Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Storming Snettisham

Visited the RSPB site at Snettisham early last week. I hear it was "wild up north", well it was wild down there as well.Managed to get along early evening as high tide was around 7pm and was looking forward to a rare east coast sunset. Although the wind was howling the skies were bright. That is 'till half an hour to sunset when a bank of thick cloud buggered that idea up. The sight of thousands of birds being driven landward by the tide on The Wash mudflats was stunning. At one point a huge flock of birds in the distance went up and it looked like a twister! I called back again on Thursday morning for another couple of hours while on the way to Titchwell, this time the tide had already turned and had views of roosting birds waiting for the mud to return. It left Titchwell in the shade to be honest.
Spot the Oystercatcher. Waiting for the tide by one of the series of lagoons excavated during World War II for gravel. 45 minutes and they were back on the mud.
Grey Plover looking very dapper still in summer plumage.
Cracking Ringed Plover "beachcombing" the shoreline.

Friday, 9 September 2011

If you want to get a head get a G.P.S.

The Head in question being Coquet Head, the source of the river. I never thought that you could be moved by standing looking at some tall grass with a gurgling sound coming from it.
Setting out from beside Chew Green, Mr. Cheviot and i headed along the Pennine Way in so so conditions initially, on our quest A brief chat to a couple who were walking the whole of the Way and with the Scottish Border immediately on our right we picked up the small track which was to lead us to our goal after only a few metres. The G.P.S.indicated immediately where we could find it as without the gadget it may have proved elusive.
The view from the head of the river towards the Coquet Valley
We left the scene happy chappies and continued our walk back-tracking on ourselves for a short while before leaving the "official" Pennine Way and joining the alternative Pennine Way. There were hundreds of Meadow Pipits all the time we were out and apart from a couple of Swallows and a few Corvids here and there, as expected not much about. A brief venture north of the border into Scotland for about 20 seconds as by now we were following the line of the border fence........Mr. Cheviot wouldn't join me, he said he didn't have his passport with him.
The land of the Jock. Expect whisky, ptarmigan, haggis and a lot of "red" people.
We were actually "winging it" as far as the walk itself was concerned as the original plan A had been scuppered due to the red flags in the Danger Area. An encounter with 3 Mancunians who were doing the P.Way in stages, due to work commitments, in 2 and 3 day stages. They were looking forward to the free beer you get at the end of the walk which they were expecting to down, along with a few more today in Kirk Yetholm. Up to Brownhart Law then back on the true Pennine Way along a stretch of Roman road called Dere Street then past the Roman remains and we were back at our set off point having covered only 14 km. but had more importantly to us managed a total ascent of 398 metres.
We are so lucky to have all this on our doorstep. Everyone you bump into whilst out and about who are visiting the area tell you so.
Ironically we saw more from the car while out. A Goosander was spotted on the river in the morning and i saw her on the return home. Also seen before we had reached Alwinton were a Ring-tailed Hen Harrier, 2 Buzzards on fence posts overlooking the river. 6 female Goosanders afloat together along with the single female i saw again from the morning. All sightings were very close and of course camera and bins were in the boot.