Saturday, 11 January 2014

Super Sunny Saltholme

Today we took a visit to sunny Saltholme in hope of seeing some great wildlife. We were very excited as in the past we have seen some great birds here such as Pectoral Sandpiper and Temmincks Stint.

When we first arrived at the reserve we decided to have a quick look in the Phil Stead Hide which was in the car park. On the lake outside the hide we could see 2 Mute Swans, some nice showing Shoveler, Teal and a few Moorhens. After that we headed of to the visitor centre.

When we were in the visitor centre we asked if much had been sighted today, they replied "not much but the Water Rail has been putting in some appearances outside the visitor centre and from the Wildlife Watch Point hide". We had a quick look through some glass at the visitor centre at the area were the Water Rail had been sighted but all we could see were Moorhens so we decided to go to the Wildlife Watch Point hide.
On our way there we saw Black Headed Gulls, Goldfinches and a few Reed Buntings. When we arrived at the hide we spotted a Shoveler, a Gadwall, Coots, Moorhens and a Little Grebe but we didn't see the Water Rail. We waited for about half and hour before walking around the main lake to reach another one of the hides.
When we reached the hide we could see a few Lapwings in the background also we could see a group of about 200 geese in the field. We heard that there has been some Barnacle Geese recently on the reserve but we couldn't see any in the group but if you went round another way towards another hide you could get a better view of the geese so we decided to go round that way.
When we reached a good area just outside the hide were we got a better view of the geese we immediately started scanning through the flock. I then soon picked out a group of about 20 Barnacle Geese right in the middle of the flock! We stayed watching them for quite a while before heading of to the hide. 
Barnacle Geese
When we were in the hide we could see at the far side of the lake hundreds of Lapwing. Mixed in with the Lapwing were quite a few Golden Plover. Suddenly all the Lapwings and Golden Plover lifted of up into the sky, it was absolutely amazing to watch them all! Also on the lake there was a female Goldeneye, a Redshank, Curlew and a 3 stunning Pintail.

Lapwing and Golden Plover

Afterwards we decided to head back to the visitor centre to have some lunch. Before we went to the Café we decided to have a quick look through the glass to see if the Water Rail was out and guess what he was! He was showing extremely well from the visitor centre, occasionally he was being chased back into the reeds by the Moorhens but always kept coming back out again. We watched him for a while before he headed back into the reeds and didn't come back out for a while. So we then headed upstairs in the visitor centre to have our lunch. From the Café you could see the Water Rails favourite spot so for most of the time we were sitting up there we could see him quite a few times emerging from the reeds!  
Water Rail
After our lunch and the stunning little Water Rail news came through of 2 Long Tailed Ducks on Saltholme East! So we rushed over there as fast as we could. When we arrived all we could see on the lake was Shoveler, Pochard, Great Crested Grebe and Tufted Ducks. Me and my Dad started scanning the lake for them until after a few mins I shouted I have got one! And soon after that I picked up the second one! We were really pleased to have seen these fantastic ducks. They were quite far away but we still enjoyed watching them for well over half an hour!

Long Tailed Duck
After enjoying a great trip with tons of great birds we went home.



  1. Awesome days birding Ellis , excellent pics too , another great lifer you both got , well done mate :-)

  2. Great day.
    Some super spots Ellis. Well done in getting those LTD's.
    Always a pleasure being out and about with you.