Durham Bird Club's Castle Lake Nature Reserve

Monday, 28 February 2011

Goosander (Mergus Merganser)

Two of the three Goosander seen on Castle Lake today.

Monday 28th February 2011

Today's birds included the following;

Castle Lake
3 Great Crested Grebe, Little Grebe, Grey Heron, 2 Shelduck, Goldeneye, 3 Goosander, 3 Dunlin, 17+ Redshank & 70 Common Gull.
(The Shelduck pair were seen on most of the open areas of water around the Castle Lake area during the day. Interesting behaviour from one of the Great Crested Grebes seen nest building today despite a) only one bird being present as recently as Saturday, b) all three birds were keeping well away from each other c) its still only February (just!), nothing like making a head start!)

Today's three Dunlin on Castle Lake.

A1 Flashes
36 Gadwall, 8 Oystercatcher, 2 Redshank & a Green Sandpiper.

Low Hardwick Carrs
Mute Swan pair nest building, Kestrel, Sparrowhawk, 2 Skylark singing & 40 Fieldfare.

Alan's Pool
2 Mute Swan, 12 Gadwall & 2 Teal.

Fishburn Lake
2 Mute Swan, Little Grebe, Grey Heron, 8 Tufted Duck, drake Pochard, 2 Bullfinch, 2 Treecreeper & a Willow Tit.

Saturday, 26 February 2011

Saturday 26th February 2011

Another excellent selection of birds today including a record number of Pintail and the first Little Grebe and Snipe for 2011.

Castle Lake
Great Crested Grebe, Little Grebe, 3 Shelduck, m Shoveler, f Goldeneye, 6 (3pr) Pintail, 2m2f Goosander, 3 Oystercatcher, 3 Snipe, 17 Redshank, Green Sandpiper, 5+ Skylark and the escaped Chiloe Wigeon.

A1 Flashes
23 Gadwall, 5 Oystercatcher & 70 Curlew.

Stoneybeck Lake
2 Shelduck, 2 Oystercatcher & 22 Curlew.

Two of the ten Oystercatcher's seen in Bishop Middleham today.

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Tuesday 22nd February 2011

Sightings today from John Olley and myself.

Castle Lake
1100 Lapwing, 80 Golden Plover, 21 Redshank, Dunlin, 2 Oystercatcher, 65 Curlew, 400 Wigeon, 3 Shelduck, 380 Teal, 5 Goosander, Goldeneye, 2 Pintail, 44 Gadwall, 98 Coot, 60 Mallard, 10 Pochard, 30 Tufted Duck, G.C. Grebe, 13 Canada Geese, 2 Mute Swan, 130 Common Gull, 60 B. H. Gull, Grey Wagtail, Grey Heron, 1m Shoveler, Lesser Black-backed Gull and the escaped Chiloe Wigeon.

Adult Lesser Black-backed Gull at a very gloomy Castle Lake this morning.

Sunday, 20 February 2011

Sunday 20th February 2011

Birds seen around Castle Lake this afternoon included the following;

Great Crested Grebe, 11 Pink-footed Geese, 2 Greylag Geese, 48 Canada Geese, 1pr Pintail, 2m2f Goosander, 2 Oystercatcher, 120 Golden Plover, 500 Lapwing, 2 Curlew, 19 Redshank & 12 Stock Dove.

Record shot in the poor light of today's Pink-footed Geese grazing near the south-east corner of Castle Lake. 

Thursday, 17 February 2011

Thursday 17th February 2011

Sightings today, with thanks to John Olley.

Castle Lake
Dunlin, 21 Redshank, Goosander, 4 Oystercatcher back on territory, 40 Golden Plover, 8 Pochard, 400 Wigeon, 350 Teal, 44 Gadwall, 90 Coot, 100 Mallard, G.C.Grebe.

Monday, 14 February 2011

Hide and Seek

A view from the 'office window' this afternoon.

