In an English Country Garden

As I am enjoying it so much I am beginning to think that taking a year out to explore nature should become an annual event!!!

The past few days have been largely spent in English country gardens starting in our own on Saturday when family were visiting. We went bug hunting and were delighted to find several that we hadn’t yet listed plus one lovely bonus. Peter lifted an old log to see what was lurking and we were surprised to find this little fella!IMG_8689 Smooth newt

A smooth or common newt, what a treat. It was especially good as it sat still and gave all of us, old and young time to have a good look at it. More logs were lifted and more critters found including millipede and centipede. Also a caterpillar had been lurking for a day or so, the best suggestion is that it is a Miller moth.

Hoverflies were busy too, these ones were deffinitly drawn to purple, dahlias and roses but each time the purple ones.

We arranged to spend a couple of days with my sister beginning on Sunday as it was to be their village garden party. Calamity struck on Saturday as Janice took a flying leap and ended up in A & E with two broken ribs…ouch! The decision was made that we would still be welcome to visit and it meant we could fill in for her at the garden party. So Sunday afternoon found me sitting at a table with a large jar filled with sweets taking people’s guesses as to how many there were! I met some lovely little children who were very keen to win, as it happened an adult did! The garden party was held in their Norfolk village, in the grounds of  ‘The big house’ and very beautiful it is too. Peter, Lynn and family came to join in the fun and support the cause. When I was talking to the house owner, Peter joined us and being bolder than me, asked if I could moth trap there one night. Having explained what was involved he kindly and without hesitation said we could. It was arranged to do it that night as they had some young visitors staying that might enjoy seeing the catch in the morning.

So in the morning we were joined by Arthur, Florence, Harry, Magnus (all delightful children) and parents to see what we could find. The number of moths was disappointing (to us) but at least there was some variety. I suspect this fella and his three friends may have had a moth breakfast snack before we got to it! I had no idea how noisy Guineafowl are, my goodness I wouldn’t like my neightbours to keep any!

I was pleased to see a Poplar hawkmoth which I knew would impress young eyes (older ones too of course). It was good to be able to show the contrast in shapes, sizes, and colour as we had the lovely yellow Brimstone moth, Setaceous Hebrew Character and other varieties.

No pictures of them but there were several Large yellow underwings which I am sorry to say are not a favourite of mine. When they open their wings they are beautiful but when they walk they scuttle and remind me of cockroaches!

The Coxcomb prominent was a hit and as one of the children said, “It looks like a bit of wood” my favourite of the morning was the Maiden’s blush.

It was a real joy to be able to introduce people to a different side of moths and I hope it might spur them on to a bit of an interest, I also hope to get a chance to moth again in that  rather large English Country garden one day or I should say night.

Back to spend the rest of the day with Janice (ouch) and Chris and later Peter and family came to visit. Bless the children they all came in rather gingerly having been warned not to rush and hug Janice!

I had several wanders around thier lovely English country garden and found that bees like it every bit as much as I do. I am not sure how they fly once they are covered in pollen but they do.

Peter and Lynn found this, as yet unidentified bug, it looks like a grasshopper but didn’t behave like one, any ideas? Later we got the hose out to try to encourage frogs to come out of hiding, they didn’t oblige but we all enjoyed the rainbow effects created. Foolishly when taking these pictures my camera was still set on macro but I hadn’t realised.IMG_8795 bug

That night we put the trap out and popped out to it a couple of times in the evening and there was plenty of activity. Sadly in the morning it was almost empty so we will never know what we missed. I think next time we try there I will position the trap in a more accessible part of the garden and maybe take moths out during the evening, worth a try I think.

We spent another lovely day with J & C, Janice is coping well with her ribs and Chris is taking care of her beautifully. We satyed for a BBQ lunch with some of their friends that we haven’t seen for well over ten years and it was a smashing time. Time to think about heading home but not before we stoped at yet another garden.

I find birdwatchers by and large to be a friendly, helpful bunch and since mothing I find the same to be true of them. One such person is David (a birder and a moth man!) and he had found a Cypress pug, only the fourth for Norfolk. He had kindly invited people to drop in to see it and as it was more or less on our route home we did just that. A bad picture I’m afraid but it is a record shot for me to have. Next a peek at David’s garden to see where he moths so that is four English Country Gardens!IMG_8818 Cypress pug

Home and time to get ready for the arrival of September, I wonder what that will bring.Having chosen the title for this blog I felt the need to listen to the song of the same name, it speaks of flowers, bugs, birds and it finally reminds us to, not forget the Robin, so I didn’t, although this one looks rather worn.IMG_8801 robinMy advice to one and all is, when you get the chance get out in an English Country Garden, big or small they can be a real joy but…don’t follow my sister by going flying with a bang…get well soon Janice!

Where did August go?

