2nd March. I felt rather lazy this morning as we headed for Gosforth Park Reserve as Sam had already completed a walk on patch and recorded some decent sightings. The day was spring like and at last we could head off without the need of hat and gloves. The ground in the reserve however is still very muddy and slippery and makes for tiring walking. A relaxing and enjoyable walk never the less.
The feeding station threw up the usual birds including a pair of Nuthatches and calling Sparrowhawk. We found a pair of overhead Sparrowhawk as we left the hide and in the same vicinity, Great Spotted Woodpeckers. Three Roe Deer showed quite well before running off and then doubling back and running across the path after we had moved on. A Common Buzzard showed well as it flew over the trees. We passed few people in the reserve today which surprised me on what was such a pleasant sunny morning. On the whole those we did see we knew, including Cain who was engaged in manual labour clearing an area of trees and shrubs. Paul Drummond explained that the area was being returned to what it had been like many years ago and it is hoped that it will attract butterflies. We found Siskin and Long-tailed Tits further on and just before we left the reserve had good sightings of Fieldfare both on the ground and in the trees.
The pools were on the whole quiet and I think the large bird very briefly seen in flight before going down behind a tree provided some wishful thinking when I thought about it possible being the Bittern. A Bittern had been seen earlier by others we had spoken too. A Mute Swan had already nested and the odd Canada Goose was on the water along with Mallard, a pair of Shoveller, Pochard, Moorhen and Coot. Earlier on the walk we had heard whistling Wigeon and counted quite a number. Two Jays were heard then seen briefly.
In the early afternoon we headed for Prestwick Carr, our first visit here of 2013. We walked to the Carr from the White Swan pub passing little other than corvids, Greenfinches, Chaffinches and House Sparrows. We took in the smell of gas as we stopped at the seat for a bite to eat and a drink. The outward walk along the bumpy road was dead quiet. We did see Common Buzzard in the distance and another Great Spotted Woodpecker, this time in flight, but we saw little else until we approached the cross-roads and headed up past the sentry box. This pathway was pretty quiet too although we did find a good number of Redwing with the odd Mistle Thrush in the flock and Long-tailed Tits. A lone Lapwing was in the fields along with gulls and Wood Pigeons. Goldcrest and Reed Buntings were also seen.
The return walk was a little more rewarding giving us a least one pair of Willow Tits and good sightings of Lesser Redpolls. A closer sighting of Common Buzzard was has along with our first and only Kestrel of the day which was a distant sighting. Sam began to hear geese and I believe Greylag Geese were on the move.
The best sighting of the day brought our birding to a close. We watched a Short-eared Owl for sometime as Willow Tits called close by us. At one point the owl sat on the post with prey in its bill. When we finally decided to move off we found another Short-eared Owl flying over the area to the east. Grey Heron flew north.I think the muddy walk earlier in the day had tired both Sam and I out and we made for home as flocks of corvids began to gather in the trees and skies. Another Sparrowhawk flew overhead making this the fifth one seen today. The trip to Gosforth Park Nature Reserve followed by Prestwick Carr always makes for a rewarding, interesting and relaxing day. Today made even better by wonderful weather and my head remained hatless from start to finish.