Wednesday, 30 April 2014

One cuckoo flew over a warbler's nest..April 29

Another book I had as a child was a small bird book with stories about two small children who were taken out into the country by their uncle Peter and shown a variety of birds and given explanations for their behaviour. Peter wore a jacket with elbow patches and smoked a pipe. He supposedly worked in an office, (don't they all) but I think he was a Geography teacher. I can;t remember the title of the book but it taught me a little about birds and their behaviour. My favourite bit was the rooks' parliament but I still haven't seen one.
No uncle Peter today but Dave and I are having an extra gadgie walk along the north shore of Kielder.
Dave is very knowledgeable regarding birds, he can recognise a mandarin duck from 110 yards without binoculars and we are hoping to spot at least one of the ospreys that are on the lake.
This walk has been covered twice before:
A case of Deja Vu, 7/6/13 and The Kielder Sanction 1 26/11/11 but to recap.:
Kielder is the largest man made lake in Europe, surrounded by the largest man made forest in Europe. It was built to supply water to the northern industries but they have gone into decline so now it is also a tourist attraction with fishing, yachting, walking and cycling. A good hard track has been built circumnavigating the lake, used by walkers and cyclists.It is about 27 miles round and is used for a marathon once a year.
Our walk today is from Kielder Castle at the north end to Falstone village at the south. It is therefore linear and requires either two cars or a bus. We have chosen to drive to Falstone and catch the 880 bus that runs from Hexham to Kielder. If you want to do the walk by bus the 880 only runs on a Tuesday Friday and Saturday and it is worth checking with the operator, Howard Snaith that it runs into Falstone.
To get to Falstone from base take the A69 west and follow the brown signs for Kielder Water, turning right into Falstone just south of the dam.
A pretty village with cafe, pub playing fields and churches and friendly inhabitants.
                                                     Not exactly a car park
                                                       United Reformed, Falstone

                                               Pub, handy for the                                               Anglican Church
                                                   Horse drawn potato digger

                         The bus takes about 15 minutes to get to Kielder Castle.
                                           The Cunningham Cottage, Kielder
                                     Once a hunting lodge for the Duke of Northumberland
                                        the castle is now a cafe and exhibition centre. It has a web cam on the
                                       osprey nest.
                                            Plenty of sign posts to guide you on your way
You can do this walk without a map but OL42, Kielder Water and Forest covers the route but a map from the information centre showing the art installations is probably better. The castle is at NY631934.
                               The Duke in his study, helping to plan our walk
Having had a look round the castle, (note no bacon) we set off, walking down the path past the minotaur maze. Ignoring the sign for the north shore we headed for the Kielder Viaduct, another fine example of Victorian engineering on the old railway line that once served the North Tyne Valley. Much of the line is now beneath the water but the viaduct was saved from demolition and provides good views above the woods and the beginning of the lake. It has several wrought iron panels too;
                                                      Minotaur Maze
                                                    Panel on the viaduct
 Once across the bridge we joined the north shore footpath and began the meandering walk back to Falstone, watching out for birds in woods, on or in the water, or anywhere else.
The north shore is, I think, the better walk as it is away from activity centres and the road, although there is no escape if you have a problem, unless you are near one of the jetties and the infrequent ferry is running. There are, however, several works of art, described more fully on the previous blogs and generally ignored today. The first one is Silvas Capitas, in a wood off the track, but well signed.
Silvas Capitas, wooden top.
The next one is called Viewpoint and represents the symbol on OS maps for viewpoints. It looks like large pieces from Trivial Pursuit.
At the next work of art, The Janus Chairs, we stopped for lunch. The chairs are very large and rotate. We arranged them to give a view over the lake and reclined, eating our sandwiches and enjoying the view. We were joined by a young couple from Somerset, out enjoying the north of England. The young man explained the mysteries of Garmin GPS systems to me, he had had the same problems I'd  had. I am now a little wiser.

                                                            Information on the chairs.
Moving on we had the bird sight of the day. First we heard it then we saw it. A cuckoo. I have often heard them but never seen one before. Sitting on a power line it appeared to be watching the field below and occasionally dived down to the grass, stayed about a minute and flew back to its perch. Possibly scouting out a willow warbler;s nest Dave explained.
Walking alongside the lake,watching the water for a hunting Osprey, we reached Robin's Hut. On the north shore lies this hut, on the south side lies Freya's hut. Those of you who recall Johnny Preston singing Running Bear (1960) will have an idea of their story, except in this case Robin had a boat.
                                                    Robin's Hut..............
                                         ..................looks at Freya's across the water.
Pressing on around the lake we ignored The Belvedere and The Wave Chamber, eventually reaching the dam. From here there is a road to Falstone but by the Forestry Commission Cold Store a footpath takes walkers across fields to the village.

The Matrix MMXIVN

                                                                       steps                              miles

Dav;e LIDL 3D                                                26292                               13,292
           USB                                                      26293                               12.09

My LIDL 3D                                                    28275                                13.09
ASDA CHEAP (From Janus Chairs                 18845                                8.85
Garmin (from Janus Chairs)                                                                        8.06
Gadgie distance is now 181 miles

List of birds
Cuckoo, Songthrush, Mandarin Ducks,  Greylag geese, Canada Geese, Heron, Goosanders, Willow Warblers, Chaffinches, Chiffchaffs, Mallards, Robin, Greater spotted Woodpecker, Green Woodpecker (both heard but not seen)    BUT NO OSPREY!!


                                           Two sides of the same post

                                                          Looking down the North Tyne Valley

Kielder Water
                                     And before the dam was built (opened by HM Elizabeth II in 1982)
For both maps:
Contains OS data copyright. Crown copyright and database right 2014

And the bird of the blog:
The cuckoo.