Archive for the 'Moth trap' Category


The Norfolk Wing – 2015/16

The latest edition of Norfolk Wing has now been published here

I hope you enjoy it.

The Norfolk Wing




New Website

Well! That was a bit of a week that was. Talk about getting to grips with software and messing about on the laptop. If the next time you see me I’ve got oblong eyes and look like Brains out of Thunderbirds you know why!

I think … he said cautiously … it’s now all done and dusted. The website is live. Just needs someone to have a gander at the spelling, but yes … Elvis has left the building!

Please take a look and tell me what you think.



2016 here we come …

So I guess we will stumble into the new year tomorrow night and we’ll all be reflecting where we are and what we’ve achieved.

For me there have been several moments I would like to forget but there have been many more that I will remember. The tours to Solway, Scotland, Mull, Northumberland, Wales and the Scillies as well as the days here in Norfolk and trips to France and Spain were all good. Full of good birds and sightings of special wildlife. One single day however stands out above all others. Saturday 18th July 2015.

I was with Sharon being shaken like a cocktail in a Zodiac crossing some rough seas off the Azorean archipelago. Amid the eye stinging spray and the clenching grip that held us steady her stare met mine and mine met hers … ‘what the hell are we doing here’… was written on both our faces. It soon became apparent what took us there when a pod of Northern Bottlenose Whales broke the surface some 100 yards in front of us. They like us were fighting the boiling sea, but with much more ease. What an animal. The moment was so far from watching one on TV stranding in the Thames nine and a half years earlier. These whales were free, unbridled and in their element… and so were we. After all the planning and anticipation seeing these animals meant so much. I will never forget the moment.

So what of 2016. Lots planned. Already the diary is bulging with tours. Another journey across Biscay is on the cards as is a trip to Grand Manan Island off Canada – Northern Atlantic Right Whales are on the agenda. Roll on 2016.

Northern Bottlenose Whales


A growing fear

Sometimes I feel lost … helpless … inadequate. As though I’m faced with a blinding inevitability.

The Word Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) is advertising on TV at the moment. Underneath their strap line of ‘What we need is you’ it states that 50% of the world’s wildlife has been lost since 1970.


Their website adverts state one in six species is at threat of extinction due to climate change. One in six for Christ’s sake.

The Butterfly Conservation (BC) states that on UK farmland butterflies have decreased by 58% over the last decade. Pesticides appear to be the problem; specifically, neonicotinoids are being pointed at!

The British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) UK breeding bird survey shows a decrease of 46% over the last 20 years. Some areas of the UK show a larger percentage. European numbers of Curlew have declined by 20% in the last 15 years.

There’s a small porpoise in the sea of Cortez off Mexico called a Vaquita. Due to them being caught in fishermen’s nets as they compete for fish there are now less than 100 left.

The extinction date of the Polar Bear varies depending on who you listen to. Many set a date at 2055 as they run out of summer hunting grounds on melting sea ice,

Do you want me to go on? … because I can … endlessly.

If you have young children or grandchildren chances are they won’t see a Vaquita, a Polar Bear or maybe even a Curlew.

For F***s sake what else do we all need to know and how many times do the people that matter need to be told? These things are the canaries in the mine … WAKE UP … and smell the gas! The planets dying and we’re not immune. We will die with it.

Unbridled human populations, the rape of the earth’s natural resources, synthetics compound production, the burning of fossil fuels, the use of insecticides but above all the oblivious blind nature of us all, is leading us like the fool before the abyss. It appears that who wins Strictly Come Dancing is ‘more important’ than the well-being of the planet. And those of us that do care are led into thinking that our tiny little energy saving bulbs and separating our rubbish into two or three different coloured bins will save us. The things we are currently doing make little difference. It’s like pissing in the sea and saying it’s deeper.

Even world governments cant agree on anything sensible when they get together to talk about climate change. The political will to make meaningful change is just not there. It never will be, because we vote the decision makers in and ‘we’ would never vote for the draconian changes that are now required. We are a selfish species.

God help the earth and all that lives on her. God help us.

I think I need cheering up!

… sorry for the bad language, but I feel passionately that governments should be listening and doing something. Frustration creeping in.





One thing about Norfolk is that it has a high concentration of good naturalists. It always has had too. In some ongoing research I’m running into these naturalists of the past from time to time; Patterson, Sowerby, Marsham etc … all names from different eras but they had something in common – they all belonged to the NNNS – The Norfolk and Norwich Naturalist’s Society. A charity dedicated to conserving the county’s wildlife for the past 145 years.

For £20 a year you can be a member of this charity too. Benefits include a free copy of Norfolk’s ‘Bird and Mammal Report’ – which retails at £12 – one of, if not, THE best in the country, a free copy of ‘The Transactions’ a collection of papers on research and surveys and free (or heavily discounted) copies of ‘one-off’ publications issued from time to time. The last one just issued is “Hidden Lives: Discovering a hidden world of parasitic animals in East Anglia“, by Graham Kearn. There’s also a quarterly newsletter called ‘Natterjack’ issued free to members. You would be hard pressed to spend £20 more wisely. Here’s the website. I’d strongly urge you to join even if you live in another part of the UK. If you live in Norfolk it should be a given.

The website has links to the Facebook page and also species guides – take a look, I think you’ll like what you see. Oh! and did I mention membership entitles you to free entry to indoor and outdoor field meetings and membership covers everyone at the same address.

