Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Redshank #2

Easy to gloss over things that are already on the list but the Redshank that Richard Thewlis found on the flood this lunchtime was only the second in 2011 (and was only my second ever at The Lakes - and my first 'on the deck' - when I wandered down to have a look this evening). Oystercatcher numbers are now up to 6 adults with (at least) 2 chicks, and Egyptian Geese are now into double figures, the latter likely to increase as birds that have (presumably) bred on surrounding farmland congregate here post-breeding.

As for our TEAL figure, it wouldn't be right to unveil where we've got to without one of our all-taxa leaders, Andy Musgrove, who is currently AWL (like AWOL but 'with' rather than 'without') in Greece... he's back 8/6 so watch this space.

Friday, 27 May 2011


We've finally gotten round to putting the complete Lodge list together. Already we've found some gaps (my Black-tailed Skimmer isn't on there for instance!), so the figure will go up after the weekend. Take a look here.

Birds - 125
Other taxa - 476
Grand Total - 601

We're sure BTO are thrashing us though...

Monday, 23 May 2011

Moth-tastic avec trap

Despite windy and clear conditions over the weekend, Saturday night produced another decent haul of moths, including 7 hawkmoths of 4 species (Pine, Eyed and two of my favourites, Elephant and Small Elephant). On a personal note, sorting out Epiblema cynosbatella (with its diagnostic yellow labial palps - handy info for my next pub quiz, I'm sure) and Ancylis mitterbacheriana without assistance was surprisingly gratifying!

Friday, 20 May 2011


I nearly didn't wander down to the flood this morning... glad I did though because there was a smart adult Little Ringed Plover on it, 128! As I moved in for a better look my 'phone went - Neil Calbrade about to tell me there was a LRP on the flood (he was watching from under the trees on the Barnhamcross Common side so we hadn't seen each other)! A minute or two later a Common Sandpiper appeared, and there was a burst of song from the Nightingale too - not a bad detour on the way to work.

Thursday, 19 May 2011

Moth-tastic sans trap

You don't need a moth-trap to get a shedload of species at this time of year. Didn't make it to the lakes today, but walked along the thin strip of BTO land that goes alongside the R Thet. A good selection of moths, mostly common and expected stuff but several new for the year - always nice to see Nemophora degeerella, Micropterix calthella and the tiny Glyphipterix simpliciella, but I don't see so many Adela croesella or A rufimitrella so these were particularly pleasing. Other newbies were Grapholita jungiella, Udea olivalis, Anthophila fabriciana and Dingy Shell, but pick of the bunch was my first Endothenia nigricostana, which appears to be the 4th Norfolk record since 2000, according to the mighty Norfolk Moths website. A couple of Coleophora also require further attention...

Non-leps were represented by Water Forget-me-not and Dock Bug, plus a Melangyna hoverfly that may be barbifrons, although needs more careful checking still.

Birds - what are they?

Dragon slaying

Scarce Chaser (2nd record for The Lodge, photo by Nigel Willits), and Hairy Dragonfly (from a few years ago by Katie Fuller).

The Lodge dragon and damsel count is currently 11 species, with a Black-tailed Skimmer I saw on the heath today a new addition. The full run-down is as follows:

Hairy Dragonfly

Scarce Chaser

Four-spotted Chaser

Broad-bodied Chaser

Black-tailed Skimmer

Azure Damselfly

Common Blue Damselfly

Large Red Damselfly

Banded Demoiselle

Red-eyed Damselfly

Blue-tailed Damselfly

The Hairy Dragon and Scarce Chaser are both interesting as they are both relatively new to the area, having presumably worked their way down the rivers Great Ouse, and Ivel. The closest known Scarce Chaser colony is around four miles away, so having them occasionally turn up in the middle of the Lodge woodland is rather surprising. Hairy Dragonflies have increased in number around The Lodge in the last few years, with small colonies now around the swimming pool and Jacks pond. They can however, be one of our most elusive of dragonflies to see!

Minor grip back

I walked down to the south-western extremity of the reserve this lunchtime, hoping to bag the Acros at Warren Villas NR. Sedge was available on arrival, the Cetti's was blasting away and I thought I could hear the slower-paced chuntering of a distant Reed, but couldn't be 100%, so it stays off for now.

