Distant, elusive and mobile are three words I dislike using about a bird but today I must! There had been a sudden fall of warblers in Norfolk (and elsewhere) recently and of course we were fortunate last week to get the Eastern crowned warbler (see previous blog entry) but it was time to go in search of more. Unfortunately I awoke on Monday with a thumping migraine and slept most of the day away topping it off with an early night! I really hoped Tuesday would be better and I was determined to go out birding the moment any reports came in. Unfortunately I didn’t feel a lot better than the previous day but out we went and the air did help (not a lot but a tad) and we were heading to Cromer. I should mention the weather seemed to be feeling similar to me as it rained most of the way! As we neared Cromer the sun came out and it turned into a beautiful morning.
A Dusky warbler had been there, by the golf club for a few days and it would be a life tick for me. We found our way to the golf club and although it is unlikely any of their members read this I hope they do. We met several players that morning and every one of them was delightful! Helpful with directions, interested in what we were after Etc so Cromer golf club got a big team point from me! We walked up to the lighthouse and what a beautiful setting it is.
We knew where the bird had been seen but saw a group of birders in a different place nearby so after a look in the original place we moved on. Indeed the birders had been watching the bird flitting in and out of the trees and we didn’t have to wait long. Here comes the blog title, not only was it distant, elusive and mobile but I was trying to focus through a banging headache and dancing lights, not ideal. I did see the bird and that is what counts, it was moving from tree to shrub and back again before being chased by a bully Chiffchaff! Not a chance of a picture which was a shame but under the circumstances I was happy to have seen the bird.
We decided to go for a walk at Cley and when we arrived there we were told a Dusky warbler had been seen on Arnold’s marsh, two in one morning that would be funny. We walked along the East bank but no sign and on talking to others it would seem someone had a brief view earlier and it wasn’t seen again, never mind the Cromer one was a life tick so no complaints from me.
There was no shortage of Greylag geese and also in the distance some white-fronted geese.
Also the now common Little egret, we definitely see more egrets than herons in recent times at least in Norfolk. Funny to think they used to be exotic!
We popped into the new hide on the East bank and a little bird flew through the hide nearly knocking my nose off, I have no idea what it was!!! Pipits were feeding on the still colourful marsh.
We decided to have a snack at the visitor’s centre and it was whilst there that we heard of a Barred warbler on the West bank! Soup downed and we were off feeling very optimistic as we could see a group up on the bank and the news was they were seeing it well, phew! We were there in a matter of moments and along with the group watching a shrub where it had been showing. It was a very busy bush, a Robin, female Blackcap and a Stonechat were among the other birds sharing the shrub with the warbler.
Out it popped, in, out and in again! At least we could see it well although again getting pictures wasn’t good. By this time my head had improved but sadly it was still not as I would have liked it to be. Time for a cuppa at my favourite tea shop in North Norfolk also known as Janice and Chris’, thank you once again!
As we drank our tea the pager kept beeping with news from Wells wood. An Olive-backed pipit, Radde’s warbler and then Aquatic warbler! Much as I really wanted to be back home it seemed daft not to go for them, before we set out the Aquatic warbler was corrected to an Arctic warbler!!! Off we went with only an hour or so of light left. We hunted around The Dell which was alive with birds including lots of crests and at least one Yellow-browed warbler but no sign of the ones we were after. It wasn’t long before the rain arrived and it came with a vengeance so we turned tail and headed back to the car and set off for home.
So we were lucky earlier with the Dusky and Barred warblers but not so lucky later on. The lack of photos of the day are testament to how I was feeling and the fact that I hadn’t even put them on the computer till today (two days later) tells you how I have been feeling but thankfully this morning I woke feeling a whole lot better so come on birds I’m ready for you!
This has been a mixed week due partly to some slight disturbance in domestic harmony…enough said I think!
On Monday we went to Holme-next-the-sea and I was so excited as we were after a bird I really want to get this year! Now when I tell you about the bird you may be surprised as it is not much to look at, it is a Richard’s pipit. I have never seen one and as I was born a Richards I thought it would be good to add it to my life list on this special year.
