Abbey Meadows

Abbey Meadows

Sunday, 19 October 2008

Last of the flood pics

I promise no more flood pictures after this post following the september 6th deluge. When I wander along the Wansbeck I am still amazed at huge ancient trees lying uprooted along the riverbank. It is not only ancient trees that have been dislodged and deposited further downstream but ancient telephone boxes too!

Friday, 17 October 2008

An Autumn Tale

Reading Boulmer birder's blog the other day and the comment from Newton stringer reminds me of a typical Autumn tale. I don't twitch anymore but I still like to see a rarity or two locally but I love the common stuff as well. In the early nineties in October I remember a fall like I've never seen since. The spectacle was unbeleivable with thousands of chiefly Thrushes dropping out of the sky and filling the fields and bushes of Newbiggin. Falls like this happened every autumn so it rapidly turned out to be the silly season. This particular day was exceptional for a few reasons. The excitement of all these birds made it possible for a rarity or two to be found and also the understatement of the century came from one birder because no-one had found anything decent. This birder came up to us through the mist of thousands of Redwings, Backbirds, robins and Fieldfares plus a variety of common Warblers, Waxwing and a few Long-eared Owls and said 'It's a bit dead isn't it? Unbelievable. He went off to Holy island to hopefully find a first for Britain. The point I am making is that despite these conditions everything doesn't have to be rare.
Today I came across Beefsteak fungus and Spectacular rosegill. Good finds for me but they equate in birding terms to finding a Bullfinch. I have included a pic of two Carrion crows; great birds with loads of character you can see the shadow of my head. However, back to reality and visual migration (I still can't bring myself to use the shortened version) has been good over Morpeth with dozens of redwings, Siskins and today my first Fieldfares. Fabulous birds with the 'Chack chack' piercing the morning cool air is always a delight to hear. Kingfisher and Dippers(2) are back on the river. Maybe it's time for a pint.

Sunday, 12 October 2008

Autumn fayre

Spent my days off around the meadows as I haven't had time to go to the coast this week. I have a few days off next week so hope the weather becomes more suitable. The south westerlies have brought some lovely sunny weather but nothing of note flying over. There are still a few Blackcaps around feeding on the berries and lots of Nuthatches but no sign of Autumn migration this week. The woodland floor is very autumnal; I have had a couple of Fox sightings and the usual woodland and river birds but there is plenty of Fungi around the woods. The above pics are Wood blewits, a couple of fingi that I'm not sure what they are exactly but I think they are Common bonnet ( Mycena galericulata) and Clustered toughshank (Collybia confluens), still a few flowers out like this White dead nettle and a pic of the Wansbeck at Borough woods flowing fast where it used to be almost still and the Horses back at Abbey mill after the flood water subsided.

Friday, 3 October 2008

Islands in the stream

Some more pics to bore you with of the damaged weir and some of the tons of gravel and stone deposited at Highford bridge. This has altered the course of the river to a point, leaving plenty of islands to hop over if you want to cross to the other side. Despite damage to many trees some of the fruits such as the resilient Elder appear unaffected. Cottingwood is coming up trumps with the best of the autumn fungi with some fine specimens of Fly agaric.

Wednesday, 1 October 2008

Up the Wanny

A dawn walk through the Borough woods to see some of the damage the recent floods have done. The force and weight of the flood water has taken out huge trees from the riverbank and deposited thousands of tons of stone and gravel creating islands and large shingle beds. I have posted a few pics from this morning. The Wansbeck looks tame and innocent today but almost a month ago it is hard to believe just how high the water level became. The debris on the trees on one of the pics was about twelve feet above my head. There are numerous 'beaches' along the river and one stretch which used to be deep and slow moving is now running fast and shallow with tons of gravel to step across. This will be great for anglers and I wonder if Common sandpipers will drop by next spring
Around the meadows the last couple of days I have seen several Blackcaps and 180 Pink footed geese flying south. Plenty of fungi about . The above pics are Parasol mushroom (Macrolepiota procera) and Slender parasol (Macrolepiota mastoidea) near Cottingwood.