Flying in for a day birdwatching in the North Pennines

by on May.27, 2013, under Birdwatching, North Pennines, Northumberland

I always enjoy meeting up with our previous clients again, and Saturday morning found me at Newcastle Airport waiting to meet Jacob and Nancy as they arrived for a couple of days birdwatching in Northumberland.  They were going to be spending Sunday on the Farne Islands, but our destination on what was developing into a gloriously sunny Saturday was the North Pennines.

Just 12 days earlier I’d been marvelling at the temperature of 1C at 10:30am but now Curlew, Lapwing and Oystercatcher were all flying around and calling noisily as we reached the higher ground southwest of Hexham, Skylarks were singing exuberantly against the azure sky, Meadow Pipits were ‘parachuting’ down at the end of their song flights and Common Snipe were calling from concealed positions in the grassland.  In the stunning light, Barn Swallows were eye-wateringly iridescent, a pair of Golden Plover flew in front of us and a pair of Red Grouse watched closely over eight chicks.  Red Grouse was a lifer for Jacob and Nancy and one male allowed a very close approach and provided a lot of photo opportunities for them.  Eyebrows, raised, eyebrows lowered, facing left, facing right, staring into the lens; he went through a veritable supermodel repertoire of poses before seemingly melting into the vegetation.

As we travelled across a high moorland road, a Northern Wheatear posed obligingly for photographs.

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Skylarks and Meadow Pipits provided a memorable aural backdrop to our lunch stop, and a Golden Plover was silhouetted on top of a nearby ridge, keeping a close eye on it’s territory.  Near perfect weather, a gentle breeze, spectacular landscape and stunning birds; what more could you want from a day’s birdwatching?

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