10th Sept. Such has been the intensity of my outings over the past few days, with more planned in the coming days, I fear I may be playing catch up for a while with the blog. Today I visited Wallington Hall for lunch with a friend. The cloud looked threatening, but it was almost dry when we arrived.
Wallington Hall is an old haunt of mine as my brother used to live over the road at Capheaton for a few years and it was an easy trip to visit the neighbours at ‘the hall’.:-) In actual fact my previous visit was made about seven years ago and was the first trip I joined with the RSPB Local Group. Doesn’t time fly by quickly? Anyway, having got over the shock of realising that to become a member of the National Trust would cost me £53:00 (I don’t think it’s a mis-print), I paid my admission and had a rather nice lunch after which the first stop was at the new glass fronted hide. The car parks had been full, but we saw few people so I don’t know where everyone went to!
I was impressed by the hide. On approach a Nuthatch was seen rising from the lawn and up into the trees. Swallows and House Martins were gathering in large numbers. Two more Nuthatches were seen from the hide along with Great Spotted Woodpecker, Great, Coal and Blue Tit, a young Robin, Wren, Chaffinch and a poorly looking Greenfinch. I believe it was a Wood Mouse that was taking nuts from the pile.
Another hide with a view
After a bit of time in the hide we headed for the longer walk that takes you through some very attractive woodland, along by the river and past the well known attractive bridge. Goldfinches were seen at some point. Looking over the vista from here reminded us just how English the landscape is here. I expected a personality from Pride and Prejudice to come along on a horse at any point. That didn’t happen, but I did turn and catch literally a split second sighting of a Kingfisher rising from reeds and flying into the trees and maybe along the river, never to be seen again. Before we reached the stepping stones to take us over the river a Dipper flew up river, again giving only a brief sighting. I remembered that this area under the Beech Trees is very good for Brambling in winter. There were few birds of any description in this area today. Then the rain began and seemed to get heavier and heavier. It didn’t spoil the walk at, all but did soak us. It decided to ease off just as we reached some cover in the Walled Garden.
A fine walk by and over the Wansbeck
James Paine's bridge, built across the Wansbeck in 1755