Abbey Meadows

Abbey Meadows

Tuesday, 26 July 2011


Last year I came across 15 Crow garlic plants (Allium vineale) growing on the roadside at the bottom of High house lane. Quite a common plant in the North of the county but very few records from VC67, in fact they were the only record from the vice county last year. In May they were growing in the same place again until early June when the council decided to cut this narrow and steep section of verge for the first time in years and mowed eveything flat. In July however, they survived the mowing and came into flower mid month. There are 22 plants this year.
More Green Woodpecker sightings this week with calling bird(s) every morning from High house wood and on Sunday a calling bird flew from High house towards Abbey gate and yesterday morning a bird was feeding on the grassed area at Abbey gate and flew off towards High house wood,,,too quick for the camera. A bird was calling from the Abbey this morning. Between St. Georges hospital and the Howburn woods I saw a flock of 54 Mistle Thrushes, the largest count I have ever seen.

Thursday, 21 July 2011

Green Woodpeckers but no camera

At 9pm last night I took bennyboy around the edge of the estate over Monks Ridge and along the leafy gardens of the pastures near the common. Just in front of me something dropped out of one of the Cherry trees and a bird which had dropped it flew down on to the ground...a Juvenile Green Woodpecker. It sat motionless on the ground for over a minute about 8 feet away... a missed opportunity of a good photo but the camera was at home. Worse was to come, the bird flew vertically up onto the bough of the Cherry tree about 9 feet up where it joined an adult male. Both birds sat on the branch peering down at me and the dog. After about five minutes they flew along the gardens...I'll probably not see a sight like this again up here but I will always take the camera with me even for the shortest of walks.
P.S this post may be wasted on anyone south of the Tyne but sightings of Green Woodpeckers locally are a rare treat!

Thursday, 14 July 2011

Musk Thistle

Musk Thistle...Old Brickworks

Wild Carrot...Widdrington tip

Wild Parsnip...Old Brickworks

Small Nettle

Another day off yesterday and another day at the old brickworks at Stobswood and Widdrington tip looking for plants and butterflies. The most numerous butterfly on the wing was Small Skipper with over a hundred seen especially at the tip. The best thing seen was Musk or Nodding Thistle (carduus nutans) an attractive and photogenic plant. Stewart (from the notebook) found some plants growing over the line on the edge of a new building site at Widdrington in 2002. I have not seen them since until now, there were 24 plants growing through the cracked concrete. Another plant that shares a similar habitat is Small Nettle (Urtica urens) but I rarely see it but I thought if I look hard enough the old brickworks would be the place to find it. The only birds of note were Sedge Warbler, Redpoll and Buzzard. This morning while walking the dog I heard a Green Woodpecker calling at High House wood, Morpeth. This is the first one in this area this year.

Thursday, 7 July 2011

Two lifers at Stobswood

Two new plants...Water Soldier and...

...Greater Spearwort

Broad leaved everlasting Pea

Black Horehound

White Stonecrop

Some plant life at the old brickworks

Grey Heron...Ulgham

A good day for plants at Stobswood despite the rain. In a recently created pond in Woodburn I came across Greater Spearwort and water Soldier. Swan describes Water Solduer as long extinct in the county, last record 1895 at Netherwitton but probably an introduced plant but it is native in East Anglia. The Spearwort was also new and a good addition to the local flora. Other new plants were Black Horehound, near the railway bridge and White Stonecrop at the old brickworks. It was good to see old plants still surviving like Broad leaved everlasting Pea at Stobswood House and Oak fern which has spread from neighbouring Grangewood (a good lowland record). Lots of Butterflies between the heavy showers with Ringlet, Meadow Brown and Small Skipper in good numbers and Speckled Woods were out in force including a one that landed on my nose. Did my botanical 1 km square at Cresswell and also my stint at Ulgham before conceding to the heavy rain.

Friday, 1 July 2011

Ragged Robin

White flowering heads

3 stages of Jack go to bed at noon

and a moth in the garden

In recent years I only know of one site locally where this plant can be seen in good numbers. As a child I can remember this plant growing on the damp woodland edge of Ulgham Park but the site has long gone. They used to grow at Felton lane but I haven't seen them here since 1987 and Beaconhill in the early nineties. The above pictures were taken at Mitford castle yesterday.