Now I know people say that time goes faster as you get older but it also goes fast when you are having fun so that is my excuse. August really has raced by, maybe because during the school holidays we have had more family visits and when Alice, Matilda and Daniel are around time just races by as I love it and them so much!

It has been a quiet month for birds but still we have had a few good ticks, but insects have picked up quite a bit especially moths. Here are pictures of a few that dropped in!

August began with a day out with Ian, Alice and Matilda spent at Minsmere and to be honest  was one of the best days of the month. We got a life tick which is also a tick for the U K a Purple swamphen so that is hard to beat and after that the girls helped us seek out butterflies by the sea. Grayling butterfly was a new one for me and the sheer volume of Common blue ones was brilliant. Also a couple of rather different bees!

August has been hampered by my back but we still had trips out albeit less than usual. A trip the The green Britain centre was good although we failed to spot a Burnet that we had hoped for.

I missed out on Birdfair but on the plus side Ian returned with gifts!!! Even whilst being at home we had a visit from a Blackcap and several new moths, some new for the year whilst other were entirely new for us.

A day out in hot sunshine came later in the month when we got three bird ticks along with butterflies and moths. Now I honestly didn’t realise that butterflies (and moths) migrated until this year and I certainly didn’t expect to see them fly in off the sea but I did! A Clouded yellow butterfly flew in and had the decency to land and pause to be photographed, now that is my kind of butterfly! Also Wryneck, Arctic Skua and Red-backed shrike all on one day!

August ended with a weekend away enjoying English Country gardens as talked about in the previous blog, so I will just repeat a single picture.IMG_8689 Smooth newt

Now as this is a monthly round up it is list time beginning with birds:

