Tag: family wildlife events

Swinging squirrels and beat-boxing bats; coastal mini-Safari 16/08/16

by on Aug.17, 2016, under Druridge Bay

At this time of year, some of our favourite activities are mini-safaris for families with young children.  With reasonable weather mammals, birds, insects. flowers and stargazing can all be wrapped up into an evening around Druridge Bay and the southeast Northumberland coast…

I collected Niall, Emma, Betty and Pearl from Cresswell and we headed off to search for our first target species for the evening.  Goldfinch, Chaffinch, Dunnock and Great Tit were all around the feeding station where I thought we’d find a squirrel, and sure enough, Niall spotted one coming through the trees nearby.  This was a young Red Squirrel though, and it was struggling with the concept a of a feeder with a hinged lid; sitting on the lid and peering wistfully through the transparent front of the feeder didn’t hold it’s attention for long so it set about plundering the bird feeders, stretching across from the tree trunks and swinging from the feeders like an Olympic gymnast.  Then it returned to the squirrel feeder and sat on the platform, lifted the lid and made off with a hazelnut 🙂

Heading up the coast we were treated to the sight of a Barn Owl quartering the dunes on silent wings before hovering and plunging into the grass then rising and flying off carrying a hapless vole in it’s talons.  Little Egrets, Grey Herons and Canada Geese were all studied through the ‘scope and Rabbits made brief appearances throughout the evening.

As dusk began fading to darkness, with Shoveler and Teal silhouetted against the final rays of daylight,  Noctule Bats were hunting overhead as the near-full Moon made an excellent subject for study with the ‘scope.  Turning on the bat detector allowed us to listen to them as well as watching their hunting flight.  If you’ve never heard a Noctule then treat yourself by listening to a recording of one.  Betty’s comment really sums them up though “It sound’s like it’s beat-boxing”.  With the dark cloak of night finally starting to take a grip, stars and planets appeared as if a light switch had been flicked on.  Mars, eeriely red low in the west, Vega, one of the three bright stars that make up the Summer Triangle, and then the grand finale, Saturn; appearing elongated through binoculars, and resolving to the giant planet and it’s rings in the telescope view 🙂

If you’re visiting Northumberland with your family give us a call on 01670 827465 to find out what we can do for you 🙂

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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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Going batty at Bamburgh

by on Nov.01, 2010, under Bamburgh Castle, Northumberland

Saturday saw our annual Halloween bat walk, again at the excellent location of Bamburgh Castle.  Bookings had been slow until the end of last week but we eventually had 24 participants booked on the walk.  As we set off just after 5pm, the sky darkened and the first drops of cold rain began to fall.  With Chris’s excellent commentary about the history of the castle and it’s surroundings, and the two of us filling in with wildlife info, we were soon round at the base of the Miller’s Nick – a route into the castle that isn’t open to the public.  Once inside the castle walls, Chris regaled everyone with a series of ghostly tales about the castle.  Then, as we walked around the eastern edge of the castle grounds, the first Common Pipistrelle of the evening was spotted.  As well as listening to them using our bat detectors, everyone managed to see them as they raced and swooped along the walls.  Then it was time to head inside for pumpkin soup, homemade bread…and a walk along an unlit tunnel beneath the castle.

We’re adding more family events to our calendar for 2011 so keep checking to see what we can do for your family.

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