Monday, 3 February 2014

Gosforth Park NR, Patch and the Day the Music Died!

 2nd Feb.  With limited time still throughout January I still managed to visit some very special habitat, including the Northumbrian coastal sites of Druridge Bay, Ross Bank Sands and in the uplands Geltsdale.  This brought some good sightings of species, although in my opinion, of equal importance to the species seen is the enjoyment of the habitat visited.  Today was World Wetlands Day so it was appropriate that we visit an area with some wetland and it was off to Gosforth Park Nature Reserve for Sam and me.  I have to admit that until Sam told me I hadn’t been aware of the significance of the day.  Despite the good weather we still had to plodge carefully through mud and water along the pathways.  I can’t say I remember too many dry paths in the reserve over the past couple of years and today water was at one point half way up my wellington boots.  Sadly some of our wetland sites in the UK have taking quite a bashing this winter.

Blue and Coal

 Sam had some new equipment to try out today (I’ll allow myself to be a little envious) so we spent a bit of time in the feeding station hide.  It was fairly quiet as was the rest of the reserve.  We did find the usual woodland birds here which eventually included the Great Spotted Woodpecker and a couple of Nuthatches, but rather unusually for this site no Treecreeper.  Jays were the only birds of any significance that we found on our walk around the reserve, although there were numbers of Redwing and Mistle Thrushes feeding in the fields some distance from the perimeter.  I was unable to definitely make out any Fieldfare.  The pond held about one hundred and forty Wigeon, a few Teal, Gadwall, Shoveller and Tufted Duck.  A Grey Heron flew in the area.  We saw no sign of the Bittern that had been found briefly flying over the reed-bed before our arrival at the pond.



We were winding down at the feeding station again when I received a call from AS informing me that he had been watching a female Scaup on Killingworth Lake.  We made back to patch soon afterwards and had a decent sighting of the Scaup (a patch tick for Sam), although by now it was dozing and the good light of earlier in the day had been lost.  A small number of Goosander remain on the lake, but most appear to have moved on.  Other birds seen included the pair of Little Grebe, Pochard, and Goldeneye.  The flock of Canada Geese have also returned to the area.  I’m thinking it may not be long until we see the return of the Great Crested Grebes.

All in all it had been another enjoyable day, allowing me to add a further four species to the year list.  I’d only felt cold whilst in the hide at the pond and find it surprising that I’ve rarely found the need for gloves so far this winter.

I’m looking forward to the talk on the history of Whaling and its association with the North East.  A presentation at the NHSN, Hancock, 7.00pm Friday 7th Feb.

3rd Feb.  Fifty-five years ago today that Buddy Holly died in a plane crash.  Also killed were Ritchie Valens, J P Richardson and the pilot Roger Peterson.  As Don Mclean said ‘the day the music died’.  The memory and the music live on…….
My introduction to Buddy Holly was as a youngster when my elder brother purchased an EP (extended player, for those too young to remember such archaic vinyl objects).  It was purchased at the Newcastle Quayside Sunday Market (how things have changed on the quayside since then).  It took until some years afterwards for me to appreciate the music, but as my brother owns every LP (long player) that was made by Buddy (many I think produced after his death) I gained a slow, but definite liking for it.  I was at the time more into the British groups dominating the charts, many of whom I came to learn were so influenced by Buddy Holly.  I used to laugh at my brothers taste in music!  It was Sam who reminded me of Buddy Holly’s death all those years ago.  I’m pleased to say that Sam himself has discovered the music of Buddy Holly and I understand his younger brother has a laugh about it.  Such is the lasting quality of the music I reckon the laughs will turn into appreciation too in the future. 

Well, that'll be the day, when you say goodbye
Yes, that'll be the day, when you make me cry
You say you're gonna leave, you know it's a lie
'Cause that'll be the day when I die

Well, you give me all your lovin' and your turtle dovin'
All your hugs and kisses and your money too
Well, you know you love me baby
Until you tell me, maybe
That some day, well I'll be through

Well, that'll be the day, when you say goodbye
Yes, that'll be the day, when you make me cry
You say you're gonna leave, you know it's a lie
'Cause that'll be the day when I die

Courtesy of Buddy Holly.

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