Tag: Cinnabar Moth

Wet and windy; Farne Islands Safari 15/06/17

by on Jun.19, 2017, under Farne Islands

I collected Richard and Chris, Anne and Howard and Paul and Julie from Seahouses and we headed a little way down the coast to visit the Arctic and Little Tern colony before heading back to Seahouses for a trip across to Inner Farne

The dunes were a hive of activity in the warm sunshine; Common Blue butterflies, Yellow Shell, Cinnabar and burnet moths and an impressive display of our county flower, Bloody Cranesbill, before we reached the terns.  After lunch it was time to board Glad Tidings and head towards the ‘Galapagos of the North’.  Eiders were escorting their chicks around the harbour and the first Puffins and Guillemots were sitting on the sea just out of the pier ends.  As we approached the islands, in a strengthening breeze, the number of birds increased dramatically  with lines of Guillemot and Puffin, and the odd Razorbill, streaming back to their nests and hungry chicks.  Gannets soared by and the sound, and smell, of a cliff full of Kittiwakes was an all-out assault on the senses.  Grey Seals were lazing on the rocks and we landed on Inner Farne with it’s remarkably obliging Shags, Guillemots, Puffins and Sandwich, Arctic and Common Terns.

What can we say about the Farne Islands?  If you haven’t already visited them, start making your plans 🙂

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Grand finale; Druridge Bay Bespoke mini-Safari 24/08/16

by on Aug.28, 2016, under Druridge Bay, Northumberland Coast, Southeast Northumberland

Wednesday brought a first for me – arriving at Church Point to collect Lucy, Jon, Hattie and Lily, the car park was completely full!  That’s nice weather for you though…

We started our afternoon around Druridge Bay and southeast Northumberland with a search for Red Squirrel.  With lots of people around it wasn’t entirely surprising that our quarry eluded us, but Chaffinch, Great Tit, Blue Tit, Goldfinch and Dunnock were all benefiting from the supply of free food as everyone tried to get to grips with the contact calls of Chiffchaff and Willow WarblerDragonflies were hawking around the tree tops and a range of insects finished up in our sample pot before being released back to the plants we’d taken them from.  On to wetter habitats and an attempt to catch a Blue-tailed Damselfly ended comically when it flew from its perch and settled on my finger instead 🙂  Common Snipe, Curlew Sandpiper, Common Redshank, Ruff, Curlew and Lapwing were a nice little haul of waders and a calling Greenshank stayed out of sight as Little Egrets stalked along the water’s edge and Grey Herons tried to remain inconspicuous amongst the clumps of rush.  I was called on to answer some tricky questions during the afternoon – “would a Grey Squirrel attack a person?” was slightly easier to answer than “what sort of cloud is that?” 😉

As often is the case, there was a discussion about best wildlife of the trip.  Common Snipe and Cinnabar Moth caterpillar both got the seal of approval, although the vote did come before we were heading back down the coast and a Barn Owl was quartering the roadside fields.  Death on silent wings, beautifully backlit by the later afternoon sun and the finale to Jon’s 40th birthday wildlife tour 🙂

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Dodging the showers; Lindisfarne Safari 09/08/16

by on Aug.10, 2016, under Holy Island

The unpredictability of the weather in northern England is one of the reasons I love living here.  Early August and you just don’t know whether there’ll be clear skies and sunshine, or something akin to the depths of the autumn…

