Sunday, 14 February 2010

Gosforth Park virgin

Yes, theres a first time for everything and this was my first time at Gosforth Park Nature Reserve. Was i disappointed, was i bugg....   no i wasn't. In fact i had a cracking day, cheers John, and picked up 2 new species. Having "dipped" in Kent at Stodmarsh, i was sitting in one of the hides overlooking the shallow lake wondering whether i would spot this particular species when there was a rustle in the reeds and up rose a majestic bird along with strangled shouts of  "BITTERN,BITTERN,BITTERN!". I saw it for a total of 2/3 seconds but that was enough for me, as it rose from the reed bed only to drop back down in a matter of 6 metres. I turned to John who had that daft glazed over look which i'm sure i had as well, which confirmed he had seen it. A first for him also. I'm sure i will see a Bittern again but i remember exactly where i saw my first of all the species that i have seen but some stand out more than others and this will be one of them. This was all after another first for both John and i, but there is a slight snag which i'm sure someone who reads this, if indeed anyone out there likes to read drivel, could iron out for us both. This first was a Redpoll but we are not sure if they were Lesser or Mealy. I'm posting 3 shots of one of these birds showing rump, back and head and could somebody put us out of our misery, PLEASE.
Anyone who has never been, and has thought about visiting Gosforth Park should sign up tomorrow and get along, you wont be disappointed. Sightings included Blue and Great Tits, Robin,Blackbird, Dunnock,Nuthatch,Coal and Willow Tits, Mute Swan,Moorhen,Coot,Crow,Jackdaw,Jay( 4 together),Chaffinch,Dove(various),L.T.Tit,Goldfinch,B.H.Gull,Grey Heron,Magpie,Mallard,Teal,Wigeon,Treecreeper,Woodpigeon,BITTERN and errrrr REDPOLL. Oh yes and whilst putting our gear in the car spoke to a couple who were also leaving who reckoned they saw a Goldcrest.
Below is a nice image of a Coal Tit i captured along with those 3 not so good I.D. shots of what i hope is a Redpoll, otherwise i'll look more daft than i usually do. An I.D. by anyone will be very welcome. I thank you in advance and promise to dance at your wedding , if indeed you are not already married or plan to divorce in the near future.

Just to add, there were 9 of these birds and they were feeding on Alders at the time.


  1. Great post John, it read so good I felt if I had been there......

    Now if I had been there I reckon you would missed out the Deer and Cormorant but I'm not nitpicking

    John (HowdonBlogger)

  2. Hi John, your birds are Lesser Redpolls. They have an overall buffy tone to the facial area and the rump is brownish. Mealies can be tricky to seperate without something nearby as a size comparison but they are generally much bolder marked ie paler and more striped with a larger goldfinch type bill pale rump and large obvious wing bars. When you see one you will know. If you email me I'll send you a photo I took a while back of one Mealy and one Lesser together I caught for ringing, the difference is amazing!

  3. John, I might have jumped the gun with my photo offer - I cant find them! When I do I'll let you know...

  4. Thank you Stewart you are a star. Howdon Blogger, thats the guy i was with when we spotted them suggested they were Lesser and it was i who thought they may be Mealy. Although i'm wrong it's nice to know exactly what they are. Thanks again and if you do come across that photo my e mail has been added to my profile now. Keep up the fantastic work on your own blog which is always a pleasure to read.