Wednesday, 27 January 2016

Lace weaver Spider

Lace Weaver Spider (Amaurobius similis)

Some real stuff this time. Over the weekend a Lace Weaver spider was in our sitting room. A common species around our houses apparently but I cannot remember seeing one before but I have probably not been paying enough attention. According to references this one is a male. On Sunday I had a look around the Alders at the old tip at Widdrington to see if there were any Redpolls but the only passerine present here was a single Bullfinch. A Buzzard and a Snipe the only other birds seen. On Widdrington Moor lake was a nice selection of wildfowl but nothing out of the ordinary. I went up to Warkworth to see if the Redpolls were around and getting out of the car I saw John and Stew and almost immediately the flock flew into the car park bushes giving good views of Lesser (20ish), Mealy (3) and the Arctic. Not the best of light and the birds were preferring the centre of the bushes but very nice to see. Good to catch up with a few birders I haven't seen for a while.  

Saturday, 23 January 2016

Scandinavian Jackdaw

A pictureless post as I had no camera with me today. I was visiting my auntie at Amble and on her feeders in her back yard was a group of Jackdaws but one of them was a good candidate or an even better example of a nice Nordic Jackdaw with its fine headwear of pale grey face and nape and a distinct white collar standing out among the other Jacks. My son tried to take some pics on his phone but was unable to get close. On leaving late afternoon it was on the roof of the Wellwood Arms. I'll have a look tomorrow with my camera to see if it is still around. There has been a recent lack of blog activity but I have still been out every weekend but just the usual birds around. There have been 2 drake Goosanders on the river at Morpeth and 2 Kingfishers; one seen frequently at East Mill feeding well despite the fluctuating levels of the river recently. I have also seen a few Woodcocks recently in places such as West Chevington, Druridge Bay CP and 2 flying over the rooftops at Spelvit lane. I have caught up with a few wintering birds in Druridge bay but I prefer to go off piste looking around the usual backwaters I visit regularly. There is plenty to look for.

Saturday, 26 December 2015

Christmas day walk

Christmas day morning was calm, cloudy but dry and we had a pleasant walk around High House wood, through Morpeth along the river and back home via Postern woods. There was the usual woodland birds in abundance particularly Greenfinches at High House and 2 Marsh Tits in trees beside Vanburgh Gardens. Nuthatches and Mistle Thrushes were singing. On the river there was one Goosander at Elliot bridge but I have seen three recently. A colourful fungi Yellow brain (Tremella mesenterica) was growing on an Elder branch in Postern wood.

Tuesday, 22 December 2015

Short walk

Jelly Rot (Phlebia tremellosa)

Druridge Bay

Residents of East Chevington

You don't always have to travel far to see new species. My list of all things wild is growing (if I kept one) and some of these have been from my own garden. A short walk across the road there is a grassed area with a mixture of young and mature trees and on the stump of an old felled Horse Chestnut I came across Jelly Rot fungus. It's Latin name is more impressive than its common name and close up it looks very abstract. According to my books Jelly Rot is widespread and common but this is the first time I have seen it though I have probably overlooked it. I always question widespread and common because most things fluctuate and fungi is reliant on environment and conditions so I suppose it is widespread and common in  the right conditions and habitat. Fungi, insects and wild flowers don't get the observer coverage compared to birds so most people interested in these things pretty much have to find them for themselves. Despite lack of blog activity I have still been getting out regularly and I have been frequenting East Chevington and Amble area. The pics are from a couple of weeks ago and the Stonechats were the closest I could get for a half decent shot but the wintering Marsh Harrier was gracing the reeds behind the South pool but was nice just to watch rather than try and get some blurred distant image with the camera I have got....Maybe I should start making that wildlife life list on these long dark evenings!    

Monday, 23 November 2015

Milking Bonnett

Another fungi found growing on the mossy area of the lawn is I believe Milking Bonnett (Mycena galopus). It comes in various forms and this white Milking Bonnett is var candida. It exudes white latex when bruised. The Kingfisher is frequenting the Elliot Bridge area of Morpeth despite the river being swollen it is feeding well. This pic was taken yesterday just below the Chinese takeaway.

Sunday, 15 November 2015

Arrhenia retiruga

When hanging the washing out in the garden the other day I noticed dozens of small white fungi growing on a mossy area of the lawn. I believe they are a jelly like fungus called Arrhenia retiruga. While photographing them yesterday morning four Whooper Swans flew South East over the garden. I have seen several small flocks of Whooper Swans at Widdrington Moor lake where there have been between 9 and 18 birds over the past 2 weeks. 3 flew South over Druridge Bay country park this morning. The lake was very quiet for numbers of wildfowl with a small variety all in single figures compared to the late 1980's when it was difficult to count the wildfowl at times here because of the huge numbers and only icy conditions made them scarce then. The Stonechat was in the dunes and back at Morpeth I've had no more Otter sightings on the Wansbeck and the Mandarin ducks appear to have moved on. I have had a couple of Kingfisher sightings between Oldgate and the weir at Oliver's mill this week despite the river being swollen.

Monday, 9 November 2015

Monk's Ridge

Pale Persicaria (Persicaria lapathifolia) 

Golden Waxcap (Hygrocybe chlorophana)

Trooping Funnel (Clitocybe geotropa)

Monk's Ridge is a grassed area like many other grassed areas on housing estates in Morpeth which the council cuts within a millimetre of its life which is no good for the flora but very good for Hygrocybe fungi. There are many species but Golden Waxcap is by far the most numerous. Pale Persicaria has a bit of a scattered distribution in the county according to BBSI maps but I have not seen any around the Stobswood area despite the frequency of disturbance of topsoil from opencast mining in the area. It is very numerous in Morpeth with many plants popping up where the flood defence work has been taking place and it also grows in my vegetable patch. The Trooping Funnel picture was taken at St Mary's churchyard. Looking at the pics I need to where my glasses more often as I'm sure they were a bit sharper when I took them!