Along the edge of a precipitous bank in Kielder Forest, with a narrow stream below us, the “chip, chip” calls from the summit of the trees above prompt everyone to crane their necks. Then the calls are coming from below and the source of the sound is down at the stream, hidden below an undercut bank. A moment of magic as the birds pause at eye-level on the stream to treetop elevator; just a few feet away, illuminated in a spot of dappled light, the outrageously bright slash of red and black of a male Common Crossbill with his family.
2 hours later we’re in a secluded valley and, as we enjoy our lunch, overhead is the unmistakeable shape of a male Hen Harrier. The ‘dove-coloured falcon’ or ’blue hawk’ (to list just two of it’s local names) soars above us. Surely the most beautiful and captivating of our raptors and still heavily, and illegally, persecuted, we’re privileged to witness that beauty and his effortless ascent against the clear blue sky.
One day, 2 different habitats, 2 very different birds, 2 birdwatching gems, 2 indelible memories….