Baking at Bakethin

3 Jul

On the agenda for a while has been a walk around Bakethin Reservoir – the northern spur of Kielder reservoir, and home to the breeding osprey pair.

A day of wall-to-wall sunshine was promised by the met-office (and duly delivered for once) so we headed off for a circular walk to take in some of the woodland and forestry trails before heading back along the lake shore (route is here)

In the baking sunshine grasshoppers were stridulating away like crazy and ringlets danced along the roadside verges amongst the thistles and orchids. Within a few minutes of setting off we’d come across spotted heath orchids in varying shades.

Heath spotted orchid

While we were checking out the orchids something caught my eye scampering across the road and I spotted a large common lizard sprint across and into the undergrowth a few feet away. I was hoping that we’d see a few more lizards and possibly snakes basking in the sunshine but it wasn’t to be.

Cutting away from the road and uphill through woods we had a spotted flycatcher helpfully reducing the fly population although I think he could have done with some assistance as we were being eaten alive!

In one sunny patch in the woods we came a across a toadstool that looked like it had been sprayed with gold paint like a Christmas decoration – so vivid and shiny it stood out from the grass :

Golden toadstool - a Tawny Grisette?

Emerging from the woods onto a forestry track along a clearing we had dozens more ringlets but a complete absence of other butterflies until we eventually found a small heath to keep them company. One unmissable sight was a very large dragonfly that buzzed us as we first took to the track and which I relocated perched on the bracken half a mile further on. He was happy to sit and bask in the sun to allow some photos – a handsome male golden-ringed dragonfly.

Golden-ringed Dragonfly

Further along the track and past a 4,000 year old burial cairn on the hillside we descended down to a tarmac road from a disused quarry, and here we had common spotted orchids by the roadside.

Common spotted orchid

At this point we also had a few common blues to add some variety to the butterflies and the herb eyebright nestled in the long grasses – traditionally a herb used to create treatnents for all manner of eye problems like conjuctivitis.

Eyebright

 

Reaching the end of the track we then doubled back along a track by the lakeside (ignoring the disused railway track which was doubling as a speedway track for cyclists). This track afforded us some welcome dappled shade as it passed through birch and willow woods and had some very impressive drifts of melancholy thistles – not normally the most picturesque plants but looking very smart at the moment.

Melancholy Thistle

Back at the car park and time for refreshments – we’d not managed to see red squirrel, crossbills or osprey (all of which were distinct possibles if not probables!) but the orchids, lizard, dragonflies and the views were worth it. Oddly enough for such a baking hot day on a weekend at the start of July, we managed to do two thirds of the walk before we saw another person at all – very tranquil!

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