Tag: Vipers Bugloss

Avoiding the crowds; Lindisfarne mini-Safari 23/08/16

by on Aug.26, 2016, under Holy Island, Lindisfarne, Northumberland Coast

Northumberland is a sparsely populated county where it’s relatively easy to get away from it all and enjoy watching wildlife without the hustle and bustle of large numbers of other people…

I met up with Lynsey, Francis, Gregory and Thea in the main car park on Holy Island ahead of an afternoon mini-Safari around the island.  The car park was busy, really busy, and there were lots of people walking to and from the village and the castle.  There’s so much more to Holy Island than that though, and we set off along the Straight Lonnen and away from the crowds 🙂  Gannets were passing by offshore, Oystercatchers were roosting just above the tide line and Grey Herons were stalking through rockpools as Goosander swam rapidly past them with their heads submerged in a search for fish.  Little Grebe, Moorhen, Coot, Mute Swan and Mallard were on The Lough and Curlew flew overhead.  Viper’s Bugloss and Grass of Parnassus were still in flower as the sharp eyesight of Thea and Gregory brought hoverflies, bees, moths and Meadow Brown, Painted Lady and Small Tortoiseshell flicked back and forth across the path in front of us.  Meadow Pipits appeared out of the grass and vanished almost as quickly and a Pheasant broke into a trot ahead of us.  As the rising tide began to flood over Fenham Flats, the eerie moans of Grey Seals carried on the breeze and a dense swirling cloud of distant waders soon resolved into the familiar shape, and sound, of Golden Plover.  As we returned to the car park, there were only half a dozen cars still there and the island was incredibly quiet as the rising tide had brought the usual mass departure 🙂

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In the summertime; Lindisfarne mini-Safari 16/07/2015

by on Jul.20, 2015, under Lindisfarne

Thursday was to be a day of two mini-safaris, and I arrived at Holy Island to collect David and Larraine for the first of those.

Lindisfarne offers remarkable birdwatching during the winter months, but in the height of summer it’s chief features of interest lie in the flowers and invertebrates resplendent in the Northumbrian sunshine.  Marsh Helleborine, Common Spotted Orchid, Common Restharrow, Viper’s Bugloss and Cottongrass were all in bloom, and an accompanying cast of butterflies included Meadow Brown, Small Heath, Dark Green Fritillary, Ringlet and Common Blue.  An unexpected find was a juvenile Wheatear, and the morning had passed by almost in an instant.  Time to head home, for a few hours in the office before our second mini-safari.

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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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