Tyne Watersmeet is an SSSI, noted for its invertebrate life, Flora, Bryophyte and Lichen communities, at the confluence of the North and South Tyne rivers. On a sunny morning in early March the River Tyne sparkled silver and peaty bronze in the sunshine. The carboniferous rock strata provides a range of siliceous, limestone and river bank (riparian) environments. From this viewpoint on Warden rocks a male Goosander flew past heading upstream.
Wild daffodils (Narcissus pseudonarcissus) were already in flower, distinguishable from the cultivated varieties by the strongly coloured trumpets glowing between six translucent tepals and long papery bract. It is the only native British daffodil.
Violets are commonly seen on the riverbank. Sweet violet (Viola odorata) was in flower. The petals can be rich violet or white and the spur lilac, the leaves have rounder tips than other violets.
Wood anemone (Anemone nemoralis) is an indicator species of ancient woodland, this one, on the brink of flowering.
Early in the year plants may be recognized by their leaves. The hairy looking leaves in the picture below are of Ground Ivy (Glechoma hederacea) and the leafy liverwort growing beside it Greater Featherwort (Plagiochila asplenoides).
Alternate leaved Golden Saxifrage (Chrysoplenium alternifolium) has attractive leaves appearing amid the Ivy.
Ivy seems to be spreading rapidly even smothering this Lesser celandine (Ficaria verna) in flower. The longer leaves sprouting nearby are hooded at the tip suggesting it is Yellow Star-of-Bethlehem (Gagia lutea), a locally rare plant.
Snowdrops were abundant, their grey-green leaves, by way of contrast, are not fused at the tip.
Woodland mosses frequently covered riverside rocks such as this Common mouse-tail (Isothecium mysuroides),
and Swan’s neck thyme moss (Mnium hornum).
A Beech twig played host to a fungi that looks like Beech Barkspot (Diatrype disciformis), found on the woodland floor of a mixed plantation. Common Crossbills were calling from the Scots Pines, though difficult to spot, while Coal, Great and Blue tits, Chaffinch and Yellowhammers fluttering from tree to tree. Judging by the eaten pine cones, squirrels had been dining there and Badger feeding holes provided evidence of a nearby sett.
Other plants noticed:Greater Woodrush (Luzula sylvatica), Arum Lily (Arum maculatum), Dogs’ Mercury (Mercurialis perennis), Wild Garlic (Allium ursinum), Sanicle (Sanicula europaea), Primrose (Primula vulgaris), Pignut (Conopodium majus), Leopard’s Bane (Doronicum pardalianches).