Abbey Meadows

Abbey Meadows

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Inland Sea-milkwort

Sea-milkwort (Glaux maritima), Whalton road, Morpeth

Walking along the Whalton road between Morpeth common and Tranwell woods this morning I came across Sea-milkwort growing next to the road near the entrance to the pill factory. It is found all around our coastline but is very rare inland. Like other maritime plants it is colonising the roadside where salt is spread in winter. It is a tiny plant so it is very easy to overlook and escapes the rigours of excessive roadside mowing.

Monday, 25 June 2012


Aconitum napellus

I've been watching this plant develop for a couple of months growing in deep shade in the High House woods. It has stood up to the heavy rain and high winds of late and came into flower last week. It is native in SW England and Wales but naturalised elsewhere. This is the first time I have seen this plant, it contains the alkaloid aconitine and is very poisonous. 

Thursday, 21 June 2012

Still adding new plants

Yellow Rattle (Rhinanthus minor)

Unidentified Vetch

Hybrid Orchid?

Bladder Campion (Silene vulgaris)

A good look around Stobswood the other day produced a couple of firsts for the area. Yellow rattle was growing on a wooded edge of the new road between Felton Lane and Widdrington village, no doubt planted as part of a damp meadow but hundreds of the white flowering Vetch was growing amongst this but I'm not sure what kind it is. Hopefully I will find out when the flowers are gone and I will look at the seed pods. The other addition was Duke of Argyll's Tea plant growing in the hedge near Felton Lane level crossings.
Another mystery was a strange orchid growing on the edge of the old tip. I was counting the Northern Marsh and Common Spotted Orchids as well as some of these hybrid plants when I came across this small orchid. Early Purple Orchid grows here in early Spring and it looked like the flowers were just about gone and the recent rains had hammered it a bit. The leaves were shiny and unspotted but it was fragrant and I was wondering if it may be a possible hybrid of Early Purple and Northern Marsh or just a deviant unspotted fading Early Purple.
Plenty of birds around but the only notables were Garden Warbler and Cuckoo. Large Skipper butterflies were abundant and well into double figures though it was the only species I saw.

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Felton Lane

Field Madder (Sherardia arvensis)

Heath Milkwort (Polygala serpyllifolia)

Cycled around Stobswood and stopped off at Felton Lane to look around the woodland for any signs of Lesser Butterfly orchid and Dingy skipper butterfly but drew a blank with both species. The butterflies could still be around as there is plenty of food plants but it was cold and breezy today. I looked around the old scrub area where the orchids used to grow but it is almost impenetrable. It used to grow in the nearby woodland and despite looking in some sunny clearings I couldn't find any. There were lots of acid loving plants especially Heath Milkwort. The only butterflies I did see were Speckled woods. They were all resting on Broad Buckler ferns. 
I stopped beside the old railway sidings for something to eat and after a while I noticed I was sitting on a bed of Field Madder. This is quite a scarce plant in the county but it was spread over a large area of old railway ballast. This is a welcome addition to the local plant list. I added another last week when I came across Small flowered Cranesbill (Geranium pusillum) which may have originated with some aggregate which was used to make a road more accessible for rail maintenance vehicles near Felton Lane.

Monday, 11 June 2012

Chapel woods

Wood Cranesbill (Geranium sylvaticum)

Common Cow-wheat (Melampyrum pratense)

Lycogala terrestre a Slime mould on Birch

Another walk through Chapel woods to the East of Morpeth along the Wansbeck. Lots of woodland flowers around, the best of them being Wood Cranesbill, a Northern speciality and Common cow-wheat a plant normally found in upland Northumberland but over a hundred were growing among the Bilberry along the riverside footpath near the ruins of Our Lady's chapel. I saw my second Tree bee beside the Wansbeck dog grooming parlour at East mill.

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Abbey Meadows

Cut leaved Cranesbill (Geranium dissectum)

Not been very far this weekend but posted a couple of photos of Cut leaved Cranesbill growing in abundance at Abbey meadows. This morning a Green Woodpecker was on the grass at West Gate adjacent to High House woods at Morpeth and a second bird was calling from the Poplars at the top end of Abbey meadows.