Abbey Meadows

Abbey Meadows

Thursday, 25 February 2010

Druridge and East Chevington

Little Owl at Widdrington village

Osier (salix viminalis) Widdrington tip
I like this fat stuffed cone at Bolam lake

Two of the five Smew on the South pool at East Chevington

Five Smew in the same shot at Chevvy

An inland trip this morning had to be aborted at Longwitton where the fog became so thick I couldn't see more than a few feet in front of me. I turned around and headed for the coast. I stopped at Widdrington tip first but just a short walk here as SITA were in the woods doing some work. Still managed to see 5 Snipe and 12 Lesser Redpolls. The Little Owl was halfway between Widdrington village and Chibburn farm and never moved while I was there and it was still in the same place when I passed a couple of hours later on my way home. I walked along the beach to East Chevington. I had the place to myself. Good variety of wildfowl here but the stars were the Smew...5 this time. They were too far away to photograph properly but if you enlarge the pic you can just make out the five of them together.

Last week I spent a bit of time inland but the lakes were all frozen and very little in the way of birdlife to see. On Thursday I went to Widdrington tip but this too was frozen but there were still 4 Snipe and 2 Woodcock here. I looked through the thousand or so Geese at Bell's pond but decided not to get out of the car as the whole flock would have been frightened up into the air. Last stop was Ashington for the Waxwings, good views of about 36 birds but they wouldn't settle while I was there and spent most of the time flying around. Lovely birds though. Back in Morpeth a Tawny owl was flying around Falcon hill on Tuesday morning at 6am.

Sunday, 14 February 2010

East Chevington

A tranquil south pool viewed from the south end of the reserve.

A distant Short-eared behind the south pool.

In recent years this has become my favourite part of Druridge bay. Even on a busy Sunday afternoon you can still manage to get away from the worst of the crowds...just a few dog walkers this afternoon. No matter what the weather or the time of year there is always something to see at East Cevington. Today it was chiefly wildfowl particularly Goldeneye and Shoveler and over a thousand Pink footed Geese. The highlight were three Short eared Owls behind the south pool late afternoon. Its been a while since I have seen any shorties and they are a delight to watch. A bit too distant for the camera but I posted a distant shot anyway, also three Hares in the same field.

Saturday, 13 February 2010

Productive stump

Velvet shank and Silverleaf fungus side by side.

A hard winter seems to produce large amounts of Velvet shank fungi but this year most that I have seen have been growing high up. Along Abbey meadows I came across a tree stump covered in several species of fungi including Silverleaf fungus, Turkeytail and dozens of Velvet shank all low down. At the same spot here yesteday a Tawny owl was flying aound the tree tops here at 6am.

Thursday, 11 February 2010

Fruit and Nut case

A few pics above taken yesterday at Oldgate bridge. Three fine Goosanders and many Mallard but otherwise quiet. The title refers to the home-made Fruit and nut chocolate taken from an old hedgerow recipe book. Last night I was straining the last of the Sloe gin ready for early next year but its a shame to waste the gin soaked Sloes once they've done their job. This is where the old recipe book comes in handy and once you've taken out the stones , melt some chocolate and throw in the Sloes and almonds, let it set...delicious.

Tuesday, 9 February 2010

One for Stew

One of 5 fish washed up at Druridge

Bennyboy hoping to have a roll!

Rough seas in Druridge bay

Tons of this seaweed washed up

Strong Northerlies battering the dunes

Visit to Druridge today. Good variety of wildfowl on Druridge particularly Goldeneye but the distant view of Smew were worth the visit. Had a brief chat with Martin Kitching and Tom Cadwallender but a bleak walk along the beach took me away from the hides...even on a Tuesday it was busy! Not a lot of birds but a dead Turnstone emphasised how hard it is to survive in this cold environment. Another dead species was a kind of fish that I was unable to identify so I will put that out to Boulmer birder who knows a lot more about fish than I do. I saw 5 in total but the largest one was the one pictured above which is approximately 2 feet long. The pic with Bennyboy you will notice he is on a lead, that is so he doesn't roll in it! He has a thing about anything smelly. The Geese were a bit distant with 100's about 3 fields away at East Chevington but nowhere near any roads though the ones closer were all Pink feets.

Wednesday, 3 February 2010

Cold spell continues

Most of the weekend snow has gone but as I write it is snowing again. The weekend has been spent at work but the cold weather brings out a lot of wildlife on your doorstep. Tawny owls and Foxes have been the most noticable with at least six Tawny's hooting and one flying over Cottingwood common early hours on Saturday. I've also seen 3 Foxes over the weekend and 3 Buzzards. Bramblings are visiting gardens on the edge of the estate but still haven't had them in my garden. Plenty of Wood pigeons though...common but nice.