The Whitlingham Bird Report 2020 is available now (click here)

For previous years (2012-2019) see the links on the Whitlingham Bird List page.

NORWICH: Miscellaneous wildlife seen during June

June 2019

Having got a bit behind, here are a few of the miscellaneous wildlife treats that I've seen around Norwich, mostly either before or after work.

Hornet Moth, recently emerged from the base of a poplar
Cinnabar moth
Rosemary Beetle
Brown-tail moth caterpillar
Common Awl Robberfly
Common Broomrape
Wasp Beetle
Knotted Hedge Parsley
Phytomyza cytisi leaf mine in a Laburnum leaf

NORWICH: Sawfly and moth mines in Acer spp.

June 2019

Earlier in the month at How Hill I found the first Norfolk record of the sawfly Heterarthrus cuneifrons leaf mining Sycamore. During my research in identifying it I found that there were three UK Heterarthrus species that cause mines on Sycamore or Field Maple, so I decided to hunt for the other two. These species have an unusual pupating trick - when the larvae are fully grown they make a circle out of the leaf surface and spin it together to make a disc shaped cocoon. This then falls to the ground, but if it doesn't fall amongst leaf litter then the larva inside can 'jump' within the disc to move it across the ground to a suitable site. As a result one of the species, Heterarthrus aceris, has been given the vernacular name of Jerking Disc Sawfly!

There are plenty of Sycamores and Field Maples around Norwich, and in the next few weeks I found both species to complete my Acer set. Heterarthrus aceris mines Sycamore and the mines are found at the edge of the leaf (unlike H. cuneifrons where they are in the middle of the leaf), whilst H. wuestnii is found at the edge of Field Maple leaves.

 Heterarthrus wuestnii occupied mine in Field Maple
 Vacated Heterarthrus aceris mine in Sycamore
 Occupied Heterarthrus aceris mine in Sycamore
Occupied Heterarthrus aceris mine in Sycamore - finalising the disc cocoon

Whilst checking these trees I also found some moth leaf and samara mines. Moths in the genus Ectoedemia mine the samaras (winged seeds) - there are different species for Sycamore, Field Maple and Norway Maple. These mines are tiny and can be hard to find initially, but once you get your eye in as to what is a mine and what is just ageing or damage then they can be found fairly easily when present.

 Mine of Ectoedemia sericopeza in Norway Maple samara
 Mine of Ectoedemia louisella in Field Maple samara
Stigmella aceris leaf mine in Field Maple
A leaf 'cone' formed by the larva of a Caloptilia sp moth

SOUTH NORFOLK: Tasburgh moth breakfast

16th June 2019

On Sunday morning Cathy, Rose & I headed to Burrfeld Park, a small meadow nature reserve at Tasburgh, where Mike Dawson and Andy Musgrove were running a 'moth breakfast'. This consisted of a going through two moth traps, one set nearby and one in Shotesham, but with bacon butties supplied too. Unfortunately it had been a rather cool night so the number of moths caught was low - the only new one for me was Yellow-spot Tortrix (Pseudoargyrotoza conwagana), which I had previously only recorded as feeding signs in Ash keys. Poplar Hawk Moth and Eyed Hawk Moth were also seen.

After the trap opening some of us had a walk around the meadow, where several day-flying micro moths were recorded including Little Longhorn (Cauchas fibulella) and Orange-spot Piercer (Pammene aurana).

WHITLINGHAM: June WeBS count & insects

15th June 2019

Having plans for Sunday I carried out the WeBS count a day early - at this time of year it tends to not really make much difference. There were few young waterbirds - some might have been out of sight on the island but it doesn't look like it's been a particularly good year for the geese. A pair of Mute Swans with two cygnets were seen though. Numbers of Canada Geese (90) and Mute Swans (85) were quite high - in fact the Canada Goose count was my highest WeBS count since July 2014 when I counted 92. According to my records there has only been one higher count in that time - 107 on 30th June 2017.

I tried to avoid getting too sidetracked by other species - some Macrophya montana sawflies were obvious and the rust Puccinia aegopodii on Ground Elder appears to be a species I've not recorded before.

Justin couldn't do the Thorpe Broad count, so I popped in quickly to make sure that side got done too. Parking up I had a look at a nice patch of Red Valerian which had several Painted Ladies on, and on the stretch of Whitlingham Lane before the bridge I managed to locate the hoverfly Riponnensia splendens, a species I'd not seen before but had been told about here by Susan Weeks. 

Four Tufted Ducks and 11 Lapwings were the only things of note on the broad itself (although later on Gary saw a Gadwall with some ducklings that must have been out of sight during my visit). Other species of note included the hoverfly Dasysyrphus alsostriatus, the sawfly Cephus spinipes and most interestingly of all a pupa of a type of weevil (Hypera sp) that makes a sort of orange cage.