Mark Hows - 2021 Wildlife Blog

Me
Welcome to my wildlife blog - I will chronicle my exploits looking for wildlife in the UK and post links to trip reports from further afield. I have plenty of target species this year from Plants and fungi to Ladybirds and plenty of things in between and tracking these down will keep me busy. I will be doing plenty of mammal watching and there will be some twitching in the mix as well which should keep me out of trouble - hopefully! and all this will be fuelled by lots of Chips and Ice Cream.
 

September

Wednesday 15th - Triple Clifden

Clifden NonpareilPorter's Rustic

I headed to the Brecks with James Hunter for some moth trapping, it was still light so we took a look for Spanish catchfly and Proliferous pink both still flowering. Moth trapping started and it quickly became misty. A local lady brought her son to take a look at our trapping and see some moths and they left happy determined to make their own trap for the garden (they did). The night was slow so we had some sleep before a check around midnight. James had already had a sneaky look at a couple of traps and knew that one contained a Clifden Nonpareil but he did not know that we found another one in another trap. On a lter check we had a third flyting round befopre settling, the other two still present in their traps. We had a nice selection of other moths nothing spectular but some highlights included Frosted orange, lunar yellow underwing, pale yellow sallow, Autumn rustic.
We packed up early and headed to look at Matthew Deans traps which were quiet a delicate, dark swordgrass, rush veneer, rusty dot pearl of note but Matthew had a few good moths to release from the previous night gem, Porter's rustic. It was then time to head for work after seeing some cool moths.

Chips - Lakenheath Fish and Chips, Lakenheath, Bridlington - Saveloy, chips, onion rings - 8/10


Tuesday 14th - The Fringe

Fringed Gentian

I could not get to Bempton before Sunday afternoon but fortunately the green warbler decided to stay. It was elusive but eventually gave itself up showing well in the rowan trees for a brief period. The black browed albatross put in an appearance and plenty of tree sparrows made for a pleasant trip.


Monday 13th - Brilliant Badgers

Badger

My new camera had been sat on my desk for a over a week as I had been too busy to give it a full run out, but tonight I got organised and got ready for the garden badgers. One turned up very early and allowed me to get plenty of nice photos and play around with the camera.


Sunday 12th - Going Green

Green Warbler

I could not get to Bempton before Sunday afternoon but fortunately the green warbler decided to stay. It was elusive but eventually gave itself up showing well in the rowan trees for a brief period. The black browed albatross put in an appearance and plenty of tree sparrows made for a pleasant trip.

Chips - 149 Fish and Chips, Bridlington - Fishcake, chips, mushy peas - 8/10


Thursday 9th - Mega Mothing

beautiful marbledPortland Ribband Wave

I joined James Hunter for a moth trapping session at Samphire Hoe, the ice cream shop was still serving on arrival as a film crew were still on site. We set up a selection of traps on what felt like good conditions - a gentle warm onshore breeze. We checked the traps periodically and the moth activity was good right from the start. One of the checks caused panic and my uttering of pot repeatedly was due to a beautiful marbled sitting on the outside of a trap. It was followed by two others on different traps on later checks. A nice selection of migrants were caught including delicate, dark swordgrass, cydia amplana, Portland ribband wave. The species count was over 100 including some uncommon species annulet, northern rustic, metalampra italic, mecyna asinalis, ethmia buipuncta, brown spotted pinion, yellow belle and loads of the scarce restharrow an absolute top mothing night.

Chips - Pappa's, Folkestone - Spam fritter, chips - 8/10


Monday 6th - Breckland Beast

Convolvulus Hawk-moth Marsh Mallow Moth

Despite being tired from the Weekend I went to see the Marshmallow moth James Hunter caught a few hours earlier, arriving at first light for a photoshoot. After work I went to the Brecks for some moth trapping, it was busier than normal while setting up but as the last dog walker left I had the site to myself. Activity was not great but a few nice moths were present. I managed a few hours sleep before checking the traps again, I had a very large grey moth flying near one of the actinics but it disappeared. It was also flying round the same trap on a later check. The final check produced 80 or so species, notables included lunar yellow underwing, tawny wave, oblique striped, clay triple lines, maidens blush, breckland plume, clouded buff, tawny barred angle, sharp angled carpet. I packed all the traps up and headed back to the car. Not far from the car was one last battery actinic to pack up, first glance it contained a pine hawkmoth, common on the site but on opening the trap it was massive clearly a Convolvulus Hawk-moth wow!

Chips - Lakenheath Fish and Chips, Lakenheath - Saveloy and Chips 8/10


Sunday 5th - Forest Foray

Wild Boar

I made one quick stop in South Wales in preparation for next year, here I found some clustered bellflower and my target Tuberous thistle all gone over but a shoe in for next year. I had some sleep and headed to the Forest of Dean, I started with some mandarin ducks and searched for dipper without success but found some nice grey wagtails. I met up with Ben Locke for a wander round the Forest to look for wild boar. We tried a few sites and found several, and almost stepped on a couple sleeping but they were all too fast for photos. We had a dipper flyby and several fallow deer before calling it a day. As I drove home I passed a large sounder of boar and managed to get a few record shots before they vanished.


Saturday 4th - Somerset Stuff

Round-headed Club-rush

I headed to Somerset for the day to join David Gibbs for a day's botany, we started in Weston super mare where there were plenty of exotics Bermuda grass, . Brean gave up round headed clubrush and pickerelweed before heading into the levels for water primrose and plenty of others. We also had some large marsh grasshoppers. I left David and tried for B. laticarpus but had no luck so took a quick look at the berry catchfly now nicely in fruit. Last stop was to check on some dormice in Tiverton. Two hazel dormice did put in an appearance but were put off by some wood mice on the feeders, a hedgehog also joined the party.

Chips - Friars tuck, Tiverton - Battered burger, pea fritter, Chips 8/10

Wednesday 1st - Kent Critters

Yellow Tailed Scorpion Straw Belle

Andrew Jewel and I had a day of bugging in Kent, preceded by a quick stop at Rainham RSPB for Rambur's Pied Shieldbug and we found plenty. Darland banks was the next stop finding keeled rhizobius in ivy by the entrance. straw belle and chalk carpet were the highlights here, although strange plant attracted my interest was later identified as Cypress spurge A quick stop for wall lizards which showed despite the rather suboptimal weather conditions. These hampered us at Sandwich bay and our search for shieldbugs and ladybirds proved challenging but we did find knobbed shieldbug, Adonis, 16 spot, 24 spot, keeled rhizobius and a restharrow moth. We headed for Dungeness with a quick stop for autumn ladies tresses and chips on the way. At Dungeness we found a few large coneheads, Italian tree cricket and somecockroaches. despite the challenging weather conditions. Sheerness was a bit more sheltered and this helped us find a cracking yellow tailed scorpion the largest I have ever seen there hunting in the open so we headed home via loads of road closures and diversions.

Chips - Varne Fish Bar, Lydd on Sea - Chips 8/10


 

August

Wednesday 31st - Moth catchup

Dewicks plusia

Plenty of moth trapping at home this month, lots of moths notable ones are sallow kitten, Jersey tiger, leopard, tree lichen beauty, marbled beauty, triple spotted clay, Dewicks plusia, dark swordgrass, pale eggar, Pammene aurita. Only trapped once at my little nature reserve this month but had several new moths for the site tawny wave, Feathered gothic, Cream bordered green pea.


Monday 30th - Blacktoft Bits

White tailed Plover

I popped to Blacktoft RSPB on the way back from York. I had a poor view from the reception hide, but eventually the white tailed plover showed nicely. There were plenty of waders, snipe, egrets etc. to keep me entertained for the couple of hours on site.


Wednesday 25th - Cherry Hinton

Autumn Gentian

I popped to Cherry Hinton on the way back from the garage to see the Autumn gentians which were just starting to flower. Other autumnal plants included sanfoin, harebell, knapweed and the rare moon carrot.


Monday 21st - Butterbur Blowout 2

Gypsy Moth

I visited Stuart read who had caught an exotic longhorn beetle Chlorophorus varius I then tried again for butterbur with Ian Porter at one site and Stuart and Darren Underwood tried another. No luck for either of us but we did get a few interesting moths between us, Gypsy moth, Old lady, twin spotted wainscot.


Sunday 22nd - South Coast Stuff

Jersey Pink Scaly Cricket

I was up at 4am to check the traps and the pasty bits. The pasty had proven tasty for scaly crickets and I counted 7. I potted a couple for photos when I got light. The moth traps were pretty sparse with just 34 moths in 4 traps the undoubted highlight was oak eggar. I took the photos and released the moths and crickets. I took a quick look at a tourist site on the Bill before heading to Arne RSPB. Here I was after sika and one hind bounded past me just as I started walking into the reserve. It disappeared into the undergrowth before I could fire up the camera. I looked elsewhere but could only find distant ones on the saltmarsh. I headed off to Wareham to see River water dropwort in the river funnily enough. Next stop was Hengistbury head where the sun was out and it was quite warm quite different conditions to last year's visit in torrential rain and strong wind. The Jersey Pink was in much better condition than last year and I got some nice photos of this attractive flower, the last one, all the rest had gone over. Into the New Forest for quick stops for Field gentian, autumn ladies tresses, Floating water plantain and Goodyear's elm. along with an ice cream to enjoy in the nice sunny weather. I got some chips and then headed for home via a couple of brief stops for hairy birdsfoot trefoil and orange foxtail, to finish a busy but productive weekend.


