In Dusk We Trust - Some Owling in Co.Durham, North East England, Great Britain
Leucistic Little Owl image copyright Hilary Chambers, Durham.

Saturday, 31 July 2010

Lazy Dayzzzz / DBC Castle Lake Reserve

A Friday noon / early aftnoon visit to Bish Midd saw lots of species having their Siestas - i blame all this global warming, birds were never used to be this sleepy during the day.

Dozing sharp-ended duck at Stoneybeck

Three Wading Bed-fellows

after 15 mins the Pintail sprang into life !
Lifting its head up for 10 seconds, before hitting the snooze button & rolling over again

The trio waken as a Sprawk circles over

After 10 mins one of the juvvy Little Owls finally made a movement
(i thowt it might have pegged it, judging from the wooden cross behind)

Despite all the zeds getting knocked out, there was a fair bit of activity on Castle Lake

view from hide

Male Corn Bunt still jangling his keys

young Yella - 30+ in area today

Snipe on post - cant remember seeing passage birds sitting out like this . . . we did kick up some one July 3 or 4 year back & wondered if we might have a breeding pair - but the site has good coverage now & i doubt we could have missed a drumming male . . . ?

2 of our 7 Gadwall broods

Viewing from the Eastern boundary wall, looking back Westward - Common & Green Sand, Snipe & Yellow Wag


Green Sand

& 2 short clips of them feeding below the hide :-

Greenshank feeding below hide

Green Sand feeding below hide

Nice to chat with other DBC members in the hide: Superb place, time just fly's by

Species List for Stoneybeck / Lake / A1 Flash (singular) / Railway / Allans Pool
74 species -   (11:30-16:30)

1Pintail, 12Shoveller, 450(254 on C.Lake) Greylag, 6Teal, 7broods Gadwall, 4-5GCGrebe, 20+Dabchick, 3Shelduck, 1Pochard, 1Wigeon, 6Canada Geese, 13Mute Swan, Coot 145CLake, Moorhen, Mallard, Tufted Duck

34+Yellow Wagtail, 1Grey Wagtail, 12Pied Wagtail, Kingfisher

4m Corn Bunting, 3 juv Willowt Tit, Long tail, Blue, Great Tit, 1GSW along the Stell
House Sparrow 2 within the nature reserve boundary were the first ive seen here, sev Tree Sparrows on Hursts,

Pheasant, Stock Dove, Collared Dove, Wood Pigeon, Grey Partridge, Magpie, Crow, Jackdaw, Rook

2-3Common Sandpiper, 7 Green Sandpiper, Greenshank, 15+Snipe, 450Lapwing, 5Curlew, 1Dunlin, 2Golden Plover, 1juv Little Ringed Plover

3 Little Owl, 2 Sparrowhawk, 2Kestrel

20Goldfinch, Chaffinch, Greenfinch, 2Reed Bunting, 1Skylark, 10Meadow Pipit, 12Linnet, Blackbird, Song Thrush, Willow Warbler, Whitethroat, Chiffchaff, Blackcap, Robin, Wren, Dunnock

100Swift in distance, 2 over lake, House Martin, Sand Martin, Swallow

2LBBGull, 2Common Gull, 12BHGull, 1HGull, 1Cormorant over

Thursday, 29 July 2010

Grounded Asio

Otus juvenile on the ground, Co.Durham July 2010

Blogged this from Flickr - copyright Tow Law Wildlife

Tuesday, 27 July 2010

Garden Tick !

Yesterday afternoon a Hummingbird Hawk Moth visited our modest garden - we only have 1 Cherry tree & a Honeysuckle clump so we're quite chuffed.

(better picture of one on:-  Mon 19th July entry )

It was a decent trio yesterday - the Greenshank was a local year-tick too !

Monday, 26 July 2010

Patch Tick - Egret !

i Phone view

i Phone thro' scope

short clip

Long over due patch tick, after half a dozen or so single Obs flyovers

Also present were 5 Green Sandpiper , a Greenshank & a Snipe (& a Mr Heron )

Thursday, 22 July 2010

Rain extends play

Recent deluges impacting on nocturnal hunting

Tuesday nights downpours resulting in Long-eareds hunting throughout much of the following day

Heres a short clip :-

A well advanced youngster singing for his supper

Within a week or so, they'll begin following the adults out on hunting trips - at the moment they remain close to the safety of thick cover.

At the time they begin flying out, they can be incredibly inquisitive, even more so if you happen to have a dog wandering around with you !

Gradually they'll start flying further & further afield - returning to roost together the next morning.

On the whole they'll remain in these family units through the remainder of the year, untill the adult birds start over again the following Spring - even then some can remain in the parents territory as non breeders.

Begging tails off towards the end of July & we seldom hear any after mid August in Co.Durham.
From memory my latest begging juv was @ 20th August

Images courtesy of DK,one of our many keen local owlers.