Still, both Cetti's and Sedge were 'reserve ticks' for me. We move to 126.

4-spotted Chaser

Not quite the avian tick we felt like we deserved for getting up to do CES at 0430 today, but a fresh female 4-spotted Chaser resting by our ringing base was nice all the same. Also plenty of Blue-tailed and Common Blue Damselflies (the former quickly IDed thanks to Andy's earlier post).

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

And a few more

Not new, but a major emergence of Banded Demoiselles today, attracting two awesome low-flying Hobbies over the flood. Less spectacular, but more list-worthy, were Yellow Shell, Crambus lathoniellus, Speckled Bush-cricket (nymph), Pegomya solennis (mines), Athous sp. (click beetle - species to be worked on...), Blue-tailed Damselfly, White Bryony, Phryganea sp. (big caddis - not sure if I can get to species...), Smooth Meadow-grass and Drosphila sp. attracted to my very over-ripe banana. A few other bits and pieces still to work on also.

Gringo and tiger!

Gringo is an Irish friend's name for Greenshank... and Paul Stancliffe has just had one flying over The Nunnery calling repeatedly (as they do), 127! Can't quite believe we now have 3 waders that are not on The Lodgers' list... for how long though, I wonder?

Missed the opportunity to photograph a pristine Cream-spot Tiger this morning as it was far more awake than I realised when I took it out for a photo-shoot. Still, a nice one to find in the moth trap last night.

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Lunchtime stroll

Time somewhat limited at present, but a short lunchtime stroll by the river notched up at least five more - Barren Brome, Common Club-rush, Common Bird's-foot Trefoil, the hoverfly Episyrphus balteatus and the micro-moth Psyche casta, in addition to a pocket full of beetles for later inspection. Plenty of species out there, not enough time to work on them...

Monday, 16 May 2011


The true bugs (Heteroptera) are one of the least recorded groups on RSPB reserves, which is a shame given how attractive some of them can be. Here are three recent finds from the lodge: Miris striatus, Dryophilocoris flavoquadrimaculatus and Cyllecoris histrionius.

Miris striatus
Dryophilocoris flavoquadrimaculatus
Cyllecoris histrionius

Director leads by example

After keeping his powder dry in terms of BirdTrack Challenge additions (or being 2 days behind everyone else, depending which way you look at it), BTO Director Andy Clements chipped in with the vital contribution of a Spotted Flycatcher this lunchtime. 126 OTL, the lead retaken and a potentially very tricky grip-back secured.

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

A (lady)bird in the hand is worth three on the list

An impressive handful of ladybirds scooped up by Simon Gillings today: Cream-streaked, Eyed, 10-spot and Pine (from top left to top right, the latter not new). Nice one Simon!

Not so fast...

Although Turtle Doves are more abundant (though for how much longer?) here in Norfolk than in Bedfordshire, they are by no means regular down the Lakes in the course of a year, so it was good that Chas Holt had one fly through the reserve this lunchtime. Scores again tied on 125.

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Dragon, fish

A lunchtime site visit to discuss possible ways to improve the wader habitat on the Lakes reserve in the long term (no good for the BT Challenge, sadly) saw a group of us on the reserve today. The extra eyes produced a couple of (unLodgeable) goodies: Hairy Dragonfly and Brown Trout (the latter nearly causing king-fisher Rob Fuller to fall in, he was so excited!). On the bird front, the Nightingale was still singing strongly and a Hobby was hawking (Hairy Dragonflies?!) overhead, whilst elsewhere on the reserve Neil Calbrade photographed a late Wheatear - which if the date is anything to go by, could/should be a candidate for a Greenland (not that I expect we'll ever know for sure). Not a bad lunchtime's work, all in all.


Our friendly county moth recorder popped up again to help us on with a few more.

