Tuesday, 15 August 2017

Long Time No Post

Tuesday August 15

Mothing seems to have taken over our lives in the last month or so. Very enjoyable but I'm getting bird starved.  Pam's hands and shoulders are bad, particularly the right one, which means that I'm not going to push for lengthy driving when I can't share it.
After moths this morning and a visit to CleySpy for new eyecaps for my Swarovski binos - lengthy because they exclaimed at their dirty state and cleaned them beautifully - we stopped at Salthouse duckpond in the hopes of seeing the Ibis. Bob C and David N were already there having seen it earlier. During a lengthy chat with Bob, David called that the Glossy Ibis was distant but in view. Not for long. It soon disappeared back into a line of reeds.

Home to empty our own moth trap. We've had some good moths in the last few days. Here are a few:


Webb's Wainscot

Currant Pug

Bordered Beauty

Orange Swift


Tawny-barred Angle

Frosted Orange

Heath Rustic


Sunday, 9 July 2017

Norfolk in July

Sunday July 9

Not a productive day on the bird scene. Still no Spotted Flycatcher at our usual haunts, a very low tide with very  waders as yet returning from their summer sojourns. A few handsome deep red Bar-tailed Godwits, an almost white Ringed Plover and a few small flocks of Dunlin.
Snettisham was a holidayers hotspot to-day. Several cars and groups of cycling children swept onto the reserve, abandoning their transport to cut samphire along the tide's edge. What next?
Poppyland showed well, swathes of deep orange/red flowers backed by saltmarsh, dunes and wind turbine strewn sea. A picture of coastal Norfolk.


Notable Moths - July

Sunday July 9

Our mothing group has  been responsible for some notable records this month. A very productive and pleasant session for Abbey Farm Open Day on July 2, run for the Butterfly Conservation Group by Greg B, produced a new moth for most moth-ers present. A Breckland speciality, Royal Mantle. It was kept potted so that it could be made available to others. I didn't photograph it. 
It looked like this :

 There were also many Micro moths of interest - and new.

Our regular Natural Surroundings session on Tuesday July 4 had the excitement of a fourth record for Norfolk, the immigrant  Splendid Brocade. Again, it was potted and taken away to Norwich to be shared with others. As it's an inmmigrant, it can be released away from the trapping area.

Greg trapped a very rare Plume (micro moth) in his Overstrand garden. It had to be confirmed by Jon Clifton (its genitalia detail inspected )as a Crombrugghia laeta, itself a sub species of the very rare Breckland Plume. A first for Norfolk, well done Greg.

Our own garden produced some nice July moths too.

Clouded Magpie

V Pug

Varied Coronet

Rodophaea formosa Beautiful Knothorn (Micro)


Saturday, 8 July 2017

Timing Problems

Friday July 7

We'd planned a day's birding along the North Coast - until we both overslept. Neither will wake the other as 'they must need the sleep'. And we'd not put the moth trap out the night before.
Pam did have a couple of urgent chores, a blood test at Cromer Hospital after yesterday's doctor appointment and a, getting old, cheque to pay in. HSBC have closed their North Walsham branch, Cromer is the nearest of the three remaining branches.
Cromer is a drop in clinic for blood tests, Pam had 17 waiting before her turn came. They do up to 150 every week day. The bank was a walk from the parking place where the nearest half to town was occupied by market stalls. During my long car waits I finished reading, Birdwatch and British Birds magazines and, three copies of a Wildlife magazine Greg passes on to me. Not wasted time. 
I then suggested that we visit Holt Country Park for butterflies. The sun was out and the car park almost empty, we were able  to park anywhere and at whatever angle we liked. 
Watching the Buddleias in the centre was fruitless, the bramble clump and Buddleias at the top end eventually proved fruitful. A White Admiral was active in the bramble although never perched for long nor in a convenient place. Why should they?

 This little fellow and two male Blackbirds did not help them to settle.

Distant orange brown flits  became an obliging Comma 

 and eventually, two sparring Silver-streaked Fritillaries. 

They were much more interested in fighting each other than in settling on the deep purple flowers which set off their colour beautifully. This is the best I managed, using my 300 mm lens on my Canon D70 from the car. Must go back with more time and patience.

