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Saturday 30 June 2018

Hornet Clearwing Moths at Hemblington Church

As mentioned earlier, there were at least five - possibly more - of these delightful creatures around a lure at the Church today. It was excellent to be able to show them to the various conservation volunteers: for many it was a totally new experience.

Cutting and raking at Hemblington Church with BADCOG

The acronym 'BADCOG' stands for Blofield and District Conservation Group: along with the wonderful Bure Valley Conservation Group and the Friends of Hemblington Church, the area surrounding the ancient flint building is managed by volunteers from all three.

While the mown grass in the northern conservation area was being raked and removed, Linda and I cleared away the brambles and nettles along the eastern boundary. This is where 'our' Poplars stand, so while we were working, I hung a Hornet Clearwing lure in the lower branches of one of the trees. Within a few minutes at least five Hornet Clearwing Moths were loafing around: one (presumably newly-emerged) was on the ground at the base of the tree, so I gave it a lift up with a twig!

Lots more moth photos later...



Friday 29 June 2018

Family visit: but watch out: there's a Hobby about!

As is usual at this time of year, several hen pheasants bring their broods to the garden for a pre-roost feed: today there have been two little families (of two and five chicks respectively)

Overhead, though, Buzzards, Kestrels, Sparrowhawks and Hobbies are ever-vigilant. (I don't know that a Hobby would actually take a pheasant chick, but this one seemed interested!)

The pretty little bantam seems to have adopted us: it has taken to roosting on top of a ceanothus bush every night!

Thursday 28 June 2018

A swarm of clearwings and some terrific dragonflies...

Linda was keen to see the various 'special' orchids at Upton Fen, so we made a reasonably early start (following a long day for Lin at the Norfolk Show with Sue!) and were enjoying the Fen Orchids and Marsh Helleborines before 10.00am. Lots more butterflies and dragonflies on the wing today, including mint-fresh Brown Hawker and Broad-bodied Chaser. The first Common and Ruddy Darters were everywhere, as were both large and small Skippers. I gave my lures a half-hour stint at a patch od red currants, but got no custom!

At twelve, I darted across to the Fen to look for yesterday's White-letter Hairstreak: no joy, but several White Admirals and Silver-washed Fritillaries, as well as more Brown & Norfolk Hawkers and the first Gatekeeper of the year. The lure worked spectacularly well, attracting up to eleven clearwings at one time! Among these were several slightly larger individuals that steadfastly refused to slow down for a photo: I think the only one that did looks good for White-barred....

It's always pleasant to bump into people who recognise me from the blog: it was terrific to be able to share the CWs with several of them, including Lizard Orchid correspondent John, as well as a few regulars (Hi Liz!)


Wednesday 27 June 2018

Fen Orchids, Pugsley's and Marsh Helleborines: some good odonata too!

A couple of hours with Norman at Upton Fen was, as always, tranquil and enjoyable: we only met three other people during our five mile circuit (Hi Colin & Roger!)

Best of the birds were fleeting views of a couple of Grasshopper Warblers and a Hobby: lots of Reed and Sedge Warblers still singing, though. Some excellent close-ups of Brown, Norfolk and Southern Hawkers, and I've never seen so many damselflies: lots of mint-fresh Emeralds. The woodland path produced a couple more White Admirals as well as the usual Skippers, Ringlets and Meadow Browns...

Best of the day, though, were the orchids: lots of Southern Marsh, of course, but even more Fen Orchids, as well as newly-opened Marsh Helleborines. Slightly contentious were a couple of spikes of what I'm convinced were Pugsley's Marsh Orchids...