Abbey Meadows

Abbey Meadows

Tuesday, 24 August 2010

Weeping widow

Weeping widow

Blackening waxcap

Fresh looking Glistening inkcap

Took advantage of the early morning sunshine to photograph fungi that is flourishing with the heavy rain. One of the commonest growing in the grasslands around Abbey meadows is Weeping widow (Lacrymaria lacrymabunda). This is an attractive velvety fungi whose stem is stained with fallen black spores. Many other species around including Blackening waxcap ( Hygrocybe conica) and Glistening inkcap (Coprinellus micaceus).

Friday, 20 August 2010


Silver Y on Knapweed

Bolete sp


Russula sp carpeting the woodland floor

Saffron milkcap

Yeaterday I spent the afternoon around the woods at Stobswood. A nice sunny day it was good for insects but I need to get clued up on Hoverflies and Bees. There were dozens of them on the Knapweeds. A good day for Butterflies and fungi. The best part was the old pit heap which is a pleasant pine wood with a network of paths and some sunny clearings that were awash with flowers. There were at least 30 Wall browns, several Commas and the now ubiquitous Speckled woods as well as dozens of the common species on the wing at this time of year. There were several thousand Russula fungi scattered all over the woodland floor and hundreds or perhaps thousands of Saffron milkcaps. Some of the Russula species remain unnamed but some were easy to identify like Pimrose brittlegill and the Sickener. I also saw Yellow brain and Pinewood or Blushing wood mushroom.

Thursday, 19 August 2010

After the twitch

I hope me Bloody cranesbills are ok

I'm back online again after trouble with the internet which stopped me from accessing any blogs. I was at Hadston dunes to see the hippo which many birders are happy to tick as a Syke's warbler. I watched it well on Sunday evening and I spent a few hours there on Monday but the views were brief but the light was better. I'm no expert and I would be very happy for a Booted warbler to turn up there but many observers have a lot of experience with this species and there was a steady stream of birders from other regions calling in to see it. It was good to catch up with some old faces and enjoy the chat as these days most of my wildlife watching is done alone. I only hope the flowers of the dunes haven't been totally trampled. No pics of the bird but there are plenty of good photos around.

Thursday, 12 August 2010

Hadston beach

Tufted brood on Ladyburn lake

Elegant seed cage of Wild Carrot, Druridge bay CP

Only the hardy souls were brave enough to take a dip in the cold North sea

Corprinus auricomis above and below, Abbey woods

Towards the Northern end of Druridge bay yesterday. A walk around Ladyburn lake at Druridge bay cp produced mainly young birds of common species but notable were three broods of Tufted ducks and one of Gadwall. On the sea was a fine Black throated diver which made its way south towards East chevington as the tide came in and was joined by four Red throated divers, there were fewer Terns here and only a handful of Gannets feeding inshore. Lots of Jellyfish but Amber insisted of swimming in the sea. Back home more fungi appearing as the heavy showers continue to fall. The pics were taken on the edge of Abbey woods. The local Swifts have all gone with only a single one flying around with the House martins yesterday.

Tuesday, 10 August 2010

Giving in to temptation

I gave up twitching a few years ago except for good county birds. I never liked twitching alone but I did enjoy the social aspect of a car full of friends and enjoying the day out whether you connected with the rarity or not. Good rarities in the past are often captured by the 'crack' of both the group you are with or the people you meet or bump into time after time. I remember several hundred of us crammed inside a churchyard in Nottingham on a Sunday morning when the congregation were making their way into the church. An old lady said it was 'disgusting for all of these people walking all over the churchyard, this is hallowed ground' is now said Stewart, there's a Cedar waxwing here.

An industrial backdrop but the Little Egrets don't mind

A distant shot of the Whiskered Tern

The bairns wanted to see the tall ships at Hartlepool and I thought thats not far from Saltholme pools where the long staying juvenile Whiskered Tern is still hanging around. They didn't mind calling there first and see the ships later. I'm pleased I went as the Tern was easy to see and a joy to watch as it hawked low over the pools and resting occasionally. It may not be the most attractive place to watch birds but there was a huge variety to see and it was nice to catch up with a few Little Egrets. As for the ships..well the bairns liked them!

Hartlepool's historic quay

The first of the tall ships leaving Hartlepool

Sunday, 8 August 2010

Hoary Plantain

Hoary Plantain

Common Toadflax

Chicory...the above shots taken at Pegswood moor

False Chanterelle...Cragside

Amanita sp

Armstrong bridge and Cragside house

Yeaterday I had a look around Pegswood moor. The only bird of note was a single Common Sandpiper. The thin poor soil has a lot of plants clinging to it like Chicory, knapweed, Ladys bedstraw and Meadow vetchling. The most attractive plant was probably Hoary plantain. Today we had a picnic at Cragside. Plenty of plants up here such as Prickly heath, Common and Bell heather in flower and Amphibious bistort on the lakes. Not many birds seen and no Crossbills heard. Fungi was quite plentiful around here.

Friday, 6 August 2010

Wansbeck valley

Pink Purslane (Claytonia sibirica), Wallington

Beech mast, Abbey woods

Brown Mottlegill (Panaeolina foenisecii), Abbey meadows

Two moths, both yellow underwings

Local post from along the road and in the garden. I'm working all week so I have had little time to get very far. At Wallington where the Wansbeck is a narrow trickling burn it was good to see Pink Purslane still in flower. It is quite common along the shady damper areas of the Wansbeck valley. From the footbridge it was very easy to watch Crayfish crawling around the stones on the riverbed and the river is flanked by thousands of Water forgetmenots and a good number of Giant Bellflowers. In the garden Brown Mottlegill  is Europe's most common and widespread fungi and after a shower they can appear in their thousands on lawns, meadows and golf courses. The moths which were both on the kitchen windowsill are I believe Lesser yellow underwing, perhaps a female and Lesser broad-bordered yellow underwing.