The Whitlingham Bird Report 2019 is available now (click here)

For previous years (2012-2018) see the links on the Whitlingham Bird List page.

NORWICH: Garden lockdown list days 92 to 96 including a new species for Norfolk

DAY 92 - 21st June 2020

Nothing new added

DAY 93 - 22nd June 2020

Nothing new added

DAY 94 - 23rd June 2020

Earlier in the week I had noticed a small bug on one of our Snapdragons, but it had flown off before I got a picture. Checking them again I noticed quite a few small green nymphs, and then eventually two adult bugs. I recognised it was being similar to some Dicyphus that we sometimes get on willowherbs, and having caught one I was able to confirm that it was Dicyphus escalerae, a species that specialises in Snapdragons and is spreading around the UK. Having checked with Tristan Bantock and Rob Coleman it turns out this is new to Norfolk! It is almost certainly being overlooked eleswhere, so worth looking out for.

187. Dicyphus escalerae (a plant bug)

DAY 95 - 24th June 2020
Whilst in the living room Cathy noticed a bug flying past the window. It appeared to land nearby, and for once it stayed there long enough for me to run out and confirm the ID. It was a Dock Bug, a very common species at Whitlingham and other green spaces around the city, but a new one for the garden.

188. Dock Bug

DAY 96 - 25th June 2020

A couple of new species found in the garden during a quick morning look around, and I added Woody Nightshade as its now in flower:

189. Broad Centurion (a soldierfly) 
190. Woody Nightshade
191. Golden-brown Tubic (Crassa unitella)

NORTH NORFOLK: A drizzly day at Holt C.P.

Mid-June 2020

For the second of our post-strict-lockdown family walks we decided to go to Holt Country Park. Unfortunately it was a drizzly day, but we stuck to the plan and had a nice walk around one of my childhood stomping grounds. Rose in particularly enjoyed splashing in some of the semi-permanent puddles that line one of the long rides. The weather meant we didn't see many butterflies, but there was still a smattering of interesting sightings, including a fairly scarce leaf mining moth in Rowan, Stigmella sorbi.

 White-barred Gold
 Mite gall on birch
 Barred Rowan Pigmy (Stigmella sorbi) leaf mine
 Agromyza johannae mine in Broom
 Suillus sp (a type of Bolete)
 Blusher (Amanita rubescens)
Volucella bombylans

NORWICH: Garden lockdown list day 91 - some moths

DAY 91 - 20th June 2020

I've not done much moth-trapping this year for a variety of reasons, not least that when I have done I've barely caught anything. This time I caught seven different species, so again a rather paltry return for the time of year, but they were all new for the year.

 Varied Coronet
 Heart & Club
 Heart & Dart
 Garden Grass Veneer
 Dark Arches
Mottled Beauty

180. Varied Coronet
181. Heart and Club
182. Heart and Dart
183. Garden Grass Veneer
184. Dark Arches
185. Spectacle
186. Mottled Beauty

NORWICH: Garden lockdown list days 88-90

DAY 88 - 17th June 2020

I got round to having a look at some small willowherbs growing in the garden and they appear to be Short-fruited Willowherb. Of more interest was a female Eupeodes luniger hoverfly, seen egg laying on the same Rocket plants that we had earlier watched the Large White butterfly egg laying on.

179. Short-fruited Willowherb

DAY 89 -18th June 2020

A very nice little micro moth found in the garden, but not destined for the list as it was a Cnephasia sp, a group of very similar moths with overlap between the patterns, only separable via dissection.

DAY 90 - 19th June 2020

Nothing new added

NORWICH: Garden lockdown list day 87 - bug & barklouse

DAY 87 - 16th June 2020

A day worthy of a separate entry as I found two new species, both tiny things on the bark of our large cypress tree. These were a plant bug, Dichrooscytus gustavi, a small, bright green and red (think Hawthorn Shieldbug-type colouration) bug found amongst some conifer litter, and a bark louse - Peripsocus milleri, of which there were loads all over the bark.

Other species seen were rather more flashy, including the hoverfly Scaeva pyrastri, Broad-barred White moth (found resting in the lawn), a caterpillar of a Peppered Moth (I've never caught the adult here so that was new for the garden) and Red-tailed Bumblebee - I probably saw this earlier in the month but didn't record it .

