29th December 2014 - Fairhaven Lake, Lancashire - The last stroll of 2015, not much about on the bird front with the following noted:- Shelduck; Oystercatcher; Black Headed Gull; Redshank; Canada Goose; Herring Gull; Lesser Black Backed Gull; Shoveler; Wood Pigeon; Mute Swan; Mallard; Coot; Moorhen; Tufted Duck; Red Breasted Merganser; Feral Pigeon; Pied Wagtail; Magpie; Scaup (F); Grey Heron and Pochard.
29th December 2014 - Rossall Point, Lancashire - The penultimate wander of the year I reckon and the sun was shining and the air was on the right side of cool. Birds seen were:- Coot; Moorhen; Great Tit; Starling; Magpie; Mute Swan; Mallard; Canada Goose; Cormorant; Eider; Shore Lark; Sanderling; Black Headed Gull; Carrion Crow; Mute Swan; Curlew; Little Egret; Herring Gull; Pied Wagtail; Collared Dove; Grey Heron; Ringed Plover; Redshank; Great Black Backed Gull; Common Gull; Wren; Turnstone; Blackbird and Skylark.
28th December 2014 - Heaton Park, G. Manchester - We should have gone further afield today but really couldn't get the gears going so opted for a stroll around this localish area we last visted back in the 90's. The sun was out, the sky was blue, but only a few birds were noted and not much else. The birds listed were:- Blackbird; Wren; Moorhen; Coot; Tufted Duck; Mallard; Muscovy Duck; Feral Pigeon; Mute Swan; Canada Goose; Magpie; Carrion Crow; Robin; Great Tit; Blue Tit; Jay; Treecreeper; Mistle Thrush; Great Spotted Woodpecker + Long Tailed tIt; Redwing and Nuthatch on call.
8th December 2014 - River Mersey, Stockport, Cheshire - Recording nature takes time but is just as important as getting out there and so December is a month that will see me tap away and try and get some species extra note as well as iron out all sightings over the past 12 months. Today, for a break, I nipped into town and along the way took time to watch a lone Goldcrest feed away in a Willow that was getting a beating by the wind and rain. If this little fellar can keep going, so can we on his behalf - think on.
2nd December 2014 - River Mersey, Stockport, Cheshire - Walking home from work and nearly dark with a distinct nip in the air. Hogweed, Nipplewort, Tansy and Himalayan Balsam still clinging on to a few blooms.
23rd November 2014 - Ainsdale Sands Lake, Lancashire - The lichen Arthonia radiata was noted on a quick skip around the lake.
23rd November 2014 - Ainsdale NE, Lancashire - Whilst wandering for fungi I was pleased to fall over a neat gall on Rubus known as Diastrophus rubi. Hopefully a decent photo will emerge. Lecanora chlarotera, Ramalina farinacea; Cladonia ramulosa and Evernia prunastri were 4 lichens I attempted to photograph too - the camera has never been out so much.
22nd November 2014 - Cheadle Heath, Stockport, Cheshire - A Small Tortoiseshell on the landing wall, well what better housemate would you want?
16th November 2014 - Chorlton WP, G. Manchester - 5 Ring Necked Parakeets and whizzing Redwings accompanied us on a slow wander looking at the 'shrooms.
9th November 2014 - Chadkirk Chapel, Stockport, Cheshire - Leading a small group of Fungal Friends I noted along the way a brace of Goosander on the River Goyt, a Dipper whizzing down a narrow brook, a Grey Wagtail on the same stretch and a few flocks of Long Tailed Tits flitting about. 3 flowers of note still producing blooms were Musk Mallow; Meadowsweet and Wood Forget-Me-Not - thanks to Jools for some extra ID tips for the latter species.
4th November 2014 - River Mersey/Cheadle Heath, Cheshire - Whilst wandering into town for some shopping I made note of flowers still offering a bloom or two, the list was:- Ivy Leaved Toadflax; Ox-Eye Daisy; Herb Robert; Common Ragwort; Black Medick; Yarrow; Perforate St John's Wort; Creeping Thistle; Greater Willowherb; Hogweed; White Melilot; Canadian Fleabane; Red Clover; Daisy; Wall Speedwell; Hairy Bittercress; Common Field Speedwell; Red Dead Nettle and Nipplewort.
1st November 2014 - Tatton Park, Cheshire - Leading the fine folk of CAN to viewing over a ton of fungal specimens and along the way 2 Short Tailed Voles were seen running about in the open.
27th October 2014 - Cheadle Heath, Stockport, Cheshire - A Feathered Thorn Moth appeared at the toilet window and was duly caught, inspected and let go.
26th October 2014 - Coombes Valley RSPB, Staffordshire - On another Fungal Foray and the False Ladybird (Endomychus coccineus) was noted near the fungus Chondrostereum purpureum. Apparently they like to live near fungoid growths under bark - sounds about right!
18th October 2014 - Harthill Cookery School, Cheshire - Whilst leading a Fungal Foray a superb Red Admiral was seen basking on an Oak Tree trunk - and I don't blame it, what a warm day.
16th October 2014 - Styal Mill, Cheshire - A Red Admiral and a Southern Hawker Dragonfly were enjoying the gorgeous sunshine.

15th October 2014 - Etherow CP, Cheshire - 10 Goosanders and plenty of Mandarin were knocking about along with the usual mix and match Goose flock, including a lone Egyptian.

Flowers in bloom were:- Himalayan Balsam; Dame's Violet; Ivy Leaved Toadflax; Nipplewort; Wavy Bittercress; Self-Heal; Shepherd's Purse; Chickweed; Daisy; Hogweed; Wood Avens; Yellow Pimpernel; Common Ragwort and Pink Purslane.

12th October 2014 - Etherow CP, Cheshire - At the helm of a fungal meet up and along the way a Comma Butterfly was noted enjoying the cracking sunshine.
11th October 2014 - Mere Sands Wood, Lancashire - Leading another fungal walk but time was had to admire a Small Copper Butterfly and 21 sun-bathing Common Darters.
9th October 2014 - Abney Hall, Cheshire - A stroll looking for fungi with the galls Contarinia tiliarum; Dasineura ulmaria and Hartigiola annulipes also seen.

2nd October 2014 - Heaton Moor to River Mersey, Stockport, Cheshire - A walk home on a different route from yesterday and another chance to have a look at what flowers were still in bloom, the list was:- Thale Cress; Broad Leaved Willowherb; Groundsel; White Clover; Redshank; Common Nettle; Nipplewort; Hedge Mustard; Wood Avens; Smooth Sow Thistle; Herb Robert; Hogweed; Common Ragwort; Red Clover; Sea Aster; Wild Carrot; Meadow Buttercup; Black Medick; Large Flowered Evening Primrose sp; Tall Melilot; Bird's Foot Trefoil; Field Bindweed; Tansy; Perforate St John's Wort; Himalayan Balsam; Tufted Vetch and Shepherd's Purse.

A Kingfisher was seen again whizzing down the river.

1st October 2014 - River Mersey, Stockport, Cheshire - A busy day at work and beyond with the added stress of discovering all is not secure as it seems at my place of labour and the dark clouds of unemployment are in the distance. There is still time to blow them the other way so all is not lost but to help brighten my spirits, and as I am a great believer in prodding people to take note of the overlooked, I did my usual late flower spotting mooch on the way home. A 20 minute walk is and lo and behold the following flowers still had blooms:- Black Medick; Greater Willowherb; Ox-Eye Daisy; Yarrow; Creeping Thistle; Oxford Ragwort; Common Nettle; White Melilot; White Dead Nettle; Red Clover; Shepherd's Purse; Dandelion sp; Herb Robert; Wood Avens; Common Mouse Ear; Sea Aster; Himalayan Balsam; Daisy; Tansy; Broad Leaved Willowherb; Tufted Vetch; Common Knapweed; Chickweed; Hairy Bittercress; Redshank; Nipplewort; Common Field Speedwell; Groundsel and Common Gorse. Isn't nature wonderful?
29th September 2014 - River Mersey, Stockport, Cheshire - A jog down river, a Kingfisher, 3 Goosanders and a Grey Wagtail were seen as well as a few blooms of Autumn Crocus.
28th September 2014 - Arley Hall, Cheshire - 2 more fungi walks led, more dry conditions, more stress but, we got through. A Southern Hawker was noted and many Harlequin Ladybirds of different forms.
27th September 2014 - Marbury CP, Cheshire - Leading 2 fungal walks today was hard work but with determination an overall decent list was had. On the way a Leopard Slug and the Reed Gall (Lipara lucens) were seen with a White Squirrel seen on the way out - what a little pip he was too.
23rd September 2013 - Cheadle Heath, Stockport, Cheshire - We never have many birds in the garden due to peoples need to have a cat and let them roam around and scare (and kill) the feathered wonders. Today though the feeders brought in a Great Tit, Blue Tit, Coal Tit and the usual House Sparrows. The surprise was a nice Chiffchaff who pottered on the tree by the window and took a few insects - it would be nice if he overwintered and gave a few calls during the colder months. 14 Magpies were seen as well, on a roof at the end of the street. Also 2 Single Dotted Wave Moths and a White Shouldered House Moth were attracted to an overnight light.
21st September 2013 - Formby NT, Lancashire - A day leading a foray with the weather crippling the amount of fungus species available but along the way we saw 3 Red Squirrels, a Treecreeper, a Common Darter, 6 Speckled Woods, 1 Red Admiral and a Peacock when just leaving the site. A False Acacia tree was admired and the galls (Neuroterus numismalis) and (Neuroterus quercusbaccarum) were observed on Oak leaves.
20th September 2013 - Harthill Cookery School, Cheshire - A fungal foray was led and on the way I noted a Violet Ground Beetle; A Speckled Wood Butterfly and the wild flower Small Nettle, a blighter I have been hoping to see for ages and one I keep overlooking.
19th September 2014 - River Mersey, Stockport, Cheshire - A Kingfisher was seen flying away as though its arse was on fire - whoosh.

14th September 2014 - Tatton Park, Cheshire - Prior to a fungus walk I spent some time turning logs and trying to find a few micro fungi. Desperation had set in, I had a good crowd expected and the conditions were bone dry - bah. Anyway the walk went well but beneath one of the logs I was turning I found 1 Toad, 1 Frog, 1 Smooth Newt and 1 Common Shrew. Under another log I found a Ground Beetle (Cychrus caraboides) and on the walk 2 Speckled Wood Butterflies were seen. It all adds to the great natural picture.

As a footnote - Tatton Park have seen a number of trees felled in recent years due to high winds and fungal attacks. The Rangers have dealt with this by fencing off a large part of the park so as to leave the area alone and let the logs rot down naturally and to avoid over trampling of a special area for fungal species. This gets my backing and is a great idea so as to maintain diversity and to assist the natural world. The logs and branches will become home to many species of fungus and invertebrates which will all do their bit in recycling the woody material and getting it back into the soil which in turn will benefit the whole area - sounds absolutely brilliant doesn't?

