Thursday 18 July 2024

Lowestoft Life - 17th -18th July 2024

There is just time to squeeze in one last post before I escape to the East Africa tomorrow.  With a bit of sunshine yesterday there was time to head out for a lower Broadland circuit (passing 30 or so Spoonbills and Glossy Ibis on Breydon on the way through) and it held just long enough to have a walk down the track at Ormesby Little Broad.

The sun was on the usual Bramble clump and it spent some time fly watching.  The Eristalis nemorum were still holding sway with many E pertinax around the flowers while what looked like a small Xylota scurried around sap sucking on the leaves.  The name Chalcosyrphus nemorum popped into my head and that is indeed what they were.  They got stroppy with the local Helophilus pendulus and Tropidia scita.

Chalcosyrphus nemorum

Chalcosyrphus nemorum

Anasimyia contracta

Anasimyia contracta

Eristalis pertinax

There were plenty of blue Damselflies once again and two Brown Hawker terrorised the area above the clump while a Willow Emerald was the first of the season for me.

Willow Emerald

Blue-tailed Damselfly

Ruddy Darter

Neoscona adianta - quite a pale one

Rutpela maculata

Big leafhopper sp

Golden Wandering Snail

Red Legged Shieldbug

Lagria hirta

A roving flock contained Goldcrests, Treecreeper, Tits and squeaky Blackcaps while invisible Common Terns called from the broad.


Back at home there were several dinky little Dichrorampha vancouverana around the Yarrow and the females looked to be egg laying.  The Hop is going mad and I am awaiting moth mines but it also severed as a warm up spot for a pair of Small Whites and a rather ragged Comma.  The solitary Whirlygig Beetle is still twirling happily on the pond despite its lack of buddies.

Small Whites


A Hedgehog in the Wren's garden yesterday evening!

The trap went on and this morning it felt like it was a poorer night but I still had 45 species compared to 61 the night before.  Even now the number of new species is not letting up and over the two nights ten new ones arrived.  Not all were teeny weeny micros and I had three Leopards with their curiously long bodies, a silky White Satin and a sharp Brown Line Bright Eye.

Coleophera alcyonipennella

Coleophera alcyonipennella

Coronet - wow

Cydia fagiglandana

Peppered Moth - intermediate form

Leopard Moth

Leopard Moths

Brown Line Bright Eye.

Crambus pascuella

Buff Arches

Platytes alpinella

Platytes alpinella

Crocosmia Lucifer - appeared in the top bed

Yellow Achillea


This stunning Glad just appeared!

Time to get a few more jobs done and the final pack before the journey to Entebbe begins tomorrow.

Tuesday 16 July 2024

Lowestoft Life - 8th - 16th July 2024

Once again the weather has been the controlling influence of enjoying wildlife this summer, swinging between wet and windy and cool to hot and sunny – often in the same day.  The 1s male Red-footed Falcon lingered at Carlton Marshes so I popped back on the 8th July where it performed wonderfully well from its favourite perch. 

The strong haze made taking any shots problematical but it was a joy to watch him catching and devouring Dragonflies.

Red-footed Falcon

Red-footed Falcon

There were Four Spotted Chasers, Black-tailed Skimmer, Common and Ruddy Darters on the wing and Emperor, Brown and a single Blue Eyed Hawker too.  I scoured the ditches for Raft Spiders but had no joy although I did find plenty of Damselflies and a couple of Small China Mark and a Depressed Aquatic Leaf Beetle (although quite why it feels down it its luck I am not sure).

Small China Mark

Depressed Aquatic Leaf Beetle - Donacia marginata

Meadowsweet & Hemp Agrimony

Meadow Pipit

A couple of Comma were collecting salts on the path and there were a few Meadow Browns, Gatekeepers and Ringlet around.  The cloud started to build up and with the Red-foot circling up to hunt high with a Hobby and the spiralling Marsh Harriers I headed home.  It was raining within an hour!




Mothing has not been a nightly affair but I have kept at it when I can and piled on many new species and with a Bufftip on the 14th I reached the 250 mark for the garden which pleased me.  Plenty more to come I think.  The night of the 9th saw a large influx of Ermines and these small white moths with varying black dots are troublesome at best.  There were Bird Cherry and Willows and a host of ‘the small ones’ that can be any of three species although it seems quite probable that there were Apple and Orchard present and there seemed to be differences in ground colour and spot density but the guidance is ‘forget it’ for the time being.  However a large white one with grey splodges was identified a Scarce Spindle Ermine – a real rarity.  Antony caught one too. 

The first trap out the front garden



Scarce Spindle Ermine - Yponomeuta irrorella

A Sand Dart was an excellent record as they are a true coastal beach specialist and she had obviously got caught up in the drift of incoming migrants across the North Sea.  I took her back to the beach where she belongs. I had 12 new ones that night amongst 50 species and six more the next night out of 65 species!  I am getting better and find that my birders gut instinct is now coming into play.

Sand Dart 

There have been some cool Pyralids, lots of Elephants and a single Privet Hawkmoth, Slender and Yarrow Pugs and a selection of Yellow Underwings with my first Langmaid’s identified by Antony from the hind wing patterns and the most delectable soft and velvet Broad Bordered YUW including one decked out in shades of green- it was wondrous.

