Tag: Common Spotted Orchid

In the summertime; Lindisfarne mini-Safari 16/07/2015

by on Jul.20, 2015, under Lindisfarne

Thursday was to be a day of two mini-safaris, and I arrived at Holy Island to collect David and Larraine for the first of those.

Lindisfarne offers remarkable birdwatching during the winter months, but in the height of summer it’s chief features of interest lie in the flowers and invertebrates resplendent in the Northumbrian sunshine.  Marsh Helleborine, Common Spotted Orchid, Common Restharrow, Viper’s Bugloss and Cottongrass were all in bloom, and an accompanying cast of butterflies included Meadow Brown, Small Heath, Dark Green Fritillary, Ringlet and Common Blue.  An unexpected find was a juvenile Wheatear, and the morning had passed by almost in an instant.  Time to head home, for a few hours in the office before our second mini-safari.

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Mid-summer Murmuration Madness; Druridge Bay 26/06/2014

by on Jul.01, 2014, under Birdwatching, Druridge Bay, Northumberland

Thursday was Peter’s second day out with NEWT, this time around our local patch of Druridge Bay and southeast Northumberland.  Avocets bickered and quarrelled, a Water Rail sunned itself on the edge of a reedbed,  dainty Little Gulls were sleeping in amongst relatively huge Sandwich Terns, Black-tailed Godwits probed the soft mud in the shallows and Peter photographed Common Spotted Orchid, Common Twayblade, Marsh Helleborine and Lesser Butterfly Orchid in nice evening light.

We settled to watch over Druridge Pools, as daylight began to fade, and female Gadwall and Tufted Duck quacked in alarm at an unseen threat and the well-grown Gadwall ducklings came out of the water on to the poolside as the little Tufties scattered in a radiating semi-circle from the spot that their mother had just flown from.  Then a flock of Starlings flew by.  You don’t need a huge murmuration to appreciate the synchronised twists and turns of these gregarious birds in flight, but they were soon joined by another flock..then another…and another.  Ipin was watching from the top of the dunes and estimated 7000 birds in the flock 🙂  That’s an impressive murmuration, but from our position it was extraordinary.  The birds were swirling around the hide, so close that we could hear the roar of 14000 beating wings from all around us and, as they twisted and turned in the light of the setting sun, they alternated between black, brown and gold.  I’m 48 and I’ve been watching wildlife for as long as I can remember, but new experiences still keep coming 🙂

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Summer birdwatching

by on Jul.16, 2013, under Birdwatching, Druridge Bay, Northumberland, Northumberland Coast, Southeast Northumberland

As I collected Alison and David from The Swan for an afternoon and evening  around Druridge Bay, southeast Northumberland and the Northumberland coast, the weather was continuing in the glorious vein that it had struck a few days previously.

Mid-summer can be a quiet time, other than the obvious hustle and bustle of the Farne Islands, but there’s always something to see.  At the moment wader numbers are starting to build; Lapwing, Curlew, Redshank and Oystercatcher have all come down to the coastal strip from their breeding grounds and Black-tailed Godwits are moving through.  One of the first things we came across was a group of four of these beautiful elegant waders as they rested with a flock of LapwingsLittle Gulls were flycatching and then sleeping and a male Marsh Harrier gave views that were simply breathtaking.  As we headed up the coast, a female Marsh Harrier flew low over the car, being equally as obliging as the male.  Grey Herons were stalking along pool edges, Common Spotted Orchid, Bloody Cranesbill and Harebell added colour to pathside vegetation, hirundines heading to roost formed swirling clouds of dark dots against the greying sky, a Common Frog sprang across the path in front of us and a Barn Owl hunted over rough pasture on silent wings.

The thing that always characterises days out with clients who are passionate about wildlife, and Alison and David have a mouthwatering list of wildlife they’ve seen around the world, is that before you know it, it’s nearly dark, pipistrelles are hawking insects in the last vestiges of daylight and it’s time to head back.

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“I wish I hadn’t asked”

by on Jun.28, 2012, under Druridge Bay, Northumberland

Sunday was something quite different for NEWT, with a guided walk for 14.  We met Linda and her family, who had arrived from all parts of the UK to celebrate several special occasions in one weekend, in Druridge Bay and set out for a walk in rather nice weather.  One or two of the group had to be encouraged to take waterproof jackets with them though…

Skylarks were soaring over the fields, a Reed Bunting  was singing from a nearby hedgerow and a very amiable local, who had worked at East Chevington while it was still a coal mine, stopped to tell us a little of the history of the area.  Perhaps the most unexpected sighting of the morning was a Barn Owl, roosting in a pine tree and staying put as all of the group enjoyed ‘scope views of it.

The question that led one of the ladies to make the comment that forms the title of this blogpost came as we were appreciating the beauty of a group of Common Spotted Orchids, when she asked “why are some ‘Orchids’ and some ‘Orchis’?”.  As Martin explained that the word orchis means testicle, and that’s where the Orchids get their name from, there was a ripple of laughter through the group at the comment “Ooh, I wish I hadn’t asked”.

Just a couple of minutes from the car, at the end of a walk that it was a real pleasure to lead with a group who asked plenty of questions, the first raindrops began to fall and we finished in a ‘refreshing’ summer shower.

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Anniversary flowers

by on Jul.27, 2010, under Birdwatching, Family and friends, Northumberland

I was giving a talk last night and realised just how important the final week of July has been over the last few years; 7 years ago we were married, 6 years ago I’d just returned from leading a week of birdwatching and whalewatching on Mull, 3 years ago I was in my final week as a teacher and 2 years ago we had our first bespoke tour for clients wanting to experience the wildlife and birdwatching that Northumberland has to offer.

We spent our wedding anniversary on Holy Island, and here are some of the orchids we found;

Common Spotted Orchid, Holy Island, Northumberland 26/07/2010

Northern Marsh Orchid, Holy Island, Northumberland 26/07/2010

Marsh Helleborine, Holy Island, Northumberland 26/07/2010

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