Tag: Hancock Museum

Frenetic Friday

by on Oct.23, 2010, under Choppington Woods, Farne Islands, North Sea, Northumberland

Yesterday involved a real mixture of my favourite places, and a wide range of activities.

Starting just after 07:00 I checked the 12 Longworth traps that we set on pre-bait in Choppington Woods earlier in the week.  With 9 of the 12 having been emptied of food, the small mammals we’re interested in had obviously found the bait.  The one slight problem was that initially I could only find 11 traps!  Despite having a GPS location for each, and marking adjacent vegetation with tags, it took 20 minutes to locate one of them.  Veronica Carnell, who is supervising me while I gain sufficient experience to run a trapping programme on my own, had warned me that this would happen 🙂

Then I had a short drive across to Blyth for the second day of the Netgain regional hub meeting.  It’s been incredibly educational to listen to the views and concerns of other stakeholders, who don’t necessarily approach things from a conservation point of view.  Equally, it was impressive to see such wide and varied viewpoints coalescing into a concensus by the end of the meeting.  Although I have an interest in the project from a nature tourism angle, my main input was on the distribution and seasonality of cetaceans and seabirds off the Northumberland coast.  The protection of the marine habitat is so important to us that, as a business, we’ll keep making my time available for Netgain meetings until the conclusion of the project.

After the meeting I drove to Seahouses and collected a journalist from the Edinburgh Evening News, for a trip across to the Farne Islands.  We occasionally run press trips where the journalist will be accompanied by wife/husband/partner, but 2 adults, a 6-year old, a 3-year old and a baby was pretty much a first (apart from a guy from a local paper in Cumbria who managed to blag a free holiday, for himself and his family, from accommodation providers, activity providers and attractions in Northumberland in 2008…and then never wrote the article that was used as the hook for getting all the freebies – ah well, live and learn).  The trip across to the Farnes was everything I would expect in late October; breezy, cold and a fantastic wildlife experience.  The Grey Seal pups were predictably cute, and at least 3 Peregrines were hunting the Feral Pigeons that live on the islands.  We’ve got a Seal Safari next Friday, which includes a trip around the Farne Islands (weather permitting), a Landrover safari and picnic so give us a call on 01670 827465 for more details or to book (especially if you are a family – it’s 1/2 term week so we’re offering generous discounts on family bookings).  With 5 trips out with clients over the next 5 days (including 2 days where we’re fully booked already) it’s going to be  a busy week.

All of that would have a been a busy day…but there was one thing left, and it was something that I was really looking forward to.  As Newcastle University graduates, myself and Sarah both have an emotional attachment to the Hancock Museum (or Great North Museum:Hancock as it’s now named…but you won’t find either of us, or many other local naturalists, calling it that).  So, yesterday evening I felt quite honoured to be standing in the Clore Learning Centre at the museum giving a lecture about the Northeast Cetacean Project to the Natural History Society of Northumbria.  With an attendance of over 100 at the lecture it’s a subject that people are really interested by.  One of the question asked at the end of the talk was “how will the data be used?  what value does it have?”.  Which took us nicely back round the loop to the day and a half of Netgain meetings.

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