Over the weekend I took a short walk along the river Tees, pausing, to enjoy the autumn sunlight that danced through the leaves of the sycamore and oaks, creating speckles of gold that moved with the wind along the forest floor. I walked to the old wynch bridge just below Low Force and noticed the popular viewing point devoid of people, yet another sure sign that summer has passed.
From this starting point you’re almost spoilt for choice, with some great walks on either side of the river, the most popular being that along the Pennine Way to High Force, England’s biggest waterfall.
However, on this day I was pushed for time, I wanted to take a few photographs and drive the 90-minute journey down to the RSPB’s nature reserve at Saltholme. I’d heard a marsh harrier was using the reserve as an autumn convenience store!
Arriving late in the afternoon, I watched lapwings, curlews and greylag geese all busy on the reserve. Chances of spotting the marsh harrier were very slim, but I sat it out, (until they almost threw me out!) until finally having my reward. Very late in the afternoon I spotted hi
m flying low to the ground near the reed beds. He landed upon an earth mound, too far to get a decent picture, but I watched him through my binoculars until he finally noticed another food parcel and was off out of view. Alas no picture of the marsh harrier, but a painting of the woods,… flora being much easier to capture than fauna.
Today, working from home in the office I’m watching hailstones, mini marbles of ice bouncing off the window and drowning out the voice on the radio. With luck I might sneak Friday afternoon away from the office and see if I can spot the marsh harrier again.