Saturday, 29 September 2012

Past Couple of Days

The past couple of days have been spent with Gary Storey, starting in Cumbria on Thursday.

Heading over early our first destination was the Solway, in search of the reported American Golden Plover, unfortunately we never did find the it but we were treated to an assortment of other waders compromising of Redshank, Lapwing, Curlew, Bar-Tailed Godwit, Dunlin, Knot, Golden Plover, Snipe and Ruff, with a supporting cast of 4 Scaup, 1 Great Crested Grebe, 3 Pintail, Barnacle Geese, Pink-Footed Geese, and a massive amount of Lesser Black Backed Gulls.

The Solway itself was unbelievably calm, almost mirror like, the vastness of this landscape is always memorising.

Next stop was Martindale in the hope of some early rutting, this wasn't to be the case but we did find over 200+ Red Deer and a few young stags. The weather continued to be good to us and so we spent a good few hours in the valley. I'll be revisiting the area in a couple of weeks time.

Our final spot of the day was the Badger Sett, I've visited this site a number of times and without fail I've been rewarded. Meeting Andrew at 18:30 we quietly made our way to the viewpoint, within ten minutes or so your absorb into the landscape, senses finely tuned. Generally its an hour - an hour and a half wait for the Badgers so your attention turns to the wildlife going about its business as the sun sets. The first of which was the hammering of the Great Spotted Woodpecker, unseen but definitely heard, the visualised image of it foraging for grubs in the branches dominated the mind. Next a Robin began feeding beneath us, a birds eye view of its activity, completely oblivious to our presence and a nearby Blackbird bathed in a small pool, yet again unseen but every splash could be seen, in the mind.

The use of all the senses whilst watching wildlife has always interested me, experience the same event in a number of ways. Taking away one of those senses brings an entirely different sense of feeling to that particular moment. I like to think it takes you back to the bare bones, no over thinking, just the realisation and appreciation of the moment.

As the last of the light faded the Blackbirds began alarm calling in the plantation to our right, the reaction to an emerging Tawny Owl, within a couple of minutes it began to echo out its own call. 

The Badgers soon began to emerge, the first individual gave great views as it sniffed around the sett, scratching as it went, at one point laying down to scratch its front. One Badger soon turned into 7, once they had made their way away from the sett to feed, we quietly snook out from out viewpoint and back to the car.

Friday started a bit later with the plan to head for Holy Island, unfortunately I mixed the tides up and we missed our crossing, so instead we headed for Seahouses for some fish and chips and to meet some of the locals.

A trip to Seahouses isn't complete without feeding the Eiders.

We did eventually get onto Holy Island in the fading light, unbelievably picking up the stunning Arctic Warbler on arrival, within 2 metres or so of us! The rest of the night was spent moon lapsing over the castle.

A quality couple of days.

Back on patch, a text off BD today had me down in search of a Redstart in the hedge line by the Public Hide.


  1. A nice variety of stuff seen, including the 7 Badgers!

    1. it was a great day in Cumbria Mark, always nice to see a Badger

  2. Quality images and passage. Can't say any more really.