Tag: Northern Goshawk

Kielder; birdwatching on the edge of Northumberland

by on Oct.16, 2010, under Birdwatching, Kielder, Northumberland

Thursday evening was the AGM of the Northumberland & Tyneside Bird Club, and the speaker following the AGM proceedings was our good friend Martin Davison.  Ornithologist is an often overused (and misused) word, but Martin is a real ornithologist, gathering data through hours and hours in the field and involved in several research projects.  His talk was entertaining, informative and covered much of the work he has been involved in for 30 years in Kielder and the Border Forests.  There were some stunning images in his presentation, and the sort of facts and observations that can only be determined by carrying out a prodigious amount of fieldwork.

Kielder itself is an unusual, even other-worldly, place; mile after mile of rolling hills, steep crags and boggy pools, and lots, and lots, of trees.  Our Kielder Safaris have produced some memorable moments; a pair of Mandarins mating, a Common Buzzard catching and devouring a vole, Roe Deer wandering across the remote forest tracks just ahead of our Land Rover and the ‘phantoms of the forest’, Northern Goshawk, beating their way along the edge of spruce plantations.  We’ll be back in Kielder from April, and our dates for 2011 will be on our calendar in the next couple of weeks, so give us a call on 01670 827465 to join one of our trips to this little visited area of Northumberland.

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A flying birdwatching trip to Holland

by on Oct.02, 2010, under Birdwatching, North Sea, Northumberland

On Wednesday afternoon we set off from Royal Quays, out into the North Sea, onboard the MV King of Scandinavia as guests of DFDS.  The weather forecast was for it to be wet, although we did manage a couple of hours birdwatching from the observation lounge before the driving rain obliterated the view.  Gannets were diving into the increasingly heavy swell, a stunning  Pomarine Skua arced across the bow of the ship and a single Puffin was tagging along with six Little Auks.

Arriving in IJmuiden the next morning, it was still raining 🙁  We were collected from the ferry terminal by Lin, a local guide who we had been introduced to by the ORCA wildlife officers from the ferry.  As we headed north Egyptian Geese were around the grass verges near the port, Cormorants  were perched atop most of the lampposts, Common Buzzards were on roadside fences and we saw one lingering Spoonbill.  Our destination was the reserve of Zwanenwater, where Lin is a volunteer.  As we walked through the reserve the high pitched ‘seep’ of Redwings was a constant backdrop, Song Thrushes were flushing from every patch of cover, every bush seemed to hold several Robins and a Common Redstart flicked up from the path in front of us.  We were then taken on a tour of the off-limits areas of the reserve by Fred, another of the volunteers.

Stonechats were seen along the track and there was an impressive spread of Grass of Parnassus.

Stonechat, Birdwatching

Stonechat, Zwanenwater, Noord-Holland 30/09/2010

Grass of Parnassus

Grass of Parnassus, Zwanenwater, Noord-Holland 30/09/2010

Despite the rain we managed an impressive haul of raptors; Common Buzzard, Marsh Harrier, Hen Harrier, Kestrel, Sparrowhawk and Osprey were all seen well but, most impressive of all, the real highlight for both of us was the views we had of Northern Goshawk.  The birds quartering the dunes in search of rabbits and small birds came as a bit of a surprise, but not as much as the two birds that were perched on dead trees overhanging the lake.  Fred explained that they sit there and watch the ducks, before swooping down and taking them off the water.  We didn’t see that, but we did manage some distant images of one of the birds.

Northern Goshawk, birdwatching

Northern Goshawk, Zwanenwater, Noord-Holland 30/09/2010

All too soon we were on the ferry again and heading back to Northumberland, making plans to return to Holland in the spring.

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