We parked at Thornham, when we could find a spot not under water, and walked along the sea wall to Holme. On the way we saw a few waders enjoying the mud including this grey plover and Curlew.
On we went still hoping to see the pipit we had gone for. It had been seen on the land behind this piece of water and I must admit my optimism was fading slightly as I couldn’t imagine seeing it well enough to ID.
We met several people looking but no one had seen it. One couple we met were down for a few days from Yorkshire, their local patch, they told us, was Bempton…keep that in mind for later!
We had a good walk at Holme but no sign of the desired Richard’s pipit, so back we went to Thornham. We saw a Chinese water deer which was new for the year so we were chuffed with that. It was a lovely day so we were pleased to be out and about in spite of dipping the bird. Here are a few of the other birds at Thornham, Little egret, Black headed gull and a Spotted Redshank.
We nipped into Titchwell on the way home far a stroll and a cuppa. So that was Monday and I must confess I was disappointed but of course…you can’t win them all.
Tuesday’s highlight was going to Daniel and Matilda’s harvest festival, I love that sort of thing I was happy to be there for Daniel’s first at school and Matilda’s last at that school.
Now on to today, Wednesday and again we were off chasing a bird! This time it was way up in Yorkshire, to be precise Bempton which is why I mentioned the couple at Holme, I bet they wish they were home now. The bird in question is an Eastern Crowned Warbler and there have only been three accepted records in Britain before.
Once we knew that it been seen this morning we were off and the journey seemed longer than usual but that is the effect of heading for a tick! We arrived and it was clear where we needed to head for the bird and it wasn’t long before we saw it. A lovely little bird that seems to have palled up with a couple of Yellow-browed warblers, some Goldcrests, Chiffchaffs. Sadly no photo opportunity as each appearance the bird was on the move, it would land on a branch but in no time flat it was off again. No complaints though it was a lovely bird and we saw it well.
Bempton is a lovely place and I enjoyed a good walk along the top of the cliffs, seeing a field vole on the way. There are still lots of Gannets there but the other birds that breed there are gone, hopefully to return next spring.
Still a couple of youngsters were lurking on the cliffs with the adults. It was our first visit there this year and I am glad the warbler tempted us there.
Earlier in the morning an albatross had been spotted but we weren’t there for that! I think one life tick in a day is acceptable though. As I was walking back along the cliff path a warbler flew in off the sea into the scrub, of course I lost sight of it so I will never know wha tit was. The annoying thing is that soon after we left on our homeward journey a Greenish warbler was found, I wonder if that is what ‘my’ bird was!
So it has been a mixed week so far, I wonder what else it holds. Actually I know what tomorrow morning holds for me, a flu jab!!!
So another month has been and indeed gone! I have always had a fondness for October so maybe it will bring good things, who knows I may even be lucky enough to see the very rare Little owl! How I have managed to go nine months without seeing one is a mystery, but I have. Other years I have seen them regularly in our village, we even saw one in a tree in our garden once but not this year.
September has been a good month but nothing major to report on the sightings front. One event that I can’t let go unmentioned is that our grandson, Daniel, began school and what a good time he is having!
We have only added two birds, Pectoral sandpiper and yellow-browed warbler but we have still enjoyed the hunt!
An early event in the month was my first sighting of a frog (I know, where have I been up to now?) closely followed by a toad, literally on our doorstep!
Insects have risen the most this month, largely because there hasn’t been much else to catch my eye! I have had a favourite though, this beautiful beetle.
I had it miss-identified originally but it turns out to actually be a Rosemary-leaf beetle and is a bit of a thug, I’m glad I resisted the temptation to bring it home with me!!!
I have also learnt this month that a hoverfly isn’t simply a hoverfly there are very many different ones, here are a few I have seen in recent weeks.
We had a lovely visit with Alan and Judy and the weather was just about perfect, if anything it was a tad too hot! They arrived on an evening that had seen rain all day and left the day before the rain returned, but for there stay…not a drop.
Due to my back (I have moaned enough about that previously) my daily tally of steps on my Fitbit had sadly fallen, Alan and Judy’s visit got those steps up again.