List end August

  1. Mute Swan
  2. Bewick Swan
  3. Whooper Swan
  4. Pink-footed Goose
  5. White-fronted Goose
  6. Greylag Goose
  7. Canada Goose
  8. Barnacle Goose
  9. Brent Goose
  10. Egyptian Goose
  11. Common Shelduck
  12. Muscovy duck
  13. Mandarin Duck
  14. Eurasian Wigeon
  15. Gadwall
  16. Eurasian Teal
  17. Mallard
  18. Pintail
  19. Garganey
  20. Shoveler
  21. Red-crested Pochard
  22. Common Pochard
  23. Ferruginous Duck *
  24. Tufted duck
  25. Greater Scaup
  26. Common Eider
  27. Long-tailed Duck
  28. Common Scoter
  29. Velvet Scoter
  30. Goldeneye
  31. Smew
  32. Hooded merganser *
  33. Red-breasted Merganser
  34. Red Grouse
  35. Black Grouse
  36. Goosander
  37. Red-legged Partridge
  38. Grey Partridge
  39. Common Pheasant
  40. Golden Pheasant
  41. Little Grebe
  42. Great Crested Grebe
  43. Red-necked Grebe *
  44. Slavonian Grebe
  45. Black-necked Grebe
  46. Fulmar
  47. Manx Shearwater
  48. Gannet
  49. Cormorant
  50. Shag
  51. Bittern
  52. Little Egret
  53. Great Egret
  54. Grey Heron
  55. White Stork
  56. Glossy Ibis
  57. Spoonbill
  58. Red Kite
  59. White-tailed Eagle
  60. Marsh Harrier
  61. Hen Harrier
  62. Pallid Harrier *
  63. Goshawk *
  64. Eurasian Sparrowhawk
  65. Common Buzzard
  66. Rough-legged Buzzard
  67. Golden Eagle
  68. Osprey
  69. Kestrel
  70. Merlin
  71. Hobby
  72. Peregrine Falcon
  73. Water Rail
  74. Corn Crake
  75. Moorhen
  76. Western purple swamphen*
  77. Coot
  78. Common Crane
  79. Great bustard *
  80. Oystercatcher
  81. Black-winged Stilt
  82. Pied Avocet
  83. Stone-curlew
  84. Little ringed Plover
  85. Ringed Plover
  86. Dotterel
  87. European Golden Plover
  88. Grey Plover
  89. Lapwing
  90. Great Knot*
  91. Knot
  92. Sanderling
  93. Little Stint
  94. Temminck’s Stint
  95. Curlew Sandpiper
  96. Purple Sandpiper
  97. Dunlin
  98. Broad-billed Sandpiper *
  99. Ruff
  100. Jack Snipe
  101. Common Snipe
  102. Long-billed Dowitcher *
  103. Woodcock
  104. Black-tailed Godwit
  105. Bar-tailed Godwit
  106. Whimbrel
  107. Curlew
  108. Spotted Redshank
  109. Common Redshank
  110. Common Greenshank
  111. Lesser Yellowlegs
  112. Green Sandpiper
  113. Wood Sandpiper
  114. Common Sandpiper
  115. Ruddy Turnstone
  116. Grey Phalarope
  117. Arctic Skua
  118. Mediterranean Gull
  119. Little Gull
  120. Black-headed Gull
  121. Common Gull
  122. Lesser Black-backed Gull
  123. Herring Gull
  124. Iceland Gull
  125. Glaucous Gull *
  126. Great Black-backed Gull
  127. Kittiwake
  128. Caspian Tern *
  129. Sandwich Tern
  130. Common Tern
  131. Arctic Tern
  132. Common Guillemot
  133. Razorbill
  134. Black Guillemot
  135. Puffin
  136. Rock Pigeon
  137. Stock Pigeon
  138. Wood Pigeon
  139. Collared Dove
  140. Turtle Dove
  141. Rose-ringed Parakeet *
  142. Cuckoo
  143. Barn Owl
  144. Tawny Owl
  145. Short-eared Owl
  146. Common Swift
  147. Common Kingfisher
  148. European Bee-eater *
  149. Hoopoe
  150. Wryneck
  151. Green Woodpecker
  152. Great Spotted Woodpecker
  153. Lesser Spotted Woodpecker
  154. Wood Lark
  155. Sky Lark
  156. Shore Lark (horned lark)
  157. Sand Martin
  158. Swallow
  159. Red-rumped Swallow *
  160. House Martin
  161. Tree Pipit
  162. Meadow Pipit
  163. Rock Pipit
  164. Water Pipit
  165. Yellow Wagtail (Grey-headed)
  166. Grey Wagtail
  167. Pied Wagtail
  168. Dipper
  169. Wren
  170. Dunnock
  171. Robin
  172. Common Nightingale *
  173. Bluethroat*
  174. Black Redstart
  175. Common Redstart
  176. Whinchat
  177. Stonechat
  178. Wheatear
  179. Ring Ouzel
  180. Blackbird
  181. Fieldfare
  182. Song Thrush
  183. Redwing
  184. Mistle Thrush
  185. Cetti’s Warbler
  186. Grasshopper Warbler
  187. Sedge Warbler
  188. Eurasian Reed Warbler
  189. Great Reed Warbler*
  190. Dartford Warbler
  191. Lesser Whitethroat
  192. Whitethroat
  193. Blackcap
  194. Wood Warbler
  195. Common Chiffchaff
  196. Willow Warbler
  197. Goldcrest
  198. Firecrest
  199. Spotted Flycatcher
  200. Red-breasted Flycatcher
  201. Pied Flycatcher
  202. Bearded Tit
  203. Long-tailed Tit
  204. Marsh Tit
  205. Willow Tit
  206. Crested Tit *
  207. Coal Tit
  208. Blue Tit
  209. Great Tit
  210. Nuthatch
  211. Treecreeper
  212. Penduline tit *
  213. Red-backed Shrike
  214. Great Grey Shrike
  215. Jay
  216. Magpie
  217. Jackdaw
  218. Rook
  219. Crow
  220. Hooded Crow
  221. Common Raven
  222. Starling
  223. House Sparrow
  224. Tree Sparrow
  225. Chaffinch
  226. Brambling
  227. Serin *
  228. Greenfinch
  229. Goldfinch
  230. Siskin
  231. Linnet
  232. Twite
  233. Lesser Redpoll
  234. Mealy Redpoll
  235. Bullfinch
  236. Hawfinch
  237. Lapland Longspur
  238. Snow Bunting
  239. Yellowhammer
  240. Cirl Bunting
  241. Reed Bunting
  242. Corn Bunting

 

 

