Tuesday, 8 December 2009

Dene Dippers

Ouse Burn

8th Dec. After my exertions in Berwick yesterday, I decided on a quiet walk through the parks and Jesmond Dene today where I planned to stop for lunch at the dene café. Well, so much for that idea! On one of the few occasions I don’t take my packed lunch with me, I find that they have decided to remove the café, at least until July 2010! I thought that café had lots of history attached to it? It seems not enough history attached to save it.

My walk began at the gates of Heaton Park. I’ve found this area to be a little hot spot for woodland birds at times. Hot spot it was today in more ways than one as the sun was shining onto the trees. Within minutes I had seen Blackbird, Wren, Dunnock, Robin, Nuthatch, Treecreeper, Great Tit, Coal Tit, Blue Tit, Long Tailed Tit, Starling, Black Headed Gull, Wood Pigeon, Collared Dove and corvids. To cap it all the first bird I saw on arrival was a Grey Wagtail, sunlit in the trees. I wondered if I ought to go home now, but carried on anyway.

A little further into the park I found a Great Spotted Woodpecker being harassed by a Greenfinch. To be honest that was about it and once into the dene there was little bird life at all. This was the point I found the café had disappeared. I tried to get around the building works by an alternative route and fortunately had my first of several sightings of Dipper on the Ouse Burn here. I eventually found several Grey Wagtails and suspect at least two or three pairs in the area. A nice surprise was the female Goosander swimming near the bridges.

The burn was running high and fast and very muddy in colour. I stopped at the mill for a coffee and a bar of chocolate and heard Dippers calling and then sighted them fly up the burn. As I stood on the bridge the pair flew directly towards me back down the burn, giving a rather exciting view. The only other birds about were Mallard, Moorhen, Mistle Thrush, Robin and Blackbird.
As I continued the walk the calls of the Dippers were with me on several occasions as the fed on the edge of the burn often just keeping a few yards in front of me and I had numerous sightings of them until I reached South Gosforth. Unfortunately the hoped for Kingfisher never made an appearance. A good relaxing day though, with one of my favourite birds, the Dipper. Thankfully there were few folk about, apart from the usual joggers and dog walkers


  1. Got me excited there, I thought you seen Dippers down Holywell :),sounds like you had a good day. Cain

  2. Ha. Sorry about that Cain. :-) I haven't seen a Dipper at Holywell for over two years, if you exclude the dippers with their dogs! ;-) Cheers Brian.