Decided to walk along the dunes from Druridge to East Chev. Highlights were 2 Barn Owls hunting seperately, one on the dunes and the other West of the South pool. I couldn't get decent shots as they were constantly on the move. I gather they were hunting during the day due to last night's rain and there must be plenty of Voles judging by their frequent successful dives into the undergrowth. Other highlight was the number of Geese, almost uncountable in the fields South of the South pool, chiefly Pink feets.
Before this I called into Widdrington tip. Quiet here with only 26 Goldfinches, 2 Buzzards and 12 Skylarks
I see even common fungi names have to be politically correct these days. When I was about 13 Jew's ear (Auricularia auricula-judae) was one of the first fungi (non field mushroom) that I was able to identify from a book (Observers book of fungi). In the more recent references I have including great works by Sterry and Phillips it is known as Jelly ear with the exception of the wonderful and readable Norfolk mycologist Peter Jordan who still uses the original name. Jelly is probably more appropriate referring to the tough gelatinous texture and the floppy ear shape of the fungus. It is very common all the year round but more noticable and photographic in the winter months. The pic above was taken on an Elder in the Wansbeck pub car park this afternoon.
Hirsutum meaning hairy but you have to look close up for the fine hairs on the upper surface. This common fungi is known as Hairy curtain crust and is quite abundant in the Borough woods at Morpeth. It is quite attractive giving a splash of gold to the woodland on nice sunny mornings. The pics were taken on a living Beech but most of the fungi I saw was on old fallen branches of Oaks.
I regularly go to Ulgham Grange but I'm starting to frequent further upstream along the River Lyne at Jackson.s Ford. One reason is this is where I started birdwatching. Much of the habitat then has been swallowed up by the Stobswood opencast but now that it is nearly restored the two new pools here are beginning to pull in birds and that is another reason for keeping an eye on the developments of the full restoration.
A flock of Geese have been hanging around the new pool near the B1337 but viewing them from here is difficult but by following a public footpath from the lane leading up to Ulgham park farm you can view them well from here but you need a scope. I didn't have mine today but there are about 600+ birds here chiefly Canadas, Grey lags and Pink footed however, typically without the scope there was a white one among them. From that distant it could have been a pale phase something, an albino or perhaps even that Ross's Goose that was flying around Druridge bay a few weeks ago.
There was some real birds here and the numbers took me back a few years. There are three stubble fields on the Ulgham side of the former opencast and the footpath goes straight through them back to Jackson's Ford. A flock of 32 Linnets...what are they??? 65 Yellowhammers and smaller numbers of Reed Buntings, Chaffinches and Grey Partridge. I wonder if any Lapland Bunting passed through here in the Autumn! Perhaps they might come back through here when the Skylarks return. I wouldn't have seen Buzzard here all those years ago.
Theres a white one in there
Before this I had a look around the tip but there was only a flock of 20 Goldfinches and 5 Grey Partridges.