Abbey Meadows

Abbey Meadows

Thursday, 29 October 2009

Last of the Autumn harvest

Sloe gatherers

Stropharia aeruginosa

Pleated inkcap (Coprinus plicatilis)

Yellowleg bonnet (Mycena epipterygia)

Wood Blewit (Lepista nuda)

I usually start with Raspberries when I can find them, then Blackies, Crab apples, rosehips and finally Sloes for me gin. This year seems to be a good year for Sloes and this is the time I like to gather them. So it was off to Druridge bay cp today and let the kids do the picking while I look and listen out for birds with a promise of lunch at the cafe in the visitor centre. Much quieter today compared to earlier in the week. Still lots of Thrushes with Fieldfares, Redwings and Blackbirds in the dunes. A Bullfinch has taken up residence in the bushes in the dunes but it's not a Northern. No sign of any Phylloscs today but a Goosander flew in off the sea and headed South. I was talking to Dave Elliot at the T junction and I passed ADMc on his bike at Widdrington village. I've posted pics of more fungi from the country park.

Wednesday, 28 October 2009

More Fungi

Peaceful autumn afternoon at Bolam

Stereum hirsutum...Bolam lake

A young Coprinus niveus...Hadston links

Saffron milkcap...Morpeth common

Spent the last couple of days in a variety of local habitats and recent rains have brought a good number of species of fungi. I don't want to inundate the blog with pics that not many people are really interested in so I've posted just a few.

Tuesday, 27 October 2009

More pics of that Wheatear

Little contrast between wing coverts and upperparts

Pale supercelium in front of and above eye
Primary projection does not reach end of tail
White upper tail and broad terminal band
Wheatear...Druridge bay cp, Hadston links 26/10/09

Stewart (Boulmer birder) gave me some food for thought after leaving a comment on my blog yesterday. I have posted some more pics which show (I think) some overlapping features of Northern and Isabelline Wheatears but I personally believe this is just a pale Northern. I apologise again for the poor quality and the heavily cropped pics. Please feel free to leave a comment.

Monday, 26 October 2009

Druridge bay CP

Boletus badius...DBCP

Orange Milkcap...Hadston links
I'm probably the only local birder who hadn't seen a Firecrest this year but I decided to try Druridge bay cp as this is a good site but with lots of cover it wasn't going to be easy. I had the kids with me as its half term holiday so I had to make a few compromises along the way. It didn't take long to find one but it took me another five minutes to see it; high up in a conifer to the north of the visitor centre, it was on its own but what beautiful birds they are.
Lots of birds in the bushes in the dunes but chiefly Redwing, Robin and Dunnock...I wish I had been here on Thursday. First Twite of the Autumn with 16 flying north over the lake and 9 in the dunes. At Hadston scaurs presumably the same 9 flew north towards Hauxley and hour later. Hundreds of Pink footed geese still making their way south.
Recent rains has brought an abundance of fungi with hundreds of the edible Boletus badius on the short turf in the country park.
On the way up I stopped at Ulgham for my turn of duty. Not much to do...very clean. Common birds like Bullfinch and Yellowhammer looked resplendant in the morning sunshine and so did a Kingfisher just under the bridge on the main road.
A large pale Wheatear caught my eye in Hadston dunes but despite a good look and some crap record pics I think it may be an immature greenland type.

Wheatear...Hadston links

Saturday, 24 October 2009

First Fieldfares last Swallow

At work again but birds seen today were Woodcock near the Sun inn , Morpeth and at Widdrington Station Four Fieldfares and a single Swallow flying south. I came across the above Angle shades moth in my Greenhouse this afternoon...a moth I haven't seen in years.

