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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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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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Basking adders

Basking adders in the Breamish Valley

Because adders are reptiles, they are cold-blooded. This means that they are reliant on external energy sources – especially the sun – to maintain their body temperature. They regulate their temperature through basking in the sun or seeking shade. Their body temperature is, therefore, approximately the same as the outside air temperature (ambient temperature). They can, however, be active in temperatures as cold as 6°C. Which was about the temperature yesterday when I saw these two basking adders coiled together at Branton Nature Conservation Area, close to the car park entrance.

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Good things in nature

What do you think is good in nature?

  • Active wildlife?
  • Its beauty?
  • The wide range of colours?
  • Something else?

While each of us would probably answer the question in a slightly different way, Dr Miles Richardson and colleagues at the University of Derby1 have identified 10 themes that capture everyday good things in nature that promote a person’s sense of connection to nature:

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