Canada awaits!

Belinda and I head off to Canada for a 3 weeks trip tomorrow so I'm signing off from blogging until we return!

We fly to Vancouver, spend a week on Vancouver Island and then 2 weeks touring the Rockies around Banff, Jasper and Valemount. Hopefully there will be some good scenery, walking, birds and other natural wonders... 


Bath Hills, Earsham, 14 May 2023

By kind invitation I was granted access to private land at Bath Hills to see a plant that has so far eluded me - Field Pepperwort. It proved an easy find with many dozens of plants now coming into flower. A check of the seed capsules confirmed it was this species and not the very similar Smith's Pepperwort. Also in the same spot was Field Madder, Colour-changing Forget-me-not and Hedge Bedstraw. A Cuckoo, my first of the year was in full cry and a Garden Warbler also singing well. Reed Warbler, Lesser Whitethroat, Common Whitethroat and Common Tern were also recorded. 

I then went for a wander further along the lane and eventually the path up through the woods above the Waveney. Star-of-Bethlehem and masses of Greater Chickweed were along the verge with a patch of Caper Spurge and as I entered the 'conservation area' a few plants of Caucasian Comfrey was a new plant for me. 

Similar to my experiences in Norwich yesterday it was insects that really made it a good trip out with Red-and-Black Froghoppers, Orange-bodied Click Beetle, Green Nettle Weevil, the pale green weevil Strophosoma capitatum, the sawfly Arge ustulata, Limonia nigropunctata, 24-spot Ladybird, Black-and-red Soldier Beetle, Red-headed Cardinal Beetle, the pale brown fly Tricholauxamia praeusta and Chocolate Mining Bee.

It's been a bug-tastic weekend all round!

                                                                                                                             Field Pepperwort
                                                                                                                Colour-changing Forget-me-not
                                                                                                                   Red-headed Cardinal Beetle
                                                                                                                                  Arge ustulata
                                                                                                                        Red-and-black Froghopper
                                                                                                                                 24-spot Ladybird
                                                                                                                           Tricholauxania praeusta
                                                                                                                     Orange-bellied Click Beetle
                                                                                                                   Black-and-red Soldier Beetle
                                                                                                                              Limonia nigropunctata
                                                                                                                           Chocolate Mining Bee
                                                                                                                             Green Nettle Weevil
                                                                                                                             Strophosoma capitatum
                                                                                                                        Caper Spurge

                                                                                                                         Caucasian Comfrey


Up Nodge, 13 May 2023

While Belinda caught up with family ahead of our Canada trip I had a few hours in Norwich to get a few last minute bits. 

Having done all I needed to I had plenty of time to spare and walked back to the car checking a spot on the way. There has been some Dusky Cranesbill threatening to escape from a garden for a year or two and it has now made the leap! I do like a garden escape, especially one that is a real looker. 

Jeremy Bartlett had just found some Pocket Plum growing on Blackthorn at the end of his road and it proved an easy find. These deformed 'fruits' are formed by the fungal plant pathogen Taphrina pruni and are a curious thing indeed. I have to admit to never having heard of them before so every day is a school day!

I then called in to Earlham Cemetery for a good wander. Apart from some nice patches of White Comfrey it was insects that caught the eye with Spruce Carpet, Common Flowerbug, the springtail Orchesella cincta, Common Striped Woodlouse, Dark Green Nettle Weevil, 14-spot Ladybird and the large Chequered Weevil, Liophloeus tessulatus making it a very enjoyable short visit. On my way out of the cemetery to grab a coffee 2 Grey-patched Mining Bees posed nicely.

                                                                                                                              Dusky Cranesbill

                                                                                                                              Pocket Plum
                                                                                                                              White Comfrey
                                                                                                                                 Spruce Carpet
                                                                                                                                 Orchesella cincta
                                                                                                                     Common Striped Woodlouse
                                                                                                                            Common Flowerbug
                                                                                                                          Dark Green Nettle Aphid
                                                                                                                               Chequered Weevil
                                                                                                                             14-spot Ladybird

                                                                                                                         Grey-patched Mining Bee

Unexpected local botanical goodies, 9 May 2023

At the very kind invitation of Alex Prendergast I visited his house yesterday to look at the naturalised Purple Ramping Fumitory that has spread unaided onto the roadside verge. The first Norfolk record of this predominantly western species. The flowers of this species begin white and develop a distinct purple tinge while also having very large ragged sepals. After a tour of his fascinating garden Alex told me about some Norfolk Comfrey growing about a mile away so that was where I headed next. I found a large patch growing in a roadside nettle bed with a few plants of the superficially similar variety Hidcote Blue Comfrey. While exploring the verges there I also found Small-fruited Prickly-sedge (and was chuffed to be able to id it myself!) plus Shining Cranesbill, Hoary Cress and quite a bit of Bur-chervil

                                                                                                                         Purple Ramping Fumitory

                                                                                                                             Norfolk Comfrey
                                                                                                                               Hidcote Blue Comfrey

                                                                                                                        Small-fruited Prickly-sedge
Hoary Cress

                                                                                                                                 Shining Cranesbill


Winks Meadow awash with orchids! 7 May 2023

Regular readers of this blog will know that SWT Winks Meadow is one of my favourite places. In all the years I've been visiting it has never looked as good as it does at the moment. There are literally thousands of Green-winged Orchids out this year, more than I have ever seen there before. It's is also the best site I know for a variety of different colour forms and this year there are even a couple of the so-called 'chimera' plants with different colour flowers on the same plant (shown in the first 2 photos below). As well as forms ranging from the creamy-white 'alba' to the darkest of velvet purple. While taking it all in I also found several Adders Tongue

In the adjacent woodland I also spotted a 'False Oxlip' (Cowslip x Primrose hybrid), Spring Starflower, Red Horse Chestnut and a surprise naturalised Common Camassia. A Yellow Wagtail also flew over the carparking area as I arrived. Not the first time I've seen them there. 

                                                                                                                     Green-winged Orchids
                                                                                                                              Adders Tongue
                                                                                                                        Red Horse Chestnut
                                                                                                                                False Oxlip
                                                                                                                              Common Camassia