Sights and sounds; North Pennines 10/05/2011

by on May.10, 2011, under Birdwatching, North Pennines, Northumberland

With a run of 3 North Pennines trips in 6 days, I’m going to be seeing a lot of what is rapidly becoming my favourite birdwatching location (outside of the Northumberland coast in mid-October of course…).

05:30 and the incessant ringing of the alarm clock lets me know that it’s time to be up and about.  Within an hour I’m on my way to Hebburn and then heading west with Kathleen and Brian, 2 of our Prestige Clients, in the car.

The elements aren’t playing fair; a biting cold wind just adds to the ‘feel’ of the North Pennines, but even the stinging raindrops don’t dampen the enthusiasm.  An imperious Blackcock, taking shelter from the wind behind a dry stone wall, allows a prolonged view (we weren’t to know that he was the first of no less than 21 Black Grouse that we were going to enjoy, including 7 birds lekking as we had our lunch).  Red Grouse popped up like Meerkats from the heather as we passed, Lapwing, Curlew and Snipe were all calling over their territories, Skylarks were singing a song that was carried far on the wind and a Golden Plover called plaintively as its little shockingly yellow chicks bobbed up and down around it.  A Stoat dashing across the road in front of us, quickly vanished into the heather; the predator’s route signposted by the string of Meadow Pipits flushing as it passed.

One down, two to go…and I might go there early on Thursday myself when I’m in the area for a Northern Experience Holidays business meeting.  Addicted?

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