Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Sky Watching

20th May.  We ventured out on to patch this evening as the storm clouds slowly moved out eastwards across Blyth Valley and out to sea.  Out on the high open farmland we were able to watch the changing cloud formations, at times a darkened leaden blue hue above the Oil-seed Rape which was lit by sunlight from the now relatively clear western sky.  Lightening flashed at times, but thankfully we remained in sunlight and dry, apart from a short burst of rain which didn’t turn into the hail which had threatened.  Climate change has meant records of warmth and wetness are there to be broken.  Could we be going through the coldest May for sometime?

Our search for an elusive owl remains simply a search and on this occasion Sam was unable to find even a pellet, but we had a really enjoyable evening accompanied by the song of Skylarks, the calls of Meadow Pipits and the distinctive song of Yellowhammer.  Swallows flew low over the fields and the occasional Swift was flying above them.

The whole area was very different from our last visit to this corner of the patch, with crops now growing fast and trees in leaf.  The Lapwings were still showing well and in number and this time at least one chick was visible.  A Redshank was amongst them and calling.  Chiffchaff was heard and Common Whitethroats seen as were two Red-legged Partridges.  A lone Brown Hare was stationary in the field.  The Redshank was a notable find on patch.   We remained dry for the short walk home.
North Tyneside council have we note set aside some small areas of grass in Killingworth which are to remain un-cut until October.  Thus as the small signs state, aiding biodiversity.  Do you live in North Tyneside?  If the answer is yes, have the council set aside such areas where you live?  If the answer is no then why not ask the Council why not!  Every effort like this is to be applauded of course, but will it make up for the loss of green areas such as Killingworth Moor to the proposed building plans.  I think not!


  1. Council paying lip service ? They've taken many of the hedges out of the council tenants gardens around here and replced them with wooden fences. Dozens & dozens of hedges have disapeared from the fronnt & back of these properties. AIDING BIODIVERSITY ?????? I think not.
    Cannot understand why they have done it. It has cost them money now & will cost them money in the long run when they have to repair or replace. As it was the council tenants had to look after the hedges.
    Well done North Tyneside Council. I love your efforts at aiding biodiversity.

  2. I share your views John.

    I can't help but feel that the biodiversity areas have suddenly appeared after public consultation regarding the proposed covering of many green sites with brick and cement has brought adverse comments including comments from the NHSN. I commented as an individual myself. Call me cynical if you like, but I don't have any faith in a Council which sends out their workers to lob down trees during the peak of the nesting season, which occurred across Killingworth and surrounds this year. Who ever ordered and supervised that has no inkling of protecting biodiversity.

  3. Hello, thought I'd post a comment - hope you don't mind as we've never met but I've been enjoying your blog for the last couple of years. As I understand it the new biodiversity areas are going to be all around the borough - I have seen them pretty much everywhere. I have been asking for North Tyneside to sign up to Plantlife's road verge campaign for a while now, I'm not sure if these new biodiversity areas are as a result of this or merely coincidence. In my dealings with the council on the Local plan, Whitley Bay Masterplan etc) I have come away with the impression that the council's single biodiversity officer is not consulted or simply bypassed on all the planning stuff so this probably also holds true for the hedges and tree work. The left hand doesn't know what the right hand is doing and all that. I'm sure you already do this but all I can say is that if you see something like hedges being ripped up, get on to the council or your local councillor ASAP. Don't know if you follow Morethankittiwakes blog but he did that in Newcastle recently via twitter and got them to stop some tree work that was very inappropriately timed. Anyway, keep up the good work - sure our paths will cross at some point! Cheers, Sam

    1. Hi Sam. Always good to get a comment and an informative one at that. Perhaps our paths have crossed before without realising it.
      I would guess your impression is correct.
      There have been comments made before about what the Council are calling biodiversity areas so I'm pleased that your pressure and the pressure of others has maybe had an impact. It is a positive move, that can't be denied, but I remain cynical (you may have guessed:-)) as to the Council in general. Whilst I don't deny progress is important I feel some of the proposals for building on green land is are to be deplored and I hope strongly fought.
      I'll take a look at your blog and the other you mention. Cheers. Brian

  4. Thanks Brian, I think I am as cynical as you! If we had any SSSIs in North Tyneside other than the coast (I don't think we have any others?) then I am sure we would be trying our best to concrete over them as well. I don't know what's worse, a narrow segment of society wilfully ruining the natural world or a majority who are just ambivalent towards it? Apologies if this comment puts you on a downer! Cheers, Sam