Abbey Meadows

Abbey Meadows

Friday, 21 August 2009

Big Beastie

Giant polypore...Cottingwood

A well eaten Charcoal burner...Atheys dene

These Oyster mushrooms are past their best

A couple of cropped shots of the Semi...Cresswell pond

Insects attracted to the kitchen window

The beast of the fungi world has to be Giant polypore. A magnificent specimen is growing at the foot of a Beech tree in Cottingwood. One or two things need identifying here such as the moth and the hoverfly which was crawling up my kitchen window. I saw the Badger on Curlew kews bank on Wednesday night again and a Fox there last night.

Yesterday evening I went down to Cresswell pond to see the Semi palmated sandpiper. A new bird for me and some good views from the hide in the evening sunshine. I only managed a few cropped shots as my scope bracket is broken so I have to hold it one hand and the camera in the other. Many thanks to Stewart and Andy for the info.

Tuesday, 18 August 2009

Curley kews

Yesterday lunchtime on my way to work half way down the Curley kews bank I saw my only second Speckled wood butterfly in Northumberland and my first around Morpeth. On my way home at about 9pm a badger was walking down the bank and only moved up out of the way when I was about six feet away fom it. It was quite small so I'm assuming a young animal.
Last week a Green woodpecker was calling from trees behind the houses at falcon hill. On Sunday it was calling from the tall Whitebeam opposite the house then flew over the houses at falcon hill towards Close house wood. This afternoon a Green woodpecker was calling from Close house. These will all probably be the same bird.

Monday, 17 August 2009

Slippery Jack

Slippery jack (Suillus luteus)

The first time I came across Suillus luteus was in the pine woods at Felton lane a number of years ago. It can grow in their hundreds but I haven't come across it for a long time. The above pic was taken in the forests of Glencoe a couple of weeks ago. The slimy top is toxic but the rest of the fungi is would take a brave man to eat it but I wonder if ipin has had a go.

Friday, 14 August 2009

Holy Island

Resourseful chaps those island fishermen!

Mystery plant 1

Mystery plant 2

Black bog rush...the snook

Hares foot clover...the Heugh

Sea arrow grass

Marsh arrow grass

Even the sea won't get rid of the Bur's

He didn't enjoy having these removed
A beautiful day yesterday was spent at Holy island. I prefer the northern part of the island away from the village. The snook is my favourite site here and the beach on the north shore is one of Northumberland's finest. I was even in the sea swimming with my children though they did have to coax me in. We even shared a sand bank with a seal at one point.
The only thing about the dunes here is Pirri pirri bur, it is the plant equivalent of the Midge. No fewer than 13 species of butterfly with Grayling being the best though there were hundreds of painted ladies. Quiet on the bird front though. Two plants caught my eye both pictured above, The top one was what I thought was a Cudweed of some type but I just cannot name the bottom one at all. I wonder if someone could shed some light on these.

Thursday, 6 August 2009


Scotch Argus...Glencoe

Yellow Saxifrage...Strathfillan

Bog asphodel and Bog Myrtle...Strathfillan

Mountain Sorrel...Ben Challum

Starry Saxifrage...Ben Nevis

Parsley fern...Ben Nevis

The bairns on top of the Big Yin!

Snow in summer

Amber approaching the summit of Ben Challum

Lemon scented Fern...Strathfillan

I've been in Scotland for a while stopping at Strathfillan between Crianlarich and Tyndrum and a few days visiting relatives in West lothian. Plenty of new plants and a chance to catch up with a few alpines on the mountain tops. The best plants were the saxifrages with Alpine, Highland, Starry, Drooping and Yellow quite easy to find. Also caught up with some new ferns.

A walk up Ben nevis was quite an experience and although I prefer to have the hills to myself you have no chance on Nevis. As Thursday was a beautiful day thousands of people had the same idea. There were charity walkers, some kilted, some overdressed, some underdressed (some dangerously as the temperature was 17 degrees at the bottom and 2 degrees on the top)! there were hard living Glaswegians swearing and smoking their way up and resting with a wee dram, a Japanese couple in their eighties and a blind man being guided up. Despite this it was an enjoyable climb but very strenuous in places and some snow near the summit.

Ben nevis is a good mountain for plants as it is rocky and has some good wet ledges where you can find some Alpines as well as Tunbridge and Wilson's filmy ferns. The views are memorable from the higher altitudes with Loch linnhe broadening out to the sea with Lismore and Mull in the distance.
I missed out on a good photo opportunity when I left the camera in the log cabin and went to Oban and came across 15 Black Guillemots close in at the North pier and an Osprey fishing next to the Connel bridge.
Another monroe was Ben Challum which was a harder climb than Ben Nevis with some steep and boggy areas as well as a narrow ridge to negotiate before the final push to the summit. Once on the top it offers one of the finest views in Scotland. Like many mountains the steep descent is harder than the climb up.