With all this snow around we decided to head off away today,the roads likely to
be quieter than the usual Bank Holiday jams on Monday. Saltholme was our choice,
a more recent RSPB Nature Reserve just North of Middlesborough.
We set off fairly early with a local temperature of -4°C leaving any sign of snow behind
around the Harrogate area, we also got the bonus of seeing a Red Kite unusually perched
in a tree. We arrived as the doors of the visitor center opened at 10a.m. going through to the
viewing area which had some feeders outside & overlooked the lake.On the feeders we saw
Blue Tits,Chaffinch,Goldfinch,Greenfinch,Reed Bunting & on the lake were Mallards,Moorhen,
Coot,Tufted Duck,Wigeon,Canadas,Shelduck & Oystercatcher.
We headed off to the pools hide,now 1°C, as we walked along we saw several Curlew flying as
they moved around and we also saw a Fox which sauntered along not being too bothered about
our presence.In the large hide we saw a couple of Red-breasted Mergansers moving away up a
water channel, we were only able to get a distant record snap of these.In the hide was an RSPB
Warden who had a scope set up & showed us a couple more of them in the distance.We added
Teal & LBB Gull to our list here. Moving off to the next hide we saw c100 Lapwings in the fields
around the Back Saltholme Pool.
The next hide overlooked Paddy's pool mainly BH Gulls here with a large flock of Wigeon and a
couple of Pochard.We quickly moved on around the main Lake to the Wildlife Watchpoint hide
seeing a Little Grebe, another bird we were unsure of, but as it came close to the hide we saw it was
a female Pochard. There were some more bird feeders outside the hide giving us the chance of a
few snaps. We then headed back towards the visitors center seeing a couple of Starlings in a tree,
with the sun shining on them another chance of a snap of this often under rated bird.
We all had a great Sunday Lunch in the cafe before heading to our final stop the Phil Stead hide near
the main car park.Here we added Redshank,Gadwall & Little Egret to our list rounding off a good
days birding before setting off home.
|distant record snap of Red-breasted Mergansers|