We also snuck a last minute visit in with Janice and Chris, an overnight stop with them at the very end of the month. That was mainly to check up on Chris as it had been his turn to miss-behave in the health department! We had a good time with them and were pleased to find Chris looking, though rather weary, not too far off his usual self. Another reminder of our mortality but also another huge blessing that it had not been worse and we are all still here in more or less sound body and minds (I did say more or less!).
We spent several days in Bedfordshire on pet sitting duties which was very enjoyable. Sadly I forgot to take a picture of the bunnies but here is the rest of the gang.
We got out and about with several walks at RSPB The Lodge and also Danish Camp. We added Pygmy shrew to our mamal list which was a bonus and certainly saw plenty of sign that autumn is heading our way.
Ruth and Stu’s time away had gone well, it was centred around running a half-marthon in Euro Disney! I must be honest here, I feel we got the best end of the deal staying in their home looking after ‘their family’!!!
I mentioned a flower we saw growing and had wondered what it was.
Thanks to both James and Christine for letting me know it is Himalayan Balsam which inspite of being an attractive plant is a pest! It spreads like wild fire mainly due to the fact that the seed heads explode and travel great distances.
We have continued to regularly see lots of dragonflies and a smaller number of damslelies too. I think the one that pleased me most this month was the one that landed on Alan’s hat! We had seen lots of male banded demoisels but as far as I know this was the first female. I am sure I must have seen them but they are not so conspicuous as thier partners so I guess they simple eluded me.
New moths have continued to appear but not in the numbers that we had last year which has been rather disappointing. I think it has been generally quieter year for them and not due to anything we have done differently. We have picked up some more micro moths this month and I suspect that is pretty much it for the year for them. I will pop a few pictures of some of the micros we have had this year, (not necessarily this month) mostly from our trap but some Peter has shared from his garden.
So another month gone and time to look at lists (or ignore them ) and see how the numbers have slowly grown. Most people that predicted my final tally have been knocked out as it now stands at 698 but there is still a fight on!
Bird List 244
Ferruginous Duck *
Hooded merganser *
Great Crested Grebe
Red-necked Grebe *
Pallid Harrier *
Western purple swamphen*
Great bustard *
Little ringed Plover
European Golden Plover
Broad-billed Sandpiper *
Long-billed Dowitcher *
Lesser Black-backed Gull
Glaucous Gull *
Great Black-backed Gull
Caspian Tern *
Rose-ringed Parakeet *
European Bee-eater *
Great Spotted Woodpecker
Lesser Spotted Woodpecker
Shore Lark (horned lark)
Red-rumped Swallow *
Yellow Wagtail (Grey-headed)
Common Nightingale *
Eurasian Reed Warbler
Great Reed Warbler*
Crested Tit *
Penduline tit *
Great Grey Shrike
Dragon and damselflies 17
Golden banded dragonfly
Common blue damselfly
Large red damselfly
Small red damselfly
Insects and other bits and bobs! 84
Ladybird 7 spot
Bloody nosed beetle (Timarcha tenebricosa)
Red tailed Bumble bee
White tailed Bumble bee
Scottish wood ants
Two banded longhorn beetle
Poplar leaf beetle
Green dock beetle
Ophion obscratus (wasp)
Red spider mite
Helophilus pendulus (Sun (hover) fly)
Dasysyrphus albostriatus (hover fly)
Sphaerophoria scripta ( long hoverfly)
Eupeodes luniger (hoverfly)
Common field grasshopper
Harvestman (Dicranopalpus ramopus)
Common sexton beetle (Nicrophorus vespilloides)
Black sexton beetle (Nicrophorus humator)
Common green shieldbug
Buff tailed bumble bee
Southern oak bush cricket
Bradycellus verbasci (moth trap invader!)
Common green grasshopper
Sitona Lepidus (small beetle)
Nowickia ferox (fly)
Tachina grossa (bee-face fly!)
