Abbey Meadows

Abbey Meadows

Wednesday, 30 June 2010

The Snook

Grass of parnassus

Seaside cantaury

Round leaved wintergreen

On Monday with the children in tow because of a teacher training day I took them to Holy island. With one wanting to go to the beach and one to the village we had to compromise and take a third each. The snook being my favoured part, it is probably the most important botanical sites in the county. Above are a couple of specialised plants that grow in the dune slacks. There are hundreds of plants in flower but I need a day to myself up there to have a good look. There were dozens of Dark green fritillaries on the wing and hundreds of Marsh helleborines. The flower of Seaside centaury (above) is not very sharp but you can make out the leathery rosette base leaves. They are tiny plants but most of them have clusters of flowers but this one only had the one.

Friday, 25 June 2010

Harwood Forest

I could only photo the underside but I don't know what it is

Adder sunning itself along the forest tracks but soon moved into cover

Whinchat,my favourite bird. It was feeding young at Tutehill moss

Another bilke ride a 20 mile cycle from Rothbuty forest to Harwood village and back via Fallowlees and Chartners. Very warm and plenty of wildlife.

Monday, 21 June 2010

On the bike

Common Vetch

Ragged Robin

Goldfinch...Pegswood moor

Great Burnet

Sainfoin...Pegswood bypass

Caterpillars inside a protective siken nest

I think this is Grey Dagger

Two spot ladybird... a Northumbrian first for me

Nice weather this week so spent some time along the country lanes on the bike. Its amazing how much you drive past when you are heading for a certain place in the car but by cycling you can take in so much more at a leisurely pace. Along the Tranwell and Saltwick road there were Whitethroats and Yellowhammers almost every 200 hundred yards or so but no Quails calling this year. Yesterday I cycled to Widdrington via the cyclepath along the Pegswood bypass and on to Ulgham Grange. The wayside flora is at its best but Sainfoin and Ragged robin (hundreds of plants) have probably been introduced with seed when the bypass was landscaped. Great burnet may also have spread this way but it is at its Northern limit here. Also at Pegswood were family parties of Lesser and Common Whitethroat. At Ulgham Grange there was a family party of Willow Tits.
Butterflies included Common blue, Large skipper, Red admiral, several White species and Ringlet plus many Silver Y's. On my way back home near Linton almost half a mile of Hawthorn hedgerow was defoliated by thousands of caterpillars protected inside a mist of silken nests. I don't actually know what species they are but I'm sure someone will know. Back in the garden I saw my first Grey Dagger (I think) and my first two spot Ladybird in the county... I must look a bit harder.

Monday, 14 June 2010

Ghost in the garden

Ghost moth, Abbey Meadows

Silver ground carpet, Abbey mill

Cardinal beetle, Abbey mill

Another mystery caterpillar

Cocks foot grass, Widdrington tip

Just a few local shots over the last couple of days except for the caterpillar which was taken last week in Scotland. Nice to have a Ghost moth on the garden bench which stayed there all day. I can identify most caterpillars but some I just can't put names to. Cocks foot grass is probably the commonest and most familiar grasses in the UK but at this time of year I think they look nice.

Saturday, 12 June 2010

Orchid City

Common Spotted Orchid

Northern Marsh Orchids

Yellow Fieldcap

Plenty of colour in the clearings

Latticed Heath

I cannot identify this caterpillar

I wonder what is going to come out of this?

I was back at Widdrington tip this morning. The Orchids are the highlight at the moment. Only two species in the Alder wood but the count today of Northern Marsh Orchid exceeded a thousand spikes and there is almost as many Common Spotted Orchids coming into flower. There are many other plants in the clearings in flower. I only saw 3 Butterflies species; Wall, Large and Small White but there were a few moths around with Latticed Heath, Silver Y, Ruby Tiger, Cinnabar and many micros kicked out of the vegetation as I was walking about. I only managed to photograph the Latticed heath.
I saw my first lowland Cuckoo this year and a fine Roebuck.

Tuesday, 8 June 2010


Ptarmigan at A' Mharconaich in the Drumochter hills

Loch an Eilein

Looking towards Ben Alder and Loch Ericht from Geal Charn

Cairngorms above Loch Morlich

Flower buds of Mossy saxafrage (Saxifraga hypnoides)

Bogbean (Menyanthes trifoliata)

Mountain Sibbaldia (Sibbaldia procumbens)

Woolly Willow (Salix lanata)

Roseroot (Sedum rosea)

Spent last week in the Cairngorms. A very active week of outdoor persuits including watersports, fishing, walking, skydiving (treetop height) as well as birdwatching and looking for plants. Climbed four Monros in the Drumochter hills. Weather was warm and dry all week so I managed to get to see many new species of plants and some good bird species.