Abbey Meadows

Abbey Meadows

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Chapel woods

Water Avens (Geum rivale)

Bitter Vetchling (Lathyrus linifolius)

Bilberry (Vaccinium uliginosum)

Wood Melick (Melica uniflora) and Bennyboy

Chapel woods lie to the East of Morpeth along a narrow steep gorge along the river Wansbeck. There are large exposed areas of sandstone and many springs giving it a good diversity of plants particularly Ferns and Liverworts. Although generally cold it was quite pleasant when the sun showed itself. All the regular Spring plants are in flower and this habitat is good for Bitter Vetchling, one of the first Peas to flower. There was Orange tip on the wing but the only butterfly I saw today. When ever I get down onto my knees to take any pictures of plants Bennyboy always comes down to see what you are looking at.

Monday, 23 April 2012

St Georges Mushroom

St Georges Mushroom (Calocybe gambosa) Abbey Meadows

Brick Tuft (Hypholoma lateritium) Monks Ridge

Deer Shield (Pluteus cervinus)...Carlisle park

Strange orange fly on the kitchen window

This is the first time I have come across St Georges mushroom on St Georges day. I usually see it a few weeks later but it is a common species here. The weather has been more like Autumn than Spring and this has produced a large clump of Brick Tuft at Monks Ridge which is usually found in the Autumn. Deer Shield was new to me but it was growing on wood chip in Carlisle park, I took this picture last week and the fruiting bodies have now matured. They can turn up at any time of the year but are more common later in the Summer. I haven't a clue what kind of Fly it is that has an orange body like the one above.

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

In search of the natives

Native Juniper and Aspen 

Bog Myrtle or Sweet Gale

Well established Polypody on Oak

Yesterday I had a trip across to Holystone common with IRD to look at some native trees. In the Northumberland uplands Juniper (Juniperus communis) is thinly distributed as a native species and native Aspen (Populus tremula) are hard to find but they are easy to see at Holystone common.  Bog Myrtle (Myrica gale) is locally abundant in the Holystone and Harbottle areas and even at this time of year these plants are aromatic. Not many birds around but there were a few flocks of Crossbills which included many young birds and plenty of Willow warblers singing. I saw my first Swallow this year at Pepperhaugh.

Sunday, 15 April 2012

Town Hall Clock

Town hall Clock or Moschatel...High House wood

Toothwort...Borough woods

Town hall Clock or Moschatel (Adoxa moschatellina) is one of my favourite spring time plants. I first came across it on a roadside at Ulgham in the mid 1970's where it is still found today and on the edge of woodland at nearby Stobswood. The above pic was taken at High House wood in Morpeth where it carpets part of the woodland floor.
On my last post Mel Lloyd commented on trying to find Toothwort in the usual places. Sometimes you can look too hard for certain things and for years I searched the local woods in suitable habitats for Toothwort (Lathraaea squamaria) but came across the ones in Morpeth by accident. Yesterday evening while walking through the Borough woods I came across more Toothwort plants growing next to the footpath where some pollarding had taken place. There were only four plants here, I photographed them this morning looking very pinkish in the showery morning light.
Quiet on the bird front with my first Willow Warbler yesterday in the High House woods and at least six singing at Widdrington tip this afternoon. The only other notable bird is 3 Goosanders on the Wansbeck at Oldgate bridge in Morpeth.

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Wet Weekend

Toothwort, Matheson's gardens, Oldgate

Miserable weather over the weekend with little to report. On Saturday evening at East Stobswood there was a Short eared and Barn Owl flying around together and on Sunday morning I was doing my first botanical survey this year at Cresswell in the rain where the highlight here was all the foam on the beach. Back in Morpeth the Toothwort is out. It is easy to see at the castle where it grows beneath Holly but at Oldgate it is more difficult to see as the area beneath the Poplar trees are blanketed with Ground Elder. I suspect these parasites thrive on the roots of a relict Elm at Matheson's gardens.

Friday, 6 April 2012

Around Morpeth

 Fritilary...Morpeth riverside

Great Horsetail...Abbey woods

Great Woodrush...High house woods

Opposite leaved Golden saxifrage...Morpeth castle

A couple of highlights over the past week has been singing Blackcap at Scotch Gill woods on March 31st and still singing today. Yesterday there was a Bee fly in the garden, this must be a species I have overlooked over the years as I only saw my first a couple of weeks ago. Plants appear to have survived Tuesdays storm with a good show of flowering Spring plants and many shoots of new growth appearing.