Archive for October, 2019

The colour of light; Autumn Colours Photography Workshop 27/10/19

by on Oct.31, 2019, under Photography

Sunday’s photography workshop was a guest short after a late rearrangement for one guest. I collected Sachin and Lucy from the Battlesteads and we headed to Cawfields Quarry. That wasn’t our original plan, but heavy rain meant needing to find a location that wouldn’t be treacherous underfoot. In just over 3hrs we covered exposure, focusing and composition, including how changing camera position and focal length affect the impact that an image has. I had my Samsung galaxy A70 in my pocket so couldn’t resist the beautiful light falling on the landscape 🙂

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Murmuration; Bespoke Druridge Bay Safari 21/10/19

by on Oct.31, 2019, under Druridge Bay

Late October and big flocks of stuff are starting to feature more and more prominently…

I collected Caroline, Ian and Ted from Embleton and we headed down the coast towards NEWT’s local patch, Druridge Bay and southeast Northumberland. Little Grebes were diving in calm water as Cormorants sat on long dead branches and a Kingfisher raced past as Little Egrets and Grey Herons demonstrated very different approaches to hunting; debonair darting and dashing and steady, stealthy menace.

A Common Buzzard was perched on a fence as flocks of Wigeon, Teal, Mallard, Goldeneye and Gadwall drifted quietly on the water and Lapwings flushed in alarm as Curlews left a nearby field, their eerie cries cutting through the cool air.

As dusk approached and the squeals of Water Rails emanated from the reedbeds a Starling murmuration grew into a swirling cloud against the darkening sky. Twisting one way then another and then splitting, rejoining and tightening as a Marsh Harrier chanced it’s luck in a desparate attempt to grab a bird from the writhing amorphous mass while high overhead the high yapping calls of skein after skein of Pink-footed Geese continued as daylight faded to black and we made our way back north.

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Lindisfarne mini-Safari 02/10/19

by on Oct.03, 2019, under Lindisfarne

With a biting northwesterly tearing across the causeway I arrived on Holy Island and met up with Ollie, Neil, Dawn and Sarah for a few hours birding around the island. I was really looking forward to this trip because I’ve known Ollie since we first started NEWT as he has his own outdoor activity business

Around the village House Sparrows were abundant, Pied Wagtails were in the churchyard, Blackbirds were grubbing around in tangled vegetation, Red Admirals added a touch of the exotic and around the edge of the harbour Bar-tailed Godwit, Dunlin, Curlew and Ringed Plover were busily feeding as the eerie moaning wails of Grey Seals carried on the stiffening breeze. Along the eastern shore Grey Herons and a Little Egret were in the rock pools, sheltered from an angry looking sea, and we headed back along the Crooked Lonnen to have lunch at the Post Office Cafe.

Our post-lunch walk along the Straight Lonnen, past hawthorns with Goldcrests in constant motion, fields with Lapwing, Curlew, Oystercatcher and Roe Deer and a dry stone wall with a pair of Stonechats brought us eventually to the exposed wind-blasted north of the island with it’s strange stunted Viper’s Bugloss and a shoreline with more Bar-tailed Godwits, Ringed Plovers and Dunlin on the beach and a couple of female Eiders and one pristine drake in the frothy foaming surf of the rising tide.

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Fishing; Otter Safari 22/09/19

by on Oct.03, 2019, under Druridge Bay

I collected Ulf and Alison, Ian and Lainey and Leigh and Paul from Newbiggin and we set off for an afternoon and evening around Druridge Bay and southeast Northumberland

Little Egrets were darting at small fish in the shallows as Mute Swans and Canada Geese got out of the way of two paddle-boarders who were making their Sunday afternoon leisure activity look like awfully hard work 😉 A Kingfisher flew by and settled briefly on a tangle of fallen branches before plunging into the river and reemerging and vanishing into denser vegetation on the river bank. A second Kingfisher perched on a post in front of us, Snipe, Dunlin, Curlew, Redshank and Lapwing were roosting on exposed mud, a Harbour Porpoise was feeding just offshore as we had our picnic stop overlooking the North Sea and as dusk closed in quickly a Marsh Harrier flushed roosting Starlings from a reedbed, a murmuration developed, a Water Rail darted across the gap between reedbeds and the high yapping calls of Pink-footed Geese coming to roost continued beyond the point where it was too dark to see them against the steely grey sky.

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Finale; NEWT’s North Sea Pelagic 14/09/19

by on Oct.03, 2019, under Bottlenose Dolphin, North Sea, White-beaked Dolphin

After two cancellations due to pretty awful conditions offshore, our final 10hr Northumberland Ultimate Pelagic for 2019 survived the weather and fittingly, given recent changes in cetacean distribution off our coast, was topped and tailed by Bottlenose Dolphins around the mouth of the Tyne with White-beaked Dolphins in the Farne Deeps sandwiched between the start and end of the day…

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Mystery; Otter Safari 05/09/19

by on Oct.03, 2019, under Druridge Bay

I’ve neglected the blog over the last month so here come a series of short posts to get us back up to date…

Sometimes we see things that our clients can’t believe, sometimes we see things that we can’t believe and sometimes, we see things that we can’t find any explanation for…

At the end of an afternoon and evening around Druridge Bay and southeast Northumberland, Paul had just spotted our third Marsh Harrier of the trip. This one was different though, as it was wing-tagged. I’ve never seen a wing-tagged Marsh Harrier so I was immediately wondering who’s tagging them and where. An orange tag on each wing was all we could see so I searched the colour scheme website the next day…and discovered that no tagging scheme is using orange tags on both wings of Marsh Harriers.. More enquiries over the last few weeks, and it’s still a mystery…

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