23rd April. The sun was shinning late afternoon so I paid a short visit to the lake to note down how the pairs of birds were doing. When I sat at the side of the lake I was soon joined by a male Mute Swan whose mate seemed to be working on the nest by way of ‘sideways-throwing’. Fortunately I had some seed left from the walk on Saturday so the male was more than satisfied and after having his fill he lay at my feet.
The Cute……..The pair of Coots I’ve being watching for sometime produced five chicks in recent days and the small birds are now becoming more explorative and venturing a little further form the nest to be fed by the adults.
The Bad…….The only thing spoiling this wonderfully sunlit corner of the lake was the amount of rubbish about once again. No doubt much of it blown into the lake, but it has to be dropped unthinkingly at some point. It was difficult to take photos without including some of this debris. One of the Coots seemed to balance on plastic rubbish for a time.
The Ugly…….No this wasn’t me! A small group of colourful Mallard Drakes flew in and the peace of this little corner was soon broken. They swam into the reeds and a female Mallard was flushed out. The female was soon under the water with each of the drakes seeming to take it in turn to mate with her. So there was much frenetic splashing of water, thrashing of wings and fighting going on with even the Coots seeming to be attempting to join in or perhaps they were just trying to protect their territory. The female was often lost under the pile of drakes. It calmed down eventually but two of the drakes followed the female onto the grassed area and would not let go until they too had mated. Ok its nature, but not pleasant to watch. I know female mallards can sometimes be drowned and killed in such situations.
24th April. Sam and I had agreed to a photography session down at Tynemouth this afternoon. Dressed for winter I found it was a wonderfully sunny late afternoon and early evening down there, although with rain clouds to the west. With little to no wind, to the west was where the cloud remained.
A Kestrel perched on bushes as we passed on the way to the pier. I noticed waders on the rocks and on getting down onto the beach we found that they were Purple Sandpipers and both of us managed decent shots of them. Then I got some practice in at taking shots of birds in flight, the Fulmars and Kittiwakes were ideal objects to focus upon. Not as easy as it looks if you want to do it reasonably well. Two or three Sandwich Terns were fishing and diving close to the shore in the bay and provided a bit more practice. The flocks of Turnstones eventually settled on the pier ledges. I was really enjoying the evening.
Sam and I decided to walk to North Shields and visit Northumberland Park again stopping for an ice cream on the way. Eider Ducks were seen as were many Cormorants. Sunlight was reflected by the waters at the mouth of the Tyne.
25th April. Off to hear about and look at Amphibians tonight! Judging by the amount of rain falling I suspect we may need to be Amphibious ourselves. Where’s me flippers?...................................................Flippers not required as the walk was called off, but a very good talk from Steve Lowe. I now know my frogs from my toads even if the elbow is still a bit confusing!