Durham Bird Club's Castle Lake Nature Reserve

Monday, 30 May 2011

Monday 30th May 2011

A short visit to Castle Lake this morning where the following were of interest;

8 adult & 6 juvenile Shelduck, Gadwall with 8 ducklings, 1m Shoveler, 4m2f Pochard, 3 Little Grebe, 1adult & 1juvenile Grey Heron, 10 Ringed Plover, 8sp Dunlin, 1 Common Sandpiper (the same individual has been present now for at least three weeks), 20 Herring Gull, 5 Lesser Black-backed Gull and 2 Stock Dove.

One of the ten Ringed Plover present this morning. Castle Lake in May is a reliable place to see these long distance migrants, probably heading to breeding grounds in Iceland or Greenland.

Some of the mostly 1st-summer Herring Gull which were finding Castle Lake to their liking today.

The three juvenile Great Crested Grebe are starting to show some independence.

Saturday, 28 May 2011

Friday 27th/Saturday 28th May 2011

Catching up with reports for the last two day's.

Friday 27th May
On Stoneybeck Lake were a pair of Wigeon and a single Curlew, whilst at Castle Lake were 10 Pochard (9m1f), 7 Ringed Plover, 7sp Dunlin, 1 Common Sandpiper, 7 Lesser Black-backed Gull (4 adults & 3 2nd-summer), 1 Common Gull with an injured leg, 1 Blue-headed Wagtail and the Mute Swan pair with only one cygnet.

Saturday 28th May
A Wood Sandpiper was at Stoneybeck Lake until 08:20 when it flew off south, Castle Lake held a similar selection of birds from the previous day including 6 Ringed Plover, 7sp Dunlin, 1 Common Sandpiper, 4 Grey Heron and 5 Lesser Black-backed Gull.

Two views of this morning's Wood Sandpiper at Stoneybeck Lake;

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Spoonbill Video & Another Picture!

With many thanks to Andrew Kinghorn here's his video from yesterday.

And another picture;

Monday, 23 May 2011


An adult Spoonbill was an unexpected surprise find during an afternoon of birding around a very windswept Bishop Middleham today.
First seen on Stoneybeck Lake it later relocated to Castle Lake.
It's the first record of Spoonbill on the ground at Bishop Middleham, there was a record of a flyover bird on 15th March 2008.

Spoonbill on Stoneybeck Lake battling with the strong westerly winds.

While watching the Spoonbill young Andrew 'hawkeye' Kinghorn spotted this family party of Roe Deer.

Two pictures after the Spoonbill moved on to Castle Lake providing superb views from the hide.

Other birds of note at Castle Lake included 7 Dunlin, 3 Ringed Plover, 1 Redshank, 1 Common Sandpiper and 1 Wheatear.

One of today's seven summer plumaged Dunlin.

And finally it's always entertaining to see which of these two passionate County Durham birders arrives first to twitch another bird for their yearlist!

(Bishop Middleham patch tick #138 Spoonbill)

Saturday, 21 May 2011

Saturday 21st May 2011

A good variety of species seen this morning and early afternoon at Castle Lake.

4 pair of Shelduck, one of which are the proud parents of eight duckling's, drake Shoveler, 6 drake Pochard, 1 Grey Partridge, a Peregrine flew in low over the lake and headed off beyond Alan's Pool, 4 adult & 2 juvenile Oystercatcher, 3 Ringed Plover, 1 Dunlin, 2 Common Sandpiper, 1 Lesser Black-backed Gull, 2 Common Tern for about ten minutes before flying off south, the Blue-headed Wagtail remains present, 1 Wheatear plus many of the regulars.
Adult and juvenile Oystercatcher, the two remaining chicks are filling out nicely.
Follow the leader, eight Shelducklings.

One of the two Common Sandpiper seen today.

Thursday, 19 May 2011

Thursday 19th May 2011

An early morning visit produced the following of note;

Castle Lake
42 Greylag Geese, 2 Canada Geese broods of 5 gosling each, 1pair Shelduck, 4 Shoveler, 3 Pochard, 3 Grey Heron, 4 Ringed Plover, 2 Dunlin, 1 Common Sandpiper, 2 Lesser Black-backed Gull, 5 House Martin collecting mud in the farmyard, adult and juvenile Mistle Thrush.

Juvenile Mistle Thrush.

Heads Up. Some of this morning's Ringed Plover and Dunlin.

Monday, 16 May 2011

Monday 16th May 2011

Birds seen today included the following;

Castle Lake - 3pair Shelduck, 3 drake Pochard, Oystercatcher pair with two surviving young, 2 summer plumage Dunlin, 1 Redshank, 1 Common Sandpiper.

A1 Flashes - 1pair Shelduck, 4 Grey Heron.

Stoneybeck Lake - 1pair Shelduck with ten ducklings, Lapwing with 2 chicks.

drake Pochard

drake bird scarer

Please stay away from the water's edge and observe the birds from a safe distance, thank you!

Sunday, 15 May 2011

Sunday 15th May 2011

Highlight of this morning's birding was a singing Quail in the field between the Castle Lake hide and the sewage works. The singing was heard between 08:40-08:45, again at 09:40 and finally at 10:05 and at one point the bird appeared to be very close to the hide but went unseen.
Others of interest at Castle Lake included 5 Ringed Plover, 1 Common Sandpiper and 7 (6m1f) Pochard.

Stoneybeck Lake produced Lapwing with young.

