Young Red grouse scrambling to safety
Today we climbed the second highest peak in the Cheviots. Hedgehope hill is best accessed from the Harthope valley. It is a steep, strenuous climb but well worth it. The views from the summit were excellent today and the top is covered in Bilberry unlike the boggy, drab summit of Cheviot. I chatted to Boulmer birder and JWR on the way into the valley and watched a pair of Green woodpeckers. After seeing a Green Woodpecker at High house wood at Morpeth last week I have seen more this year than I have seen in the last five. Other bird highlights were Wheatear, Whinchat and Cuckoo. Butterflies up here today were Small heath, Small tortoiseshell and 6 Painted ladies. Lots of Latticed heath and Chimney sweeper moths.
At the summit we came across a family party of Red grouse. The female stayed close and the male tried to distract us with a broken wing technique while 9 chicks darted off in different directions. I only managed to photo the two chicks above. On the way over I saw what I thought was a Grey hen at Longframlington common (an old Black grouse site). After a conversation with Stewart I thought twice but amazingly on my way back I saw the bird again this time in flight then landing on a rock. I pulled up and had a good look. I will return here and have a good look around as this is one of these areas that most people just drive past.