The Chestnut that wandered into the house
It was wet and quiet when I left for a couple of hours of wandering over the fell this morning and nearly 4 hours later nothing had changed. Walking over the fell, I tracked down two fly over Lesser Redpoll but they were were both very un-mealy like. A male Roe Deer bounded away before I got anywhere near it and a Common Snipe jumped out of one of the wet patches. During the course of the morning I heard 2 Green Woodpeckers (as well as seeing 2 Great spotted Woodpeckers). I am getting a bit worried about the Greens. It wasn't that long ago that I reckon there was between 5-7 pair in the area, now I think there is only 2, possibly 3 pair, a serious decline but the reasons I'm not sure of, the habitat hasn't changed very much. In the nearby horse fields, 20 Redwing were feeding with about 100 Starling and 12 Chaffinch and 2 Siskin flew over.
|Redwing by the stables|
In the South Burn Wood, a group of 7 Bullfinch showed well for a few moments and a Willow Tit was calling by the new road. The Snowdrops are out in full flower here and looking quite good.
|Snowdrops in the South Burn Woods|
Nearby, the only plant of Harts-tongue Fern that I know of on the Fell proper has greened up and has come through the winter well. This species is increasing and can be seen on many of the walls in Chester-le-Street town centre these days but this one is in the woods.
|Hart's-tongue fern - possibly the fell's only example of this species|
The invasive moss, Heath Star Moss (Campylopus introflexus) is increasing quite rapidly and has now moved into some of the barer areas in the South Burn Woods. On the way back, the big flock of Redpolls flew over, nearly 100 birds, but did not settle, so there may be a Mealy (or better) in there, if only I could ever get them perched up for a few minutes.