Last week I was meant to be in Cornwall for a week but a lack of cat carers meant the break was aborted leaving time to visit and explore the area in which I now live in Suffolk. On the 22nd we visited Banham Zoo which was pleasant although I easily get distracted by the native wildlife that also calls it home.
|I did like the Helmeted Curassow's though!
A large patch of Tansy held plenty of Hoverflies and Bees
including Heriades truncorum and amongst the other flies were Tachina fera,
Eriothrix rufomaculata and a female Stomhorina lunata – the Locust
I had only seen a couple of these before but it cuts such a distinctive shape. Southern and Migrant Hawkers zipped around the Tiger enclosure and Willow Emeralds hung around a couple of muddy pools where Xylota segnis scurried over the Bramble leaves.
|Bronze Shieldbug - 5th instar
Great Green Bush-crickets were in song along
Castleton Avenue in Carlton Colville as we neared home.
The following day we visited the Maize Maze at Oak Hall Farm
in Reydon overlooking Blythburgh. It was
very warm and the maze itself was eight foot high and unsurprisingly pretty
devoid of life and I was quite relieved to escape after over three miles of going
rounds in circles and squares. Migrant
Hawkers, Darters and Ladybirds were the only inverts seen.
An after lunch walk down the footpath towards the river was
alive with insects. Field and Meadow Grasshoppers,
Dark Bush-crickets and Long-winged Coneheads stridulated and the Yarrow was particularly
attractive to flies with Lucila and Neomyia Greenbottles, various sized Sarcs and
spiky Tachina fera along with Hoverflies that included Helophilus hybridus.
|Neomyia cornicina - 1pr presutural acrostichals - 3pr postsutural dorsocentrals
Small Tortoiseshells and Red Admirals looked freshly emerged
and there were plenty of Small and Green Veined Whites on the wing. The Gorse on one side of the path was
liberally strung with the webs of Araneus diadematus, many of which were of a
good size. I have barely seen any this
year so far and none as mature as these.
Below them in the grass we counted 12 Wasp Spiders with
their webs strung across their carefully empty hollows. A couple had already got Grasshoppers wrapped
for later consumption.
A check of the two big Fig Trees in the car park revealed my
first encounter with the colonising Fig Leaf Skeletonizer Moth.
|Fig Leaf Skeletonizer (Choreutis nemorana)
On the 24th an afternoon pop to Caister Beach
with Antony to look for some Hop was very productive and although we did not
find the hoped for Caloptilia fidella there was a wealth of wildlife to
discover on the dune system. Mottled, Meadow and Field Grasshoppers leapt
everywhere and Long Winged Coneheads were equally numerous. There were plenty of Grass Moths and a single
There were a few butterflies and several Bee-wolves and Green Eyed Flower Bees attending the Devil’s Bit Scabious where both species
came away covered in sticky pink pollen.
|Green Eyed Flower Bee- Anthophora bimaculata
|Bee-wolf - Philanthes triangulum
One particular area was less covered in Marram and was far
more botanically rich with Black and Sea Bindweed, Hare’s Foot Clover, Sheep’s
Sorrel, Grey Hair Grass, Sun Spurge and gone over Cotton Thistles.
|Black Bindweed - Fallopia convolvulus
|Sun Spurge - Euphorbia heliscopia
|Grey Hair Grass - Corynephonus cariscens
|Sea Bindweed - Calystegia soldanella
|Hare's Foot Clover
Amongst them Mitopus morio Harvestman ran and two imposing Dune Robberflies were watched as they looked for prey but the highlight was three super fluffy Dune Villa. I had not seen either of these species before.
|Dune Robberfly - Philonicus albiceps
Friday saw us all on a boat on the Broads from Wroxham,
something I had not done for well over 20 years. It was a pleasant few hours but the waterways
were strangely quiet with not even many of the expected waterfowl following the
boats. There was not one Goose of any
sort around the Swan at Horning!
That saying, we had a pleasant mooring at Cockshoot Broad
where bacon and sausage rolls were consumed.
More Hop was checked but we only found Cosmopterix zieglerella although
Antony was very pleased to find Coleophora ahenella on Alder Buckthorn – a new
species for Norfolk.
|Liriomyza eupatorii fly mines Hemp Agrimony
Banded Demoiselles still danced over the water and Migrant
Hawkers, Common Blue Damselflies and both Darters were seen but the Hemp
Agrimony was strangely empty of any insects bar a few Bombus pascuorum. A party
of Marsh Tits and a few Chiffchaffs were heard.
|Common Blue Damselfly
Saturday was wet but Sunday started better and a moth show
and tell allowed a good comparison between Dark Crimson and Red Underwings and
a glorious Gold Spot courtesy of Blackheath Road.
|Dark Crimson and Red Underwings
|Dark Crimson and Red Underwings
|Dark Crimson Underwing
Lunch was spent at Ormesby Little Broad and in the brief sunny spells I managed some Hoverating on the Bramble clumps and watch both Xylota segnis and sylvarum pudulating across the leaves as they hoovered up nectar. There were a few Eristalis about and plenty of Odonata with six Willow Emeralds amongst the Darters and Hawkers and a few Whites and Red Admirals visiting the Hemp.
I checked a zillion Hop leaves and found nothing bar a few Cosmopterix
zieglerella and many fly mines which have been identified as Agromyza flaviceps.
|Phyllonorycter rajella on Alder
|Stigmella aurella on Bramble
|Green Veined White
With rain brewing we headed to Enid’s to collect some of my garden plants she has been diligently looking after since the early spring. My carnivorous plants were also doing very well and I have decided that they are in better hands in Wymondham for the foreseeable future!
|The first plants in the front garden...
|and the new plants to put in
On the evening of the 28th I put a moth trap out
in my Edgerton Road garden for the first time and the following morning it did
not take too long to get the garden list moving I the right direction with 33
species and about 100 moths identified over a morning coffee.
My fence was speckled with Garden Carpets, Willow Beauties and Light Brown Apple Moths and two Tawny Speckled Pugs while the trap was full of Vine’s Rustics, Straw and Yellow Underwings.
|Lesser Broad-bordered Yellow Underwing
|Tawny Speckled Pug
|Small Dusty Wave
|Double Striped Pug
Antony had brought a major prize with him though – a Clifden Nonpareil – once the Holy Grail of mothing but nowadays a hoped for autumn visitor. It was huge and dwarfed the Old Lady that I had had in my trap and he eve flashed his slate blue and pied underwing pattern. Magnificent.
|Clifden Nonpareil with an Old Lady...
That afternoon a short lunch visit to the beach at Pakefield allowed a mini walk and some more grubbing. I found a few more leaf mines including two new ones on Privet and watched a Bee-wolf, my first here, carry off a Honey Bee. Small and Green Veined Whites and the little Colettes succinctus were still eeking the last of the Tansy nectar and the sheer number of Field Grasshoppers was astonishing.
|Ruby Tailed Wasp
Migrant Hawkers and Common Darters hunted the bank and I was
surprised to see a male Lesser Emperor hunting about ten yards off the beach
over the sea. There have been a couple
at the Kessingland Beach Pools so it could have been one of those. A Common
Buzzard came in off with the Gulls on its tail and six adult Med Gulls loafed
I was pleased to discover a big new patch of Sea Pea and my first Yellow-horned Poppies around the fishing boats before the cloud started to bubble up.