Out with a bang

by on Nov.02, 2009, under Uncategorized

We finished October with four events in three days. Thursday was our last Seal Safari for the regular season, although we’ve got exclusive trips on November 21st and December 5th (give us a call, places are filling quickly). The seals performed as well as they always do (one pair performing a bit too well…) but the fantastic finale to the day was a Peregrine hunting waders and wildfowl over the mudflats as the tide fell.

Then came a Druridge Bay mini-safari on Friday morning featuring a cast of several ducks, with many of the males now nearly out of eclipse plumage and into their breeding finery. As soon as I’d dropped Ann and Charles back at Newbiggin, I was on my way to Choppington Woods to supervise the bat box making that was part of a SENSE/FOCW Halloween event in the reserve. Do you realise how much faith you need in order to hold the back and sides of a bat box together…while a four year-old with a cheeky grin is braying the nails with a hammer that’s almost too heavy for her to lift? After a couple of near misses I returned home, with all digits intact, once it was dark. The South East Northumberland Sustainable Environment project has allowed the Friends of Choppington Woods to increase the number of events that we hold in the woods, and the ‘Wansbeck. You Decide’ funding is improving access dramatically.

Our final October event was a Halloween wildlife walk at Bamburgh. After a brief introduction to the wildlife that is active at dusk, we set off through Mortuary Woods. With myself and Sarah providing information about the wildlife, helped by the songs of Robins and calls of Blackbirds, Song Thrushes and Redwings, and Chris Calvert describing the history of the area around the castle, it was a great way to spend a moonlit evening. As we entered the castle grounds, heading towards the pumpkin soup and fresh bread that awaited us, Chris regaled the group with ghost stories about Bamburgh Castle. Then the bats appeared, flitting eeriely through the air in front of us they concluded the month by enchanting the whole group, as fireworks sparkled in the air between the castle and Seahouses.

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