Saturday 21st - Wight Out

Ornate ShieldbugRed Squirrel Wood Calamint

I took the 3am ferry to the Isle of Wight and headed to the centre of the Island encountering a badger on a small road before I had a couple of hours sleep. I woke to a floral display of wood calamint down the lane. A weasel crossed the lane but I could not track it down for photos. I headed to Alvestone to search for red squirrels one was feeding on hazelnuts in the trees as the rain arrived. I was about to leave when a very confiding squirrel arrived and I got some photos before heading off. The rain was still falling as I started searching for shieldbugs, I was not very hopeful but found a Vernal shieldbug but a schoolboy error, it dropped as I tried to photograph and was lost in the undergrowth. I went and got a net from the car! I found a green shieldbug but nothing else for over an hour. The rain eased and eventually stopped and I finally located a juvenile ornate shieldbug, then I got excited but the red bugs were Cinnamon bugs (Corizus hyoscyam). Never fear I spotted an adult ornate shieldbug, this time I had the net under it and good job as it dropped. I took photos and returned it to the rocket. The sun poked through and I got a wall lizard checking out the weather as I wandered back to the car. I did some touristy stuff had an ice cream and some chips before heading to the ferry with little else of note. As I reached Weymouth the sun departed and heavy rain took over and after a stop for fuel and supplies I reached my destination Chesil beach. I waited until the rain slowed before leaving the car to set up some moth traps, the wind was strong and the drizzle persistent so I was not hopeful. I also found a few sheltered spots in the shingle and placed some broken bits of Cornish pasty. I checked the traps during the night not many moths present in the conditions. .


Thursday 19th - Butterbur Blowout

Old Lady

I joined Stuart Read and Darren to look for Butterbur moth, they had been successful recently but one probable moth eluded our nets. We did have a few nice moths for our efforts sallow kitten, webs wainscot, pale prominent, old lady but the best of the evening was a brief view of a harvest mouse.


Tuesday 17th - Cranwich Catch

Archers Dart

I moth trapped at Cranwich heath, the wind was a little gusty but otherwise conditions were ok, and there were loads of moths thousands came to the traps, clouds of moths. Two toads tried for an easy meal and a couple of muntjacs watched my gave me inquisitivel. Other catches included, orange ladybird, red legged shieldbug, carrion beetle, dung beetle. Over 150 moth species were noted some of the highlights were tawny wave, oblique striped, clouded buff, archers dart, webb's wainscot, lesser spotted pinion.


Monday 16th - Elms

Salcombe Elm

I headed out west, well into west Cambs and Herts here I was after some elm species first stop was Madingley and Cut Leaved elm both fairly easily. Woodland Elm was next easily located with a foray into Herts for Salcombe Elm in Sacombe before heading home.


Saturday 14th - Chiltern

Chiltern Gentian

A couple of hours afterwork I headed to the brecks to meet Andrew Jewels to search for ladybirds. Everywhere we went had massive emergence of flying ants, very impressive spectacle. The first site Thetford Warren lodge produced the rare species 2 Black scymnus and an ant ladybird. We tried at Cranwich adding adonis, 7 spot, pine, cream spotted, 16, 18, 24 spot, along with pine scymnus, larch, pointed keeled rhyzobius and eyed ladybirds. between the heavy showers. We also enjoyed the good showing of Spanish catchfly and a couple of proliferous pinks still flowering. We tried one last spot but only managed to add 22 spot to the list. We took a quick look at broad leaved and green helleborines along with yellow birdsnest before heading home.


Thursday 12th - Breckland Ladybirding

Ant Ladybird

A couple of hours afterwork I headed to the brecks to meet Andrew Jewels to search for ladybirds. Everywhere we went had massive emergence of flying ants, very impressive spectacle. The first site Thetford Warren lodge produced the rare species 2 Black scymnus and an ant ladybird. We tried at Cranwich adding adonis, 7 spot, pine, cream spotted, 16, 18, 24 spot, along with pine scymnus, larch, pointed keeled rhyzobius and eyed ladybirds. between the heavy showers. We also enjoyed the good showing of Spanish catchfly and a couple of proliferous pinks still flowering. We tried one last spot but only managed to add 22 spot to the list. We took a quick look at broad leaved and green helleborines along with yellow birdsnest before heading home.


Tuesday 10th - Milking Chippenham and Mammal Rescue

Cambridge Milk Parsley Pygmy Shrew

I had to rescue a house mouse from the house first thing, then a pygmy shrew from an office at work.
The evening was more moth trapping at Chippenham Fen, but before it got dark I took a wander to see the very rare Cambridge milk parsley, plenty of plants I flower. The angelica was popular with the butterflies, mostly peacock and red admiral along with fewer numbers of small tortoiseshell, comma, and a few whites . Moth trapping was reasonably quite compared to the last session but just over 150 species. Highlights were silver barred, reed leopard, tawny barred angled, coronet, white spotted pinion. As I headed home I flushed a little owl from the road, nice as I had not seen one for a while

Chips - Rumbles, Burwell - Sausage and chips 7.5 /10.

Sunday 8th - Swiftly Somerset

Berry Catchfly Strapwort

The heavy rain finally stopped enough for me to explore Slapton ley, a black swan was close into the shore as I searched for strapwort. I located the strapwort just before the heavens opened again. I headed off to my next destination but got a puncture on the M5, I exited and found somewhere to change the wheel. Back on the road I made it to Fiveheads fields, this plantlife reserve has several rare plants and I took a wander quickly finding spreading hedge parsley, dwarf and broad leaved spurge, stinking chamomile and broad fruited cornsalad in both flower and fruit amongst others. My last stop was for the scarce berry catchfly which I easily located along a country lane. I had a late lunch and headed for home.

Saturday 7th - West Country Wash out

Bladderseed Western rock sea lavender

It was an overnight drive to a rather wet Cornwall, I failed to find Strapwort at Helston, all the habitat was below water but I did find some common species in torrential rain. Porthgwarra was little better although I did find my target of Logan's sea lavender and a couple of chough were nice to see. I dried off and got a pasty before heading to Perranporth. Here the rain finally stopped so the walk to see Shore dock was quite pleasant. Then it was on to Pellitras Point. On the headland rather exposed to the strong wind I found rock sea spurrey and western rock sea lavender both proved rather tricky to photograph in the very strong blustery conditions. A quick stop near Bodmin to see the bladderseed then into Devon to see Diaphanous Bladder-fern get some chips and then pop to see musk at Merrivale. I was due to moth trap here but the weather was terrible heavy rain, very strong wind so I did not bother and called it a night.

Chips - Tavistock - sausage, chips and pea fritter 7/10

Wednesday 4th - Birthday Breckland Botany and Ladybirds

Red Tipped Cudweed

I headed into the brecks for the evening, first stop was for ladybirds and I picked up to scarce ones Black scymnus and conifer ladybird, next stop was for the Perennial knawel which was doing well. A visit to broad leaved and green flowered helleborines and yellow birds nest along with fly honeysuckle. Then I visited a new site for red tipped cudweed. It was time for an ice cream before a quick look at a few other Breckland plants spiked speedwell and Breckland wormwood on the way home.


Monday 2nd - Breckland Bugs and Bits

Campion Schmitts scymnus

I headed to the brecks for the evening, I have neglected ladybirds this season so spent a couple of hours this evening looking at a new site. Slim pickings a couple of 24 spot, a 16 spot, lots of 7 spots and a couple of harlequins. But I did finally an angle sided scymnus and then a Schmitts scymnus. Plenty of shieldbugs - Mitre, hairy and brassica and a nice Dusky Longhorn Beetle. I set up the moth traps and while I was doing this a cracking nightjar did a couple of flypasts. The conditions were not perfect but there was still a lot of moth activity. I checked on the traps during the night and eventually got about 130 species with a few to ID from photos. Highlights were tawny wave, campion, slender brindle, barred rivulet, small angle shades, chocolate tip, kent black arches

Chips - Mundford Fishbar, Mundford - Saveloy and chips 7/10


 

July

Saturday 31st - My Little nature reserve

Water Vole

Just a catchup with my little nature reserve - A great tit brood was ringed and the kestrels fledged two chicks, wrens nested in the BBQ so that had to be put out of bounds until they fledged, and there have been lots of juvenile birds in the reserve so it looks like they have done well, hopefully helped by adding lots more nest boxes this spring. The trail cams have recorded the usual mammals, badger, fox, muntjac, grey squirrel, rabbit, roe deer but the pick has been an another otter sighting, they are clearly using the stream regularly. The water voles have finally gotten used to the feeding raft and are happy to take apple and carrot as are the wood mice. There are a few black water voles present although not really rare they are always nice to see.

Monday 26th - Homeward Hirculus

Marsh Saxifrage

After processing the moth traps (Small Phoenix, Phoenix, Antler moth, Lychnis and Evergestis pallidata the pick) I headed to Teesdale where after a few communication issues I met up with Mike Dilger on a hillside, here in an exclosure, which was not very good at keeping the sheep out we found Marsh Saxifrage in reasonable numbers looking very nice. A quick bite to eat and it was cross country to Roudsea Woods where we quickly found large yellow sedge and it was time to head home.

