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?

MONDAY 15TH JULY 2019

Bole with DCW

Bole? “Bole is a village and civil parish in the Bassetlaw district of Nottinghashire…” Population 247 at the last count. We spent the day around Bole Ings (and I kept remembering England winning the cricket world cup the previous day for some reason).

We began the day in the cool of a ‘tall-herb fen’ dominated by Meadowsweet Filipendula ulmaria with splashes of Purple-loosestrife Lythrum salicaria and Reedmace Typha latifolia with Yellow Loosestrife Lysimachia vulgaris a speciality. It was also home to a lot of hungry mosquitoes.

Yellow Loosestrife

And then it was out into the sunny and rather warm, post-industrial land associated with the West Burton power station where Common Centaury and Yellow-wort were present with Juncus compressus in the wetter areas.

Juncus compressus

Dave’s thorough investigation along a drain resulted in a further good selection of aquatics that included Marsh Horsetail Equisetum palustre and Glyceria notata.

All but one of the dozen or so skippers we saw were Essex. I saw one Large and one probable Small.

Essex Skipper

The genus Helophilus and its close relatives are easy to pick out with their striped thorax. This is a male H. pendulus. The generic name is appropriate as they seem to enjoy a spot of sun-bathing, often near water.

Helophilus pendulus

Scarcest plant of the day was Opposite-leaved Pondweed Groenlandia densa which Dave knew was there. No matter where we go in the county, Dave has been before and pretty much knows what we will find. This is an RPR species known from just a couple of localities in Notts in the vicinity of Bole and it is declining nationally due to eutrophication and falling water tables.

Opposite-leaved Pondweed (with Callitriche)