Thursday, June 21, 2018

Should I stay or should I go? ...

...was never really the question I posted on Twitter the other day.

My Tweet said -

'Many of you are Natural History . I am wondering how Twitter and Facebook has affected your blog output? I'm wondering if my blog has had its day, its been going 12 yrs with 750,000 views... Comments please.'

Now with that short sentence or two, in a second it reaches over 2,000 people. The blog could never do that, but is that really its purpose anyway? I don't think so.

What I was mostly interested in when asking the question was, has social media had the same impact on the blogs of others as it has on mine and the answer was a resounding Yes.

Out out of the responses I received from fellow bloggers the most common response by far was 'too little time' to blog when you can rattle off a few tweets in seconds. I am one of those people too. Is it true though? I think the reason we dont have time to blog ( when we used to have time) is because of all the bloody time spent on social media!

Then I looked back only as far as August 2017 when I said this  .

Rather than repeat myself, again, I'll just leave it out there. I will continue to blog as frequently as I can, and will try to cut down on the others... Mmmmm...

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Lamberton and Burnmouth

On Sunday morning we took our annual trip up over the border to catch up on some scarce butterflies and moths.

On arrival at Lamberton Cliffs it was cool and breezy, so being a bit late in the season I didnt have much hope of seeing the Small Blues that inhabit the path edges here. Fortunately, down on the scree it was more sheltered and the butterflies were out in decent numbers. We had 20+ Small Heath, 7+ Common Blue, 13+ Small Blue, 2 Wall Brown, 2 Large Skipper and a few moths including our first Blackneck, an oddity here with most other records for this moth coming from south of Yorkshire. We flushed 9 Blackneck including a mating pair. Commoner lepids included Latticed Heath, Garden Grass Veneer, Silver Ground Carpet, Celypha lacunana and Timothy Tortrix all in good numbers plus 4 Chimney Sweepers.

Small Blue

Small Blue

Quaking Grass


Small Heath

Wild Strawberry

Large Skippers
From here we drove the short distance along to Partanhall scree cliffs where the masses of Red Valerian, Rock Rose and Salad Burnet were the home to 13+ Northern Brown Argus, 1 Painted Lady, 2 Common Blue, 2 Small Copper and 1 Small White. A tiny brown and white banded pyralid seems to be Pyrausta cingulata.

A good morning out, as it always is up here...

Northern Brown Argus

Common Blue

Common Footman caterpillar

Sunday, June 10, 2018

More Inverts...

The weather was very pleasant this morning so we headed a little way inland between Alnwick and Rothbury to look for some insects. We started with Debdon wood to see the Small Pearl bordered Fritillaries. 12+ were on the wing and showing well. Also here were Latticed Heath and Red and Black Froghoppers in profusion. Several families of Crossbills flew over, a Jay was seen and a Cuckoo heard.

Small Pearl bordered Fritillaries

Latticed Heath

From here we decided to check some ponds in Corby Crags for odonata. The shelter of the pines meant there were a good range on the wing with 30+ Four spotted Chaser, 1 male Banded Demoiselle, 1 Hawker sp likely a Golden ringed Dragonfly but couldnt nail it. Its too early for the other hawkers found here, Large Red, Common Blue and Blue tailed Damsels. best of all was our first Northumberland male Broad bodied Chaser. A rare dragon up here but one we were hoping to find. Success!

 We also had 30+ Red necked Footman seemingly emerging on grass below the trees

Broad bodied Chaser, a male, on a new pond in the wood. 
Before I forget, yesterday Jane, Peggy and me took a trip to Holy Island for a walk. There is still always time for wildlife though and I was over the moon to bump into 4 plants of Henbane, a rare flower in the county.


So, whilst there has not been much birding, there has been loads of interest to see and to look out for in the recent spell of fine weather. Lets hope the summer continues like this...

June Update...

I didnt post here last week probably due to the stress of Sundays debacle! We were out orchid hunting and happened to lock the keys in the car boot and the spare was in my coat pocket on the back seat! To cut a long story short, the RAC bloke pick pocketed my coat with two bits of wire through a three mm gap in a prised open door to get the key.

We had a decent morning until then too, with 3 Birds Nest Orchids at Callaly and 35+ Coral Root Orchids on Holy Island...

Birds Nest Orchid

Coral Root Orchid

Over the week the garden moth trap and village patch has been quite good for some unusual species -

Small Elephant Hawk-moth

Pale Tussock not only a first for me, but a first for VC68 North Northumberland of this common moth south of the Tyne.

Wall Brown

This huge Birch Sawfly landed in our small birch. I have seen its caterpillar like larvae before but this was big surprise.

Plenty of Red headed Cardinal Beetles around at the minute.

This Cucumber Spider in our lilac was a new one for me too...

Wall Browns in the garden daily.
Red and Black Froghopper has had a boost this year. I have only ever seen them once about 20 miles away, now they seem to be everywhere.

Grey Dagger on our shed door, I missed this one earlier.

This Nemophora degeerella was anice surprise on our Hemp Agrimony last night, a first for me.