Sunday 25th - Beautiful Ben Lawer's

Alpine Gentian Drooping saxifrag

An early start at Ben Lawer's with the BSBI group, it was misty, damp with very low cloud as we started looking at the sedges and grasses. We climbed higher through the cloud into some lovely sunshine clocking up lots of grasses, sedges and rushes, russet, water sedge and chestnut rush was of note. We reached the ledge and had a little lunch, then explored the area looking for some of the special alpine plants, here we had alpine meadow grass, Alpine gentian, alpine forget me not, several pearlworts, alpine and arctic mouse ear. A little further it was alpine fleabane and then some alpine and drooping saxifrages. We reached the summit ridge and dropped off to some rocks where highland saxifrage was found. A tough climb back up and to the summit, where after a breather we took the long walk back to the cars.

Saturday 24th - Cracking Cairnwell

Alpine Milk Vetch

After processing the moth traps (Grey Mountain Carpet, Garden Tiger, Scotch Annulet, Dusky brocade, true lovers knot) I headed to Glenshee Ski area car park where I scoped ptarmigan and mountain hare before the cloud dropped. I met up with the BSBI group including Mike Dilger for a wander up the Cairnwell. We quickly found Nordic moonwort and several sedges. Higher up we encountered a few of the specialist plants of the mountain such as Alpine speedwell, mountain sandwort, mountain pansy but the highlight was Alpine milkvetch. The walk down produced a couple of close mountain hares before we stopped to see some Cairnwell Lady's Mantle. I headed to Aberfeldy and had a beer and curry with Mike Dilger.

Friday 23rd - Lovely lobelia

Water Lobelia

After processing the moth traps (Gothic, Lempke's Gold spot, Satin Beauty, Dusky peacock, broom tip, welsh wave) I headed to Loch Bran where I could see the water lobelia at the far side of the loch. I worked my way round and found plenty in flower, it is a plant that I had wanted to see for a while and it was a real corker. I headed to Speyside for an afternoon of dragonflies at a couple of sites. Common hawker, white faced darter, Black darter, 4 spot chaser, common emerald I drove to Braemar for food before setting up the moth traps for the night.

Chips - Hungry Highlander, Braemar - Haggis and chips 7/10

Thursday 22nd - Caithness Crackers

Scottish Primrose

The overnight drive to Wick was uneventful, first stop was for curved sedge accompanied by a family of stonechats. My next stop was for the very restricted Scottish small reed it took a little time to get my eye in but it was quite distinctive. A quick stop for the Magellan ragwort before narrow small reed. Time for lunch then a quick look at Caithness hawkweed, I popped into Strathy point where the Scottish primrose was putting on a good show. I did some touristy things before chips in Ullapool. Last stop was at Contin where I set up the moth traps.

Chips - The Chippy, Ullapool - Fish and Chips 7/10

Tuesday 20th - Garden Catchup

Badger

Garden regulars badgers, fox, muntjac are now joined by the occasional hedgehog, moths trapping has been good vapourer, oak eggar, lackey, lunar spotted pinion, dusky brocade, brown scallop, Royal mantle, shark were some of the highlights this month.

Monday 19th - A Nice Spread

spreading hedge parsley

A quick trip out with Stuart Read to see some local spreading hedge parsley a pretty rare plant locally and very nice to see. Also seen some nice corn marigold, round leaved cranesbill and a family of whitethroats.

Friday 16th - Chippenham Capra

Goat Moth

James Hunter and I moth trapped Chippenham Fen, conditions were good but cooled down as time went on. grasshopper warbler and woodcock present off and on during the night. Approx. 150 species including some nice wetland specialities silver barred, reed leopard, silky wainscot, Chilo phragmitella. drinker was very numerous compared to the single one I caught a couple of weeks ago. Just as we were packing up the last traps a goat moth was spotted on one of the egg trays, an awesome moth and finished off a good night.

Chips - Crieff Road Chippy, Perth - Haggis and Chips 7/10

Tuesday 13th - Clubmoss quicky

One cone clubmoss

A real struggle to get up, the body ached everywhere, I photographed a red squirrel in the B&B garden before heading to Glenfeshie to meet the WFS group for another day in the hills, it was a glorious day and the walk far shorter with only one real climb, the views were amazing and we found some nice common wintergreen but near the top of the hill our target hares foot or one cone clubmoss was found in abundance. The walk back was very pleasant several large heath butterflies were seen but not much else of note and it was time to head home.

Chips - Crieff Road Chippy, Perth - Haggis and Chips 7/10

Monday 12th - Cairngorm Crippler

Issler's clubmoss Small White Orchid

I photographed a few red squirrels at my B&B before heading to Cairngorm where I joined the WFS walk from halfway up Cairngorm. We quickly found plenty of good plants, serrated wintergreen, small cranberry, bog bilberry. The route was pathless and the climbing steep and it was hard and slow going, we crossed the ridge and dropped into a gorge where we found a cracking small white orchid but our target was on the opposite side up the very steep slope battling through the heather to finally find Issler's clubmoss. The walk back was long and over rough ground and heather and was tough going and took a very long time, a few nice plants were seen on the way back and were good excuses for a rest some nice Dwarf Cornel an example of this and a common hawker another good excuse. Eventually we made it back to the car and I grabbed some food and went to bed totally exhausted.

Chips - Happy Haggis, Aviemore - Burger and chips 7.5/10

Sunday 11th - Marshes Moths

Saxon Lemske's Gold Spot

A very nice selection of moths throughout the night the highlights Lemske's Gold Spot, Saxon, birch mocha, broom moth, welsh wave, smoky wave, gold swift, map winged swift, Antler moth, Marsh Oblique-barred, green arches, True lovers Knot from about 70 species. I had a few hours sleep before looking for string sedge but it was pretty difficult and only found one plant before retreating from an angry curlew. I made another couple of stops for Spignel which had gone over, false sedge and brown bog sedge I got some food and headed for my B&B and get an early night.


Saturday 10th - Cul Mor Cracker

Norwegian mugwort Twin Flower

I drove overnight to Scotland the highlight was a cracking pine marten just outside Contin. I reached Knockan Crag NNR and had a couple of hours sleep before starting the climb up Cul Mor. A couple of red deer stags were by the car park as I left. The walk was uneventful and the cloud gradually closed in I found a few plants alpine fleabane, heath spotted orchid, alpine hawkweed before reaching the summit. I had failed to climb this mountain 25 or so years ago when I fell off during a winter ascent so was please to finally reach the top. The cloud cleared for a moment for a photo before getting even thicker. I dropped to the area where I was to search for the Norwegian mugwort my target for the mountain. But the photographic directions were pretty useless so I searched aimlessly for a while without success. I managed to get some help and wandered to the grid ref suggested and on the way came across my target. Job done. I walked slowly back and headed to the Cairngorms, here I stopped for some masterwort and chips before setting up moth traps at Insh Marshes for the night.

Chips - Smiffy's, Aviemore - Haggis and chips 8/10

Wednesday 7th - Cranwich catches

Proliferous Pink Oblique Striped

I did a quick look round some Breckland sites, taking a look at a few of the nice plants breckland thyme, tower mustard, smooth rupturewort, proliferous pinks Time for some chips before setting up the moth traps at Cranwich Heath. Conditions were good and 118 species noted including birdswing, clouded buff, Rosy marbled, Broom tip, royal mantle, festoon, marbled white spot, tawny wave, oblique striped, varied coronet, lobster moth to name a few. A churring nightjar was a bonus.


Tuesday 6th - Slip me some tongue

Long-lipped Tongue Orchid

I have been lucky to see two different types of Tongue orchid in the last couple of weeks, the first Long lipped tongue orchid in Kent and today the Small flowered tongue orchid although it was looking a little battered. Although it is not known the origin of these plants they are still nice to see and we will see if they persist.


Sunday 4th - Soggy Somerset

Sand Toadflax

I had to visit Plymouth for something unrelated to wildlife first thing, but the return journey was a different matter, first stop was Tavistock for Diaphanous Bladder Fern very restricted to the west country and I found several plants quite easily. A quick look in Merrivale for musk as the rain started, I tried a site for Cornish moneywort nearby but had no luck despite an extensive search. I headed for Braunton Burrows where the rain eased for a while here I found sand toadflax, yellow bartsia and many others as the rain really came down. I made a short stop in pouring rain to meet up with Dave Bibby to see Somerset hair grass. And with the rain showing no sign of easing so it was time to battle with the traffic.


Thursday 1st - Cracking Chippenham

Reed leopard Silver barred

I popped into Thetford to see the creeping marshwort before heading to Chippenham Fen. This was the first time I had moth trapped here, but I know the site from lots of mammal trapping work several years ago. I had 6 traps and almost everything was set up perfectly apart from picking up the wrong extension lead a 5m rather than a 25m but I still had the 50m so had a good spread. A couple of grasshopper warblers were reeling from the reedbeds and woodcock were roding as I set up. I had a quick hours sleep before checking the traps, they were filling up nicely and I checked them regularly during the night accompanied by very vocal tawny owls. I had quite a haul 110 species plus one I could not identify, the highlights Silver barred, reed leopard, tawny barred angle, Schoenobius gigantella, Lychnis, tawny wave, Chilo phragmitella. A roe deer crossed the track as I left for work.

Chips - Mildenhall Fish and Chips, Mildenhall - Saveloy, Onion rings and chips 7.5/10


 

June

Wednesday 30th - Bempton Beauty

black browed albatross

With news of the albatross roosting at Bempton Cliffs RSPB I headed there overnight, 3 badgers at Bar Hill whiel stopping for fuel and a fox cub nr Bridlington. I slept a bit in the car, when I woke at 4.30 all the cars were empty and I made my way down to the cliffs where everyone else was assembled, but no sign. It was cold, windy with intermittent rain showers. I passed the time looking and chatting to people before I headed back to the car for a drink, the call came out that it was back and I headed back. It was pretty chaotic as the bird was very mobile but eventually I was at one of the viewpoints when the black browed albatross landed on the cliff for a while showing very nicely. After having my fill I headed to the car for a drink and headed off popping into Goremire lake for a quick look at tufted loostrife before heading for some lunch. I had a kip and headed home.