Now, to the crux of the matter - how come numerous complaints and general gripes have gone in to the park regarding how these logs are an eyesore and how the park is looking untidy? Quite baffling I feel. Apparently these people want things tidied up and to have public access to all areas with a disregard for the natural wonders the park is doing so well to look after. I feel almost speechless as regards some of the misguided, ill-educated thoughts out there and feel that it is this kind of blinkered thinking that results in the loss of precious habitat that will ultimately lead to a sterile world for the kids of the future and ultimately the loss of many species, one of which will be the human race. Look, if you want a clean and tidy environment go to a municipal park, piss off to a groomed and polished area that is all manicured and lacking in any life, any character and any real hope. Tatton Park should be proud of their approach and should stick to their guns and avoid being deterred from their accurate and beneficial thinking that will keep this area fascinating for future generations. We need to get people tuned in to the natural environment and show them what is rubbish and what is not - litter dropping, leaving dog shit everywhere, trampling and running over out of bounds areas (like the guy we saw today) and not giving a toss about anyone or anything except your selfish little life is rubbish. Getting out there and looking after wildlife, appreciating and respecting it and sharing it with others is not rubbish - end of. Change your perspective, look closely, let nature have its place and you have yours - we need these unmolested areas, we need places to escape to where bugs and beasties abound, flowers and fungi can bloom and where birds can nest and have plenty to eat. Please think about it and stop having your thinking distorted by warped materialism, propaganda drenched media and me, me, me mania. It can make all the difference and give us some hope for the children of tomorrow. Cheers, Fungalpunk Dave - you get yer money's worth even though you didn't pay - aagghhh!

13th September 2014 - Delamere CP, Cheshire - A fungal foray day but still managed to see 6 Smooth Newts, the butterflies Comma (*1) and Speckled Wood (*2) and a Brimstone Moth.
8th September 2014 - Abney Hall, Stockport, Cheshire - A wander in the sun with nowt in particular searched for. Speckled Wood (*4); Small White (*1); and Red Admiral (*1) were on the wing as well as numerous Common Darters. A Common Shrew was observed beneath a log, caught in a split decision as to which way to scarper.
7th September 2014 - Wepre CP, Flintshire - Continuing the fungal walk with member Julie pointing out Water Chickweed and Water Forget Me Not along the way - nice work. 3 Speckled Wood butterflies were noted as well as the Hoverflies Eristalis pertinax and Helophilus pendulus.
7th September 2014 - Hawardan, Flintshire - A fungal walk for the group with Common Hemp Nettle; Autumn Hawkbit and Common Cat's Ear identified by one of the group (cheers Julie); a Devil's Coach Horse found; 10 Speckled Wood butterflies noted as well as a Southern Hawker; Common Field Grasshopper and the plant galls Eriophyes laevis and Eriophyes tiliae.
6th September 2014 - Cheadle Heath, Stockport, Cheshire - A Rosemary Beetle (Chrysolina americana) in the garden and a Light Brown Apple Moth - both seen whilst doing a spot of tidying up and pruning.
2nd September 2014 - River Mersey, Stockport, Cheshire - 2 Speckled Woods and 2 Green Veined Whites were enjoying the remarkable warm sunshine.

31st August 2014 - Crompton Moor area, G. Manchester - A fungal foray was the days task but notes were made of a female Sparrowhawk flying over, the butterflies Speckled Wood (*3); Peacock (*1) and Large White (*1), a Common Field Grasshopper; a Hawthorn Shieldbug and the Hoverflies (Episyrphus balteatus); (Helophilus pendulus) and (Eristalis pertinax).

Neuroterus numismalis; Neuroterus quercusbaccarum and Andricus fecundator were 3 galls noted along the way.

This was out 500th location visited in the UK, a momentous occasion and here is to the next 500 (phew now that will be hard work, but great fun nonetheless).

28th August 2014 - Cheadle Heath, Stockport, Cheshire - An Old Lady Moth was in the bathroom, these beasts just seem to get bigger by the year.
28th August 2014 - Fernilee Reservoir, Derbyshire - A fungi wander with the Young Carers from work, a nice sunny day brought out 2 Speckled Woods and a Green Veined White with several young frogs observed.
24th Aug 2014 - Little Millford, Pembrokeshire - An early morning wander before the weather cracked and before we picked up our daughter from her 4th Karate gashku (all bruised and buggered out she be). The Galls (Andricus fecundator); (Andricus kollari); (Neuroterus numismalis); (Neuroterus quercusbaccarum); (Chirosia grossicauda); (Dasineura pteridis) were all that was observed as we pottered along.
24th Aug 2014 - Llawhaden Castle, Pembrokeshire - I like the odd mooch at a castle, ye never know, Dracula may be waiting - oooh errr. This remnant of times gone past was a treat and whilst noseying around Crab's Eye Lichen; Pellitory Of The Wall; a circling Buzzard and a lone Large White Butterfly were seen.

24th Aug 2014 - Canaston Bridge, Pembrokeshire - With the name of this place I thought we may catch a thrush or two (get it) but we came up with very little although the wander was enjoyed. Musk Mallow and Figwort were in bloom; the Rose Gall named as Robin's Pin Cushion was located and the Butterflies Gatekeeper (*1) and Speckled Wood (*3) were seen.

An abundance of Eristalis pertinax hoverflies fed on Angelica flowers with the odd example of (Syritta pipiens) within the melee.


24th Aug 2014 - Manorbier Bay, Pembrokeshire - An early morning stroll taking in the beach, nearby pathways and the local castle. Beadlet Anemone; Snakelocks Anemone; Common Limpet; Channel Wrack (Pelvetia canaliculata); Knotted Wrack (Ascophyllum nodosum) Black Footed Limpet; Bloody Nosed Beetle; Spearmint; Marsh Woundwort; Chough and Oystercatcher were all part of the mixed bag of sightings.

Dasineura viciae was seen on Tufted Vetch.


23rd Aug 2014 - Lawrenny Quay, Pembrokeshire - A 3 mile walk to finish the day with Cow Wheat and Goldenrod in flower; a Raven flying over; 2 Green Veined Whites on the wing and Hard Fern identified. We stopped off on the way back to our digs at Carew Castle - a nice place and one to revisit methinks.


23rd Aug 2014 - West Williamston, Pembrokeshire - Speckled Wood (*3); Green Veined White (*2); Gatekeeper (*1); Small Tortoiseshell (*1); Meadow Brown (*1) and Clouded Yellow (*1) were the remnants of a dwindling lepidopteran season. Braces of 24 Spot Ladybird and Green Shieldbug were found as well as a Common Earwig; Meadow Grasshopper and Common Green Grasshopper.

Sea Purslane; Sea Wormwood and Black Bryony in fruit were pondered further.

The back end of the butterfly season and this Clouded Yellow looked pretty miffed being blown about in the breeze

23rd Aug 2014 - Scolton CP, Pembrokeshire - I spotted this country park on the OS Map and thought it worth a peek. very disappointing indeed with the woodland very quiet and the open areas quite vacuous. 5 Spotted Flycatchers were seen and 2 Meadow Brown Butterflies as well as 4 fungal specimens - an uninspiring visit.

23rd Aug 2014 - Westfield Pill NR, Pembrokeshire - We tripped across this place and came away quite enthused. It wasn't the greatest list created but the walk, ambience and potential all intrigued us to make note and at some point, return. Birds noted were:- Mallard; Goldfinch; Black Headed Gull; Swallow; Blue Tit; Wren; Rook; Grey Heron; Blackbird; Moorhen; Little Grebe; Jackdaw; Buzzard; Raven; Cormorant; Wood Pigeon; Great Tit; Robin and Mute Swan plus Bullfinch and Jay on call.

Common Blue (*2) and Speckled Wood (*4) were the only butterflies seen; (Rhingia campestris); (Leucozona glauca) and (Eristalis pertinax) the only Hoverflies spotted and (Kiefferia pericarpiicola); (Andricus fecundator) and (Neuroterus numismalis) the only Galls recorded.

Common Valerian; Vervain and Common Toadflax were enjoyed.


22nd Aug 2014 - Upper Mill Pond NR, Pembrokeshire - A pond apparently, mmmm, more like an overgrown reedbed and woodland to me. A wander brought nothing outrageous but Water Mint; Spear Mint; Creeping Cinquefoil; Upright Hedge Parsley and Vervain were flowers observed and Common Darter; Dock Bug and Common Green Shieldbug nymphs were spied upon.

Speckled Wood (*1); Green Veined White (*1) and Small White (*1) were the only butterflies on the wing.


22nd Aug 2014 - Stackpole, Pembrokeshire - A six mile circular walk to get the blood moving, but of course I kept a list. Flowers noted were:- Ivy Leaved Toadflax; Traveller's Joy; Prickly Sow Thistle; Ribwort Plantain; Creeping Buttercup; Common Field Speedwell; Herb Robert; Daisy; Broad Leaved Willowherb; Dandelion sp; Lesser Trefoil; Red Dead Nettle; Groundsel; Pellitory Of The Wall; Pineappleweed; Scarlet Pimpernel; Teasel; Bristly Ox-Tongue; Bittersweet; Common Nettle; Fennel; Black Medick; Common Cudweed; White Clover; Common Centaury; Nipplewort; Selfheal; Red Campion; Common Ragwort; Lesser Swinecress; Greater Plantain; Square Stalked St John's Wort; Yarrow; Greater Willowherb; Spear Thistle; Enchanter's Nightshade; Creeping Thistle; Hedge Mustard; Field Bindweed; Common Fleabane; Betony; Red Clover; Devil's Bit Scabious; Wild Carrot; Rock Samphire; Ladies Bedstraw; Sea Aster; Common Mouse Ear; Bird's Foot Trefoil; Viper's Bugloss; Autumn Ladies Tresses; Honeysuckle; Wood Sage; Bell Heather; Ling; Carline Thistle; Eyebright; Restharrow; Fairy Flax; Tormentil; Thrift; Sea Mayweed; Sea Beet; Rock Lavender; Red Bartsia; Golden Samphire; Sea Campion; Wild Thyme; Lesser Sea Spurrey; Vervain; Greater Sea Spurrey; Wild Mignonette; Common Stork's-Bill; Common Skullcap; Gypsywort; Purple Loosestrife; Wood Avens; Branched Bur Reed; Hedge Bindweed; Field Scabious; Angelica and Squinancywort.

Birds noted were:- House Martin; Magpie; Wood Pigeon; Mute Swan; Carrion Crow; Jackdaw; Herring Gull; Oystercatcher; Feral Pigeon; Raven; Linnet; Fulmar; Meadow Pipit; Chough (*5); Wheatear; Grey Heron; Mallard; Canada Goose and Lesser Black Backed Gull.

Butterflies observed were:- Small Tortoiseshell (*16); Large White (*1); Red Admiral (*3); Comma (*1); Wall (*2); Small White (*1); Peacock (*1); Meadow Brown (*7); Speckled Wood (*5); Small Heath (*5); Common Blue (*2) and Gatekeeper (*1).

Other insects noted were:- Southern Hawker; Common Blue Damselfly; Migrant Hawker; Mottled Grasshopper; Common Field Grasshopper; Meadow Grasshopper and Dark Bush Cricket as well as the Hoverflies (Episyrphus balteatus); (Eristalis pertinax); (Scaeva pyrastri) and (Volucella zonaria) plus a Ruby Tailed Wasp sp. and the Mirid Bud (Calocoris roseomaculatus).

Bladder Wrack; Beadlet Anemone; Black Footed Limpet; Common Limpet; Broad Clawed Porcelain Crab; Shore Crab and a Shanny were added extras.

21st Aug 2014 - Pembroke Dock, Pembrokeshire - A chill out with a snack and overlooking the dock. A Curlew settled in to roost and Lesser Swinecress was noted.

21st Aug 2014 - Llandirindod Wells Lake, Powys - A call off for a cup of tea and a wander at this leisurely site. Flowers noted were:- Gypsywort; Greater Willowherb; Daisy; Spear Thistle; Purple Loosestrife; Water Mint; Angelica; Goosegrass; Common Nettle; Greater Plantain; Water Avens; Selfheal; Herb Robert; Ribwort Plantain; Common Knapweed; Thyme Leaved Speedwell; Bird's-Foot Trefoil; White Clover; Dandelion sp; Yellow Loosestrife; Red Clover; Procumbent Pearlwort; Groundsel; Common Mouse Ear; White Dead Nettle; Marsh Thistle; Enchanter's Nightshade; Red Bartsia; Harebell and Hogweed.

