Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Riverside again

I haven't been down to the Riverside Park for a few weeks so I thought it was time I did again. As soon as I stepped out of the door an Oyster-catcher flew over, a good start.
I walked along the riverside from the Lumley bridge to the Chester New Bridge on the edge of the Lambton Estate. The riverbank is quite overgrown in places and produced a few nice plants. In fact 8 species were new for the year Horse-radish, White Poplar, Swedish Whitebeam, Russian Comfrey, Nipplewort, Crosswort, Charlock and the true, pure Spanish Bluebell.

Where's the roast beef ?-  heres the Horse-radish

I counted some of the waterfowl etc. as I walked along
Mute Swan - 54
Canada Goose - 11
Grey Lag Goose - 2
Pink-footed Goose - 1 
Goosander - 1
Tufted Duck 4
Mallard - 13 broods of young
Sand Martin - 31
Swallow - 4
House Martin - 2
Herring Gull - 5
Lesser Black-backed Gull - 1
Black-headed Gull - 6
Dipper - 1
Blackcap - 4 singing males
Garden Warbler- 1 singing male
Common Whitethroat- 4 singing males
Willow Warbler- 1 singing male
Chiffchaff- 2 singing males

The lonely, dodgy  Pink-footed Goose

Dipper standing still for a second

A couple of species of Mining Bee were present,  which I believe to be  Andrena clarkella and Andrena scotica. The riverbank here has a mass of Hedge-Garlic which is going over now, but is still attracting many Orange-tip and Green-veined White and a single Wall butterfly.

The thirteen broods of Mallard show why there are so many in winter. It was interesting to watch the youngest brood which I suspect had just hatched. The mother had brought them up onto the Cong Burn which is much slower moving and they were under the road bridge, getting their first swimming lesson. It was all rather cute...

Baby Mallard swimming lessons in the shallow end
 Not so cute admittedly, by the sewage-works there are many Bird Cherry, which are out in full flower at the moment. At least the first few trees were. The rest are in the process of being completely defoliated by the larva of a small moth the Bird Cherry Ermine. These caterpillars build web-like nests and sometimes can be vast covering not only the trees but anything else in the surrounding area too.

Bird Cherry - well in flower

Bird Cherry food plant of Bird Cherry Ermine larvae


Flowering plants - 163
Birds - 98
Butterflies - 12
Moths - 39
Hoverflies - 6

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