Hardy

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Refrain of the day: “It’s definitely brightening up!” (Sung to the accompaniment of drumming rain.)

A mizzly morning didn’t entice us to leave the cottage, but as we’re fast approaching the end of our week we felt that we should go out, so we drove up to the very north west corner of Kielder Water, where there’s a nature reserve called Bakethin. By the time we arrived it was raining quite hard, but a very wet walk through an amazingly mossy piece of forest brought us to a good hide with views of both the lake and the woodland. I would, of course, have happily spent several hours here, but I didn’t want to push my luck, so we didn’t stay long. Again though, this is a site I’d like to explore some more if we come back to the area for another holiday.

We then stopped at Leaplish for coffee and cake, after which, while R stayed in the café reading, I squelched up into the woods to the hide. Thursday, it transpires, is one of the days on which the bird feeders are filled, and I hadn’t been watching the feeder enclosure for more than a few minutes when a gorgeous red squirrel appeared, climbed onto the platform of a feeder full of nuts and seeds, opened the lid, and half disappeared inside. The first couple of times he emerged with a nut of his choice, he sat and ate it on the platform; but then he took one away into the woods, presumably to cache it, returning a few minutes later and repeating the whole performance. I immediately texted R to let him know, and he came and joined me in the hide, so we both had the pleasure of watching what I think was the same squirrel making repeated visits to the enclosure, and posing winningly for photos. It was still pouring with rain, and the light was Stygian, but in my opinion the addition of a red squirrel makes any day lovely.

This afternoon we went back to Vindolanda, and loved it just as much as on the first visit. Honestly – just go.

2019 birds:
138 Mandarin