Durham Bird Club's Castle Lake Nature Reserve

Monday, 28 January 2013

Monday 28th January 2013

Highlights from today;

Castle Lake (still 70% frozen) - 6 drake Pochard, 3 female Goldeneye, 2 Grey Partridge, 1 Little Grebe, 1 Kestrel, 30 Lapwing, 5 Snipe, 14 Redshank, 2 Pied Wagtail, 1 Grey Wagtail, 9 Fieldfare, 1 Song Thrush and 20 Redwing.
Castle Lake pictured last Thursday.

Stoneybeck Lake - A pair of Peregrine mobbing a Common Buzzard.

Thursday, 24 January 2013

Thursday 24th January 2013

58 species seen today, not a bad total given the snow and ice gripping the area.

Hardwick Hall CP Lake - (about 70% frozen) - 16 Wigeon, 3 Pochard, 1 Goldeneye plus various numbers of Mute Swan, Mallard, Gadwall, Tufted Duck, Coot, Gull's etc. Nuthatch in the park grounds and a single Skylark over south.
Loads of small birds were giving very close views along the boardwalk including four Robin's.
One of two ice-free areas of Hardwick Hall Lake.

Low Hardwick - 1male Sparrowhawk, 1 Woodcock, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Mistle Thrush, Redwing, Treecreeper, 2 Tree Sparrow, 25 Lesser Redpoll, 7 Bullfinch, 2 Corn Bunting.
One of the very active flock of Lesser Redpoll near the Moto-X Pools.

One of these male Bullfinch was singing today.

Bridlepath to Fishburn Lake - 1 Common Buzzard, 1 Meadow Pipit, 3 Fieldfare, 8 Long-tailed Tit and a Willow Tit.

This Meadow Pipit was a surprise, feeding around a partially snow-free area.

Alan's Pool - 3 Grey Heron, 17 Moorhen and 2 Hare.

The three Heron were playing statue's near Alan's Pool.

Castle Lake (75% frozen) - 1f Goldeneye, 1 Little Grebe, 26 Snipe, 10 Redshank, 2 Great Black-backed Gull (an adult and a 1st-winter), 20 Corn Bunting plus the usual Mallard, Gadwall, Tufted Duck, Wigeon, Teal, Pochard, Coot etc.

Some of the Corn Bunting near the Island Farm seed-crop, some sub-song heard.

Snipe feeding in the field between Castle Lake and Town End Farm.

Saturday, 12 January 2013

Saturday 12th January 2013

Today's sightings included the following;

Castle Lake - 89 Canada Geese, 1f Shoveler, 15 Pochard, 3 Grey Partridge, 3 Little Grebe, 2 Great Crested Grebe, 5 Cormorant, 175 Golden Plover flew over, later 55 landed, 350 Lapwing, 15 Redshank, 2 Stock Dove, 2 Pied Wagtail, 1 Mistle Thrush and 13 Redwing.

Stoneybeck Lake - 26 Canada Geese, 5 Shelduck, 14 Wigeon, 1m Pintail, 2m Pochard, 2f Goldeneye, 85 Curlew and 4 Brambling.

Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Tuesday 8th January 2013

Birds seen today included the following;

Castle Lake - 4 Shelduck, 1 pair Pintail, 16 Pochard, 3f Goldeneye, a pair of Goosander flew past and landed on the southern A1 flashes, 2 Grey Partridge, 2 Great Crested Grebe, c400 Lapwing, 75 Curlew, 19 Redshank and a Green Sandpiper.

Low Hardwick - 20 Snipe flew over, 1 Jay, 1 Kestrel and 6 Crossbill flew over heading south towards Hardwick Park at 11:00.

Fishburn Lake - 20 Gadwall, 11 Tufted Duck, 2 Mute Swan, 1 Grey Heron, 12 Redwing over, 1 Treecreeper and 1 Great Spotted Woodpecker.

A few pictures from today;

Grey Heron at Fishburn Lake, one of at least five in the general area today.

Some of the Island Farm seed-crop flock, mostly Goldfinch with a few Reed Bunting, Yellowhammer and Tree Sparrow.