Moths (Macros)  alphabetised    213 

Angle shades

Barred straw

Barred yellow

Beautiful golden Y

Beautiful hook-tip

Black arches

Blackneck

Blood-vein

Bordered beauty

Bordered pug

Bright-line brown-eye

Brimstone

Brindled beauty

Brindled pug

Brown rustic

Brown-line bright-eye

Brown-tail

Buff arches

Buff ermine

Buff tip

Burnished brass

Cabbage moth

Canary-shouldered thorn

Chinese character

Cinnabar

Clay

Clouded border

Clouded drab

Clouded silver

Clouded-bordered brindle

Coast dart

Common carpet

Common emerald

Common footman

Common marbled carpet

Common pug

Common Quaker

Common rustic

Common swift

Common wave

Common wainscot

Copper underwing

Coronet

Coxcomb prominent

Currant pug

Cypress pug

Dark arches

Dark-barred twin-spot carpet

Dark Spectacle

Dark spinach

Dark/grey dagger

Dingy footman

Dot moth

Dotted chestnut

Double square spot

Double-striped pug

Drinker

Dun-bar

Dusky brocade

Dusky sallow

Dusky thorn

Dwarf cream wave

Early grey

Early moth

Early thorn

Early toothed-stripe

Elephant hawkmoth

Emperor moth

Engrailed

Eyed hawkmoth

Fan-foot

Flame shoulder

Flounced rustic

Four-dotted footman

Foxglove pug

Frosted green

Frosted orange

Garden carpet

Garden tiger

Ghost moth

Great prominent

Green carpet

Green pug

Green silver-lines

Grey pine carpet

Heart and club

Heart and dart

Hebrew character

Herald

Hummingbird hawkmoth

Iron prominent

July highflyer

Knot-grass

Latticed heath

Large emerald

Large nutmeg

Large yellow underwing

Least black arches

Least carpet

Least yellow underwing

Leopard moth

Lesser cream wave

Lesser broad-bordered yellow underwing

Lesser swallow prominent

Lesser yellow underwing

Light arches

Light brocade

Light emerald

Lilac beauty

Lime hawkmoth

Lobster moth

Lychnis

Maiden’s blush

Map-winged swift

Marbled beauty

Marbled brown

Marbled minor

March moth

Marbled white spot

Mottled beauty

Mottled pug

Mottled rustic

Mottled umber

Mouse moth

Muslin

Nutmeg

Nut-tree tussock

Oak beauty

Orange footman

Orange Swift

Pale brindle beauty

Pale eggar

Pale mottled willow

Pale prominent

Pale tussock

Pale-shouldered brocade

Peach blossom

Pebble hook-tip

Peppered moth

Pine hawkmoth

Plain golden Y

Poplar grey

Poplar hawkmoth

Powdered Quaker

Purple bar

Red twin-spot carpet

Riband wave

Rosy footman

Rosy rustic

Royal mantle

Ruby tiger

Rustic shoulder-knot

Scalloped oak

Scarce footman

Scorched wing

Setaceous Hebrew character

Shears

Short-cloaked moth

Shoulder stripe

Shoulder-striped wainscot

Shuttle-shaped dart

Silver Y

Silver-ground carpet

Single-dotted wave

Six-striped rustic

Slender brindle

Small angle shades

Small blood-vein

Small brindled beauty

Small dusty wave

Small fan-foot

Small fan-footed wave

Small Quaker

Small rivulet

Small square-spot

Small yellow wave

Smoky wainscot

Snout

Spectacle

Spinach

Spruce carpet

Square-spot rustic

Straw dot

Straw underwing

Streamer

Swallow prominent

Swallow-tailed moth

Tawny speckled pug

The flame

Treble bar

Treble lines

Triple-spotted pug

Uncertain

V moth

V Pug

Vapourer

Varied coronet

Vine’s rustic

Waved umber

White ermine

White satin moth

White-point

Willow beauty

Winter moth

Yellow-barred brindle

Yellow shell

Yellow-tail

Micro moths to end of August 2016     54

 

  1. Barred marble (Celypha striana)
  2. Beautiful china-mark ( Nymphula nitdulata )
  3. Bee moth ( Aphomia sociella)
  4. Bird-cherry ermine ( Yponomeuta evonymella )
  5. Brown china-mark ( Elophila nymphaeata)
  6. Brown house moth   (Hofmannophila pseudospretella)
  7. Chequered grass veneer ( Catopria falsella )
  8. Codling moth (Cydia pomonella)
  9. Common drill ( Dichrorampha petiverella )
  10. Common grey (Scoparia ambiguallis)
  11. Common marble ( Celypha lacunana )
  12. Common plume ( Emmelina monodactyla)
  13. Cyclamen tortrix ( Clepsis spectrana )
  14. Dawn flat-body (Semioscopis steinkellneriana)
  15. Diamond- back moth   (Plutella xylostella)
  16. Dingy dowd (Blastobasis adustella)
  17. Dotted oak knot-horn ( Phycita roborella)
  18. Double striped tabby ( Hypsopygia glaucinalis )
  19. Elbow stripe grass-veneer (Agriphila geniculea)
  20. Elder pearl (Anania coronate)
  21. Fenland pearl (Anania perlucidalis)
  22. Garden grass-veneer   (Chrysoteuchia culmella)
  23. Garden pebble (Evergestis forficalis)
  24. Garden rose tortrix ( Acleris variegana )
  25. Gold triangle ( Hypsopygia costalis )
  26. Grass-veneer (Crambus pascuella)
  27. Large fruit-tree tortrix ( Archips podana)
  28. Large Ivy Tortrix   (Lozotaenia forsterana)
  29. Large tabby ( Aglossa pinguinalis)
  30. Little grey (Eudonia lacustrara)
  31. London dowd ( Blastobasis lacticolella)
  32. Long-horned flat-body ( Carcina quercana )
  33. Many plumed moth (Aluctia hexadactyla)
  34. Marbled orchard tortrix (Hedya nubiferana)
  35. March tubic (Diurnea fagella)
  36. Marbled piercer (Cydia splendana)
  37. Meal moth (Pyralis farinalis)
  38. Mother of pearl ( Pleuroptya ruralis )
  39. Obscure agg. ( Oegoconia agg. )
  40. Pale straw pearl ( Udea lutealis )
  41. Privet tortrix (Clepsis consimilana)
  42. Red-barred tortrix ( Ditula angustiorana )
  43. Ringed china-mark ( Parapoynx stratiotata )
  44. Rough-winged conch   (Phtheochroa rugosana)
  45. Rose tabby ( Endotricha flammealis )
  46. Small grey ( Eudonia mercurella )
  47. Small magpie (Anania hortulata)
  48. Spindle ermine (Yponomeuta cagnaglla)
  49. Sulphur Tubic ( Esperia sulphurella)
  50. Triple-blotched bell (Notocelia trimaculana)
  51. White shouldered house moth ( Endrosis sarcitrella)
  52. White-headed Ermel (Paraswammerdamia alibicapitella)
  53. Yellow-faced bell (Notocella cynosbatella)
  54. Yellow-spot tortrix (Pseudargyotoza conwagana)Butterflies to the end of August      24