Anania coronata

Double Striped Tabby

Meal Moth

Rose Tabby

Rose Tabby

European Corn Borer

Broad Bordered YUW

Broad Bordered YUW

green Broad Bordered YUW - sexy moff

Langmaid’s YUW

Langmaid’s YUW


Buff Arches

Burnished Brass

Common Emerald

Large Ivy Tortrix

Peppered Moth

Peppered Moth

Caloptilia rufipennella

Caloptilia semifascia

Dichrorampha vancouverana  several the next day around my Yarrow

Eudonia delunella

Eudonia lacustrata

Eudonia mercurella - as you can see they are tricky!

Small Dotted Wave

Small Blood Vein

Zeiraphera isertana - a smart but variable micro

Hairy Legged Mining Bees are still the main pollinator in the garden and every verge around here is now dotted with holes and cones of spoil.  There are a few Bumbles but still not many Hovers to be seen although I did see my first Scaeva pyrastri following the night of moth immigration on the 9th.  A Dark Bush Cricket was new in the front garden and there are now micro Frogs pinging around their walled world.

Hairy Legged Mining Bee - Dasypoda hitirpes

Hairy Legged Mining Bee colony

and my first Toadflax Brocade cat  - not seen an adult yet

I had a wonderful day at the Global Birdfair on the 12th seeing some very old (in every sense) and very new friends. There was a great atmosphere about the marquees and it felt good to now be properly part of a wider world birding family.  A fun hour spent speed bio-blitzing with Graeme Lyons resulted in 179 species in an overcast hour with Villa cingulata, Chrysotoxum verralli and Marbled Whites my highlights while Red Kites soared overhead. A Marsh Pearl was new moth for me.

Marsh Pearl 

On the 14th I spent three hours exploring Burgh Castle while the ladies did a craft fair nearby.  It was cool and very windy but I had a great time wandering around somewhere new.  The Roman fort of Gariannonum was built in AD340 and I was delighted to find that it was still very fort-like with amazing walls constructed of flint, mortar and band of thick tiles.  The watch towers are still basically intact and I could picture the Centurions surveying their landscape. 

What an amazing structure

The grassland was quiet with just a few Hovers and Red Soldiers on the Hogweed (some of which was pink) and I had to find the sheltered side of the hedges to pick up any insects.  Helophilus and Eristalis were the two commonest Hover families and I found several leks of Poecilobothrus nobilitatus dancing around on the Bramble leaves. There were plenty of other flies too and a few Ladybirds including 16, 22 and 24-Spot

Chrysotoxum verralli

Eristalinus sepulchralis

Helophilus pendulus

Helophilus pendulus

Eristalis intricaria

Eriothrix rufomaculata

One of the Slender Robberflies

Morellia sp

Musca autumnalis

Calliphora vomitoria

Lucilia sp

Poecilobothrus nobilitatus 

Yellow Dung Fly

Mesembrina meridiana

Common Darters zipped along the margins and I saw three hunting Brown Hawker and a single Emperor but there were very few Butterflies with just a few Browns, four Red Admiral and some Essex Skippers.

Essex Skipper


Meadow Brown

I found a few moth leafmines that suggest the weeks are flying by but just two Cinnabar cats despite lots of Ragwort.



Oedemera nobilis

Soldier Beetle

Kentish Snail

Roesel's Bush Cricket - there were no Grasshoppers

Crab Spider sp

The tide was mostly in on the River Waveney and there were Redshank, Lapwing, Curlew and Black-tailed Godwits half roosting on a recessed pool and Little Egret were sat up on the banks with some moulting Geese and Mute Swans while Marsh Harriers expectedly quartered.

Perennial and Marsh Sow Thistles were in the margins and up slope there were some good patches of Upright Hedge Parsley amongst the Hogweed.

Perennial Sow Thistles

Marsh Sow Thistles

Upright Hedge Parsley

Upright Hedge Parsley

Stunning pink Hogweed

Sea Lavender

Golden Samphire

Sea Spurry -  Spergularia sp

Sea Plantain - Plantago maritima

Back in the garden on the 15th I spent some time taking pics of the way it is developing and my vision of the height of my planting has worked well.  I have Hollyhock and Tree Mallow towering at nine feet, Mullein at eight and Fennel and Marsh Sow Thistle not far behind while the meadow below is still blooming well.



Fox & Cubs

Self Heal

Cupid's Dart - Catananche caerulea



Tree Mallow

Common Knapweed

Great Mullein



Perennial Wallflower


Grey Santolina



Marsh Sow Thistle



Double Opium Poppy

Yellow Figwort

Local Buzzard getting grief - three Curlew also flew over

It was warm and pleasant until the late afternoon rain and today has followed on with grey and cool once again and the rain has just begun once again. Tomorrow it will be a year since I moved to Lowestoft and I am really not quite sure where that time has gone.

With Uganda beckoning on Friday, I still smile ruefully at how things have changed in the last two years. Bring on the Shoebills and Gorillas.