Tag: Choppington Woods

Natural therapy

by on Dec.10, 2009, under Photography

This morning dawned clear and bright and my original plan had been to take the camera and head up the coast to shoot some of our stunning landscapes at sunrise and then use the available light and switch to a 500mm lens for some wildlife shots.  As it was I reluctantly decided against that option, mainly because I’ve got 6 stitches in my back and I’m going out as photographer on a survey boat tomorrow so didn’t want to put that in jeopardy (although let’s be honest – it’s a pelagic trip, so it would take a lot to keep me on dry land).  A couple more days will see the wound healing nicely and the forecast wintry weather should bring more photo opportunities next week.  I’m giving a lecture on December 27th so I’ve set myself the task of shooting at least 50% of the images for that in the next two weeks.  Hopefully starting with White-beaked Dolphin tomorrow.

This afternoon I left the office and went for a walk around Choppington Woods, describing the reserve, it’s management and our plans for the future with the man who has the unenviable task of trying to do something similar with a somewhat less attractive bit of woodland elsewhere in southeast Northumberland.  As we stood on the boardwalk a Moorhen swam by and a flock of Siskins landed in the top of a bare Larch.  Always enjoyable to watch, they swirled around like a swarm of bees.  Redwings called overhead as they began dropping into the dense hawthorns where they roost and a Blackbird burst from a hedge in alarm as we startled it.  And there it was, the disappointment of the morning washed away by just getting outside and enjoying our local woodland.  Some of our clients have commented how incredibly relaxing they find our tours.  Perhaps there’s an escape for all of us (even if only briefly) from this modern, stressful world that we inhabit?

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The Red Squirrels Last Stand?

by on Jun.21, 2008, under Red Squirrel

Northumberland is fortunate as an English county to still have a healthy population of Red Squirrels (Sciurus vulgaris). I can look out of my office window and see them chasing each other around the trees in Choppington Woods, but for how much longer?

The decline of the Red Squirrel in England has been well documented here but it still clings on in Cumbria and Northumberland.

I’ve heard the opinion voiced recently, by a naturalist for whom I have a great deal of respect, that it’s a waste of resources to try and protect the Red Squirrel from the inexorable expansion of the population of Grey Squirrels.

However, steps are being taken to maintain Northumberland as a safe haven for the Red Squirrel but this doesn’t meet with universal approval, particularly amongst people who have little, or no, experience of Red Squirrels.

It’s a sad fact that, over much of England, the only squirrel that people know and love is the Grey Squirrel, but at least in Northumberland visitors and locals alike can appreciate this charming inhabitant of our woodlands.

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