    Red admiral

    Brimstone

    Peacock

    Small tortoiseshell

    Speckled wood

    Green-vein white

    Orange tip

    Small white

    Holly blue

    Small copper

    Small heath

    Dark green fritillary

    Common blue

    Large heath

    Small pearl-bordered fritillary

    Green hairstreak

    Painted lady

    Ringlet

    Large skipper

    Large white

    Gatekeeper

    Small skipper

    Comma

    Grayling

    Mammal list      21

    1. Rabbit.
    2. Stoat
    3. Hare
    4. Grey squirrel
    5. Common seal
    6. Roe deer
    7. Red deer
    8. Muntjak deer
    9. Sperm whale
    10. Grey seal
    11. Otter
    12. Weasel
    13. Bank vole
    14. Fallow deer
    15. Red squirrel
    16. Pine marten
    17. Beaver
    18. Daubenton’s bat
    19. Common pipistrelle
    20. Water vole
    21. Hedgehog 

      Reptiles & Amphibians 2016      2

      1. Grass snake
      2. Smooth newt

     

    Insects and other bits and bobs!       50

           (Thank you to those that have helped with Ids in this group)

    1. Common Wasp
    2. Ladybird 7 spot
    3. Ladybird harlequin
    4. Lacewing green
    5. Lacewing brown
    6. Bloody nosed beetle
    7. Red tailed Bumble bee
    8. White tailed Bumble bee
    9. Honey bee
    10. Snail
    11. Slug
    12. Wood ants
    13. Scottish wood ants
    14. Mining bees
    15. Froghopper
    16. Hawthorn shieldbug
    17. two banded longhorn beetle
    18. Poplar leaf beetle
    19. Woodlouse
    20. Earwig
    21. Earth worm
    22. Wolf spider
    23. Green dock beetle
    24. Green leafhopper
    25. Bee fly
    26. Green sawfly
    27. Dark bush-cricket
    28. Pantallon bee
    29. Bee-wolf
    30. Daddy-long-legs spider
    31. Ophion obscratus (wasp)
    32. Cock chaffer
    33. House spider
    34. Money spider
    35. Zebra spider
    36. Green fly
    37. Black fly
    38. Helophilus pendulus (type of hover fly!)
    39. Common field grasshopper
    40. Meadow grasshopper
    41. Mottled grasshopper
    42. Centipede
    43. Millipede
    44. Harvestman
    45. Carrion beetle
    46. Common green shieldbug
    47. Buff tailed bumble bee
    48. Southern oak bush cricket
    49. Pond skaters
    50. Water boatmen

 That makes a total of 606 and I think I need to work on the reptile/amphibian group!!!

Once again thank you so much for oyur support and sticking with me, all comments VERY welcome.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One dip and a tick? No, three ticks!!!

I was beginning to feel a bit pathetic really, moaning about my back and migraine etc so decided it was time to get back to some serious pursuing . A couple of birds that I really like but have rarely seen have flown into Norfolk over the past couple of days. We should have gone out yesterday but it was just too hot for comfort, the trouble is the forecast for today was very similar. The decision was made, we would go out to try and see the two of them but we would go early before the day heated up too much.

