He’s a very busy man, so we were very grateful that he took the time to meet over 60 children and give them some advice on how to ensure he drops presents off on Christmas Eve. He even handed out some early Christmas presents!

Children and parents sipped hot chocolate whilst waiting to step into the sleigh. Whilst they were waiting, many of the children found the naughty elves that were eating the mince pies we had left out for Santa!

It wasn’t just the children who were receiving some early gifts; our Optics Event also took place on 4 December, and so adults were able to get expert advice on getting the right binoculars and telescopes for them.  

Sightings:

Image Credit: Verity Hill, RSPB Images

This week, it's all been about the raptors:

Two peregrine falcons were seen perched on the transporter bridge on Wednesday. Whilst not technically on the reserve, staff and visitors got some great views with the shop telescopes! Peregrine falcons are the fastest creatures on the planet; when they dive (stoop) to catch prey, they can reach speeds of up to 200 miles per hour!

We go from the fastest bird of prey to the UK's smallest; our resident merlin was seen once again from the Saltholme Pools hide this week. 

Image Credit: Andy Hay, RSPB Images

Last but not least, a sparrowhawk was sighted from the Wildlife Watchpoint hide on Thursday. As an ambush predator, the dense vegetation around this hide will be ideal for this bird to hunt small birds such as finches. 

Of course, this is just a tiny part of the wildlife seen at Saltholme this week. On Wednesday alone, 30 different species were recorded on our sightings board. Why not come along to Saltholme next week and see what you can spot? 

References and Additional Reading:

Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (2021). Merlin [webpage]. Accessed through https://www.rspb.org.uk/birds-and-wildlife/wildlife-guides/bird-a-z/merlin/ [last accessed 09/12/2021]

Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (2021). Peregrine Falcon [webpage]. Accessed through https://www.rspb.org.uk/birds-and-wildlife/wildlife-guides/bird-a-z/peregrine/ [last accessed 09/12/2021].

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 09/12/2021].

The Wildlife Trusts (2021). Merlin [webpage]. Accessed through https://www.wildlifetrusts.org/wildlife-explorer/birds/birds-prey/merlin [last accessed 09/12/2021]

The Wildlife Trusts (2021). Peregrine Falcon [webpage]. Accessed through https://www.wildlifetrusts.org/wildlife-explorer/birds/birds-prey/peregrine-falcon [last accessed 09/12/2021].

The Wildlife Trusts (2021). Sparrowhawk [webpage]. Accessed through https://www.wildlifetrusts.org/wildlife-explorer/birds/birds-prey/sparrowhawk [last accessed 09/12/2021]

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