Recent Wanderings

Thursday 18th April 2019


My soft fruit is flowering.

Photo of Redcurrant
Photo of Blackcurrant
Photo of Gooseberry

Wednesday 17th April 2019

Hickling + DCW.

Our first 'square bash' of the season to fill in some squares with missed early-season plants for the forthcoming national atlas. We succeeded in that and added a few nice surprises as well in the form of Greater Stitchwort Stellaria holostea and Rue-leaved Saxifrage Saxifrags tridactylites, this time in flower. There were lots of these on a pavement in the village.

Photo of Greater Stitchwort
Greater Stitchwort
Photo of Rue-leaved Saxifrage
Rue-leaved Saxifrage

The churchyard has a massive old poplar with the biggest looking girth I think I've ever seen on a tree. Sadly despite some surgery to its upperparts, it looks to be nearing the end as it also had the biggest bracket fungus I've definitely ever seen at its base.

The sun shone and the butterflies were busy. Lots of Small Tortoiseshells and Orange-tips several Brimstones and singles of Holly Blue, Green-veined White and Speckled Wood.

Photo of Face Flies
Face Flies

These flies are Face Flies Muscari autumnalis or at least I'm fairly confident that they are. Hickling is a dairy village with next to nothing in the way of arable but several fields of rye-grass leys for sileage. Face Flies pester cattle by feeding on secretions from around the eyes though these were just enjoying the warm sunshine after a long hibernation.

These friendly and inquisitive heiffers accompanied us for a spell.

Photo of Heiffers
Friendly heiffers

Saturday 13th April 2019

Keyworth Meadow.

A wander along Lings Lane to the meadow that I manage but don't visit often enough nowadays with the thought that a migrant Wheatear or Ring Ousel might come my way but the nearest I got was Tim the farmer describing a Wheatear he'd seen the previous day. I did get my first Swallow though and there were three Buzzards wheeling around and a Chiffchaff was chiff-chaffing away in the meadow.

Photo of Dark-edged Bee-fly
Dark-edged Bee-fly Bombylius major
Photo of Wren
Photo of Buzzard
Photo of Chiffchaff

Tuesday 9th April 2019


Photo of Brown Plume moth
Brown Plume

This little plume moth has been in the kitchen for a couple of days and although I could see that it wasn't the common one - Emmelina monodactyla I didn't have a proper look at it until this morning and it seems to be Brown Plume Stenoptilia pterodactyla although the flight time is given as late May to early August. I suppose it could have been accidentally brought in and the warmth has hastened its emergence but it seems unlikely as its food plant is Germander Speedwell and it overwinters in a stem. I can't see what else it can be. Brown Plume is nationally common but it's a first for me.

Monday 8th April 2019

Frampton RSPB, Lincs.

Early mistiness melted into blue sky and a very bracing NE wind that kept us wrapped up and hatted for most of the day. It turned out to be generally disappointing in terms of bird interest, the highlights being lots of Avocet and Ruff with a bonus Wheatear.

It was also disappointing that I hadn't checked the charge on my camera and it 'died' after four shots; this was its swansong.

Photo of Avocet

I think I saw the Long-billed Dowitcher. It was an odd-shaped blur with a long bill and a supercilium, lumbering about on the edge of a distant island and the telescope was being buffeted by the near gale and it soon disappeared. We had another look later with no luck.

We had seen two Little Ringed Plovers together near the path and briefly befriended a fellow birdwatcher who accompanied us as we passed the spot. We pointed them out. Two Ringed Plovers pottered about and we felt rather embarassed. Thankfully, after a few moments an LRP wandered into view and we regained our credibility.

I remembered I had a mobile phone camera for this one.

Photo of English Scurvygrass
English Scurvygrass

English Scurvygrass Cochlearia anglica is bigger than the Danish one that is in flower all along the roadsides at present.

Wednesday 3rd April 2019

Netherfield and Gunthorpe.

With a much improved weather forecast since Sunday we wandered the western side of Netherfield Lagoons once again with the tape lure for Willow Tit and once again, no response was found. The sunshine was enough to bring out a Small Tortoiseshell and we spotted two more at Gunthorpe before a dark cloud blotted the sun out and the chill of the 6°C set in.

Photo of Small Tortoiseshell
Small Tortoiseshell

More Marsh-marigold Caltha palustris near Gunthorpe Bridge, but this one looked more like the garden cultivar with bigger leaves and flowers than the wild plant. Later, we spotted some on an island that looked more like the native form.

Photo of Marsh-marigold

A new location for Greater Chickweed Stellaria neglecta followed. This is a scarce and overlooked plant and quite rare in Notts.

Photo of Greater Chickweed
Greater Chickweed

During much of the day, dozens of Black-headed Gulls were hawking over the pits for what appeared to be an emergence of chironomids. These are non-biting midges and, needless to say, small, so the energy expenditure in picking off such morsels seems high. Perhaps slow gliding flight is so efficient that a nutritious midge now and again is worth it.

Photo of Black-headed Gulls
Black-headed Gulls

At the pit nearest the village, Bogbean Menyanthes trifoliata was waking up for the spring. It is another scarce plant in Notts but which has been present here for many years.

