Saturday 21 July 2018

A Day at NT Wicken Fen (Opening Day of Chris Packham's UK BioBlitz)

Small red-eyed Damselfly*, one of the first insects we saw on arrival

We arrived at NT Wicken Fen on the first day of Chris Packham's UK BioBlitz at the site. There was quite a buzz, and although the BioBlitz did not begin until the late afternoon, we were able to do a couple of 15 minute Butterfly Conservation 'Big Butterfly Count' surveys in advance of the main proceedings.

I'm glad to report that when the time came for the start of the Wicken Fen BioBlitz, David and I kickstarted the count with our sightings of a Water Vole and a Banded Demoiselle. Yay!

We had also seen a Grass Snake, but, alas, before the opening of the proceedings so it could not be counted.

My first 'Big Butterfly Count' surveys, lasting for 15 minutes, produced the following results:

Sadly the following species did not show up during either of my counts, though we saw a couple of Blues on the wing during the afternoon (hard to ID) and one or two Red Admirals:
  • Comma
  • Painted Lady
  • Small Tortoiseshell
  • Red Admiral
  • Peacock
  • Common Blue
  • Holly Blue
  • Silver Y Moth
  • Six-spot Burnet Moth
I plan to do more surveys over the next few weeks. 

Our butterfly surveys complete (and these were separate from the BioBlitz), we kept an eye out for other species. By this time the BioBlitz had begun and I was delighted to see my first Banded Demoiselle of the season. Sadly the Water Vole was too fast for us to catch on camera though we enjoyed hearing it munching away before the telltale 'plop' that preceded its brief appearance.

Demoiselle, Wicken Fen, 21 July 2018

The kind members of NT/Bioblitz staff posed for me in the photo below, after recording our two sightings. By now their list will be looking pretty full!

 And here's David (Gill) standing outside the BioBlitz Recording Centre.

Earlier in the day David had managed to get a photo of the Grass Snake ... You really need to see the photo on a large screen to be convinced, but it is there in the centre of the photo, moving horizontally across the lode to the left, just behind a horizontal reed.

What a great day, and we wish everyone at Wicken another terrific day tomorrow when Chris Packham will be on site for part of the day.

* My thanks to Conehead for alerting me to the fact that this is the Small Red-eyed Damselfly.

Tuesday 17 July 2018

Updated Home Patch Species List

We have been up in the north and over in Galloway, enjoying glorious sunshine, so my apologies for the lack of recent postings. Perhaps our most unusual sighting took place on our journey when we stopped at RSPB Fairburn Ings to see the astonishing sight of Spoonbill chicks in their nest. Those with scopes had a better view than we did, but it was, nonetheless, a memorable experience.

Holiday wildlife photos will follow in due course, but for now I am posting an updated version of my home patch species list, 'HP' in my list below standing, of course, for 'home patch'. Dates with a green background are first sightings (in 2017). Dates with an orange background are first sightings (in 2018).

The list began with Lucy Corrander's Tree Following meme in mind. I am continuing it for my own interest, and think I will now omit unidentified creatures. There have, for example, been plenty of unidentified moths over the last two or three years. With identification in mind, I am trying to post more on iSpot this summer.

Avian sightings - unlike the Big Garden Birdwatch, a bird seen clearly from the house or garden counts for my purposes. We have, for example, yet to see a Grey Heron landing in our home patch, but we have had several good sightings of these birds flying over in the direction of the local nature reserve, one road away, and perching on a neighbour's roof. We have often heard the local Tawny Owl, but I am not counting 'birds heard' (unless they are also seen) at present.

  • HPb1   Great Spotted Woodpecker
  • HPb2   Great tit
  • HPb3   Long-tailed Tit
  • HPb4   Blackbird  
  • HPb5   Song Thrush   
  • HPb6   Blue tit 
  • HPb7   Robin
  • HPb8   Magpie 
  • HPb9   Wood Pigeon
  • HPb10 Dunnock  
  • HPb11 Starling 
  • HPb12 Carrion Crow 
  • HPb13 Goldfinch
  • HPb14 Jay 
  • HPb15 Green Woodpecker
  • HPb16 Wren 
  • HPb17 Bullfinch [[19 January 2017] 
  • HPb18 Sparrowhawk
  • HPb19 Mallard
  • HPb20 House Sparrow 
  • HPb21 Chaffinch
  • HPb22 Grey Heron 
  • HPb23 Collared Dove 
  • HPb24 Coal tit
  • HPb25 Redwing [[20 January 2017] 
  • HPb26 Kestrel  [[8 June 2017] 

Mammal sightings
  • HPm1 (?Wood) Mouse
  • HPm2 Bat ... [first 2015 garden sighting 7 May 2015] [Apr/May 2015]  [[22 Jan 2017]  [Aug 2018]
  • HPm3 Shrew 
  • HPm4 Grey Squirrel  [Jan/Feb 2016] [Feb/Mar 2016] [Mar/Apr 2016] [Jul/Aug 2016] [2017][Aug 2018]
  • HPm5 Stoat
  • HPm6 Hedgehog  [9 Aug 2018]

