Durham Bird Club's Castle Lake Nature Reserve

Monday, 3 February 2014

Monday 3rd February 2014

A cloudy day with a brisk southerly wind making it feel cold.
Another day and another trudge through the mud of Bishop Middleham with a plodge across the swampland of Low Hardwick for good measure.
Started off down the East side of Castle Lake for a change, nothing out of the ordinary observed on the water but a good sized mixed flock of Tree Sparrow, Yellowhammer and Reed Bunting were flitting about the hedgerow in the south-east corner.

Castle Lake looking south-west.
Alan's Pool came into view with a Little Egret and an overflying Skylark the best on offer here. Turning East to skirt around Island Farm...

Walk this way, err no thanks.

...brings you onto Fishburn Lake which held 5 Mute Swan and presumably the same drake Goosander that's been doing the rounds of late.
With the wind being so strong I decided to adopt the 'find a sheltered spot and wait for the birds to come to me technique' and it worked a treat with a flock of 20 Siskin landing right next to me, followed by Coal Tit, Goldcrest and Long-tailed Tit all making it onto the year list.

Eeny Meeny Miny Moe.

At Low Hardwick I opted to go off piste, in search of the Scarlet Pimpernel of birds, the legendary, some say mythical Water Rail. Well I'm disappointed to report the legend lives on, Moorhen was all I connected with, but I know there in there somewhere.
Other birds around Low Hardwick included 2 Grey Heron, 4 Snipe, 155 Curlew, a female Great Spotted Woodpecker, 4 Meadow Pipit back on territory, a lone Mistle Thrush, 2 Lesser Redpoll and a compulsory Kestrel.
Next the A1 Flashes but not before the biggest surprise of the day, a new boardwalk has appeared almost overnight near the old sluice gate.

Nice one.

A good selection on the flashes; 137 Canada Geese (including four of dubious parentage), 2 Shelduck, a Little Egret, 3 Oystercatcher and 3 Redshank.
Finally an hour in the Castle Lake hide noted another Shelduck, 10 Goldeneye including two drakes (10 is almost certainly a new site record), the drake Goosander again, 4 Dunlin and a Grey Wagtail.

drake Goldeneye.

A flock of 75 Redwing along Foumarts Lane finished the day off. A pretty decent tally of 59 species seen today.

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