Wednesday 29 May 2024

Lowestoft Life - just about! 28th-29th May 2024

Yesterday evening I was booked in to give a talk to the RSPB Potters Bar local group and planned my approach to include some insect type places en route but as seems to be the norm at the moment the weather had other plans and as I headed west from Lowestoft I drove into increasingly bad weather with the Brecks being particularly hazardous on the roads.

Beyond Cambridge I veered up towards Fowlmere, the little chalk marsh RSPB reserve that I first visited with my parents and brother 40 years ago and I had not actually been back in 30.

I parked up and waited for the rain to let up before heading out on a solitary circuit.  It was very cool, and grey and breezy and the rain felt like it was not far away but I enjoyed my amble down memory lane.  I can’t find it in my ancient journals but I think it 1984 or 85 and we stayed at Thaxted in the caravan where I saw my first Hobbies – breeding no less.  I remembered the path way bordered by the crystal clear chalk River Shep and the Brown Trout that still hung cleverly in the currents.  A large Mayfly briefly touched down and was sucked down with a splash and slurp.

Brown Trout 

My brother said he saw a Water Vole that day and my memory says we heard a plop.  This time there was a big plump Ratty going about his business while in the reeds there were still Water Rails and Reed Warblers although I suspect that way back then there were no Cetti’s shouting at me.


There was so much water on the reserve and you could hear it noisily belching out of the ponds in silvery balloons.  If only it had been warm and sunny then the air would have been alive with insects.  As it was I saw almost none.  I listened in vain for Turtle Doves but it was good to hear Yellowhammers and Corn Buntings in the surrounding farmland as I neared the car.

An ex-Mole - I turned it over to look for Burying Beetles but no joy

I need help with this single Orchid in a wet meadow

and Enid... I have no idea on this one!

Marsh Figwort

False Watercress

Yellow Flag

A very chocolatey Brown Lipped Hedge Snail

Water Crowfoot sp

Not far off fledging

Lipara lucens - one day someone, somewhere in the fly world will want my records!

Pyrochroa coccinea

I moved on to Therfield Heath where the rain returned and I watched the windswept grassy hills for 90 minutes before continuing south for the evening…

My talk on Spring and Summer on the Kentish Downs last night went well although as usual my picture of a wonderful Spanish Fly (beetle of course) passed most people by!  Dorothy and Phil fed and put me up for the night before I wiggled my way back out of the Lea Valley and up the M11 after an early breakfast.  It felt like it was going to be an ok day and I deviated on to the A1066 towards Diss deciding to visit Reedham and Lopham Fen too look for their Raft Spiders.

I remembered to put my wellies on and trudged around the red Spider Trail.  I saw no big spiders but the occasional busts of sunshine and momentary warmth gave me my first and best Bramble session of the season.

I saw four Damselfly species and a few Four Spotted Chaser, a pretty good selection of Hoverflies that included three Volucella amongst many Topidia scita, Eristalis and Helophilus while Early Bumblebee was the commonest along with four other species.

Four Spotted Chaser

Blue-tailed Damselfly

 Common Blue Damselfly

 Large Red Damselfly

 Azure Damselfly

Azure Damselfly

Azure Damselfly

Azure Damselfly - amazing difference in the females

Volucella bombylans

Volucella inflata 

Volucella pellucens

Helophlius pendulus

Helophlius pendulus

Helophlius pendulus

Helophlius hybridus

Parhelophlius sp

Tropidia scita

Eristalis pertinax - male

Eristalis pertinax - this furry female confused me

Eristalis intricaria

Anasimyia contracta

Anasimyia contracta

Anasimyia contracta

Xylota sylvarum - the last of the Hoverflies

Dioctria baumhaueri

Dioctria baumhaueri

Yellow Dung Fly - Scathophaga stercoraria 

Chrysopilus cristatus  

Calliphora sp

Chloromyia formosa - a Soldier Fly

Cordilura sp. - Scathophagidae 

Zophomyia temula  - a Tachinid

Sicus ferrugineous

There were Soldier Beetles and Oedemera noblis but only two Butterflies – one each of Green Hairstreak and Holly Blue.

Bombus lapidarius

Bombus pratorum

Bombus hypnorum

Bombus terrestris

Cantharis rustica

Oedemera nobilis

Green Hairstreak

The weather turned quickly and as I reached the best Spider area the heavens opened and I was forced to abandon my search passing and completely unconcerned buck Roe Deer feeding in the marsh just 10m away as I squidged my way to the shelter of the Oaks.

Small Magpie

Roe Deer

The Foxglove display was magnificent as I made way back to the car and headed to home.

Meadow Rue

Same as yesterday Enid!

Yellow Flag

Lesser Spearwort

Fiddleneck - a new plant for me

White Bryony  - no bees or ladybirds

Reed Bunting  - was also pleased to hear Cuckoo and Willow Warbler

No comments:

Post a Comment