Tuesday, February 20, 2018

In the woods....

On Sunday I met John at Homebase at 7.30am when we headed south to Morpeth before crossing over west via Elsdon and back to Alnwick by Rothbury and Alnwick Moor.

The day was calm and frosty, very pleasant indeed.

First stop was at Abbey Mill where two Marsh Tits were calling and flitting around near the bridge layby. Its not so long ago you could bump into Marsh Tits in any wooded areas such as Howick, Warkworth, Bothal, Morpeth etc but now they are very scarce indeed, meriting almost twitchable status. These are my first for a couple or three years now.

From here, a short walk to the Hornbeam row found a pair of Hawfinches, the male in full song. It seems that there are very few keys left on these particular trees for them to feed on so maybe they've dispersed further.

Hawfinch pair, him on the left.

A quick check of the River Wansbeck near the car park had a brace of Dippers sitting about 2 feet apart, back to back in a territorial border dispute.

A successful start then.

We decided to head inland to Harwood Forest and old stamping ground of mine. I used to come here every Saturday morning walking the dog, for several years back in the day, where Long eared Owl, Hen Harrier, Gos, Great Grey Shrike, Two barred Crossbill and Water Rail [?] were noteworthy.

No such goodies today on offer but we had a good walk for a few miles around the clear felled conifer blocks, seeing only Crossbills really. Maybe 30+?  but this did include a nice family party with well fledged young being fed.

A couple of Red Grouse chased around the moor, but then it was time for a scenic route home.


We had a brief stop to check out a site near Elsdon for a visit in summer for inverts, flowers etc.

Today it looked like this...

It might be in interesting place in June....

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