Sargus flavipes-( Yellow-legged Centurion)
Common Carder Bumblebee
Red-legged shieldbug (Pentatoma rufipes)
Black Kneed Capsid (Blepharidopterus)
Nigma walckenaeri (little green spider!)
Ladybird 2 spot
Birch shield bug
Eupterx urticae (tiny nettle bug)
Chrysolina cerealis ( Rainbow leaf beetle )
Box shield bug
Small black ant (Lasius niger)
Large black ant (Formica fusca)
Nemorilla floralis (black and white fly)
Devil’s coachhorse (Ocypus olens)
Nursery spider (Pisaura mirabilis)
Scorpian fly (Panorpa communis)
Dark green fritillary
Small pearl-bordered fritillary
Mammal list 23
Reptiles & Amphibians 5 (not a lot but better than last month!)
Moths alphabetised 231
Beautiful golden Y
Broad-bordered yellow underwing
Common marbled carpet
Dark-barred twin-spot carpet
Double square spot
Dwarf cream wave
Grey pine carpet
Heart and club
Heart and dart
Large yellow underwing
Least black arches
Least yellow underwing
Lesser cream wave
Lesser broad-bordered yellow underwing
Lesser swallow prominent
Lesser yellow underwing
Lime speck pug
Marbled white spot
Pale brindle beauty
Pale mottled willow
Plain golden Y
Red twin-spot carpet
Setaceous Hebrew character
Small angle shades
Small brindled beauty
Small dusty wave
Small fan-footed wave
Small yellow wave
Tawny speckled pug
White satin moth
Micro moths 70
Apple leaf miner (Lyonetia clerkella)
Ash-bark Knot-horn (Euzophera pinguis)
Barred marble (Celypha striana)
Beautiful china-mark ( Nymphula nitdulata )
Bee moth ( Aphomia sociella)
Bird-cherry ermine ( Yponomeuta evonymella )
Bordered carl (Coptotriche marginea)
Brown china-mark ( Elophila nymphaeata)
Brown house moth (Hofmannophila pseudospretella)
Chequered grass veneer ( Catopria falsella )
Codling moth (Cydia pomonella)
Common drill ( Dichrorampha petiverella )
Common grey (Scoparia ambiguallis)
Common marble ( Celypha lacunana )
Common nettle-tap (Anthophila fabriciana)
Common plume ( Emmelina monodactyla)
Cyclamen tortrix ( Clepsis spectrana )
Dawn flat-body (Semioscopis steinkellneriana)
Diamond- back moth (Plutella xylostella)
Dingy dowd (Blastobasis adustella)
Dotted oak knot-horn ( Phycita roborella)
Double striped tabby ( Hypsopygia glaucinalis )
Elbow stripe grass-veneer (Agriphila geniculea)
Elder pearl (Anania coronate)
Fenland pearl (Anania perlucidalis)
Florida pink scavenger (Anatrachyntis badia)
Garden grass-veneer (Chrysoteuchia culmella)
Garden pebble (Evergestis forficalis)
Garden rose tortrix ( Acleris variegana )
Golden argent (Argyresthia goedartella)
Gold triangle ( Hypsopygia costalis )
Grass-veneer (Crambus pascuella)
Horsechestnut leaf miner (Cameraria ohridella)
Large fruit-tree tortrix ( Archips podana)
Large Ivy Tortrix (Lozotaenia forsterana)
Large tabby ( Aglossa pinguinalis)
Light brown apple moth (Epiphyas postvittana)
Little grey (Eudonia lacustrara)
London dowd ( Blastobasis lacticolella)
Long-horned flat-body ( Carcina quercana )
Many plumed moth (Aluctia hexadactyla)
Maple slender (Caloptilia semifascia)
Marbled orchard tortrix (Hedya nubiferana)
March tubic (Diurnea fagella)
Marbled piercer (Cydia splendana)
Marsh dwarf (lachista alpinella)
Meal moth (Pyralis farinalis)
Mother of pearl ( Pleuroptya ruralis )
Narrow winged grey ( Eudonia angustea)
New oak slender ( Caloptilia robustella )
Obscure agg. ( Oegoconia agg. )
Ox-tongue conch ( Cochylis molliculana )
Pale straw pearl ( Udea lutealis )
Privet tortrix (Clepsis consimilana)
Red-barred tortrix ( Ditula angustiorana )
Ringed china-mark ( Parapoynx stratiotata )
Rough-winged conch (Phtheochroa rugosana)
Rose tabby ( Endotricha flammealis )
Rusty dot pearl (Udea ferugalis)
Small grey ( Eudonia mercurella )
Small magpie (Anania hortulata)
Spindle ermine (Yponomeuta cagnaglla)
Sulphur Tubic ( Esperia sulphurella)
Triple-blotched bell (Notocelia trimaculana)
White-bodied conch (Cochylis hypridella)
White-faced tortix (Pandemis cinnamomeana)
White-shouldered house moth ( Endrosis sarcitrella)
Why some of these lists insist of double spacing I really don’t know, it is most aggravating as it take up even more space than needed. I have tried retyping and all sorts but it makes no difference, sorry!