Peacock (*1); Green veined White (*1); Small Copper (*1) and Small Tortoiseshell (*1) were the only butterflies on show, a Common Blue Damselfly mooched in the undergrowth and a Raven flew over.

20th August 2014 - River Mersey, Stockport, Cheshire - A wander into Stockport for some shopping with my daughter, on the way back I picked up 120 pieces of litter saw a cluster of Parent Shieldbug nymphs (approximately 29 in total) and found a Hairy Shieldbug hiding away in a grass inflorescence.
19th August 2014 - River Mersey, Stockport, Cheshire - Strolling home in the sun and singles of Meadow Brown; Green Veined White; Comma; Speckled Wood and Gatekeeper were enjoyed. A Common Darter whizzed about and the gall Contarinia loti was spotted.

17th August 2014 - Fernilee Reservoir, Derbyshire - A stroll around for some fungal specimens was decent enough and Meadow Brown (*2); Meadow Grasshopper; the Hoverflies Sericomyia silentis and Myathropa florea and the gall Hartigola annulipes added extras.

Marsh Thistle; Creeping Thistle; Eyebright sp; Tormentil; Harebell; Sneezewort; Common Ragwort and Common Knapweed were a few flowers noted.

14th August 2014 - Formby Point NT, Lancashire - A walk with the Young Carers and after several sand dune races, a good paddle in the sea and a dry off there was little time for wildlifing. 2 Red Squirrels, a Birch Shieldbug and 2 Speckled Wood Butterflies and a Gatekeeper was all that was recorded - hey ho - we had a grand time nonetheless.

11th August 2014 - Chesil Beach, Dorset - The tide was out so why not call in for a potter. Sea Squirts; Thick Top Shells; Shore Crabs; the Barnacle (Balanus balanus); Shanny's; Slipper Shells; Netted Dog Whelk; Beadlet Anemones; Snakelocks Anemones; Star Ascidian and the seaweeds Velvet Horn; Mermaid's Tresses; Bladder Wrack and Estuary Wrack were all examined at close quarters with the odd Turnstone mooching about and Dunlin and Ringed Plovers plentiful.

Soapwort was just about in flower and checked for a smut fungus - no luck today!

11th August 2014 - Thorncombe Woods, Dorset - A look at Thomas Hardy's cottage and a walk through the nearby woodland for fungi. I still managed to add 3 butterfly species:- Red Admiral (*1); Green Veined White (*1) and Speckled Wood (*2) as well as a Birch Shieldbug; the Hoverfly (Vollucella pellucens); the plant gall (Jaapiella veronicae) and a fast travelling Smooth Snake that moved over the woodland floor right between us.
11th August 2014 - Maiden Castle, Dorset - A look at an Iron Age Hillfort with many sheep for company and a whipping wind. Meadow Brown (*5); Common Blue (*1) and a Meadow Grasshopper were the only species noted down.
10th August 2014 - Broadcroft Quarry, Dorset - A gentle stroll with Meadow Brown (*1); Wall (*3) and Common Blue (*5) the only butterflies seen. 6 Slow Worms were found and a Bishop's Mitre Bug and Tortoise Bug (Eurygaster testudinaria) were observed.
10th August 2014 - Portland Bill, Dorset - A Hummingbird Hawkmoth in the car and a Red Admiral, Small Tortoiseshell, Kidney Spot Ladybird and Tachnid Fly (Tachina grossa) in the Obs garden.

10th August 2014 - Lodmoor RSPB, Dorset - The first birding walk of the hols, 32 species listed:- Greenfinch; Dunlin; Common Tern; Starling; Herring Gull; Lapwing; Pied Wagtail; Goldfinch; Little Egret; Canada Goose; Mallard; Coot; Shelduck; Teal; Common Sandpiper; Green Sandpiper; Carrion Crow; Great Black Backed Gull; Lesser Black Backed Gull; Grey Heron; Feral Pigeon; Mute Swan; Moorhen; House Sparrow; Tufted Duck; Great Crested Grebe; Sand Martin; Swift; Pochard; Little Grebe; Cormorant and Wood Pigeon.

Speckled Wood (*10); Red Admiral (*3); Peacock (*1) and Meadow Brown (*1) were the only butterflies seen with a lone Jersey Tiger the only moth.

Eriophyes similis; Puccinia proxima and Cecidophyes rouhollahi were the day's galls noted.

The flower list was varied:- Common Ragwort; Lesser Trefoil; Wild Parsnip; Black Medick; Bristly Ox Tongue; Common Fleabane; Creeping Thistle; Hedge Woundwort; Hedge Bindweed; Field Bindweed; Bittersweet; Herb Robert; Mugwort; Curl Leaved Dock; Daisy; Dandelion sp; Ribwort Plantain; Greater Mullein; Teasel; Red Valerian; Common Nettle; Yarrow; Wild Carrot; Tansy; Sea Aster; Greater Plantain; Scentless Mayweed; Red Bartsia; Silverweed; Spear Thistle; Greater Willowherb; Stone Parsley; Large Bindweed; Tufted Vetch; Common Knapweed; Weld; Red Clover; Dove's Foot Crane's-Bill; Common Field Speedwell; Purple Loosestrife; Wormwood; Canadian Goldenrod; Common Mouse Ear and White Clover.

9th August 2014 - Charmouth, Dorset - After a morning fungalling and a good lunch with Michael Jordan and his fine lady Hazel we decided to try and catch up with a Groundhopper we wanted to photograph. Landslides didn't help matters but after much huffing and puffing and climbing around I found an old location I knew and observed several Slender and Cepero's Groundhoppers. Amazing that within a 10 foot square the Hoppers abounded but outside of that - zilch! Hopefully snaps of the elusive Cepero's have been had and if not it was still good to catch up with this rare species again.

8th August 2014 - Portland, Dorset - A 4 hour walk from the Bird Observatory to Easton and back around through Weston and onto the western coastal path resulted in a hefty list of species which I shall record here and try to beat with a similar walk next time, keeps one tuned in tha' knows.

85 flowers noted were:- Bittersweet; Bristly Ox-Tongue; Spear Leaved Orache; Hedge Bedstraw; Tree Mallow; Small Scabious; Scentless Mayweed; Wormwood; Lesser Swine Cress; Lucerne; Pineappleweed; Selfheal; Yellow-Wort; Meadow Vetchling; Broad Leaved Dock; Wall Speedwell; Purple Toadflax; Red Clover; Common Poppy; Hedge Mustard; Greater Willowherb; Broad Leaved Willowherb; Groundsel; Shepherd's Purse; Common Field Speedwell; Dove's Foot Crane's-Bill; Mexican Daisy; Daisy; Herb Robert; Goldenrod; Creeping Cinquefoil; Scarlet Pimpernel; Dandelion sp; Hedge Bindweed; Large Bindweed; Field Bindweed; White Clover; Strawberry Clover; Traveller's Joy; Common Ivy; Ivy Leaved Toadflax; Common Toadflax; Mugwort; Marjoram; Tall Melilot; Wild Clary; Fennel; Buddleia; Field Scabious; Greater Plantain; Wood Sage; Ploughman's Spikenard; Viper's Bugloss; Black Medick; Red Valerian; Dwarf Thistle; Carline Thistle; Ribwort Plantain; Hemp Agrimony; Common Fleabane; Portland Sea Lavender; Branched Bur Reed; Creeping Thistle; Spear Thistle; Pellitory of the Wall; Thrift; Golden Samphire; Rock Samphire; Greater Burdock; Sea Beet; Restharrow; Red Bartsia; Bird's-Foot Trefoil; Agrimony; Teasel; Yarrow; Wild Carrot; Common Ragwort; Common Nettle; Smooth Sow Thistle; Ladies Bedstraw; Tansy; Weld and Fat Hen.

20 birds noted were:- Goldfinch; Wood Pigeon; House Sparrow; Rock Pipit; Lesser Black Backed Gull; Linnet; Kestrel; Skylark; Carrion Crow; Gannet; Cormorant; Great Black Backed Gull; Wren; Swallow; Magpie; Collared Dove; Jackdaw; Buzzard; Magpie and Blackbird.

There were 19 moths seen:- Rosy Rustic; Garden Tiger; Bright Line Brown Eye; Shuttle Shaped Dart; Marbled Green; Light Brown Apple Moth; Vine's Rustic; Heart and Dart; Setaceous Hebrew Character; Large Yellow Underwing; Chinese Character; Knot-Grass; Common Footman; Horse Chestnut Leaf Miner; Lime Speck Pug; Silver Y; Angle Shades; Pyrausta aurata and 6 Spot Burnet.

Butterflies seen totalled 12 in species number these being:- Common Blue (*63); Meadow Brown (*21); Gatekeeper (*2); Clouded Yellow (*6); Wall (*2); Red Admiral (*2); Painted Lady (*1); Small Tortoiseshell (*2); Peacock (*1); Green Veined White (*2); Chalkhill Blue (*6) and Small White (*1).

Orthoptera and relatives were represented by 7 species:- Dark Bush Cricket; Grey Bush Cricket; Lesser Cockroach; Speckled Bush Cricket; Meadow Grasshopper; Common Field Grasshopper and Long Winged Conehead.

Minibeasts were represented by 26 species:- Liocoris tripustulatus; Notostira elongata; Bishop's Mitre Bug; 7 Spot Ladybird; 22 Spot Ladybird; 24 Spot Ladybird; Lucerne Bug; Red Tailed Bumble Bee; Scaeva Pyrausti; Hairy Shieldbug; Devil's Coach Horse; Yellow Meadow Ant; Ant Woodlouse; Shiny Woodlouse; Pill Woodlouse; Rough Woodlouse; Striped Woodlouse; Black Millipede; Myrmus miriformis; Oedemera nobilis; Common Froghopper; Episyrphus balteatus and the spiders Neoscona adianta; Argiope bruennichi; Tibellus oblongus; Enoplognatha ovata.

A pop on the sea shore and 6 species picked up:- Common Mussel; Purple Top Shell; Snakelock's Anemone; Beadlet Anemone; Sea Lettuce and Shore Crab.

Plant Galls and 5 species:- Loewiola centaureae; Kiefferia pericarpiicola; Trioza centranthi; Pontania proxima and Perofascia lepidii.

16 Other bits and pieces noted were:- White Lipped Banded Snail; Brown Lipped Banded Snail; Garden Snail; Wall Barley; Sycamore Tree; Horse Chestnut; Ash; Elder; Hawthorn; Slow Worm; Cinnabar Moth larvae and Sea Buckthorn, along with 4 fungal species (see Fungal Friends section) made up for a daily total of 205 species seen on the day - not a bad haul and we just got back to the lighthouse in time to beat the first shower of our hols - yippee.


7th August 2014 - Peascombe DWT, Dorset - A new area and after a trio of elderly folk we eventually found this tucked away site. Butterflies noted were:- Speckled Wood (*5); Small Tortoiseshell (*8); Meadow Brown (*12); Gatekeeper (*1); Red Admiral (*1); Small Skipper (*1); Common Blue (*6); Small Copper (*1); Brimstone (*1) and Green Veined White (*1). The only moth seen was a Straw Dot (*1).

Dark Bush Cricket; Meadow Grasshopper; Long Winged Conehead (Short Winged Form); Common Field Grasshopper and Speckled Bush Cricket were the only Orthoptera members seen and other bugs noted were Migrant Hawker; Common Froghopper; 7 Spot, 14 Spot and 24 Spot Ladybirds; Common Green and Hairy Shieldbugs; the Capsid Bug (Deraeocoris ruber); The Mirid Bug (Myrmus miriformis)and the Harvestman (Mitopus morio).


