Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Gropper and Squill.


This morning, along the Lane, I heard a short snatch of a rattling song in the hedge next to the road. I peered over into a sunny open patch and saw a nice Grasshopper Warbler creep from under a bramble and out onto a twig only a few inches from the ground. It sang, on and off, in short bursts and looked quite tired. Maybe the white frost this morning hadn't agreed with it, I know it didn't make me too happy either...

It was no more than 15 feet away, and with the naked eye I could see its yellow gape as it churned out its very un-British sounding song... Also here this morning were Whitethroat, Chiffchaff, Blackcap and Sedge Warbler.

Please click on sketch for a larger image....

Later we had a walk along to Cullernose Point. The sea was bright blue and the sound of Kittiwakes filled the air. But, it wasn't the birds we were after...

Coast Path to Cullernose Point.

It was a scarce plant that until now had eluded me in Northumberland.

Spring Squill

The Spring Squill is a tiny plant that flowers in the salt sprayed turf of cliff tops and shore edges. It is more of a plant of the north, I've only ever seen it on Orkney, and I think Northumberland is as far south on the east coast as it comes. In previous years, I seem to have miss timed my visits and couldn't find it at all.

Today, quite a few were just coming into flower in the short turf between the rocks just above the spray zone. Its very small though, no more than an inch tall, so if you go looking, be careful not to tread on it.

Also around the point were lots of Thrift, Tormentil, Sea Campion and the smell of Thyme, not yet in flower, coming from the rocks when photographing the Spring Squill.

Thrift
Odynerus spinipes.
This Mason Wasp is, I think, Odynerus spinipes. On checking the Gateway Maps, this doesnt seem to be recorded north of Cleveland. I suppose these things will be less monitored than moths so there are probably loads...

 All in all, a very pleasant morning...

3 comments:

Dean said...

Great sketch of great species, Stewart.
We also had a frost this morning.

kirstallcreatures said...

Another great illustration Stewart. Nice to see the pic of Cullernose point, I know the area well as we had a caravan in Boulmer when I was a kid. Its the best bit of coastline in the UK. Best wishes, Linda

Ipin said...

Good looking path that Stew!