Chips - Land and Sea, Thirsk - Battered Chip Butty, Onion rings 8/10


Saturday 26th - Welsh Wizz

Chaterís Elm

I was in Mid wales for first light with a few stops for northern yellowcress and wood bitter vetch which had unfortunately gone to seed. It was then to the coast to find the geographically restricted Chater's Elm. I did a few touristy things before heading to Bristol stopping for some danewort alongside a road. Here I tracked down a silky wave moth in the Avon gorge to finish the day.


Friday 25th - Nipped to Norfolk

Spoonbill

A leisurely start to Norfolk with only a couple of targets so the rest of the day would be free to do anything, I found the first target narrow leaved pepperwort easily but in a tricky to access spot alongside a fast road. Next stop was less successful but I did get some chips. Then it was off to Hickling to see the collared pratincole which was always distant both in flight and on the deck. There was a good supporting cast of bittern, spoonbill, black winged stilt, wood, green and curlew sandpipers, chinese water deer and a nice weasel on the way home.


Thursday 24th - Roll with it

Roller

I was a day late for the Roller due to car service etc. but it was still showing very well when I visited after work. I popped to Ramparts field to see the maidens pinks just starting to flower in reasonable numbers and the Russian cinquefoil doing very well.


Monday 21st - Nipped to Northants

Sand Leek

I nipped to Northants for the evening to Irthlingborough lakes where I had been given a bit of information about a couple of plants I was after I quickly found the sand leeks along with Balkan spurge. I headed to the Lock where damselflies were plentiful red eyed and banded demoiselles, but I was here for the Long stalked pondweed which was quite abundant.


Sunday 20th - Sussex Stuff

Scarce ForesterSpiked Rampion

A day out in Kent and Sussex with James Hunter started at his where he had a few moths to see Spruce carpet, varied coronet, birdswing. First stop was at Ranscombe farm which is always a delight to visit the highlight here was finally rough mallow something I had not been able to find before, the whole place was awash with wonderful plants including plenty of orchids Bee Orchid var Cambrensis next stop was Stockbridge where Broad leaved helleborine was alost in flower, along with common twayblade, lady and lesser butterfly orchids which were going over. We made a quick stop for Lizard orchid before heading into Sussex to see the cracking spiked rampion which was flowering nicely. The weather was perfect for insects and our next stop Souther farm was full of them Dark green Fritillary, Adonis blue, Painted lady, Silver Y, Scarce Forester. Last stop for an Orchid fest Man, Pyramidal and fragrantand a nice lace border moth as well to finish off the day.


Saturday 19th - Loads in Lancs

Narrow Leaved Bittercress white faced darter

A very early start and I was at Ullswater to see Alpine enchanters nightshade which was just coming into flower. I headed to Meathorp Moss for a wander round a little early for insects but the bog asphodels were coming into flower and a nice cuckoo was present. As it warmed up I headed to nearby Fowlshaw Moss and the insects had started to move, a large heath always too far from the boardwalk but the white faced darters were more obliging. The ospreys were on the nest and tree sparrows on the feeders of note. I headed to Storth to meet up with the Wildflower Society for a walk. We spent the whole day here and had a great selection of plants the highlights were Narrow leaved bittercress, marsh Fern

Chips - North Road Chippy, Carnforth - Burger and Chips 8/10


Thursday 17th - My little nature reserve Update

Bee Orchid

I found a Bee orchid on my little nature reserve along with a few new plants celery leaved buttercup, wintercress, goatsbeard and I caught a red tipped clearwing one afternoon.


Wednesday 16th - Dainty Day

Dainty Damselfly

I headed to Whitstable for a quick look at London Rocket before heading to Sandwich Bay to see the Dainty Damselflies on the organised event. It was very hot but the hundreds of damselflies behaved for the camera. A look at another area produced red veined and ruddy darters. I took a look for some insects on the beach but no luck but did see the bedstraw broomrape and lizard orchids. I headed to Herne Bay for a quick look at some strawberry clover and headed for home via a quick stop in Greenhithe for the yellow form of ivy broomrape.


Tuesday 15th - Breckland Bonanza

Tawny Wave

I have a permit to do some trapping at Cranwich Camp and Cranwich heath but due to the weather have not managed any trapping but tonight I headed to Cranwich Camp for some trapping. I have plenty of time before hand to walk round to see the plants, plenty of Spanish catchfly, purple milk vetch, Purple stemmed cat's tail but also a couple of day flying moths tawny wave and broad barred white. The trapping went well with a good haul of 49 species including pine hawkmoth, marbled clover, Clouded Buff, birdwing, Cream spot tiger, Brindled white spot, tawny barred angled, ingrailed clay.

Chips - Lakenheath Chip Shop, Lakenheath - Saveloy and Chips 8/10


Monday 14th - Suffolk Stuff

Slender Trefoil

I had a quick evening trip out Stuart Read to see some local plants, clustered clover, knotted clover, slender trefoil, grass vetchling and a nice white legged damselfly.


Sunday 13th - West Country Wizz 2

River Warbler

I was at Ham Wall for 6am and wandered to where the river warbler was, plenty of other warblers along the way reed, sedge, garden, cetti's, whitethroat and blackcap. The River warbler showed very nicely, and a barn owl passed by and several great white egrets were flying round regularly. Homeward bound I made a quick stop for Thread leaved water crowfoot before my final destination to see Adder's-tongue Spearwort which was flowering very nicely and in good numbers. Almost home I made a quick stop to look for 4 spot moth and found one pretty quickly.


Saturday 12th - West Country Wizz

Exmoor Pony Small  
restharrow Irish Spurge

I was on the Lizard for first light, first targets were Land Quilwort, which after some hard searching I finally located. My next stop was for clovers I located long headed clover and subterranean clover but could not find any twin headed clover, but there was plenty of nice stuff to see including painted lady, whistling jacks, sheeps bit, Pepperwort. I headed to Devon via a pasty shop, a quick stop at Berry Head was for small restharrow which was flowering nicely, the honewort and white rock rose were starting to go over but the coastal floral display was still excellent. I headed off to Dunsford to try to find toadflax leaved St john's wort I had no information as to its location in the reserve so it was a case of exploring until I found the right habitat and this was the last area I checked. A search produced a few plants but only on in flower. The reserve was teeming with bank voles I saw at least a dozen or so along with a common shrew and some Bastard balm. Heading north I stopped along a farm track to see the rather funky Pyrenean lily which was flowering in good numbers. I crossed Exmoor, ponies and a roe deer spotted before I reached Watersmeet, No parking whitebeam and a pied flycatcher were nice to see but the light was fading and I did not have all the information I needed to find Irish spurge but after a few messages I got the details I needed and found it but it was tricky to photograph in the gloom. Some Daubenton's bats were hawking over the river and that was going to be all for the day.


Wednesday 9th - Peregrines

Peregrine

I popped to Cambridge to check on the Peregrine family, two advanced chicks almost ready to fledge were showing nicely. I made a quick check on the Italian Lords and ladies which was flowering but the dry weather it was just going over.


Monday 7th - Homeward Bound

Jacobs Ladder

Teesdale for the morning and cracking views of a short eared owl along with some nice plants, teesdale sandwort, teesdale violet, dwarf milkwort, mountain pansy, moonwort, alpine bistort. As I left the area I spotted some black grouse. My last stop was in Derbyshire where at Lathkill Dale I found the lovely Jacobs ladder, bringing my trip to an end and I headed home.


Sunday 6th - Stint Seconds

Red Necked Stint

Moths highlight was an Ochreous Pug. Then I headed to Blyth again for more of the Red Necked Stint. I left to do a bit of a walk round Hauxley nature reserve, bullfinch of note and plenty of northern marsh orchids. I headed to Amble for the trip round Coquet Island to see the Roseate terns along with a nice selection of common seabirds. I headed to Seal Sands to see the common seals and the scarce blue barked willow.

Chips - Quayside cafe, Amble - Fish bites and chips 8/10


Saturday 5th - Sedges and Stints

Few Flowered Sedge

Only a few moths in the trap and nothing of note, so I headed to Tarn Moss to meet up with the BSBI group, here we were looking for sedges and boy did we see some species. We moved to Eyncotthill for lunch and a wander for more sedges. Highlights were Brown, boreal bog, bottle, few flowered sedges. Plenty of frogs and a wall brown were nice to see. I headed to Grinton Lough for the red necked phalarope but it was nowhere to be seen, I headed for some chips when I saw news of the Red necked stint at Blyth, so I headed there making it before it got too dark and had some nice views.

Chips - Dhillons, Prudhoe - Spam Fritter, Chips and Peas 8/10


Friday 4th - Limestone Lovelies

Arctic Sandwort

I headed over to the Yorkshire dales starting at Chapel le Dale I headed upto Southerscales to the Limestone pavement, here I found Baneberry, limestone fern, limestone bedstraw to name a few species. The afternoon was spent on Ingleborough which was awash with bird's eye primrose and plenty of other nice plants such as mossy saxifrage but I was after Arctic sandwort and I found a few nice patches. Last stop was Fowlshaw Moss where a brief white faced darter was the insect pick, the distant ospreys were in residence on their nest. Time for some chips and moth trapping.

