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Saturday, 23 June 2012

Carlton Marshes Spotted Fly

I was up with the lark, this morning, although not heard today (unlike yesterday morning Friday 22 June, where 1 Sky Lark flew overhead singing beautifully) taking advantage of the wonderful golden early morning light to photograph the local 4 Bee Orchids along the roadside verge. On Fallowfields, I saw the very vocal (and much appreciated) local Willow Warbler singing on top of a bush. At Carlton Marshes, Goldfinches 4, 5 Linnets at the start and 2 Reed and 3 Sedge Warblers were seen although breeze was keeping them low down in reeds/ bushes. At the end of the main track, after seeing c6 low flying Swifts, a welcome Spotted Flycatcher perched for some time in a bush to the left. I managed to get a few shots of this bird, as I did of a calling male Whitethroat from on top of a piece of bramble bush.

Friday, 22 June 2012

Darter dip and Shrike tick!

On Sunday 17th June, hearing from some friends they had found a Large White- faced darter along Docwra's dyke, I was urged to keep it quiet there was no way the spot could be policed all the time and I was also very concerned about "collectors" coming to "obtain" one, let's be honest brutally murder it. See my earlier post re: the Southern Migrant Hawkers in Essex. So not a word from me, and no blogging until now, until Suffolk BINS/ RBA put the news out. I visited late morning, it was a blustery day and at the dyke with the bridge, I first spotted a female Blue-tailed Skimmer on the path, up to 3 Four- spotted Chasers seen perching by the reeds and 1 Hairy Hawker was buzzing about too. A Water Vole briefly swam through the reeds. Unfortunately, there was no sign of the hoped- for darter during my two hour vigil. On Wednesday 20th June, hearing of a Woodchat Shrike this time at Lowestoft at Gunton Cliff viewable from the bus stop opposite the Pitch and Putt entrance. Rob Wil, Andrew E, Paul & Jane were there and after 10 minutes the Woodchat Shrike, a probable female 1st year bird briefly popped up on some gorse. Later, it was seen and photographed perched deep in the gorse bush with just the head and shoulders showing. But overall a somewhat elusive bird.

Saturday, 16 June 2012

More Bee Orchids found

On Tuesday 12th June evening, 3 Bee Orchids seen on a western bank around the Gunton area. Wednesday 13th June morning, I saw them again. Friday 15th June evening, just after work in the garden, a Holly Blue was seen in the garden by the bush just east of the pond. It flew back a little way and then flew to the west side of the garden before finally settling on a developing golden orb of Buddlea globosa where I managed to get a nice shot of it. On Saturday afternoon 16th June, looking over a nearby local site, I found a total of 7 Hybrid Orchids, plus 4 Southern Marsh orchids and 3 Spotted Orchids. Nearby by the bank half way along, a brand "new" colony of 6 mature Bee Orchids found, one with 14 flowers! Just in from the bank a further 3 Bee Orchids were seen around a large bush.

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Bee Orchids mown down

I'm afraid I was too late in warning AW about not cutting the grass on the land they own. It was soul destroying to see all of the grassland completely cut. Chris M had alerted me yesterday to contact the owners. All 140 Bee Orchids that I and Jane F found, including all 4 rare Chlorantha form of Bee Orchids (that Jane F found) have been cut. It is a real crying shame and I'm sure it's just general ignorance on the part of the company, I'm sure they didn't realise and I will be doing all I can to stop this happening in the future. A positive stance will be taken with the company to ensure a proper management plan for the benefit of all wildlife can be put in place in the near future.

Sunday, 10 June 2012

Walberswick Woodchat

The weather was much better than expected and an early morning visit to the Bee Orchid colony was fitted in. I then went onto another site nearby and managed to see a Green Hairstreak photographed on an Oak leaf. A hovering Kestrel was also seen. In the garden today, a medium sized Frog in the garden pond, took delight in hiding underneath some newly cut foliage that fell into the pond. Sunny spells revealed a Large Red Damselfly perched on the bush and Marsh marigold leaves. Mid afternoon, I drove down to Walberswick common via Church lane, just before the church and amongst the gorse several 4 Dartford Warblers seen and the 1st summer male Woodchat Shrike, a smart bird with a brown rather than a black back, was seen perched on a stick in the cleared area before it flew to the gorse. A photographer explained to me it was doing a regular wide circuit of the area. It flew across and to some other gorse, catching a beetle and quickly devouring it. It then flew over to a Silver Birch tree before flying back to the gorse area. It was then seen by the wire bordering the perimeter of the playing field.

