Weekend wanderings, 23 - 25 February 2024

After a bit of a lull due to illness and general winter blues this weekend was busy and very enjoyable.

For our Friday walk we chose West Harling Woods where the nature highlights were a bit sparse. It's hard to sneeze at Scarlet Elf Cups though - and we found plenty. The other main fungal find was Purplepore Bracket.

                                                                                                                                 Scarlet Elfcups

Fast forward to Saturday and a day to myself. I started out at the John Innes Conference Centre in Colney, Norwich. Here the flock of 28 Waxwings were present on arrival and watched for some while commuting between a berry-laden cotoneaster and the safety of a large oak. Talking to Grahan Etherington there he confirmed that a colour-ringed bird there was rung in Elgin and has now made it to Norwich via Carlisle! 2 Grey Wagtails were also seen plus a Little Egret on the marsh behind the church on Old Watton Road. Moving on to my other venue for the day Earlham Cemetery I had a particular ladybird species I wanted to try and find. Luck was on my side because the 2nd individual I looked at was Eyed Ladybird, my much wanted target! While mooching about I found several other species - Cream-spot Ladybird, 10-spot Ladybird of 2 different forms (bimaculata and decempunctata), 7-spot Ladybird, Orange Ladybird and the ubiquitous Harlequin Ladybird in many different guises. Other really pleasing find were a distinctive Humped Orbweb Spider, Gibbaranea gibbosa shaken from a Larch and the hoverfly Tapered Drone Fly, Eristalis pertinax. Both were new to me.   


                                                                                                                                Eyed Ladybird
                                                                                                           10-spot Ladybird, form bimaculata
                                                                                                  10-spot Ladybird, form decempunctata
                                                                                                                              Cream-spot Ladybird
                                                                                                                          Humped Orbweb Spider
                                                                                                                                    Tapered Drone Fly

Sunday saw us in the Yare Valley south of the river. Before we walked at Rockland Broad and Wheatfen a scan of the flock of Pink-footed Geese at Langley Green revealed the hoped-for Ruddy Shelduck. Also notable were 8 Greenfinches by the Rockland Staithe carpark.


Ghana Butterflies

After much online research and some help from a butterfly guide who works for Ashanti I have finally been able to put a name to all the butterflies we saw in Ghana back in November/December. 

Ghana was excellent for butterflies and we saw loads. Especially good spots were the Bobiri Butterfly Sanctuary and especially the Atewa Range where we were blown away by the variety, many of them quite spectacular. Ashanti run specialised butterfly tours to the country and I can see why. 

Here are the ones I managed to photograph and id. 

                                                                                                                             Blue Diamed
                                                                                                                          Dark Blue Pansy
                                                                                                                               Soldier Pansy
                                                                                                                          Common Ringlet
                                                                                                                                      Plain Tiger
                                                                                                                         Ussher's Palla
                                                                                                                            Light Bush Brown
                                                                                                         Western Yellow-banded Swallowtail
                                                                                                                         Gussfeldt's Ginger White
                                                                                                              Broad-banded Green Swallowtail
                                                                                                                        Forest Glade Nymph
                                                                                                                                Forest Admiral
                                                                                                                       Common Red Glider
                                                                                                                              Small Orange Dancer
                                                                                                                              Western Blue Beauty
                                                                                                                              Common Commodore
                                                                                                        Common White-banded Swallowtail
                                                                                                                        Common Fairy Hairstreak
                                                                                                                        Veronica Nymph
                                                                                                                        Forest Caper White
                                                                                                                            Blood Red Glider
                                                                                                                            Cambridge Vagrant
                                                                                                                           Alicnoe Bermatistes
                                                                                                                              Mocker Swallowtail
                                                                                                                               Widespread Forester
                                                                                                                              African Map Butterfly
                                                                                                                         Veined Swallowtail
                                                                               Long-tailed Striped Swallowtail and Spotted Hairtail
                                                                                                                              Sabine Albatross

Arched Earthstar, Geastrum fornicatum near Norwich, 7 February 2024

Acting on a tip off from a friend I popped along to a location just south of Norwich this afternoon to see a new species of fungus for me - Arched Earthstar.

I knew the spot well having seen another rare earthstar Geastrum britannicum there a couple of years ago. Growing under a large old Yew tree (typical habitat) I found them in exactly the same place and without too much trouble counted 17 in varying states.