A walk in the park

by on Apr.20, 2012, under Birdwatching, Cheviot Valleys, Northumberland

There are days when the weather is so good that my resolve to stay in the office and get on with admin work gets stretched beyond breaking point…

Monday is my usual office day, but the afternoon looked promising and I soon found myself driving inland towards the Northumberland National Park.  Knee surgery last December has given my legs a new lease of life, and the uphill bits (which I always find more interesting from a birdwatching perspective) of the Cheviot valleys are no longer tortuous.  I only live 10 minutes from the coast, so you may wonder why I would drive for an hour inland…but one moment of the afternoon summed up everything that is special about our remoter areas.

Sitting on a boulder-strewn hillside I can hear a Ring Ouzel on the precipitous crag opposite me.  Along the stream far beneath my perch, Grey Wagtails and Dippers are bobbing their way downstream, flitting from rock to rock.  The complex song of a Skylark carries on the breeze, and Red Grouse cackle in the heather.  There isn’t another human in sight, no sound of motor vehicles, nothing that breaks the natural soundscape of this vast amphitheatre.  Then, black dots appear against the azure sky; two, no four, no wait, six Common Buzzards soaring high overhead, then smaller dots, a pair of Kestrels and a pair of Peregrines. A Raven joins the swirling mass of raptors and, above them all, an Osprey drifting lazily north.  I lay back against the hillside, and watch…

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