6th April. Today was to be a start of what is hoped will be an action packed few days for Sam and me. I awoke to sunshine. I think that was what the bright light was! Switching on the radio I did hear that in parts of the UK it was still minus seven degrees. Our friend Marie had recently joined the NHSN and had asked for a tour of Gosforth Park Nature Reserve, and as Sam and I were going anyway we were only too pleased to oblige. We set off after breakfast.
I knew the feeding station at the reserve had not been having the feeders topped up after Easter, so I wasn’t expecting to see much from this hide. We were pleasantly surprised to eventually count nineteen species visiting or nearby. These were Sparrowhawk (H), Stock Dove, Wood Pigeon, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Wren, Robin, Dunnock, Song Thrush (H), Mistle Thrush, Blackbird, Great Tit, Coal Tit, Blue Tit, Nuthatch, Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Siskin, Bullfinch and Reed Bunting.
As we left the hide it wasn’t long before we were listening to the yaffling of Green Woodpecker and listening to the calls of more Nuthatch and more Great Spotted Woodpecker with much drumming today from pairs of the latter species. A Brown Rat had been seen at the feeding station and it wasn’t long before we had brief sightings of both Roe Deer and Grey Squirrel. For the first time in many months the footpath was drying out, although still muddy in places. Numbers of Jay were heard and some were briefly seen.
Sam commented on how good it was just to stand and listen to the bird calls and song and it wasn’t too long before we were listening to and watching Chiffchaffs! Common Buzzard was seen flying in the thermals over the trees.
The reed-beds seemed to be holding a number of Reed Bunting and the pond and surrounding area held Little Grebe (the pair calling loudly), Grey Heron, Greylag Geese (the geese were on the nest of the Mute Swan), Mute Swan, Mallard, Wigeon, Pochard, Tufted Duck, Moorhen, Coot and Black Headed Gull. We saw no sign of the reported pair of Shoveller and the Kingfisher perched on the posts outside of the hide remains only part of my dreams. At this point two rabbits turned up. They were chocolate Easter Bunnies given to us by Marie. We aren’t known to refuse chocolate and I noticed Sam’s gift vanished faster than a Rabbit in a magician’s hat! :-)
Greylag Geese on what had been the Mute Swan nest on our previous visit.
We did find a couple watching a bird high in a tree and I hoped that it might be the Green Woodpecker. It turned out to be yet another Great Spotted Woodpecker. Afterwards we did find a Treecreeper close to the pathway. Coltsfoot was showing well and it was good to seem some colour again.
We returned to the feeding station, but by now it was much quieter and even the Brown Rat had left.
The shape of this dead tree appealed to me, but having looked at the image I see its a tree monster stretching out its arms and antennae ready for the kill. You never know what you are going to come across in the reserve!