Tag: Northern Wheatear

Light on the water; Bespoke Photography 10/09/2020

by on Sep.11, 2020, under Bottlenose Dolphin, Northumberland Coast, Photography

Yesterday was a trip we were really looking forward to after what has been a really challenging year in so many ways. Emma and Janine have been on a couple of photography holidays that I’ve led since late 2018 and yesterday’s trip was organised for Janine’s birthday. Water and wildlife were the specific requests so I’d discussed how to structure the full day with Sarah and we thought we’d got a workable plan…

We started with wildlife; Dunlin, Redshank, Bar-tailed Godwit, Curlew and Turnstone all exploiting the rich food supply available on freshly uncovered sand and seaweed as the tide fell. Low-angled sunlight and mirror-calm water were everything we could have wished for and after a morning of wading birds we headed off for an excellent lunch, and outstanding views from our window table, at the Jolly Fisherman.

Post-lunch we stretched our legs and walked towards Dunstanburgh Castle as the tide turned and surf started breaking over the rocks in the foreground while we sat close to the rising water. Juvenile Gannets were diving offshore and I was thinking that there must be plenty of fish when I spotted a couple of dorsal fins and for the next 5 minutes we watched a group of around 10 Bottlenose Dolphins that seemed to be on a mission to get somewhere away to the south 🙂 Heading back south down the coast our final stop was at Howick Haven/Rumbling Kern as the tide started to flood in below the Bathing House.

Lovely entertaining clients who are pleasure to spend time with, fantastic light, obliging wildlife and the Northumberland coast. There can’t be many better ways to spend a day 🙂

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Flying in for a day birdwatching in the North Pennines

by on May.27, 2013, under Birdwatching, North Pennines, Northumberland

I always enjoy meeting up with our previous clients again, and Saturday morning found me at Newcastle Airport waiting to meet Jacob and Nancy as they arrived for a couple of days birdwatching in Northumberland.  They were going to be spending Sunday on the Farne Islands, but our destination on what was developing into a gloriously sunny Saturday was the North Pennines.

Just 12 days earlier I’d been marvelling at the temperature of 1C at 10:30am but now Curlew, Lapwing and Oystercatcher were all flying around and calling noisily as we reached the higher ground southwest of Hexham, Skylarks were singing exuberantly against the azure sky, Meadow Pipits were ‘parachuting’ down at the end of their song flights and Common Snipe were calling from concealed positions in the grassland.  In the stunning light, Barn Swallows were eye-wateringly iridescent, a pair of Golden Plover flew in front of us and a pair of Red Grouse watched closely over eight chicks.  Red Grouse was a lifer for Jacob and Nancy and one male allowed a very close approach and provided a lot of photo opportunities for them.  Eyebrows, raised, eyebrows lowered, facing left, facing right, staring into the lens; he went through a veritable supermodel repertoire of poses before seemingly melting into the vegetation.

As we travelled across a high moorland road, a Northern Wheatear posed obligingly for photographs.

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Skylarks and Meadow Pipits provided a memorable aural backdrop to our lunch stop, and a Golden Plover was silhouetted on top of a nearby ridge, keeping a close eye on it’s territory.  Near perfect weather, a gentle breeze, spectacular landscape and stunning birds; what more could you want from a day’s birdwatching?

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Moorland meanderings

by on May.02, 2013, under Birdwatching, North Pennines, Northumberland

As I collected Jenny and Rob for a day in the North Pennines, the weather looked promising, although a little breezy, and we were quickly in the hills.  The song of Lapwing, Curlew, Snipe, Redshank, Golden Plover and Oystercatcher carried on the breeze as we found our first Black Grouse of the day – a Blackcock and two Greyhens.  Red Grouse seemed to be filling every available bit of moorland and we had an ‘is it or isn’t it?’ moment with an upright, backlit, black bird on an old barn that seemed to show a pale crescent on the throat/breast.  It flew out of sight and we were left wondering (I’ve been back and do know what it is, but you’ll have to wait for my next blog post…).

Our afternoon finished with eight Blackcocks lekking, but probably the stars of the day were one of our smaller moorland birds, as we came across a succession of Wheatears.  Strikingly handsome male, and subtly beautiful female, Northern Wheatears are always a pleasure to see, but the real surprise was a group of six birds together.  Big, upright, and flushed underneath with pinky-orange, these birds were Greenland Wheatears.  Migration doesn’t happen only on the coast 🙂

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