Abbey Meadows

Abbey Meadows

Friday, 27 May 2011

Plants and stuff

Red Campion...Highford Bridge

Sulphur polypore...Abbey woods


Sanicle...Abbey woods

Fox and Cubs...Stobswood

I forget the name of this on a nettle and the above was on Willow

Zig-zag Clover...Widdrington tip

Snooth Hawksbeard...Stobswood

Just a quick post of a few outings over the past week. Just above the Highford bridge tons of stone and gravel were deposited following the flood in 2008 creating large islands. These are beginning to be colonised with some interesting plants. I'm still going to Stobswood and Widdrington every week as there is always something to find. I got an e-mail from the county recorder to say that the Dusky Cranesbill at Stobswood is the first county record since 1976. The micro moth was taken at Felton lane where there were Garden Warblers singing all over the place plus a reeling Grasshopper warbler here. Sparrowhawk and Buzzard were taking prey to ther nests here but some of the scrub area is very overgrown. There is still a Grasshopper warbler reeling near Howburn wood at Morpeth.

Thursday, 19 May 2011

Dusky Cranesbill

Flogging the the patch pays dividends now and again. I was counting the Northern marsh Orchids at Widdrington tip, 1218 spikes when I did a circuit around Stobswood and at the Northern end of the old brickworks just below the railway embankment were Dusky Cranesbill (Geranium phaeum) and Jacob's Ladder (Polemonium caerulum) in all their elegant glory. I know they are naturalised plants but two beautiful additions to the plant list.

Dusky Cranesbill

Jacob's Ladder

Lots of other stuff with Small Copper, Wall Brown and Speckled Wood numbering 10+ each, Red legged and Grey Partridge and a variety of Warblers including a few Garden and Sedge.

Monday, 16 May 2011


Northern marsh Orchid

Guelder Rose

New shoots of broad-leaved Helleborine

The tip area near Stobswood is transfomed form a bleak dreary landscape in Winter to a lush and more colourful aspect in Spring. I counted more than 300 spikes of Northern marsh Orchid (Dactylorhiza purpurella) on the Southerly sheltered area alone. Guelder Rose (Viburnun opulus) in older times was known as the Swamp Elder because of the damp habitats it is found in . It thrives along the permanently wet ditches along the sides of the old Stobswood pit heap. The name comes from Guelderland in Holland where a wild and unusual form of the tree is known as the Snowball tree due to the white tight clusters of sterile flowers. There are two types of flowers produced on the same head. The outer flowers which are sterile, attract insects into the inner fertile flowers in the centre of the flowering head. Along the footpath through the conifer plantations there were many new shoots of Broad-leaved Helleborine (Epipactus helleborine).
A good day for butterflies with Small Copper, Orange tip and usual Whites, Red Admirals and Speckled wood (at least 8) and a fine Red Squirrel in the tall Alders at the Western end of the tip.

Friday, 13 May 2011

Plant Twitch

Spring Squill (Scilla verna)

Thrift (Armeria maritima)

Purple Milk vetch (Astragalus danicus)

With directions from Stewart I was at Cullernose point on Wednesday looking for Spring Squill. It has a Western distribution but this is its most Southerly station on the East coast. Also here were Purple Milk Vetch which has quite a healthy population along the Northumbrian dunes. 

Saturday, 7 May 2011


Large Bittercress

Sweet Cicely


Common Dog Violet

Orange Tip on Large Bittercress

Hard Shield Fern (underside, fresh)

Wasp sp chewing wood

Boggy area covered in Marsh Marigold

Today was my turn as a volunteer at Ulgham meadows and wood LNR. It was warm and sunny and lots of common plants in flower. One of my favourite waterside plants is Large Bittercress and it is at its best right now. An Orange tip was on one flower and sat long enough to allow me to take a few shots. Also pictured above are a few of the many plants to be found in the woods and meadows at the moment. On the bird front the best were Whitethroat, Kingfisher and a female Redstart.

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

A Couple of firsts

Meadow Foxtail

Cuckoo Pint (Lords and ladies)

Cinnamon Porecrust

Dryad's Saddle (underside)


Hairstail Cotton-grass

Common Storksbill

Over the last couple of days I have had a couple of new sightings. First of all on Sunday a Garden warbler was singing from the corner garden of Crawhall crescent which overlooks the common. As I recall I believe this is the first time I have ever seen/heard a one actually in a garden. The other sighting was yesteday when I added Green Alkanet (Pentaglottis sempervirens) to the Stobswood/Widdrington list of plants growing in the old brickworks. A Grasshopper warbler has been singing from rough grassland near the Howburn woods at Morpeth and at Stobswood yesterday there was Lesser and Common Whitethroat singing along the railway. The boggy areas around Widdrington tip have just about dried out but it was nice to see Harestail Cotton-grass (Eriophorum vaginatum) flourishing here again this year. Cuckoo Pint (Arum maculatum) is common in the valleys of the Tyne and Wansbeck but is not found along the River coquet. Common Storksbill (Erodium cicutarium) grows in the old brickworks at Stobswood, it is rare away from the coastal dunes in VC67.  The fungi shots were taken in Borough wood. The mystery one looks like a Coprinus sp, it was tiny and growing out of a hollow in a Hazel. Cinnamon Porecrust (Phellinus ferreus) is quite common growing on the bark of old Hazels.

Tuesday, 3 May 2011


Harthope burn

Cheviot ewe and lamb

Dead Adder at Langleeford

Cloudberry (Rubus chamaemorus)

Climbing Corydalis (Ceratocapnos claviculata)

dodgy chap in a hoodie

Yesterday we climbed up Cheviot and once on the summit walked over the now dry bog towards the Hen hole and back over Cairn hill and Scotsman knowe and dropped down to pick up the Harthope burn where it begins as a small spring and followed the burn along where it tumbles and falls towards Langleeford. It is roughly nine miles, a beautiful day but very cold.