Monday 17 May 2010

Head for the hills

I abandoned the coast today and went to that far way place people call 'inland'...all very scary, but I coped, once I got over the nosebleed at Powburn!

I was in the Cheviot Hills proper, doing a couple of tetrads for the BTO atlas in the area of Goldscleugh which is a seldom visited valley below the Cheviot on the Bizzle crag side. It is seldom visited because to get there is a 'right puggyin' in the immortal words of the Boulmer Birder. There are two choices, approach from the College Valley or park in the Harthope and go 'over the top', only the latter was open to me as the College Valley is closed for lambing!

I didn't mind though as the Hawsen Burn is one of my favourite places in the County and I soon saw most of the speciality species including lots of red grouse and whinchats, stonechat,  a dipper and a pair of ring ouzel feeding young.

Once 'over the top' the Goldscleugh Valley spreads out in front of you, the Bizzle, on the eastern flank of The Cheviot still had snow in it, in the valley I was dodging the showers!

Goldscleugh valley

The Goldscleugh Valley has a good range of habitat including heather, white moor, haugh land by the stream, new deciduous woodland, old riparian alder, birch and rowan and some blocks of mono-culture pines.
The haugh land below the farm

I saw most of the birds I expected to see, only one pied flycatcher and no spotted though, a few tree pipits, redstart by farm, redpolls, crossbill, whinchat, wheatears and some noisy common sandpipers displaying on the haugh land. The only raptors were two buzzards.

My pleasant lunch stop was interrupted by this interloper -  a huge winged beast capable of taking a cheese'n'pickle doorstop no problem!

Enormous winged beast

A very enjoyable day!

I called at Druridge on the way back for a bit, now doing on the patch - there was a huge flock of common scoter offuv Cresswell though, I'll defo be going through them if they move north.


Warren Baker said...

spectacular hillside scenery Ipin. Ring Ouzels got young already !

Ipin said...

Aye Warren, it's 'OK' for being 'inland'...