Saturday 9 September 2023

Lowestoft Life early September 2023

August ended with the Blue full moon which of course rose pinky orange before becoming a gleaming white over the North Sea with a duo of Convolvulus Hawk-moths that Antony had caught overnight. 

They were immense and have the biggest Mothra eyes I have ever seen.  After revving up both headed off into the dusky evening.

Convolvulus Hawk-moths

The 1st saw us heading over to collect the rest of my plants that had been on their hollibobs at Enid’s in Wymondham and to see what a magnificent job she has done in under year to turn a gravel desert into a hazy inland ‘coastal’ cottage garden.  The rain let up as we arrived and the flowers were full of Whites and Red Admirals and Migrant Hawkers and Ruddy Darters patrolled the plot while the Starlings and House Martins alerted us to the Hobby circling above.

My carnivorous plants are thriving with some proper attention and I suspect that their sojourn may be somewhat longer.  Antony had brought his second Clifden Nonpareil of the season to show Enid and it was, as expected, awesome.

Clifden Nonpareil

I ventured south to Somerton Hall but the moth traps were very poor but there were some close encounters with both Roe and young Chinese Water Deer that seem to be pushing further inland.  I spent the rest of the morning stripping out the right hand side of the garden bar the still flowering Buddleia and managed to plant out some of the greenery that I had just brought home.  It looks quite formal at the moment but it will end up anything but.

Chinese Water Deer

The grass was the next job

I added a shiny little Silverfish to my new house list that evening before visiting a craft fair in Carlton Colville the following day where leaf mines were a distraction although the best find were several of the funky grazing lines of the aptly names Zigzag Elm Sawfly which I heard about but not seen before.


Elm Zigzag Sawfly - Aproceros leucopoda

The cats have settled in very well and are far more chilled up here.  I think it is massive reduction of background noise that you only become aware of I the south-east once you move away from it.  They no longer run in if you go out into the catio but just sit and watch what you are doing.  The odd moth and Field Grasshopper may have come a cropper if they end up inside their space.


I popped down to the North Denes in the afternoon and had a little amble around there and the start of Gunton Warren but it was too warm and 50 Med Gulls were aerial anting with the other gulls and a single Rook probed the Denes Oval.  It looks an epic place to bird in the coming months.


2yr Med Gull

A very large juv Lesser Black-backed Gull

Med and Black Headed Gulls


I did some leave mining and was pleased to find Caloptilia fidela on the Hop – probably the most northerly in the UK so far and some good ones on Poplar and Holm Oak before finishing off cutting back the rank ‘meadow’ in the garden and raking off and scarifying the surface underneath.

Caloptilia fidela


Phyllocnistis unipunctella on Poplar 

Acrocercops brongniardella on Holm Oak

Adonis Ladybird

The evening was spent down at Pakefield Beach, paddling my feet, eating dinner al fresco, watching a Caspian Gull, Med Gulls and a Grey Seal and planning what to do with my garden next.

Fig-leaf Skeletonizer - Choreutis nemorana near the Oddfellows pub

The next morning did not go entirely to plan but I ended up having a very nice but seriously hot walk down Chapel Lane in Wrentham to the Old cemetery and main churchyard.  Buzzards drifted overhead and Blackcaps and a Spotted Flycatcher were seen along with a good number of leaf mines and some very nice insects on a large stand of Goldenrod. 

Colettes succinctus (pretty sure they were not C hedera) were numerous along with a selection of Hoverflies, Bumblebees and a small female Stomorhina lunata while a fat female Wasp Spider was in the herbage alongside a vast field of Parsley.

Cerceris rybyensis

Stomorhina lunata

Wasp Spider

An early morning visit to Pakefield Beach the next day – the 7th – produced more dog walkers than I have ever seen in one place but I will persevere!  Ten Pintail, 30 Wigeon and 11 Bar-tailed Godwits south in the first few minutes boded well but nothing followed bar some Gannets going the other way.  


Seaside Sparrows

With the mysterious arrival of a crowbar I decided to take up the side slabs by the left fence to create my future path through the meadow.  I have left them proud and will plant between and around them.  It is starting to feel like it is taking shape now.


A Toadlet in the garden!

Ruddy Darter

The moth trap went back on that night and I caught 177 moths of 39 species which was pleasing.  Rusty Dot Pearl, Marbled Green, Lunar Underwing, Wax Moth and Cypress Carpet were my highlights.  Antony had caught a superb Western Conifer Shieldbug, two Palpita vitrealis and a Bloxworth Snout.


