Friday, 26 January 2018

East Anglia: Wildflowers and Insects

Here's a selection of wildflowers and insects from spring and summer visits to East Anglia, one in the last few days of April and the other in mid June.


The last weekend of April was cutting it a bit fine to see the rare Oxlip in Cambridgeshire but having heard from a Twitter contact that there were still a few decent flowers hanging on, we risked a visit to Hayley Wood. We did find a few in some of the shadier spots but it was quite obvious their season was all but over.

 Oxlip - Primula elatior

Next stop was the Brecks where we were in fact too late to see the very rare (and very tiny) Spring Speedwell in flower. It was great to see it nonetheless. Hopefully we'll see it in flower another year if it survives that long, as there is only one tiny patch at the site. We did see Spring Vetch nicely in flower though.

 Spring Speedwell - Veronica verna
Spring Vetch Vicia lathyroides

Then it was on to North Norfolk to see Yellow Figwort, a neophyte but long established and quite uncommon in the wild. Seen here growing with a much more common neophyte Green Alkanet.
Yellow Figwort - Scrophularia vernalis

Lastly a visit to Honeypot Wood where I was keen to see the Hybrid Geum, Wood Avens x Water Avens that Andy had seen there a previous year. We found it quite readily in the company of Water Avens but not Wood Avens, although I can't say we particularly looked for the latter.
Water Avens - Geum rivale

Hybrid Geum - Geum × intermedium 
The hybrid of Wood Avens (Geum urbanum) with Water Avens (Geum rivale)

Herb Paris - Paris quadrifolia
Quite a rebellious one at that!


In mid June (13th and 14th) we visited Norfolk mainly to see Swallowtails, ( see my Butterfly yearlist part 2 post for photos of these) but there is so much more to see both botanical and entomological. We visited two areas, The Broads obviously and also the North Coast at Holme, Titchwell and Wells-next -the -Sea.

The Norfolk Broads

It was fantastic to see Fen Orchid, one I thought I might not see when I first read about it some years ago. Nice Marsh Fern in the background too.

Fen Orchid - Liparis loeselii

Although I'd seen Norfolk Hawker many times I'd never managed to get a photo of one. My luck certainly changed this time as there were just so many of them at the various sites we visited, it was only a matter of time until one stopped for long enough.
 Those eyes!
And look closely. It's got tiny flies resting on its wings. At least they're out of reach of its jaws!

Norfolk Hawker - Aeshna isoceles

The Drinker Euthrix potatoria
While we were looking at Swallowtails, Andy spotted some small wasps nesting right in the middle of the path. On closer inspection we could see that they were building small chimneys at the entrances to their nest-holes. I took some photos and later identified them as the rare Fen Mason Wasp. One we hadn't expected to see. A nice bonus find!

Fen Mason Wasp - Odynerus simillimus

North Norfolk Coast

 The absolutely awesome Dune Tiger Beetle on Titchwell beach. Best beetle I've ever seen I reckon. It took a long time for it to stay still long enough for photos.We followed it for ages, but it was well worth the effort!

Dune Tiger Beetle - Cicindela maritima

Some of the splendid display of orchids at Holme Dunes

Early Marsh Orchid subsp. coccinea
Beautiful rhubarb and custard
coloured orchids

Early Marsh Orchid Dactylorhiza incarnata subsp. coccinea 
 Southern Marsh Orchid - Dactylorhiza praetermissa var. alba
The rare white form of southern Marsh Orchid one I especially wanted to see.
The very inconspicuous flowers of Shrubby Sea-blite.

Shrubby Seablite - Suaeda vera

 Matted Sea-lavender - Limonium bellidifolium
A North Norfolk coast speciality. It grows nowhere else in the UK. 

A lovely specimen of Hoary Mullein  - Verbascum pulverulentum on the sea wall at Wells-next -the-Sea amongst a swathe of Viper's Bugloss

Viper's Bugloss - Echium vulgare.
The first time I've seen this very pretty pink form. 

The main reason we were here at Wells was to hopefully see the Broad-bordered Bee Hawkmoth that we saw here last summer (not the same one obviously!) We arrived just in time to see the blue sky move offshore as a bank of cloud rolled in from the south. It wasn't looking good. It became quite cool. I wasn't very hopeful but Andy was sure we'd see one. He was right! They're such a brilliant moth. I don't think I'll ever tire of seeing them.

Broad-bordered Bee Hawk-moth - Hemaris fuciformis,


Gibster said...

Stunning images, as always. Completely blown away by the beetle though. It's high up on my "one day I'll see this!" list :)

Karen Woolley said...

Thanks Seth, It's a stunning beetle.. I highly recommend it!

Brian Hicks said...

Thanks for visiting my blog Karen and for the info, glad you like Norfolk. This is a great post again, one question the clearwing at Wells, was that along the sea wall? Regards Brian.

Karen Woolley said...

Hi Brian, Yes, at the very end up by the car park.