Durham Bird Club's Castle Lake Nature Reserve

Friday, 7 February 2014

Friday 7th February 2014

A cloudy and calm morning with sunny intervals gradually developing as the day went on, wind increasing to a moderate westerly taking the edge off the temperature.

Clocked-up a small milestone today with my 350th visit since April 2007. Despite this I still get that sense of anticipation of not knowing just what to expect no matter the time of year or what weather mother nature throws at us. I can honestly say that none of my visits could ever be considered predictable or boring, there is always something of interest, birding here never lets me down.
Having said that, todays visit was somewhat tarnished by news that the Castle Lake hide had been broken into sometime this week :-(

Morning and afternoon visits to Castle Lake and the A1 Flashes combined to produce the following list; 3 Shelduck, 2 pair of Pintail, 11 Goldeneye (9f2m), drake Goosander, 3 Cormorant (including one on the flashes, a first for me), 7 Grey Heron, 1 Little Egret, 2 Kestrel, now 7 Oystercatcher (including a pair copulating), 18 Redshank, at least 1 singing Skylark on territory with a trickle of overflying birds heading north, the Grey Wagtail and a single Fieldfare.

the drake Goosander actually landed close to the hide for a change,

as did two of the record number of Goldeneye.

Low Hardwick once again provided good variety with 13 Greylag Geese, 4 Grey Heron unusually flying over together towards the flashes, 3 Common Buzzard (pictured below), 2 Kestrel, 100 Golden Plover, 400 Lapwing, a Kingfisher on the moto-x pool (only the second time I've had one there), 2 Dunnock, 1 Song Thrush, 12 Long-tailed Tit, 3 Willow Tit, 4 Bullfinch, 3 Reed Bunting and last but not least a Fox.

you wait ages for a Buzz, then three come along together.

some of the twenty or so Redshank seen today.

Final call of the day was Stoneybeck Lake which supplied amongst others 2 Shelduck, 2 Wigeon, 6 Pintail (4m2f), 1 Peregrine (pictured below), 25 Moorhen, circa 130 Coot, 10 Stock Dove, 2 Redshank and 56 Curlew.

I know if I were a bird which of these would scare me the most.

resist a Pintail picture (possibly ten different individuals around at the moment).


  1. Nice Perg pic, strange to see em sitting on bottom. Shame bout hide, hasnt been touched in years, fingers crossed it doesnt get any worse down there.

  2. Yep, hopefully a one-off Steve, looks like the work of an opportunist thief rather than deliberate vandalism.

  3. "wait ages for a Buzz............."