Wednesday, 6 May 2009

Teeside visit part1, Saltholme RSPB

We travelled up to Billingham at the weekend & made the most of the fine weather. There was a clear difference in wildlife compared to our previous visits in February & March where wintering waders & wildfowl gathered in large flocks.

At RSPB Saltholme, on the paved entrance in front of us appeared a Garden Tiger Moth caterpillar. The setae or bristles can cause a rash if handled, luckily we didn’t even try to pick it up & it was safely escorted across the path by a fascinated 3 year old & her mum. The caterpillars pupate from June to July, the moths hatching July to August.

We noticed a few Yellow wagtails bobbing around the place, apparently several pairs nest at the centre. They’re summer visitors that migrate to Africa in winter. I’ve compared a Grey Wagtail & Yellow Wagtail for my benefit to remind myself how different they look.

From the hide a Grey Heron fished on the edge of Saltholme Pools, it looked like the injured Heron reported on the website, despite its injury it showed no difficulty in feeding.

In front of the hide a Mute Swan settled on its nest in the shallows near the edge of the lake.

At the far side of Saltholme Pools a pair of Great Crested Grebe were present. After spotting one bird on the water, I noticed another in the reeds, realising it was sat on the nest I kept my distance on the opposite side of the road before making my retreat so not to cause alarm.

Find out more about local sightings at Teeside Bird Club

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