7th August 2014 - Sandsfoot Castle, Dorset - A tip off resulted in us seeing a Small Red Eyed Damselfly on a pond that was approximately 8ft * 8ft - not difficult as you can imagine and hopefully I may have a few decent pics too. A Common Blue Tailed Damselfly was also in attendance whilst 6 Migrant Hawkers hung around nearby trees.

On one of the lily pads was a Speckled Bush Cricket and a Jersey Tiger Moth was at rest on a shrub's leaf.

7th August 2014 - Portland Bill, Dorset - A Beautiful Gothic Moth and a Great Green Bush Cricket were notable whilst lounging around the Obs. The Moth of course was in a pot from the overnight trapping.
6th August 2014 - Nicodemus' Nob, Portland Bill, Dorset - A stroll with my 2 lasses and our mate Ken Dolbear in search of some bugs and beasties. Hard work indeed but still pleasurable. The humble list was:- Meadow Brown (*1); Chalkhill Blue (*7); Common Blue (*6); Marbled White (*2); Gatekeeper (*1); Clouded Yellow (*1); Dark Bush Cricket; Common Field Grasshopper; 22 Spot Ladybird; Hairy Shieldbug; Common Green Shieldbug; Alder Spittle Bug; Common Nettle Bug (Heterogaster urticae); Tortoise Bug (Eurygaster testudinaria); Common Lizard (*1) and Slow Worm (*5).

6th August 2014 - Portland Bill, Dorset - A wander around one of our favourite sites, boy its good to be back. Meadow Grasshopper (Chorthippus parallelus); Long Winged Conehead (Conocephalus discolor); Speckled Bush Cricket (Leptophyes punctatissima); Grey Bush Cricket (Platycleis albopunctata); Blister Beetle (Oedemera nobilis); Plant Bug (Corizus hyoscyami); Bishop's Mitre Bug (Aelia acuminata); Hairy Shield Bug (Dolycoris baccarum); Common Froghopper (Philaenus spumarius); Dock Bug (Coreus marginatus); Gorse Shieldbug (Piezodorus lituratus); Down Shield Bug (Canthophorus impressus) (*2 Adults, 25 nymphs); Nettle Ground Bug (Heterogaster urticae); Mirid Bugs (Myrmus miriformis); (Notostira elongata) and (Phytocoris varipes) and the Beetle (Ophonus ardosiacus) were all identified after much mooching. Of course some pretty butterflies were added:- Common Blue (*24); Chalkhill Blue (*1); Clouded Yellow (*2); Green Veined White (*1); Marbled White (*1); Gatekeeper (*4) and Meadow Brown (*8) as well as the day flying moth 6 Spot burnet (*1). A Hoverfly (Syritta pipiens) and 2 Spiders (Enoplognatha ovata) and (Neoscona adianta) rounded off the list.

Back at the lighthouse and some moths were observed, namely:- Sharp Angled Peacock; Cydia amplana; Yponomeuta plumbella and Ischnoscia borreonella. The latter species is a real rarity and came as a nice surprise indeed.

A Long Tailed Skua was later pointed out by Joe who is the junior warden and sincere thanks were given, he has a darn sharp eye this chap.

Loewiola centaureae and Kiefferia pericarpiicola were 2 plant galls noted.

5th August 2014 - Portland Bill, Dorset - At last, we arrived at the final destination of our summer trip, who was there to greet us first - a Speckled Bush Cricket - ooh ye lovely critter.

5th August 2014 - Itchen Valley, Hampshire - The roads were getting busy, the arses aching, time for another break. A quick wander, no Southern Damselfly but a brace of Banded Demoiselles; a Brown Rat and the Gall (Urophora cardui) were noted. Pink Water Speedwell and Brooklime were in flower and the butterflies Meadow Brown (*3); Gatekeeper (*4) and Red Admiral (*1) were enjoying the patchy sun.

Aceria erinea was found on Walnut leaves.


5th August 2014 - Warnham NR, West Sussex - We were setting off from our base to Dorset but called in at this nearby reserve and thoroughly enjoyed it. A pair of Roe Deer were seen at close quarters, a Water Ladybird was photographed (well attempts made), a Beautiful Demoiselle and Southern Hawker were enjoyed on an up close and personal basis and Britain's largest Hoverfly (Volucella zonaria) was admired by all. Sneezewort; Common Water Plantain and Arrowhead were in fine fettle and alos found were the plant galls Taphrina tosquinetii; Eriophyes similis; Eriophyes inangulis; Andricus foecundatrix; Andricus kollari and Neurotus quercusbaccarum.

The butterfly list was:- Meadow Brown (*1); Green Veined White (*1); Speckled Wood (*12); Painted Lady (*1); Silver Washed Fritillary (*2); Gatekeeper (*2) and Common Blue (*3).


4th August 2014 - Seven Sisters Country Park, East Sussex - A stunning area this and despite the busy parking area it is a place that people are easily escaped from. The heat was powerful, the walk ou tto the sea enjoyed the punky paddle savoured - it didn't half freshen me feet up. Of course I was noting the butterflies (it goes without saying), the list was:- Meadow Brown (*20); Common Blue (*32); Wall (*2); Gatekeeper (*4); Speckled Wood (*1); Small Tortoiseshell (*2); Small White (*1); Red Admiral (*1) and Clouded Yellow (*2).

Ruddy and Common Darters were spotted, a Little Egret fished in the gullies, Scentless Mayweed; Greater Sea Spurrey; Sea Purslane and Sea Wormwood were in flower.

3rd August 2014 - Buchan CP, West Sussex - A general walk with an Ice Cream had and the main target to just get the legs moving and discover the layout of this area. I did note the flutterers Comma (*1); Meadow Brown (*1); Speckled Wood (*2) and Gatekeeper (*3). A male Keeled Skimmer Dragonfly rested and flew upon approach and a lone Rhododendron Leafhopper (Graphocephala fennahi) was picked up.
3rd August 2014 - Devil's Dyke, West Sussex - A nosey at this Anglo-Saxon Earthworks site and a few beasties noted. Common Blue (*1); Wall (*2); Meadow Brown (*2) and Small Copper (*1) were the butterflies noted and a Meadow Grasshopper was pointed out and the Hoverflies (Episyrphus balteatus) and (Eristalis pertinax) expected.

3rd August 2014 - Castle Hill, West Sussex - A visit to this site for a very special insect was had and whilst wandering we kept note of flowers in bloom. The end list was:- Prickly Sow Thistle; Mugwort; Daisy; Red Clover; Yarrow; Carline Thistle; Common Ragwort; Common Knapweed; Field Bindweed; Large Bindweed; Traveller's Joy; Ploughman's Spikenard; Tufted Vetch; Squinancywort; Bladder Campion; Yellow Rattle; Small Scabious; Yellow Wort; Knot-Grass; Common Poppy; Spear Thistle; Wild Mignonette; White Clover; Purple Toadflax; Red Dead nettle; Black Horehound; Common Nettle; Curl Leaved Dock; Hogweed; Lucerne; Restharrow; Pineappleweed; Lesser Trefoil; Greater plantain; Silverweed; Bird's-Foot Trefoil; Agrimony; Wild Parsnip; Lesser Centaury; Perforate St. John's Wort; Tall Melilot; Common Fleabane; Field Scabious; Harebell; Dove's Foot Crane's-Bill; Meadow Crane's-Bill; Common Toadflax; Hemp Agrimony; Rosebay Willowherb; Wild Thyme; Vervain; Greater Burdock and Eyebright.

Butterflies seen were:- Small White (*1); Wall (*20); Gatekeeper (16); Meadow Brown (*19); Small Tortoiseshell (3); Common Blue (*24); Chalkhill Blue (*106); Marbled White (*3); Small Copper (*1); Small Skipper (*2); Brown Argus (*2); Essex Skipper (*3); Small Heath (*4); Adonis Blue (*1); Dark Green Fritillary (*5) and Clouded Yellow (*3).

The Hoverflies (Sphaerophoria scripta); (Scaeva pyrastri) and (Episyrphus balteatus) were seen as well as the Beetle (Oedemera nobilis); the Orthoptera specimens Roesel's Bush Cricket; Long Winged Conehead; Meadow Grasshopper and...the much sort after Wart-Biter.


2nd August 2014 - Horseshoe Plantation, East Sussex - A bit of relaxing in the afternoon sun and some mooching in the grass for bugs and such. Butterflies observed were:- Meadow Brown (*16); Chalkhill Blue (*61); Common Blue (*2); Small Heath (*1) and Silver Spotted Skipper (*2). Other bugs noted were:- Corizus hyoscyami; Bishop's Mitre Bug (Aelia acuminata); the Mirid Bug (Phytocoris varipes); 14 Spot Ladybird (Propylea 14-punctata); Hairy Shield Bug (Dolycoris baccarum); Common Field Grasshopper (Chorthippus brunneus); Meadow Grasshopper (Chorthippus parallelus); and the spiders (Araneus quadratus) and (Enoplognatha ovata).

Ploughman's Spikenard was in flower, a Corn Bunting sung all the way through my wanderings and the gall Diplolepis spinosissimae was seen on a member of the Rose family.


2nd August 2014 - Beachy Head, East Sussex - A stroll along this impressive coastal area with the sun blazing and the wind blowing. Flowers noted were:- Black Medick; Bugloss; Wild Carrot; Small Scabious; Field Bindweed; Ribwort Plantain; Curled Leaved Dock; White Clover; Common Nettle; Chicory; Dove's-Foot Crane's-Bill; Yarrow; Greater Plantain; Common Knapweed; Prickly Sow Thistle; Red Clover; Betony; Squinancywort; Wood Sage; Traveller's Joy; Hogweed; Daisy; Dandelion sp; Common Ragwort; Spear Thistle; Ladies Bedstraw; Viper's Bugloss; Hoary Plantain; Field Madder; Wild Thyme; Restharrow; Agrimony; Bird's-Foot Trefoil; Dwarf Thistle; Sea beet; Red Bartsia; Sea Lavender; Carline Thistle; Clustered Bellflower and Teasel.

Butterflies noted were:- Common Blue (*34); Small Tortoiseshell (*2); Meadow Brown (*21); Marbled White (*1); Essex Skipper (*4); Small Heath (*1); Chalkhill Blue (*8); Gatekeeper (*7); Small Copper (*1) and Wall (*1). The only moth seen was a lone Silver Y.

A Fulmar circled over the sea and the only other species noted were a 14 Spot Ladybird and the Noon Fly (Mesembrina meridiana).

2nd August 2014 - Eastbourne, East Sussex - A tootle around this quaint town as well as a stroll along the sea front in yet more stunning weather. Holly Blue (*1) and Gatekeeper (*1) visited coastal flowers whilst a Migrant Hawker hugged a tree line and Mexican Daisy was in excellent bloom.

1st August 2014 - Aston Rowant, Oxfordshire - A mooch for a rare butterfly was taken in sunny conditions with the final lepidopteran list looking like this:- Chalkhill Blue (*16); Meadow Brown (*28); Gatekeeper (*1); Small Skipper (*3); Peacock (*1); Common Blue (*1); Brown Argus (*1) and Silver Spotted Skipper (*18) the pleasing end result. 2 of the Silver Spotted Skippers were seen in courtship and breeding mode and gave terrific views of their scale winged plumage.

Meadow Grasshoppers were plentiful as were the more elusive Stripe Winged Grasshopper with 2 seen rubbing their hind legs and emitting that undulating call - marvellous beasts indeed.

