Durham Bird Club's Castle Lake Nature Reserve

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Wednesday 26th January 2011

Sightings today courtesy of John Olley.

Castle Lake;
14 Tufted Duck, 250 Teal, 300 Wigeon, 20 Gadwall, 80 Mallard, 2 Pintail, 30 Coot, 3 Pochard, Goldeneye, 50 Canada Geese, 1 Grey Heron, 10 Redshank, 40 Golden Plover 36 Lapwing, 44 Curlew, 2 GBB Gulls.
Whooper Swan on Stoney Beck with 100 Lapwing.

Monday, 24 January 2011

Monday 24th January 2011

As the ice finally relinquishes its grip on the area bird numbers are gradually increasing, particulary wildfowl. A good selection of species were seen today.

Hardwick Hall CP
The lake is now about 70% ice free and although some birds have departed there are some new arrivals.
33 Mute Swan, 10+ Gadwall, 4 Goldeneye (1male3female), 12 Pochard, good numbers of Mallard, Tufted Duck & Coot.
Also seen in the grounds were a Sparrowhawk, 2 Great-spotted Woodpecker, 12+ Redwing, Jay and a mixed flock of Goldfinch and Lesser Redpoll numbering about 40 birds.

Low Hardwick
Birds seen between the CP and Castle Lake included Grey Heron, Common Buzzard (this individual had many feathers missing from the right wing), Kestrel, Goldcrest, Jay, Lesser Redpoll and a singing Bullfinch.

Along the bridleway 4 Willow Tit were seen including three together near Fishburn Lake.

Castle Lake
Wildfowl numbers continue to increase especially Mallard, Gadwall, Teal, Wigeon, Coot and today's highlight, a pair of Pintail.
Others included 2 Pochard, 10 Redshank, the Green Sandpiper still and 30 Stock Dove.

A1 Flashes
Grey Heron, 2 Common Buzzard, 26 Curlew, 6 Fieldfare and 14 Magpie.

Stoneybeck Lake  (with thanks to John Olley)
single Whooper Swan

Drake Gadwall on the lake at Hardwick Hall CP today.

(Somewhat surprisingly today's Lesser Redpoll are this observers first in the Bishop Middleham area, taking my total number of species seen to 130)

Saturday, 15 January 2011

Saturday 15th January 2011

At last some of the ice has melted and birds are returning to the wetlands around the village.

Stoneybeck Lake;
32 Canada Geese, 63 Greylag Geese, 3 Wigeon, 70 Mallard, 30+ Stock Dove.

Castle Lake (still 70% frozen);
2 Gadwall, 300 Teal, 40 Mallard, 90 Lapwing, 8 Redshank, Green Sandpiper, 14 Common Gull, 6 Stock Dove.

Saturday, 8 January 2011

Review of 2010

A somewhat belated look back at 2010, another excellent year for variety of bird species around Bishop Middleham and in particular Castle Lake.
In the region of 143 different species were recorded including the following highlights, those in bold were new to BM.

Whooper Swan, Bean Goose, Pink-footed Goose, Pintail, Garganey, Red-crested Pochard, Goosander, Red-necked Grebe, Little Egret, Common Crane, Osprey, Marsh Harrier, Hen Harrier, Goshawk, Hobby, Peregrine, Merlin, Avocet, Grey Plover, Turnstone, Little Stint, Wood Sandpiper, Spotted Redshank, Whimbrel, Woodcock, Jack Snipe, Little Gull, Common Tern, Black Tern, Cuckoo, Waxwing, Redstart, Wheatear, Whinchat, Stonechat, Spotted Flycatcher, Pied Flycatcher, Grasshopper Warbler, Brambling, Twite, Crossbill, Snow Bunting & Corn Bunting.
Others included a "Channel" Wagtail and an escaped Chiloe Wigeon.

Pied Flycatcher seen near Castle Lake in September 2010, thanks to Steve Evans for the photograph.

Thanks also to the many observers who submitted their sightings to the Durham Bird Club sightings page throughout the year, without whom this review would not have been possible.
Lets hope for another productive year in 2011.

Thursday, 6 January 2011

Thursday 6th January 2011

First visit for three weeks and the first of the new year, at least all of the snow has gone but most of the lakes remain frozen, only a small area at Hardwick Hall providing some ice free water for wildfowl to rest.

Birds seen in the area today included the following;

Hardwick Hall CP;
36 Mute Swan, 110 Wigeon, 6 Gadwall, 3 Pochard, 12 Siskin & 2 Bullfinch; Coal Tit & Nuthatch on feeders. 
Low Hardwick;
60 Greylag Geese over west, 70 Wigeon over east, Sparrowhawk, Common Buzzard, Treecreeper & Jay.
Bridleway/River Stell;
Grey Heron, 2 Teal & Willow Tit.
Castle Lake;
24 Mallard, 5 Lapwing, 2 Redshank, Green Sandpiper, 2 GS Woodpecker, Pied Wagtail, 12 Fieldfare, 50 Starling. 
Island Farm;
Kestrel, 9 Grey Partridge, 10 Tree Sparrow, 30 Yellowhammer, 10 Reed Bunting.