Durham Bird Club's Castle Lake Nature Reserve

Sunday, 30 August 2015

Sunday 30th August 2015

Sightings for today;

Castle Lake - 1 Wigeon, 1 Great Crested Grebe, 8 Cormorant, 2 Common Buzzard, 1 Kestrel, 1 Little Ringed Plover, 2 Ringed Plover, 14 Ruff, 100 Curlew, 5 Green Sandpiper and 2 Common Sandpiper.
(Obviously there's been a bit of a clear out of some waders, yesterday a whopping 51 Ruff were reported here).

River Stell - 1 Little Egret and 1 Kingfisher.

Alan's Pool - 2 Kingfisher, 3 Little Ringed Plover, 1 Ruff, 9 Moorhen and 2 Common Buzzard.

Fishburn Lake - Water levels are well down on normal, producing some excellent habitat for wader's and 22 Ruff and 6 Dunlin were taking advantage this morning (presumably refugees from Castle Lake).

Fishburn Lake - definitely worth the effort if your looking for waders.

Monday, 24 August 2015

Monday 24th August 2015

Today's sightings following another circular walk around Castle Lake.

Castle Lake - Waders starting to dominate, not surprising given the time of year and the current water levels providing excellent habitat, a very good count of twelve different species on view this morning; 3 Little Ringed Plover, 7 Ringed Plover (mix of adults and juveniles), 20 Golden Plover (not often seen here in August), c300 Lapwing, 28 Ruff, 6 Dunlin, 3 Snipe, 1 Black-tailed Godwit, 6 Curlew, 3 Green Sandpiper, 1 Wood Sandpiper (below and to the right of the hide) and 1 Common Sandpiper. (Some of the above were favouring the small pond in the south-west corner of Castle Lake, but are easily flushed by passing walkers).
Others on offer included 50+ Teal, 1 Great Crested Grebe, 1 Common Buzzard, 175 Black-headed Gull and 2 Yellow Wagtail.

Alan's Pool continues to pull in waders despite its close proximity to a public right of way, 9 Ruff and 3 Black-tailed Godwit were present mid-morning.
Juvenile Ruff on Alan's Pool this morning, one of the most approachable and least spooked species of wader.
Assuming the nine birds at Alan's Pool were not part of the group seen on Castle Lake earlier then at least 37 different Ruff were around, definitely a new record count for Bishop Middleham.
Poor record picture of two of the Black-wits on Alan's Pool.

Wednesday, 19 August 2015

Monday, 17 August 2015

Monday 17th August 2015

Today's sightings;

Castle Lake - Highlight this morning was a juvenile type Marsh Harrier which appeared over the southern end of the lake just after 11:10 before drifting towards Island Farm then flew further north and was lost to view.
Others on view included a superb 24 Ruff (guessing this is a new site record, a very mobile flock, took me about 24 attempts to count them!), 5 Dunlin, 3 Green Sandpiper, 2 Common Sandpiper, 50 Curlew, 4 Little Ringed Plover plus the single chick, 28 Teal, 6 Cormorant, 1 Grey Heron, 2 Little Egret, 1 Sparrowhawk chasing Goldfinch over Island Farm early on, 2 Little Grebe, 1 Great Crested Grebe, 6 Cormorant, 1 Yellow Wagtail and 1 singing Corn Bunting.

Alan's Pool - 9 Moorhen and a Grey Heron.

The fields to the west of the hide are starting to get ploughed and this had brought in a few more gull's this morning but only 4 Lesser Black-backed Gull's were of interest along with a Grey Heron.

Saturday, 15 August 2015

Saturday 15th August 2015

Sightings for today with thanks to John Olley and Joe Hughes.

Castle Lake and surrounds; 1 Little Egret, 4 Little Ringed Plover, 5 Ruff, 3 Green Sandpiper, 2 Common Sandpiper, 5 Dunlin, 28 Curlew, 1000 Lapwing, 2 Golden Plover, 1 Kingfisher, 600 Greylag Geese, 50 Teal, 1 Shoveler, 1 Peregrine, 1 Buzzard, 10 Reed Bunting, 4 Corn Bunting and 50 Swift.

Wednesday, 12 August 2015

Wednesday 12th August 2015

Sightings from this mornings walk around Castle Lake;

Castle Lake - Wader passage has picked up with greater variety and bigger numbers, todays totals were 3 Little Ringed Plover (one still shepherding its small offspring), 2 adult Ringed Plover, c300 Lapwing, 6 Ruff (4 of which made a sojourn over at Alan's Pool), 1 juvenile Dunlin, 3 Black-tailed Godwit, 19 Curlew, 6 Green Sandpiper and 2 Common Sandpiper. Others on offer included 3 Shoveler, 7+ Teal, 1 juvenile Little Grebe, 1 adult Great Crested Grebe, 1 Cormorant, 1 Grey Heron, 1 Kingfisher in the south-west corner from/to the River Stell, at least 2 Yellow Wagtail and 1 Corn Bunting singing from telegraph wires near the north-east corner.

Alan's Pool - 2 Teal, 1 Grey Heron, the aforementioned 4 Ruff and best of all a Water Rail provided excellent views as it fed out in the bright warm sunshine, next to some Moorhen's.
(My first ever summer sighting of a Water Rail at BM. Whilst watching the Rail I became aware of a rustling noise coming from the long grass just off to my left, this revealed itself to be a Fox carrying a rabbit and just like the Water Rail seemed blissfully unaware of my presence :)

Thursday, 6 August 2015

Thursday 6th August 2015

Sightings for today;

Castle Lake - highlight this morning was a Hobby chasing Swift's over the lake for five minutes before heading off to the south. Others on view were c500 Greylag Geese, 2 Shoveler, 12 Teal, 1 juvenile Little Grebe, 1 adult Great Crested Grebe, 1 Cormorant, 1 Little Egret, 1 Grey Heron, 1 Little Ringed Plover now with only one chick, 1 juvenile Ruff, 40 Curlew, 3 Green Sandpiper, 3 Common Sandpiper, 30+ Swift and a still singing Corn Bunting.

River Stell - 1 adult Mute Swan with 3 cygnets.

Alan's Pool - 5 Little Ringed Plover (2adult3juvenile), 1 Snipe.

Foumarts Lane - 1 Sparrowhawk.

Some pictures from today.


Tuesday, 4 August 2015

Tuesday 4th August 2015

Sightings from this morning;

Castle Lake - c1000 (!) Greylag Geese, 3 Shoveler, 5 Teal, 1 Great Crested Grebe, 1 Cormorant, 1 Oystercatcher, 1 Little Ringed Plover brooding two very young chicks, 2 Curlew, 2 Common Sandpiper, 30 Black-headed Gull, 4 Lesser Black-backed Gull, 1 Common Gull and 10+ Swift.

Alan's Pool - 3 (2 juvenile) Little Ringed Plover, 1 juvenile Ruff and 1 Snipe.

Low Hardwick - 6 Grey Heron and 400 Lapwing.

River Stell - 35 Gadwall (including juveniles).

Water levels continue to diminish, this is what's left of the pond in the south-west corner of Castle Lake.