So at 5.30 am the alarm sounded and I leapt from my bed, (well any way I got up ) closely followed by Ian. Now if you know Ian you will probably know he is a man that doesn’t start any day unless it is by eating a bowl of cornflakes, Kellog’s cornflakes, 365 days a year, 366 this year! So a quick breakfast, no time for a cuppa and we were out at 6 am, I hoped the odd owl might still be around but no luck with that, we did however see enough Pigeons to feed a small nation for a month! IMG_8535 moon

First bird on our hit list was a Wryneck, a bird I have only ever seen once before, several years ago now. We drove to Weybourne, walked to where it had been seen as recently as last evening and waited and waited. Now I have heard it said of birds, ” Clear night , clear off!” I so hoped this little chap hadn’t cleared off but it seemed it may have done so we left somewhat disappointed but knowing we wouldn’t be so very far off if it was sighted. It seemed like a dip to start the day, not good.IMG_8486 weyborne mill

 

However our time there wasn’t wasted. We watched a  beautiful display by an Arctic skua, as it ambushed gulls in the air to try to steal the fish they had caught. It had a good deal of success and really was a good spectacle and also a year tick. Next came the arrival from over the sea of what I thought was a very large moth with feathered antennae, but it wasn’t a moth, it was a Cock chaffer! It flew around having reached land at last but here comes the sad part, it never got the chance to touch down! A crow flew in and snapped it up, the thought of making such a journey only to end up as a crow’s snack seemed a sorry affair.

Next we were treated to two new butterflies, one elusive the other sat and posed a while. We had a Small heath and also (as seen here) a clouded yellow, both came in off the sea.IMG_8466 clouded yellow

Next stop, West Runton to try for a Red-backed shrike, it had been seen last evening but the good news was it had also been seen this morning, I was optimistic. A Red-backed shrike was the bird that really got me into birding, when I was out with Peter and we watched one sitting on a shrub, flying off, catching a bug and then back again. It carried on like this for ages and I was delighted, thanks to the RBS and Peter I was hooked!

First though the walk back to the car where we saw this Gatekeeper butterfly  feeding close by to a  hoverfly.

Next treat was a seal swimming close to the shore line

Car parked at West Runton and  the shortest walk imaginable and we were where the bird had been seen. We were in luck, just a few minutes later we saw it, hooray! It flew and landed at some distance away, soon though it flew again and landed much closer.IMG_8496 RBS

If it looks like these shots were taken through a dirty window or through a dirty lens, look again. They are little bugs, or as the RBS likes to call them; dinner!

What a little beauty and the memories of my first real birding day with Peter came flooding back. On that day we saw other good things just like today. A little bonus was a visit from a Whinchat, sitting along from the shrike.IMG_8529 whinchat

Whilst there we heard that the Wryneck had been seen again, an easy decision was made…back to Weybourne. Not long and we were again walking down the beach but feeling fairly hopeful although we had heard it was elusive. We arrived and once again waited but this time we were rewarded! Distant but clear view of the Wryneck, brilliant that doubled the number I have seen now and was our third year tick for the day.

Whilst there we also saw a pair of Pied flycatchers which I am fairly sure are the first I have seen in Norfolk. My favourite, the Wheatear was also present, this had been well worth the early start.

We popped to Janice and Chris’ for a coffee and were invited to stay for lunch, well it would have been rude to refuse wouldn’t it?! It was very welcome especially after our rather early and hurried start to the day, thank you both very much.

We didn’t exactly rush off but took our time chatting before going for a stroll in Holt Country Park looking for more butterflies, We weren’t in the best part of the park and only found this Speckled Wood but as we were both feeling weary we decided to head for home. IMG_8569 speckled wood

So after a brief stop for provisions, (got to make sure a fella has enough milk in for his flakes tomorrow) we headed home very satisfied with our three bird and two butterfly ticks a good day and well worth the early alarm call.

Note to self…check I didn’t put the alarm on to repeat tomorrow!

 

 

 

Down but not out!

Things are not going accordingly to plan at the moment, if they were I would be checked into a  Rutland hotel in readiness for Birdfair tomorrow. Instead I am at home having waved Ian off! Nothing terrible must be read into that, it is simply that my back led me to think walking around all day in the bustle of Birdfair might not be wise but I was more than happy for Ian to go as I certainly didn’t want us both to miss out. I am trusting he will come back inspired and I have no doubt with several free pens!

Although I am left behind (sob,sob) I thought I would have a look through  some pictures I have taken at home this past week or so especially as we had a rather special apple thief yesterday, but more of her later.

It has been a fairly quiet week with moths due to a bright moon and lots of clear skies, not favourable for moth trapping but none the less we have had a few nice ones.

I have pain killers from the doctor but a much better tonic was a visit from Peter, Lynn and family at the weekend and Daniel came bearing a gift.IMG_8305 Daniel's tree

How sweet is that? It isn’t everyday that I am given a piece of original art I can tell you!

Alice spent some while on some ‘patio art’ and later Daniel had help from his Mum and Dad and sisters to dig for dinosaur bones!IMG_8308 art

A few days ago this young Robin was in the garden it seems to have gone now, hopefully it has flown off to get on with it’s life rather than being caught by something!

