Tuesday, 8 July 2014

Super Suprise at Saltholme

Usually every weekend we get up early to go birding, this weekend was no different but instead of birds we were looking for bikes. We got up early to go and watch the Tour de France as it was right at the bottom of my street. After it had finished we then started to head of to RSPB Saltholme.

We went there because a Black Winged Pratincole was at a reservoir fairly near Saltholme and earlier that morning it had flew of and we thought Saltholme may have been one of the best places it could turn up but throughout the day we had no luck.

When we arrived in the Saltholme car park the first thing we did was have a check in the Phil Stead Hide where we saw Little Egret, Grey Heron, Common Terns, a Reed Warbler and quite a few Mallards.

Grey Heron
Afterwards we then moved on towards the visitor centre, on the way we watched a Reed Warbler going back and forth to its nest. When we were in the visitor centre some of the staff told us that the Roseate Tern was still showing from the Paddys Pool Hide but before we had a check in there we first decided to go to the Saltholme Hide. On the way my Dad suddenly shouted Fox! I turned to see a cracking Fox walk straight out into the open and then it sat down on a small patch of grass around about 5 meters away. We sat watching this stunning creature for a while but then I couldn't believe what happened next, it got up and started walking towards us! It eventually came to close that my camera wouldn't focus and it was probably touching distance away! It was an absolutely amazing experience! After the Fox then moved on into the undergrowth and we moved on to the Saltholme Hide.

In the Saltholme we didn't see much apart from a group of 8 little Egrets at the back of the pools. After we then moved on to have a look in the Paddys Pool Hide for the Roseate Tern. When we arrived we asked some people if they had seen it and they said they had seen it earlier in the day but they couldn't see it at the moment. In the front of the hide the Great Crested Grebe family was still around. I started scanning the island in the middle of the lake for the Roseate Tern and within around 5 minutes I managed to re find the bird sitting on a fence in the corner of the island, last week the bird showed more distantly, this time it was a little closer. We were about to go when the Roseate Tern took of and landed on a perch right in front of the hide! I was really nice to finally get close views of this cracking bird.  
Great Crested Grebe


Roseate Tern
Afterwards we had a walk around the lakes what we walked around last week. We also had a check on our Oystercatcher nest which is still on 3 eggs. Several other birds were around the pools such as Dunlin, Little Ringed Plover, Lapwing and Redshank.

Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Birthday Birding

On Saturday the 28th of June I turned 13 and for my birthday I got a new lens which I then tested it out at one of my favourite reserves, RSPB Saltholme.

As we arrived we asked some people around the visitor centre to see if the Roseate Tern was around and it was. They said it was showing from the Paddys Pool Hide so we went straight there. When we arrived the bird wasn't in sight but as we waited lots of birds kept us entertained such as a very nice Med Gull at the back of the lake in with some Black Headed Gulls, a Great Crested Grebe family and lots of Common Terns sitting on perches in front of the hide.

Common Terns
Then someone had finally got the Roseate Tern through their scope, the man allowed us to have a look through the scope. It was always quite distant but at least we got to see it. It was very nice bird to see and through the scope the bird looked fantastic. After around 10 minutes all the birds lifted of including the Med Gull and Roseate Tern and sadly both of them could not be relocated. Here are a few record shots of the Roseate Tern and Med Gull.  

Roseate Tern

Med Gull
We waited a little longer to see if any of them came back but non did so we then moved onto the Wildlife Watchpoint Hide in hope of seeing Water Rail, Garganey or Water Vole. Sadly for the whole of the time we were in the hide we didn't see any of these species. When we left the hide we got nice views of a Whitethroat which sat up nicely on a bush.
We had to go a bit early today as we forgot the reserve closed at 5pm but as we were leaving I had a check on the feeders from the visitor centre and there was a little Hedgehog feeding below them. 

After we then went to have a look at this Common Tern colony just down the road. As soon as we arrived the Terns came over and they started mobbing us, it was an amazing experience. They were only a couple of meters above our head! Some of them even came to close that I couldn't get them in the full photo.

Common Terns
After we had a walk around some lakes where we saw some juvenile Ringed Plover, Oystercatchers, Meadow Pipits, Skylarks and more Common Terns and my Dad also found an Oystercatcher nest. Around one of the lakes there was a few juvenile Pied Wagtails sitting in some trees and a Magpie also came very close.
Pied Wagtail