Insect sightings
  • HPi1 Small Tortoiseshell Butterfly [March 2014] [[27 February 2017] 
  • HPi2 Buff-tailed Bumblebee [March 2014] [Jan/Feb 2016] [Mar/Apr 2016] [2017]
  • HPi3 Brimstone Butterfly [April 2014]
  • HPi4 7-spot Ladybird [April 2014] [Oct 2014] [Apr/May 2015] [Jul/Aug 2015] [Sept/Oct 2015] [Mar/Apr 2016]
  • HPi5 Skipper Butterfly [July 2014]
  • HPi6 Meadow Brown Butterfly [July 2014] [Jul/Aug 2015]
  • HPi7 Large White Butterfly [July 2014] [Jul/Aug 2016]
  • HPi8 14-spot Yellow Ladybirds [July 2014]
  • HPi9 Small White Butterfly [May 2014] [Apr/May 2015] [Sept/Oct 2015 - caterpillars]
  • HPi10 Orange tip Butterfly [May 2014]
  • HPi11 Harlequin ladybird  [May 2014] [October 2014] [Sept/Oct 2015]
  • HPi12 Garden Chafer (Phyllopertha horticola) [June 2014] [June/July 2016] [18 May 2018]
  • HPi13 Ruby-tail Wasp [June 2014] [May/June 2015] [May/June 2016] [[21 May 2017] 
  • HPi14 Blackfly [June 2014
  • HPi15 Marmalade Hoverfly [July 2014] [Jul/Aug 2015] [Jul/Aug 2016]
  • HPi16 Shield bug [July 2014] [Apr/May 2015]
  • HPi17 Migrant Hawker dragonflies [July 2014]
  • HPi18 Gatekeeper Butterfly [Jul/Aug 2016]
  • HPi19 Comma butterfly [August 2014] [June/July 2016] [2017]
  • HPi20 Red Admiral butterfly [August 2014] [October 2014] [Jul/Aug 2015]
  • HPi21 Peacock butterfly [August 2014] [Jul/Aug 2015] [Nov/Dec 2015] 
  • HPi22 Green bottle flies [August 2014] [May/June 2015]
  • HPi23 Ants [August 2014] [Apr/May 2015]  [May/June 2015] [Jul/Aug 2015] [Sept/Oct 2015 ] [Jun/July 2016] [2017]
  • HPi24 Squashbug aka Dock Bug, (Coreus marginatus ) [August 2014] [May 2018, mating]
  • HPi25 Birch Shieldbug (late instar?) [September 2014]
  • HPi26 Lacewing [October 2014] [Sept/Oct 2015]
  • HPi27 Cereal Leaf Beetle [Apr/May 2015]
  • HPi28 Painted Lady [2018]
  • HPi29 Rosemary Beetle [[Sept/Oct 2015] [May/June 2016 - four] [May 2017]
  • HPi30 Hawthorn Shieldbug [May/June 2015] 
  • HPi31 Forest Shieldbug (Pentatoma rufipes) [Sept/Oct 2015] 
  • HPi32 Early Bumblebee [Mar/Apr 2016] 
  • HPi33 Species of Miridae [Mar/Apr 2016]  
  • HPi34 Cranefly [May/June 2016] 
  • HPi35 Crossocerus, wasps family Crabronidae [May/June 2016] 
  • HPi36 Wasp Beetle (Clytus arietis) [May/June 2016]
  • HPi37 Tree Bumblebee (Bombus (Pyrobombus) hypnorum) [May/June 2016] 
  • HPi38 Moth Least Black Arches (Nola confusalis) [May/June 2016] 
  • HPi39 Holly Blue Butterfly  [[26 May 2017]  
  • HPi40 Dark Bush Cricket (nymph) [[18 May 2017]  
  • HPi41 Common Cockchafer  [[18 May 2017]  
  • HPi42 Scorpion Fly [May2017] [[23 May 2017]  
  • HPi43 Soldier Beetle (Cantharis rustica [2017] [[23 May 2017]    [13 May 2018]
  • HPi44 Cabbage Bug (Eurydema (Eurydema) oleracea)  [2017]  [[9 June 2017]  
  • HPi45 Light Brown Apple moth (Epiphyas postvittana) [2017] [[23 May 2017] 
  • HPi46 Large Red damselfly (Pyrrhosoma nymphula)   [9 May 2018] 
  • HPi47  Common Blue butterfly (Polyommatus icarus  [11 May 2018] 
  • HPi48  Speckled Wood butterfly (Pararge aegeria  [15 May 2018] 
  • HPi49  Ruby Tiger moth (Phragmatobia fuliginosa  [18 May 2018] 
  • HPi50  Mint Moth (Pyrausta aurata  [24 May 2018] 
  • HPi51  Mullein Moth larva (Cucullia verbasci  [14 June 2018] 
  • HPi52  Silver Y moth (two)   [August 2018]
  • HPi53  Rove Beetle (Platydracus stercorarius)   [September 2018]