Felbrigg Hall and Beeston Bump, 7 July 2024

With the focus being on work I haven't been out a great deal recently. Sunday called for a break though so we headed up to Felbrigg Hall. 

The walled garden there was in full bloom so I spent a little time looking to see what insects were about. To my delight I found my very first Wool Carder Bee nectaring on a patch of Betony. A large chunky bee that was very distinctive. Also in the garden the stripey fly Graphomya maculata was another new one. Speckled Bush Cricket and Ferruginous Bee-grabber were also seen but a walk taking in the church and pond on the estate coincided with a deterioration in the weather so was devoid of anything interesting!

After leaving Felbrigg we opted for a quick walk up Beeston Bump which we timed perfectly between heavy downpours. I quickly found several of the rare and localised Yarrow (Purple) Broomrape plants along the clifftop with plenty of Pyramidal Orchids there too and some naturalised Garden Lady's Mantle. Sand Martins were of course whizzing up and down the clifftop 

                                                                                                                           Wool Carder Bee
                                                                                                                           Graphomya maculata
                                                                                                                             Speckled Bush Cricket

                                                                                                                     Yarrow (Purple) Broomrape
                                                                                                                             Pyramidal Orchid
                                                                                                                     Garden Lady's Mantle

Bath Hills/Earsham, 22 June 2024

A warm circular walk from Earsham via Bath Hills, Outney and Bungay Marshes. 

A few insects of note were seen including the very small but wonderfully named Fairy-ring Longhorn Beetle, the click beetle Agrypnus murinus and Slender-bodied Digger Wasp, Crabo cribrarius - all nectaring on umbellifers along the lane to Bath Hills. Banded Demoiselles were everywhere together with Black-tailed Skimmers, 2 Norfolk Hawkers on Outney Marshes and my first Emerald Damselfly of the year. A couple of Pyramidal Orchids were beside the path on Bungay Marshes and a cluster of Common Broomrape at Bath Hills

                                                                                                                    Fairy-ring Longhorn Beetle
                                                                                                                    Slender-bodied Digger Wasp
                                                                                                                               Agrypnus murinus
                                                                                                                       Common Broomrape
                                                                                                                             Pyramidal Orchid

Back at home later in the afternoon the garden list was boosted with the addition of the parasitic wasp Cryptus armator, the flower beetle Deraocoris flavilinia and Yellow-spot Yarrow Moth (aka Common Drill Moth) plus another Thick-legged Hoverfly

                                                                                                                               Cryptus armator
                                                                                                                      Yellow-spot Yarrow Moth
                                                                                                                           Deraocoris flavilinia

Sutton Fen and Chez Bartlett, 16 June 2024

When the Norfolk Fungus Study Group announced a field trip to the normally out of bounds Sutton Fen it really wasn't one to miss. This is widely thought to be the most pristine lowland fen in Western Europe so the main lure for me was to see the place rather than the fungi! 

In the company of Ben Lewis from the RSPB we explored the fen, or rather those bits that were not still under water from the extremely wet spring. As expected, Swallowtails were about when the sun graced us along with Norfolk Hawkers, many Variable Damselflies and a very confiding Four-spotted Chaser. Other insects were also very entertaining and varied - Green Lacewing, Swamp Crab Spider, Contracted Pond Hoverfly, Two-banded Waspfly, Tiger Hoverfly, Bumblebee Hoverfly, the bulky Hairy-legged Horsefly, colourful Square-spot Deerfly and the flower beetle Crudosilis ruficollis. A single Hobby was literally the only bird of note. Greater Water Parsnip and Greater Butterwort also graced the clean water dykes. I have to admit to not taking enough interest in the (mostly) micro-fungi thatv were found but Psathyrella typhae growing on Cocks-foot was nice.

Afterwards it was back to the Bartlett's in Norwich where Vanna was able to show me her Four-banded Flower Bees, the very scarce Large-headed Resin Bee and Blue Mason Bee. A triple-tick bonanza in the 'garden of earthly delights'! 

                                                                                                                              Variable Damselfly

                                                                                                         Contracted Pond Hoverflies (m & f)
                                                                                                                          Bumblebee Hoverfly
                                                                                                                               Square-spot Deerfly
                                                                                                                             Tiger Hoverfly
                                                                                                                          Two-banded Waspfly
                                                                                                                          Four-spotted Chaser
                                                                                                                        Crudosilis ruficollis
                                                                                                                            Green Lacewing
                                                                                                                               Swamp Crab Spider
                                                                                                                        Hairy-legged Horsefly
                                                                                                                          Four-banded Flower Bee
                                                                                                                             Large-headed Resin Bee

Dickleburgh Moor, 15 June 2024

With the weather forecast being wet for the afternoon I took the opportunity of a couple of hours at Dickleburgh Moor in the morning.

The perimeter path is now fully open so I did a 360 walk around the whole site. Birding was dominated by egrets with a count of c60 Little Egrets and a nice find of a single Great White Egret in their midst. A family party of Gadwall with 10 young following their mother about was also good to see.

Insects formed the mainstay of my walk though with the highlight being c20 Golden-bloomed Grey Longhorn Beetles loafing about on reeds and nettles. The scarce Broadened Planthopper was swept from the grass by the carpark with Alder Spittlebug, Wasp Beetle, Common Froghopper, Leafedge Sawfly larvae and Furry Dronefly, Eristalis intricaria found as well.

Back at home I was delighted with 2 new insects - the tiny Orange-vented Mason Bee on Fox and Cubs in the front lawn and the distinctice hoverfly Syritta pipiens, aka Thick-legged Hoverfly.  

                                                                                                  Golden-bloomed Grey Longhorn Beetles
                                                                                                                              Broadened Planthopper
                                                                                                                                  Wasp Beetle
                                                                                                                                   Alder Spittlebug

                                                                                                                       Orange-vented Mason Bee

                                                                                                                           Thick-legged Hoverfly

Local orchid excitement!

In the last few days there has been much local orchid excitement. Being just a 10 minute drive from home and with hospitable hosts it has been a real pleasure. 

At the same location as the mystery Northern Marsh Orchids last month (which are still present) a small handful of the scarce 'alba' variation of Common Spotted Orchid have popped up amongst many of more standard colouration. It's a plant I have wanted to see for a long time and have lost count of the number of times I have bent down to look at one I thought was a pure alba only to find it had faint markings! Into the bargain, at the same spot was also a Bee Orchid var. flavescens alongside a 'normal' one. 

Fast forward a couple of days and less than 100 yards away from there the rare Bee Orchid var. fulvofuscus with it's chocolate coloured unmarked lip was found so I just had to check that one out too. Again the landowners were most welcoming and with c100 Bee Orchids at the location I also found a Bee Orchid var. chlorantha. Amazing to think that 4 different variations of the species are present in such a small area!

While out and about I also checked Flordon Common with Keven - many Southern Marsh Orchids, including some 'schoenaphila' specimens, a few Common Spotted Orchids and the curious moth Dark-dotted Longhorn, Nematopogon metaxella