Setting Off From Sandwell valley

Sunday, 24 October 2010

The Most Amazing and Wonderful RSPB Reserve - Saltholme

After a quick visit to Saltholme in the afternoon after leaving Washington WWT Reserve and after having cycled down the busy A19, slept nearby with a view of the opening Bladerunner scene. The lights of a nearby oil refinery shone brightly as an almost full moon rose with Venus at its side. How romantic.

21st October 2010

Got to Saltholme RSPB reserve early and met a lovely volunteer, Barbara, who was doing some birding herself on the way in. A little egret was in Bottom Pool, along with shovelor, teal, a good number of gadwall and a few teal. Nice start to the day.

Met the warden next and then was taken in over the swingbridge into the reserve centre. Now I've seen a few impressive visitor centres before but the one at Saltholme takes some beating. A large modern centre with awards for its 'green' credentials.

The reserve centre was busy with dignitaries from English Nature and the higher echelons of the North East RSPB but dave Braithewaite gave some of his time to show myself and the English nature photographer around the reserve. Dave was brilliant! A hugely charismatic enthusiast, Dave told me of breeding success for this year and their future plans. All these were discussed with much mirth and I enjoyed his company tremendously.

He left me in the Pool Hide where I met up with hide wardens, Dennis and Adam as well as meeting up with the delightful Barbara again. Sat there for a couple of hours watching the birds; black-tailed godwit, a few dunlin, a few hundred golden plover and a variety of duck including pintail and goldeneye. Also met people here from York; part of the 'University of the third Age' [U3A] group. Lovely people who certainly knew how to enjoy their birds.                 is the link for their home website.

By now 37 species and a male sparrowhawk hunting in front of the cafe made it 38. Speaking of the cafe!!! Many, many thanks to Dave Braithewaite and to the wonderful Anne, Dawn and Angela for the fabulous dinner. After a few days of pitta breads with jam and peanut butter, it was great to have soup, then dinner of such a superb quality and quantity. Thanks so much. Very much appreciated.

Whilst enjoying these culinary delights, met a fabulous young girl, Lyndsay, who was working with local school children from Yalm Primary School on an art/bird project. She showed me the children's creative work on her laptop and we chatted fro half an hour or so about such projects. One of their projects is viewable on you tube :-

Eventually off and onto the Transporter Bridge. Well over the river and back. Then along the cycle path and onward. Another fabulous RSPB reserve visited.


  1. Dear Gary
    I'm from Australia but visited Saltholme in June this year. As you say an excellent place.

    Keep up the good pedalling and may the wins always be both dry and at your back.


  2. Dear Martin,
    Thanks good wishes. Now I hope you won't be too upset if [typical Pommie weakness, I meant 'when'] Ponting fails to get the Ashes back.
    as for the wind, I want a good stiff north easterly. Blow me if I get one.
    All the best.