Thursday, 7 May 2009

Teeside visit pt 2, Seaton Common & Cowpen Bewley

On Seaton Common, an open Salt Marsh with wetland areas, flanked by dunes to the seaward edge, Skylarks marked their territories with their melodic song. We spotted a couple as they rose high & hovered in the sky before descent. Approximately 10 Wheatear, a summer visitor & passing migrant, occasionally perched themselves atop grassy hummocks, no doubt attracted by the swarms of flies & midges around the place (yum).

Flies...and lots of em!

We noticed a few Yellow Wagtails, this one stayed close to a herd of grazing cows, picking up bits as it went. We'd seen a similar relationship ealrier in the day with a Starling closely following a herd near Saltholme. This type of relationship is known as 'Commensalism' which is a class of relationship between two organisms where one benefits and the other is not significantly harmed or benefited. I suppose for me a more common example would be the friendly Robin that regularly follows us closely on the allotment.

As we walked through the dunes, butterflies were in abundance, predominantly Green-veined white (Pieris napi) & Small White (Pieris rapae), although we did spot one Peacock.

On reaching the estuary we could see two pairs of Shelduck and some Grey Seals hauled out on the far bank.
One of a group of four Linnets near the entrance to Seaton Common. These small finches, feed on seeds & insects, most likely these were the birds we saw bathing on the edge of a pond at Saltholme earlier in the day.
At Cowpen Bewley Woodland Park we came across an interesting fungi growing on a deciduous hardwood stump, which I think is Black Witch’s Butter (Exidia glandulosa) but I'd greatly appreciate feedback on whether I've got it right. Olive black jelly fungus, brain like formation, the surface is covered in small spots, the largest of 3 instances was about 20cm in length 10cm across.

We came across a lovely patch of Cowslip near the lake which was occupied by Mute Swans, Canada Geese, Tufted Duck, Grebe.

1 comment:

  1. I suppose the birds follow the cows to pick up the insects dislodged in the grass either by their grazing and footfalls.


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