Saturday, 9 June 2012

Rare Chlorantha Bee Orchids found

I had a message from Jane F today she had seen 4 "White" Bee Orchids amongst the colony of 43 I had initially discovered (on a lunch break from work, no time to fully survey the area). Jane had gone to take a look and not only found a lot more Bee Orchids, an additional 97, now totalling c140. An incredible tally and the largest colony I know in the Lowestoft area, but she'd also found this rare form too. I went to take a look this afternoon and I now had the time to do a full count and I too counted around 140. With several by the start of the path and many more on the west side of the track too. I then discovered the "White" Bee Orchids, they were the rare form of "Chlorantha" Bee orchids and they were absolute stunners!! One was near the second corner of the fence on the east side of the track, while the other 2 had been sadly squashed (probably by a Rabbit or Fox) and were slightly further east just by the fence. They were really striking plants and a great find by Jane, very well done, a fantastic discovery! They had striking white lateral sepals, yellow petals and a bright- greenish- yellow lip with a faint white "ghost pattern" on it. The other White Bee Orchid was well away from the others and was found by the entrance path (from the west of the site) at the bottom and it was on the strip of grass by the fence, just 6 posts from the end.

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

New Bee Orchid Colony found

Whilst in the Lowestoft area this morning, I stumbled on first 1 and then 17 Bee Orchids seen in a very suitable area of grassland. There were near a fence, or just west of it where the fence juts out near a stepover. Some were in flower some were not yet in flower. They were all in an area measuring barely 6 metres by 4 metres square. This was an exciting new discovery of a new Bee Orchid colony in the Lowestoft area. It was interesting to note that several plants (c5%) showed a pointed lip to the labellum, (see picture) a feature also noticed by Ricky, the lip is similar in shape to the Wasp Orchid variant, although the patterning on the flower shows that these are not Wasp Orchids. The pointed lip is a feature I have not noticed before on Bee Orchids. A trip back there in late afternoon to do a full survey revealed an incredible 41 Bee Orchid plants. Later on in the morning, at another site, by some Sallows, a female Broad- bodied Chaser posed very well for the camera, she was initially perched on a small Oak, then she flew onto a blade of grass (see header picture). The hoped for Green Hairstreaks at the same site failed to show, probably the gusty weather hadn't helped.

Carlton Marshes

Monday 4th an evening visit to Carlton Marshes revealed around 30 Swift low over the reeds plus a House Martin, a Cuckoo was heard west of the marsh. Little else seen. Driving back along Burnt Hill Lane, just before the rail track, 1 Little Owl was perched on a telegraph post on the west side of the road. After a few minutes it flew low across the road and into an orchard an out of sight.

Saturday, 2 June 2012

Winterton Woodchat

On the evening of Wednesday 30 May, I saw a medium sized Common Frog by the bean patch in the garden and Jenny had seen a large Frog in the wildlife pond on the same day. We caught the former and released it by the pond. By Thursday night 31 May, he, the Common Frog, was back by the bean patch! Leaving the Woodchat til mid- afternoon on Saturday 2nd June, following a trip to Beccles. I walked along the North Dunes at Winterton Dunes to the fence 3/4 mile north, no sign of it there but there were people in the distance gathered together watching something, always a good sign. I walked over to them and we looking onto the Dunes and we could see the bird which looked like an excellent first summer female Woodchat Shrike perched on top of a very distant bush. The brown back and paler crown indicating it's a 1st summer female, ie 1 year old bird. Walking nearer I traversed around some of the now fenced off Toad Pools, where lino had been put down, but only 1 pool held water. I and 2 others, walked around one fenced off area and the bird was perched in a bush not too far away. I managed to get slightly closer to the bird which remained perched in a bush and I sat down and watched it suddenly waken from its slumbers when the sun came up, it hopped up to the top of the bush and after a few minutes flew down caught a beetle and flew back to the bush. The bird then flew over to the fencing around one of the toad pools, where she promptly flew down caught another beetle and ate that too. I later saw Norwich Pete who enjoyed watching the bird and I retraced my steps looked in the toad pool with water and saw lots of tadpoles around the edge, were these tiny Natterjacks? Later on at Breydon Water south shore wall, I saw Paul & Jane and later a small flock of around 30 waders flew north over the water, most were Dunlin but 2 smaller birds looked interesting but not identifiable at that range. 3 Black- tailed Godwit in summer plumage probed the mud nearby were the only close birds seen.