Tuesday, 20 July 2010

Fri 16th July - Way Out West

Fri 16th July

Spent a 6 hour evening session in & around the Derwent watershed

Highlights include Teal, Wigeon & Goosander all with young

2 roadside Roe Bucks, but no sign of any Foxes- a different picture to the unkeepered land at home.

Lots of waders Golden, Green, Ringed & Little ringed Plovers, 2Woodcock feeding in rushy pasture, Common Sand, Oik & Curlew with young.

Barn Owl with fledged young, single Short-eared hunting out over the fell , Little with 2 young on a dry stone wall, Tawnies with young at several spots but no luck seeing any Leo's.

Post breeding flocks of several species prominant, taking advantage of easy picking on the cleared hay fields - including decent flock of 37 Mistle Thrush & several fields full of BH & Common Gulls, although no juvs for the latter.

Family group of 4 Jay over the road, also small no's of Siskin & Redpoll, single Tree Pipit & Green Woodpecker.

Looks like a good season for Grouse, several well advanced family groups at the roadside, loads of Swallows & Meadow Pipits too. Stock Doves far more prominant up this way.

No sign of Cuckoo nor Stonechat at a couple of locations were ive previously noted them.

Best of all was the peace & quiet, hardly saw a sole.

Thursday, 15 July 2010


Check ups on various boxes in the Wear Valley
Good percentage of occupancy

Couple of funnyuns :-
Mallard eggs in one
Stock Dove using another which also held a busy Wasps nest !

A not so funnyun was finding another A-frame box has been removed . . .

All we can think is there must be some interesting 'Dove Cotes' in folks gardens - ***ts.

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

Long-eareds Summer 2010

As previously mentioned, a very poor breeding year, but this youngster out & about a week or 2 ago near Durham

images by Dave.A

also recent sightings from Hamsterley area - hopefully a few more Nightjar visits will reveal further breeding success . . .

Waders Love DBC Castle Lake Reserve Day

11 species of wader on the main lake at Bishop Middleham today

Common, Green & Wood Sandpipers, Snipe, Ringed & Little Ringed Plover, Curlew, Dunlin, Lapwing, Oystercatcher and Greenshank.

Lap, Lrp, CommSand, WoodSand

Common Sand ( & Lrp )

Wood Sandpiper

Green Sandpiper (honest)

x2 Dunlin


Ringed Plover

juvenile Little ringed Plover

one of 5 broods of Gadwall seen today    ( 11, 11, 10, 8 & 6 )

Lots of other stuff too
Hobby, juv Peregrine, 3Buzzard, all 3 wagtails including several Yellow Wags, Tree Sparrows, Stock Doves etc

several young Yellow Wagtail - adults continuing to take food into standing crops, presumably 2nd broods

Looking south onto 'Wader Bay'  from the site of the old castle. - This area immediately north of the reserve is the area of open access land.

Short clip of 4 waders feeding :-

Wood & Common Sand, juv LRP & Lapwing

The reserve is still experiencing problems with visitors ( birders & non birders alike ) walking close to the waters edge - this results in a negative impact throughout the year, but especially so during breeding season.

I spoke to one guy today who was along the waters edge with his dog . . .

When i advised him that it would be helpful if he sticks to the designated acess routes, as the area was a nature reserve & private farmland,

his reply was "well them with the binoculars wander all over".

Please Note:

There is NO acess to any part of the shoreline, there are several maps posted on stiles etc, signposts & interpretive panels to help all visitors enjoy their visits.

Saturday, 10 July 2010

We Still Hate Thatcher Day



Not much birding, Swifts entering eaves in the Market Place, but did bump into the County Recorder

Friday, 9 July 2010

Barn owl - second clutches on the way

male taking food to his mate now brooding second clutch of eggs, as well as continuing to feed his well grown young.

This would appear to be the case in the south of the County, at a well known location, where the female has gone under the radar, when chicks are close to fledge.

This bodes well & will help bolster numbers after winter losses

Thursday, 8 July 2010

Dotterel & Hobby 8th July 2010

Crimdon & Castle Lake
managed to see both out targets :- Dotterel & Hobby
Good to bump into plenty folk & catch up

Looked odd seeing her right on the edge of the coast

After feeding busily, it went was disturbed by a walker & settled amongst an area of larger pebbles

tucked in like this it was tricky to locate

Only just visible

young Swallows waited on the wall to be fed

Moved onto Castle Lake, where the sub ad Hobby gave a superb performance to those in the busy hide.
Taking plenty of airborne items & watched side by side with a male Kestrel.

Hobby ! - iPhone strikes again !!  ;-)

Mr Jammy Forrest was in the hide when the bird came down to the same post as yesterday, so we'll hopefully see what he comes up with on the big BirdForum

good brood of 10 Gadwall ducklings