I arrived at Kingston Park and met up with Chris (for his third trip with NEWT), Diane and Robin and we headed up the A1 to Berwick where we collected Gill (for her second trip with NEWT in a week).  Our first destination was the Holy Island causeway, where we found a Common Seal, Little Egret, Dunlin, Redshank, Curlew, Sanderling, Ringed Plover, a distant dense flock of Golden Plover and a few Whimbrel (including one bird that was obligingly standing next to a Curlew).  A sudden increase in wind strength heralded the arrival of the first rain shower of the day, and a noticeable drop in temperature.  Thinking that the poor weather was going to move through earlier than forecast I decided to switch around the plan for the rest of the day and we headed down the coast where we watched Sandwich Terns, Gannets and masses of gulls feeding as Fulmars soared past us on stiff wings, effortless in the breeze.  Rafts of Eider were just beyond the breaking surf as a female Goosander sat preening on the edge of a rockpool and Knot and Turnstone rummaged in the seaweed exposed on the falling tide.  Back to scanning the mudflats and Grey Plover joined the days wader list and Grey Seals called mournfully from exposed sandbanks before we crossed over onto Holy Island with the weather showing signs of improvement.  An adult Mediterranean Gull was an unexpected find in the car park and we set off to walk around the bits of the island that weren’t busy with visitors…

Grey Herons, Little Grebes and Moorhen were around the edges of the Lough as a Reed Warbler delivered it’s rhythmic chuntering song from a hidden perch in the reeds and the rest of our walk produced Stonechat, Meadow Pipit, a juvenile Kestrel, Cinnabar moth caterpillars and, probably the bird of the day, a Short-eared Owl quartering the dunes and fields with impressively slow deep wingbeats 🙂

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Creepy crawlies;Druridge Bay mini-safari 15/08/2015

by on Aug.20, 2015, under Druridge Bay

The easiest wildlife to engage with is often the small stuff that we might walk by on our way to search for something bigger…

I collected Flora, Pete, Katie (‘the Awesome’!), Joe and Madeleine from Church Point and we set out for a morning exploring around Druridge Pools.  Once I’d armed everyone with sample pots, hand lenses and magnifiers, Ragwort was scrutinised closely for Cinnabar moth caterpillars and they were soon tracked down and subjected to close inspection.  Spiders, slugs, snails, bees, hoverflies and a Small Copper butterfly were also potted and looked at in detail.  Much further along the size spectrum, Black-tailed Godwits and Grey Herons offered ‘scope-filling views and empty Swallow nests were easily accessible.  Common Darters stayed just beyond our reach, and soon a whole morning had passed and it was time to head back to Newbiggin.

Our family wildlife safaris are carefully tailored to keep all ages engaged and we’ve got lots of options including mini-beasting, badger-watching and bat detecting.  Give us a call on 01670 827465 to see what we can do for you 🙂

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A mixed bag of wildlife; Lindisfarne Safari 12/08/2013

by on Aug.21, 2013, under Uncategorized

As I collected Jaap, Nancy, Maartje and Laura for their Lindisfarne Safari it was good to see that we’d made the right decision in postponing from the previous Monday (which would have been an unpleasant day to be out and about on Holy Island).

Lindisfarne is an excellent birdwatching location in the winter months, and can be spectacular during spring and autumn migration, but the summer brings a real variety of things to look at.  As we walked around the island Starlings were swirling, Grey Seals and Eiders were bobbing just beyond the breaking surf and Swallows were feeding hungry nestlings.  There was plenty on the ground too; Cinnabar Moth caterpillars were munching on Ragwort, Viper’s Bugloss was by the side of the paths and Maartje spotted, and identified, a Dark Green Fritillary.  With exposed sandbars at low tide there were lots of Grey Seals just lazing about and the shoreline was bustling with bird activity; Bar-tailed Godwits, Curlews, Dunlin, Ringed Plover, Grey Plover and Turnstone were around the island’s edge and in the gooey mud of the harbour.  Golden Plover were swirling over the island in impressive flocks before settling in the fields, an adult Mediterranean Gull was perched obligingly close as we headed back to the village, and all too soon it was time to leave the island as the rising tide approached the causeway.  Landscape photography stops at Bamburgh and Newton on the way south were followed by distant views of lightning and then an impressively dark sky out over the North Sea.  With so much wildlife in one day it would be hard to choose one highlight…but my own personal favourite was the brightest pink binoculars that I’ve ever seen 🙂

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