CHips - Old Smithy, Barrow - Fish, Chips and Peas 9/10


Thursday 3rd Fab Farnes

Puffin

I had a few hours on Lindesfarne, some nice eider families, but my main targets were dwaft eelgrass and I found it with common eelgrass on the shore. I then took a trip round the farne Islands, you cannot land at the moment but the trips go round all the islands and you get reasonable views of most species. I did some touristy things and called it a night.

Chips - Carlo's, Alnwick - Haggis and CHips 8.5/10


Wednesday 2nd - Glorious Glencoe

Alpine Dock

A rather leisurely start and some touristy stops as I drove through Glencoe to Aberfeldy, here I tried to find spignel and found plenty but none in flower, I took a wander up the Birks of Aberfeldy to find Northern Wych Elm and I found several nice examples along with a nice selection of flowers including wavy bittercress. A brief stop for alpine dock before a wander round Loch Leven.


Tuesday 1st - Summit Specialties

Diapensia

Today I headed to Glenfinnan and my target to climb Fraoch Bheinn where at the summit would hopefully be Diapensia would be in flower. I was a little worried as other plants were well behind, but hopefully alpine plants are less fickle. Loads of white heath spotted orchids on the way up which was continually up. At the summit there was plenty of Diapensia in flower along with lots of trailing azalea. I headed down and headed to Caol for some lunch by the Loch, then tried Inchree for red squirrels but the tourists were causing so much disturbance. I headed over the Corran Ferry to look for Otters but had no luck with them and no black guillemots on the pier but found one on the sea.

Chips - Sammy's, Caol - Haggis and Chips 7.5/10


 

May

Monday 31st - Lovely Lepidoptera

Chequered skippers

A poor haul of moths lesser swallow prominent of note, I spent a few hours looking for small dark yellow underwing without any luck but had Black spotted and two banded longhorns. I headed to Alt Mhuic for the afternoon and had over 20 chequered skippers in the heat along with several moths antler moth, argent and sable. I tried to get permission to moth trap here but had no response from Butterfly conservation, so I trapped in the woodland over the road and by the reserve fence and had a nice haul of moths including Grey birch, lest black arches, small phoenix, Glaucous Shears, may highflyer.


Sunday 30th - Delightful Dolphins

Bottlenosed Dolphin

Only a Fox moth and poplar hawkmoth for my efforts, and an extensive search produced one lone Scottish primrose in flower, plenty still to come. I did a few touristy stops as I drove through the countryside picking up a nice hen harrier and then I had to stop and turn the radio off as I heard what I thought was a corncrake. I stopped and the rasping call of a corncrake could clearly be heard and eventually I got a brief view as it moved between blocks of vegetation. I worked my way to Ullapool for an ice cream, made a quick stop for Estuarine sedge and gradually to Channonry point for the evening to watch the bottlenose dolphins who put on a nice display. Chips by the sea in Avoch and I found a spot for some moth trapping.

Chips - Harbour Fish and Chips, Avoch - Burger and chips 8/10

Saturday 29th - Cracking Cairngorms

Ring Ouzel

After the uneventful overnight drive first stop was Cairngorm where a walk yielded some starry saxifrage and a nice pair of showy Ring ouzels near the car park. I took a quick look for a couple of plants but they were well off flowering, but I did locate Downy currant. so I headed north. Pyramidal bugle on a rather steep slope was located but it took a bit of finding. I continued north making several stops for curved rush, Northern saltmarsh grass, shade horsetail and others. I had something to eat and then found a spot to set up the moth traps for the night.

Chips - Robin's Chip Shop, Thurso - Haggis and Chips 8/10

Friday 28th - Good Grass

Mountain Melick

I popped into Bedford Purlieus on my way north to see mountain melick a nice looking grass, the display of ransoms was quite impressive.


Wednesday 26th - Cambridge Comfrey

Symphytum x perringianum

I popped into Cambridge to see the hybrid Comfrey Symphytum x perringianum that seems established since its discovery 20 years or so ago, it was flowering nicely.


Monday 24th - More Breckland Bits

Military Orchid

Heading to Scotland on Friday so decided on one last trip to the Brecks for a while, the sand catchfly's were finally flowering with plenty more to come. Next stop was early sand grass growing in a housing estate and not at its usual habitat by the sea. I popped into Rex Graham where just one Military orchid was in flower.


Saturday 22nd - Blitz

Rock cinquefoil

A very early start with a lot to pack in, first stop was along the River Wye where the Rock cinquefoil was in flower. I had two tourist stops on the way to the Dorset coast for shaggy mouse ear hawkweed flowering in profusion along the coast path. I headed home via Hampshire with brief stops to see some Bastard balm and Italian catchfly both flowering nicely.


Wednesday 19th - Breckland Bits

Small Alison

An after work meet up with Stuart Read in the Brecks to look at a few Botany sites for a couple of hours, spring speedwell, small Alison, hoary rockcress, fine leaved sandwort, the pick of the plants. We had several micro moths including as well as a box bug and we managed to avoid the rain.


Monday 17th - Breckland Beauties

Prickly Poppy Common Lizard

I spent the day in the Brecks with the Wildflower Society, we had a visit to Weeting Heath where the Warden showed us some of the rare plants on the reserve. Breckland, spring and fingered speedwells all in flower along with prickly poppy, little mouse ear, spring sedge, rare spring sedge, purple milk vetch, annual knawel. A common lizard, woodlark, curlew were the vertebrates of note and we caught a moth which was identified as Aethes cnicana (Thistle Conch) and from the fridge Aethes hartmanniana (Scabious Conch), Pammene obscurana and Pammene suspectana. Next stop was in Mildenhall to see Field Wormwood along with carpets of Cypress spurge and the unusual willow leaved sea buckthorn, we made two brief stops where we saw a nice selection of plants spring vetch, spring speedwell, small flowered cranesbill etc. before heading home.


Sunday 16th - Soaked

Painted Lady

I stopped for a few hours in the New Forest on the way home I could not find Bastard balm in the torrential rain, but did manage to find small adders tongue.


Saturday 15th - Lizard Lovelies

Small pearl bordered fritillary Thyme Broomrape

I drove overnight to Cornwall and spent the morning at a few sites looking for the unique plants of the Lizard. Most of the time was spent at Kynance which was awash with spring squill and thrift, but I started finding the interesting plants hairy greenweed, chives, bloody cranesbill, three lobed crowfoot, A nice small pearl bordered fritillary was enjoying the sun and two cuckoos were showing nicely. Another site I caught up with fringed rupturewort and more chives. I stopped for an ice cream in Lizard village then went to see the woodchat shrike finding whistling jacks and some black mining bees nearby. I took a walk from Cadgwith to see the Devils Frying pan. A quick stop near truro for Plymouth pear another stop will be required when in fruit. Then to Padstow for some Western ramping fumitory and chips (very disappointed). I headed to Dartmoor to see the ponies and to catch up with the weird water hawthorn. A great day, however the land quillwort was actually chives so I will need to take another look when I revisit but apart from that I got all the target plants and was lucky with the Thyme broomrape.

Chip Ahoy, Padstow - Fish and Chips - Fish 9/10, Chips 1/10


Friday 14th - Georgeous Geoff

Geoffroy's Bat

I made a brief stop in North Kent for wood melick before heading to Castle Hill in Sussex for a walk with Simon West to see some early Spider Orchids, it took a while to find them and a bit of a walk, some nice corn buntings and a fox of note during the walk. But the reason for being in the area was to see the Geoffroy's bat being released. It flew a little perched in a shrub for a little while, then flew off circling round a garden before disappearing, amazing to see, of note two foxes were spotted in the field at the release site.

Woodingdean Fish Bar, Woodingdean - Battered Saveloy, Chips, Onion Rings 8/10


Wednesday 12th - Dipping

Painted Lady

I headed to Essex after work to see the Woodchat shrike but it had departed, plenty of whitethroats, reed warblers and blackcaps and the first painted ladies I had seen this year. I located a large patch of mousetail but nothing much else before heading home.


Tuesday 11th - Final Gold

Priory goldilocks buttercup

I made an after work visit to two sites in Suffolk for goldilocks buttercup micro species (Priory and Churchyard). It is towards the end of the flowering period but they were still in flower and in good numbers, the weather was nice and quite a few butterflies were on the wing


Sunday 9th - From Bristol to Beavers

Beaver White Rock Rose

An early start and I headed to the outskirts of Bristol to see Lanceolated Spleenwort, but it was so slippery on the slopes due to the overnight rain it was difficult to check the rocky outcrops, I found some spleenworts but not conclusive, so another trip when the conditions are better will be required. Next I headed to Brean down where the white rock rose was in full flower, I found some dwarf mouse ear and lots of commoner plants I headed off as the car park started to fill up and headed to a quieter Sand point where honewort was flowering nicely. I headed to see some Alpine Pennycress which was flowering nicely in a small area. Then to I headed to the coast to try to find purple gromwell it took a while to find and I got caught in a heavy rainshower before I got back to the car. The rain persisted and I was in two minds what to do so headed for some chips. The weather improved so I decided on trying for the beavers. The weather held and I had a nice encounter with some dippers before catching up with a beaver. It was elusive for a while but eventually sat on the bank feeding, a fantastic end to the day and I headed home.

