Hello Scotland

Farewell Northumberland, hello Scotland.

We have had an excellent time based in Seahouses, staying at ‘Dunelm’ B & B and would recommend it to anyone, (unless you have a dog), heading that way. Not being a great fan of bridges I think it fair to say that I wasn’t looking forward to crossing the Forth bridge, although as someone pointed out we got over the first three ok so he was sure the Forth wouldn’t give us any problems (he’s his father’s son all right!) Due to that I didn’t want to stop for a break before we had crossed so were just debating where to stop when a text message arrived form Delia (a friend met through Birdforum.net) suggesting we visit Vane Farm RSPB on the way. We took her advice and were glad we did. (Turns out it has been re-named Loch Leven)IMG_4014 sign

It is a beautiful site and of course the vista is a tad different to Norfolk!

Also birds that we take for granted seemed like a luxury here, Lapwings for example.

We walked along by the water,  visiting each of the hides also taking advantage of the rather novel blinds! I thought they were excellent and was told they were made by volunteers, maybe they would like to adopt the idea in Norfolk?

We popped into the on site café and had some lunch, for me it was the best lentil soup I have had for a long time, maybe the cook would like to move to Norfolk too!

After lunch we walked on the tree lined hill on the other side of the road, we went as far as knees would tolerate! We looked at the feeders and to our delight this fellas was taking advantage of the free feed!

Ian decided to test out one of the benches to see if they were comfy enough for a quick snooze so I carried on strolling around and found this quiet little spot. Nearby I spotted a couple of little birds obviously busy nesting, a starling and a blackcap.

I think the quiet little corner was a bit noisier just a short while before as a group of children had been delving into the pond. Loads of sites we have visited have been hosting groups of children be they from school or as at Fairburn Ings a group of Rainbows. It is good to see youngsters being encouraged to discover nature at an early age.

Time to get on the road again, under an hour and we had arrived at Blairgowrie and our B & B ‘Rosebank’. It is in a lovely position and we received a warm welcome along with tea and scones so that can’t be bad! We went for a walk by the river which is beautiful. We spotted a couple of treats and I snapped a few pictures but I won’t post yet as I intend to return and try for better…watch this space.

Tomorrow Delia is kindly whisking us away so it will be a mystery tour for us!

 

 

 

A quieter island visit

Before I tell you about our day I want to back step to yesterday and our time at the harbour after our boat trip finished. I am so taken with the beautiful Eider ducks that I thought I would look out for some more and of course I was not let down. Not only do they look lovely but if you have been fortunate enough to be fairly close to them you would have heard that they make a noise a bit like a dove, in other words they coo.

What I didn’t know was that when they make a louder almost booming coo this is how they do it, they inflate their throats. Pretty impressive I though and I do believe they were doing it to please the ladies. I am thinking of asking Ian to practice as I thought it rather fetching!

Another good nights sleep, another tasty breakfast and we were off again, this time to Lindisfarne or Holy Island. We had a smashing holiday there a few years ago so were keen to revisit it although we were pretty sure not to get any ticks today but that’s okay.

The weather was kind to us again although it was a tad changeable, so layers were going on and off regularly! So far we have been blessed with dry mostly sunny days, no complaints from us! I took a few pictures of familiar places on Lindisfarne, if you have been there you will no doubt recognise them and if not I hope you get the chance one day.

This pair of Swallows were preening bedside the path up to the castle.

Also on among the grass by the same path we found this little fella. It is the caterpillar of a moth we have only seen once, the garden tiger that can count on our moth list but I hope we see another one in adult form again! Also lots of these green veined white butterflies.

We had a really lovely walk around the island taking in many familar places. Unfamilar were the long row of stone creations on the shore which have appeared since our last visit. I have a feeling they may not last as long as Stonehenge! It was good to see this crowd of seals on a distant dans bank.

We had lunch in The Ship pub on Lindisfarne and very good it was too! Soon after that we left across the causeway and on our way back we visited Bamborough beach which up till today we had only seen in the distance. It is beautiful and seemed very close to Inner Farne where we had been yesterday.

We decided, as we are by now in full holiday mode, to get chips for tea and eat them looking over the sea. Now it should be said that when we decided that it was fairly warm and a still day but my goodness by the time it was chip time the wind has whipped up considerably! None the less we got our chips and walked until we found an available bench, I thought we were going to get back to Bamborough!

We may have been a little bit chilly but my goodness we had it easy compared to the gulls etc on the sea! We were surprised to see some spring flowers fighting the wind.