173. Dichrooscytus gustavi (a bug)
174. Peripsocus milleri (a barklouse)
175. Scaeva pyrastri (a hoverfly)
176. Broad-barred White (moth)
177. Peppered Moth
178. Red-tailed Bumblebee

NORWICH: Garden lockdown list days 85 & 86

DAY 85 - 14th June 2020

After getting brief glimpses of what initially looked like a small leafcutter bee, I was finally able to confirm that we had at least one Orange-vented Mason Bee visiting the garden. My pride and joy, some Viper's Bugloss purchased last year at Natural Surroundings, had also come into flower which was nice.

170. Osmia leiana (bee)

DAY 86 - 15th June 2020

Whilst out in the garden with Rose we watched a Buzzard soar over - it seems strange to think I'd not seen any up until this year, but it clearly is just related to the amount of time we have spent out in the garden this spring. I heard a family party of Long-tailed Tits nearby, which after checking was confirmed as a new lockdown garden bird, whilst I also found a Diamond-back Moth on the wall outside. I also noticed that the first of the Large White butterfly eggs that we had watched being laid had hatched.

171. Long-tailed Tit (heard only)
172. Diamond-back Moth

THORPE MARSHES: Savi's Warbler

13th June 2020

As we neared the longest day of the year lay-ins had gone out of the window - Rose was waking up early due to a combination of the light mornings, dawn chorus and us not tiring her out as much without her toddler groups. I was therefore already downstairs having had breakfast when early morning news broke of a Savi's Warbler reeling at Thorpe Marshes. This was a genuine county rarity and a first for the site. It was also a species that because of breeding potential might be kept quiet in other circumstances, (indeed it apparently had been heard a few days ago but not been reported). Cathy very kindly said I should go and have a look, and after finding my recently acquired Norwich City face mask I was soon out of the door.

It was a lovely sunny morning down at the marshes. When I arrived nobody was there obviously watching anything, but James Lowen and several others had arrived just ahead of me, and it was James who first heard the Savi's Warbler reeling from some sedges a bit further round on the marsh. We walked round, distancing not being a problem as it could be heard from a long section of path. For 20 minutes for so it called on-and-off unseen, before flying back and taking up a new position. This time it was out in the open albeit distant. I took a short video of it reeling on my phone, and a pointless record shot which I shall reproduce below (its the brown smudge in front of the third willow from the left!) This was only the second Savi's I'd seen, following one at Strumpshaw years ago.

Two Grasshopper Warblers were also reeling, which was nice for direct contrast, and a Cuckoo called in the distance. Under different circumstances it would have been a lovely day to spend sometime soaking up the atmosphere, but aware that I have left the house at short notice and wanting to avoid the possibility of crowds I headed back, stopping to check some buttercups where there were several of the tiny hoverflies Neoscia meticulosa. The Savi's Warbler stayed for about 10 days, often showing well, and as far as I'm aware behaviour on site was good, vindicating the decision to put out the news (realistically given how busy the site has been this spring it would have been hard to keep it quiet for any length of time).

NORWICH: Garden lockdown list days 81-84 - an aphid on lupins

DAY 81 - 10th June 2020

Nothing new added.

DAY 82 - 11th June 2020

Nothing new added

DAY 83 - 12th June 2020

In between the council mowing the bit of grass out of the front (they shouldn't, but do the whole row of house on the assumption it all needs doing) I keep checking to see if any new flowers have popped up, and indeed on this occasion I could add White Clover and Ribwort Plantain. A Swollen-thighed Beetle was also new for the lockdown list, although it flew off before I could photograph it.

165. White Clover
166. Ribwort Plantain
167. Swollen-thighed Beetle

DAY 84 - 13th June 2020

Cathy's prized Lupins in the back garden had begun to die off, and the flowering spikes were all covered by waxy aphids. I checked the influential points aphids website and was pleased to find that they could be identified, as Macrosiphum albifrons. I also found a beetle under a flowerpot, Calathus melaocephalus, so another two new species for me, something of a purple patch. 

168. Macrosiphum albifrons (aphid)
169. Calathus melaocephalus (beetle)

NORWICH: River Water-dropwort and Square-spot Drill

12th June 2020

A particularly productive walk home from work, with a couple of new species to add to the morning Rose-coloured Starling sighting. Near New Mills I spotted an umbellifer growing in the middle of the river. I'd seen it there before but not got good enough photos to identify it, and did the same again, but fortunately for me Chris Lansdell has my tweet about it and went and got some better pictures, enough to identify it as River Water Dropwort.

