Durham Bird Club's Castle Lake Nature Reserve

Monday, 15 August 2011

Fifteen Minute Raptor Fest

Monday dawned bright and sunny so on arrival at Castle Lake I decided to do another clockwise circular walk around, this time taking in Fishburn Lake as well as Low Hardwick, with a check on the flashes before visiting the hide.
Didn't have to wait long before some great birds put in an appearance, the sequence of events went something like this;
09:00-09:10  Marsh Harrier (looked like the same bird as last saturday) appear's from the south flying low around the eastern side of the lake, then after reaching the northern end flies back south with two Carrion Crow's escorting it out of 'their' airspace.
Marsh Harrier at the south, then north end of Castle Lake viewed from the north-east corner.

No sooner had I reminded myself never again to buy camera batteries from poundland when I heard a noise above me;
09:10-09:15  Hobby an adult, almost directly above me, swoops down and catches a Sand Martin before stowing it away and flying into a nearby tree (first time I've actually seen a Hobby catch a hirundine).
09:15  Sparrowhawk decides its time to get in on the act and flies right past my position.

Needless to say the rest of the day's birds couldn't live up to that first quarter hour.
A single Swift overflew before reaching Alan's Pool where I veered off, skirting Island Farm. The horse grazing field contained a Wheatear and 3 Yellow Wagtail with numerous Pied Wagtail and a few Linnet.
Fishburn Lake itself was pretty quiet, despite the recent rise in water levels a Greenshank and a Green Sandpiper were finding it to their liking. Willow Warbler and Chiffchaff were still singing in nearby trees.
Low Hardwick has been pretty poor recently, especially for small birds and today was no exception, I only noted 2 Kestrel and a late Sedge Warbler.
Onto the A1 Flashes which were covered in Lapwing (c300) with company from 21 Curlew and a Green Sandpiper.
Birds of note from the Castle Lake hide included 1 Shelduck, 4 Pochard, 6 Cormorant, 2 Ruff, 4 Greenshank, 3 Green Sandpiper, 4 Common Sandpiper, 150 Black-headed Gull, 5 Lesser Black-backed Gull and 30 Common Gull including a few juveniles.

Three of the four Tew Tew Tew's.

After leaving the hide, wave after wave of Greylag Geese flew in from Stoneybeck Lake. Just after the second stile I was greated with a flock of 50 or so Goldfinch and at least 12 Tree Sparrow. Also in this area were two very active Spotted Flycatcher one of which only just stayed still long enough to have its picture taken.

Spotted Flycatcher, rounding off another good days birding.

1 comment:

  1. great days birding there Neil
    shame about the Greenshank pun ;-)