Breaking new ground

by on Mar.26, 2012, under Birdwatching, Harwood, Northumberland

Since we started NEWT we’ve always tried to innovate and keep our tours refreshed.  Saturday gave me the opportunity to do something that really was innovative – our first Harwood Safari.  We’ve walked the route 5 times during the last 3 winters, but driving it was something of an unknown quantity.

As a business we’re happy to support the Northumberland Wildlife Trust.  As well as being a corporate member of the trust, we sponsor the under 13 and 13-18 age categories of the NWT Annual Photography competition.  Saturday’s Harwood trip was the prize for last year’s 13-18 winner and his dad.  When I collected them from Newbiggin it was worryingly misty, but as we headed inland the mist began to lift.

We started at the viewpoint near Winter’s Gibbet, where Skylark, Meadow Pipit, Crossbill, Siskin, Goldcrest, Lesser Redpoll and Chiffchaff were all calling or singing.  As the mist over the forest lifted, it was time to break new ground as we headed off along tracks with no vehicle access to the public.  More Crossbills and Siskins were in the trackside trees and Common Buzzards were soaring high overhead giving their mewing calls.  Soon after lunch we stopped to check out a distant raptor over the plantation on the opposite side of a clearfell area.  Within a minute we were watching 3 Common Buzzards…and a pair of Goshawks that had risen out of the trees to shepherd the buzzards away!  As the buzzards moved on the Goshawks quickly melted back into the obscurity of the trees.

A stop to search for Adders didn’t produce any of these fearsome reptiles, but we did find a dozen Common Lizards, lazing in the sunshine and then scuttling out of sight.

Our first Harwood Safari, the air filled with raptors, trees filled with Crossbills…looks like a winner 🙂

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