I was amused by a visiting pigeon, it seemed to have a similar approach to bathing as I do, get snuggled in, make yourself comfy and just relax, it sat there for ages! IMG_8279 pigeon

A couple of non moth visitors around the trap recently were this bee and a Daddy long legs spiders or as I like to call it, a Naomi Campbell spider, it legs went on and on!

Yesterday whilst making a coffee I noticed a different looking bird eating our apples on the tree. I say different because there have been many blackbirds tucking into them the past week or two ( I hope they leave us a few but I am not too optimistic!). Any way the first view I got of it was the tail and very light underneath the tail, it looked a bit like a flycatcher but unless we had a vegetarian one that seemed unlikely! I grabbed binoculars and a camera and took a couple of shots through the window.

I thought I would try my luck by opening the door but of course she flew, fortunately though she landed in another tree in the open, not for long but long enough!

So it turned out to be a female blackcap not a first for the garden but possibly only the second or third so we were pleased. I often wonder what birds we miss in the garden, the occasional, brief visitors that go unseen as it was only luck that I spotted her. I often dream of a rarity flying in and what I would do, who would I call first? Would I let all and sundry into the garden to view it? The answer to the first question is easy, the second would take a bit more thought, but as nothing has flown in I needn’t worry tonight!!!

Well the moth light has come on so I wonder what tonight will bring, should be a bit cloudier so there more be more. As I popped into the garden to take this snap all the local Jackdaws seem to be saying goodnight to each other! IMG_8311

It is most unusual for me to be home alone but to mark the occasion I have decided that some fruit tea made in my favourite pot will be just right later as I chose a film to watch in bed. I hope Birdfair goes well, I hope Ian finds someone to use my ticket! If you are going, find your way to the LensCoat stall, they make great stuff and you can say hi to Peter while you are there.  I am optimistic that by this time next week I will be back to normal and we can get out and about again!IMG_8312

 

 

Going green!

Since the excitement of a first for the country things have been slow and my back has made the going even slower! Today the sun was shining and the time seemed right to go out and about and see if it is improving. I decided to stay local and return to hunt for Six spot burnet moths, mind you I will tell you straight away that we failed to find any. The morning was not wasted though and I thought I would introduce you to The Green Britain Centre. For many years it was known as the Ecotec centre and to be honest I still think of it by that name but I hope in writing this I may re focus myself and get the name right!IMG_8244

Ian dropped me there as he had an appointment nearby and I went hunting in the gardens. There are veggie gardens, flowers, wild areas and an heirloom orchard. Add to that the living willow structures which I am determined to learn how to make, (it is on the list for 2017) although on a smaller scale than they have!

I love wild flowers and would like to turn some of our lawn into a ‘wild flower meadow’ mind you a good friend recently pointed out that they do just look untidy most of the time. Maybe I will just enjoy them in other places and not have the work of making them look good all year round!

I was still on the look out for a burnet moth but there was no sign infact there weren’t a great many butterflies either. There were whites, a few red admirals, peacocks, meadow browns and I did see just one comma but as it was only my second this year I was pleased with that.

Of course towering over all of this is the wind turbine, it is the only one in the world that members of the public can climb. I haven’t and although I would enjoy the view I don’t think I will be trying it any time soon! Along side the turbine is a rather brilliant solar tracker, unlike normal solar panels (we have them on our roof at home and I love them!) the ones here move with the sun, pretty ingenious I think.IMG_8178

I am sitting here writting this on my laptop (plugged in) with an i pad and phone sitting beside me, both recently charged, the call on energy grows with each new gadget that comes out so we certainly need to find alternative methods of creating energy. It is good to see people putting in the effort and working on this on going issue.

They have bee hives at The Green Britain centre and there is certainly no shortage of bees busy working. I love the stash of pollen he has collected already!

If ever I visit I find a school party there but I was certain I wouldn’t today being school holidays.Well I was right but also wrong! Not a school party but a group of 72 children from Hong Kong with of course lots of adult supervisors. They were beautifully behaved and looked like they were enjoying every moment of it both outside and in. IMG_8243

Ian had returned and it seemed the right time for coffee in the cafe which I would like to recomend to you. It is a vegetarian cafe and where it can it uses produce from their garden, fruit, veg and herbs.The food is always lovely and very reasonably priced, this is a note to myself really to remind me to go more often!

