Northumberland: Day Three

There was no frost today, but the sun was shining brightly and I knew the larches on the hills would be lit up like fiery beacons. We only had the morning, as we were leaving the bothy just after lunch, so first I headed out with Cain to pick up the camera traps. I was wrapped up in my fleece but was soon peeling layers off – the weather was surprisingly warm today with such bright sunshine and little wind.

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Just before we returned to the bothy to check the footage, Cain took me to see the huge troops of orange fungi up the hill by the clearing. I’d just been saying how little fungi I’d seen, but I was soon proved wrong when I saw how many there were up here. Sprinkled all the way along the track were small orange bulbs of every shape and size. Some were illuminated in patches of sunlight, which made their colours shine even brighter.

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As I was stooped on the ground photographing the fungi, I heard a bizarre sound that reminded me of an angry cat. I turned and saw the outer layer of trees swaying in the growing wind, releasing the most peculiar creaking noises. Cain explained how these trees would usually grow on the inside of the forest, but due to felling they were now on the outer layer and were struggling to cope with the battering elements. Some had already succumbed, and we passed gigantic trees lying flat on the forest floor, their roots larger than tractor wheels.

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Out in the open, the wind was a lot stronger, so we ducked back down and sought the shelter of the forest. We gathered everyone in the bothy and had a look to see if the traps had been successful. Sadly, the two I had put out only had footage of my bobble hat as I attached and detached the trap from its post. However, Cain had put one in the garden and this had filmed several clips of a bank vole darting in and out of the rock pile. Later in the night, a wood mouse joined the scene, distinguishable by its longer tail and much larger Mickey Mouse ears. So, the traps weren’t a complete disaster, but certainly no pine marten footage.

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Sightings

  • Bank vole – on camera trap (Myodes glareolus)
  • Chaffinch(Fringilla coelebs)
  • Kestrel(Falco tinnunculus)
  • Robin(Erithacus rubecula)
  • Wood mouse – on camera trap (Apodemus sylvaticus)

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