Krispies, Exmouth - Fish, Chips, Mushy pea fritter, cheese balls 9/10


Thursday 6th - Wonderful Wildflowers

Green winged orchid

An after work visit to Upwood Meadows for the Green winged orchids, they were all very small due to the dry conditions, some nice mousetails as well. I had never been to Lady Wood in all the times I have visited here but today took a wander there to see the nice display of bluebells some greater chickweed of note. I headed to two sites for goldilocks buttercup micro species at Toft and Cottered before heading home.


Wednesday 5th - Cracking Churchyards

Meadow Saxifrage

I had a morning Dentist appointment in Saffron Walden so took a wander round and found a few nice plants, dovesfoot, round leaved and shining cranesbills along with some lesser chickweed After work I headed to two local churchyards Stradishall and Kedington for more goldilocks buttercups, but it was the fantistic display of meadow saxifrage at Kedington that was the highlight.


Sunday 2nd - My Little Nature Reserve

Mandarin

My little nature reserve catchup - still regular sightings of the badgers, foxes, muntjac, wood mice and brown rat with the occasional roe deer visit. Birds on the trail cameras are limited to the larger ones as they are targeted at mammals but a Mandarin was captured on the river camera a couple of times.


Saturday 1st - Local catchup

Badger Melanistic Grey Squirrel

A leisurely start at Barnack where the pasque flowers were in full flower, along with rare spring sedge and the first few early purple orchids were starting to flower, but it was the carpets of cowslips that was the most impressive part of the visit. Then it was to a few sites for Goldilocks buttercup micro species, Pelham, Whipsnade and easily caught up with. A stop was made in Letchworth for melanistic grey squirrels along with a nice mistle thrush. That night I had the cameras all ready for what I had suspected was visiting my garden, and yep the badgers had returned and I got a couple of photos.


 

April

Friday 30th - Black Adder

Black Adder

I headed to Connaught Water first thing and took a wander, the Mandarin's were distant but some nice tufted ducks, great crested grebes close in along with some ducklings and goslings. The highlight was a couple of common terns. I headed off and drove to a site where a black adder had been seen. It took a few hours to locate it and the views were not the best but still nice to see, a couple of common lizards also seen before I headed to work.


Thursday 29th - Local Gold

Bradfield Goldilocks buttercup

An after work visit into Suffolk to a few sites for more Goldilocks buttercup micro species, three sites and three species seen St Peter, Bradfield and Lawshall.


Monday 26th - Banging Bustards

Great Bustard

An early start and I was on Salisbury plains as dawn broke, I was here to see the great bustard lek. Wow what a morning atleast 5 males and over 20 birds in total most stayed but there were a few coming and goings which made it haerd to get an exact count. But it was a cracking morning with some birds coming very close to display. I made a detour south for some pale dog violets before heading home via North Kent where in a field margin the scarce grey mouse ear was located along with a few commoner plants.

Chips - Sole Plaice, Darenth - Battered Sausage, Onion rings and Chips - 8/10


Saturday 24th - Having a Whale of a time

Sei Whale

I drove overnight to Kinghorn for dawn, it was bitterly cold so I watched from the car, a couple of others arrived and we scanned the sea for a couple of hours before one of them spotted a blow. For the next 5 or so hours we watched the sei whale, it never came in close which made it difficult to photograph but I got a few record shots. Mid afternoon I headed for home stopping at Dunbar for food and to see the Kittiwake colony and a brief stop on Lindisfarne to see dwarf eelgrass.

Chips - Central Cafe, Dunbar - Pizza and Chips - 8/10


Friday 23rd - Blue Bugging

Blue Shieldbug

I had a tip off about some cryptic leatherbugs at Little Belhus Country park so headed there for about 9am it did not take long to find one. I bumped into a local volunteer and we searched for insects for a while and quite a few nice ones, slender horned leatherbug, bordered shieldbug, knobbed shieldbug, tortoise shieldbug along with , angle sided and pointed keeled ladybirds. I met up with Stuart read near Sudbury to search for Blue shieldbugs and it did not take long before we found a few. We also found a grass snake, bank vole and nightingale, we popped to another couple of local sites to see some scarce plants mousetail and shepherd's needle before heading for home.


Thursday 22nd - Even More Gold

Madingley Goldilocks Buttercup

An after work visit to Madingley Hall for Madingley Goldilocks Buttercup, plenty in flower along with some oxlips, creeping buttercup and cowslips.


Wednesday 21st - Bat Tastic

Kuhl's Pipistrelle

After a quick stop for some goldilocks buttercups locally I headed to Sussex where I was lucky to see a Kuhl's pipistrelle being released after being rehabilitated. It did not hang around and flew very quickly showing the distinctive white trailing edge to the wings as it circled a while before heading off.

Chips - Mr Fryer, Horsham - Fish, Chips and Pea Fritter 8/10


Tuesday 20th - More Gold

Riseley Goldilocks Buttercup

An after work visit to a couple of local churches for Riseley and Pertenhall goldilocks buttercups.


Sunday 18th - Southern Stuff

Koch's gentian

A more relaxed start saw me in the Winchester area for Spring cinquefoil and yellow figwort. before heading down to the edge of the New Forest for Wild tulips and Asarabacca. I had some chips before locating the Narrow leaved lungwort. I headed for home via the Surrey Hills, here the long established Koch's gentian was located in full flower.

Chips - New Forest Bistro, Blackfield - Burger and Chips 8/10


Saturday 17th - Northern Exposure

Belted BeautyTeesdale Violet

An early start to get to Lancashire for dawn, it was colder than expected with a frost, but it warmed quickly and the target was spotted a couple of times flying about. Eventually one settled and the belted beauty gave itself up for photos. A short drive to Arnside, which was fully of newly arrived willow warblers, but the target was botanical and after a bit of a search the white form of Teesdale violet was located just one in perfect flower. The afternoon was spent at Ainsdale Sand Dunes Nature Reserve, somewhere I have never been before and it was a pleasant walk round the woods and dunes but no sign of the dusky warbler. Last stop was at Frodsham Marsh but the black necked grebe could not be located, with time getting on, a stop for chips was taken before heading home.

Chips - 4 Seasons, Frodsham - Haggis and Chips 8/10


Thursday 15th - Wonderful Woodland

Backs Goldilocks Buttercup

I made a couple of local visits in search of the goldilocks buttercup micro species, The Backs, Keddington and Comberton all giving an idea of their locations a few other plants seen some nice Slender speedwell and yellow star of Bethlehem going over. Several nice encounters with the local hares and a couple of barn owl sightings of note.


Sunday 11th - Mammal morning, Plant PM

Chinese Water Deer Pasque Flower

I disturbed a polecat from my front garden (new garden tick) as I left at 5am, followed by some fallow deer at the edge of the village. I added rabbit, brown rat and muntjac before reaching Woodwalton Fen for first light. An almost pure white barn owl passed the car but it was too dark for anything other than a blurry record shot. I headed into the wood A muntjac was on the ride along with some ducks as I approached I could see that they were two mandarins and two wood ducks totally unexpected. I was almost run over by two hares running at full speed. I found a couple of Chinese water deer in a clearing and then another dozen or so in the fields behind the main reserve. On my walk round there were a dozen more Chinese Water deer scattered through the reserve two water voles and 5 more hares. Avian highlights were bittern one in flight and three booming. I added grey squirrel as I was leaving. I stopped in at Ferry meadows but could not find the yellow figwort but did see a common shrew. Barnack was rammed with dog walkers but I found a couple of quieter spots to photograph the pasque flowers and rare spring sedge which I later found out was spring sedge doh! Another visit needed. I popped in to Fineshade woods to see the English White Elm before heading to the Brampton Valley way where Brian Laney had kindly given me a couple of locations to try for wall whitlowgrass the second of which has plenty of plants in flower.


Thursday 8th - Wonderful Woodland

Suffolk Lungwort

I made a pre work visit to a small woodland in Suffolk, here I was after the rare Suffolk or unspotted lungwort, the wood was carpeted in annual mercury and garlic mustard was just about to flower, primroses in the rides along with my target, hundreds of Suffolk lungwort plants flowering nicely.


Monday 5th - Awesome Otters

Otter

I returned to Santon Downham, a little later than on Saturday, I met two birders and as I approached them a lesser spotted woodpecker appeared, very nice. They had seen an otter so after a while I wandered off in search of one. A roe deer on the path but little else in the snowy conditions but I did locate three otters one went downstream and I followed the other two upstream for a while until they disappeared into a holt and I wandered back to the car. I encountered a rather large flock of crossbills on the way. I headed for home as the sun came out.


Saturday 3rd - Breckland Bash

Brown rat

I was in Santon Downham before light and did not find any otters during my walk but did have lesser spotted woodpecker which was very nice, there were plenty of birds in the area kingfisher, siskin, redpoll, crossbill, grey wagtail, mandarin. A few mammals were encountered muntjac a water vole and a roe deer. The walk back to the car turned up some displaying woodlark and I headed off for Chips. I spent the afternoon at Lakenheath RSPB, it was pretty quiet bird wise with garganey the pick of the sightings, although nice to see sand martins and swallows and displaying marsh harriers on my rather long walk. The feeders had a couple of brown rats under them picking up the scraps.

Chips - Historic Fish And Chips, Lakenheath - Saveloy and Chips 8/10


Friday 2nd - Garden Owl

Tawny Owl

I spent the day at home doing some gardening etc. and taking it easy. But some alarm calls in the garden roused my interest and I found a roosting tawny owl, I only managed one dodgy photo before the blackbirds drove it off.