We walked back to the harbour watching the sea crashing over the sea wall. As we approached the Lifeboat station I was surprised to see it open as by now it was early evening. Then ahead I realised the lifeboat was being launched, it happen so quickly I couldn’t get to it in time to picture it. We did see them launch the small inflatable lifeboat, I am fairly certain it was a training drill but the way the waves are growing who knows when they will be really needed. I have amazing admiration for lifeboatmen, the thought of going through what they do fills me with dread!IMG_4003 lifeboat

Well tomorrow we cross the border as we head for Blairgowrie in Scotland, I am looking forward to it although I feel in no rush to leave Seahouse.

A day filled with pictures!

The day began well with a walk down to the harbour to visit Billy Shiels boat trip stand to see if we could get on a boat today. Well to be honest before that we had a yummy breakfast at our B & B, it is called ‘Dunelm’ and we would deffinately recommend it. Anyway back to boat trips and yes we were in luck we booked the mid day trip to Inner Farne, just what we wanted and to top it all the sky was blue and set to remain like it all day. We saw a stoat we dashing around on the sea shore, disappearing under the stones! This shows where we were going later.IMG_3497 Farne from Seahouses

The time to board the boat soon came around and we were off heading across calm waters to Inner Farne . Even before we arrived we saw Grey seals.

We drove around some of the other islands and got our first sight of what we were all hoping for…birds!

We saw the lighthouse on Inner Farne and also the Grace Darling lighthouse. The excitment was mounting as we approached our destination. It didn’t seem to matter if people had been before or not, they were either excited knowing what to expect or the first timers, like us, we’re full of hope that it would be as good as we had heard. Now I know the good photographers out there would have been on the ground getting straight on shots but that isn’t for me, to be honest the fear is that if I had tried that approach the boat home would have gone without me!

We were greeted by the Arctic terns as we arrived and all I had heard about them bombing your head and having a good peck turned out to be true! Well at least that was what happened to some of us, me included, others, Ian included were mostly left alone. To be honest in a strange way it was part of the experience so I didn’t mind!

We walked around the island and I was really hoping for good views of Puffin, I needn’t have worried! I don’t know anyone that doesn’t love a Puffin, they are so beautiful and at the same time very funny. Even their nesting habit amuses me, nesting in burrows, do they think they ar rabbits?!

Okay here’s some more then!

There were lots of Guilimots too including some bridled ones, you can spot them by the white eye ring and line down from the eye.

It it doesn’t seem to matter how many there are in any one place there is always space for another one to drop in!

We also saw a few Razorbills but not many, I have included a Black headed gull, not very exciting but none the less present! Also the occasional Common term. There were also good numbers of Shag some already with young.

Also nesting in good numbers were Kittiwakes, they seem such a gentle birds although I may be quite wrong!

We were only on the island for about an hour but it was brilliant and I would happily go again! It was certainly helped by the lovely weather, although there was a bit of a mist. I have saved some more Puffin shots to end on our time on Farne as we head back to Seahouse.

We we arrived back in the harbour and whilst walking we were treated to more Eiders but I am saving those pictures for the next time. Later after a lovely meal at The Lincs we saw ‘our boat’ at rest we were heading ‘home’ to rest too!IMG_3809

The beautiful Puffins brought our number up to 218

Yesterday’s dip is today’s tick!

We made an early start this morning and arrived at the WWT Washington at opening time. Unlike the other WWT sites we have visited this year it has an understated building which houses the visitors centre and café and it all sits in the landscape beautifully.IMG_3347

We were greeted by very friendly staff and were given the run down on the site and when asked I was delighted to hear that yes they have Willow tits on site, we were off! Like yesterday we were advised to wait were there were feeders, in a beautiful woodland position. The feeders and surrounding area had plenty of visitors, including those shown below.

The poor Robin looked as though she’d had a rough spring, at first I thought it was a young one not yet red but no she was just very worn!

After nearly an hour I was chuffed to see what we were waiting for a Willow tit, in fact two appeared. They didn’t stay long and we didn’t see them again, but we were happy enough, mission accomplished and he was bird number 216.

We spent most of the morning in the woodland area before heading off in search of lunch in the café. It was a simple lunch but delicious, we would certainly recommend it to others.

Off we went again to explore more of the site, passing quickly the captive birds which don’t really hold much interest for us although I did rather like these Flamingos!IMG_3346 flamingoes! Common terns were abundant and just the occasional wader including this Little ringed plover. There were plenty of duckling and goslings around the site.

 

These Avocet chicks were rather delightful! I have noticed in Norfolk that Heron numbers seem to be getting lower, maybe they have moved up north!

Time to carry on with our journey and head for Northumberland and a few days in Seahouses. We found our B & B and happily found it to be lovely and well position just a few minutes walk to the harbour. After getting a few things unpacked and a quick cuppa we went out for a walk to find the harbour. We were very pleased to find Eiders in beautiful plumage swimming not too far away.

Today has been a lovely day and Tomorrow we we hope to get a boat out to the Frane islands and see what we find there! Eiders brought our bird count to 217