Another lovely day but again not a lot to report when it come to additions to our years list. We were pleased to get a call to say that Ruth and Stu had both completed their half marathon and were back at their hotel getting freshened up ready for a day at Disney, well done both of you!
We decided to go to Danish Camp for lunch and a good walk with Sprocket. We went late morning and first had a walk by the river, remembering the last time we had walked there. In March this path under the bridge had been flooded but not today on we went. A single swan and a small flock of geese were about the only birds we saw.
Dragonflies were dashing around but not many settled although I did spot a couple taking the sun on a wooden railing.
The river was looking lovely but it was time to head for the café at Danish camp for a lovely light lunch then off for our second walk.
You may wonder why I have entitled this blog the way I have, well our afternoon walk may hold the answer!
When we were here earlier in the year we came upon a couple of old building that were owned by the National Trust but (not surprisingly) were closed so we could only see the outside. I had investigated and knew that today they would be open, in fact for the last time this season so we were lucky.
The first one we visited was The Dovecote, it is exactly what the name suggest but not the typical size, it is huge! It had been home to over 1,500 birds at any one time but now thankfully devoid of pigeons; we went in for a peep.
Next time you are feeling disenchanted with your job spare a thought for the people involved with the Dovecote. They collected the vast amount of bird droppings (that must have smelt so bad!) and it was used to make saltpetre which in turn was used in the making of gunpowder.
Next we visited the Stables which were just across the road, also far grander than the average! It seems both building were built, in the 16th century, to impress, of course they were functional but they were deliberately elaborate to show the wealth of the owner, Sir John Gostwick. His flag points rather nicely to his interests doesn’t it?
So we had walked where pigeons and horses had now that just leaves angels!
Next door to the stables is the village church and we had heard rumour that tea and cake was on offer as well as a short organ recital. Sounded a good place to take a rest half way through our walk.
Phone turned to silent I just hoped Sprocket wouldn’t decided to sing along to the music! He was, of course as quiet as a mouse although they were such nice people I suspect if he had joined in they would have been amused and not annoyed. The Music was very mixed and I am sure one piece was the theme tune of Monty Python!
Time for our return walk and more signs of approaching autumn. This fungus was tiny and very pretty, as were the Rosehips and the Hawthorn all along the path was heavy with ripe berries. All food for wildlife I am certain.
I am sitting enjoying some late summer sunshine and what gorgeous days we have been enjoying. Before I tell you about some visitors that came to stay I would love tell you about last Thursday when Peter and family came to tea. I opened the door and was greeted by Alice and Matilda standing close to each other with cheery smiles upon their faces. As they separated I saw why, there was little Daniel in his school uniform, it was his first week in reception class.
All was going well, he was enjoying school and I am certain school will have been enjoying him…long may it last!
I skip now quickly past Friday, (most of which was spent power hosing the garden patio and stones) past Saturday (rain, rain and more rain) too much later Saturday evening when our visitors arrived. My brother and sister-in-law, Alan and Judy. Only time really for some quick catching up before we were all turning in for the night ready for what promised to be sunny Sunday.
