Tag: Seal Safari

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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And we’ve also…

by on Aug.26, 2008, under Wildlife

Had several very successful tours with clients. August 11th saw us venturing across to the Farne Islands on one of our Seal Safaris, excellent views of the Grey Seals were had by all, as well as brief views of two adult Puffins flying by and a Puffin chick that had only recently entered the water. The Cheviots were a little damp on August 18th but a break in the rain produced Peregrine, Merlin, Buzzard, no less than six Black Grouse and a Hare. August 19th saw us visiting the Grey Seals on the Farne Islands again before heading up the coast and across onto Holy Island to search for more seals and wading birds, then back down the coast as far as Amble. 20th involved an early start (for some…) and a walk along the Blyth. Heavy overnight rain had left the river as a raging torrent the colour of milky coffee and the highlight of the morning was a Red Squirrel making it’s way through the trees on the opposite bank of the river as Jays screamed at us from their hidden vantage points. Druridge Bay trip later the same day and we were treated to large roosts of Lapwing and Oystercatcher as well as a mystery mammal running across the roof of the hide we were sitting in at Hauxley. By the time we raced outside it had disappeared into the trees…
August 21st and we were back in Druridge Bay. Highlights were a Common Toad that was walking up the path ahead of us, Noctule Bat flying past (and picked up later on our bat detector) and, due to the incredibly clear sky, excellent views of Jupiter and it’s moons through the telescope – leading to an impromptu astronomy extension to our evening.

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