I was out today with Steve Holliday, Grahame Bowman and Mark Lowther for a trip to Kielder.
We didn’t get as far as Kielder due to car problems so we stopped instead at Ridley Stokoe.
No Mandarins on the river but there was a Common Sandpiper on the gravel Island in the river.
A pair of Jays were calling from the trees on the bank opposite and Grahame had a female Goosander further upstream.
Next we stopped at Bakethin viewpoint to look for Raptors. We stayed for an hour and
Saw 6 Buzzards displaying high up. Also there were 2 Ravens high overhead, he had good views of them all.
We then tried Bakethin Reservoir, and where lucky enough to get 4 Mandarins. We watched from the bridge rather than the hide and it gave us good views of the right side of the reservoir and the two islands in the middle of it.
The first Mandarin we saw was a Drake asleep on one of the islands. Then we had another Drake swimming close to the bank followed by a pair in the reeds below the bridge.
I hadn’t been to any of the sites we went to before today and was impressed by all of them. Sometimes Loughs and other upland sites seem to merge into one but everywhere we went today had its own distinctive areas and species.
Also on Bakethin there were 2 Greylag, 2 Canada Geese, 6 Mallard and 2 late Whooper Swans, which were starting to get orange heads.
After Bakethin we went to Whittle Dene Reservoirs. We checked the two main fishing waters first where there were 2 Goldeneye and 1 female Smew, which disappeared after a few minutes.
From the hide on the main Reservoir there were 4 Great Crested Grebe, 6 Goldeneye, 1 Grey Heron, 10+ Greylags, 2 Pied Wagtail, 2 Linnet, 4 Tufted Duck and a controversial Pipit.
The Pipit was on the dry concrete waterfall and kept disappearing behind the wall, so we moved around the corner to get a better view.
At first it looked like a Water Pipit but after half an hour of careful studying and some fence hopping we decided that it was a very streaked Meadow Pipit.
At one point we all thought it might have been a Scandinavian Rock Pipit but it had a clean white tail and the general lack of pink and greyish head ruled out Water Pipit, it sounds easy to identify but it was a dodgy Meadow Pipit, even when it was flushed it refused to call which would have solved the problem a lot faster.
Whilst watching the Pipit 13 Siskin flew over and a Toad swam across the water.
Are last stop of the day was Arcot Pond where apart from the usual a Stock Dove- Patch Tick flew over and 2 Willow Warblers- Patch Tick were calling. Also there was a Swallow – Patch Tick on the telephone wire at Dam Dykes.
I had my first sighting of the Red Eared Terrapin at Arcot today, it was sitting on a log in the south west corner.
83 - Stock Dove
84 - Wilow Warbler
85 - Swallow