Flowers noted were:- Greater Burdock; Harebell; Squinancywort; Dwarf Thistle; Carline Thistle; Agrimony and Wild Parsnip.

A Red Kite circled overhead, the Hoverfly (Myathropa florea) was enjoyed and the plant gall Aceria thomasi was recorded.


1st August 2014 - Coombe CP, Warwickshire - A wander at this tucked away area and a flower list kept, the species in bloom were:- Pineappleweed; Black Medick; Shepherd's Purse; Selfheal; Yellow Rattle; Meadow Buttercup; Rosebay Willowherb; Bird's Foot Trefoil; Meadowsweet; Ladies Bedstraw; Water Mint; Hedge Bedstraw; Prickly Sow Thistle; Himalayan Balsam; Yarrow; Musk Mallow; Red Clover; Angelica; Gypsywort; Enchanter's Nightshade; Skullcap; Greater Plantain; Redshank; Daisy; Knot-Grass; White Clover; Dandelion sp; Herb Robert; Wood Avens; White Dead Nettle; Spear Thistle; Bugloss; Red Campion; Broad Leaved Willowherb; Figwort; Orange Balsam; Lesser Swinecress; Thyme Leaved Speedwell; Common Ragwort; Meadow Crane's-Bill; Ribwort Plantain; Goosegrass; Greater Willowherb; Hogweed; Common Nettle and Creeping Thistle.

Lepidoptera seen were:-Green Veined White (*1); Meadow Brown (*3); Comma (*1); Small Skipper (*1); Gatekeeper (*1) and Peacock (*4) as well as the moth Horse Chestnut Leaf Miner.

The plant galls:- Urophora cardui; Taphrina alni; Eriophyes laevis; Jaapiella veronicae; Psyllopsis fraxini and Pontania proxima were added to the days sightings as well as a Buzzard; Egyptian Goose; Meadow Grasshopper and the Hoverfly (Episyrphus balteatus).


31st July 2014 - West Kirby, Cheshire - The last day of July, boy oh boy where is that time flying to? A walk with the fine Young Carers from work and after 2 hours crabbing (3 Shore Crabs the poor result) we had a walk through the dunes were numerous Common Field Grasshoppers pinged about and the butterflies:- Grayling (*1); Green Veined White (*2); Meadow Brown (*2) and Gatekeeper (*2) flew amongst the grasses, as well as a 6 Spot Burnet Moth.

Numerous Frogs; A hefty Common Toad; 2 young Natterjack Toads and 4 Smooth Newts were adored by all and Pill Millpedes and a Emperor Dragonfly were nice extras.

Soapwort and Sea Rocket were seen for the first time this year.


27th July 2014 - Redesmere Lake, Cheshire - Final pop off point of the day, a well deserved ice cream for all of us and a wander around the lake. Not much about but a placid place to end the day. Gatekeeper (*3); Peacock (*1) and Green Veined White (*4) were the only flutterers and Black Tailed Skimmer (*2); Brown Hawker (*1); Blue Tailed Damselfly (*2) and Common Blue Damselfly (*3) the only Odonates about.

Little Black Pudding Galls (Dasineura pteridis) were a nice find - I like this smart looking growths caused by a difficult to see midge.


27th July 2014 - The Quinta CWT, Cheshire - A mixture of arboretum and nature reserve tucked away in the dingly dell of Cheshire. Our first visit so really just getting the lay of the land and assessing the potential. We kept a Butterfly list anyway:- Speckled Wood (*6); Small White (*1); Meadow Brown (*2); Green Veined White (*1) and Peacock (*1) were all that we saw. A Large Yellow Underwing Moth was noted as well as 2 Common Darters.

A nearby area, at the back of a pub, was laden with Lavender shrubs, much to the delight of its customers and the flitting insects


27th July 2014 - Swettenham Meadows CWT, Cheshire - A very secluded area to explore, butterflies noted were:- Green Veined White (*3); Gatekeeper (*18); Peacock (*3); Meadow Brown (*12); Red Admiral (*2); Small White (*1); Comma (*1); Small Tortoiseshell (*1) and Small Skipper (*3).

Harebells were in flower; the Flower Bug (Anthocoris nemorum) was seen; a Southern Hawker had a nosey at us and and the Hoverflies (Eristalis pertinax); (Eristalis tenax); (Eupeodes luniger) and (Episyrphus balteatus) were plentiful.

Notostira elongata and Oncotylus viridiflavus were 2 mirid bugs noted.


26th July 2014 - Cheadle Heath, Stockport, Cheshire - I am so fagged out with the heat and the usual numerous duties in life that the thought of stopping up late mothing was far from inspiring. As way of a cop out I used the old toilet wiindow with light on and saw what I could catch this way - needs must. The list was small but better than nowt:- Marbled Beauty (*7); Large Yellow Underwing (*1); Riband Wave f. remutata (*9); Blastobasis adustella (*3); Argyresthia trifasciata (*1); Mother of Pearl (*1); Dark/Grey Dagger (*1); Apple Leaf Miner (*1); Smoky Wainscot (*1); Acrobasis advenella (*1); Codling Moth (*1); Swammerdamia pyrella (*1) and Strawberry Tortrix (*1).

A Small White Butterfly was seen in the garden. Lovely things and way too overlooked.

24th July 2014 - Heaton Moor, Stockport, Cheshire - Peacock (*1); Holly Blue (*1) and Speckled Wood (*2) were the only butterflies seen on the way home despite the blazing heat.

21st July 2014 - River Mersey, Stockport, Cheshire - A walk to the shops with my daughter and a run at night produced the following butterfly sightings:- Speckled Wood (*4); Small White (*1); Meadow Brown (*2); Gatekeeper (*5); Comma (*1); Small Skipper (*1) and Green Veined White (*2).

Sea Aster and Canadian Fleabane were in flower.

20th July 2014 - Poynton Park, Cheshire - A shortish wander to clear the noggins once more. Greater Spearwort; Skullcap; Gypsywort and Yellow Loosestrife all in flower. Butterflies on the wing were:- Small Skipper (*1); Comma (*1); Gatekeeper (*2) and Meadow Brown (*2). Dragon/Damselflies noted were:- Brown Hawker (*2) and Blue Tailed Damselfly (*2).

Forest Shieldbug; Spotted Cranefly; Anthocoris nemorum; Helophilus pendulus; Erstalis pertinax and Harlequin Ladybird were other mini-beasts noted.

Eriophyes inangulis; Eriophyes laevis; Psyllopsis fraxini; Eriophyes leiosoma; Aceria exilis; Hartigiola annulipes and Pontania proxima were the only galls seen.

19th July 2014 - Cheadle Heath, Stockport, Cheshire - Distinctly horrid weather and an all day gig to attend, hey ho - the year's first Mother of Pearl Moth was noted though.
18th July 2014 - Cheadle Heath, Stockport, Cheshire - A Brimstone; Riband Wave f. remutata (*3); Common Footman (*1) and a Micro Moth (Udea prunalis) was all that was attracted to the toilet window but it didn't matter because my Hoverfly buckets have Rat Tailed Maggots in them - well 1 out of 3 but it's a start - yeah.

18th July 2014 - River Mersey, Stockport, Cheshire - A stroll home in the stifling heat, by heck it's a sizzler. Butterflies noted were:- Gatekeeper (*17); Meadow Brown (*9); Comma (*7); Small White (*1); Speckled Wood (*4) and Small Skipper (*4). The Buddleia bushes were smelling a treat yet only 1 butterfly was feeding on them - how strange.

The Hoverfly (Myathropa florea) was admired whilst it basked in the sun.

17th July 2014 - Heaton Moor, Stockport, Cheshire - Wandering to work and a Comma and Speckled Wood enjoy the early morning sun and numerous Horse Chestnut Leaf Miners (Cameraria ohridella) flew around the host plants leaves.

16th July 2014 - Etherow CP, Cheshire - A Butterfly and Bugs walk taking around some of our carers from Signpost out into this quite appealing area, a very nice group of folk indeed. The weather wasn't brilliant but it was warm and without rain and we really shouldn't moan about that. Butterflies seen weren't numerous but some is always better than none. Species noted were:- Meadow Brown (*3); Gatekeeper (*3); Green Veined White (*2); Small Skipper (*1); Small Tortoiseshell (*1); Speckled Wood (*1); Comma (*1) and Red Admiral (*1). The only moth noted was a lone Straw Dot.

Bugs seens were the Hoverflies, Eristalis pertinax; Episyrphus balteatus; Eupeodes luniger; Volucella pellucens and Melanostoma scalare. A Tree Bee; Red Tailed Bumble Bee; Blue Tailed Damselfly; Pot Bellied Emerald Beetle (Gastrophysa viridula) ; Alder Leaf Beetle (Agelastica alni); Spotted Longhorn Beetle (Ruptela maculata) Forest Shieldbug; Common Wasp; Common Blue Damselfly; Harlequin Ladybird; Cream Spotted Ladybird; 7 Spot Ladybird and 14 Spot Ladybird were also added. Other minibeasts observed were:- Anthocoris nemorum; Common Froghopper; Stenotus binotatus; Heterotoma planicornis; Common Groundhopper; Liocoris tripustulatus; Plagiognathus arbustorum; Grypocoris stysi; Leptoterna dolobrata and a few other usual suspects of late.

Broad Leaved Helleborine; Common Valerian; Yellow Loosestrife; Purple Loosestrife and Wood Sage were a few of the flowers mulled over on a very pleasant day out. Cheers to all.

The gall Acalitus stenaspis was later identified.


15th July 2014 - Anderton NR, Cheshire - A day out with my brother looking for insects, a few hours and not a bad haul. Butterflies were poor though with Speckled Wood (*1); Meadow Brown (*14); Green Veined White (*3); Gatekeeper (*15); Small Tortoiseshell (*2) and Comma (*1) the only ones noted. Moths were represented by Shaded Broad Bar (*2) and Argyresthia goedartella (*2).

Hoverflies were lowly with only Volucella pellucens; Helophilus pendulus and Eristalis pertinax noted.

Odanata species from 2 ponds were:- Common Darter (*4); Brown Hawker (*5); Emperor Dragonfly (*1); Black Tailed Skimmer (*1); Banded Demoiselle (*1) and Blue Tailed Damselfly (*2).

Other beasties seen were:- Leptoterna dolobrata; Leptoterna ferrugata; Nabis flavomarginatus; Capsus ater; Anthocoris nemorum; Common Froghopper; Stenotus binotatus; Heterotoma planicornis; Harlequin Ladybird; 14 Spot Ladybird; 24 Spot Ladybird; 14 Spot Ladybird Larva; Alder Leaf Beetle; Common Earwig; Grypocoris stysi; Lygocoris pabulinus; Oncotylus viridiflavus; Deraeocoris ruber; Liocoris tripustulatus; Plagiognathus arbustorum; Hairy Shieldbug; Common Green Shieldbug nymph; Forest Shieldbug; Common Field Grasshopper; Common Groundhopper; The Tachnid Fly (Dexiosoma caninum); Heterogaster urticae; Snail Killing Fly (Coremacera marginata); Thistle Tortoise Beetle (Cassida rubiginosa); Green Soldier Fly (Oplodontha viridula) the Spiders (Enoplognatha ovata) and (Araneus diadematus) and a Striped Woodlouse. For further bug ID's I turned to the talent that is Jo Botting, by heck he knows his onions. Added to the list were:- Ischnodemus sabuleti (nymph); Closterotomus norwegicus and a tentative but almost certainly Nabis ferus (who am I to argue). 2 previous species (Heterogaster urticae and Anthocoris nemorum) were double confirmed just to assure me I am on the right track. Thank you again Mr Botting.

Flowers new for the year were:- Ploughman's Spikenard; Teasel; Fragrant Orchid and Hemp Agrimony.

