Tag: Bamburgh Castle

Coastal Dawn; Beginners Phototgraphy 07/03/2015

by on Apr.01, 2015, under Bamburgh Castle

Coastal Dawn was Heather’s second beginners photography workshop with NEWT, and we were hoping for a morning a bit warmer than the previous workshop.

We did get something slightly warmer, although no less windy.  As I arrived at Bamburgh the wind was buffeting the car, which was shaking once I’d parked.  Heather arrived, but no sign of our other participants (who’d woken up, listened to the howling wind, and thought better of it!).  Down on the beach we were sheletered in the lee of the dunes and worked through compositional techniques, exposure compensation and the use of graduated filters.  Another photographer made his way down to the shoreline, before very gingerly heading back across the slippery seaweed-covered rocks in the teeth of the gale.  Another excellent morning with the elements throwing the hard stuff at us, and Heathers’ parting comment made me smile “What workshops do you in the summer when the weather’s nice?” 🙂

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Going batty at Bamburgh

by on Nov.01, 2010, under Bamburgh Castle, Northumberland

Saturday saw our annual Halloween bat walk, again at the excellent location of Bamburgh Castle.  Bookings had been slow until the end of last week but we eventually had 24 participants booked on the walk.  As we set off just after 5pm, the sky darkened and the first drops of cold rain began to fall.  With Chris’s excellent commentary about the history of the castle and it’s surroundings, and the two of us filling in with wildlife info, we were soon round at the base of the Miller’s Nick – a route into the castle that isn’t open to the public.  Once inside the castle walls, Chris regaled everyone with a series of ghostly tales about the castle.  Then, as we walked around the eastern edge of the castle grounds, the first Common Pipistrelle of the evening was spotted.  As well as listening to them using our bat detectors, everyone managed to see them as they raced and swooped along the walls.  Then it was time to head inside for pumpkin soup, homemade bread…and a walk along an unlit tunnel beneath the castle.

We’re adding more family events to our calendar for 2011 so keep checking to see what we can do for your family.

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A bit of this…

by on Jan.25, 2010, under Birdwatching, Choppington Woods, Druridge Bay, Northumberland, Surveys

The last few days have been fairly quiet, although quite varied.  On Thursday I was at the North Northumberland Tourism Association AGM at Paxton House.  On arrival the car park was close to full, with just a couple of spaces not occupied.  I reversed my Mondeo into one of them, thinking that the snow sounded very crunchy, and went into the meeting.  For me the highlight of the event was a talk by Laurie Campbell, covering things that he’s photographed in and around North Northumberland.  Returning to my car and the inevitable…it wouldn’t move anywhere with the wheels spinning on the snow.  Luckily Chris Calvert from Bamburgh Castle was leaving at the same time and, along with Verity from the Grace Darling Museum, he helped to push the car clear of the snow.  I wouldn’t have had that problem in the Landrover…

On Friday I chaired a committee meeting of the Southeast Northumberland Tourism Association.  As a new project, all of the committee are putting in a lot of effort and our AGM will be in February, the website should be up and running soon and we’re designing a leaflet to highlight the tourist attractions in our area.

On Sunday we carried out our WeBS count (a week late but the Birdwatching Northumberland Press Trip coincided with the scheduled count date).  Northeasterly winds at the start of the month have deposited huge volumes of sand a long way up the beach (and along the footpath in Cresswell village) almost to the height of the dunes in some places.  The highlight was a loose group of divers on the sea, 15 Red-throated, 2 Great Northern and 1 Black-throated.  As we approached the Chibburn mouth, the end of our survey section, Sarah commented on the sheer walls of sand next to the Chibburn as it wound it’s way down the beach.  Not surprisingly, Sarah took the sensible approach and walked well away from the edge…at least I earned some brownie points by removing Sarah’s ‘scope and tripod from my shoulder and throwing it clear as the sand gave way beneath my feet.

Now I’ve got a day in the office and it’s gloomy and overcast.  Two Jays and a Great Spotted Woodpecker are in the apple tree and Siskins have started visiting the feeders (after merely flirting with the boundary of our garden earlier in the winter).  Lesser Redpolls are still around the edge of Choppington Woods.  Can we set a new high total for our garden when it’s the Big Garden Birdwatch next weekend?

