The 18th was miserable – it was wet and windy most of the day but as darkness fell it calmed down leaving us with an unseasonably warm 14c. Antony suggested a dash down to the Benacre estate for an impromptu sanctioned mothing session.
I wisely wore my wellies as the lanes were completely flooded in places but we found somewhere to park the car and explore the woodland edges. Moths were actually very thin on the ground but we did see at least seven fluffy December Moths looking like woolly Mush Ox and a couple of Feathered Thorns.
There was plenty of other wildlife to be seen with the damp conditions causing a multitude of molluscs to start climbing up the trees. I have some work to do on the identifications but I am sure there were Yellow Slugs like I had back in north Kent but I am unsure of the grey slugs, the fat chestnut snails with dark and yellow lips and the small conical ones. Always something to learn.
|Grey type Slug|
Spiders were everywhere including a short legged Harvestman species, Seven and Ten Spot Ladybirds, three species of Shieldbug, flat, round and pill Millipedes and hundreds of Woodlice.
There were mammals too with a Wood Mouse in the middle of the road and two hulking great Yellow-necked Mice that were dazzled outside their tree hole and sat for long enough to even see the mustard patch on the front. Always amazed at just how robust this species is. Two green-eyed Muntjac tried to stay put in the Brambles but eventually crept off and a single small Bat whizzed through the head torch beams. Amazingly we did not hear an Owl.
My trap overnight that evening only caught two Light Brown Apple Moths but that is two more that the last few attempts! An Angle Shades caterpillar was also seen.
|Angle Shades and Girdled Snail|
The craft fair at the local Sea Scouts in Oulton took up most of yesterday (did not sell one of my dioramas… boooo) so I took myself out for a walk this afternoon to investigate Leathes’ Ham which is half a mile from my house in a straight line. This deep pool on the north side of the Waveney is completely surrounded by reeds and some gloriously wet woodland of Poplar, Alder, Sallow and Birch.
It was covered in wildfowl and I counted 208 Gadwall, 102 Shoveler, 12 Mallard, 21 Wigeon, nine Pintail, ten Teal, seven Little Grebe, 20 Coot, eight Moorhen, 6 Mute Swan and three Cormorants. Quite a haul for such a small space. Three Water Rails squealed from the far end and two Cetti’s Warblers called from the edges, one of which popped up and put on a show for me.
|Cormorant, Pintail and Black-headed Gull|
|Wigeon, Coot and Moorhen|
Long-tailed Tits moved through the Alders with a few Blue and Great Tits and a couple of Siskins pinged over.
I had been tasked with looking for moth leaf mines and came back with a good bag full but they will require so more daylight to go through them.
|Harlequin with Stigmella tiliae on Lime|
|Pretty sure this is Caloptilia fidella on Hop - will check again next year|
|Cat on Hop - id to come|
I followed the track through to the railway and the old pedestrian brick bridge over the top. The view onto Lake Lothing (the inner part of the docks before they get to Mutford Lock) was grand and I could work out where my house was in relation to all these new potential garden flyovers!
A Great Northern Diver was cruising around towards the far southern side and two Little Grebes were out in the middle. I suspect it could be quite good up here if everything else freezes. Two Turnstone and a Redshank switched sizes before I retraced my steps.
|Great Northern Diver|
Now discovered, I will be adding this to my growing list of local delights within striking distance of home.
A quick pop down to Ness Point once again yielded no Purple Sandpipers but there were six Turnstones and a fine sunset.