Thursday, 24 February 2011

Bright Patch brings a Green Woodpecker.

One pair of Great Crested Grebes.

Tuneful church grounds.

24th Feb. If wishes were horses then beggars would ride,
On clouds of white stallions with bright fiery eyes,
Chasing stars into corners of yesterday's skies.
Where life was a game and good fun was the prize.

No, I haven’t decided to go all poetical, but the above lyrics have been on my mind for the past couple of days and remained with me when I took a walk on patch late afternoon. You could have almost imagined today that spring was approaching such was the light, warmth and bird song.

Bird of the day was definitely a flyover Green Woodpecker. This was a new patch tick for me. It flew over the village area and westwards towards Gosforth Park as I walked from the lake towards the church grounds. It was flying quite high so not an especially good sighting, but a very distinctive one.

I had walked around the lake and found most of the birds that I had seen on my previous visit on ‘gloomy’ Sunday. I couldn’t find the young Whooper Swan photographed by J B. Maybe it has moved on, or maybe I just didn’t look well enough. The Goldeneyes were showing especially well today as was the pair of Great Crested Grebe on the larger lake. It also looks as though we may have the return of the pair that nests on the smaller lake too, as once I had reached this lake I found a lone Great Crested Grebe, but not its mate which may have been in the reeds. I’ll keep a look out for these birds as we enter spring. It was good to see a couple out with binoculars and camera gear taking photos of the birds and also a family walking around the lake taking areal interest. I always find this a breath of fresh air when I see members of the public taking an interest. As I’ve often said before, wildlife depends upon the interest and awareness of the general public for long term conservation to succeed. I think a minority of keen birders forget this at times. I never will, and will always encourage.

Having walked across to the church grounds and had sight of the Green Woodpecker, I found the grounds in a completely different atmosphere than I had on Sunday. The area was alive with song and calls. Interestingly I found a number of Coal Tits. Songs and calls heard included Song Thrush, Blackbird, Robin, Wren, Chaffinch, Greenfinch and tits. A small flock of Greenfinch flew into the top of the trees whilst I was there. Starlings, Jackdaws and Rooks were also noisily at business in the tree tops. Rare birds are not a necessity for an enjoyment of nature and in any event ‘beggars’ in reality can’t expect everything! I listened for Nuthatch but didn’t hear it. The reddening sky showed through the trees and as I walked home I heard another snatch of Song Thrush song. The red sky this evening seemed to promise a fine day tomorrow although the weather forecast seems to differ.


  1. Had an hour round the lakes this after. Nice to see the G.C.Grebes back. The 2 on the larger lake and only the 1 on the smaller. I did have 2 Oystercatchers by the smaller lake at the edge of the sports field. This is the same place i saw them regularly last year. I can't remember if you caught up with them then. Nice Green Woodpecker for you also Brian. There is a G. Woodpecker that has been at Big Waters for at least the last 2 years that i know of and it appears around about now. I wonder?

  2. An afterthought Brian,
    Re. Rising Sun.
    If you are interested for your next visit. At Scaffold Hill Farm ( directly behind the visitors centre) they have hung some feeders and Tree Sparrows have appeared on them. There is a direct footpath to it from beside Dukes Pond but it is through a horses field but it is a quagmire. Access back up track on road into visitors centre and keep following around.

  3. Hi John. May have just missed you then! I did catch up with the Oystercatchers last year and in fact had them as a garden tick when they flew over. There was at least three of them there on Sunday John. They seem to have become regulars. I'm wondering if the way the ground has been churned up by the geese etc it has made the area good for feeding.
    I saw Green Woodpecker in the Rising Sun C P last year as well. I imagine Gosforth park is good for them too, so who knows? Certainly nice to get it on my patch list. Cheers. Brian.

  4. It's fab that you saw the Green Woodpecker and hopefully they'll be no more 'gloomy Sunday's for a while. Maybe Spring has arrived!

    Certainly the better weather gets people to take more of an interest in what's around, as with those you saw at the lake.

  5. Cheers Mark. Green Woodpecker was certainly not one that I was expecting as a patch tick.