Friday, 23 October 2009

Mad dash south

I don't usually twitch these days especially on my own but when I got back from work at 2 30 today there were no messages on my phones so I thought I would ring the humble birdline to see if there were still any Firecrests kicking about locally. I only had a couple of hours as I had to get back at teatime to pick the kids up.
Eastern Crowned Warbler in Durham...I didn't listen to the rest of the messages. Its a long time since I have seen a picture of Eastern Crowned Warbler I had to get the books out to remind myself. Despite it being the busiest time of the day and week I decided to drive down. I stuffed a fiver in my pocket and bought a Twirl en route to get some change for the Tyne tunnel but well within the hour I was watching this gem of a bird. I was fortunate as the bird was showing well on my arrival favouring the less foliated tops of the Sycamores.
I'll leave pictures and plumage details to the experts and visit other excellent blogs and sites; I deliberately left my camera at home for this very reason! Had it been a first for Britain like the charismatic Double crested Cormorant on Teeside (which incidentally cost me a fortune as I locked the keys in my car that day) I would have been a bit reluctant to make the journey but phylloscs are star birds...worth travelling miles for.

Monday, 19 October 2009


Autumn in Morpeth

Linton zoo!

Its been a while since my last post but I haven't been away other than work. It was nice to be off over the weekend but it has been a bit quiet on the birding front. Last Monday the Green woodpecker was calling form High house wood and this also held 2 Marsh tits. Nine Crossbills flew east over Highford bridge but only one Dipper on the river. On Saturday I was in Harwood forest but could only manage 4 Crossbills here but the best birds were a flock of 54 Lesser Redpolls...magnificent birds these! Still a few insects around with Red admirals and Common Hawker.

Today I did a tour of the coastal ponds but not much about. Six Whooper swans flew south and Ten Shoveler on Linton being the most notable.I watched Druridge pools from the dunes to avoid the crowds looking for the Ibis. I'm not anti social but I didn't expect to see much with two people walking along the baffle banks looking onto the main pool. The Greenshank and the Scaup were the only birds that didn't fly off. Some nice Redwings in the north bushes though and a large flock of Linnet with Goldfinch in the dunes which will inevitably attract some Twite in the near future.

Friday, 9 October 2009

Atheys Dene

The aptly named Spectacular Rosegill

The poisonous Sulpher tuft

Spent the morning in the woods around Morpeth. Large tit flocks forming with many Goldcrests among them. Jays and Nuthatches are quite numerous in these woods and a nice flock of Bullfinches were a delight. A Green woodpecker was calling from Atheys Dene. Yesterday I was at Widdrington tip but not a lot to report except good numbers of Skylarks and a single Snipe. At Druridge the Glossy ibis was on the main pool and two Otters were putting on a good show. No sign of the Buff breasted at Cresswell but hundreds of Pink footed geese. At least 30 Knot were on Cresswell beach.

Monday, 5 October 2009

New pond

The pond with no name yet

With the sad demise of Widdrington pond, west of the village (swallowed up by the new opencast) they have created a new pond on the western fringes of the new opencast opposite the old Junction inn pub near Felton lane. I don't think it will pull in the birds like the old pond did but it is worth keeping an eye on when I'm in that area. I hope the restoration plans will include a new wetland area (they usually do). Today I had a walk through the new plantations nearby at Widdrington tip. There were dozens of Pink footed geese flying south and four Buzzards in the air. Good numbers of Chaffinches are building up with some Yellowhammers and Reed buntings mixed in and large flocks of Skylarks in the fields. Plenty of Butterflies on the wing with Red admiral, Small tortoiseshell and a couple of Painted ladies.

Thursday, 1 October 2009

Druridge Pools

Glossy Ibis in view for most of the time

Some kind of Shield bug?

Spent a pleasurable if chilly morning at Druridge pools today. Enjoyed the crack with a few local birders and the Ibis was pulling in a steady stream of visiting birdwatchers. Roger Forster had seen a Black darter, a good record for here but we couldn't find it again but lots of Common darters on the wing where it was sheltered. The Ibis was showing well but still a bit far off for some half decent digiscoped shots but I managed a few.
The best views was when a Marsh Harrier began to quarter the fields and the Ibis took flight to mob it but quickly returned to feed and didn't seem alarmed by its presence. Other birds were Buzzard and a brief view of a Merlin chasing a pipit like bird. Hundreds of Pink footed and Barnacle Geese were dropping out of the sky and gathering into a large flock in the fields north of the reserve.