TUESDAY 30TH APRIL 2019

KNEETON + DCW.

A misty, moisty morning but then we had the sunniest day for a week and the insects responded accordingly. The objective though was the flora and we managed a good list without any great rarities or surprises for Dave, though I wasn’t anticipating Moschatel Adoxa moschatellina.

Moschatel

Plants with tiny flowers feature in my selection of plant images on the day with these two; Field Madder Sherardia arvensis and Swine Cress Lepidium coronopus…. being the chosen ones.

Field Madder
Swine Cress

…being the chosen ones.

Harlequin Ladybirds were frequent, with these two forms being present.

Harlequin Ladybird form spectabilis
Harlequin Ladybird form succinea

Form spectabilis seems to be the most common and the new Bloomsbury guide on Ladybirds confirms this as the norm but it does not mention the form that I found at Radcliffe on Trent last summer and repeated here which I decided was an orange variation of form conspicua.

Harlequin Ladybird

This hoverfly, Syrphus ribesii joined me for lunch…

Syrphus ribesii
Giant Cranefly

—this Giant Cranefly Tipula maxima (apparently Britain’s largest fly) was in a damp ditch, which is right where it should be and, for something completely different, this is the second week running that I’ve spotted a Victorian letter box though this one is still actually in use. The one on the wall of The Unicorn’s Head at Langar is retained as a curiosity with a modern replacement nearby.

VR – Long live the queen

TUESDAY 23RD APRIL 2019

LANGAR CUM BARNSTONE + DCW.

For such an early season botanical, a list of over 200 species is testimony to Dave’s handle on jizz, the richness of the churchyard and one particularly diverse but very narrow verge which held the RPR species Knotted Hedge-parsley Torilis nodosa with also-rans of Henbit Dead-nettle Lamium amplexicaule and Cut-leaved Dead-nettle Lamium hybridum

Henbit Dead-nettle

Planted natives in the vicinity of the wildflower farm included Wayfaring Tree Viburnum lantana and Wild Service Tree Sorbus torminalis.

Wild Service Tree

If you want to see Spotted Medick Medicago arabica, Langar is the place to head for as it is abundant thereabouts but incredibly scarce in the rest of Rushcliffe.

Spotted Medick

Along one pavement near the church, Spring Beauty Claytonia perfoliata is well established….

Spring Beauty

Other notable plants on the day, plucked at random (so to speak!) are Yellow-juiced Poppy Papaver lecoqii (again!), several Manchester Poplars Populus nigra betulifolia (which are clones of a native black poplar and shows all the characters including the large bosses and the upturned branches) and Few-flowered Garlic Allium paradoxum.

There is another plant in the neighbourhood that we found to be well established at two locations but I don’t know what it is … yet, but Dave is working on it.

UPDATE – Anthemis tinctoria aka Yellow (or Dyer’s) Chamomile a garden escape.

Anthemis tinctoria

Finally, for a bit of variety we saw four Little Egrets and this common micro-moth.

Agonopteryx alstromeria

MONDAY 22ND APRIL 2019

HOLME PIERREPONT.

Another unsuccessful go for the Green Hairstreaks was preceded by a circuit of Blotts where I fortuitously got two Linnets for the price of one….

Linnets

….and a lark ascending.

Skylark

In searching for the elusive butterfly, I was distracted by a few flowers: I suppose this ranks as Wild Pansy Viola tricolor but mmmm – only two colours so not the genuine article which is apparantly rather rare.

Pansy
Thyme-leaved Speedwell (Veronica serpyllifolia)

THURSDAY 18TH APRIL 2019

KEYWORTH.

My soft fruit is flowering.

Recurrant
Blackcurrant
Gooseberry

In the afternoon I visited Stanton Golf Club for a look at the excellent work their ecology group is now achieving. I was particularly impressed by the potential this newly cleared pond has for becoming a really marvellous wildlife pond; especially as they have found a way of controlling the water level. It should develop a really diverse flora and be brilliant for amphibians and invertebrates.

New pond on Stanton GC

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.

Greater Stitchwort
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.

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.

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.

Dark-edged Bee-fly (Bombylius major)
Wren
Buzzard
Chiffchaff

TUESDAY 9TH APRIL 2019

KEYWORTH.

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 + DCW.

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.

Avocets

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.

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 + DCW

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.

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.

Marsh Marigold with Gunthorpe Bridge

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

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.

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.

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.