A second Great Crested Grebe has returned to Castle Lake.

It doesn't take long for Shelduck numbers to build-up in early January.

Finally today's sighting of Crossbill was a long-awaited patch tick for myself after 301 visits (!) since April 2007 (that White Stork has a lot to answer for!!). Sightings are fairly regular at Hardwick Hall and occaisionally occur at Ferryhill Carrs but before today I'd never managed to be in the right place at the right time to see them in the Bishop Middleham area.
BM patch list #155 Crossbill.

Sunday, 6 January 2013

Sunday 6th January 2013

Today's sightings;

Castle Lake - c100 Pink-footed Geese flew over heading north at 12:00, 18 Pochard, 2f Goldeneye, 7 Grey Partridge, 3 Little Grebe, 1 Great Crested Grebe, 4 Cormorant, 1 Sparrowhawk, 19 Redshank, 1 Green Sandpiper, 1 Kingfisher on the River Stell and a Treecreeper along Foumarts Lane.
No sign of the drake Scaup or the presumed Red-crestedPochard hybrid.

Stoneybeck Lake - 1 Shelduck, 1 pair of Pintail, 1m Pochard, 1f Goldeneye, 85 Curlew and 2 Brambling.

Plenty of Linnet, Greenfinch, Tree Sparrow, Yellowhammer and Reed Bunting still around Farnless Farm.

Friday, 4 January 2013

Friday 4th January 2013

Sightings today with thanks to John Olley.

Farnless Farm crop walkthrough - 65 Tree Sparrow, 5 Skylark, 78 Reed Bunting, 101 Yellowhammer, 286 Linnet, 70 Chaffinch, 22 Corn Bunting, 6 Brambling, 13 Grey Partridge, 24 Stock Dove and 300 Woodpigeon.

Stoneybeck Lake - 120 Curlew, 400 Lapwing, 2 Redshank, 210 Mallard, 40 Teal, 30 Tufted Duck, 1 drake Pintail, 200 Greylag Geese, 60 Canada Geese, 90 Coot, 12 Moorhen, 200 Black-headed Gull, 120 Common Gull, Peregrine pair, Kestrel, Sparrowhawk and Buzzard.

Castle Lake - Green Sandpiper, 3 Skylark.

A1 Flashes/Alan's Pool - Green Sandpiper, Kingfisher, 400 Lapwing, 200 Greylag Geese, 180 Teal, 5 Grey Heron, 6 Mute Swan, 10 Coot.

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Wednesday 2nd January 2013

Sightings today with thanks to John Olley.

Castle Lake - 300 Wigeon, 200 Teal, 70 Gadwall, 150 Mallard, 50 Tufted Duck, 1 Scaup, 18 Pochard, 1 Great Crested Grebe, 3 Goldeneye, 100 Greylag Geese, 110 Canada Geese, 120 Coot, 450 Lapwing, 10 Golden Plover, 18 Redshank, 20 Curlew, 2 Mute Swan, 4 Cormorant, 12 Moorhen, 2 Peregrine (male and female over together) 20 Redwing and the strange hybrid duck which looks to be either a Red Crested Pochard x Tufted Duck or possibly Teal x Tufted Duck.

Tuesday, 1 January 2013

Tuesday 1st January 2013

Happy New Year!

Despite a cold gusty wind today Castle Lake produced an excellent selection to get the year list off to a decent start , highlight was certainly the 1st-winter drake Scaup, a scarce species at Bishop Middleham.

Castle Lake - drake Pintail, 2 Shoveler, 14 Pochard, drake Scaup, 2f Goldeneye, 2 Little Grebe, 1 Great Crested Grebe, 1 Cormorant, 1 Grey Heron, 1 Kestrel, 18 Redshank, 1 Green Sandpiper (near the A1 flashes), 2 Great Black-backed Gull over north, 2 Mistle Thrush (1 singing) and 8 Redwing.


A couple of poor pictures of the Scaup.

Stoneybeck Lake - 47 Coot and 70 Curlew.