Wednesday, 11 August 2010

My very very first posting

Well here I am, my first of hopefully regular postings.  The idea will be an update on the Natural History happenings I wander around where I live at Waldridge, Chester-le Street, County Durham.

So,  spent the morning (after it stopped raining - I am a wimp after all) with a little look in the garden, followed by a circular route through South Burn Wood and over Waldridge Fell.

Birds - Not surprising, the wood in august was rather quiet, a Willow Tit and a recently fledged brood of Wrens were the best on the way through until just as I was about to exit 3 Crossbill flew over calling. Still several warblers around on Waldridge Fell with Willow Warbler, Chiffchaff, Blackcap and Common Whitethroat noted, many of them being juveniles. 2 Common Swift flew over,  these could be my last of the year. A male Stonechat chacked away, perhaps the female is attempting another brood? and 3 Bullfinch were feeding in a Rowan tree. Checked the burn and saw 1 of the Dippers that bred here earlier this year  (for the first time?) but I reckon it was an adult bird.  Back through the woods and lots of chattering from Blackbirds etc led me straight to a roosting Tawny Owl.

Mammals - A nice Stoat chasing some small rodent on Waldridge Lane and 2 Roe Deer stood very still as I pass through Fell Edge wood . A quick view of a Bank Vole on the fell was the last of todays mammals

Reptiles - An Adder by Wanister Bog and a Common Lizard surprisingly along one of the main paths on the fell. It's several years since I've seen either here. The County Council are doing some conservation work around the bog so I wonder if they have be chased off.

Butterflies - A couple of Peacock butterflies on the buddleja and several Green-veined Whites floating about in the garden. Seems to have been a good hatching of  Green-veined Whites with them everywhere at the moment, easily outnumbering the Large & Small Whites put together. 8 Peacocks on some brambles and 2 Wall, 2 Small Skipper, a Meadow Brown  and 2 Common Blue made up the butterfly count.


Moths - With the threat of rain last night I did not put my trap out. Should have as the heavy stuff was not until early this morning. Flushed a Silver-ground Carpets and a few Shaded Broad-bar from the Bracken as I walked over the fell.

Shaded Broad-bar  

Bees - The little  colony of Mining Bees busy as ever in the garden, I spent many hours setting about identifying them including catching one of them for a better look.  They are  Colletes succinctus - no english name I'm afraid. They are the common cousin of the Northern Colletes Bee that the RSPB is currently surveying in the machair in the Hebrides.

Miner Bee Colletes succinctus

Dragonflies - A Southern Hawker buzzed me followed by a second a little further down the track in the wood and 2 Common Darters on the fell.

Hoverflies - A noticeable increase in the Marmalade hoverfly - Episyrphus balteatus with 9 on the poppies in the garden and many more in the wood and on the fell.

The hoverfly Platycheirus albimanus  

Flora - The small patch of Yellow Loosestrife Lysimachia vulgaris by Waldridge Lane was in flower as well as the now quite abundant Whorled Loosestrife Lysimachia verticalis which until recently I took to be the same species but appears to have been an overlooked garden escape. The little bog in the wood appears to be coming along well with much Lesser Spearwort, Common Valerian and Marsh Bedstraw in flower and still a few Common Spotted Orchids.


  1. Hi
    Very interesting reading your first entry - i enjoyed that walk & know parts of it well having previously lived over the fell at Sacriston.

    Were your Dippers on the South or the Cong Burn ?
    They certainly appear to be increasing on the tributaries on the lower stretches of the Wear - we had our first succesful breeding nr Houghton this year.

    Look forward to reading more.

  2. Steve,

    They were on the South Burn on a surprisingly heavily wooded stretch.