Saturday, 1 July 2017

Long Anticipated

Friday June 30

Our annual Brecks birding visit usually happens in May or early June. Although we have already mothed there a few times, Weeting and Lakenheath birding hasn't happened. I wasn't over hopeful as it's a bit late in the season for optimum sightings. Birds will have fledged, no more regular parental parental visits with food etc.
Weeting first, where we opened the flaps of West Hide to view an expanse of tall meadow - over the tall waving strands of the hedge immediately in front of the hide. Ah well, here goes. It didn't take me long to find a lone adult Stone Curlew, which appeared in a sparser vegetated area in front of the fenceline on the right-hand side. Much to the delight of the two ladies who were in the hide when we arrived. We had good scope views before Pam found a second bird in a similar area. The sitting bird - pin-pointed by the CCTV camera direction - was occasionally visible.
Back to the Centre for a hot drink, no sun and rather cool. Reading the moth species book was interesting, particularly the two Royal Mantle trapped last Saturday. A tick for us and one we are hoping to see at Abbey Farm to-morrow. (Sunday July 2). A trap is opened at Weeting every Saturday morning from May to October, £3 for members, £3.50 for others. The price for members is exorbitant, in my opinion.
The car park - a piece of rough grassy land - had small bees disappearing into holes in the ground. The female warden told us that they were Five-barred Digger Wasps, which I photographed.

On to Lakenheath Fen, one of our favourite reserves  as there is so much more than birds to see.
We drive as far as New Fen, park and walk to the hide overlooking a pool and reedbed with a bank of trees on three sides.
We sat for over an hour and a half, watching not a lot - but loved it. A Great Crested Grebe with two well grown stripe-headed young played games with a stroppy adult Coot. The latter was chugging about finding food for its young, taking exception to the Grebes if they got in its way - which was frequent. At one time, the Coot appeared to be standing on something with its wings half open balancing. I think that its legs were being held by a young grebe.
A family of Reed Warblers spent the whole time flying between reed beds and the reed island. A Little Grebe spent its time scooting rapidly from the left to the right, beak holding food, and back again, disappearing into the reeds each time. The scooting was flying low across the water, its feet paddling the surface.
Always superb to see, a Kingfisher made three appearances, once perching for ten minutes. That was a male, its beak all black.
Hardly believable.......our first Bearded Reedling of 2017 first called from the far end and then flew in front of us.We haven't walked at Cley nor Titchwell where we usually see them. 
At last, a very tatty Hobby put in a short appearance, high above us.

On a good day earlier in the year, several birds can usually be seen, performing aerial hunting manoeuvres  over the pool and trees.
Large White, Comma,

Red Admiral, Ringlet and Small Tortoiseshell Butterflies, various Bugs and a Broad-bodied Chaser enhanced the experience. 
A super few hours out. It always seems like a long way in anticipation - only the same travel time as Snettisham though. Pam always says that we should visit more often - when driving home.

Saturday, 24 June 2017

Another Shorty

Friday June 23

Mid morning until tea-time excursion as far as Sculthorpe and,  back along the coast - purely for our own pleasure. 
Nik Borrow had posted a photo of a giant stinking flower in the cage at Natural Surroundings. I guessed that it was down the hill and stayed in the car whilst Pam went to see and photograph it. Am I growing sensible? One of the Grey Wagtails showed in the stream beside the road bridge.
Somewhere between Burnham Market and Holkham, Pam had her first Hobby of the year having missed the one I saw. North Creake produced Red Kite and Marsh Harrier. 
Where is Selbrigg pond? Ah yes, big enough to be a small lake, along Selbrigg road on the outskirts of Holt. We knew we wouldn't get close-ups, but, with patience we had identifiable views of a Lesser Emperor Dragonfly amongst a myriad Blue Damselflies.
I tried a few close-ups with my new camera - replacing the pocket one which came apart in Thailand. I'll post one or two here if I was successful, I'd forgotten until now.

Norfolk in Summer

 Full zoom from the car, the Bee and Hoverflies were not visible to me !


More good moth-ing. Two macros new for the garden on Thursday. 
Red-necked Footman - too flighty to take out of the pot as was the Dart

and Sand Dart - an Immigrant.

We've seen both elsewhere.

Thursday, 22 June 2017


Monday June 19

Worthy of a post of its own.
After a very long and exceedingly hot, 34C, three hours undergoing tests at the NNU hospital  (pre-op), we sat on the patio emptying the moth trap. 
We were not in a good space having found that next Monday's arthroscopy on my left knee is deferred as I showed high blood pressure and atrial fibrillation. Most impressed that we got home to find a message from my doctor making an appointment for the next afternoon. I am already on remedial medication. The arthroscopy was a check for infection before a knee replacement.
Harrier, called Pam. It was a male Montagu's Harrier  making its way, tree height, above our garden.

