12th May. I enjoy sharing nature experience with others who share similar passions so I was looking forward to our walk around Killingworth Lake with members of Gateshead Wildlife Group. Sam and I had given a presentation concerning the Great Crested Grebes to the group last year and Sam was with me and taking the lead this evening. It was good that we had two pairs of Great Crested Grebes showing well during the walk.
As I had approached the meeting point I was pleased to see numbers of Swifts flying overhead and the lake had good numbers of Swallows, Sand Martins and House Martins low over the water. There were certainly plenty of insects out tonight.
We discussed the positives and some negative issues about the lake during the walk and interest, if that is the correct word was shown towards the floating ‘thing’ of which we explained the history!
Unusually for the time of year we have a single male Goosander on the lake and it performed well for us. I noticed it disturbing the water with its wings and flying a short distance low over the water. Later having seen it with a large fish in its bill Sam and I assumed it had been disturbing the water deliberately in an attempt to catch prey. The Goosander struggled with the fish for some time which attracted the attention of at least two Lesser Black-backed Gulls and one of the Great Crested Grebes. I think the fish escaped, shaken but not eaten. The Grey Heron also showed well in the sun.
We were able to look at some of the changes around the lake and again consider the pros and cons of all of this, whilst the Coots entertained with a fight in the centre of the large lake which drew much attention from two of the many Common Terns flying over the lake. The usual species were on the lake and we found the Canada x Barnacle Goose.
We’d walked through the woodland, but unfortunately didn’t find the Spotted Flycatcher, seen the other night, a first on patch for Sam and only my second seen on patch. I’d trotted off down there when Sam had informed me of its presence. The Common Sandpiper wasn’t seen this evening. We did hear Chiffchaff, numbers of Blackcap, a Great Spotted Woodpecker and other woodland species. Mistle Thrush was heard and then seen and after the group had left Sam and I found a Mistle Thrush with young.
It had been a very pleasant evening despite the wind and thanks go to Sam for the work put in. It was nice to see folk from Gateshead Wildlife Group and share part of our patch with them. Some said they would be back in the future and I know that at least one of the members had walked around the lake often in the past and I was pleased that he was able to confirm having seen Water Voles here. Unfortunately I haven’t, but I know Sam has, although some have doubted this when told about it. The world is full of doubters!