Saturday, 9 April 2011

Spring Flowers in Lumley Woods

With the weather being so nice, 19C but a bit of a breeze, my wanderings took me down past the Riverside Park and into Lumley Woods. A couple of hours here walking along the west bank of the river from the golf course clubhouse doing a clockwise circular route past Lumley Castle and back to the river did a grand job for the OFFH lists.
There were quite a few butterflies on the wing, 7 species to be exact, Comma, Small Tortoiseshell and Peacock (at least 12 of the latter), plus Small White and three new ones for the year, Large White and the two Hedge Garlic feeding species, Green-veined White and Orange-tip.

Orange-tip and Peacock butterflies - 2 of 7 species seen today
Three species of Bumblebee were noted on the edge of the wood / golf course, Large Red, White-tailed and Buff-tailed together with my first Common Wasp of the year and a couple of Tawny Miner Bees.
Blackcaps have now arrived in good numbers with 3+ singing in the woods, together with 4 Chiffchaff but only 1 Willow Warbler. The little stream  in the woods held a Grey Wagtail and several Great Spotted Woodpecker, Jay and Nuthatch were calling. Only 3 Sand Martin were over the river but with them was also the only new bird of the year, a Swallow. Most of the wildfowl have now gone apart from the resident Mallard and Mute Swans, together with 9 Tufted Duck and 2 Canada Geese. I just had a passing glance at these before heading off to the woods.
Lumley Wood is a smashing wood for spring flowers and has most of the species typical of northern mixed wood. Amongst those I had in flower today were Wood Anemone, Wild Cherry, Wood-sorrel, Bluebell, Hedge Garlic, Ramsons, Ground-ivy, Holly, Wych Elm and Hairy Woodrush.

Wood Anemone
Along the riverbank the Butterbur, Wood Stitchwort, Crack Willow and Osier are well in flower and there is a well established clump of the common garden plant Siberian Squill (Scilla siberica).

Wood Stitchwort
I had already past another alien plant that is established on the grass in the park, Slender Speedwell (Veronica filiformis). Talking of aliens, the amount of Giant Hogweed coming through seems to have increased greatly this year. It will be worrying if the financial cuts on the council will prevent them from dealing with it this year. Common Dog Violet was in flower with a good population of Primroses on the side of the golf course.

Common Dog Violet
Heading home, Thale Cress on the pavement by the Cestria School was also new for the year. Back in the garden, 2 Peacock butterflies were about together with my own little Tawny Miner Bees and a couple of Bee Flies (Bombylius major) and White-tailed and Red-tailed Bumblebees and many Seven-spotted Ladybird. Also another of those Ophion Ichneumon wasps.

So a nice warm spring day - Guess what, it might rain tomorrow.


  1. Managed to see all those species mentioned in the Scotch Gill woods at Morpeth today but I'm still on the lookout for Bee fly.

  2. Nigel,
    They seem particularly numerous this year and gardens are as good as anywhere so with a bit of luck.