Sunday, 18 June 2017

This and That

Suinday June 18

No big days out, no 'special' birds nor moths, a very enjoyable month of general Natural History. 
New for the garden

Three Nuthatches minimum, parents and offspring visiting the feeders.
4 Oystercatchers flying over, shouting at each other.
3 Water Ermine in Saturday's trap

This morning

A terrific moth session at Catfield Fen, a joint Butterfly Association/ RSPB event. 7 traps overnight plus heat and cloud, produced an enormous quantity and variety of moths. Daunting for the namers and recorders, very rewarding for the large number of attendees which included four well-behaved children. Good moths were also brought in for our enjoyment, many of them unusual Micros.
New for us included :

Olive Crescent (Suffolk trapped)
anana pintulata
brachmia baldella
Dentated Pug
Golden Plusia (James Lowen) 
tortrix viridiana  

It was a long session that included two led butterfly walks in the usually no access reserve and a chance for a short boat trip along a dyke. Most people stayed with the moths.

Thursday, 1 June 2017

Broad-bodied Chasers

Monday May 29

Broad-bodied Chasers and  Blue Damselflies emerged from our small garden pond to-day.
The Dragonflies were very actively mating, the female ovi-positing immediately, the male flying restlessly around the garden, occasionally resting for a few seconds. Looks good for more of this species hatching next year.The yellow bodied are females, the blue are the male.


Bank Holiday Sunday?

Sunday May 28

Norfolk roads and coast at Bank Holidays are teeming with cars, people and caravans. To-day was dry too. The birding call was too strong. Maybe if we avoided the main attractions all would be well. As it turned out, the roads were not bad at all, the only crowded place was Snettisham chalet park, where Pam counted over 50 parked cars. Good to see so many chalets/caravans/ cottages being used.
Sculthorpe Mill, our usual banker for Spotted Flycatcher, did not oblige to-day. We both enjoyed watching a pair of Grey Wagtails carrying food for their young. At last a few photos where the tail wasn't wagging all the time.

Two birders already ensconced in Abbey farm hide, had enjoyed watching a Little Owl, perched on a nearby post, from which it had recently 'dropped down'. Not seen by us. Mandarin Duck was a surprise year tick, well hidden, grazing in long grass.
We couldn't have reached Snettisham on a lower tide. Miles of mud with a few scattered birds - not even the usual surfeit of Shelduck. A couple on the ever picturesque mud (my opinion).

 One pretty sick looking Knot, a few Dunlin, Ringed Plover, Sanderling  and Turnstone. 
I have to photograph an Oystercatcher sitting tight on eggs, the challenge lies in finding the most attractively situated. They're not fussy.

 Why isn't there a notice asking the public to keep dogs and children on leads to protect nesting birds?

The Horned Poppies are bursting into bloom.

Marsh Orchids at Holme are all in meadows behind roadside fencing.Parking is not allowed, we err on the side of 'just stopping briefly'.

 We ended with over 70 species seen from the car, so good to be out and about.

Thursday June 1

Two Turtle Doves at White Horse Common on the way to mothing at Cley. Red Kite, Buzzard and Marsh harrier seen from the cafe platform.

Saturday, 27 May 2017

Back Home in Norfolk

Saturday May  27

We've been home less than a week, since Monday in fact, it seems like we've never been away. I persuaded Pam not to go to Bird Club on Monday night after driving down from Carlisle! Nothing would deter us from moth-ing at Natural Surroundings on Tuesday morning. It's always better than Thursdays at Cley, in both number and variety of moths trapped.
We've  spent the week catching up with laundry, planting my chitted vegetable seeds in root trainer pots (it was 100F in the greenhouse), moth-ing every night  at home and, doing some birding after our half-day North Norfolk sessions.
We've added Nightingale and Cetti's  in Sewage Works Lane, Swift and House Martin in the village, Garden Warbler in our garden and the following photos are of some of the garden moths we have trapped.

Light Emerald

Oak Hook-tip

Puss Moth -male

Eyed Hawkmoth

Elephant Hawkmoth

Lime-speck Pug

Lime Hawkmoth