The gall (Dasineura pustulans) was seen on Meadowsweet.


14th July 2014 - Abney Hall, Stockport, Cheshire - The morn was taken up waiting for a man about insulation, so as soon as he had been and gone and with the weather set to change, I set off to a local patch to seek out some bug life. I didn't do any counts today, I just noted what species were about, the list was as follows:-

Lepidoptera seen were:- Small Skipper; Gatekeeper; Meadow Brown and Green Veined White. A lone Six Spot Burnet was the only moth observed.

Odonates spotted were:- Emerald Damselfly; Brown Hawker; Broad Bodied Chaser; Banded Demoiselle; Common Darter and Emperor Dragonfly.

Hoverflies identified were the usual suspects these being Helophilus pendulus; Eristalis pertinax; Episyrphus balteatus; Eristalis nemorum; Melanostoma scalare and Sphaerophoria scripta.

Coleoptera noted were:- Alder Leaf Beetle; Agapanthia villosoviridescens and 7 Spot; 14 Spot and 22 Spot Ladybirds.

Other bugs were:- Leptoterna dolobrata; Stenotus binotatus; Pithanus maerkeli; Notostira elongata; Nabis flavomarginatus; Common Froghopper; the Leafhopper (Cicadella viridis) and the Robberfly (Leptogaster cylindrica).

3 Arachnids were observed:- Araneus diadematus; Araniella cucurbitina and Larinoides cornutus.

The bonus came in a few plant galls, 3 of which were all time new ones for me. The species seen were:- Livia junci; Aceria macrochela and Aceria eriobia.

Whilst pottering about and having one eye on the galls I was fooled by several paired growths on the petioles of a Cherry Tree. For all the world they looked like galls but in fact were Extrafloral Nectaries, small glands that exude nectar outside of the inflorescence and so are not involved in the reproductive cycle. More information can be found here.

14th July 2014 - Cheadle Heath, Stockport, Cheshire - The years first Holly Blue was seen flying near a road.

13th July 2014 - Abney Hall, Stockport, Cheshire - A long day yesterday, seeing to a 10 band gig in Elsecar. Today just a 1.5 mile jog and a walk through this local patch on the way home. Species seen were the butterflies:- Small Skipper (*16); Meadow Brown (*10); Small Tortoiseshell (*1); Green Veined White (*1) and Gatekeeper (*1). Common Darters were numerous and Greater Spearwort; Monkeyflower; Fringed Water Lily and Yellow Water Lily were in flower.

The gall Hartigola annulipes was seen on Beech leaves.

11th July 2014 - Cheadle Heath, Stockport, Cheshire - And a few more moths from the loo. This morning I was greeted by:- Straw Dot (*2); Burnished Brass (*2); Riband Wave f. remutata (*1); Clouded Border (*1); Swallow-Tailed Moth (*2); Scalloped Oak (*1); Diamond Back Moth (*1); Red Barred Tortrix (*1); Bird Cherry Ermine (*1) and Chrysoteuchia culmella (*2). Not much and if I had the energy I would stop up mothing but, as per, much to do.
10th July 2014 - Cheadle Heath, Stockport, Cheshire - Hypsopygia glaucinalis and Small Angle Shades were the only moths attracted to the bathroom light.

8th July 2014 - River Mersey, Stockport, Cheshire - A dodgy weather forecast, a need to be good with the brass, many things piling up and so...another trip down stream mooching about. First thing was to check the Yellow-Bird's-Nest (Monotropa hypopitys ssp. hypophegea) to see if there were more spikes than first counted. Another patch of 60 made it a total of 76 spikes in total - nice.

Insects noted whilst the sun shone were:- (Stenotus binotatus); (Grypocoris stysi); (Pithanus maerkeli); (Leptoterna dolobrata); (Leptoterna ferrugata); 14 Spot and 7 Spot Ladybird; Forest Shieldbug nymph and adult Common Green Shieldbug; (Capsus ater); (Heterotoma planicornis); (Notostira elongata); (Anthocoris nemorum); (Deraeocoris flavilinea); (Plagiognathus arbustorum); (Nabis limbatus) and Red Tailed Bumblee Bee. A 14-Spot Ladybird larva was later identified.

Yellow Bird's-Nest - a record shot and to highlight you never know what is around the corner (literally)

8th July 2014 - Cheadle Heath, Stockport, Cheshire - Attracted to the overnight toilet windown were the moths:- Marbled Beauty (*1); Riband Wave f remutata (*4); Riband Wave (banded) (*1); Swallow-Tailed Moth (*1); Brimstone (*2); Bramble Shoot Moth (*1); White Shouldered House Moth (*1); Heart and Dart (*1); Tachstola acroxantha (*1) and Chrysoteuchia culmella (*2).

7th July 2014 - River Mersey, Stockport, Cheshire - A day off as per, I got up early and walked the good lady to the bus stop, came home, sorted some CD reviews and headed out to look for some bugs. Odonata noted were:- Common Darter; Broad Bodied Chaser; Common Blue Damselfly; Banded Demoiselle and Azure Damselfly. Lepidoptera noted were:- Small Skipper (*7); Large Skipper (*2); Gatekeeper (*6); Meadow Brown (*6); Comma (*1) and the moths 6 Spot Burnet (*1) and Shaded Broad Bar (*1). The Bugs (Stenotus binotatus); (Grypocoris stysi); (Anthocoris nemorum); (Nabis flavomarginatus); (Stenodema laevigata); (Leptoterna dolobrata) and (Heterotoma planicornis) were observed as well as a Common Earwig; Common Field Grasshopper; Pea Weevil (Sitona sp); (Notostira elongata); Common Froghopper; Hairy Shieldbug and the Spider (Enoplognatha ovata). An Harvestman (Mitopus morio) was identified by a dude named Lars Friman on a forum, nice work sir.

A Kingfisher was briefly seen.

A jog in the evening and whilst passing a Silver Birch I noticed a strange plant growing beneath. Thoughts immediately went to Yellow-Bird's-Nest (Monotropa hypopitys) and after a fine old check 16 spikes were confirmed - what a bonus. Also in flower was Common Toadflax.


6th July 2014 - Chadkirk Chapel, Stockport, Cheshire - An early morning walk close to home and a day that highlights that how sometimes we naturalists presume and overlook something obvious. I pride myself on being meticulous when it comes to identifying something, taking time to appreciate and admire and duly name. But, with so much to take in, now and again we find we have come unstuck by looking at the less obvious instead of the obvious. Take for example the White Letter Hairstreak, an easily identifiable butterfly that frequents the easily identified Elm. Upon visiting Chadkirk for many years we have found a tree that is quite rewarding regarding WLH sightings and so, without checking, presumed it was an Elm. Many years these lovely butterflies have sat atop the leaves, swirled to our feet, danced and courted in front of us whilst we admired and yes, still took the tree to be an Elm. Today we went to another area and found a White Letter Hairstreak sat on a leaf of a similar tree, one we didn't check and again made the same presumption. In fact, a local friend and warden was with us and asked if the WLH we were watching was on the Hazel in front of us. Mmmm, 'Hazel' did he say? My wife and I looked at the tree, we looked at each other and looked at the tree again - 'ooops' - what a bloomer! Back to the original trees and 'double ooops' what an absolute whopping bloomer! It happens, it is a disgrace ha, ha, but mistakes like this make us all the more accurate in future jaunts - by heck though it niggles me naturalistic nadgers no end. The message though is , be careful, be studious in your approach and never get too blasé - you just never know. Anyway I go on too much, you get the point, I remain humbled, the mornings sightings were as follows:-

Butterflies seen were:- White Letter Hairstreak (*2); Comma (*2); Speckled Wood (*1) and Meadow Brown (*22). Moths noted were Yellow-Shell (*3) and Nettle Tap Moth (*1). 2 Mullein Moth Caterpillars were nice to find.

A female Common Darter was mulled over and suggested I need to get my ID skills up to speed on the Odonate front too - bah. Episyrphus balteatus; Eristalis pertinax; Eristalis nemorum; Volucella pellucens and Helophilus pendulus were the Hoverflies on the wing; 2 Forest Shieldbugs were seen; several Harlequin Ladybirds; Common Froghopper; The Mirids (Grypocoris stysi) and (Heterotoma planicornis); the Spider (Enoplognatha ovata) and the Lacewing (Chrysopa perla) were also observed.

The Oak Gall (Andricus lignicola) was also found. Oh we also saw a Sparrowhawk circling and several Hazel Trees - harumph!


5th July 2014 - River Mersey, Stockport, Cheshire - A jog down river and a stroll back with the fine lady (my young un' had gone doing a charity run in Manc) and a few species enjoyed. Butterflies seen were:- Meadow Brown (*4); Small Tortoiseshell (*1); Speckled Wood (*1) and Small Skipper (*2).

A Brown Hawker and anded Demoiselle were on the wing and Broad Leaved Helleborine; Musk Mallow; Greater Burnet and Yellow Loosestrife were in flower.

A Fox was also noted, this one a pale creature that was being harassed by 3 squawking Magpies - he looked rather miffed with all the mither.

The fact that this stretch of river is on my way to work, is on our doorstep and is used for our jogging route makes it. what is known as, a 'local patch'. Whilst talking to my brother about what I have seen along this 2 mile stretch he asked if I ever record and list what I see. The response was positive to both questions but what is the overall number of specimens seen along this well used area only a couple of minutes walk from our front door - watch this space - a new section to the site will be coming 'River Mersey Wildlife'. I hope it encourages you to take more attention to what is around you - it is something I always promote, too many miss the obvious in search of some faraway prize that has far more favour factor - bah - it is all wildlife, enjoy it, it is just wonderful and never fails to amaze.

3rd July 2014 - Heaton Mersey/River Mersey, Stockport, Cheshire - Walking home and Redshank was noted in flower and a leaf mine on Tall Melilot was seen to be caused by the Diptera specimen (Agromyza nana). The Mirid Bug (Stenotus binotatus) was on a grass infloresence.
2nd July 2014 - Marshside RSPB, Lancashire - A quick half hour to see how the Short Winged Coneheads are doing, very well it seems and good to know. The Soldier Fly (Nemotelus uliginosus) was spotted and Black Horehound was in flower.

2nd July 2014 - Queens Silver Jubilee Trail/Velvet Trail, Southport, Lancashire - After a nosey around the shops we headed on a wander through these 2 delightful areas. A warm day with hazy skies, a flowers in bloom list was kept, the following 66 species were identified:- Early Marsh Orchid; Pyramidal Orchid; Brookweed; Kidney Vetch; Red Bartsia; Hare's Foot Clover; Wild Carrot; Bird's Foot Trefoil; Ribwort Plantain; Hogweed; Large Bindweed; Creeping Thistle; Meadow Vetchling; Ox-Eye Daisy; Meadow Crane's-Bill; Common Knapweed; Salad Burnet; Silverweed; Tall Melilot; Selfheal; White Clover; Daisy; Yarrow; Field Scabious; Meadowsweet; Bush Vetch; Yellow Rattle; Cuckooflower; Wild Parsnip; Common Mouse Ear; Red Clover; Great Willowherb; Meadow Buttercup; Eyebright; Large Flowered Evening Primrose; Fairy Flax; Restharrow; Common Centaury; Lesser Trefoil; Black Medick; Common Stork's-Bill; English Stonecrop; Groundsel; Common Ragwort; Hound's-Tongue; White Campion; Broad Leaved Everlasting Pea; White Stonecrop; Rosebay Willowherb; Spear Thistle; Honeysuckle; Angelica; Strawberry Clover; Curled Leaved Dock; Greater Plantain; Common Valerian; Knotgrass; Goosegrass; Himalayan Balsam; Broad Leaved Willowherb; Creeping Buttercup; Common Nettle; Black Medick; Perforate St John's Wort; Weld and Dove's Foot Crane's-Bill.

