Sunday, 3 January 2016

RSPB Walk on Patch

Once upon a time in the land of misty satin dreams there stood a house
And a man who painted nature scenes
He painted trees
And fields and animals and streams
And he stayed and he didn't hear the falling of the rain
No, he didn't hear the falling of the rain
Billy Joel lyrics

2nd Jan.  Sodden Killingworth was still attracting a number of birders hoping to find the redhead Smew.  I’m afraid this bird had flown, along with the Scaup, Gadwalls and Shoveller.

The rain had fallen heavily early morning, but I’m pleased to say that the Met Office forecast had been correct and whilst the light remained murky the rain had stopped about an hour prior to our walk beginning at 11.00am.  The ten brave souls who had ignored the weather were to be rewarded with a dry period throughout our time out on the patch.  Although they didn’t say so I suspect at least some were there through loyalty, which Sam and I appreciate.  Our patch can’t match the delights of Spindlestone and Budle Bay where we held our 2015 New Year Walk, but it had been requested, so someone else is aware that the area is interesting and worth watching.   Having had our hot drink and mince pie as way of greeting we set off.  As I say, the Smew and some other species we had hoped for (Sam and I having watched them yesterday), were gone, but there was enough to birds on the lake to keep interest going.  Some of these species taken for granted at times I think and anyone who does so, I think needs to remember some of these birds are disappearing.

The rain kept off as we eventually headed for the village area where we found a couple of Fieldfare.  A rather oddly shaped Oak Tree which Sam and I have being taken note of drew the attention and discussion.  Sam I believe is going to seek specialist advice about it and will feed this back to participants in the future.  The female Sparrowhawk made an appearance overhead once again as we watched what was a generally quiet area today.  Participants did enjoy the rather large flock of Long-tailed Tits.

We decided to call off the walk we had planned around the area of Killingworth Moor such was the forecast and rain cloud closing in around us.  As it happens it didn’t rain heavily until much later in the day.  Still, I think everyone was satisfied with the 2.5 hours we were out, it certainly beats sitting at home and we didn’t get wet!  I said farewell to the group as Sam guided them back to the car-park, so I missed the Great Spotted Woodpecker.  The walk list came to thirty-seven species and had included Cormorant, Sparrowhawk, Fieldfare and Coal Tit which had not been seen yesterday.  It had been good to have a non member quite new to birding along today, and who left I think surprised at just what the Killingworth area offers.  Killingworth is not just a Township with a boating lake although, I suspect that even many of the people who live here don’t realise that.

Still no House Sparrow, but I haven’t gone out of my way to find them.  Still in laid back mode.

3rd Jan.  I decided to take the opportunity to watch the garden today and was rewarded with my first House Sparrows of the year at 13:00 precisely.  I’ve never seen the garden so busy for some time.  Birds which made an appearance where (in no particular order) Song Thrush which hung around to give a song, Blackbird, Carrion Crow (unusual for these to land in my small garden), Jackdaw, Magpie, Starling, Wood Pigeon, Collared Dove, Robin, Dunnock, Great Tit, Blue Tit, Chaffinch (at least 6), Greenfinch (7+), Goldfinch (2), Sparrowhawk (OK it didn’t land, but it was over the garden so I’m counting it) and of course the House Sparrows.  Now I can’t compare this to those who have large gardens, but as mine is about as small as they get I’m pleased with such numbers.  Missing were the Coal Tits and Wren.  Numbers are no doubt related to the non appearance of the killer cats for much of the time.  When they did appear I did also and they left swiftly.

Lots of rain forecast for this coming week so I may be watching the garden quite a bit more!

1 comment:

  1. It was good to get out birding with you and others on the Saturday, my first chance for a while.