Sunday, 27 July 2008
As the children are now on their summer holidays it means wherever I decide to go they have to come with me on my days off. On friday we went to Druridge bay country park. I have posted pics of Autumn gentian; one of my favourite duneland plants, Angelica, a mystery puffball type fungi growing on a pine stump and Soapwort.
On saturday I went on a bike ride along the wansbeck valley. Fifteen miles altogether from Morpeth to Gubeon, Shilvington, a refreshment stop at wor Een's hoose at Walton, Meldon, Molesdon, Mitford and back to Morpeth. Wildlife was good but out of photographic range by the time I disembarked from my bike with 5 Buzzards at Gubeon, Little owl at nearby Cock hill, a perfect fresh Comma at Molesdon and hundreds of Meadow browns, Ringlets and Small skippers everywhere. Above are the bairns having a rest at Molesdon, Giant bellflower and Red cracked bolete which was red a few days ago but it had paled by yesterday; still an attractive fungi though.
Thursday, 24 July 2008
At the weekend (18th -20th July) we went across to Dumfries and Galloway for a weekend in a wigwam. If you like camping with a few home comforts then this is the thing for you. The kids thought it was 'cool' and 'mint' words that mean something else in my vocabulary. Ironically when I visit this part of the country it is the only time I travel south to get to Scotland! We stopped at Ross bay near Kirkudbright with wonderful views over the Solway firth towards the Lakeland mountains. From a nearby tower we could see across Wigtown bay down to the Isle of man.
There wasn't enough time to explore the wildlife of the area but I have included some pictures of plants that are common but I don't see that often. English stonecrop, Smiths pepperwort, Evening primrose and Wild cherry. I have included some pics of the wigwam and the views from the campsite with the Solway to the south and the Galloway hills in the north. Plenty of the usual birds in the area; family parties of Redstarts in the woods and Kites, Buzzards and Ravens drifting over the farmland between the coast and the hills.
Thursday, 17 July 2008
Pictured above are Corpinus niveus, Marsh helleborine, Eyebright, Five spotted Burnet on Fragrant orchid, Sea bindweed and Hairy bindweed.
The last couple of weeks have been all work and no play so it is good to have a few days off. I went down to Druridge bay to see if the Sea bindweed was in flower and to look for other plants. The dunes at East chevington is one of only two sites in the county for this species. For comparison on the way home I called in at Ulgham and took a picture of Hairy bindweed, another rare species up here. I counted over 30 Marsh helleborines some in the dunes and more in the fields that are grazed in winter by the cattle. I came across the snowy Coprinus niveus growing out of the cow dung, well named as the scales were dropping off the cap like snow in the breeze. I have added a picture of Eyebright; there are many species in the county but I believe this is Euphrasia confusa, another well named plant. Quiet on the bird front with only Black tailed godwit at Cresswell pond of note. The water levels are very high all over the bay. Many butterflies on the wing, chiefly Meadow browns, Small heath, Ringlet, Common blue and my first Small skipper this year.
Monday, 7 July 2008
Just a quick post before I start a week of night shifts. I went for a walk around the town and riverside this morning. The warm weather has deserted us and we are back to cool, drear weather. The pics above are Morpeth castle gatehouse from Ha' hill, Marsh thistle, Welted thistle, Lesser burdock and Hart's tongue fern.
Saturday, 5 July 2008
Yesterday I went for an evening stroll along the Wanny (Wansbeck) line through the common and onto footpaths to the west of the A1. It was a beautiful warm and sunny evening with plenty of flora and fauna but nothing unusual. I was amazed at the number of Ringlets still on the wing at this hour, 50+ and a dozen or so Meadow browns. The pictures are the bridge over the old line near the common, a Ringlet and Yorkshire fog grass in the evening sunshine, a young Swallow sitting on the fence waiting to be fed, Bittersweet, underside of Broad buckler fern, another Ringlet and Scentless mayweed at the edge of a Barley field.
Wednesday, 2 July 2008
Walked along to Mitford this afternoon through the Borough woods. Plenty of Fungi in the woods and marsh plants around Mitford castle. Dippers on the river, a few Spotted flycatchers and a Roe deer along the riverbanks. There were up to a hundred Ringlet butterflies at the meadows. The pictures above are the remains of Mitford castle, marshland grasses, Shield dapperling, not edible mushrooms but these are in fact Yellow stainer; deadly poisonous, these younger specimens resemble Field mushrooms but grow in dense woodland shade, Bitter knight; sometimes known as Pie crust fungi, the tiny but elegant Garlic parachute, Ragged robin; this looked in focus after I took it but I like the way it has come out, Branched bur-reed and Meadow cranesbill.