Saturday, 19 July 2014

Better do some more blogging

As you can see I haven't posted anything for more than 4 months, lots of reasons really, including overall idleness but I thought I should try and continue. I haven't done as much natural history as last year either in the Waldridge area or overall but I have done some so I thought I would just show a few things I have seen the last few weeks and pick it up from there.

So during the last week this is what I was up to.

There is a species of Orchid these days called the Dune Helleborine (Epipactis dunensis) which grows, surprise, surprise in dunes. However in recent years some have been found inland, especially along the Tyne growing on shingle or in woodland in soil contaminated with heavy metals. Though it looks different from its coastal counterpart, with a much whiter flower lip and brown centre and indeed was thought to be a different species altogether, Narrow-lipped Helleborine (Epipactis leptochila),  DNA sampling has shown it to be the same species but a variant due to the habitat it is growing in. This variant may one day be split and called a true species in its own right and it already has an English (Nick-)name 'Tyne Helleborine'.

I thought I would go and have a proper look and take some pictures and took myself off to Wylam and a nice stroll along the riverbank. It didn't take me long to find the first 2 spikes both well over a metre high and another 20 or so were further along.

Tyne or Dune  Helleborine (Epipactis dunensis)

It's a nice spot for wild flowers and earlier in the year I would have seen some of the other 'heavy metal' species such as Spring Sandwort  and Alpine Pennycress, but these were well over now. What was still in flower were things like Rest-harrow, Monkey-flower, Fools' Parsley and Giant Bellflower, all species absent or very scarce around Waldridge.

Monkeyflower  (Mimulus guttatus)

Common Restharrow (Ononis repens)

With all the flowers and a bit of sun it was not surprsing there were many butterflies about, the commonest being Small Skipper, Meadow Brown and Ringlet with smaller numbers of Comma, Speckled Wood etc. thrown in. The best however were three White-letter Hairstreaks flying arounf the Wych Elms on the south side of the river right next to the train station.


Small Skipper

 White-letter Hairstreak

Not so many bird this time of year but a few Oystercatcher and Sand Martin were around, a Common Buzzard flew over and some nice but far too short views of Kingfisher on the pond in the nearby nursery.

A very pleasant day


  1. Nice to be back George :-) Called into Shibdon this morning with the boys. The Ruff is still present but only 1 Common Sandpiper remaining.