WEDNESDAY 27TH MAY 2020

COTGRAVE COUNTRY PARK + DCW

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….

Pike

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

Roach

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.

TUESDAY 19TH MAY 2020

COTGRAVE COUNTRY PARK + DCW

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?