Saturday, 11 July 2015

a few days in the North East (4-8 July)

Megan and I spent a few days in the North East, driving up to Northumberland on Saturday 4 July and breaking the journey at Brodsworth Hall near Doncaster and eventually passing the Angel of the North.  We reacquainted ourselves with Alnwick where we had spent an enjoyable family holiday in 2009 and stayed for a night in a very nice B&B just off the A1 a few miles further north (the Coach House at Brownieside).  After breakfast we walked from Craster to Dunstanburgh Castle where a flock of 8 Goosanders flying south were an unexpected bonus.  We then drove to Seahouses and booked on the midday trip landing on Inner Farne.  The birds were as brilliant as I remembered, with large numbers of Puffins, Guillemots and Arctic Terns vying for attention.  A few Black-headed Gulls were breeding on the island and chased any approaching Puffin carrying food.  To avoid the gulls the Puffins almost flew right into their burrows, belly-flopping into the entrance and disappearing before a gull could reach them.  Our visit to the Farnes was all too soon over and we drove south to Amble where, at 60x magnification, I managed to pick out about 8 Roseate Terns, perhaps with a bit of imagination!  We continued south to Teeside where we spent three nights with Nick Preston in Redcar.  Nick and I hadn't managed to co-ordinate any trips together this year so this would be it.  On Monday Nick took us to Rievaulx Abbey and back across the North York Moors to Saltburn and on Tuesday to Durham.  Megan and I returned home on Wednesday breaking the journey at Bolsover Castle near Chesterfield.  A very enjoyable break to a part of the country we would visit much more frequently if it wasn't so far.

Brodsworth Hall gardens
Dunstanburgh Castle
 impressive ruins in a superb setting

looking south from Dunstanburgh.  Coquet Island is just visible on the central horizon, Craster in the middle distance
seabird cliffs at Dunstanburgh
Razorbills off Dunstanburgh
Swallow breeding on Dunstanburgh Castle ruins
Bamburgh Castle from the Farnes
Longstone Lighthouse, made famous by the exploits of Grace Darling

Grey Seals

Arctic Tern keeping an eye on us
its young chick was nearby
hard to imagine it flying to Antarctica in a few months time
adult and older juvenile

another meal for a hungry chick

having failed to see any spring Arctic Terns in Sussex this year (no great surprise as I didn't manage double figures of Commics) it was very nice to see them so well on the Farnes
Sandwich Tern colony on Inner Farne
Guillemots were still present in good numbers, although we were told that at least half had already left the Farnes.  Based on this sample about 1 in 6 were bridled and 1 in 30 pretending (not very convincingly) to be a Brunnich's
bridled Guillemot

Razorbill (and Kittiwake)

Lindisfarne Castle on Holy Island
Puffins and Guillemots on Inner Farne

they are what most visitors most want to see and we were no exception
photographically irresistible

what took you so long!
leaving the Farnes on St Cuthbert III
Inner Farne from Seahouses
Seahouses Harbour

Eider in Seahouses Harbour
Coquet Island from Amble
the Roseate Terns I saw were in front of the right hand end of the white building
Redcar seafront and (not very far) offshore windfarm

Nick and Megan at Rievaulx Abbey

Rievaulx Abbey from Rievaulx Terrace
Doug, instillation art hoping for a home
Aunty Gravity

impressive as this bird was its almost £10k price tag made it unlikely it would find a home soon!
unlike this Wood Pigeon at Rievaulx, yours for a handful of seed
Redcar windfarm from Saltburn
Red Grouse near Danby

Durham Cathedral

weir on the Wear
Bolsover Castle being prepared for an episode of the Antiques Roadshow, something we were very pleased to miss by a day

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