This very sunny and very dry spring continues with hardly a break and we met up for another session at this country park, discovering bits that we didn’t know existed – especially true in my case.

It was a remarkable day for lepidoptera with 10 species of butterfly that included a very early Meadow Brown, a Brown Argus and several Dingy Skippers and Green Hairstreaks at various sites around the park.

Brown Argus

There were also many Burnet Companions, a Treble Bar this Crambus lathoniellus, one of those little ‘grass moths’ that fly a short distance when disturbed and attempt to hide themselves away.

Crambus lathoniellus

This is a new one for me; a pyralid that was behaving much like the crambid above and that is expanding its range.

Homoeosoma sinuella

The bright sunshine brought the fish in the canal to the warmer layers and they included this motionless ‘jack’ pike, about a foot long….


…which was possibly expecting one of these little Roach to swim within range.


We found a long forgotten reptile mat which is past its purpose but these ants find it to their liking but went into a bit of a panic when we exposed them to the sunshine and began carrying their cherished pupae somewhere safer. We did of course cover them up again. I learned that ant pupae are often bigger than the ants themselves and much larger than the eggs. I don’t know the species.

Ant pupae
Great Pond Snail (Lymnaea stagnalis)

This Great Pond Snail was in a large pond known as Leaky Hollow.



Much warmer than expected especially early on, but the sunshine brought out the insects and I think this is my first Nottinghamshire Dingy Skipper. I’ve looked for them here in the past without success but recent sightings raised my optimism and I found this one within minutes of arriving at 09:30.

Dingy Skipper

Soon after I found Dave (we are following the rules and arriving under social distancing) we went into full entomological mode and got Burnet Companion….

Burnet Companion

Green Hairstreak….

Green Hairstreak

and Four-spotted Chaser:

Four-spotted Chaser (Libellula quadrimaculata)

within the space of a few minutes and a Small Heath and a Holly Blue also put in appearances.

Things calmed down later as we further explored this rather interesting and extensive country park. The plantations are developing and the grasslands have a nice variety of wild flowers, although their origins are dubious.

I expect that this one, doing very well in the Grantham Canal that runs through the site arrived on its own.

Potamogeton crispus
Three-spined Stickleback

People seem to introduce fish into places where they would better not be (if wildlife is a consideration) but Sticklebacks are not on their list of desirables, so this one is certainly a natural resident.

Helophilus pendulus

This rather distinctive hoverfly with its striped thorax has few confusion species but the black line separating the abdominal segments makes it a male H. pendulus.

There were lots of damselflies both teneral and adult but of the three commonest confusion species, today’s seemed all to be Common Blue Damsels.

Following yesterday’s heron experience, today we watched a young mother take an interest in another Grey Heron and take what must have turned out to be a poor photo with her mobile phone, of a bird that had flown 25 metres to avoid her attention. She then called to her disinterested children, with a convincing demonstration from her animated, outstretched arms ‘it flew…. with its wings’: Clear evidence that lockdown is bringing nature back into our lives.

We chatted later, and her accent suggested east London origins so her delight in discovering what wings do and her confusion between pelicans and herons is perhaps forgivable. Or am I being unfair?



Another new species of moth for the garden brings the total to ….457!

Ochreous Pug


A wander around Blott’s Pit at Holme Pierrepont on a glorious morning didn’t produce much though a Cuckoo doing lots of cuckooing was cheering and there were some beautiful damsels about.

Enallagma cyathigerum

So I headed home but spontaneously decided to stop for a wander along the canal and I came across a very confiding Heron which merely flew to the other bank when I got too close. There it stood, motionless for five to ten minutes.

Ready, Steady

And so did I. Until I was joined by a pleasant passing jogger who joined me in the patient wait until…


And the prize…

A big tasty Tench.

It was shot with 4k for stills but the mp4 works ok too:

And off it went to swallow it.

Like me with a spag bol.



The circumnavigation of Blotts having produced only 1 Dunlin and 1 Common Sandpiper by way of migrant birds and this first of the year Small Copper, I set off in search of Green Hairstreaks.

Small Copper

I’ve only ever found them near the car-park but Alan Clewes kindly drew my attention to a couple in what he knows as a favourite bramble patch a hundred metres away.

Green Hairstreak

A subsequent search found no more but there was compensation with two more firsts of the year; this immature male Common Blue damselfly…

Common Blue Damselfly

….and a Small Yellow Underwing (moth).

Small Yellow Underwing

A few years ago, I found Changing Forget-me-not at Holme Pierrepont and its still there in good numbers and just coming in to flower.

Changing Forget-me-not

Aeroplanes are pretty scarce at the moment so I snapped this one but a Hobby got in the way and spoilt it!


There were four or five Hobbys cruising around picking off airborne insects and they were joined by a few less accomplished Black-headed Gulls.



A downturn in the weather now past, this was a long, ‘lockdown’ trek into the moors (or the nearest thing we have to moors) in the hope of some new locations for Grizzled Skipper.

male Swallow

After a Swallow and my first Cinnabar of the year, I bumped into Dave who coincidentally had the same idea so we tagged along for a while, exploring the currently inactive Great Central Railway together (at a safe distance) and especially an area cleared of invasive bramble and thorn but we found no evidence that the colonising food plant has attracted the desired butterfly.

Here we met the enthusiastic Paula Barnes of Gotham and had a long natter (from at least 10 metres apart) on the wonders of the moors’ wildlife – she saw a Hen Harrier here last winter.

This stuff causes my wife and me some angst.

Field Horsetail

Field Horsetail (Equisetum arvense) is a nuisance weed in our garden but it has its place in the wild. These are the fertile, spore-producing shoots which come up early in the season.

I could hardly disguise Dave’s presence and at the same time profess to knowing this was Hieracium section hieracium (at least not without a rucksack weighed down with books and several hours at one spot.

Hieracium section hieracium

And this one is Crepis biennis – a simple jizz glance for him

Crepis biennis

I did spot what I am fairly certain was a Grizzled Skipper at Rushcliffe Halt though flight identifications of such a small and flighty insect are a bit ropy and this one didn’t settle in view, but my first Small Heath of the year obliged at its sun-lounger.

Small Heath