Tag: photography holidays

(Man-made) Wilderness

by on Apr.06, 2011, under Kielder, Northumberland, Southeast Northumberland

On Saturday I had the pleasure of guiding a visit to Kielder (I still can’t bring myself to write Kielder Water and Forest Park…) for a group of Landscape Architecture students from the University of Michigan.

After collecting the group from Saughy Rigg (which will be the base for our ‘Autumn Colours’ photography holiday and ‘Winter Wonderland’ birdwatching holiday later this year) we headed up the North Tyne valley and began our tour of Kielder at the dam wall.  With a stiff breeze blowing down the valley, we had a walk that would blow away any cobwebs.  As I described the 2 extraordinary achievements that were the planting of the forest and the creation of the reservoir we watched Oystercatchers  and Chaffinches and saw Crossbills and Siskins flying overhead.  Coal Tits and Goldcrests were calling from the trees and the students enjoyed looking at some of the sculptures around the lake.

I devised a route back to Saughy Rigg that took in some open heather moorland, so that the group would have a good idea of what the Kielder area would have been like prior to the planting.  Over that moorland we watched Curlews mobbing a Common Buzzard, and Lapwings were engaging in their apparently chaotic display flight.

After returning the group to Saughy Rigg, I drove eastwards, back towards southeast Northumberland, still birdwatching;  just a few miles from home a flock of 150 Fieldfares were a reminder that winter is only just behind us, contrasting with the Chiffchaff that was singing in our garden.

Our Kielder Safaris this year will again include driving along tracks that are ‘off-limits’ to the public.  With excellent views of Goshawk, Roe Deer and Red Fox along those tracks last year, and a real sense that you’re in a wilderness, it’s a very different wildlife experience.  We’ve got a few spaces left, so give us a call and join us on a Safari through the forest.

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I wish I could remember…

by on Mar.14, 2011, under Birdwatching, Northumberland, Photography, Southeast Northumberland

…the clever title I’d thought of for this blog post 😉

Just at the moment the pace of life and work is starting to really accelerate.  Last week I had a day of meetings, a day in the office, a day distributing leaflets (and getting the graphics applied to our new vehicle), a day in the North Pennines AONB, and a day out with my camera close to the office.

The North Pennines day was interesting; giving a talk, and a guided walk, as part of the Know Your North Pennines training programme.  Birdwatching in hail, snow and howling wind all featured during the day.  The bit in the snow came while I was still on my journey to the training session; leaving home in plenty of time had given me the opportunity to check out some potential sites for Black Grouse photography.  I really wish I’d had my camera with me as I found a field with 6 adult Blackcocks in it.  We’ll be checking the site over the next few weeks, but it has the potential to produce even better photo opportunities than the sites where I photographed the birds pictured in this blog post from last year.

The morning spent close to home in southeast Northumberland had one focus; get a photograph of a Treecreeper.  Not any photograph though; the one I was picturing in my mind was with the bird vertical on a tree trunk, with a dark background.  I even knew exactly where I was going to get the shot – we’ve been baiting an area in some local woodland for quite a while now, and the effort we’ve put into choosing the location and baiting it regularly is starting to pay off.  With some exciting wildlife and landscape photography holidays coming up later this year, our clients can benefit from the work we’re doing year-round as well.

Red Squirrels were visiting our feeding station;

Red Squirrel, mammal photography, photography tuition, photogarphy courses, photography holidays

Nuthatches are always entertaining, active and vocal;

Nuthatch, bird photography, photography tuition, photography courses, photography holidays

and the target for the morning put in an appearance 🙂  For whatever reason, it’s a species that I’ve struggled to capture to my satisfaction previously.  I’m fairly happy with this shot…but the shadows could have been lessened using a reflector.  At least that gives me an excuse to spend another morning at the feeding station 🙂

Treecreeper, bird photography, photography tuition, photography courses, photography holidays

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Getting ready

by on Mar.07, 2011, under Birdwatching, North Pennines, Northumberland, Photography, Southeast Northumberland

We just had an all too infrequent ocurrence; both of us at home and able to go out and about together for a whole weekend 🙂

On Saturday we decided to concentrate on our local area.  Southeast Northumberland offers some excellent wildlife and birdwatching opportunities and, with bookings for the rest of this year coming thick and fast, we’re checking over our Safari Day routes whenever we get the chance so that we hit the ground running once the season gets properly underway.

If our morning excursion is the shape of things to come then it’s going to be an excellent Spring 🙂  Little Owl, Roe Deer (including a handsome buck with velvet antlers, who watched us between the trees as we trained our binoculars on him), Red Squirrel, point-blank views of Treecreeper, Nuthatch and Great Spotted Woodpecker and lots of fresh Otter spraint all combined into a memorable morning.

As dusk approached we were out and about again.  We monitor a few Badger setts regularly and the activity around the sett we checked on Saturday evening was exactly what we’d expect in early March.  Another successful outing 🙂

Yesterday we were doing something completely different (although birdwatching featured again, of course).  We set out for the southwestern border of Northumberland, and beyond, as we pre-walked the route that Martin will be leading for the North Pennines AONB ‘Know Your North Pennines’ course on Wednesday.  Journeying to Upper Teesdale gave us the chance to check out some of our favourite Black Grouse sites en route (you’ll be pleased to know that the species hasn’t vanished from Northern England!) and enjoy the sight of Lapwings displaying and flocks of Golden Plover  in the fields.  Our photography holiday in late October ‘Autumn Colours’ is based in the North Pennines and we finished the day with a visit to one of the area’s gems.

North Pennines,Photography Holidays,Northumberland,Photography Tuition

Low Force

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