 

March

Wednesday 31st - Woodland Wonders

Cyclamen Daffodil

A brief late afternoon visit to a lovely wood that had carpets of wood anemone but I was here to see the stunning display of cyclamen daffodils, I had the place to myself and it was idyllic in the spring sunshine. A wonderful evening.


Monday 29th - Breckland Botany

Yellow star of Bethlehem

With cracking weather I headed to the Brecks after work, Grape Hyacynth was not quite flowering at its natural site but in Thetford they were flowering nicely in peoples gardens. Breckland and fingered speedwells were starting to flower along with Thale cress and early forget me nots. I made a stop for Yellow star of Bethlehem and spent some time watching brimstone, comma and peacock butterflies in the spring sunshine, very nice until a couple of noisy families' spoilt the tranquillity so I headed off with a brief stop for stinking hellebore and merezeon. A few boxing hares were too distant for photos as I ate my chips but a nice finish to the afternoon.

Chips - Historic Fish And Chips, Lakenheath - Saveloy and Chips 8/10


Saturday 27th - Walrus Wow!

Walrus

With news of the walrus reappearing I hopped into the car and headed off, I made it to the lifeboat station before nightfall to finally see the roosting walrus, my sixth attempt at this species, awesome!


Friday 26th - Local Catchup

Fallow Deer

Miserly mothing this week, just a handful of species early grey, clouded drab, small quaker, common quaker, Hebrew character. Very little plant wise locally danish scuvygrass everywhere along the roadside was quite spectacular. A wood mouse and brown rat rescued this week and a nice herd of fallow deer summed up a quiet week locally.


Thursday 25th - West Country Wander

Northern Mockingbird

The west country gave up the northern mockingbird and sand crocus just starting to flower along with some sea mouse ear during a brief visit.


Sunday 21st - Local catchup

Frog

Finally red kite over the garden was a very overdue garden tick, a few toads and a frog this week at my toad crossing. Flower wise sweet and hairy violets in flower. A few nice moths in the trap now the weather has improved, oak beauty, early grey and shoulder stripe the pick.


Sunday 14th - Local catchup

Coltsfoot

Two birds of note in my little nature reserve this week, marsh harrier which do occasionally wander from nearby Chippenham Fen, and a nice but brief kingfisher. Little else of note apart from Coltsfoot was found in flower, a new plant for site.


Sunday 7th - Local catchup

Common Quaker

Although I have lots of camera trap records of otter in my little reserve I finally saw one this week. I ran the moth trap one night but only a comon quaker and a hebrew character. The first toad of the year on my crossing but apart from that not much else of note.


 

February

Sunday 28th - Local catchup

10 Spot Ladybird

A quiet week, several brown hares of note locally. I have run the moth trap a few times and had a few moths common quaker, hebrew character, march moth, Agonopterix heracliana/ciliella but it was still very quiet. I found some common lungwort in flower locally and a 10 spot ladybird but not much else.


Sunday 21st - Local catchup

Common Whitlowgrass

This week the local highlight was a raven in the village the first I have seen here, apart from that very little has changed, I found some cut leaved dead nettle and common whitlowgrass in flower at work, the highlight here currently is the redpoll flock.


Saturday 20th - Camera Trap catchup

Muntjac

Camera trap catchup - in my small nature reserve nothing of real note, the usual mammals badger, fox, muntjac, brown rat, grey squirrel are all still regular visitors. Impressed with my latest camera trap Wildgame Innovations Micro.


Sunday 14th - Local catchup

Yellowhammer Buzzard

It has been pretty quite locally over the last two weeks but I have had a few nice local sightings. Plenty of redwing and fieldfare along with the resident buzzards and kites showing nicely. The yellowhammers and reed buntings have been in the garden pretty much full time. Pretty much the same dozen or so flowering plants still in flower but I have added yarrow and winter aconite to the list. My commute to a from work has yielded plenty of rabbit sightings along with a herd of fallow deer and a muntjac. Brown hares are in some of the local fields just starting to do a little boxing.


 

January

Sunday 31st - Local Wander

Bank Vole

A local wander round the village and surrondings was a little disapointing bird wise, plenty of redwing and fieldfares aling with a buzzard and two red kites the highlight, but I did find over a dozen species plants in flower. I found a bank vole in the house probably brought in by the cat and took a few photos before safe release.


Saturday 30th - Weekly Roundup

Jelly Ear

A roundup of the week, a nice woodcock flushed in my little nature reserve, incidental sightings of brown hare, red fox, muntjac, buzzard, red kite on my commute. The camera traps in my little nature reserve had badger, red fox, brown rat, muntjac, roe deer, grey squirrel and a few birds but only jay of note.


Sunday 17th - Out and About

Jelly Ear

Finally able to get out again after my illness, I took a local walk to the next village only 2 miles, it was bitterly cold and very boggy underfoot. There was very little about apart from large numbers of fieldfare and redwing and a nice green woodpecker. A few common plants were found groundsel, white and red dead nettle, sweet violet, shepherds purse, creeping buttercup some nice fungi and a 7 spot ladybird rounded off the walk.


Saturday 16th - Camera Trap Catchup

Otter

The usual suspects on the nature reserve camera trap, several jays were new to the camera trap area but they are present in the reserve. But the best capture was an otter, fairly regular on the reserve but alway nice to see. I have added another camera to replace the Little Acorn which did not survive being submerged by the floods at Christmas.


Sunday 12th - Backyard Beauty

Brambling

Finally after 18 years a brambling has shown up in my garden I get lots of finches and have had siskin and lesser redpoll but never brambling, I was very happy to have this visitor. I get some nice birds in my garden yellowhammer, reed bunting, tawny owl. Some garden visitors have now gone such as turtle dove, corn bunting and tree sparrow so it is nice to get some new additions.


Thursday 7th - Camera Testing Over

WiFi Camera Fox Video

For the past month I have been testing a home made camera in my garden, and it has performed well, with just a couple fo tweeks during its first month of operation. It is a Wifi camera that runs of rechargable batteries, ideal as I did not want to put power up to the top of the garden and being battery powered I can move it anywhere in the garden. I placed the camera in a waterproof box and added a solar pack to help charge the camera so I can leave it in place for longer, and although these are inside the case reducing effeciency, so far it lasts for a week before it needs recharging. It communicates with an app on a smartphone.

Camera features
The camera send alerts when battery is low
The camera send alerts when it is triggered
It records video to a micro SD card and these videos can be viewed via the smartphone app
It is sensitive enought to detect mice and sparrows close foucs is about 15cm from the lens. But best of all you can watch the camera in realtime via the app, I have even watched it from work.
There are some downsides the app is pretty basic and I get quite a few false trips but apart from that I am pretty pleased with the result.

I have been waiting for alerts from the comfort of my armchair then watching live on my phone and sometimes going to see the visitor in person. It works both day and night and the total cost to build was less than £ 80.


Saturday 2nd - My Little Nature Reserve

Flooding Flooding

I have mentioned my little nature reserve quite a bit but have never really described exactly what it is. It was good to visit during the lockdown and I spent quite a bit of time there. It is a small private reserve (approx. 1 hectare) on the site where I work near Newmarket, there is no public access. The site is a mixture of wet woodland and marsh, it is surrounded on 3 sides by a river which loops round the site and the final side is a flood defence bank from where the site is accessed. There is a circular path round the site and a clearing near the entrance. The site floods regularly in the winter as the photos show from Christmas eve. I have run a few moth traps, run camera traps and this winter a bird ringer who works on site and I have set up bird feeding stations in the wood and he has been doing some bird ringing. But it is the mammals of this site which is my real interest as I have recorded 23 species in this small area and more bat work to do . It is quite diverse with over 170 moth species, 17 butterfly species, 10 dragonflies and I started a botanical list during lockdown with over 100 plants currently recorded. Plans for the future are to install more bird and bat boxes, do more moth trapping and do more bat detecting.


Friday 1st - Rodent Rescue

Wood Mouse

I was woken at 6am by noises in the house, it was the cat that had brought in a wood mouse. I rescued the mouse and put in a tank with some food and released it a couple of hours later.


 

2020 Review

Mammals

Northern Bottlenose Whale

A very different year as expected, no bat work at all and I only managed to connect with 35 species of mammals this year. Some nice encounters with the Northern Bottlenosed whales, and Badgers turned up in the garden were worth mentioning, I won't try for 50 this year as I think I have demonstrated that 50 species in a year is now easily acheivable if you want to, but I will keep a list as always.

Birds

Lanceolated warbler

Not a bad year with 205 species seen, considering the situation this year. Some highlights were Caspian Tern, Nightjar, Hoopoe to name a few along with the new species I caught up with were White's Thrush, Siberian Thrush, lanceolated warbler, Pallas's grasshopper warbler, Tennessee Warbler, Taiga Flycatcher, Rufous-tailed scrub robin, Lammergeier, Asian Desert Warbler, crag martin.

Other Wildlife and Trips

Radnor Lily Minstrel Shieldbug Beautiful Marbled

Following up on my other areas of interest I had a great year with some nice new Shieldbugs the highlights were Down and Minstrel shieldbugs, other highights were a Lunar Hornet and Sallow Clearwings, Dark Crimson Underwing, ringed border, Beautiful Marbled and large conehead. My 100 new plant project went well seeing well over 100 new species such as Radnor Lily, Somerset Skullcap, Small Hare's ear, Starved wood sedge, Alpine catchfly, Upright spurge, Alpine Bartsia, Wall Germander, Whorled Solomon's Seal, Isle of Man Cabbage, Dune Wormwood, Water Germander and many more and I will try to do this again this year. I also managed to catch up with some cracking fungi Lion's mane fungus, Anenome stinkhorn.