Bradley - Fletcher number Common Name Date Remarks
6 Eriocrania subpurpurella 05/05/2011 tenanted mines on Oak
8 Eriocrania unimaculella 05/05/2011 tenanted mine on Birch
10 Eriocrania salopiella 05/05/2011 tenanted mines on birch
11 Eriocrania cicatricella 05/05/2011 tenanted mine on Birch
13 Eriocrania semipurpurella 05/05/2011 tenanted mines on birch
36a Ectoedemia heringella 05/05/2011 mine on Holm Oak
85 Stigmella suberivora 05/05/2011 mine on Holm Oak
185 Luffia ferchaultella 05/05/2011 several cases on lichen on wall
186 Psyche casta 05/05/2011 case on signpost, larva seen
321 Phyllonorycter messaniella 05/05/2011 mines on Holm Oak
332a Phyllonorycter leucographella 05/05/2011 mine on Pyracantha on toilet block wall by gatehouse
366a Cameraria ohridella 05/05/2011 adults seen
493 Coleophora serratella 05/05/2011 many cases on Birch
523 Coleophora hemerobiella 05/05/2011 case on Hawthorn
797 Neofaculta ericetella 05/05/2011 potted near Heather on old heath
2190 Hebrew Character 05/05/2011 larva on Lime

Monday, 9 May 2011

Double the Diversity

Nothing like a bit of warm weather to get the moths out and about; with all the IDs from last night finally clinched, I can now reveal a total score of 99 moths of 40 (macro) species, easily the most diverse haul of the year. Better still, 19 new ones for the TEAL Cup, Pale Pinion attracting the most attention from Moth-er Musgrove (it being a tick for him!), the best-looking beast award a three-way tie between Eyed Hawkmoth, Buff-tip and Angle Shades.


TURTLE DOVES! Not one, but two Turtle Doves are currently sat in a larch tree on the new heath. They have just been watched to fly in by Andy Schofield et al.

With the numbers of Turtle Doves rapidly disappearing all over Bedfordshire, our chances for a single passing migrant were slim. Having two appear gives slight hope of them staying for the summer... 125 and we take the lead!

Flying Snake

This somewhat bizarre insect was hanging around on a window on Friday. After a bit of google based research it was revealed to be Atlantoraphidia maculicollis. First record for the lodge, and possibly for any RSPB reserve
Atlantoraphidia maculicollis

Friday, 6 May 2011

'Rattling' BTO's cage?

Being the only person regularly walking around The Lodge at the moment (or at least seemingly so), Andy Schofield found another difficult reserve bird yesterday. It was a singing Lesser Whitethroat by the quarry entrance. Number 124.

I guess we should start looking at things other than birds now...

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Box Bug (Gonocerus acuteangulatus)

No, not in a box, but feeds on it and traditionally known from Box Hill in Surrey but has been spreading its range recently. When I found this striking beastie at the lakes back on 20th April I didn't know what it was and had to wait until now before my book on Shieldbugs and Squashbugs (Evans & Edmondson) arrived. Identification was then fairly straightforward, but I was surprised and somewhat pleased to discover that it is a new species for Norfolk!

Tuesday, 3 May 2011


Today's Spotted Flycatcher brings us up to 123. Andy Schofield pulls another out the bag from his office window at the Gatehouse.

There's been a Little Gull regularly on Derek's over the last few days. Just need to be lucky from the Plateau this evening...

Great Argus

No, not the pheasant, but nice to see the first Brown Argus butterflies on the wing this lunchtime, as well as Common Blue and Small Copper. The Large Red Damselflies have now been joined by Common Blue Damsels, and a selection of new plants appearing included Goatsbeard, Tall Rocket {not Flixweed as initially recorded}, Hedge Mustard, Houndstongue, Meadow Foxtail and White Campion. Nothing new on the bird front, although a Common Sandpiper was heard, along with Cuckoo and Swift.


Seconds after 4 Swifts shot over the reserve yesterday morning they were followed by the first Hobby of the year, in full attack mode! 124.

Sunday, 1 May 2011

A Nightingale sang in...

...the Nunnery Lakes reserve! Well in the perimeter hedge but I was sitting firmly in the reserve listening to it this evening, thanks to a tip-off from Chas Holt who found it yesterday. That's the possible from a fortnight ago safely OTL, 123. A tricky one at The Lodge these days?