Birds have always been important to Saltwell Park. For generations families have gathered at its lakeside purely for the enjoyment of ‘feeding the ducks’.
But take a closer look and you will see various wildfowl of extraordinary
beauty. Fighting over yesterdays crusts are the large mute swans, Canada and barnacle geese. Avoiding the larger birds, mallard, tufted duck, coot and moorhen jostle each other for smaller scraps of bread. The majority of these birds are resident on the lake throughout the year but in winter their numbers are swollen by visitors from Russia and Central Europe. Of these the pochard is most striking. A medium sized duck, the male is resplendent in pale grey body, black glossy breast and stern and wonderful chestnut head. On occasions little grebe visit the lake and recently after an absence of nearly eighty years kingfisher was spotted on the reeds diving for stickleback.
More birds can be enjoyed just by strolling through the rest of the park. With a little patience, among theresident blackbirds, blue tits and robbins you can see great spotted woodpecker, goldcrest, nuthatch, goldfinch and family parties of long-tailed tit. Like the lake the parkland has its summer and winter visitors too. From Spring onwards blackcap, garden warbler and chiffchaff arrive. These small warbles have flown from Europe to Africa to hopefully breed before their departure in the autumn. As autumn fades into winter birds from Scandinavia and Northern Europe arrive. Mistle thrush, song thrush redwing join the resident population of thrushes to feast on the abundant fruits and berries.
Over seventy species of birds have been recorded in the Park.
Why not take a walk through to see how many you can spot or you can join the Friends of Saltwell Park on a guided walk!