Wednesday 30 August 2023

Lowestoft Life - 22nd - 29th August 2023

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 Blowfly. 

Stomhorina lunata

Stomhorina lunata

Stomhorina lunata

Eupeodes sp

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

Opilio canestrinii 

Willow Emerald

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.

Field Grasshopper

Pollenia sp

Eristalis nemorum

Eristalis nemorum

Tachina fera

Tachina fera

Tachina fera

Neomyia cornicina

Neomyia cornicina - 1pr presutural acrostichals - 3pr postsutural dorsocentrals

Helophilus hybridus

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.

Small Tortoiseshell


Araneus diadematus

Araneus diadematus

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.

Wasp Spider

Wasp Spider

Wasp Spider

Wasp Spider

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 Pyrausta despicata.

Long-winged Conehead

Field Grasshopper

Meadow Grasshopper

Mottled Grasshopper

Pyrausta despicata

Small Whites

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 

Sheep's Sorrel

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.

Mitopus morio

Dune Robberfly - Philonicus albiceps

Villa modesta

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.

Coleophora ahenella

Cosmopterix zieglerella

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

Yellow Loosestrife

Bombus pascuorum

Marsh Sow-thistle

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.

Old Lady

Angle Shades

Dark Crimson and Red Underwings

Dark Crimson and Red Underwings

Dark Crimson Underwing

Gold Spot

Gold Spot

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.

Xylota segnis

Xylota segnis

Xylota sylvarum

Xylota sylvarum

Tetanocera sp 

Blue-tailed Damselfly

Common Darter

Common Darter

Ruddy Darter

Willow Emerald

Willow Emerald

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.

Agromyza flaviceps

Cosmopterix zieglerella

Phyllonorycter rajella on Alder

Stigmella aurella on Bramble

Alder Buckthorn

Green Veined White

Opilio canestrinii 

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.

Straw Underwing

Lesser Broad-bordered Yellow Underwing

Flounced Rustic

Old Lady

Willow Beauty

Willow Beauty

Tawny Speckled Pug

Small Dusty Wave

Double Striped Pug

Garden Pug

Orange Swift

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...

Clifden Nonpareil

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.

Caloptilia cuculipenella 

Clepsis consimilana 

Ruby Tailed Wasp

Eristalis nemorum

Eristalis tenax

Red Admiral

Philanthes triangulum

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 off shore.


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.

Yellow-horned Poppies

Sea Pea

Sea Peapods





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