Wednesday, 7 March 2012

On Patch and Under the Hood

The productive pairing take a break.

This lonesome guy seems to have been joined by a mate now.

A cooperating model

Two of many. although I know that some would just say 'too many'!

Popular with the ladies!

6th Mar. I met up with Sam (Under the Hood) at the lake primarily to take a look at how the Great Crested Grebes were progressing and possibly grab some photos. It’s nice to be sharing an interest in the patch with someone so keen. The sun made it look like summer, but there was still that winter chill in the air. We were the only people watching but I suspect that won’t last for long. In fact I know it won’t as I’m aware of photographers preparing to visit. I over heard a conversation the other day when someone expressed surprise that Great Crested Grebes were breeding on ‘a boating lake’. They obviously don’t know the lake well as this small area is no boating lake. I was a little surprised to pick up that someone interested in the Great Crested Grebes didn't know that they have been regular breeders on the lake and have been very productive in recent years. Watching this area is one of the benefits of being a patch birder. You find things that are surprising, but usually only if you keep a regular watch. Killingworth Lake, boating lake or not, has a decent history of attracting birds and you make a mistake if you fall into the trap of thinking it holds only swans and hybrids waiting to be fed bread! There were a few of these being fed bread today mind!

We found the pair of Great Crested Grebes on the smaller lake seemed to be having a break between shifts. There was little action as both birds floated around heads under wings. One eventually stretched its head. A little later both birds showed quite well, but swam away from us around the lake, at least one of them making an occasional dive. That was all of the action seen. In the meantime I did manage a rather nice shot of a Coot. Big and close is how I like them at the moment.

It wasn’t long before Sam and I realised that the lone Great Crested Grebe on the larger lake has now been joined by another. This is the exact same pattern as last year. Unlike the two birds on the small lake which are well into mating now, this pair was at separate ends of the large lake and seeming to have no contact as yet.

There are at least six Goosanders remaining on the lake and a number of Goldeneye still remain. As we watched Sam saw a calling Grey Wagtail fly past. I missed it. Being beside water, and Sam seeing the bird and me missing it is becoming a habit. I have yet to live down the Kingfisher I missed.:-) At least I heard the call this time! The two Oystercatchers were found amongst the Canada Geese.

We decided to take a walk on part of the patch. Passing the old Nuthatch nesting hole we found that there is still no sign of Nuthatches this year. A Sparrowhawk was chased off by a corvid and flew over the village area. We later took a look at last years Sparrowhawk nesting site. The area we walked through will soon be echoing to the sound of Chiffchaff song, but today it was mainly Robin, Dunnock and Wren calls and song. A Wood Pigeon was found sitting on a nest.

Thanks Sam.

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