Nipped over and got the 2 Tundra Bean Geese at Houghton Gate this afternoon which were swimming on the pond with about 20 Grey Lag. They waddled off the pond and started feeding in the field to the west amongst Curlew and Lapwing. 7 Shelduck and about 20 Teal and 45 Wigeon also present . The Geese made it number 87 for my Chester-le-Street year list.
|The Tundra Bean Geese at Houghton Gate|
The fell is still very quiet and most of the winter thrushes have now gone, being replaced by a few Meadow Pipts and singing Skylark. The garden feeder is probably more busier than it's been all winter, with daily visits by Goldfinch and a few Siskin as well as the resident Blackbirds, Robins etc. A Wood Mouse is also making regular forays underneath and grabbing spilt seed. Last week 3 Song Thrushes were singing within a 75 metre radius of garden in the evening and again the following morning. Some proof they are recovering in numbers I hope.
|Siskins on the feeder|
Still nothing new in the flora front. I have been looking for a Cherry Plum (Prunus cerasifera) which I found in the Hermitage woods a number of years back. Closely related to the Blackthorn, it has white flowers in loose spikes, but they appear at the same time as the leaves and the branches are thornless. It looks like it has gone as I have failed to find it though I can't remember exactly where it was. It flowers a couple of weeks earlier than Blackthorn, usually in February and now the Blackthorn is coming out, or is already in full flower in some of the more sheltered spots.