A walk to celebrate the New Year was held at Hambleton Peninsular led by Linda Biddle, RNHS. As had been suggested warm clothing was required on this bright and crisp January morning. Conditions under foot were a little damp in places after further overnight rain. The walk started from near the Old Hall and on the water here a reasonable collection of wildfowl could be observed, Wigeon , Mallard, Goldeneye, Great Crested Grebe and Little Grebe although not in any great number. A walk through the woodland produced very little in the way of bird sighting but there was evidence of Bluebells already forcing their way into the weak sunshine. Treecreeper, Blue Tit and a few Blackbirds were located. Further round the peninsular a male Goldeneye was observed conducting what appeared to be a courtship display to a nearby female.

  Goldeneye 1 Goldeneye 2

Report from Linda Biddle

Hambleton Peninsula Walk Sunday 10th January 2016
On the brightest and most clear morning for some time, 16 members
and 2 visitors braved the chilly wind, and met by the Fisherman’s car park at
Hambleton near the Old Hall. Before we set off we were lucky enough to see
a Kestrel at close quarters, as it hovered over the edge of the water, keeping
incredibly still in the air, and swooping down to try to catch some small
mammal in the tussocky grass. This time it was unlucky, and flew off to try it’s
luck elsewhere.
Onthe water asweset off along the perimeter track,were a groupof Tufted
Duck some mallard, and a single male Goldeneye, bobbing on the waves
whipped up by the searching wind. It was not the weather for hanging around
too much, and some members walked quite quickly to keep warm, so the
group became quite fragmented, spread out along the track. It was fairly quiet
as far as small birds were concerned, but we did see bluetits, chaffinch, robin
wren, and even caught sight of a tree creeper as we walked through the
woodland. The winter woodland scene was very different to that seen later in
the year, and we looked forward to the bluebells, and hopefully the
nightingales’ return! An old woodpecker hole in a tree trunk was the site of
Lesser Spotted Woodpeckers activity years ago, and again we are hopeful
that they may make a welcome return this summer. The unseasonably warm
winter showed in the plant life around us, hazel catkins flowering yellowy, but
without the red female flowers which will show when the catkins release
pollen later on. Mayweed was flowering in abundance along the edge of the
water at one point, where excellent views of male and female goldeneye,
floating with widgeon and mallard, were seen, and Great Crested and several
Little Grebe were spotted. Evidence of Badger and Deer was present in some
areas, footprints and diggings being seen along the track. The green shoots of
bluebells to come, and even early signs of early Dog’s Mercury, with Red
Campion in full flower gave more evidence of the mild winter we have been
having this year.
Shortly before returning to the cars a Redshank, illuminated by the bright
sunshine, pottered along the edge of the water, probing the mud with it’s bill,
and a Red Kite flew overhead.
It was a pleasant start to the season of meetings for 2016, and we look forward to our next, at Egleton Birdwatching
centre on Feb 21st to be led by Lloyd Park, looking at wildfowl on the
reserve. Members and visitors alike will be welcome