30th Dec. I’m still very much a patch birder and I was out there today with Sam with whom I’ve enjoyed many hours of patch birding this year. This is just a short report prior to my end of year remarks which you may find not so short. :-)
We headed for the lake to begin a walk through a muddy and sodden patch which hasn’t been dry since early spring! The light was good at times and the Goldeneye, Goosanders and three Shoveller showed their colours well. Since the big freeze of recent winters numbers of over wintering Goosander have fallen and we saw only three or four today. Goldeneye numbers over wintering have increased significantly and whilst difficult to count we saw at least fourteen/fifteen today. The Shovellers I think are visitors from Gosforth Park. There were significant numbers of Tufted Duck and perhaps a few more Pochard than I saw on my previous visit. I think Sam got his eye on a Grey Wagtail. The usual lake birds were there too as were numbers of people feeding them. It was good to note a few more birders about also. A rainbow stretched right over Killingworth. Oh, and a Little Grebe remains on the lake and a Grey Heron was mobbed by gulls.
Unfortunate that the light had gone, so this Goldeneye wasn't able to show off it's colour
Where's 'me' bread?
The Great Spotted Woodpecker was making some noise and we eventually spotted one being mobbed by Magpies before heading off towards the village.
The regular Sparrowhawk was seen well overhead. This is probably the one seen in Sam’s garden eyeing up the bird feeders. We had a nice surprise in the church grounds with at least three Goldcrest and a Treecreeper showing well. Eight Long-tailed Tits were also seen as was a sizable flock of Goldfinch in my favourite patch hedge.
Getting a bit dark but stll a nice sighting of Treecreeper