Despite the impression of the title, I am not talking about some of our more rural hill going Northumberland locals. All will be revealed later...
July in upland Northumberland isn't a great place for a birder. Its usually very quiet indeed, but if you have an open mind to other forms of wildlife, you can always find something of interest.
Yesterday morning was such a walk for John and myself as we dropped inland, only 10 miles or so from my house. Our venue was the moor and forests west of Alnwick. I wont give a grid ref as there are many similar areas in the county where exploration could give similar rewards.
One reason I have often avoided our midsummer moorland is often due to the large numbers of biting insects that just love me. Clegs, Mozzies and Midgies all home in, but they weren't too bad on Sunday due to the breeze. Here are some photos from the morning...
First thing we found very soon after leaving the car was this large female Adder basking on the track side. She was obviously well warmed because as I tried to close in for a photo she was gone into cover in a flash, before I was anywhere near.
The tracksides were great for inverts. This one was south facing and sheltered from the wind so Hoverflies and Butterflies were in good numbers... I only took my macro lens on the DSLR and my point and shoot for habitat shots so didn't get any of the birds we encountered, so I'll get them out of the way.
We had 2 Raven, sev Buzzard inc young calling, several Crossbills and Redpolls over, 9 Tree Pipits based on two family parties, 3 Stonechats, a family group of 3 Redstarts, 1 Spotted Flycatcher, plus Willow Warbler, Chiffchaff and Whitethroats. This was much more than expected up here at this time of year. I might have had a few shots if I had the right gear? So back to the job in hand...
Butterflies were dotted around with many Ringlets and Meadow Browns, 8+ Small Skipper, 7+ Red Admiral, 3 Small Tortoiseshell, 1 Small Heath and 4 Common Blues. Moths made an appearance too with red necked Footman and Latticed Heath.
|Red necked Footman|
|The nationally scarce Megasyrphus erraticus|
|Sicus ferrigineus or Humpty backed Shaggers to us.|
The walk back, down hill gave some great views over our countryside. All in all it was a good morning out.