Tuesday, May 23, 2023

Lighter Nights...

Its almost two weeks since my last blog post. That's the thing about blogging, as the days lengthen and get warmer there is often more wildlife to look out for. Whilst I have more to write about, I have less time to write it!

Here are a few of the more interesting things that have crossed our paths since the Red backed Shrike graced Boulmer....

Holly Blues continue their fantastic season here at the Howick Obs with daily observations of up to three individuals squabbling over the garden.

In the bottom photo if you click on it you will see the mating pair plus another male in waiting to the right.

A nice walk around Craster with Jane and Peggy on the 11th pruduced views of 6+ Bottle nosed Dolphins and a new plant for me, a small Rustyback Fern on the wall. I had been told of its presence here as it is a scarce plant in the county.

Rustyback Fern Craster

Sunday 14th May, JWR and myself headed up to Alnwick Moors but again the weather, although mild enough, was quite dull so few insects seen. Up to 6 Cuckoos were seen and heard back on territory, a singing and seen Garden Warbler was quite unusual for here and 3 Crossbill flew over. Of the few insects there were a reasonable showing of displaying Green Longhorn Moth  Adela reamurella. At Oxen Woods, Chickweed Wintergreen was in flower not a plant Ive seen much of.

Green Longhorn Moth display in a dancing flight over the gorse.

Chickweed Wintergreen a lovely flower.

A hugely cropped digiscoped Cuckoo for drawing reference!


Cuckoo field sketches.

On Friday at work in our new, very sterile, office I noticed an unusually shaped 'thing' low down on the wall near the back doors. Closer inspection found it to be a spider, and not something I'd seen before. It reminded me of the Garden Centre Spider from a few weeks ago ( still present in our porch). I potted this spider up for a better look. It turns out not only to be new for me, but likely new for Northumberland too, though spiders are very tricky to get onto the record as they always want a specimen or microscope images that I either cant be bother with or am unable to do. see pics below for details.

Spider Episinus angulatus, a scarce species not found in the NE until now.

 This past weekend added a couple of new local patch species with a calling Cuckoo in Howick and a Redpoll N along the coast path.

On Sunday we missed the Spoonbill at Alnmouth but did see a nice male Marsh Harrier near Foxton and, while looking for plants and spiders, I flushed a Long eared Owl from a small hawthorn in the dunes. Luckily John was quick enough to get some great photos. I was too slow off the mark and it was too distant for me.

Above, Long eared Owl, Alnmouth Dunes courtesy of John Rutter.

The dunes at Alnmouth a great for plants and insects, but thats another post in itself, so I'll end with another spider. This one is a one Ive hoped to find here as it occurs commonly in sandy areas. Next time I'll take the macro lens for a better shot. This is Arctosa perita a well camouflaged wold spider..

Arctosa perita a relative of the larger and rarer Grey Wolf spider we found in the river valleys.



The Wessex Reiver said...

You're becoming the 'Northumbrian Finder' with all these new species to the county. Rustyback fern is common down here in the south west, I love the fact it clings onto walls in often challenging locations. It's been a good year for butterflies too so far. Last year's hot dry summer maybe? On a different subject first churring nightjars last night calling and flying for over 45 minutes. Are they still found in Northumberland - I read recently they'd declined substantially north of the Midlands.

Stewart said...

Hi Andrew, its not too hard to find new stuff here as there arent many observers! Yes our Nightjars are doing better than ever and can be found in a lot of spots now, basically any clearfelled forested areas. We have them just outside Alnwick these days...I'll be off for a look soon. Best wishes...

The Wessex Reiver said...

That's good to know (contrary to what I'd read) that nightjar are doing well up in Northumberland. I'd never seen them up there myself, such an enigmatic bird.