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

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

SOUTH NORFOLK: Broom Heath fungi

17th October 2020

I keep a lookout for new places to visit, and earlier in the month had seen some nice pictures from Broome Heath, an area alongside some fishing lakes in southern Norfolk. We decided to visit one afternoon, and spent a pleasant hour or two. A particular highlight was a new species of fungus for me, Lactarius controversus. This is a large pale milkcap that bruises pinkish and grows with willows. It was quite common in two patches along the edge of the lakes.


There was quite a bit of Aspen around, and I recorded vacated leaf mines of Aspen Pigmy, Stigmella assimilella. The woodland edge was very good for fungi, a few of which are pictured below.

Aspen Pigmy
Fly Agaric
Oak Toothcrust
Wrinkly bum fungus
Common Puffballs
Bluefoot Bolete

NORWICH: Mid-October sightings

 Mid-October 2020

Some more checking of a spotlight on my way to work turned up a couple of nice moths, Green-brindled Crescent and Barred Sallow, plus a new caddisfly for me, Halesus radiatus

NORTH NORFOLK: Kelling area

11th October 2020

Having hardly spent any time with friends this year, and with coronavirus cases starting to creep up, Adam & I decided to meet up for a walk. We started at Kelling Heath, before following a footpath down to the Quags, before returning via Muckleburgh Hill. It wasn't as birdy as we had hoped, with little seen on the heath, but it was good to get out and have a bit of social contact. At the beach there was a steady passage of Razorbills and a young Gannet on the sea, plus the unsual sight of a rainbow starting off out to see then getting closer to us as it tracked a band of rain.

We watched Wheatears and Stonechats on Weybourne Camp then continued up the hill. Back inland we stopped and watched a tit flock go past, containing Blue, Great, Long-tailed, Coal and Marsh Tits, plus Chiffchaff and Robin. There was a bit of fungi about too, including some Parasols of mixed ages, Fly Agaric and Shaggy Scalycap amongst others.

BRECKLAND: Magpie Inkcap - a successful target

 10th October 2020

As with most groups, I have a list of fungi (albet in my head rather than written down) that I would like to see, taking in species such as Magpie Inkcap, Cobalt Crust and Devil's Fingers. I have looked for and failed to find Magpie Inkcap in the past, but a member of the fungus study group who had seen them previously at Wayland Wood very kindly went and checked this autumn and told me that some were fruiting. There were two potential problems - one being that this species quite quickly dissolves into an inky mess, and secondly that the weather at the weekend was forecast to be rainy.

We arrived at Wayland Wood and started searching the area of the woodland where Maureen had seen the Magpie Inkcaps. I then spotted the remains of an inkcap - were we too late? Fortunately not, as three more, this time in recognisable condition, were just a bit further over. It seemed to be a good year for this species, with many other posting pictures of them online.

We continued on a circuit of the woods, but the rain was getting harder and we were getting rather wet. Fortunately my daughter was quite happy, having found a Crystal Brain fungus on a stick and carrying it around to show it the woods. There was clearly quite a bit of fungi around, including Burgundydrop Bonnets and Blackening Russulas, but it was not a day for lingering so we made our way back to the car park to dry off.

NORWICH: Autumn craneflies and a new micro moth

 Early October 2020

Flyover Redwings became a feature of my walks into work, whilst on the 2nd a Skylark also flew over Angel Road, calling as it went. I began noticing Craneflies on several walls around the city, all of which appeared to be Tipula confusa, a common autumn species but not one I'd recorded before. Another apparently common but new species was Narrow-winged Grey moth, Eudonia angustea.

NORWICH: Rhyzobius lophanthae

Late September 2020

The rainy weather meant there wasn't much to see on my Norwich wanderings, but a Black Rustic attracted to a spotlight was a species I don't see too much.

Highlight of the week was another new inconspicuous ladybird, Rhyzobius lophanthae. This species is associated with cypress hedges, so was something that I expected to see at some point, but it was still nice to discover one in Waterloo Park. Unfortunately the overcast conditions mean the pictures are rubbish, but in the field you could see the difference between the orangey-red head and hairy black elytra.

WHITLINGHAM: September WeBS plus new aphids and ladybirds

 20th September 2020

The September WeBS count didn't really turn up enough to be worth in depth comparisons with previous years - 8 Gadwall, 1 Little Grebe and 14 Coots were the only signs that winter was approaching.

Having found Giant Willow Aphids nearby earlier in the week I kept an eye out for them here, but didn't see any. I did however find several aphid colonies of distinctive species, Variegated Oak Aphid (Lachnis roboris) on Oak and Black Willow Aphid (Pterocomma salicis) on Willow. I also spent a bit of time scrutinising Scot's Pine on the hope of finding 18-spot Ladybird, a common species that I had never seen. Pleasingly I did manage to find one - new to me but not to Whitlingham as Tim Hodge has recorded it here before.

On my way back to the car I noticed some roll rims growing under Alders. In the past these have been called Paxillus rubicundulus, but since their initial discovery that species has been split into three. I checked a specimen and as expected it turned out that these were actually Paxillus olivelllus, the commoner of the new species.

NORWICH: Mid-September commute wildlife

 Another miscellany of species found on my walks to and from work in Norwich.

Giant Willow Aphids along Lakenham Way
Angle Shades - a common moth but one of my favourites
Phytomyza cytisi - leaf mines of a fly on Laburnum
Box-tree Moth
Laburnum Leaf-miner, Laucoptera laburnum leaf mine (showing circular frass feeding pattern)
Cream-streaked Ladybird
Oxystoma pommonae - a weevil found on Scot's Pine
Balclutha punctata - a leafhopper found on Scot's Pine