Birds seen today included the following;

Castle Lake
Great Crested Grebe, Grey Heron, 5 Greylag Geese, 69 Canada Geese, 4 Shelduck, 1pr Shoveler (not many about yet this year), 1pr Pintail, 1f Goldeneye, 2m1f Goosander, 1 Grey Partridge, 91+ (!) Coot, 2 Oystercatcher, 59 Golden Plover & 18 Redshank.

A1 Flashes
2 Shelduck, 1 Oystercatcher & an excellent count of 85 Curlew.

Alan's Pool
2 Mute Swan, 2 Canada Geese & 5 Coot.

Saturday, 12 February 2011

Pintail (Anus acuta)

Castle Lake is now graced with two of the extremely elegant males.

(Just a shame this picture from today doesn't do this handsome bird justice)

Saturday 12th February 2011

Has spring sprung? Well this morning's weather may have suggested otherwise but the sound of singing Skylark's and the return of Great Crested Grebe, Oystercatcher & more Shelduck was certainly a sign that birds are already preparing for what will hopefully be another successful breeding season.

Once again another excellent variety of species seen at the following locations;

Stoneybeck Lake
26 Canada Geese, 6 Gadwall, 8 Teal, 23 Mallard, 2 Tufted Duck, drake Pochard, 2 Moorhen, 35 Coot, 2 Oystercatcher, 42 Curlew, 120 Common Gull and a Skylark in full song flight.

Foumarts Lane
The lane was absolutely swarming with birds this morning, the highlight being at least one Brambling in with a mixed Chaffinch/Greenfinch/Goldfinch flock totalling about fifty birds. Others included Redwing's, Tree Sparrow's, a male Great-spotted Woodpecker, Treecreeper and two Long-tailed Tit's.

Castle Lake
Great Crested Grebe, 2 Grey Heron, 30 Canada Geese, 4 Shelduck, 2 drake Pintail,  fem. Goldeneye, 1m2f Goosander, 2 Grey Partridge, 2 Oystercatcher, 72 Golden Plover, 250 Lapwing, 2 Curlew, 14 Redshank, 45 Common Gull, Skylark, and many of the more common wildfowl.
The strangest sight of the day was a Hare swimming across a narrow stretch of the lake at the southern end!

Two of the three Goosander on Castle Lake this morning.
(Brambling is species #131 on my Bishop Middleham list since April 2007).

Monday, 7 February 2011

Monday 7th February 2011

Castle Lake this morning produced the following amongst the many Wigeon and Teal;

3 Mute Swan, 1 Greylag Goose, 52 Canada Geese, 3 Shelduck, 1pr Pintail, 2f Goldeneye, 8 Pochard, 109 Lapwing, 13 Redshank & 13 Stock Dove.

Two of the three Shelduck that dropped in late morning, five minutes later these two flew off heading south battling with a very strong headwind.

Over at Stoneybeck were 4 Gadwall and a drake Pochard.

Sunday, 6 February 2011

Sunday 6th February 2011

Castle Lake sightings today from John Olley;

Juvenile Merlin through, 3 Whooper Swans, 350 Wigeon, 280 Teal, 30 Gadwall, 110 Mallard, 28 Tufted Duck, 6 Pochard, Goldeneye, 12 Redshank, 20 Golden Plover, 30 Curlew, 100 Lapwing, 30 Black H Gull.

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Chiloe Wigeon

Another picture from today;

Tuesday 1st February 2011

Birds seen on  Castle Lake today included the following;

8 Pink-footed Geese, 100 Greylag Geese, 1pr Pintail, Pochard, Kestrel, 40 Golden Plover, 80 Lapwing, 8 Redshank, Green Sandpiper and the escaped Chiloe Wigeon has returned.

55 Common Gull and 7 Grey Partridge were seen at Stoneybeck Lake and two Mute Swan's have returned to Alan's Pool.

Backtracking slightly to record other recent sightings;
Fri. 28th January - 300 Pink-footed Geese overflew Castle Lake
Sat. 29th January - male Merlin at Farnless Farm and over the road a Firecrest was found at Fishburn Sewage Works and was present again the following day.

The escaped Chiloe Wigeon has mysteriously re-appeared and since the last sighting on 20th November last year has moulted into what is presumably its summer plumage which included shades of blue, green and yellow.