Abbey Meadows

Abbey Meadows

Sunday, 16 February 2014

A lowland Raven

Out early this morning walking towards Beacon Hill. Walking down Whinney Lane past Lough house I thought I heard the 'cronk' of a Raven. At the bottom of the lane and looking over Heronsclose Burn over damp rough ground which has recently been planted up with trees I noticed a large black bird on a fence post. Through the binoculars it was clearly a Raven and it called a couple of times as it flew over the rough ground towards Gorfenletch. This is only my second lowland sighting of Raven the last being at Littlehoughton quarry a few years ago on my way back from Stewart's house at Howick. I have seen them a few miles from here at Rothley, Ewesley and Lordenshaw. I walked back by Benridge moor and took the footpath back by the pond at Lough house. The hedgerow here was full of Tree Sparrows and a single Marsh Tit. There was at least 20 Red legged partridges along the field edge. The Raven was solitary in behaviour ignoring the numerous flocks of Carrion crows, Rooks and Jackdaws feeding among Gulls in flooded fields nearby.
Later this afternoon we had a family walk around Druridge Bay Country Park. The sunshine brought out lots of dog walkers and I was rewarded with Woodcock flushed by dogs at Radcliffe plantation on the North side of the lake and a few seconds later a Long eared Owl flew out of the wood and flew briefly parallel with the trees before swiftly disappearing back into the wood. No camera with me today; the above pic was taken by my son with his i pad at DBCP

Monday, 3 February 2014

Above the clouds

A couple of weeks ago we climbed Simonside. It was murky and grey, very cold, and cloudy. Lots of Red Grouse but once we reached the top the clouds were below us. Top pic is a different aspect of the Cheviot hills and the one below is looking over Harwood forest...note the amount of clearance at the Rothbury end.

Moss Oysterling (Arrhenia acerosa) growing on the rotten floor of my garden shed. 

Cropped shot of Green hellebore (Helleborus viridis) on opposite bank of River Font near Mitford

Velvet Shank (Flammulina) near Highford bridge, Morpeth

A walk along the river Wansbeck between Morpeth and Mitford yesterday morning was productive in terms of fungi and birds. Three Goosanders upstream from the stepping stones and up to 20 Bramblings feeding on the steep ground on Beech mast at Atheys dene. Among other birds here were Marsh tit and at least 11 Great Tits together and Jay. Velvet Shank fungi appears abundant in and around the woods this winter.