Archive for Jun, 2016


Green Hairstreak

Green Hairstreaks seem to have had quite an extended season this year. I’ve been finding them since early May. Our only green butterfly. A photo doesn’t quite do them justice. The iridescence on the wings is something quite special.

Green Hairstreak


Not more bleating about the EU decision?

I used to be able to service my own car. I can’t now. It’s not just about changing the oil and spark plugs. It’s more about the electronics. A bit more complicated. More about changing computer boards than brake pads. I’ve never been able to fix computers. Ever since I was dragged kicking and screaming to a keyboard in the 1990’s I’ve been able to operate one; but I could never look under the bonnet and fix one. I get the experts in.

So which experts do you use? I was taught that firstly you do a little research around a subject and you refer for an experts opinion. You then judge that persons capability by talking to them, by asking questions and listening to the replies. Nobody can be an expert overnight. Knowledge on any subject takes years to accumulate. After assessing if an expert is a more capable ‘person’ than myself it’s easy to know if they are talking sense. This holds true regardless of what they are doing for me, be it fixing my computer, pruning my apple trees or setting up my mortgage. It’s one of the ways I make decisions. It’s how I assessed if Brexit was for me. I listened to the experts I trust. A negative plan; one that doesn’t want something rather than a plan to do something has never appealed to me. I simply cannot believe anyone really trusted Boris the buffoon or Ferage the philanderer?

It’s a democracy and we all voted on what we saw was important. For me it was, and is, the environment. After reviewing facts and listening to the people I trust who have lots of knowledge around wildlife and the environment as well as legislation, share price and industry I voted to remain in the EU.

The current problems with the environment are probably the most important things the human race have ever faced. But I guess the majority of the population just don’t ‘get it’. To me and many others it’s bloody blindingly obvious. These problems need to be tackled first and they need to be tackled now! Many don’t understand the global warming creeping up on us like a cancer will eventually kill us. They don’t understand that chemicals we put on the land in the name of greater production are decimating insect life supporting everything in the food chain above and subsequently leaching into to the sea causing havoc. They just don’t understand … or maybe they don’t want to understand. Maybe they realise they will be on the planet for such a short time and they are going to enjoy it while they are here and bugger the consequences. If that’s true, what a selfish attitude. Selfish and inwardly looking. Even a bit bigotry. A bit like the ‘Getting our Britain back’ comments I heard last week. Getting it back from what … from foreigners? This country has always been ours. It’s problems are not because of foreigners. If you don’t like it the way it is get off your arse and make it better. Do something positive for all … not just you and yours. Get out of your tin foil time machine and stop blaming others.

Everyone that ‘gets it’ knows we have now lost a mechanism to tackle problems that don’t have borders or nationalities. No more supportive cross border legislation. We now really need to do something. We must ensure that European legislation protecting our wildlife is updated and incorporated into British Law. Even that is now more complicated; though we ignored our European cousins when they told us we are stronger together we are now using the same phrase to Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales … and expecting them to listen. I guess maybe we ought to be talking of English Law rather than British Law. What a tangled web of uncertainty we have woven. No wonder the pound has lost 9% of its value in 48 hours. That’s like taking a 9% pay cut. I hope everyone that voted to leave can afford that?

Even if some feel they are surrounded by a majority of unthinking knuckle dragging Neanderthals we live in a democracy. Anybody hanging a hat on a a re-vote or a vote of no confidence in the result needs to get real. It won’t happen.

So… enough already.  Looking forward. How do we ensure EU drivers that protected us from the rape of our seas, ensured the quality of our air and helped against poor pesticide use are put in place?

We must now rely on organisations that have a voice. The RSPB perhaps, the Wildlife Trusts maybe or even the Green Party need to mobilise and lobby … and lobby hard … for new protective home grown legislation. These organisations and others like them now need to develop what they are about and what they do; maybe even change their very ethos … and step up to the mark.

Are these the experts you trust to do that?


Fulmar taken on our East Coast Seabird Tour last week. Numbers of many seabirds are reducing around the UK


Heath runner

Walking across the heaths you may encounter one of these. Green Tiger Beetle. Apparently our fastest running insect. I wonder who measured that?

Green Tiger Beetle


Long distance migrant

The highlight of many a twitcher’s summer will be the Great Knot that is currently doing a tidal hop between Scolt Head Island, Titchwell beach and fresh marsh here in Norfolk. The unfortunate thing is it’s always distant and even if the light is good the heat haze makes a nonsense of any images. Nonetheless, it is a smart bird and much nearer than the one I saw in Teeside in 1996 and much more amiable than Norfolk’s first at Breydon Water in 2014.

Great Knot 1



On our photographing orchid day the other week I failed to find Birds Nest Orchid. It has to be said they aren’t showy bright flowered jobs. They are nondescript and difficult to find under trees amid similar coloured leaf litter. I felt sure it was the late spring had perhaps delayed them and it wasn’t my inability to find them that was at fault.

However, I thought I’d go back to the site about a week or so later to see if I could conjure some up. I couldn’t, but I did find a few spikes of Twyblade; another very unassuming orchid. The flowers are supposed to look like little men. I think they are a dead ringer for tiny ‘jesters’. What do you think?




A female Keeled Skimmer. These seem to be increasing in range of late as I’m coming across them away from their usual haunts.

Keeled Skimmer



Sometimes you can try too hard to find something. For many years now every time I’ve walked the paths across the heaths on the north Norfolk coast my eye is drawn to the horizontal branches and stumps in the hope of seeing a roosting Nightjar. To see one of these enigmatic birds in daylight has always been something that has been a wish during any walk in suitable habitat. Viewing them and attempting to photograph them in failing light when they come out to churr is ok but it’s hard to get a decent image and make out detail.

Let’s make it clear here it would be unethical as well as illegal to wander across the heaths and search for a bird. The risk of disturbing a rare breeding bird would be incalculably damaging. The idea is to find one viewable from a path, sat basking in bright sunshine well away from its nest.


We were watching a singing Woodlark the other day. A late one at that, but maybe it was a bird trying for second brood. It was flying high above us and belting out a song in the early morning light. Unexpectedly the moment was punctuated with the flypast of a Nightjar … in daylight! I thought it was a Kestrel at first. Very raptor like, appearing much bigger than a silhouette raking the gloom at dusk. Marvellous. It was there … and then it was gone.

Still not seen one on the deck … but I’ll keep running my eye over those logs and branches.



Norfolk’s premier butterfly

The first hatch of Swallowtail Butterflies was in the air on a tour last week. This particular pristine individual played ball with us … approaching us to within inches.

2016 06 06 Swallowtail Horsey Norfolk_Z5A2777 2016 06 06 Swallowtail Horsey Norfolk_Z5A2794



Military Orchids are supposed to have acquired their name from the flower resembling a Napoleonic uniform. The ‘hat’ and the ‘tunic buttons’ are evident but it takes more than a little imagination. I prefer to think the name derived from the way they stand straight and proud like soldiers.

At the bank holiday we wandered amid a small area in North Suffolk containing 90% of the UK’s Military Orchid flower spikes. Found here in 1955 numbers have varied over the years and we are now left with this small area no bigger than a tennis court.

Military Orchid 1 Military Orchid 2


Blue beauties

As I’ve said many times before you often find things when looking for something else. These Pasqueflowers were on the chalk downs. They should have been well and truly over by the time of our visit but there they were; small islands of blue beauty amid the short grazed turf.

Pasqueflower 1 Pasqueflower 2

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Jun 2016


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