Trip wise everything apart from a brief trip to Estonia was cancelled.

A week in Shetland mainly for migrant birds was very sucessful with some good birds White's Thrush, Siberian Thrush, lanceolated warbler, Pallas's grasshopper warbler, Tennessee Warbler but sightings or orca and otter were nice.

Catch up with the 2020 blog

 
 
 
 

2021 Targets

Green when Seen

  • Weather Earthstar
  • Elegant Earthstar
  • Boat Bug
  • Thyme Broomrape
  • Ornate shieldbug
  • Pipewort
  • Pyramidal Bugle
  • Scottish Primrose
  • Scarce forrester
  • Marsh Carpet
  • Small restharrow
  • Oblong Woodsia
  • Field Cricket
  • Cornish Moneywort
  • Sand runner shieldbug
  • Blue Shieldbug
  • Scarce tortoise sheldbug
  • Greater Streaked shieldbug
  • Dune spurge bug
  • Chater's Elm
  • Wish List

    Green when Seen

  • Ladybird Spider
  • Arctic Sandwort
  • Red cage Fungus
  • Norwegian Mugwort
  • Iceland Purslane
  • Cryptic Leatherbug
  • Barometer Earthstar
  • Heather Shieldbug
  • Drooping Saxifrage
  • Teesdale Sandwort
  • Strapwort
  • Cow Wheat shieldbug
  • Perennial Centaury
  • Highland Cudweed
  • 13 Spot Ladybird
  • Bee Beetle
  • Blue Heath
  • Scaly Cricket
  • Purple Coltsfoot
  • Yellow Oxytropis
  • 2021 UK Mammal List (No Target This Year)

    Green when photographed

  • 1 - Wood Mouse
  • 2 - Grey Squirrel
  • 3 - Muntjac
  • 4 - Brown Hare
  • 5 - Bank Vole
  • 6 - Rabbit
  • 7 - Roe Deer
  • 8 - Fallow Deer
  • 9 - Red Fox
  • 10 - Brown Rat
  • 11 - Otter
  • 12 - Walrus
  • 13 - Chinese Water Deer
  • 14 - Polecat
  • 15 - Common Shrew
  • 16 - Water Vole
  • 17 - Sei Whale
  • 18 - Badger
  • 19 - Yellow necked Mouse
  • 20 - Nathusius' Pipistrelle
  • 21 - Kuhl's Pipistrelle
  • 22 - Red Deer
  • 23 - Pygmy Shrew
  • 24 - Common Seal
  • 25 - Grey Seal
  • 26 - Soprano Pipistrelle
  • 27 - Bottle Nose Dolphin
  • 28 - Daubenton's bat
  • 29 - Field Vole
  • 30 - Hedgehog
  • 31 - Feral Goat
  • 32 - Red Squirrel
  • 33 - Beaver
  • 34 - Feral Pony
  • 35 - Weasel
  • 36 - Common Pipistrelle
  • 37 - Pine Marten
  • 38 - Mountain Hare
  • 39 - Harvest Mouse
  • 40 - Serotine
  • 41 - Hazel Dormouse
  • 42 - Wild Boar
  • 500 UK Birds

  • 494 - Asian Desert Warbler
  • 495 - Lammergeier
  • 496 - Tennessee Warbler
  • 497 - Whites Thrush
  • 498 - Pallas's Grasshopper Warbler
  • 499 - Lanceolated warbler
  • 500 - Siberian Thrush
  • 501 - Taiga Flycatcher
  • 502 - Rufous-tailed scrub robin
  • 503 - Crag Martin
  • 504 - Northern Mockingbird
  • 505 - Red Necked Stint
  • 506 - Black Browed Albatross
  • 507 - Green Warbler
  • 100 New Plant Species Photo Project



  • 1 - Suffolk Lungwort
  • 2 - Teesdale Violet
  • 3 - Rare Spring Sedge
  • 4 - Koch's Gentian
  • 5 - Spring Cinquefoil
  • 6 - Narrow Leaved Lungwort
  • 7 - Suffolk Lungwort
  • 8 - Yellow Figwort
  • 9 - Pale Dog Violet
  • 10 - Italian lords and Ladies
  • 11 - Lesser Chickweed
  • 12 - Greater Chickweed
  • 13 - Round Leaved Cranesbill
  • 14 - Honewort
  • 15 - Alpine Pennycress
  • 16 - Purple Gromwell
  • 17 - Wood Melick
  • 18 - Hairy Greenweed
  • 19 - Thyme Broomrape
  • 20 - Fringed rupturewort
  • 21 - Whistling Jack
  • 22 - Three Lobed Crowfoot
  • 23 - Western Clover
  • 24 - Western Ramping Fumitory
  • 25 - Plymouth Pear
  • 26 - Water Hawthorn
  • 27 - willow leaved sea buckthorn
  • 28 - Small Adder's Tongue
  • 29 - Rock Cinquefoil
  • 30 - Branched Horsetail
  • 31 - Shaggy Mouse Eared Hawkweed
  • 32 - Italian Catchfly
  • 33 - Bastard Balm
  • 34 - Mountain Melick
  • 35 - Pyramidal Bugle
  • 36 - Land Quillwort
  • 37 - Toadflax Leaved St John's Wort
  • 38 - Small Restharrow
  • 39 - Irish Spurge
  • 40 - Pyrenean lily
  • 41 - Teesdale Sandwort
  • 42 - Jacob's Ladder
  • 43 - Blue Barked Willow
  • 44 - Baneberry
  • 45 - Limestone Fern
  • 46 - Arctic Sandwort
  • 47 - Northern Wych Elm
  • 48 - Diapensia
  • 49 - Trailing azalea
  • 50 - Scottish Primrose
  • 51 - Estuarine sedge
  • 52 - Kidney Saxifrage
  • 53 - Downy Currant
  • 54 - Northern saltmarsh grass
  • 54 - Shade Horsetail
  • 55 - Long Headed Clover
  • 56 - Thread leaved water crowfoot
  • 57 - Adder's-tongue Spearwort
  • 58 - Clustered Clover
  • 59 - Slender trefoil
  • 60 - London Rocket
  • 61 - Strawberry Clover
  • 62 - Long-lipped Tongue Orchid
  • 63 - Alpine enchanters nightshade
  • 64 - Narrow leaved bittercress
  • 65 - Greater Tussock Sedge
  • 66 - Knotted cranesbill
  • 67 - Great Forget Me not
  • 68 - Dusky Cranesbill
  • 69 - Bladdernut
  • 70 - Lamb's Tail
  • 71 - Rough Mallow
  • 72 - Sand Leek
  • 73 - Danewort
  • 74 - Northern Yellowcress
  • 75 - Wood Bitter Vetch
  • 76 - Narrow Leaved Pepperwort
  • 77 - Boreal Bog Sedge
  • 78 - Few Flowered Sedge
  • 79 - Brown Sedge
  • 80 - Bottle Sedge
  • 81 - Cowbane
  • 82 - Somerset hair grass
  • 83 - Sand Toadflax
  • 84 - Diaphanous Bladder Fern
  • 85 - Tea Leaved Willow
  • 86 - Small Cranberry
  • 87 - Serrated Wintergreen
  • 88 - Issler's CLubmoss
  • 88 - Alpine Ladyfern
  • 90 - Sheathed Sedge
  • 91 - Alpine Willowherb
  • 92 - Spiked Woodrush
  • 93 - Interrupted Clubmoss
  • 94 - Bog Bilberry
  • 95 - One Cone Clubmoss
  • 96 - Norwegian Mugwort
  • 97 - String Sedge
  • 98 - Brown Bog Sedge
  • 99 - False Sedge
  • 100 - Masterwort
  • 101 - Alpine Hawkweed
  • 102 - Broad Leaved Spurge
  • 103 - Strapwort
  • 104 - Broad Friuted Cornsalad
  • 105 - Rock Sea Spurrey
  • 106 - Logan's Sea Lavander
  • 107 - Western rock sea lavender
  • 108 - Marsh Saxifrage
  • 109 - Large Yellow Sedge
  • 110 - Russet Sedge
  • 111 - Water Sedge
  • 112 - Chestnut Rush
  • 113 - Alpine Meadow grass
  • 114 - Drooping Saxifrage
  • 115 - Highland Saxifrage
  • 116 - Nordic Moonwort
  • 117 - Cairnwell Lady's Mantle
  • 118 - Alpine Milk Vetch
  • 119 - Water Lobelia
  • 120 - Caithness Hawkweed
  • 121 - Scottish small reed
  • 122 - Narrow small reed
  • 123 - Spreading Hedge Parsley
  • 124 - Berry Catchfly
  • 125 - Wood Calamint
  • 126 - River Water Dropwort
  • 127 - Sea Whorl Grass
  • 128 - Round-headed Club-rush
  • 129 - Fringed Gentian

  • 2021 Bird Race

    No Particular Order

  • Not Participating this year

  • The Chip Count

    Chips 31
    Fish 4
    Fishcake 1
    Battered / Sausage 3
    Saveloy 5
    Spring Roll
    Pickled Egg
    Cheese and Onion Fritter 1
    Mushy Peas / Fritter 6
    Spam Fritter 2
    Haggis 5
    Mac n Cheese bites
    Pizza 1
    Parmo
    Burger 4
    John Bull
    Onion Rings 5
    Ice Cream 9

    2020 Total
    Chips 36
    Fatbirder's Top 1000 Birding Websites