Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Park Life

3rd May. I’ve just returned from a walk in Richardson Dees Park, Wallsend. It was part of preparations for a talk I’m to give there later this month. It was literally almost like returning to my place of birth, as I entered the world at the Green Maternity Hospital that was nearby.

The park staff were very helpful today. The park itself is to face some major work in the near future as the council have been awarded a large grant for improvement work. Sadly I think this will see the removal of some of the old larger trees. The water courses are to receive some much needed renovation. I don’t know the park at all so I was surprised to find that it covers quite a sizeable area.

One of the first birds I noted was a Common Buzzard flying high over Wallsend. There were naturally parkland birds that one would expect such as Blackbird, Song Thrush, Mistle Thrush, Robin, Chaffinch and Goldfinch. The water held a number of Mallard and a couple of Moorhen. One of the staff informed me that a Mallard chick had been ‘stolen’! Great Spotted Woodpecker, Common Whitethroat in display flight and song, and Blackcap were seen and Chiffchaff heard. I understand that Kingfishers visit the park, but usually in winter and the likes of Sparrowhawk and Nuthatch are often seen.

I quite enjoyed the short walk. I hope that the improvements to the park take into account the needs of the wildlife. The guys that work there appear to know what is required to strike a decent balance as to needs. I hope the ‘council’ do too. Anyway I mentioned the terrible state that the floating reed-bed is in at Killingworth and it is going to be mentioned to some one on high. I hope it brings some action in the autumn.


  1. Yes Brian the floating reed beds are in a shocking state. I noticed that a few Coot had nested and possibly a Moorhen. I saw the pair of GCG's with their young on the smaller lake but could only see the one Grebe on the larger but it was hanging aroung the inner "L" shape of the floatng beds. Is the 2nd bird around? I wasn't sure if it may have been tucked away in the reeds somewhere. It seems a shame that something hadn't been done about the reeds BEFORE the nesting season.

  2. Hi John. I think the bad winter put paid to the reed=bed, which has gone from bad to worse over recent weeks. A real shame a sit was beginning to attract some good birds. I'd seen a Common Sandpiper stop over on migration and I was told that Water Rail (possibly from Gosforth Park) had visited in winter.

    The GCG had initially nested there, but I have seen no sign of it recently. Maybe it's tucked in somewhere but I had a good look and didn't see it. The lone GCG on the water never seems to be visiting a nest with food.

    You may remember me mentioning last year that someone told me that the GCGs on the large lake had adopted two of the juvenile birds from those on the smaller. I'm certain that this wasn't the case, but that the two on the larger lake had nested unseen in the floating reed bed. They successfully raised two young last year. Looks like things may have failed for them this year. Cheers.