4th Nov. Looking out of the widow early morning I found the sky bright and clear. By the time Sam and I were on the way to Gosforth Park Nature Reserve mid morning we were met by thickening mist. As we neared the reserve the mist wasn’t as dense, but some remained until we were about to leave. We found the pond frozen this morning and the paths resembling a mud bath in places. Frost lay on parts of the ground until late morning and the air remained chilled.
The highlight at the feeding station was the Kestrel which gave close views and good photo opportunities as did the female Great Spotted Woodpecker and Nuthatch. Tits, Robin and Blackbird were the supporting acts.
Kestrel on a Misty Morning
Despite the mud the walk around the reserve was as always enjoyable. Three Roe Deer were seen at distance in the woods and again on the race course. I assumed that they were the same three. A single Grey Squirrel was seen. I’m told a Red Squirrel/s was/were seen the previous day, but we saw none. I haven’t seen Red Squirrels in the reserve on any recent visits. I can remember the time when numbers were seen. Last week I read in the local paper that Grey Squirrels were counted in large numbers in Ponteland recently, in the area frequented by the red species. The demise of the Red Squirrel seems somewhat inevitable in these areas.
Great Spotted Woodpecker
Jays and Great Spotted Woodpeckers were heard during the walk, but little was seen in the way of other birds apart from a large flock of Goldfinch and more tits. We missed the Bittern which had been in front of one of the hides for at least a half hour. It had flown shortly before our arrival there. The ice ensured that the pond was almost clear of birds. Some Shoveller, Wigeon and Goldeneye flew across. Grey Herons flew into the trees opposite.
My favorite garden species.
As we cleaned our wellingtons before heading towards St Mary’s Island the Kestrel we had watched and photographed earlier, I think, was mobbed by a Magpie until it perched on top of the lamp post. It seemed safe there as the Magpie made no attempt to mob or move it from its perch. Instead the Magpie went and perched on its own lamp post on the other side of the road! I had noticed that there is no shortage of Magpies in the reserve. We passed the Bee Hive flash, but saw nothing but a single Mute Swan.
The mist had cleared by now and the light was good. This had brought out the Sunday crowds. We watched the waders, Oystercatcher, Ringed Plover, Lapwing, Golden Plover, Sanderling, Turnstone, Purple Sandpiper (2), Redshanks and Curlew. Sam got some good images of Ringed Plover especially, and then we waited for the sun going down and took a number of images of the St Mary’s Island and the lighthouse. There were numbers of photographers out tonight. White cloud was gathering in the east and slowly changed colour as the sun dropped. Guillemots, Razorbills and Eider Duck were on the water. Rock Pipit and Pied Wagtail were amongst other birds seen and heard. A skein of forty-five to fifty
Pink–footed Geese flew southwards high over the wetland. We saw nothing of interest on the wetland, but by now the light was going. A lone Eider Duck, head tucked in, floated with the tide near to shore.
Clear evening as the tides comes in.