Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Killingworth Lake

15th Oct.  I took some time out to visit the lake this afternoon and was pleased to find that we now have three Goosanders on the water.  A welcome return.  There weren’t many Mute Swans to be counted on the water, although they now seem to be all over the place since the fencing was put up.  I’ve lived in Killingworth since the 1970s and I have never before seen the road traffic held up so often by Mute Swans, as has happened in recent weeks.  Nor have I seen the Mute Swans entering areas that they have been visiting recently.  Some may try and convince me they are moving around to seek food now that certain people have stopped feeding bread to them.  I simply don’t accept this rather convenient reasoning and would argue that it is the blocking of access to areas of land that has caused this problem.  I also took a look again at the new floating reed-bed and fear that the wire mesh around it looks rather permanent.  I suppose it does give the Cormorants somewhere to perch.  There were five Cormorants there today.  How long before there is an out cry about too many Cormorants taking the fish from the lake I wonder?  A daft question from me I suppose, as I’m sure there has already been noises made about this over the years.  At least it’s nice to hear that a few bird and bat boxes have been put up about the area.

The wire mesh doesn't look very temporary to me!

But it must be temporary as the signs make it clear the area is to be used for nesting swans etc!

Anyway, at least I bumped into Sam by the lake and it was good to talk to someone else who knows a little about wildlife, its needs and conservation issues surrounding this.  We found the pair of Little Grebes and then a third Little Grebe on the smaller lake.  Two of the juvenile Great Crested Grebes (now adult sized) remain as do the parents birds.  I’m not sure where all the Pochards have gone, as we counted only one.  A single Shoveller flew over our heads as we spoke and a single Grey Heron had taken up its now regular position.  Sam had heard a Grey Wagtail beside the lake earlier.

I took a walk across the playing fields and found that the flocks of gulls have yet to build up to sizable numbers.  There had been no Goldeneye on the generally quiet lake as yet.  I heard only tits, Chaffinches and Wrens in the trees and bushes.

I read in the newspaper today that David Cameron is going to support a watering down of the Fox hunting ban (no surprise there then, although I never believe everything I read in the papers.  You just have to look at what is written about Killingworth Lake to realise facts are the last thing many newspapers concern themselves with).  There seems to be complete turmoil with regard to the Badger cull, Common Buzzards are the growing enemy according to some, although these same people seem to have well and truly conquered our breeding Hen Harriers and now I hear that we have concerns being expressed about growing numbers of Otters and Pine Martins.  The RSPB’s latest call is to ‘Give Nature a Home’.  Let’s hope in years to come we still have some nature to give a home to.  Let’s be positive though, as I know that there are at least some who care and even know what they are talking about and can see past their own selfish needs.  It’s for those people I have a more interesting post lined up for next time.

Whilst it’s good to talk I have to dash off and prepare for our country’s venture towards Brazil and the World Cup.  For that reason and that reason only I have pulled Willie from a long, long sleep in the cupboard.  I know many of you will remember him from 1966.  So let’s hear it for the lads and World Cup Willie!  If only we had Bobby Moore, Gordon Banks and Nobby Stiles back in an England shirt along with our Empire, Swan Hunters, The Stoll Cinema, trolley buses and aniseed balls!

Don't mess with World Cup Willie
Dressed in red, white and blue, he's World Cup Willie
We all love him too, World Cup Willie
He's tough as a lion and never will give up
That's why Willie is fav'rite for the Cup
Willie, Willie, he's evry'body's fav'rite for the Cup


  1. You took the (songs) words right out of my mouth. I sadly don't have the same enthusiasm about England as I did when younger. Then again, I don't have the same enthusiasm about football generally. I don't see the players these days in the same light as some of those you mention, with a few (Shearer, Harper ) exceptions. The sad plight at the Toon doesn't help either.
    That reed bed looks rather forboding.

  2. The reed-bed is definitely out of bounds to birds at present. The old myth suggesting that it was the Mute Swans and other birds that killed the previous one off is still being circulated even though two council officers have agreed (in one case at least in part) that it was the weather. We'll wait and see how things progress. If I'm honest I have little time these days for National football but thought Willie would brighten up the blog a little. Have to say it was a decent match last night. Not much you can say about the goings on at the Le Toon. Cheers.