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Snow on the sand

by on Dec.23, 2009, under Lindisfarne, Photography

I’m lucky enough to not suffer from SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder).  In fact I look forward to the winter months – I’m a bit dysfunctional in very hot weather (that’s one of the reasons I live in the north of England, and why I enjoy winter holidays in northwest Scotland so much).

Our very wintry Lindisfarne Safari on Monday was just about my ideal day out; bitterly cold, inspirational winter light, hardly another person to be seen anywhere and plenty of wildlife.

That inspiration manifested itself in a repeat visit to the Lindisfarne NNR yesterday.  I had two goals in mind; photograph Pale-bellied Brent Geese, and capture an image of Bamburgh Castle as the light faded.

The geese were some distance away, due to the state of the tide, but I managed to capture the distant birds in the shadow of Lindisfarne Castle, and a small group as they flew along the tideline.

Lindisfarne Castle and Pale-bellied Brent Geese

Lindisfarne Castle and Pale-bellied Brent Geese

Pale-bellied Brent Geese (Branta bernicla hrota) (c)Martin Kitching/Northern Experience Images

Pale-bellied Brent Geese

The light was fading rapidly so I drove to Bamburgh, along roads that resembled a ski run, and made my way down to the beach.  Frozen rock-pools and a beach dusted with snow aren’t a frequent occurence so it was an unusual opportunity to photograph the castle in these conditions.  The big, thick gloves that were keeping my hands nice and toasty were too bulky to let me operate the camera so I had to suffer for the image.  And it was suffering; just a few seconds with my gloves off and my hands were protesting at the cold.

Bamburgh Castle in the snow 22/12/09

Bamburgh Castle in the snow 22/12/09

The Moon, high over Bamburgh 22/12/09

The Moon, high over Bamburgh 22/12/09

20 miles back down the road, with gloves on and the car heater on full, my fingers began to warm through…so I decided to extend the journey home and check some of our favourite owl sites, even though that would require some very, very careful driving.  A Barn Owl perched on a stack of hay bales was justification enough for that decision and two Little Owls, perched in trees just a hundred metres apart were the icing on the cake.

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An icy grip

by on Dec.21, 2009, under Birdwatching, Grey Seal, Lindisfarne, Northumberland, Photography

I’m resolute in my belief that the winter is an excellent time to visit Northumberland.  It’s relaxing and quiet (not that it’s ever really anything else), there’s a lot of wildlife (ditto) and we often get stunning weather that showcases our remarkable landscape at it’s best.

Today was a day when everything came together just the way you hope.  As I drove up the A1 Kestrels, Common Buzzards and Roe Deer were all in roadside fields and Redwings and Fieldfares were hedge-hopping from one side of the road to the other.

I collected Tracey, Guy and Connor (and Ghillie – their collie dog) just after lunch, from their holiday cottage near Belford, and we headed to Holy Island.  The sea by the ends of the causeway was frozen and a sprinkling of snow covered the dunes.  As we crossed towards the island a Merlin flushed from a roadside post and we stopped to admire the beautiful diffused light that illuminated the mudflats.  Our walk on the island was on ground frozen solid, and covered with ice and snow.  The wind was bitingly cold but Grey Seals, Meadow Pipits, Shags, Curlews, Eiders, Red-breasted Mergansers,  Pale-Bellied Brent Geese and flocks of Teal heading towards the mainland all diverted the attention.  As we headed back to the mainland a handsome male Stonechat played hide-and-seek with us along the edge of the causeway, but persistence paid off and Tracey and Guy managed some good shots.  I love having keen photographers on our safaris – especially ones who really appreciate the quality of light that we enjoy up here – so we made several stops as the changing light produced a series of photo opportunities.  I can only hope that we get similar conditions for our first Beginners Photography workshop in January.  The rising tide and fluffy pink clouds of the late afternoon combined with Bamburgh Castle in the snow to offer more memorable images, while we were watching Oystercatchers, Turnstones, Redshanks and a Ringed Plover on the frozen beach.  The route back was made easier by being in a Landrover, and the steady journey allowed us to pick out Brown Hares in the snow-covered fields – seven in total, standing sentinel-like as we approached.  Once I was back on the ice-free A1 and travelling south it was like a different world  to the one I’d been in for the last few hours.  Environmental escapism at it’s best.

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