Durham Bird Club's Castle Lake Nature Reserve

Monday, 3 October 2011

Gull's Galore

I rarely enjoy birding in windy conditions, many small birds just seem to vanish, but with a little perseverance, determination and a slice of lady luck the effort can be worthwhile. So it was with these thoughts in mind I set off for another patch bash this afternoon.
On arrival at Castle Lake I noticed the field directly behind the hide was in the process of being ploughed so I decided to leave a visit to the hide until last and headed off towards Island Farm, a small number of House Martin and Swallow flew past Alan's Pool, then as I ambled past the reeds here wandering if the Bittern was in there hiding a Hobby whizzed past flying away from Fishburn Lake, definately my latest ever. A covey of 12 Grey Partridge were flushed before I reached the last stile.
3 Little Egret were on Fishburn Lake though one soon decided to leave and battle the headwind, keeping the remaining pair company were a single Grey Heron, the Mute Swan pair with their four cygnets and small numbers of Moorhen, Mallard, Gadwall and Teal plus a single Little Grebe. A party of Long-tailed Tit with at least one Willow Tit were nearby.
Moving on towards Low Hardwick the wind didn't seem to be bothering four Kestrel and a Common Buzzard but pretty much everything else had gone into hiding. As I approached the small bridge over the River Skerne near the old sluice gate a Chiffchaff, Goldcrest and Treecreeper were sharing the same tree.
Three Wheatear were in Castle Lake's south-west corner with a fourth enjoying the newly ploughed field behind the hide. With Mr plough's work complete the gulls were also taking full advantage with many moving between here and the lake.
After an hour or so in the hide I came away with the following totals;
31 Wigeon, 5+ Ruff, 2 Dunlin, 400 Black-headed Gull, 50 Common Gull, 15 Herring Gull, 15 Lesser Black-backed Gull (including 10 adults together), 5 Swallow and most of the regular common stuff.

Not a single Med Gull in sight :(

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