Walking through Wensum Park I had a look along a sunny bank, where there was a stand of Tansy not yet in flower. There was however a micro moth resting on the leaves, and it turned out to be Square-spot Drill (Dichrorampha sequana) a second new species of the day for me.

Nearing home I cut through Waterloo Park and spotted a large area of White Bryony. I decided to check it for two speciality insects, a Bryony Mining Bee and an interesting looking Tephritid with a long name, but didn't find either of them. I did notice a Stripe-legged Robberfly (Dioctria baumhaueri), which seems to be having a good year.

NORWICH: Sprowston Rose-coloured Starling

12th June 2020

This spring there had already been several Rose-coloured Starlings (I'm stubborn and still call them this rather than Rosy Starlings. Don't get me started on "Rosy Pastor" either) in the county, but I was content to stock up my feeders and hope that one would tag on to the large family group that were regularly visiting my garden. This changed when one turned up in Sprowston, 2.5 miles away. I do keep a Norwich bird list of sorts, and having failed to see one at Costessey a couple of years ago decided to go and look for this one. Ideally I would have walked there, but having worked out how long it would have taken to get there and back, plus waiting time, I couldn't do it before going to work so took the car.

Upon arrival the bird was out of sight in a nearby garden, being staked out by a handful of local birders. Twitches in urban areas can be rather awkward, but here everyone was very friendly, and I tried to repay this by answering questions from locals who stopped to ask what we were looking at, and in several cases told me about how they had been enjoying seeing the birds in their gardens during lockdown. After about twenty minutes I spotted the Rose-coloured Starling fly up into the top of an Elder, where it stayed for a while, in view but partly obscurred. Incidentally I read a tweet around this time that someone said seeing so many pin-sharp pictures of rarities made them not want to go and see them as they felt they had already had the experience via the internet - well my friend, this record shot is for you.

NORTH NORFOLK: Sheringham Park - an insect filled family trip out

Early June 2020

Whilst I had been out locally a few times, we were considering where and when to go out as a family (it can be difficult to make sure a 2 year old socially distances). We settled on Sheringham Park, the recently reopened NT property, partly because we had planned to visit this spring anyway, but also because the National Trust were restricting the numbers of people, so we knew it wouldn't be too busy. 

It was a slightly drizzly day, but we had a good walk through the woods, starting at the bower where a female Blackcap was bathing in the pond and nearby Nuthatch and Firecrest called. It was actually a very productive trip for insects, with a handful of new species for me. Longhorn Beetles are one of my favoured groups, so the pick of them would probably be the Black-clouded Longhorn Beetle (agg) found by Cathy. It has fairly recently been discovered that there are two very similar species, hence the need to record it as an aggregate. Pictures of this, and the other new species are below. We also saw some impressive bracket fungi, Dryad's Saddle and Sulphur Polypore, and even caught a glimpse of the sea from one of the viewpoints.

 Dioctria linearis - a robberfly with pale legs
 Graphopsocus cruciatus - a distinctively patterned barklouse
 Oak Marble (Lobesia reliquana)
 Black-clouded Longhorn Beetle agg.
 Pediacus dermestioides - a flattened beetle usually found underneath bark
 Cottony Camellia Scale (Pulvinaria floccifera)
Tenthredopsis nassata (a sawfly)

NORWICH: Garden lockdown list days 78-80 - some leaf mines

DAY 78 - 7th June 2020

No new additions

DAY 79 - 8th June 2020

No new additions

DAY 80 - 9th June 2020

A productive little spell outside, although most of the additions were leaf mines that I had been waiting to get big enough to confirm. There was also an interesting tachinid that looked like Mintho rufiventris with the exception that no red was visible. I've submitted it to the recording scheme so will hopefully get some feedback on it, but haven't listed it here.

 Stigmella aurella in Raspberry
 Agromyza nana in Black Medick
 Cerodontha iraeos in Yellow Flag Iris
 Phytomyza chaerophylli in Carrot
 Unconfirmed Tachinid sp.
 Hoverfly larva, probably Epistrophe sp.
Unknown aphid sp.

158. Dovesfoot Cranesbill
159. Stigmella aurella (moth)
160. Agromyza nana (fly)
161. Cerodontha iraeos (fly)
162. Phytomyza chaerophylli (fly)
163. Speckled Bush-cricket
164. Goldcrest