Abbey Meadows

Abbey Meadows

Tuesday, 31 March 2015

An unlikely twitch

Still on the Don

Birdwatching companion

The last few weekends have seen us touring university open days for Niall. We have been to Edinburgh, Northampton and last weekend was the turn of Aberdeen. Fortunately the long staying Harlequin duck was still present on Saturday. While Heather and Niall were at the bridge of Dee at Robert Gordon university me and Amber sensibly headed North to the Bridge of Don and spent the morning watching the duck and having a walk along the river. Very nice bird...well worth the trip.

Saturday, 7 March 2015

Some Flowers

Red Lungwort (Pulmonaria rubra)

White poplar tree and bark 

Bootlace fungi on fallen Beech trunk

Some early spring flowers out around Morpeth like Hairy Bittercress and Lesser Celandine and today at Widdrington many Dandelions in flower along the railway side. The above Red Lungwort were in flower at Stobswood but the number of plants are much lower than in previous years. The rest of the pictures were taken at Carlisle Park Morpeth. The Bootlace fungi are black cords called rhizomorphs which is the means of how Honey fungus (Armillaria mellea) spreads and are found beneath the bark of trees that are infected. They can be very long in length and can spread from tree to tree making the Honey fungus the most dangerous of parasites to trees.

Sunday, 1 March 2015

Stobswood and Harwood

Dog's Mercury (Mercurialis perennis)...Grangewood

Open area of Carr at former Widdrington tip

Reed Canary-grass (Phalaris arundinacae)

Some renovation work on old farmhouse at Redpath

Some of the extensive harvesting areas

I had to Google this one!

On Friday spent the afternoon around Stobswood. The variety of birds was disappointing compared to previous days but the wind was up again. Only 2 Common Buzzards; one at the old tip and the other near Felton Lane. The Geese numbers were low with only 38 Pink footed Geese visible. At the old tip Woodcock and Jay were plentiful on the Carr habitat. There is a couple of open areas but they are dominated with False Oat-grass (Arrhenatherum elatius) which isn't good news for the Orchids and other clearings have Common Reed (Phragmites australis) and Reed Canary-grass but these will have a restrictive area to establish due to the encroaching Birch and Alder. In the woods the Ransoms is well in leaf and a few Dog's Mercury are coming into flower. I had a good look at the ponds. At Middle Stobswood the water level is high and only held 6 Tufted Ducks. East Stobswood was better with a good variety of wildfowl such as Teal, Wigeon and Shelduck and a single male Pochard. Two hundred + Lapwing here. On Widdrington Moor the strong wind was creating waves but the Gulls and wildfowl were small in numbers and nothing exciting but the male Goldeneye's looked very smart.
Yesterday I walked about 12 miles around Harwood forest. There are many open areas as extensive harvesting has opened large acres of the forest. Ususal forest birds around such as Siskin with flocks of 300 + and smaller numbers of Redpoll and Bullfinch. Single Reed Bunting and a scattering of Coal Tits. Crossbill numbers were fair with a single flock of over a hundred and many birds in pairs with singing males. New signs have gone up for the Sandstone way, not hearing about this it turns out to be a 120 mile mountain bike route which starts at Hexham and finishes at Berwick upon Tweed slicing through the heart of upland Northumberland. I might try it! More birds on the way home with 120 Fieldfare at Rothley, mixed Redwing and Fieldfare (over a hundred birds) near the Dyke Neuk and four Buzzards soaring over Gubeon woods.