2nd Jan. That’s right, the 2nd Jan. A decision was made yesterday to postpone the patch walk until today. As it happens it was a good decision as today was a sunny and bright one and extremely mild for the time of year. It proved to be a fairly quiet start to patch birding for Sam and I, but that is a reflection on our laid back approach in general. We found thirty-eight species today in contrast to forty-six species on 1st Jan and fifty-two species on 5th Jan 2013. I get the impression that things are quiet through the North East and certainly not only species numbers were down today, but bird numbers in general were also low. Notable absences from the list today were raptors in general, Greylag Geese which seem to have left the lake, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Song Thrush, Chaffinch, Yellowhammer and Reed Bunting.
There was still plenty to keep us interested as we walked around the lake, headed for the village area and then walked the wagon-ways. The wagon-way was silent apart from the odd Linnet, a small flock of twelve calling Golden Plover which flew across the area for sometime, a single Redwing and a single Mistle Thrush and of course corvids, gulls and pigeons, although we found that even numbers of Wood Pigeon were low.
We did find Bullfinches in the area where we would expect them and the lake held the usual birds including Goosanders, the pair of Little Grebes and ten plus Goldeneye. The small lake was taken over by large parties of Tufted Duck.
It was good to be away from the maddening crowd which is one of the benefits of patch birding in Killingworth. Few birders apart from ourselves, few dogs, few cyclists (the one we did see fell off his bicycle into the mud) and few folk in general and no sounds from clicking cameras apart from when Sam took the odd photo.:-)
I had little time to look for birds yesterday but I’m pleased to say that the first one seen was my favourite garden bird, the Blackbird which was quickly followed by Coal Tit and Robin.
We had time to put a bit of a wish list for 2014 together today and I’m hopeful that at least some of the wishes will be granted.
Hopefully the RSPB walk at Druridge will fall between two days of what seems to be poor weather conditions.