There is not much standing water in NZ26, but where it occurs it attracts a different kind of wildlife. Some of this is very selective and as far as Tufted Duck is concerned I have only seen it in the lakes.
You may notice I am using the word lakes quite loosely. In the forth coming New Naturalist series Ponds, Pools and Puddles they may have a more neat distinction and all of my ‘Lakes’ become ponds. However, that wont be published until 2019, so until then I will use my definition.
Lake -any open water in NZ26 which I can’t throw a stone over its longest length. This rules out having to find all the garden ponds (though using Google earth there aren’t many of those when I scan across my neighbours gardens). It also allows me to count Exhibition Park as even with my weak throwing arm I can get a stone across the narrow width. The small pond east of the Metro centre is probably within my grasp of a stones throw, but to test it I will attract some attention given there is a swan’s nest on the far side. So its in OK. As is the fact I did not say free standing which allows me to take in Richardson Dees Park in Wallsend.
This gives me five ‘lakes’ north of Tyne in four tetrads. And four ‘lakes’ south of Tyne also in four tetrads. In total 6 of these could be described as Victorian municipal park lakes with concrete bottoms. The aim was to go around all nine in one day to list the birds using the lakes. Other birds seen were added to BirdTrack too.
The lake birds are contained in the following table.
A few other things sprung to mind.
I have probably seen all the Tufted Duck in this square -33. There is not another species where this will happen. And Tufties cute.
There is not much open water. And without the variety of plant life around it must be of questionable quality.
The nature of these lakes does leave them vulnerable to pollution. The shopping trolley in Leam Lane was just an obvious example. And the rat had only made best use of the bread the ducks can’t eat.
Canada Geese can raise young under any circumstances.
Seeing Swallows in the centre of Newcastle is a treat.
People obviously enjoy ‘nature’, but many don’t make any distinction between the different types of things they see. Canada Geese with goslings are more attractive than warblers singing in the undergrowth.
What would it take to get the general public to care more?
And finally the saddest sight was at the pond by the Metro Centre.
In April there were a pair of swans and a nest was built.
Now the female sits alone brooding with no sign of the male.