Eurasian Bittern (Russell F Spencer)
In November last year I visited Gosforth Park NR on the outskirts of Newcastle as part of a general scout around the northeast. The thing that struck me about the place was that despite its close proximity to Newcastle it harboured an amazing array of wildlife.
Encompassing 145 acres, its large woodland is home to the only urban population of Red Squirrels in England, several roosting colonies of Noctule Bats as well as Badgers and various interesting species of plant. There is also a lake and large reedbed in which Water Shrew, Otters roam plus a good selection of winter waterfowl can be found and Bitterns are resident. It is a very beautiful and special place.
At the time, it was under intense pressure with the local council concocting crazy plans to develop the green corridor around the site for housing. This would have ultimately destroyed the fragile ecosystem as it would have effectively taken away the feeding areas for much of the wildlife that use the site.
I heard yesterday that the fierce opposition put up by the local people and other concerned organisations were successful in convincing the council that it was indeed a bad idea to develope the sensitive areas and the site has been saved.
It's so nice to hear such great news. If you ever get the chance you must go and visit this wonderful reserve.