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Early Morning Birds, Castle Howard Lake 2nd May 2015

led by Jim Pewtress

View over Castle Howard Lake

Four members met on a cool but bright morning. Before we went along the lake side we had a short walk along the road to look in the willow trees. Almost immediately as we walked by the lake a pair of Garganey (below) came in to view together with pair of Gadwall, Tufted Duck and Coot. Mute Swan was on nest.


At the willows we first heard he distinctive rattle song of Sedge Warbler and a little patience was rewarded with several birds vying for territory, also singing Chiffchaff. At the start of the footpath good views were obtained of Reed Bunting and further along on old rotting trees we came across a rather attractive fungus.

Bracket fungus

At the lake itself we saw most of the water birds we expected at this time of the year (see list below). A slow walk produced Robin, Chaffinch and both Blue and Great Tit as well as Wren. Garden Warbler was singing but as always elusive to see. Not having been there for several years I was surprised to see the size of the Cormorant colony with nests containing young. Whilst waiting in the car park I noticed seven Cormorants fly off to the north and wondered where they may be going, presumably to feed, and whilst looking at the colony five flew back in.

View of Castle Howard with cormorant colony

Towards the end of the path we heard the distinct song of Reed Warbler and had good views of the individual in the base of the reeds. It flew in to a nearby Hawthorn tree and continued to sing when we became aware of a second singing not far away. The original bird was then chased by two birds presumably the other one and his mate. By now the wind had increased and was cold so we called it a day. A Swallow was briefly seen but otherwise surprisingly there were no other hirundines.

Bird List
Garganey, Gadwall, Tufted Duck, Mallard, Great Crested Grebe, Coot, Moorhen, Mute Swan, Canada Goose, Greylag Goose, Grey Heron, Cormorant, Woodpigeon, Rook, Jackdaw, Swallow, Garden Warbler, Sedge Warbler, Reed Warbler, Chiffchaff, Wren, Song Thrush, Blackbird, Robin, Great Tit, Blue Tit, Chaffinch and Reed Bunting.

© Ryedale Natural History Society 2015, Photos © Jim Pewtress 2015 Back to the Home page