20th Feb. I decided to spend a short time today looking around the lake area. Cold, dull and gloomy sums things up quite well, even before I get to the conditions on patch! All of the grass areas were muddy and water-logged and even some of the paved areas flooded. The geese and swans use of the areas around the lakes made it almost impossible to stand up in places.
I understand from NTBC reports that figures for Mute Swans on Killingworth lake reached a new record high of 166 in December. Most of the lake was frozen solid, but a small area had been broken up and there was supplementary feeding going on, so I guess Mute Swans had been attracted from other frozen areas. There is still certainly well over 100 Mute Swans on the lake at present. Numbers of Canada Geese had been very high too, although until I reached the smaller lake I thought many had disappeared. Numbers do seem to be down now, but there were still good numbers of Canada Geese on the smaller lake. I found one bird in the flock which to my eyes could only be a hybrid Canada/Greylag.
Maybe 6 Goosander remain and I haven’t seen more than this number on the lake this winter. There are at least three pairs of Goldeneye. I watched the pair of Great Crested Grebes for a while as they engaged in head shaking, bobbing and bowing. I imagine it is one of last years pairs returning.
Other birds on the water were Mallard, Pochard, Tufted Duck, Moorhen, Coot, a large flock of Black Headed Gulls, Common Gulls and Herring Gulls. I found that the Oystercatchers now seem to be frequent visitors. I initially found two on the side of the lake, then found another lone bird which took off eventually and called as it seemed to fly to the smaller lake.
I noticed someone was out there taking photographs and I had wondered if there was something of note about. If there was, I didn’t see it.
I walked across towards the church grounds. The gloom didn’t lift. I found corvids and Wood Pigeons, Starlings, tits and calling Greenfinch. The church grounds were quiet. I made off home.