The weather forecast did not lie, it was a beautiful day, hot and sunny all day. We had decided to go up to Cley-next-the-sea and we parked in the main car park.We walked to the East bank and right along it ending up at the sea. There was no shortage of butterflies, mostly white and Tortoiseshells, also pleanty of hoverflies.
The colours along the way were just beautiful and although there were not a great many birds what we saw we appreciated.
Back to the visitors centre where we stopped for lunch out on the raised patio still enjoying the beautiful September weather. We decided to head to Blakeney next where we walked along the sea wall, a beautiful Wheatear dropped by.
Not sure what this little building was or is but it certainly is in a smashing location.
By now the heat was telling us it was time to head off, not for home but to Janice and Chris’ for a very welcome BBQ, all in all an excellent day!
Monday morning and we were having a visit from the tree surgeons, as promised they arrived at 8 am and got straight on with the job. A couple of hours later and trees were down or lopped, logs where cut and they were off leaving us with the rest of the day free. Moths and the hot tub called so we were all getting on with what ever we chose. This Speckled bush-cricket was found not in but near to the moth trap.
After an early lunch we headed straight out to Lynford water and the arboretum. We saw butterflies. including this small copper butterfly, dragon and damselflies
and I was particularly pleased with this one that landed on Alan’s hat!
A female demoisel, we have seen lots of the males this year but this was the first female we have been aware of. The real treat of the day was seeing a slow-worm, it was anything butslow as it slithered off the path just in front of us but no chance of a picture.
This morning we set off for Castle acre priory, the first time Alan and Judy had been there and it is fair to say they were impressed. It really is an excellent place, (looked after by English Heritage), there are still plenty of remains to explore.
Also lovely grounds which provide shelter for all sorts of wildlife, including this tortoishell butterfly almost hidden in the dry leaves and this Buzzard out in the open for all to see!
Having just recently started a very small herb garden I love to see the very established one at the priory.
Whilst looking around it we found several interesting little creatures! These included several garden spiders, a Silver Y moth and a Speckled wood butterfly.
But I made my best find whilst looking at the Silver Y, deeper down in the lavender plant I found this little beauty!
It is a Chrysolina Americana or a Rosemary leaf beetle which may be a little easy to pronounce and remember! It is about the size of a Ladybird and really is a stunner although I read that it is a pest!
Time to leave the priory and head home for lunch before saying goodbye to Judy. Other comitments mean she must head home but Alan is staying on for another couple of days to see how many more moths we can find him, he has had over 20 new ones so far since he arrived! If we are really fortunate we might even find some birds.
When the heat of the day has passed we may head out for a stroll locally and see what is lurking in the churchyard, but for now it is time to realx with a refreshing drink!
This morning we had hoped to be busy sorting moths from the trap but in fact we only had three Lunar underwings and one Garden carpet plus two micros both light brown Apple moths. So needless to say that didn’t exactly fill our morning!
I took a stroll into town to see what I could find, not a lot but then I didn’t need anything really!
This afternoon was a much better affair as we decided to take Sprocket for a walk at The Lodge. Yesterday we had been there pursuing birds and bugs but today we had to stick to the road through and the bridle path as clearly marked.
There is a definite hint of Autumn and a carpet of leaves added to a very pleasant walk. We only met a few people, some cyclist, some runners and one family walking their two miniature schnauzers! Both sweet dogs, one only four and a half months old, but neither a patch on Sprocket.
Time for a quick game of ‘who’s the King of the castle’!
If we had walked with our eyes closed we would hardly have seen less birds or insects! One moth flew by but quickly out of sight apart from that we did see a small tit flock high in some trees.
It was whilst looking for birds that one of us went barking mad! Was it Sprocket? No I must confess I am the guilty one! My barking was quieter than if it had been Sprocket, I was just so taken with the variety that trees have to offer.
Down the bridle path we went through gates and over a rather old bridge when we found ourselves in a lovely open field, free from animals and other people and away from the reserve so Sprocket could have a free run.
He was so good, returning each time he was called and never straying too far. Time to go back on his lead before starting our homeward journey.