Photo of Bogbean

My first Sand Martins and Willow Warbler and a Cetti's Warbler were at Netherfield and Blackcap and Chiffchaff song accompanied us throughout the day. Dave heard a Golden Plover at Gunthorpe.

Monday 1st April 2019

Cotgrave Forest.

I nabbed the only day of the week, if the weather forecast proves to be correct when a butterfly might be active though with a maximum temperature of about 12°C, I wasn't optimistic. This is the first day of the first week of the Butterfly Conservation transect season and the sunshine brought out two Commas and ten Small Tortoiseshells making it worthwhile.

Meanwhile, the garden moth trap has had a steady trickle of early season moths during the latter part of March with the month attracting totals of 23 Hebrew Character 54 Common Quaker 40 Small Quaker 3 Early Grey 15 Clouded Drab 5 Early Moth 16 Emmelina monodactyla 2 Twenty Plume 1 Brindled Beauty 1 Epiphyas postvittana and 1 Pine Beauty

Photo of Pine Beauty
Pine Beauty

Wednesday 27th March 2019


A day around the "healh or valley of Cot(ta)" once again centred around the Willow Tit survey and once again with negative results. We started along the canal and finished with an extensive look at the woodland to the south of the settlement. A few Chiffchaffs and Blackcaps were singing and we found a single plant of Marsh Marigold Caltha palustris (at the second attempt).

Photo of Chiffchaff
Photo of Marsh Marigold
Marsh Marigold with Josse's Lock beyond
At least part of the plantation woodland is known as Cotgrave Gorse and is shown as such on the 1824-1839 Cassini reprint but other bits have developed naturally from abandoned fields into maturing woodland with some botanical interest in the way of Hard-shield and Soft-shield Fern Polystichum aculeatum and Polystichum setiferum, Sanicle Sanicula europaea and a "scold" of Jays. Also, in addition to the extensive patches of Garden Yellow Archangel Lamiastrum galeobdelon ssp. argentatum there was a small patch of what is presumably ssp. montanum, the native variety.

Next to the old Fosse Way, is an area which has been graced with dumped bales of waste plastic bags and somewhat less disgraceful garden plants including Great Forget-me-not Brunnera macrophylla.

Photo of Great Forget-me-not
Great Forget-me-not

To the west of the Owthorpe road is some more recent woodland, one of which has emerged from an abandoned quarry. Here Dave picked out a single Nonesuch Daffodil Narcissus x incomparabilis ...

Photo of Nonesuch Daffodil
Nonesuch Daffodil

... and a soon to be flowering European Larch Larix decidua.

Photo of European Larch
European Larch

Monday 11th March 2019

Holme Pierrepont.

Part of the nature reserve is within the tetrad for the Willow Tit survey so we incorporated this with a general nose around without much in the way of new stuff to show for it but there were quite a lot of calling Water Rails. Needless to say, there were no Willow Tits. The area to the west of Blotts is very rich in bryophytes which Dave points out and usually names but so far they have not sunk in. This photo turned out nice but the others can remain on file.

Photo of Pseudoscleropodium purum
Pseudoscleropodium purum
Photo of Little Egret
Little Egret

A Little Egret was unusually confiding and the Polypody is still there. Dave says is is Intermediate Polypody Polypodium interjectum but the circular sori and parallel sides to the leaves point me to Common Polypody.

Photo of Intermediate Polypody
Intermediate Polypody

A new plant for me was Lesser Chickweed Stellaria pallida. It is tiny and prostrate, has no petals on its tiny inconspicuous flowers and disappears after its early spring flourish so is understandably thought to be under-recorded. If you can find an open flower they (usually!) only have two stamens which is the only certain way of distinguishing it from Common Chickweed (which occasionally also lacks petals!)

Photo of Lesser Chickweed
Lesser Chickweed

Two Mistle Thrushes stood motionless on a grassy sward, allowing me to approach one of them for a picture.

Photo of Mistle Thrush
Mistle Thrush

Saturday 2nd March 2019

Sharphill Wood.

Mags Crittenden, the county bryophyte recorder held a training session for a handful of people today and here are some of the photos that I took and that I am reasonably confident of the id. I can't really say anything of interest about them so I'm not going to try.

However, Mags has taken a look and commented thus; The photo of Kindbergia may not be Kindbergia - it's a real mix of things - typically it's a little finer - some parts of the moss mixture certainly are Kindbergia but others may be Brachythecium and/or Rhynchostegium??

Photo of Aulocomnium androgynum
Aulocomnium androgynum
Photo of Brachythecium rutabulum
Brachythecium rutabulum
Photo of Kindbergia praelonga
Kindbergia praelonga
Photo of Metzgeria furcata
Metzgeria furcata
Photo of Mnium hornum
Mnium hornum
Photo of Orthotrichum diaphanum
Orthotrichum diaphanum
Photo of Orthodontium lineare
Orthodontium lineare
Photo of Orthotrichum affine
Orthotrichum affine
Photo of Syntrichia sp.
Syntrichia sp.