Winter walking at Bakethin

Bakethin, located a short-way upstream of Kielder Reservoir, is unique among nature reserves in Northumberland. Here, among the hulking frames of aged firs and a forest floor dominated by mossy knolls and straggly Bilberry, it is quite possible to pretend you are elsewhere: to imagine yourself strolling through the wilds of Scandinavia or Canada. TheContinue reading “Winter walking at Bakethin”

Birding in Northumberland 2017: the highlights

Now, this is a post for the avian-inclined individuals out there… For those of you who didn’t know, I set myself a challenge at the start of 2017. One which would see me attempt to glimpse as many bird species as possible in my home county over the course of a single year. No easyContinue reading “Birding in Northumberland 2017: the highlights”

Enjoying this Autumn’s must see spectacle

Unless you have been living under a rock, or are simply disinterested in this sort of thing, you will surely have heard by now that this Autumn has seen an unprecedented number of Hawfinch arriving in the UK. Indeed, at present, Britain appears full to bursting with these usually scarce, cherry-stone splitting finches – the invasionContinue reading “Enjoying this Autumn’s must see spectacle”

Half-Penny: a woodland ablaze

Upon my latest visit to Half-Penny, it was not that birds that, as usual, occupied my undivided attention. Despite both the local Kingfishers and Dippers performing admirably. Nor was it the sites mammalian inhabitants, despite a Red Squirrel putting on a mighty fine show as it collected hazelnuts from the riparian shrubbery. No, today itContinue reading “Half-Penny: a woodland ablaze”

Half-Penny: how things have changed

To those familiar with this blog, you will know that I owe my passion for nature almost entirely to my Grandmother. The lady who first introduced me to the joys of a life outdoors and who, through no end of weekend adventures, provided my first insight into the world of trees, birds, bugs and bees.Continue reading “Half-Penny: how things have changed”

Half-Penny: signs of the seasons

Traversing the sunny (yet surprisingly cold) depths of Half-Penny this morning, one thing struck me above all else: the bounty of Autumnal fruit. This year, each and every fruit-bearing shrub appears laden with berries, much more so that usual. The stand of Blackthorn that grows, spindly and unkempt, by the entrance to the wood aboundsContinue reading “Half-Penny: signs of the seasons”

Half-Penny: aliens and interlopers

There are many words used to describe species which, through human intervention, have found themselves existing far outside of their historic, natural range. Terms such as invasives, aliens, invasive aliens and nonindigenous species are quite familiar; while a glance at social media often reveals myriad more unflattering phrases: pest, nuisance, menace, vermin – I particularly loatheContinue reading “Half-Penny: aliens and interlopers”

Half-Penny: by the riverside

Today I thought I would try something different and, forgoing the urge to travel in search of nature, opted for a more relaxed approach to observation. Choosing to simply sit, watch and wait in a setting that, more so than any other, has enthused me since childhood: the Half-Penny Wood. It was the river which heldContinue reading “Half-Penny: by the riverside”

The Heralds Of Winter

When my mind wanders, I struggle to think of a bird that raises a clamour among those of an avian inclination half as much as the Waxwing. A species which, to me, embodies everything endearing about British wildlife: confiding, colourful, charismatic and a joy to behold, whatever the weather. Living on the East coast –Continue reading “The Heralds Of Winter”