Monday, May 21, 2018


I mentioned earlier that this year I am doing some local patching on a different slant. I have cut down the patch size to around 0.75 km2 . This small area is the real patch around our tiny hamlet that I frequent the most, during dog walks etc. It covers our 18 houses, a small bit of rough open woodland, a man made wildflower meadow, an small man made pond, some livestock farmland and a short strip of rocky coast line.

This time, Patch II, is not just about birds, its about trying to record all types of identifiable natural history that takes my eye, and it is getting to be obsessive! Our house and garden is the epicentre, creatively, the 'Obs'. I say creatively because this is no Portland or Fair Isle. Its not even like one of our local reserves. It is an intensively farmed, intensively touristed (?)  fragment of the Northumberland Coast AONB. If I didn't live here, as scenic and idyllic as it is, I probably wouldnt come on a Sunday morning wildlife watching trip, but that is part of the allure.

Apart from me, there are very few naturalists visiting the spot with any regularity. We have Julie who lives on site and is a very good birder, casual observer. She had a Turtle Dove not 50 yards from my house while I was on Holy Island looking for migrants one year. There is Phil, who is a ringer. He studies all of the Barn Owls up the coast including our estate and does a form of constant effort ringing nearby. He has loads of nest boxes in the small wood. Finally we have Ben, a new arrival to a village nearby. He mostly frequents Boulmer, but is known to call in. And thats about it, any other observers are very occasional vagrants.

So what has 2018 turned up so far?

A steady flow of passage spring migrants with Lesser Whitethroats, Grasshopper Warbler, Sedge Warbler, Yellow Wagtail. A Med Gull during the hard weather, Merlin, Pink footed Geese, Grey Partridge, Barn Owls, Woodcock, Raven, Marsh Tit.

Water and Pygmy Shrews, Brown Hare, Hedgehogs, Badger, Roe Deer, Grey Seal.

A very rare micro moth -  Xenolechia aethiops, with only 5 records in the UK since 1999 and 59 other species of moth so far.

A few butterflies, bees, hoverflies, amphibians and fish.

Not to mention the flora. No, dont mention the flora, its a struggle...

Basically not a lot to set the world of naturalists on fire, but there is always something to look out for, and on a weekend we go out to get a fix of other things elsewhere, just to stop stagnation of course...

Watch this space.

Marsham's Nomad Bee

Leucozona lucorum,a Hoverfly 

Small Copper on the peas, a rare garden visitor.

Freshly dead Water Shrew, the third record for the site in 9 years.

Thyme leaved Speedwell, I think? Any corrections welcome.


Steve Gale said...

An absorbing project Stewart. Enjoy!

Stewart said...

Cheers Steve, see how long it lasts :)