Monday, 3 September 2012

A cuckoo at Druridge Bay

On a photographic trip to the Northumberland Coast today we visited Druridge Bay and were delighted to see this young Cuckoo fly down onto a fence post less than fifty yards away.  What I hadn't expected was that it would let me get to within a few yards of it, then fly down onto the ground to pose for one last photograph before flying away. I have often heard Cuckoos in Northumberland, I have caught brief glimpses of what I thought were cuckoos, but I've never got this close. However I do think that it's probably time that it was on its way to Africa. And to think that I nearly left my camera at home today.

Wednesday, 26 May 2010

Farne Island Bird Sanctuary

The sea was a choppy, rolling, forbidding, grey green, the clouds were dark grey threatening rain at any moment, the temperature was on the freezing side of cool and the day out was brilliant.  We'd debated whether to go, a few days ago we were sweltering in full sun, today looked like we'd returned to winter, but go we did.  We caught the boat, 'Glad Tidings IV' from Seahouses Harbour and were treated to a tour of the Farne Islands including the Longstone Lighthouse. It was from this lighthouse that Grace Darling and her father set out on September 1838 to rescue nine passengers from the wreck of the Forfarshire.

Having toured the islands we landed on the National Trust bird sanctuary of Inner Farne.  The island was just teaming with seabirds and I had not expected to be able to get so close to so many varieties.  The puffins were absolutely delightful but timid so getting close to them was something of a challenge. 

The terns got rather closer than we might have liked in making their displeasure known by pecking our heads if we were too close to their nests,  two feet away seemed to be accepted, but one foot was too close.  They actually make a point of nesting around the landing area and the buildings, often in the middle of the pathways.  If you are going to visit make a point of wearing stout headgear, my leather hat was great at resisting their sharp beaks.

This is just a wonderful place whatever the weather.

Friday, 21 May 2010

Magical Bluebells at Alnham

Just fantastic, that's all, just fantastic!  At five o'clock we closed up Crown Studio Gallery for the night and headed for the hills.  In a little wood near Alnham we found what we were looking for, woodland simply carpeted with bluebells.  Lynda has been looking to paint some new bluebell images and this was the opportunity.  We walked through the woods for a couple of hours taking photographs and sketching and didn't see or hear another soul, not a voice, not a car, no distant hum of machinery just the sound of the birds.  We were surprised once by a deer rushing to avoid us bu no other humans, for me this is what makes Northumberland special, the opportunity to really get away from it all.  The vivid blue of the flowers, the scent of the fresh woodland, the sound of birds and animals and the feel of rough bark and soft silky vegitation all that was needed was a bottle of wine and some fine local cheese to complete the total sensory imersion.  We will be back in thenext few days and we will have the picnic with us, meanwhile the first painting is looking pretty good.

Friday, 30 April 2010

The Beginning

My name is Graham Taylor, my wife Lynda and I live and work in Rothbury, in the Coquetdale , on the edge of the Cheviot Hills of Northumberland. I'm a potter, albeit a rather strange species of potter in that I make replicas of ancient pots and run workshops and demonstrations on ancient ceramic technology. You can find out more about this in my other blog or my website Lynda is a painter and runs the Crown Studio Gallery in Bridge Street Rothbury.

In this blog I'll be highlighting the places we visit, the people we meet and anything we find interesting in the ancient kingdom of Northumbria.