Sunday, April 20, 2008

Above - Top, Alkanet and bottom, Spring Beauty Montia perfoliata. The latter is an unusual small primitive plant like a chickweed. Apparently an introduced species in 1749, and now quite widespread, though scarce up here. These were growing along the roadside near Alnmouth Golfcourse Pond.

Above - A pair of Buzzards were showing well near Foxton Bends, Alnmouth. The darker male was watched closely as he soared above the pale breasted female. Click any for bigger image.

Today was bright and sunny with a cool NE4.

I started off at Boulmer doing my first spring atlas survey. I did the square covering the farmland from the runways west to Drive Cottage, Longhoughton taking in Ord's Farm. The most noteworthy thing was a negative. Still next to no summer visitors. Two hours wandering fields and hedgerows and not one Willow Warbler counted ( though I did see one later at the golfcourse corner) and the only hirundine seen was a lone Swallow at the farm ( none on the Boulmer patch yet).

Also of note, 4 Northern Golden Plovers, 2 pairs of Tree Sparrows nest building, 1 pair of Stock Doves and good numbers of singing Skylarks, Linnets and Yellowhammers with one or two pairs of Grey Partridge for good measure. Mammals seen were 3 Brown Hares and 2 Roe Deer.

I then checked out the Alnmouth and Foxton areas, seeing 3 Buzzards, 3 Goosanders, 2 Red breasted Mergansers, 2 Goldeneye, 6 Wigeon, 14 Teal 5+ Chiffchaffs including one nest building. A Peacock Butterfly was on the wing despite the cold breeze.

This evening Bunty's walk around Seaton Point at high tide was quite good. A flock of roosting waders on the beach held 28 Grey Plovers, 2 Purple Sandpipers, 3 Knot and 42+ Turnstones - all reasonable counts at this late date.

Back at home the 'northern' influence continued when a female Brambling joined the Chaffinches and House Sparrows at our bird feeders.

89. Willow Warbler.


abbey meadows said...

Great shots Stew. I haven't come across Spring beauty yet. I'll keep looking.

Stewart said...

Nigel, does Swan say owt about Spring Beauty?

abbey meadows said...

Swan says casual colonist, damp woods and shady places. Dotted around the county usually along the main river valleys. Mentions some locations such as ford castle , Doxford, alnmouth (Thompson). The plant is spreading. Native of pacific North America and may have spread from the ballast of ships. ballast was used to stabalise the ship when loaded at foreign ports, it was then dumped on quaysides when ships were unloaded over here.

oldcrow61 said...

I like the Spring Beauty. An interesting looking plant. Bird pictures are great.