No not a lousy photo of a Mallard. I honestly didn't know it was there!
Lousy photo I know. Lights on the Tyne just to show I put in long days!
27th Jan. I visited Low Barns today with some friends from the Local Group. The first visit I’ve made for a few years. The ponds had been frozen until recently so I was aware that bird numbers would be limited.
The feeding station was busy with Great Spotted Woodpecker, Nuthatch, Treecreeper, Willow Tit, Pheasant, Great Tit, Coal Tit, Blue Tit, Greenfinch, Robin and Dunnock. As we began the walk around the reserve several Bullfinch were seen along with more Treecreepers and a Nuthatch was heard. Jay was a year tick.
The main pond held little apart from Mute Swan, Mallard, Teal, Coot and Moorhen. Cormorants sat in the trees. There was no sign of Kingfisher either on the River Wear or over the pond. I think maybe the frozen conditions had moved the bids on, or perhaps we just didn’t see them. I know that this particular area has always been well known for good opportunities to see Kingfisher. One female Goosander was seen lifting from the water and flying up river.
I remember that I was disappointed by this reserve on my first visit. I remember that much work had begun to improve the area for the longer term. Longer term conservation sometimes means shorter term losses. Despite in some respects a shortage of birds today, I enjoyed the walk around the reserve and along by the Wear. If my memory serves me correctly, there seems to have been vast progress made in the area of the reedbeds and West Pasture. Although I saw no sign of the recently reported Bittern and Otter.
As we passed West Pasture one of my friends spotted a Green Woodpecker fly into the hedge. It lifted in front of us and flew into the trees giving a partially hidden, but never the less good sighting in the trees. One of my friends is Irish and not too used to seeing too many woodpeckers. Another year tick for me putting me onto 98. I’m determined to reach 100 before the end of January. Looking forward to some more great birding over the weekend.