This squirrel made an appearance when we were nearly back to the car. Sprocket didn’t take all that much notice until it ran off and then his interest was really sparked!
I couldn’t be sure what the squirrel had in his mouth but it may have been one of the many acorns growing near by.
When we got home it was time to start thinking about food, we made our choice from the hearty supply that had been left in the fridge and freezer! Whilst ours was cooking tea for bunnies, cats and dog was prepared and we are now all settled down for a lazy evening.
I am looking forward to hearing how the run goes tomorrow and to seeing photos!
Before I tell about my trip to Bedfordshire I must tell you about a fabulous visitor that came right into our garden. Ian spotted it first, high in the trees a small warbler, could it be what we were both sure it was, a Yellow-browed warbler? I grabbed my binoculars (I wish I had reached for the camera instead) to take a closer look before it flew from sight never to be seen again. We checked in Collins and yes we were convinced it was indeed a Yellow-browed warbler. There have been lots up on the coast but it was a real surprise to have one come to visit us!
The next few days were spent watching men work!
They had almost finished when we left yesterday so hopefully by now it is all done then we just need the scaffolding to go.
We were off to spend a few days at Roo and Stu’s and the visit began with a lovely meal out at a new Italian that had opened near to them. Yummy it was and we didn’t even have to do the washing up, thank you R & S. The reason for this visit is to take care of their pets whilst they go to Euro Disney to run a half marathon, I think we got the best side of the deal!
Off they went early this morning and after feeding the pets and walking Sprocket it was time to venture out. We had a lovely walk at The Lodge, the head-quarters of the R S P B. It is a lovely place and we had a really good time although birds were in short supply. We did watch a pair of Nuthatches as they flew in to the feeders.
An opportunist squirrel was enjoying the feeding area too!
We walked around parts of The Lodge we had never seen before and may well return another day. We are now well into the ninth month and we still haven’t seen a Little owl, we did see a Large owl today, do you think we could count that instead? He is sculpted from one very large piece of wood by Patrick Brown.
We visited the formal gardens and large pool in it and did see some dragonflies but no new ones. We also saw some rather large fish that kept coming p to the surface and even popping their heads out! I rather liked he topiary Avocet.
On our walk we spotted a few insects, although not as many as I expected on a beautifully sunny day. This really vibrant Long-winged Conehead (I had thought it was a grasshopper but thank you James for the ID ) and a Scorpion fly were a couple that allowed me to photograph them.
We didn’t see a lot of butterflies but there were quite a few Small coppers and this Small white.
We certainly enjoyed our walk but the time had come to return to Sprocket for a late lunch!
We amused ourselves with moths and bugs found at home and this beautiful Painted lady spent the whole day enjoying the dahlias (in fact she returned today too).
Peter brought this handsome bug over, as I am sure you know it is a Box bug.
We had intended to go out later in the morning but the heat persuaded us that we would leave it till a little later. So after lunch we ventured out, our chosen destination was West Acre, thinking a lot of the time we would find shade in the trees.
We saw plenty of Speckled wood butterflies and also Small coppers (for some reason I didn’t photograph the coppers).
Once again we were fortunate to see a Kingfisher, in fact we saw two. Also some lovely dragonflies which I am still struggling to ID with certainty.
This juvenile Pied wagtail took advantage of a bathe to help cool down, it was about 28 degrees so I was a tad envious!
As we walked on, under the shelter of the trees, we met many grasshoppers and one frog. I am including the tree/berries pictures just to illustrate the sky really.
When we returned to the car it was showing the temperature as 34 degrees, of course once we moved it went down but not far!
The forecast for today was 28 degrees but up on the coast a more pleasant 22 degrees which sounded good to us. We had already decided to be at Cley NWT reserve for 9 am when they open up the moth traps. This was not only to be of interest to us but to Alan too on the last full day of his visit, (I think he will be sorting pictures for a fortnight with all these moths and bugs!) Our moth trap had been very quiet last night due to a clear night and a bright moon, we were hoping that Cley had been different.
