Tuesday, 23 June 2009

Small Creatures, Little Ticks.

A glorious June day, with the software arriving and two energetic kids I decided that today was not a day to go far so after the school run I headed for Pegswood Moor and the woodland edge of Howburn Woods. I thought I'd focus on plants and insects today as it's a quiet time for birds locally. I'm a complete novice when it comes to these so feel free to challenge the id's if I get it wrong.

First up this on the left, when I took the shot I thought it was a Thistle but I'm now thinking Common Knapweed I could only find the one plant across a 500m stretch of stony, weedy ground.

The next one was fairly easy, even for a plant numpty like me, as it's fairly distinctive Fox and Cubs. again though just this single plant although I didn't look too far in the area around. this one was on an east facing slope about 20m from the woodland edge. It's an introduced species that's gone native over the years. Also known as Orange Hawkweed.

A proper Thistle this time with a few spikes to go with it. I reckon this one could be a Marsh Thistle Cirsium palustre. It seems to fit the bill and it was growing close to a small wet area where water flows out of the wood. Not long after taking the first shot as I was hanging around up turns my second Large Skipper of the week and begins to use said Thistle as a food plant.

Next up a few Butterflies took to the wing. It took a while for any of them to settle and they weren't settling for any length of time. In fact they were very active although staying inside an area of about an acre of weedy meadow and bank.

Meadow Brown, male.

Ringlet, male.

Painted Lady, a tad jet lagged.

Tonight a spare half hour was consumed at the coast with a quick seawatch from Newbiggin. With only a light swell and breeze I wasn't expecting much and with only six Manx Shearwater gently ambling through, I thought I was right. Then two year ticks only minutes apart the first was an adult Little Gull moving north not too far offshore. Further out I picked up a small white bird belting south that as it came closer was unmistakably a Little Tern moving like it's tail was on fire.

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