Sunday 26 October 2008

A walk around the patch

I took a walk around the patch on Friday morning, it was a nice, crisp, autumnal morning, westerlies have predominated the last two weeks, so I knew there would be nothing startling on the patch, but still, I wasn't in the office.

I did see a good number of species including a patchyear-tick, great northern diver just offshore, but too far to photograph. I also saw at least 36 long-tailed tits, some of the ones we ringed and whole lot more and a female bullfinch, which are rare at Dru...but I still came away feeling very frustrated and somewhat depressed - why?

Well on the bits managed by NWT (budge fields and pool) I saw:
mallard (3)
teal (8)
mute swan (6 been there all year)
moorhen (6)
carrion crow (1)

...and a fly-over grey heron

All very nice but the list should read more like teal (250 and a green winged), wigeon (300), Lapwing (200) etc etc. The Budge fields and the deep pool are deserted of wildlife, there is nothing there.

I was at the second half of the NTBC 50th anniversary conference last night (after going to the stadium of plight to watch the scum turn us over) and the desperate state of Druridge Pools and the other Druridge reserves was a hot topic of conversation, the Pools even got a mention in the last lecture for their lack of birds!! People were telling me they don't even bother to go to Druridge Pools now, they drive straight past, if local birders aren't even going, what are visiting birders going to make of it all?

Here is the picture 15 years ago (1993):

teal 260
wigeon 250
shoveler 16
tufted duck 70

even ten years ago (1998):

teal 258-273 (and green winged teal)
wigeon 140
Mallard 283
Pintail 1-5
Pochard 15-16

These are all peak 4th quarter counts.

That says it all I'm afraid..........I feel there is nothing more I can do, I despair!

Sorry for the rant, I'll leave this post with some arty shots of sanderling on the beach. I'm off to bait-up our twite ringing site.

153 great northern diver


Crammy Birder said...

Im sure the main reason for the lack of birds on the pool is because of the Otters. Not only have I seen the Otters chase away Mallards and even try to take on a Mute Swan before, but they are stealing most of the food supplies.
Still I wont give up on Druridge pools after all I have seen my first Garganey, Cuckoo, Temminck's Stint and Little Stint there this year.

Warren Baker said...

Don't dispair ipin. The weather will change and they'll all be back. :-)

Blyth Birder said...

Must admit, I don't miss travelling ower to Wearside for the derby games anymore.

Some queer folk ower there mind.

Stewart said...

Ian, we've seen all this before. Loads of times the pools have nowt then all of a sudden they are choc a bloc. Look on the bright side. No birds at the minute means no crowds from birdforum chuntering how its the best place since Minsmere ( Cresswell last month)when they've really got nowt to compare with in the first pace! Its on the quiet days that you might just open the Oddie Hide and see a Barrows Goldeneye on his todd...Just think about Pied billed Grebe, Pacific Plover, Slender billed Curlew, Ross's Gull, Black winged Stilt, Ring necked Duck, Rustic Bunting, Red throated Pipit etc etc over the years....

Ipin said...

I know...I should be more optimistic, but it's not the weather or otters or even rare birds, its more the virtual adandonment of any management on the NWT side that worries me....

Anonymous said...

"otters...stealing the food supplies"
some people really need to get a grip!

Dru has been excellent for otter, toad and noctule over the last few months. Sometimes there are birds (and it has been impressive at times this year, even if wildfowl numbers are on the low side). Swings and roundabouts...

Crammy Birder said...

I didn't mean that the Otters are going on some mission to try and take control of the Norhtumberland coast line, but the facts speak for themselves.
Last time I was at Druridge I saw 2Coots and there were otters around.
Linton lane last week 33 Coots and no Otters.

Ipin said...

cynically yours - the otters aren't stealing the ducks food - the ducks are food! Anyhow, my gripe isn't with the deep pool were the otters hang out, it's the budge fields that are the issue.

and as for toads, I don't nned to go further than my compost heap for them