With the temperature at a steady 17 degrees and a very heavy mist surrounding us it wasn’t quite what we were expecting. Sadly the reserve traps there were quiet too, but some people had brought along some interesting moths to share so we added a few to our number. We are determined to get along to Cley for the moth sessions again soon and hope some of the knowledge of others might rub off!
A quick coffee then out for a walk on the reserve where I hoped to see waders returning, well here are the Cley waders!
Not quite what we had hoped for, but none the less an enjoyable walk in spite of the heavy mist all around. We saw a few dragonflies including this Migrant hawker and this pair of Common darters.
We saw a good variety of hoverflies, hopefully I will be able to get ID on them all.
We had hoped to pop in to see Janice but that didn’t work out so he headed on to Titchwell where a Yellow-browed warbler had been reported. The mist went with us on our journey and Titchwell was similarly shrouded! It seemed one person had seen the warbler but that was all, no other sighting, so no luck there.
Better luck was had getting ourselves some tasty lunch to boost our energy levels ready for our next walk. We began with a walk around the Meadow trial, I was hoping for more dragonflies but not much joy there. Instead we had the beetle (ID to follow I hope) and I was pleased to get a picture of a water boatman.
Now remember the waders that Cley had to offer? Well it was time to find Titchwell’s offering, seeing through the mist was the only problem! Dunlin, Redshank and Godwit also (not illustrated) sandpipers, avocet and through the thick mist we got sight of two Spoonbill, a year tick for Alan.
We walked down to the beach and the sea seemed to be as far away as it could possibly be. Add to that the mist situation and we didn’t really see the sea at all! We did find this little crab and later on the walk back down the path this snail.
Our day out ended and we set off for home and the usual very welcome cuppa!
A mixed night is forecast, clear till the early hours then it will cloud over so hopefully so moths will be attracted to our trap and maybe there will be more new ones for us all. We have really enjoyed having Alan and Judy visit and hope to see them again before long.
Well it took eight months and a day before I did but at last I have seen a frog or I should say four frogs!
It was on Thursday the first day of September, yes I had gone eight months and not seen a single frog or toad! The weather looked promising so a trip to the arboretum seemed a good idea, off we went and a little later we met up with Peter and the children.
We hadn’t been walking long when sharp-eyed Peter spotted a tiny little frog, a common frog, walking in the grass.
Time for a picture then off he hopped again, but back to frogs later! We had a good walk around, Daniel made a quick stop to adjust his socks!
By now the sun was shining and the insects were coming to life, first we watched the damsel and dragonflies. The arial displays they put on were brilliant but you will need to take my word for it as they are much to fast for me to photograph in action.
Bees of varying shades and sizes were busy along with hoverflies.
But wierdest of all were a couple of flies that we saw. The first one looked like a bee as it flew towards me but when it landed I could see my error. I managed two quick snaps and it was gone. It was in looking to find it again that we found the second strange fly, it is quite amazing what is out there if we look! Thanks to Peter for identifying them later on, The first is Tachina grossa or I like to call it, Bee-faced-fly! The second is Nowickia ferox, sorry no pet name for that one.
We had brought lunch with us so it was time to find a picnic table, seems the Harlequin ladybirds had found them first! Two different looking Harlequins and the third picture is a Harlequin ladybird nymph.
While eating lunch Matilda found this little fly, pretty sure it is a Yellow-legged Centurion- Sargus flavipes
I must admit that I am not usually drawn to flies of any kind but this year I make an exception, but this fella I would be pleased to see on any walk. A Common-green grasshopper, looks like something from prehistoric times don’t you think?
It was nearing time to go back home but a visit to ‘the face tree’ is always a must.
A bonus was waiting by the tree, more frogs! Not tree frogs (now that would have been amazing!) but they were keen to climb.
So that was Thursday, Friday we stayed home but we did some bug hunting in the garden. We found several little critters including this little green spider (Nigma walckenaeri).
Also Peter shared a moth from his catch, a new one for all of us, Webb’s wainscot.
So September has got off to a fine start and the weather forecast looks good for next week so hopefully some good trips out ahead…watch this space. Who knows we might even see a toad!!!
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!
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.
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!
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.My 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!