2013 B&M Report


Who will you vote for?

Given the impending election I decided to see what the main political parties were promising around the things I see as being important; Wildlife and the Environment being the key areas. If your priorities lie in a similar plane, here’s a summary of what I found. Obviously if you see other areas as more important you will have to do your own bit of research.



I couldn’t find a copy of their manifesto – which says a lot. I enquired. They replied that one would be available in the next few months! Remind me. When’s the election?

After the Badger Cull, the Fox hunting fiasco, the Buzzard ban and the threat of losing our forests I don’t believe the Conservative party have fulfilled their promise to ‘Protect the Environment’ and I helped vote them in to power on the back of that promise.



The website has a very ‘them and us’ theme – easy to see why many label them as racists. No official Manifesto but they do have a ‘Policies for People’ section on their website which states the following loosely related point.

  • Foreign trawlers would have to apply for and purchase fishing permits to fish British waters when fish stocks have returned to sustainable levels.


Liberal Democrats

Didn’t mention Wildlife but the environmental policy was summarised as follows:

  • Creating 200,000 new green jobs by investing in renewable energy. We have already doubled the amount of electricity generated from offshore wind.
  • Planting 1 million trees in England, the first government tree planting programme since the 1970s.
  • Introducing a 5p plastic bag charge to help clean up our environment and protect Britain’s natural habitat.



  • Set a target for decarbonisation of our electricity by 2030.
  • Strengthen the Green Investment Bank with borrowing powers.
  • Prioritise flood prevention and introduce a new climate change adaptation plan.
  • End the badger cull and maintain the ban on hunting with dogs.


Green Party

  • Promote landscape-scale conservation, using reform of the Common Agricultural Policy and the planning system to encourage restoration of heathlands, woods, marshland and other important habitats.
  • Reduce dramatically the use of pesticides and introduce measures such as ‘buffer zones’ around sprayed fields to protect humans as well as wildlife.
  • Oppose the introduction of a non-elected Planning Commission, particularly for new roads, runways, incinerators and inappropriate housing developments, and ensure that sustainable development, not just economic development, is at the heart of the planning system.
  • Press to extend the amount of land covered by the EU Habitats Directive in the UK, and ensure that protected sites are in good condition.
  • Set up a national Environmental Protection Commission (EPC) to promote and integrate research and development on public health and environmental protection.
  • Protect wildlife abroad by cracking down on the illegal trade in wildlife products such as ivory, protect biodiversity in British Overseas Territories, and oppose all forms of commercial and ‘scientific’ whaling.
  • Increase the tranquillity of our urban environments, with less litter, less noise, reduced light pollution and more green spaces. Everyone should live within walking distance of natural green space.


I guess manifestos can’t state everything. None of these go as far as I would go in protecting the environment but I know where my cross is going. Do you?

2015 01 17 Avocet Cley Norfolk_Z5A7911a

Overwintering Avocets on the North Norfolk Coast this week – a sign of the temperature gradient moving North? How long before groups overwinter in the Scottish Estuaries? Global Warming is here. What are we doing about this single problem among so many concerning the basic water we drink, food we eat and air we breath?

I’m already fed up with politicians knocking seven bells out of each other over things that are comparatively unimportant and we still have four months to go before the election. I have lots of conversations with like minded friends, guests and others about changes our countryside and wildlife need.  It’s pretty plain to me and many others that we need to make changes … and make those changes fast. If we are not to sign our own death warrant the environment should be at the hub of all political manifestos.


We must stop this

The single greatest threat to our environment and our wildlife.

2014 10 31 Northrepps Norfolk_Z5A0425


Eye Eye


It never ceases to amaze me what flies around in the darkness of the night. A beautiful Eyed Hawk Moth in the moth trap the other day. Exquisitely beautiful.


Eyed Hawkmoth



Is Falcon Cottage Haunted?

The weather forecast said little chance of rain over the weekend so I set the moth trap. Amid the dew of the following morning I sorted through the contents and found a rather endearing chap. A male Ghost Moth. Not uncommon but something I haven’t come across here at Falcon Cottage before.

Ghost Moth


Prospects for 2014

So what prospects herald us into 2014? What’s waiting around the corner to be found, to be seen; to be photographed?

Most of our published tours, including Wales and both tours to Scotland are full with just a few places remaining on others; although a few more tours are yet to be organised. The longer weekend and week tours always turn up something worth seeing.

Bookings for day tours are already well underway.

Norfolk will probably have much to give us during the next 12 months … it normally does. However, what about a few firsts? Lesser Scaup is overdue. A Rubythroat in Holkham Pines during October might be a possibility. Now that would be a turn up for the books but one in the south of the country has to be on the cards. Not a first, but Norfolk’s second Fin Whale hot on the heels of the 2013 Humpback(s) is also a reasonable proposition.

A trip for Sharon and I to California should give us a few things to remember. Grey Whale, an assortment of Sea Lions, Roadrunners and Great Grey Owl among several others are all being targeted.

Photography wise I have set myself a target of getting some shots of Nightjar this year. Seeing one in daylight has always eluded me. Photographing one with a modicum of light rather than in the murkiness of dusk would be a challenge worth the commitment of a little time and patience.

Whatever we find and see it is always a pleasure to share with our customers. Happy New Year.

Nightjar 1

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Jul 2022


%d bloggers like this: