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Preview: Moorside Meanderings

Moorside Meanderings

A naturalist diary of Northumberland and beyond.

Updated: 2016-09-08T05:35:05.035+01:00


Im still Meandering


Ha, well hello there.

Whilst out pursuing my new hobby of Field Archery at a private l;ocation near Castleside Co Durham i came across this beauty. I spent all of last summer looking for one of these and here it was right in front of me today.


A Golden Ring Dragonfly.

Also seen today whilst not looking for were Tree Pipit, Redstart, Yellow Hammer, Cuckoo, Garden Warbler and two yes two Tawny Owls along with nesting Curlews Red Kite and Buzzard not bad for not actually going out birding.

Good to be back will keep posting any more unusual sitings whilst out playing Robin Hood.

This is field Archery by the way if anyone interested.


Club i belong to is Butsfield Bowmen we play around in a secluded tree lined valley shooting at 3D Targets of Lions, Tigers and Bears oh my. Nothing is harmed though.

Part of the NFAS.

An evening at Holywell


Quick late evening trip to Holywell yesterday. There was a Yellow Wagtail, Green Sandpiper and a couple of Snipe from the public hide. Two Sparrowhawks above the members hide.

Loads of Wall Browns on the footpaths through the wheat fields. Barn Owls knocking around the fields in the same area.

A few pics below






Nice evening good to meet Bob and Cain again.

Garden Hedge


Firstly, Hello to Anthony and welcome to the Blog. I answered your comment sorry about delay Ive just seen it.

In the garden the other day whilst hanging out the washing, i noticed the Box Hedge was absolutely covered in insects. There was about five variety of Bees and three types of Butterflies. I let the hedge grow this year to try and block out the annoying neighbours and thus in doing so it flowered which Ive never seen before.

So here's a few pics from the garden.







Canny Eh !

Only Five weeks left and counting.

Last couple of days


I went to Kielder area on Sunday with my bro to see if we could clock Black Darter up at Falstone Moss. When we got to the Mire in the bleak windy conditions we found nothing flying at all. We did come across this bonny little plant. Bog AsphdelAnd this cracking Toon Army Lichen, Black and White.So next stop we headed to Sidwood near Greenhaugh. Here we were after Golden Ring Dragonfly. It wasn't long before we came across a Common Hawker weaving along the forest ride.That was to be the only one though. For the rest of the trip we saw no Dragons at all. However, we did see some more nice Lichens including this Cladonia. And for the Fungi fans among you:So not the best of trips having seen nothing that we set out to see.Washington Survey part three on Sunday had all the usual with Common Darter, Emperor, Broad Bodied Chaser Dragonfly and Blue Tailed, Common Blue and Emerald Damselfly. Butterflies were Meadow Brown, Green Veined and Small White. A few pics below to show findings. So the holidays drag on. The kids have bankrupted me already and i mark the days left until they return to school on the wall. Lets hope it rains everyday for the next six weeks so i dont miss anything.[...]

Life comes to a halt


That dreadful time of the year is again once upon us, the school holidays. My life will now come to an end for the next six weeks whilst i entertain the kids. No birding, no photographing no nowt.

So there will be little posting activity on this blog for that time period but please drop in now and again as i may get the odd day in.

My survey at washington will of course continue and i will update on that.

As the Americans would say Happy Holidays. I can feel the tears starting to well up already.

Washington WWT Survey part 2


Part two of my Dragonfly survey at Washington this morning produced some more cracking sights. This Broad Bodied Chaser was oviposting on the Lilly pond, a very good sign. Just press play. allowFullScreen='true' webkitallowfullscreen='true' mozallowfullscreen='true' width='320' height='266' src='' class='b-hbp-video b-uploaded' FRAMEBORDER='0' /> There was also a male Broad Bodied Chaser who kept chasing off a Four Spotted Chaser. The numbers of dragonflies/damselflies were high on all the ponds. With Common Blue, Azure, Emerald and Blue Tailed. There was lots of pairs in tandem and in wheels and oviposting. On blades of reed i noticed a couple of Exuvia clinging to the stems. So this all points to a successful cycle of breeding at the ponds. Other species seen included Common Hawker and Common Darter. The former being a first for me and what a cracking sight to watch. It wouldn't land though so no pics. Butterfly wise there were a few knocking around. Speckled Wood, Ringlet, Comma, Large White, Small White (high numbers), Green-veined White, Meadow Brown and Small Heath. Strangely no Burnet Moths seems a bit early for them to have gone ? A few pics of the Butterflies seen. Something else I'm just getting into are Bees and their vast variety. I got a fantastic book describing the different types and how to id them. Something else i have to study now along with Dragonflies. I came across this subdued individual who let me come within macro distance of him. Now looking at the photo i can see why, his wings are rather torn and tattered. I havent id him yet but will get onto it as soon as possible. A flower I'm not sure of, it looked like an Orchid of some kind. Standing about three foot high amongst the grass. I met some nice folks whilst doing the survey. They showed a lot of interest in what i was doing and why i was doing it. I met Scribbley Jack of Bird Forum and his lass who name escapes me to which i apologise and had a good crack with them. So if you see a handsome, well toned, strapping lad sitting by the pond ignore him because i will be the old fat one counting Dragonflies over the other side, come and have a chat. I had a quick stop of at the bird hides on wader lake. There were some good waders knocking around the best being a Green Sandpiper. Year tick for me. Ok very poor record shot but it was miles away.Canny day.[...]

Silverlink Shuffle


Quick visit to Silverlink Bio Park produced loads of Meadow Browns, Small and Large Skipper, Common Blue, Burnet Moths, Large White, Speckled Wood, Comma and Small Tortoiseshell. Common and Blue Tailed Damselflies. Emperor Dragonfly, Common Darter and this cracking Four Spotted Chaser.



Washington WWT Wow.


The Survey of Dragonflies and Damselflies began yesterday and what a start i had. As i was walking down to the ponds something rather large caught my eye. Upon further inspection i came across this beauty. Only a Southern Hawker Dragonfly. WOW !This cracking Dragonfly has only recently started to spread to our part of the country so it was a very nice and unexpected find.As i continued my walk i saw a Common Darter resting on the floor. Fandragontastic MateSo with stool set up by the pond i began my survey. There was plenty to see with Common Blue, Blue Tailed and Azure Damselfly. Both Azure Damselfly Common BlueThe Damselflies were mating and laying eggs so a good sign of a healthy Damselfly world. I also spotted two Common Blue Tenerals drying their wings out. Then something glimmered like a jewel in the sun. And it was indeed a jewel. A stunning Emerald Damselfly.EmeraldThree male Broad Body Chasers did what there name suggests and chased a female around the pond for a good twenty minutes. They proved very hard to photograph but i eventually manged to capture a couple of record shots. Broad Body ChaserA single Large Red Damselfly tried its best to have a rest but the Common Blues were having none of it and kept chasing him away.There was also a good number of Butterflies visiting the area around the pond. Four Comma put on a show amongst the leaves. Chasing each other away until only one remained. Although he was a little Moth eaten (excuse the pun) .Other species noted were, Speckled Wood, Red Admiral, Large Skipper, Small Skipper, Small Tortoiseshell, Large White, Painted Lady and Meadow Brown. A few pic below to show the variety of species found. Other creatures of interest seen were, two Newts and a Frog of which type i have no idea. So a truly enjoyable day which i shall repeat next Sunday.[...]

New Role


From this morning i became an official Wildlife Survey Assistant at Washington WWT.
For the next couple of months i will be monitoring Dragonflies, Damselflies and Butterflies within the reserve. Then moving onto another survey after that and so on. I will be covering all Flora and Fauna so its all very exciting and i cant wait to get stuck in. So expect lots of photos of the above.

Anyhoo's, heres some Moths i clocked this morning resting in one of the bird hides.


Coxcomb Prominent

Yellow Shell


Light Arches

I take it they were all night flying Moths and will find out asap.

Free Bird Watching Mags


I have the following up for grabs for nowt if anyone wants them.

23 Bird Watching Mags

6 various dates 2008

and all of March 2009 to July 2010

Good info on bird id, areas to visit, equipment etc may be good for beginner or anyone for that matter.

4 Waterlife WWT magazine

7 RSPB Birds Magazine various dates.

All in excellent condition no stains etc. Ooo errr.

All you have to do is collect them, or if not to far away im sure i could drop them off.

Druridge and East Chev with a bit of Linton as well


Came across these cracking Common Blue females within East Chev Dunes. I didnt realise that the females could differ in colour so much. Take a look. A few more sightings at various sites produced: Shaded Broad-bar (Scotopteryx chenopodiata) Common Carpet (Epirrhoe alternata)Yellow Shell (Camptogramma bilineata)RingletCinnibar Moth caterpillarLoads of Damselflies seen. No Dragonflies. Loads of Skippers small and large, Totrtoiseshells, Painted Ladies and Burnet Moths. Good day out a bit windy though which probarly kept the count down.[...]

Old Backworth Scrapyard


This is the old Backworth Scrapyard site which has now become a fantastic wildlife zone. Unfortunately i think it is earmarked for development as part of the Earsdon View estate. Which is a p**s take in its self as it has blocked my view of Earsdon. Ironic or what. Anyhoo, a few pic of what i came across this morning whilst meandering. The site as it is now. I counted five species of Butterfly but i was there for only forty Min's so not bad.Small TortoiseshellCommon BlueMeadow BrownLarge SkipperSmall SkipperOrchid of some kind The ground was covered in OrchidsI also saw about six varieties of Bees. There were Goldfinch, Linnets and Skylarks. And Two kestrels hunted the area.All in all there was about thirty species of plants and that was just a quick count. I am very tempted to plant something rare and get the site listed as a SSSI and stop the building of houses which dont sell anyway.[...]

Last couple of days


I have been keeping local the last couple of days. So here are a few pics from Silverlink Bio Park and Banks Pond. Narrow-bordered 5-spots. The Silver Link Bio Park is a Mecca for these Moths. They are in huge numbers all over the site. Narrow-bordered 5-spotsCame across this very pretty looking Moth. It was only about 20mm across.Latticed HeathNo apologies for the Four Spot Chaser again. I just love this Dragonfly.Four Spot ChaserSmall SkipperLarge SkipperI couldn't resist this little beauty. been told it is a Nine Spine Stickleback. I didn't even know there was more than one type. Fascinating. Onto Banks Pond this morning. The weather unfortunately had took a downturn. Although still warm it was windy and cloudy. I think this may have had an effect on the number of species seen this morning.This has to be one of my favorite Butterflies i have seen so far. It is stunning.Common BlueA few Damsels though im not sure what yet. I would guess Common Blue and Large Red. There was also a bloody great big blue Dragonfly whizzing around but would not stay still to photograph so no idea what that was. So heres another Four Spot Chaser from Banks Pond as well. Doing chinups to impress the ladiesBrown China-mark (Elophila nymphaeata). There were loads of these all over the place.And this little chap.Another cracking couple of days and thanks to Richie for on the spot location information. It only took me four attempts to find Banks Pond.[...]

Secret Location


Certain local bloggers seem to be keeping their wildlife locations secret lately not wishing to share their sightings with the rest of us. Which leads to the question, why do they keep a blog. Is it just to Brag "look at what I've found and you haven't". So i have jumped on the band waggon and will keep this location all to myself as they do.All i will say is, there is heathland and a few puddles and Pylons. You know who you are. I luckily bumped into a chap who advised me on what i was looking at. So i thank him for that. Mike i think he was called from Durham. Bloody nice chap. Anyway here are a few of the sightings from today's top secret location. Black Tailed SkimmerI was advised by the nice chap that this was quite a find. He was there specifically just for this one species. There was a single Emperor Dragonfly and plenty of Blue Tailed, Large Red and AzureDamselfly's. A Banded Demoiselle put in a brief appearance unfortunately to far away to photograph.There were lots of Four Spotted Chasers.They were sunning themselves within four feet of me. Flower wise plenty of Orchids with this Common Spotted Orchid amongst the Marsh Orchid.Spotted OrchidAnchusa arvensis Vipers BuglossI think this may be White CampionAnd i do believe this is Red Campion.There were Butterflies galore. Highlights were Common Blue, Small Heath, Six Spot Burnet yes i know that's a Moth and many others of which names i do not know yet. Small HeathSo a absolutely fantastic morning out in the glorious sunshine at Kibblesworth Brickworks. Ahh Dam just gave the location away.[...]

Washington Wonderings


A trip to Washington WWT this morning produced a few new species for me.

Like this Bee Orchid.



And this Speckled Wood Butterfly.



Yellow Rattle in the Meadow.


And this Chimney Sweeper Moth.



Garden Moths


Unfortunately my idea of having a wild meadow ( Buttercups, Daisys, Thistle and long grass etc)for a garden was not the same idea of the council. So having been told they were inspecting gardens i had no option but to cut it. Fascists !

Whilst doing so i came across these three Moths

Heart and Dart Agrotis exclamationis

Garden Grass Veneer Chrysoteuchia culmella

Timothy Tortrix Aphelia paleana

Day or Night Moths you decide cause i dont know yet.

All ids provided by Ispot.

Druridge and other places Meander


I was going to go to Kielder on Monday to try a see the Green Hairstreaks. But with the weather not doing what i told it to do i ended up at along the coast. First stop was Cresswell. There may not of been a vast variety of birds but the insect life was amazing. The path to the hide had insects in abundance. Here are a few. I believe this is called a Frog HopperThere were a good number of small Moths flapping around. Silver ground carpetThe next photo I'm not sure if it is a Moth, Butterfly or Fly i am awaiting id from ISPOT.Nemophora degeerellaA Scorpion Fly (Panorpha species)A Snipe Fly Next stop onto Druridge. There was a bird singing where the Marsh Warbler had been seen. It sounded very much like a Sedge Warbler but with a few Blackbird and other birds songs thrown in for good measure. I got a brief glimpse of it. Small brown buff coloured underneath not sure if it was the Marsh Warbler still hanging around ?Anyway, there were a large number of Blue Tailed and Azure Damsel fly. Along with a few species of Butterfly's including this Large Skipper. And this Orange Tip. As i went into the South facing Hide (who ms name escapes me) this was the fantastic view. Brilliant eh !There were some lovely Lesser Spotted Orchids along the path.Next stop Widdrington Tip. I followed a side road and arrived at a Methane monitoring plant that advised to keep at least 2km away in case of explosion due to naked flames. So as i lit a tab i wondered down the road. I couldn't find an entrance onto the old tip as it was all fenced off. I did see this though. First time I've seen this cool looking bug. looks like something out of a sci fi movie.A Sawfly SymphytaSo i returned to the car and had another tab whilst reading the sign about explosions and then headed to East Chevington. On the big lake were a good number of Sandwich Terns but not much else. Yet again there was a good turn out of insects to keep me interested.The next set of photos are for over eighteens only so if you are younger look away now.That time of year to get it onAnd this handsom Caterpillar to admire. A Drinker MothAlso a Ground BeetleAnd thisI know its only a Green Bottle but look at the sheen on it, fantastic.And to finish because im running out of time, a Bunny munching on Dock leaves at HauxleyA Fantastic day out. [...]

Gossy Quickie


I managed to get 30 mins at Gosforth Park Nature Reserve before i got a call to inform me that i was needed else where. I had just opened the shutters on the pyle hide ? when there in front of me were two Reed Warblers


Now i had only previously seen them from a distance so this was a real treat to have them ten foot away from me.

On the way back to the car i clocked a few insects new to me. I haven't had time to find out their names yet so i will update the blog when I've got the info.

Here's some pics of the new beasties


Soldier Beetle

Whoops bit out of focus that one


And to finish, this Little Grebe chick exploring the lake.


It is amazing what can be seen in 30 mins.

All quiet on the Moorside front


I wont be posting much this week as i am stuck with the kids for the half term.
Normal service will resume as soon as possible.

But to be going on with a few photos from Sundial Hill Country park this morning with my son.

Blue Tailed Damsel

Six Spot Burnet

Northern Marsh Orchid

Ragged Robin

Salad Burnet

This plant is found all over the Sundial hill. It is covered in Six Spot Burnet caterpillars which are starting to go into the Chrysalis stage.


Back To normal soon.

Another Bothal meander


I Couldn't decide where to go yesterday. I was going to go to Druridge but ended up at Bothal again. When i got there the first thing to strike me was the high numbers of Orange Tip Butterflies. They seemed to be attracted to the Giant Butterbur or Bog Rhubarb as my dad used to call it. Note for Emma, I know its a bit out your way but they were very easy to photograph keeping still for long periods.Unfortunately another thing to stike me was the high number of campfires that have been made. The two mile stretch that i walked had about ten separate fires (distinguished i must add) including trees that had been torched. I don't know if its people fishing or numpties with their packs of Fosters but its a sad site to see. Anyways, Birds seen were Blackcap in abundance, Willow Warbler , Chiffchaff, Great Spotted woodpecker , Grey Wagtail , Dipper , Grey Heron x3, Song Thrush, Common Buzzard calling above the trees and briefly glimpsed, Chaffinch, Blackbird and Robin. Below a few photos from the day. Not much new to see since my last visit. You got to have the baby bunny pic this time of year.Wood Aven i doth believe.Twas a carpet of Ransom that cloaked the floor.Plenty of these chappies Mayfly i think.Bridge near MorpethSo a canny couple of hours. The best thing was i never passed a soul. Bliss.[...]

Low Force Meander


Some of the family were going to Low Force on Sunday so i thought i would tag along having never been. As i walked through the woods to the Wynch Bridge a Spotted Flycatcher and a Tree Creeper gave a nice start to the day. The falls soon came into view a what a treat they were. The view however, was soon spoiled by a group of Foster Beer wielding teenagers turning up to do a bit of Tombstoning into the deep pools below the falls. Anyway, further up the river two Common Sandpipers were spied along with Grey Wagtail.There were some interesting flowers to see. One of which was pointed out to me by a kind gent who informed me that it was quite rare to see now.Bird's Eye PrimroseBelow, some of the others seen.Globe FlowerEarly Marsh OrchidWater AvensNot sure on this one Vetch Maybe ?BugleBird's Foot TrefoilAnd a couple of Wee Cowrin' Timorous Beasties.It had a very humourous face this one. A Weevil of some kindAnd a Moth Caterpillar of the Aphelia GenusWe returned to the falls which by now had become a Lido for the numpties. They were everywhere throwing empty beer cases and cans straight into the river. WHY ? We stopped at the visitors center to have a coffee and got a wonderful show of Crepuscular rays from above. A path led away from the visitors center to another waterfall of who ms name escapes me at the mo. We saw two Dippers along the burn and plenty of Brown Trout in the pools.It was nice and quiet here no numpties. To far for them to walk. A few more pics from the dayA fantstic place that deserves another visit perhaps midweek when the numpties are signing on.Side note thanks to Emma for flower updates. Cheers.[...]

More Bothal and a bit of Fontburn


A few pics from Bothal woods yesterday. Cuckoo Pint i think Cream Spot LadybirdNot a Bee but a Greater Bulb-Fly (Merodon equestris)A Leaf Beetle so I've been told 14 Spot LadybirdPendulas Sedge GrassThe wooded banks were covered in Blue Bells and Ransom. The smell was overpowering.Also had a quick visit to St Andrews church in Bothal. The ground was also covered in Ransom and these fantastic Brown Birch trees gave a nice contrast. Kind of spring meets autumn. Nice. Today i thought i would save you dear readers, the trouble of checking out Rayburn Lake near Netherwitton. Good job i did because there was nowt there of interest. list as follows:Yellow Hammers, Linnets, Reed Bunting, Mute swan, Mallard, Tufty and two Little Grebes. I thought there may be Black Necked Grebe that's why i checked it out. However, I did come across these two chaps that had been delivered with a pint of milk. They were very stressed and flapping around in their little prison. Poor things. I didn't know whether to let them go or let be and not intervene. The last time i saw this was up in the Cheviots. I let them go but unknown to me i was being watched by two Game Keepers/Poachers who sped up to me in their Land rover and gave me a right bollocking. So this time i ignored it. Hard to do though.On the way back to the car i passed this Gym for Moles. They were having a right good workout doing chin ups. One handed as well impressive.Next onto Fontburn. Nowt here of interest. There was the usual Great Spotted Woodpecker, Willow Warbler, Chiffchaff, Canada Geese, Coot and Chaffinch. Some nice views of the reservoir though. Canny morning out.[...]

Beacon Hill


A few hours spent at Beacon Hill this morning produced Spotted Flycatcher, Redstart, Tree Pipit, Willow Tit and the usual others. A Cuckoo called but was not seen. There were also two Hares in the woods. And a strange fellow staring at me through his bins. Very odd.

Also Corn Bunting at a near by location.

Two Tawnys in a week


I don't know it takes me a year and a half to see my first Tawny then i get another one a week later. All be it a Young one. It sat quite content on its branch surprisingly out in the open. Not the best looking thing i must say. But then again, wor lass would say the same about me. A few butterflies were knocking around mainly Peacocks and Small Whites. And lots of Orange TipsSitting on a Forget me NotPlenty of LBJ. With Blackcaps, Reed Buntings, Willow Warbler, Sedge Warbler and Grasshopper Warbler. No photos though as they were to swift this morning.Moved onto Druridge next where there was very little to see. I did get this lovely Ringed Plover though from the Oddie Hide. And today's plant. Lady's Smock (Cardamine pratensis)As well as today's Insect.Hoverfly Leucozona lucorum.Last stop onto Bothal down by the sawmill. I haven't been here since i was a kid. So it was good to visit and remember the fun times of canoeing up the river. Anyway, Bird wise there was Dipper, Grey wagtail, Blackcaps, Willow Warbler and best of all a Wood Warbler. A few shots of the Bluebells and Ransom carpeting the bank side.and one of the river for good luck. So a brilliant morning out.[...]

Gossy Meander


After ironing and painting ( a woman's work is never done they say, So how come i end up doing it) a trip to Gosforth Park Nature Reserve was in order. As i walked into the reserve i met Paul the resident warden who informed me that the feeding station hide had been torched the previous Saturday. Probably only a matter of time before the others are as well i should think. Anyway, the skies were blue and the clouds were fluffy, ideal for photos. The Sedge warblers were singing their hearts out and deep within the reeds a Water Rail was Sharming.There wasn't much to see on the water. Just some Coot, Moorhens, Little Grebe, Mute Swans and a few Common Tern checking out the artificial island. But it was just glorious to sit in the sun and soak up the rays and watch the Swifts doing their aerobatics over the water.As i continued around the reserve all the usual woodland species could be seen and heard. There was Chiffchaff, Whitethroat, Willow Warbler, Nuthatch, Coal Tit, Great and Blue Tit, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Chaffinch and a Tree Creeper put in an appearance for me.But best of all for me anyway was the majestic buck Roe Deer keeping a wary eye on me. To finish of the morning this beautiful Orange Tip. [...]