(Quail = BM bird #137)

Saturday, 14 May 2011

Saturday 14th May 2011

Many thanks to Joe Hughes for today's sightings;

Stoneybeck Lake - 3 Little Ringed Plover, 1 Common Sandpiper, Shelduck with 8 ducklings, Corn Bunting.

Castle Lake - 1 Common Sandpiper, 4 Little Ringed Plover, 1 Ringed Plover, 1 Wood Sandpiper, 4 Yellow Wagtail.

Thursday, 12 May 2011

Thursday 12th May 2011

Pretty quiet around Castle Lake this evening, the only passage wader was a single Wood Sandpiper, others included 7 Mute Swan in addition to the resident pair, Canada Goose pair with 5 gosling, 1pair Shelduck, 1pair Shoveler, 3 drake Pochard, Great Crested Grebe pair with 3 young, Oystercatcher pair with 2-3 young, 1 Lesser Black-backed Gull, a few Swift and Yellow Wagtail and 30 Linnet.

Happy Family

Stoneybeck Lake contained 2 Little Ringed Plover.

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Tuesday 10th May 2011

Birdguides reported the following at Castle Lake today;

2 Blue-headed Wagtail, 2 Wood Sandpiper, 1 Grey Plover and 1 Dunlin.

With thanks to Paul Hindess here's a link to Paul's video of last saturday's Temminck's Stint;


And with thanks to Andrew Kinghorn here's a link to Andrew's video of the same bird;


Monday, 9 May 2011

Monday 9th May 2011

Birds seen at Castle Lake today included the following;

Canada Goose pair with 5 goslings, 3pair Shelduck, 1pair Shoveler, drake Teal, 2 drake Pochard, Oystercatcher pair with 3 chicks, 1 Ringed Plover, 1 Grey Plover, 1 Dunlin, 2 Wood Sandpiper, 1 Common Sandpiper, 1 Lesser Black-backed Gull, a small but increasing number of Swift and 2 Blue-headed Wagtail.

One of todays Wood Sandpiper.

I'm not going to make a habit of putting non-bird related photo's on this blog, but a steam train going past when out birding is not an everyday occurance.

No I'm not a train spotter!

Sunday, 8 May 2011

Sunday 8th May 2011

Sightings today from a number of observers with thanks in particular to Joe Hughes and John Olley.

Highlight today was only the second record of Grey Plover at Bishop Middleham.

Castle Lake birds included 1 Barnacle Goose, 2 Ringed Plover, 1 Grey Plover, 3 Dunlin, 1 Redshank, 3 Wood Sandpiper, 1 Common Sandpiper and a Blue-headed Wagtail.
A Red Kite was seen over Low Hardwick.

A few pictures of the Grey Plover and Wood Sandpiper.

Well its certainly been a great weekend for waders, the much needed rainfall has livened up the scrapes and brought a few extra birds down. Unfortunately it wasn't all good news as a Great Crested Grebe nest (albeit one that was still under construction) was washed away by the sudden rise in water levels.

(Grey Plover  is species number 136 on my BM bird list).

Saturday, 7 May 2011

Temminck's Stint

Superb birding around Bishop Middleham today with the following highlights;

Stoneybeck Lake
Corn Bunting singing.

Castle Lake
1 Barnacle Goose, 4 Shelduck, 2 Mallard broods of 5 & 9, 1pair Shoveler, 3 Pochard, Great Crested Grebe pair with 2-3 young, 1pair Oystercatcher, 5 Little Ringed Plover, 1 Ringed Plover, 1 Dunlin, 1 Temminck's Stint, 4 Wood Sandpiper, 2 Common Sandpiper, Herring Gull pair mating, 1 Blue-headed Wagtail and 1 Wheatear.

A1 Flashes
3 Greenshank.

A few pictures from today.

Barnacle Goose.

Blue-headed Wagtail.

Two very poor record pictures of the Temminck's Stint.

Rather a strange day today, started by having the whole place and some good birds to myself, thought I was doing quite well with 4 Wood Sands (all in the same scope view at one stage), then a feeling of deja vu with the self-found Temminck's Stint almost two years to the day since the Houghton Gate bird, and finished the visit with a hide full of birders including a bird race team as per 2009.

(Temminck's Stint = BM Bird No. 135).

Thursday, 5 May 2011

Wader Minute

Wader passage starting to get into full swing now, a good variety of species seen this morning including;

Greenshank at Castle Lake.

Ringed Plover also on Castle Lake.

Wood Sandpiper (no.1) at Stoneybeck Lake and....

Wood Sandpiper (no.2) also on Stoneybeck Lake this morning.

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Wednesday 4th May 2011

Birdguides reporting a Wood Sandpiper at Stoneybeck Lake this evening.

Monday, 2 May 2011

Monday 2nd May 2011

Birds seen this afternoon at Castle Lake included the following;

3pair Shelduck, 1pair+1m Wigeon, 1pair Teal, 1pair Shoveler, 1pair Pochard, 6 Little Ringed Plover, 1 Dunlin, 1 Common Sandpiper and 20 Swift.

The Greenshank remains at Stoneybeck Lake.

Sunday, 1 May 2011

Sunday 1st May 2011

With thanks to Joe Hughes the following were noted today.

Castle Lake - 14 Yellow Wagtail, 6 Little Ringed Plover, 1 Dunlin, 6 Swift.

Stoneybeck Lake -1 Greenshank, 1 Redshank, 1 Yellow Wagtail, 1 White Wagtail .