As per, a Butterfly list was kept, species seen were:- Small Skipper (*13); Meadow Brown (*25); Common Blue (*4); Small Heath (*6); Gatekeeper (*6); Red Admiral (*1) and Grayling (*1). Moths seen were:- Common Heath (*2) and 6 Spot Burnet (*1).

Other insects included 2 and 7 Spot Ladybirds; Common Field Grasshopper; the Soldierflies (Oplodontha viridula) and (Oxycera rara); Common Groundhopper and Red Tailed Bumble Bee. The Thistle Tortoise Beetle (Cassida rubiginosa); The Malachite Beetle (Malachius bipustulatus); Leptoterna dolobrata; Leptoterna ferrugata; Macrotylus paykulli and the Hoverfly (Sphaerophoria scripta) were good to catch up with. Rhagoletis alternata was later identified by Laurence Clemons - thank ye indeed sir!

6 plant galls were observed, these being:- Cryptosiphum artemisiae; Cystiphora sonchi; Taphrina tosquinetii; Dasineura kiefferiana and Aulacidea hieracii.

A Common Frog and the Spider (Enoplognatha ovata) was spotted.

1st July 2014 - Heaton Moor, Stockport, Cheshire - A new gall, this one on Red Currant, namely Cryptomizus ribis.
1st July 2014 - River Mersey, Stockport, Cheshire - A Small Tortoiseshell was enjoying the early morning sun as was the Hoverfly (Chrysotoxum bicinctum).
29th June 2014 - Brockholes WT, Lancashire - A pop into the car park to pack up properly, singletons of Common Blue and Ringlet butterflies were seen as well as a Snout Moth and several Common Blue Damselflies. The Mirid (Grypocoris stysi) was in a herbaceous hedgerow as well as the Spear Thistle Lacebug (Tingis cardui). The spider (Enoplognatha ovata) was observed in dense vegetation as well as the Thistle Tortoise Beetle (Cassida rubiginosa). A couple of pics were sent to Joseph Botting for further ID - the result was a female specimen of Deraeocoris flavilinea and a male specimen of Mecomma ambulans. He's a sharp chap and sincere thanks were given ye again.

29th June 2014 - Lords Lot Wood, Lancashire - A quick shuftie, not much doing, we need to find the boggy area next time. All that was seen today were the butterflies:- Speckled Wood (*3); Meadow Brown (*4); Large Skipper (*1) and Small Skipper (*1) and the Large Yellow Underwing Moth (*1).

Another specimen of the Bug (Capsus ater) was seen too as well as (Stenotus binotatus).


29th June 2014 - Holme Park Quarry, Cumbria - A sweet site void of people except a wonderfully enthusing elderly lady who really added extra glow to the already sunny day - what a charmer who has that joyous naturalists streak to admire. Butterflies seen were:- Ringlet (*34); Dark Green Fritillary (*1); High Brown Fritillary (*1); Meadow Brown (*3); Speckled Wood (*1); Small Pearl Bordered Fritillary (*1) and Red Admiral (*1).

Ladies Bedstraw and Tutsan were in flower and 3 galls were noted, these being:- Jaapiella veronicae; Dasineura pteridis and Chirosia grossicauda.


29th June 2014 - Newbiggin Crags, Cumbria - A break for some victuals and then a mooch around this somewhat barren area. A few butterflies were seen:- Red Admiral (*2); Meadow Brown (*6); Common Blue (*4); Small Heath (*1) and Dark Green Fritillary (*1). Moths noted were Snout (*4) and Yellow-Shell (*2).

The Bugs (Capsus ater) and (Liocoris tripustulatus); The Leafhopper (Eupteryx stachydearum) plus the Weevil (Phyllobius pomaceus) were extras. Mr Joseph Botting stepped in again to confirm a couple of pictures, the outcome being:- Stenodema cf. laevigata and a male Nabis limbatus. Without the help of such dedicated experts we could never make those first steps - big appreciations were given for the assistance.


29th June 2014 - Hutton Roof Crags, Cumbria - A mooch for some butterflies, the result being:- Ringlet (*30); Large Skipper (*1); Speckled Wood (*11) Meadow Brown (*3); Small Pearl Bordered Fritillary (*17); Common Blue (*2); Small Heath (*1); Dark Green Fritillary (*3) and Red Admiral (*1).

The Mirid Bugs (Pithanus maerkeli) and (Leptoterna ferrugata); Common Field and Meadow Grasshoppers were seen as well as the Scorpion Fly (Panorpis germanica) and 4 Bullfinches in flight.

Juniper was common, Dark Red Helleborine was in good flower, 1 Twayblade plant was seen, and the gall (Aceria thomasi) was frequent on Thyme.

26th June 2014 - Heaton Moor, Stockport, Cheshire - A Speckled Wood wandered along a dappled lane, numerous Peacock Butterfly larvae fed on a Nettle patch and the nymphs of the Mirid Bug (Heterotoma planicornis) were also noted.

25th June 2014 - Heaton Moor, Stockport, Cheshire - A short lunchtime stroll, a 22 Spot Ladybird was tootling around, loads of Peacock larva were on Nettle as was a Nettle Tap Moth. 2 Red Admirals were on the wing. A Birch Shieldbug was on a catkin. The Common Flower Bug (Anthocoris nemorum) was later added with thanks given to the Bug Master, Joseph Botting for his help in the ID.

The gall (Eriophyes erinea) was on Walnut leaves and Small Balsam was in flower.

23rd June 2014 - Cheadle Heath, Stockport, Cheshire - Reading a bit of Jeeves and Wooster in the garden and a Red Admiral was an unexpected visitor. A Small Magpie Moth was seen in the bathroom.
22nd June 2014 - Dearnford Lake, Shropshire - Final stop off of the day and one we ended up at by accident. A strange place I felt, so clean and orderly - I re-named it The Stepford Lake - a trifle harsh I know but it just had that feel. Ragged Robin and Common Spotted Orchid were in flower; a 2 Spot Ladybird was at the water's edge; Pied Wagtails flitted about and lone specimens of Ringlet and Meadow Brown enjoyed the late afternoon sun. Hundreds of Blue Tailed and Azure Damselflies frequented the water margins with 4 Spotted Chaser (*5) and Emperor Dragonfly (*4) whizzing around.

22nd June 2014 - Brown Moss, Shropshire - 4 Spotted Chaser (*6); Brown Hawker (*1); Emperor Dragonfly (*2) and Blue Tailed Damselfly were the Odonata species on the wing with Lepidoptera represented by:- Ringlet (*16); Large Skipper (*2); Speckled Wood (*3); Small Tortoiseshell (*1); Meadow Brown (*4) and a single Silver Y Moth.

Garden Chafer; Forest Bug (Final instar); the bug (Capsus ater); the mirids (Leptoterna dolobrata) and (Notostira elongata); the Drone Fly (Eristalis pertinax); the Hoverflies (Syritta pipiens); (Eristalis abustorum); (Eristalis intricarius); (Helophilus pendulus) were other insects noted.

Skullcap and Downy Birch were noteworthy plants.

22nd June 2014 - Prees Heath, Shropshire - A tootle for some butterflies with many a fine enthusiast met and chatted with including a guy called Tim who was in the same place as we left him last year - had he ever been home? Judging by his fine enthusiasm I reckon not! Butterflies seen were:- Ringlet (*19); Small Heath (*37); Silver Studded Blue (*319); Meadow Brown (*27); Painted Lady (*1) and Red Admiral (*1). Silver Y and Cinnabar Moths were also on the wing.

Silver Studded Blues - working away at keeping numbers high

Good to see newly emerged Silver Studded Blues attended by ants

Common Green and Meadow Grasshoppers were noted and the birds Raven; Great Spotted Woodpecker and Yellowhammer were also spotted.

We kept a flower list, species seen were as follows:- White Campion; Hedge Woundwort; Ox-Eye Daisy; Bugloss; White Clover; Hogweed; Common Nettle; Heath Speedwell; Perforate St John's Wort; Foxglove; Common Poppy; Weld; Nodding Thistle; Common Stork's-Bill; Rosebay Willowherb; Dove's-Foot Crane's-Bill; Creeping Cinquefoil; Curled Leaved Dock; Common Mouse Ear; Black Medick; White Dead Nettle; Great Mullein; Wood Sage; Lesser Trefoil; Hare's Foot Clover; Red Clover; Sheep's Sorrel; Hop Trefoil; Germander Speedwell; Tufted Vetch; Common Vetch; Bird's Foot Trefoil; Common Ragwort; Common Centaury; Tormentil; Field Pansy; Ground Ivy; Creeping Thistle; Scarlet Pimpernel; Biting Stonecrop; Self-Heal; Bell Heather; Field Madder and Figwort.

21st June 2014 - Hollinwood Branch Canal NR, G. Manchester - A walk down a quiet country lane with Large Skipper (*1) and Speckled (*3) on the wing accompanied by the Hoverflies (Helophilus pendulus) and (Volucella pellucens). the first Brown Hawker of the year was seen.

21st June 2014 - Daisy Nook CP, G. Manchester - A quiet wander for us 3 tired heads, nice weather too but a bit too many people - hey ho. Speckled Wood (*4) and Meadow Brown (*10) were the only butterflies noted with a 6 Spot Burnet the lone moth.

Hoverflies noted were the common Drone-Fly (Eristalis pertinax) and a stunning Myathropa florea. Grypocoris stysi; Psyllopsis fraxini and Blue Tailed Damselfly were the only other insects noted.

A Great Spotted Woodpecker sat atop a bare tree and Marsh Woundwort was plentiful.

20th June 2014 - Cheadle Heath, Stockport, Cheshire - It has seemed a long week at work this week so, on arriving home, I made straight for the sun-filled garden and had a read. A tootle through the latest ABFG magazine, a browse of a Solitary Wasps publication and a read of 2 short horror tales - nasty. Whilst there I noted a buzzing and lo and behold a bee-mimic Hoverfly was caught, identified and released, namely Merodon equestris, a new one for me. Also indoors was my favourite Hoverfly, the bat-marked Mythropa florea - a real striking species.
19th June 2014 - River Mersey, Stockport, Cheshire - Large Skipper (*2); Common Blue (*1); Speckled Wood (*1); Meadow Brown (*2) and Comma (*1) were the butterflies on the wing.
19th June 2014 - Heaton Moor, Stockport, Cheshire - 2 Birch Sawfly larvae were in alert position and looking mightily impressive.
18th June 2014 - River Mersey, Stockport, Cheshire - Yarrow; Field Bindweed and Goldenrod in flower and a Parent Bug with all her babies was on the leaf of a Silver Birch.
18th June 2014 - Cheadle Heath, Stockport, Cheshire - I put the moth bulb in the toilet window, the following moths ended up in the said karsi:- Willow Beauty (*2); Tachystola acroxantha (*2); Heart And Dart (*5); Riband Wave f. remutata (*5); Riband Wave (Banded form) (*3); Bee Moth (*1); Common Marbled Carpet (*1); Burnished Brass (*3); Bright Line, Brown Eye (*1); Phlyctaenia coronata (*1); Common Emerald (*3); Marbled Beauty (*1); Light Brown Apple Moth (*1); Brown House Moth (*1); Flame Shoulder (*1); Brimstone (*1); Flame Carpet (*1); Green Pug (*1); Scalloped Hazel (*1); Bramble Shoot Moth (*1); Pseudargyrotoza conwagana (*1); Amblyptilia acanthadactyla (*1); Green Oak Tortrix (*1); Common White Wave (*1) and Beautiful Golden Y (*1).
17th June 2014 - Heaton Mersey/River Mersey, Stockport, Cheshire - The last 3 years, whilst walking to work at the side of a small stretch of river, has helped reinforce my argument that a nosey naturalist should always keep an eye on what is about close to home rather than get too distracted by the big name species further afield. Of course I am not saying don't mooch here and there, it is a veritable must, but what I am strongly stating is that please take note of what is on your doorstep and how precious even the most unappealing patch of nature may be. I have clocked up a 3 figure sum of all time new species for us personally in this small area and today clocked up two more, these being the Elm Gall (Tetraneura ulmi) and the Psyllid (Psyllopsis fraxini), the gall causing insect. Also seen was a lone Speckled Wood and several Varied Carpet Beetles on Hogweed.

