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Grass harvest

Grass harvest for making silage

As I was cycling along the Breamish Valley yesterday (hottest day of the year so far) and today, I noticed that a grass harvest had begun on two of the farms near Brandon.

During the summer months grass grows vigorously and it’s typically harvested by stock farmers (usually keeping dairy cows, beef cattle and sheep) to make silage. Warm, dry weather is ideal for harvesting grass for making silage.

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Common Sandpiper on Breamish

Common Sandpiper on the River Breamish

This wading bird is typically seen along fast flowing rivers and near to lakes during the summer breeding season. So it’s perhaps not surprising that we might see them here in the Breamish Valley along the River Breamish.

On 15 June 2015, I spotted a Common Sandpiper (Actitis hypoleucos) on the rocks on the north side of the River Breamish at Bulby’s Wood (GPS: 55°26’30” N 1°59’21” W).

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Red-headed cardinal beetle

A few days ago, while sitting at one of the benches in the grounds of the old National Park Visitors’ Centre in Ingram, I spotted the above rather beautiful-looking insect. It was walking along one of the fences.

From my researches, I think this is a Red-headed Cardinal Beetle (also known as the Common Cardinal Beetle). Its scientific name is Pyrochroa serraticornis.

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Glorious mimulus

A few weeks ago, at the beginning of April (Early Spring at Ingram), I noted that the Breamish Valley was beginning to turn green again after the winter and that, especially, the yellow flowers of the gorse had started to brighten the whole valley. A month later (Spring Nature Walk: Part 1) the gorse was in full bloom and it had been joined by yet more yellow flowers, this time from the hundreds of broom shrubs along the valley.

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Great garden tea 2015!

What a great garden tea!

Thanks to the hard work of everyone who organised the Tea in the Garden event that took place yesterday I, for one, woke up this morning with a smile on my face.

What a wonderful time we had in Powburn’s Community Garden yesterday afternoon. Having had a few drops of rain in the morning, the sun came out almost on cue at 3 o’ clock, jumpers came off, and…the party began!

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Do something wild

Can you do something wild?

Are you going wild in June? The Wildlife Trusts are encouraging everyone to do something wild every day. And to motivate us they’ve started a campaign called ’30 Days Wild’, encouraging us to do something wild every day in June.

There’s a growing body of research evidence demonstrating that spending time with nature has many health and social benefits. Living in the Breamish Valley, as we do, means that we have an abundance of nature right on our doorstep. But do we take the time to just stop…and appreciate what we have?

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Harthope Valley: sister valley

One of the nearest valleys to the Breamish Valley is the Harthope Vally. It lies at most about 8 miles north of the Breamish Valley. The market town of Wooler is its main town. You can see from the image above that the Harthope Vally runs almost parallel to the Breamish Valley.

Being one of our sister valleys within Northumberland National Park it’s a great place to explore. You can either cycle the quiet country lanes or take a walk along many of the available footpaths and access routes.

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Spring nature walk: part 2

Spring along

This blog article continues my Spring nature walk in the Breamish Valley. You can read Spring nature walk: part 1 here.

I’d begun my Spring nature walk in Branton Nature Conservation Area a couple of weeks ago with the idea of taking a fresh look at so-called ‘mundane nature‘: looking again, at what, without a second glance, might be thought to be humdrum and unexciting.

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Barcelona birding

What do Catalonia and Northumberland have in common?

[All images © Graham Williamson 2015 otherwise © Carles Oliver 2015 – used with permission]

Well, our flags look similar:

Catalonia and Northumberland flagsAnd, you may think, that’s about it. In May, Catalonia gets about 9 hours sunshine each day with temperatures between 20-25 oC and Northumberland…doesn’t! Yes, it’s hotter and drier in Catalonia but Northumberland is greener…and colder. And these differences mean that we can enjoy different bird species in the different geographical areas. For example, Greylag geese which are so common in the Breamish Valley are relatively rare in Catalonia. And when did you ever see a Hoopoe in Northumberland?

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