A trip within a trip

by on May.09, 2012, under Birdwatching, Kielder, Northumberland

“Is Sarah keeping you organised and under control?” – that was a question I was actually asked by a client who I took out, for their second trip, recently.  Now, I’m the first to admit that organisation isn’t really one of my strengths, but the other owner of NEWT encourages me 😉

With four clients, and three separate pick-up locations, for our Kielder Safari last Friday, there was plenty of opportunity for the plan to not go smoothly.  However, with Neil collected from his accommodation at The Swan, and Ken and Paddy collected from Low Hauxley, we pulled into the car park at The Pheasant Inn in Kielder at 10:00 – exactly the time I’d said I would be there to collect Roger, our fourth participant for the day.

As we drove through the forest, home of Roe Deer, Red Squirrel and Goshawk, on rough tracks we stopped to watch a Great Spotted Woodpecker perched at the top of a very flimsy spruce, Common Buzzards soared over nearby plantations, Meadow Pipits flitted across the track ahead of us, Chaffinches were singing from what seemed like every tree and a flock of 20 or so Common Crossbills moved through the trackside trees, pausing to nibble at cones, and constantly giving their ‘chip, chip’ calls.  As we continued, a mixed flock of Common Crossbills and Siskins suddenly erupted from the trees.  These two colourful denizens of the dark forests often seem outrageously bright against the dark green foliage, and are always well appreciated by our clients.

Other moorland and upland specialities followed as we headed through the afternoon; Red Grouse, picking their way through the heather, Goosander flying upstream in remote narrow valleys, Ravens – tumbling, cronking and having a real battle with Carrion Crows –  and one of my personal favourites, Wild (Feral) Goats. The collective noun for them is a ‘trip’, coincidentally the same as for one of our favourite birds, the Dotterel – a mountain and moorland specialist that we’ve yet to find on a NEWT Safari 🙂

With shared interests including photography, fly fishing and, of course, a deep love of Northumberland there was plenty of discussion amongst everyone during the day.  Vast forest, small world…

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