Pulham St Mary meadow, 15 July 2019

A brief after work wander around a meadow area at the rear of the maltings in Pulham St Mary.
The best record was an Essex Skipper that sat still for a photo with Meadow Browns, Ringlets and Small Whites also present. There was some nice botanical interest too with Spear Thistle, Perforate St John's Wort, Field Bindweed, Large Bindweed and a Melilot sp (Ribbed or Tall)

Essex Skipper

Field Bindweed

Large Bindweed

Melilot sp

Perforate St John's Wort

  Spear Thistle

Some coastal wildflowers, 13 July 2019

A Saturday out walking on the Suffolk coast.

We concentrated most of our walking along the edge of the Deben at Woodbridge where it was crammed full of some wildflowers favouring coastal areas - the nationally scarce Dittander, Sea Aster, Sea Lavender, Common Mugwort, Field Scabious, Fuller's Teasel, Lesser Sea Spurrey, Hairy St John's Wort and Golden Samphire amongst others. Small White butterflies were also everywhere and the odd Reed Warbler sang from rank vegetation.

After that we stocked up on provisions and headed to the beach at Shingle Street for an early evening picnic. The habitat of vegetated shingle here is really rare in itself and holds the nationally scarce Sea Pea, Yellow-horned Poppy, Sea Kale, Large-flowered Evening-primrose, Chicory and some odd looking mullein which I've since found out are the rare Hungarian Mullein. While on the beach having our picnic we were surrounded by Sand Martins and Swallows swooping low for insects.     


Dittander

Sea Pea

Sea Aster

Common Mugwort

Field Scabious

Fuller's Teasel

 Lesser Sea Spurrey

Large-flowered Evening-primrose

Chicory

Common Fleabane

Hairy St John's Wort

Travellers Joy

The Purple Emperor is back on his Norfolk throne! 12 July 2019

Armed with some 'info' Jeremy Gaskell and I headed to a Norfolk wood that I know well this morning. It began grey with intermitent rain but our patience was rewarded as the skies started to clear and sunny intervals develop. Doing a few laps of the target area I eventually got on to a male Purple Emperor gliding majestically through the tops of some sallows beside the path. We watched this individual on and off for about 20 minutes but he never would settle for an attempt at photography! While we stood in this spot other butterflies just kept on coming to us. Pick of the bunch were a couple of White-letter Hairstreaks staying resolutely in the top of an ash plus 1-2 White Admirals and 3-4 Silver-washed Fritillaries which were more photographically obliging and a few glimpses of Purple Hairstreaks. Add Comma, Red Admiral, Ringlet, Gatekeeper, Meadow Brown, Small White, Large White, Speckled Wood, Small Copper and Hummingbird Hawkmoth to the mix and it made for a really great morning. On the way back to the car we were then treated to a pair of Purple Emperors chasing each other around just above our heads, purple flashing everywhere!

I was delighted to record this as my 40th butterfly species in the county, it having been missing from Norfolk since the 1970s. With sightings also in Sheringham Park as well as in several Suffolk woods it is hoped they are here to stay.      

 White-letter Hairstreak
 

Silver-washed Fritillaries

Gatekeeper

Meadow Brown

Ringlet

Odonata central at Weybread GPs, 10 July 2019

A quick nip out to 'Kingfisher Pit' at Weybread after work yesterday was well worth the short stroll. The highlight was 2 Norfolk Hawkers, a site first for me and a good extra-limital record. Also around the margins and emergent vegetation were c4 Emperor Dragonflies, 2 Brown Hawkers, several Black-tailed Skimmers, 3 Ruddy Darters, and several each of Small Red-eyed and Red-eyed Damselflies. The numbers of the former are well down on the hundreds of a couple of years ago but the surface vegetation was removed and is only now starting to make a recovery. All of the blue damsels I looked at were Common Blue Damselflies.
Birdwise it was very quiet as expected but a family party of Reed Warblers showed nicely.

A good wander around the Fens, 30 June 2019

A few hours spent on a long amble around the north Suffolk fens which I often visit. It was pleasing to see several Marsh Fragrant Orchids starting to come out and many Marsh Helleborines well and truly out at my first fen. A few dacts were also out including the usual array of hybrids. The last few Early Marsh Orchids ssp ochroleuca were still clinging on. Apparantly 37 plants have flowered in 2019 making it an excellent year for them. Most satisfying of all were 4 Silver-washed Fritillaries and 2 White Admirals which are new to me at the site, and possibly new for the site altogether. In addition my first Small Skipper of the year, 2 Commas and a handful of Painted Ladies were the pick of the 12 butterfly species seen.   



 

Silver-washed Fritillary


Marsh Fragrant Orchids

Early Marsh Orchid ssp ochroleuca

hybrid Common Spotted x Southern Marsh Orchid

Marsh Helleborine

 Common Spotted Orchid

I then moved to another fen about 3 miles away which has a very impressive array of dacts. Spectacular they are but the hybrid situation there is a mess with it now being a large hybrid swarm! Nevertheless it was an enjoyable exploration of a few new areas I'd not walked around before. My first Southern Hawker, Emperor Dragonfly and Ruddy Darters of the year plus Purple Loosestrife (a new plant for me) and the very welcome news that a single Early Marsh Orchid ssp ochroleuca flowered there this year meaning we have a new (albeit historical) site for this ultra rare plant.

Emperor Dragonfly (female ovipositing)

   Southern Hawker

Purple Loosestrife

A fulvofuscus re-visit and other bits, 28 June 2019

When I visited this Bee Orchid var. fulvofuscus a few days ago it was raining so the photos all show wet and shiny plants. So, being the perfectionist, I wanted to go back and get some better photographs! Here they are:




 Bee Orchid var. fulvofuscus


While in the area Belinda and I went for a couple of nice walks and ended up with an early evening picnic which was very pleasant and peaceful. Things of interest we saw were a party of 8 Mandarins, forests of Viper's Bugloss, Common Toadflax, Ladys Bedstraw, Marsh Woundwort, Water Forget-me-not, Dark Mullien and also my first Essex Skipper of the year and Small Coppers, Small Heaths, Painted Ladies, Ringlets, Meadow Browns and Large Skippers. Odonata were represented by Emperor Dragonfly, Hairy Dragonfly, Black-tailed Skimmer and Four-spotted Chasers.

Mandarins

Essex Skipper

Common Toadflax

Common Comfrey


Small Copper



 Marsh Woundwort


Back at home today (29th) I had a close encounter with a Sloe Shieldbug and a Cucumber Green Orb Spider.

Sloe Shieldbug

   Cucumber Green Orb Spider

Bee Orchid var. flavescens, 27 June 2019

More Bee Orchid variation shizzle I'm afraid!

This time I found a distinctive 'flavescens' plant on a roundabout. This variation is basically a stp down from a full 'chlorantha', showing white sepals but with a lip that shows a faded quality like a shadow of a standard lip pattern. These can be confused with faded standard Bee Orchids but this was a fresh flower and those sepals are pure white.

While I was having a mooch about I found some more variable brown-lipped plants which, it could be argued are either bicolor or atrofuscus but don't fit either exactly. It's all a matter of where you draw the line!


Bee Orchid var. flavescens



 Bee Orchids var. anyone's guess! (bicolor/atrofuscus?)