Sunday, 26 July 2009

Old Park Wood

Yesterday I was watching my little sister, first we were at the cinemas seeing the new Ice Age which was pretty good, but afterwards nothing was planned. As I'm always up for an adventure and seeing new places so I got my Morpeth & Blyth out and found somewhere interesting, which turned out to be Old Park Wood just outside of Netherwitton, I picked a mate up which came prepared as always, due to my tendency to go to remote locations for a good few hours, and off the three of us went.

Didn't take long to get there and we pulled up onto the forest track. Got kitted up with boots and off we went, after my day out with Brian my eyes were opened for more plants and Butterflies. The first Plant of note was Burdock in a small clearing of the forest.

Burdock Artcium minus

Nearby I also spotted this Red Currant.

Red Currant Ribes rubrum

As we walked through the forest a Common Buzzard could be heard along with views of a Willow Warbler, and the crys of a few Jays.

As the forest opened up in areas where the timber had been cut there were areas of established meadow which held a large number of Butterflies and other insects. I noted Small Skipper, Green-veined white, Red Admiral, Ringlet, Small White as well as a single Common Darter and a Common Lizard. There also seemed to be a large number of Yellowhammers calling.

Ringlet Aphantopus huperantus

Red Admiral Vanessa atalanta

Back into the last part of forest there was a huge amount of Wood Sorrel and quite a few Puff-balls.

Wood Sorrell Oxalis acetosella
Puff-balls Lycoperdon perlatum

I really good walk, and a site I will definitely visit again.

Thursday, 23 July 2009

Holywell Today

Planned to meet my friend Brian Moorhead at Holywell this morning for a walk down the Dene, I arrived late at about 10:15.

On the pond there was 2 Common Tern, 6 Little Grebe, 2 Mute Swan + 3 Cygnets, 19 Mallard + 2 medium ducklings, 24 Coot, 2 Tufted Duck + 7 ducklings, 4 Moorhen, 5 Grey Heron, 1 Sedge Warbler singing too the right of the hide, Black Headed Gull, House Martain, Swallow, Swift, Sand Martain, Lesser Black Backed Gull.

Also about were Greenfinch, Chaffinch, Blue Tit, Great Tit, and a Flock of Racing Pigeons.

We left the hide and headed for the North Pool, which contained water but was well vegetated around edges preventing a view of the mud, although we did see a Whitethroat at the top of one of the Hawthorns along the way. I was keen to have a walk down the Dene with Brian as his knowledge of other flora and fauna is vast compared to mine, there was a large number of Butterflies about and Brian began showing me the different species. During the day we saw Small Tortoiseshell, Painted Lady, Red Admiral, Comma, Peacock, Speckled Wood, Meadow Brown, Green-veined White, and Small Skipper. My confidence has now significantly increased in the identification of Butterflies thanks to Brian, and am very keen in continuing this newly sparked interest.

Green-veined White Artogeia rapae Meadow Brown Maniola jurtina

Red Admiral Vanessa atalanta

Small Skipper Thymelicus flavus

Speckled Wood Pararge aegeria

During our walk through the Dene and surrounding farmland we also seen Linnet, Yellowhammer, Whiethroat, Skylark, Female Sparrowhawk, 2 Grey Partridge, Woodpigeon, Jackdaw, Rook, Lapwing, and a Harris Hawk on the soar near the obelisk.

At the small dipping pond within the dene 1 Common Darter was seen.

After dropping Brian off I stopped at Backworth flash, well now Backworth lake, for a quick look, and noticed a Juvenile Herring Gull in a bit of a tangle, it had a Morrison's carrier bag attached to its leg which was preventing it from taking off, so I waded in grabbed it and took it back to the gate, where I removed the bag and successfully let it go, it made a bee-line straight back for the tip. Only other bird present was a single Snipe which I flushed during the rescue.

An interesting day, gaining somemore knowledge and experiences.

Tuesday, 21 July 2009

Back.... for the moment

Been real busy these last few weeks, although I have managed to get down to Holywell.


Me and my sister went down to Holywell later on at about 21:30 in the hope of Bats and Owls. Before it began to become dark, a large number of Swifts were seen feeding above the North Wood, and also a large roost group of Jackdaws and Rooks, performing their flight before they enter cover, this is the first time i've seen this roost at Holywell with over 500+ present above The Avenue. I hope this is a winter roost, although I believe it may only be a post breeding roost which will separate into larger winter roosts. A Grasshopper Warbler was heard reeling West of the pond, as the sun began to set 3 Noctule bats began hunting, with the characteristic high, straight flights with a number of twists and turns. As we made it back to the car 2 Pipestrelle bats were flitting about the tree's near the cut. A good night out, although disappointed by the owls.


On the 16th I was down at Holywell to give a hand to the NWT and their volunteers weeding the meadows of docks, thistles, ragwort and hogweed, ready for it to be cut and bailed, and also to be interview with the other wardens by a journalist from the Chronicle (will be out 11th August, see my claim to fame :P). I got down earlier and went down to the hide birds of note included, 1 Lesser Whiethroat, 2 Great Spotted Woodpeckers, 3 Sedge Warbler, 2 Common Tern, Tufted Brood of 6, 24 Coot, 1 Chiffchaff, and a Family party of 3 Oystercatcher. A large House Sparrow flock was also present in the hedge line at the back of the houses, along with Swallows on the wires.

On the meadows species noted included, Large Skipper, Small Skipper, Meadow Brown, Red Admiral, Broad Bellied Chaser, and a large amount of Sorrel.

The 17th was the beginning of a 4 day camp at Kielder with the Scout Troup, although I was working throughout the day at the Otterburn show. The trip up there produced a good sighting of a Female Goshawk as we entered Kielder forest, as well as 2 Ravens. Whilst at Otterburn Common Buzzards, and a Pair of peregrine were seen, and at Stonehaugh a Family of kestrels and other pair of Peregrines were present. On Sunday night I made an attempt to see the Ospreys, which was rewarded with the sight of an adult hunting in the distance, throughout the weekend Siskins were seen and heard as well as Tawny Owls, and a few Giant Wood Wasps.

Today 21/07/09 I took a mate and the left over bread from camp down to the Marden Quarry, with highlights of a brood of 3 Tufted Duck and a brood of 3 Greylags.

My Holywell list now stands at 104 and I've missed quite a few good birds including Little Gull, Little Ringed Plover, Whinchat, Cuckoo, Hobby, Green Sandpiper, Wood Sandpiper, Greenshank and today's Crossbills, hoping to get out a bit more with the camera now, until I head off to do the West highland Way on the 1st August.