Wax Moth

Wax Moth

Tawny Speckled Pug

Square Spot Rustic


Rusty Dot Pearl

Marbled Green

Lunar Underwing

Lime Speck Pug

Light Emerald

Least Carpet

L-album Wainscot

Cypress Pug

Canary Shouldered Thorn


Western Conifer Shieldbug

Palpita vitrealis

 Hoary Footman

 Bloxworth Snout.

After sorting through the trap on Friday morning I dragged myself over to Carlton Marshes for the first time since moving up here.  It was very misty and visibility was down to about 100m and the path sides were illuminated but hundreds of silken webs strung with equidistant droplet of dew. 


There seemed to be two main spinners with Araneus diadematus and Larinioides cornutus but with such heavy condensation only a few of each were out early.  I was very pleased to find a fine plump yellowy green Araneus quadratus remaking her huge web despite the dew.


Larinioides cornutus

Larinioides cornutus

Larinioides cornutus home sweet home

Araneus diadematus

Araneus quadratus

Araneus quadratus

Araneus quadratus

I could hear two Golden Plover and Greenshank in the murk and a vast flock of noisy Greylags were invisibly until they were practically overhead as swirling grey shapes. 


Meadow Vetchling

Tall Melilot

Suddenly the sun decided to did its job and revealed the true view in just a matter of minutes but Petos was very dry and my subsequent scanning only revealed a single juvenile Avocet and four juvenile Black-tailed Godwits.  There were 22 Teal but no Garganey and a single Great White Egret escaped over the Waveney leaving four Little Egrets dotted around.  Three Yellow Wagtails were with the cattle.


Great White Egret 

Grey Heron

It was still not 9am but the temperature was rapidly climbing and with it came a hoard of Migrant Hawkers and both Common and Ruddy Darters along with three Brown Hawkers that, as usual, never landed.


Ruddy Darter

Migrant Hawker

I spent some time checking a large clump of Hop with gave me no mines but several territorial Rhingia campestris while it was pleasing to find some mature Marsh Sow Thistle as we cold not find any old stems here in the winter.

Rhingia campestris


It was not too hot to linger so I trudged back between the reed walls with Dragons zipping ahead and a Marsh Harrier and juvenile Hobby above before a solitary but slow moving cloud gave some respite and allowed me to stop and listen to the Roesel’s Bush Crickets and a quietly calling Bullfinch.  Two Marsh Tits were feeding on Honeysuckle berries by the centre which was a pleasant surprise and I am not sure of their status in the area.

I beat a retreat and hid indoors (but I did have five Siskins and a Yellow Wagtail go over the house as I got home!) for the rest of the day before once again setting the trap last night.  It was incredibly warm and the trap was bogging this morning with 299 moths of 51 species! Large Yellow Underwings were jammed into the eggboxes with 103 counted with Vine’s Rustic (42), Setaceous Hebrew Character (22) and Garden Carpet (15) in the runners up places.  I caught my own Palpita vitrealis along with several other smart looking species:  Garden Pebble, Lesser Yellow Underwing, two Feathered Ranunculus, Red Underwing and Dusky and Canary Shouldered Thorns amongst my favourites.


Square Spot Rustic


Red Underwing

Red Underwing

Garden Pebble

Flounced Rustics

Feathered Ranunculus

Feathered Ranunculus

Buff Ermine

Broad Bordered Yellow Underwing

Large Yellow Underwings packed in!

Dusky Thorn

Box Moth

Pale Mottled Willow

Tiny Girdled Snails joined the Garden Snails and mahoosive Arion slugs slipping up and down the fence and there were a few hopeful Spider with Araneus diadematus, Steatoda nobilis, Zygiella x-notata, Pisaura mirabilis and another that I am after help with.  Two types of Harvestman were also seen.


Zygiella x-notata

Megalepthyphantes sp

Opilio canestrinii 

Girdled Snail

It was just over 30c at lunchtime and I carried on with indoor tasks before a Red-backed Shrike lured me north of the river to the Ness Point drying nets.  The traffic and lights were kind and I was there in six minutes!  Bet you it takes an age when the biggy turns up! 

The juvenile Shrike was on view and feeding energetically on Grasshoppers and Bees from the fenceline with a Wheatear and two Whinchat keeping a wary distance.




Red-backed Shrike

It was good to meet up with some of the local birders at last – I have been made very welcome.  A quick look at the sea gave me a Razorbill, Common Sandpiper, 14 Turnstone and two Common Terns before I scurried back home once again.


Common Tern

The moth trap is on – let’s see what tomorrow brings?

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