Durham Bird Club's Castle Lake Nature Reserve

Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Tuesday 11th February 2014

A very dull overcast morning, slowly brightening up with blue skies by mid-afternoon. The strong southerly wind quickly subsided, becoming a light south-westerly.
Certainly not as bad as the previous days forecast suggested, so armed with the thought that there's no such thing as bad weather just bad clothing I set off for another look around the patch and reiterating the words of my last post the day provided some good winter birding.
Two unexpected species vied for top billing with a good supporting cast.

Mediterranean Gull  A 2nd-winter individual on Castle Lake in with a group of 30-40 Black-headed Gulls.
3rd from the left for those not familiar with very average photography.
middle middle. Only my 4th or 5th sighting of this species at Bishop Middleham.

Black-tailed Godwit   A single bird flew out from behind the main Castle Lake island, probably enticed out by some nearby curlew, had a bath, preen and a bit scratch before flying back from whence it came. Too distant for a photo. Prior to today there has never been a sighting of Black-tailed Godwit here between January to March.

A good supporting cast included;
Goldeneye   Another increase with 13 present today including the two drakes still.
Goosander  A pair copulating.

Great Crested Grebe  The first returning bird of the year.
New bird in town, got the whole place to yourself for now.

Little Egret   Still at least one in the area, favouring the A1 flashes.
Oystercatcher  Four on Castle Lake with another six on the flashes.
Golden Plover   Two hundred at Low Hardwick.
Lapwing   circa six hundred at Low Hardwick.
Just a small proportion of the Lapwing flock seen today.
Redshank   17 together on the flooded field south of Alan's Pool.

Best of the extras included Shelduck, Buzzard, Snipe, Willow Tit, Treecreeper, Tree Sparrow and Bullfinch.

Clear as mud, some serious clarts on the 'footpath' to Low Hardwick.

Finally a big thanks to the hide repair team :-)


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