The Einstein quote gives me an excuse, not to preach the mertits of vegetarianism but to tell you a funny story, well I thought it was funny. A few years ago we went on a cruise and one night we sat on a table with people we didn’t know, to eat our meal. There was a gentlemen seated next to me who was about 90 and I must stress seemed as bright as a button; all his converataion led me to view him as an inteligent man in poscession of all his faculties untill vegetarianism came up! Due to a menu malfunction it becme evident that I was a vegetarian and he wanted to know why. Well I hedged around the subject not wishing to be insensitive to others who were about to tuck into their meaty meals! Eventually as he pursued the point I said that I would rather animals didn’t have to die for me to eat them, now here comes the funny bit. “They don’t”  he insisted, “we just eat them when they die “! Well I didnt know how to react to that one and the thought of a chef sitting waiting for a cow to drop before they could start preparing the steak quite amussed me. He wouldn’t have it though and was amazed that I thought they killed animlas for meat, bless him, I suggested he just forget it for now and later when he was home ask someone he knew and trusted and see what they thought!

Back to today, there is a small shop there of mainly fair traid little gifts and things relating to green living. IMG_8242It is also home to The Garden Science Trust which helps people with special needs, to develop through gardening and science, the name tells it all really. It was good to chat to a couple of people that were hard at work there today, one lady busy weeding but she took the time to talk about her planned move and the obvious excitment that went along with it!!! Good to see one of the helpers there working hard too, fighting what I hope wasnt a losing battle with weeds, keep going Tom!

The time had come to, at least for today, give up the burnet hunt and head for home.IMG_8171

So with the sun still shining we were off and off course my mind was wondering what else we could do to be greener. We have soloar panels so the next step seemed to be a wind turbine but for now this is it!

IMG_8253

 

A first for the U K ? Oh I do hope so!

What a lovely day I have had today!

On Sunday a Western Purple Swamphen flew into Minsmere but having just got back from Scotland we didn’t really have the energy to go for it even though we probably should have. Yesterday Ian was golfing and I had a smashing day with Janice here but I was doing some planning around that bird! Hopefully it will be accepted as wild and it will then be a first for Britain so I certainly wanted it on my 2016 list! I thought we might go this morning and stay overnight but we decided not to so a day trip it was to be. I asked if any family wanted to join us and we were delighted to hear that both of our granddaughters, Alice and Matilda, said they wanted to come.IMG_7812 us 4

We collected the girls at 8am and we were off and on arrival at Minsmere our first stop was definitely going to be to find the star bird. We were in luck, although it wasn’t showing when we got there we didn’t have to wait long. He popped out from the reeds, never very far but we all saw it clearly and even managed a few pictues.

I do like a bird that I can be certain of once I have seen it and this one surely fits into that catergory! He is a big bird and his bright colour coupled with his even brighter bill, legs and huge feet, there is no mistaking it! Having watched him for a while we moved on and decided that the rest of our day we would just do what we fancied and the girls wated to head for the sea. There weren’t any other birds that we were after, in fact there weren’t a great many birds at all, although there was no shortage of egrets! So off we went for a walk.

We headed to the sea, where Alice was keen to touch the water.

It had turned into a bright, though breezy day but thankfully we found quite a few butterflies  near the beach. We were delighted to see a common blue and before long there were loads of them!

Next we found a new one for all of us, if we had seen it before we certainly hadn’t identified it! A Grayling, new for our list so we were very pleased. There was also a variety of grasshoppers that I hope we will be able to ID

Next stop was to be lunch so we headed off to the cafe, making some stops along the way. We added two new insects that we had never seen before, one rather nice the other I was less keen on!  First was the Pantaloon bee, a mining bee that carries loads of pollen on his hind legs, in flight it looks yellow! The second was the Bee-wolf which is actually a wasp and a cunning one at that! It burrows undergound to lay its eggs then drags honey bees into the tunnel and stores them there so when the eggs hatch they have the bees to feed on. Yeuk!IMG_7928 Bee-wolf

When we had nearly reached the cafe we saw a water vole, sadly no time for a photo but we were chuffed. The budlias were in full bloom and certainly attracting the butterlies, painted ladies, peacocks, red admirals and even the occasional large skipper!

IMG_8014 MatildaIn the afternoon Alice and Matilda followed a nature trail which took us to various places on the site and even led us to damsleflies and a super dragonfly too! It was really lovely having the girls with us, they made it a lovely day and of course that is helped by their behaviour, they are a treat to be out with!

 

Nature trail completted there were still a couple of things we wanted to find. When chatting to Ian (not our Ian but a friend that works at Minsmere) he told the girls about somethings that caught thier imaginations especially somewhere you could see what it is like to be in a Sand martin wall! We thought we were going to fail to find it but a the end of the afternoon we found it and I must say it was pretty cool.

Alice tried out being a bird on a nest but Matilda gave it a miss!IMG_7990 nest

Hopefully before too long the Swamphen will be accepted, well its going on my list tonight! So a new bird and a new butterfly and some extra insects too, all boosting the year list. The bird was great but having the gorgeous Alice and Matlida along really  made it a smashing day and I hope they come out with us again soon.