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Spring nature walk: part 1

Spring forwards

There’s something to be treasured about a Spring nature walk in the Breamish Valley. Daffodils and tulips bloom, the days grow longer and the heavy, wet ground of winter begins to dry out. Hawthorns begin to leaf, blackthorn begins to flower and it feels a little warmer. And…did you notice? It makes us feel a little better as well, doesn’t it?

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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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Hovering kestrel at Branton

I spy…a hovering kestrel

I set off cycling along the Breamish Valley a bit later than usual this morning. It was fairly windy so I wasn’t too sure how far along the valley I’d manage to get. Anyway, on my approach to the Branton footbridge that crosses the River Breamish – along National Cycle Network, Route 68, just alongside Branton Nature Conservation Area – I was delighted to see a hovering kestrel hovering over the lane.

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Spring has sprung!

Spring has sprung in the Breamish Valley!

There’s not much to say really. Just take a look at what’s taking place in the Breamish Valley. Life everywhere!

What a wonderful place to be!

Spring has sprung.

The grass has riz.

I wonder where the birdie is?

The bird is on the wing

But that’s absurd

Because the wing is on the bird!

(Poem often attributed to Ogden Nash)

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Mundane nature?

Mundane nature?

Is there anything about the natural world that’s mundane? Is there such a thing as ‘mundane nature’?

In our daily lives, we can get into a daily grind of just going about our business without thinking. If we have particularly pressured, busy lives, where we’re always clock-watching and rushing to the next business meeting, we can feel that we’re caught in ‘the rat race’. Life seems to be telling us what to do, rather than us taking a step back, taking a deep breath, and deciding what we want to do with our lives.

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Solar Eclipse

Did you see the Solar Eclipse in Breamish Valley today?

We had near perfect viewing conditions in Breamish Valley, with hardly a cloud in sight. Not so for several friends of mine living in Teesside who were stuck under cloudy skies.

A solar eclipse occurs when the Moon moves between us and the Sun, casting a shadow onto the Earth. The timing and degree of any eclipse varies with location but in the Breamish Valley we had pretty good views. In all parts of the UK today, the eclipse was about 83% complete but in our part of north Northumberland we enjoyed closer to 95% of visible partial eclipse. The darkness peaked at around 09:35am (GMT) and lasted around three minutes.

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