Tag: Marsh Helleborine

In the summertime; Lindisfarne mini-Safari 16/07/2015

by on Jul.20, 2015, under Lindisfarne

Thursday was to be a day of two mini-safaris, and I arrived at Holy Island to collect David and Larraine for the first of those.

Lindisfarne offers remarkable birdwatching during the winter months, but in the height of summer it’s chief features of interest lie in the flowers and invertebrates resplendent in the Northumbrian sunshine.  Marsh Helleborine, Common Spotted Orchid, Common Restharrow, Viper’s Bugloss and Cottongrass were all in bloom, and an accompanying cast of butterflies included Meadow Brown, Small Heath, Dark Green Fritillary, Ringlet and Common Blue.  An unexpected find was a juvenile Wheatear, and the morning had passed by almost in an instant.  Time to head home, for a few hours in the office before our second mini-safari.

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Mid-summer Murmuration Madness; Druridge Bay 26/06/2014

by on Jul.01, 2014, under Birdwatching, Druridge Bay, Northumberland

Thursday was Peter’s second day out with NEWT, this time around our local patch of Druridge Bay and southeast Northumberland.  Avocets bickered and quarrelled, a Water Rail sunned itself on the edge of a reedbed,  dainty Little Gulls were sleeping in amongst relatively huge Sandwich Terns, Black-tailed Godwits probed the soft mud in the shallows and Peter photographed Common Spotted Orchid, Common Twayblade, Marsh Helleborine and Lesser Butterfly Orchid in nice evening light.

We settled to watch over Druridge Pools, as daylight began to fade, and female Gadwall and Tufted Duck quacked in alarm at an unseen threat and the well-grown Gadwall ducklings came out of the water on to the poolside as the little Tufties scattered in a radiating semi-circle from the spot that their mother had just flown from.  Then a flock of Starlings flew by.  You don’t need a huge murmuration to appreciate the synchronised twists and turns of these gregarious birds in flight, but they were soon joined by another flock..then another…and another.  Ipin was watching from the top of the dunes and estimated 7000 birds in the flock 🙂  That’s an impressive murmuration, but from our position it was extraordinary.  The birds were swirling around the hide, so close that we could hear the roar of 14000 beating wings from all around us and, as they twisted and turned in the light of the setting sun, they alternated between black, brown and gold.  I’m 48 and I’ve been watching wildlife for as long as I can remember, but new experiences still keep coming 🙂

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Images of the future

by on Mar.04, 2011, under Photography

Yesterday evening we attended the Northumberland Wildlife Trust Photography Competition Awards event, as sponsors of the two junior categories in the competition.

The standard of entries throughout all of the categories was very high.  The winning entry in the over 18 category was Peter Tapsell’s stunning shot of 3 Long-tailed Tits, and any regular reader of our blog will know the affection that we have for that species.  Jack Bucknall, winner of the 13-18 category, had displayed the patience that is the hallmark of all good wildlife photographers to capture exactly the image of Barn Swallows that he’d envisaged, and Jonathan Farooqi, winner, and 3rd place as well, in the under 13 category, captured in his images Ragwort, a burnet moth and Marsh Helleborines; all examples of colour and beauty that could easily be overlooked without a photographer’s eye for detail.

It was a real pleasure to talk with Jack and Jonathan after the ceremony, and we’re sure that the day out we’re planning for them (and their dads, or mums – there was some debate about this!) will be one of the highlights of our year.

We’d like to congratulate all of the winners, and all of the other entrants as well, who showcased not only their own talents but the diversity and beauty of the wildlife of our county.

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Anniversary flowers

by on Jul.27, 2010, under Birdwatching, Family and friends, Northumberland

I was giving a talk last night and realised just how important the final week of July has been over the last few years; 7 years ago we were married, 6 years ago I’d just returned from leading a week of birdwatching and whalewatching on Mull, 3 years ago I was in my final week as a teacher and 2 years ago we had our first bespoke tour for clients wanting to experience the wildlife and birdwatching that Northumberland has to offer.

We spent our wedding anniversary on Holy Island, and here are some of the orchids we found;

Common Spotted Orchid, Holy Island, Northumberland 26/07/2010

Northern Marsh Orchid, Holy Island, Northumberland 26/07/2010

Marsh Helleborine, Holy Island, Northumberland 26/07/2010

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