15th June 2014 - Crook of Dee, Cheshire - The final walk of the day, this time by the river and through some woodland. Meadow Vetchling and Meadowsweet were in flower, a Speckled Wood was on the wing as were 3 Banded Demoiselles and the Hoverflies Volucella pellucens; Eristalis abustorum; Eristalis pertinax and Leucozona laternaria. A Noon Fly (Mesembrina meridiana) and a Bloodvein Moth were added extras. The Mirid Bug (Calocoris alpestris) was later identified.

The gall Eriophyes inangulis was located on Alder leaves.


15th June 2014 - Waun-Y-Lyn CP, Flintshire - A steep drive, a warm sunny walk with not much seen. A Raven flew by and Linnets pinged back and forth whilst Azure and Large Red Damselflies frequented the water along with 7 Four Spotted Chasers. Tormentil; Foxglove; Cow Wheat; Climbing Corydalis and Heath Bedstraw were new flowers for the day and Honeysuckle was in bloom at the far end of the main walk.

Butterflies seen were just Large Skipper (*1) and Small Heath (*5).

The Map Lichen (Rhizocarpon geographicum) was plentiful.


15th June 2014 - Alyn Waters, Wrexham - Another new area for us, why not indeed. Firstly a flower list was drawn up consisting of:- Common Spotted Orchid; Bee Orchid; Twayblade; Groundsel; Curled Leaved Dock; Daisy; White Clover; Hairy Bittercress; Chickweed; Crosswort; Hogweed; Dandelion sp; Red Campion; White Campion; Bladder Campion; Ox-Eye Daisy; Cut Leaved Cranes-Bill; Hedgerow Cranes-Bill; Dove's Foot Cranes-Bill; Field Madder; Lesser Trefoil; Bird's Foot Trefoil; Common Mouse Ear; Sheep's Sorrel; Wall Speedwell; Ribwort Plantain; Prickly Sow Thistle; Common Nettle; Self Heal; Ladies Mantle sp; Biting Stonecrop; Scarlet Pimpernel; Fairy Flax; Common Poppy; Broad Leaved Willowherb; Herb Robert; Thyme Leaved Speedwell; Germander Speedwell; Ground Ivy; Tufted Vetch; Red Clover; Cow Parsley; Yellow Rattle; Lesser Stitchwort; Figwort; Marsh Thistle; Wood Speedwell; Garlic Mustard; Enchanter's Nightshade; Hop Trefoil; Weld; White Dead Nettle; Rape; Thale Cress and Hairy Tare.

Butterflies were in small numbers once again with Ringlet (*2); Large Skipper (*2); Common Blue (*1) and Meadow Brown (*1) the only specimens on the wing. Moths were represented by Yellow Shell (*1); Burnet Companion (*2) and Cinnabar Moth (*1).

Other insects noted were:- Spotted Cranefly; Red Tailed Bumble Bee; Pot Bellied Emerald Beetle; numerous Garden Chafers and a 14 Spot Ladybird. A Small Tortoiseshell Caterpillar was also seen. Best spot of the day was Figwort Weevil (Cionus scrophulariae) which was, of course, on Figwort. Both male and female specimens of (Leptopterna ferrugata) were later confirmed.

2 Galls were observed, these being:- Jaapiella veronicae and Liposthenus glechomae.


14th June 2014 - Gatley Carrs, Stockport, Cheshire - A mooch around a new area to us that we have overlooked for many a year (shame on us). First impression was of a small gem that can only improve with time given the right management and care, here's hoping. Flowers in bloom were:- Goosegrass; Common Field Speedwell; Herb Robert; Smooth Sow Thistle; Nipplewort; Cut Leaved Crane's-Bill; Broad Leaved Willowherb; Hogweed; Wood Avens; Meadow Crane's-Bill; Common Mouse Ear; Ground Elder; Bush Vetch; Creeping Thistle; Ox-Eye Daisy; White Campion; Ribwort Plantain; Large Bindweed; Spotted Dead Nettle; Daisy; Hedge Woundwort; Tufted Vetch; Red Campion; Yellow Flag Iris; Ragged Robin; Curled Leaved Dock; Comfrey agg; Perforate St John's Wort; Pineappleweed; White Clover; Hedge Mustard; Garlic Mustard; Lesser Trefoil; Corn Marigold; Northern Marsh Orchid; Common Knapweed; Chickweed and Red Clover.

On the bug front were many things to ponder. Harlequin, 7-Spot and 14 Spot Ladybirds were seen as well as the nymphs of Common Green Grasshopper and Common Field Grasshopper. Adult Birch and Hairy Shieldbugs were seen as well as the final instar of the Forest Shieldbug. Azure and Blue Tailed Damselflies added to the list of the day with Varied Carpet Beetle; Pot Emerald Beetle and Alder Leaf Beetle expected sightings. Hoverflies were thin on the ground again with Myathropa florea and Volucella pellucens the only ones seen. Red Tailed Bumble Bee; the Lacewing (Chrysopa perla); the Mirid Bugs (Capsus ater); (Grypocoris stysi); (Leptopterna dolabrata); (Stenodema laevigata) and (Stenotus binotatus); the Snipe Fly (Rhagio scolopaceus) and the Longhorn Beetle (Agapanthia villosoviridescens) were seen in lush vegetation. Another bug later identified was (Kleidocerys resedae), one I should have remembered having only identified it a couple of weeks back - darn this sieve-like mind.

Speckled Wood and the Nettle Tap Moth were the only lepidopteron examples observed.

The plant galls Aceria fraxinivorus; Eriophyes similis and Pontania proxima added variety to the days haul.

13th June 2014 - Cheadle Heath, Stockport, Cheshire - A couple of hours mothing and 27 species to ponder with one all time new for us. The catch consisted of:- Tachystola acroxantha (*2); Light Brown Apple Moth (*1); Garden Carpet (*2); Fan-Foot (*1); Brimstone (*2); Dark Arches (*1); Scalloped Hazel (*1); Bright Line, Brown Eye (*2); Phlyctaenia coronata (*1); Light Emerald (*1); Blotched Emerald (*1); Heart and Dart (*3); Gothic (*1); Angle Shades (*1); Riband Wave f. remutata (*3); Willow Beauty (*3); Marbled Beauty (*1); Small Angle Shades (*1); Double Striped Pug (*1); Small Fan-Foot (*1); Brown House Moth (*2); Snout (*1); Bee Moth (*1); Marbled Minor (*1); Large Yellow Underwing (*1) and White Shouldered House Moth (*1).
12th June 2014 - Cheadle Heath, Stockport, Cheshire - A Single Dotted Wave was in the bathroom - where's that bugger come from then?
12th June 2014 - River Mersey, Stockport, Cheshire - 2 Speckled Woods, A Hairy Shieldbug and a female Banded Demoiselle were noted whilst wandering back home from work.

10th June 2014 - River Mersey, Stockport, Cheshire - A run into Stockport, a bit of shopping and a slow stroll back. Large Skipper (*3) and Speckled Wood (*1) were on the wing as well as the moth Pseudargyrotoza conwagana (*1). A Common Green Shieldbug flew into me and clutched to my black sun soaked T-Shirt, the Caddis Fly (Mystcides azurea) was seen absorbing the solar rays into its stunning blue black wings and watching all around it with its bright red eyes and numerous Bee species took advantage of a large patch of flowering Bramble.

New flowers in bloom for the annual list were:- Tall Melilot and Perforate St John's Wort.

8th June 2014 - Nant Mill, Wrexham - A final wander of the day, not much about to be honest only a Blackcap singing and mooching about, an Orange Ladybird, Yellow Pimpernel in flower and the Bracken Gall (Chirosia betuleti). An ice cream and a bag of crisp were readily enjoyed by me and the missus - note to selves - must go for a jog tomorrow.

8th June 2014 - Jones's Rough WT, Shropshire - A new place for us, pointed out by a lovely lady at our previous destination. If we were in the area then why not?

Butterflies spotted were:- Speckled Wood (*4); Small Heath (*3); Dingy Skipper (*1); Large Skipper (*1) and Small Pearl Bordered Fritillary (*3). Moths added were:- Brown Silver Lines (*1); Nemophora degeerella (*2) and Pseudargyrotoza conwagana (*8).

The Hoverfly (Helophilus pendulus) was enjoying the sun and Sanicle; Scarlet Pimpernel and Field Madder were in flower.

8th June 2014 - Llanymynech Rocks, Montgomeryshire - A butterfly mooch in warm weather but with the odd cloud holding the species back. Species seen were:- Speckled Wood (*14); Small Heath (*9); Common Blue (*2); Small Pearl Bordered Fritillary (*3); Large Skipper (*2); Grizzled Skipper (*2); Dingy Skipper (*2) and Large White (*1). Moths noted were Nettle Tap Moth (*1); Speckled Yellow (*1); Silver Y (*1) and Yellow-Shell (*2).

Other bugs and beasties noted were:- 22 Spot Ladybird; 24 Spot Ladybird; Sloe Shieldbug; Common Field Grasshopper; Meadow Grasshopper; the Blister Beetle (Oedemera nobilis) and the Hoverfly (Eristalis abustorum). A real surprise was a lone male specimen of Beautiful Demoiselle - very strange indeed. Rhopalus subrufus was later identified by a Wild Woman on a forum - I kid ye not!

5 galls noted were:- Aceria labiatiflorae; Aceria myriadeum; Aceria thomasi; Jaapiella veronicae and Geocrypta gallii.

Flowers noted were:- Greater Butterfly Orchid; Common Spotted Orchid; Eyebright; Small Scabious; Red Clover; Herb Robert; Cow Parsley; Black Bryony; Tufted Vetch; Meadow Buttercup; Creeping Buttercup; Bird's-Foot Trefoil; Hedge Woundwort; Wood Avens; Germander Speedwell; Wood Speedwell; Common Vetch; Bush Vetch; Ribwort Plantain; Twayblade; Daisy; Hop Trefoil; Red Valerian; White Clover; Ragged Robin; Sweet Woodruff; Ox-Eye Daisy; Black Medick; Common Mouse Ear; Wild Thyme; Wild Strawberry; Hairy Tare; Crosswort; Rockrose; Common Nettle; Blue Fleabane; Sheep's Sorrel; Common Sorrel. Quaking Oat Grass was added to the final list.


6th June 2014 - Cheadle Heath, Stockport, Cheshire - Up late for a bit of mothing, due to a cool breeze starting I only did 2 hours and as a result caught very few species, which were:- Light Brown Apple Moth (*13); Brimstone (*3); Heart and Dart (*1); Bee Moth (*1); Willow Beauty (*1); Common Marbled Carpet (*2); Hedya nubiferana (*1) and Freyer's Pug (*3).

A female Hoverfly was also caught namely Meliscaeva auricollis.

6th June 2014 - River Mersey, Stockport, Cheshire - A burst of sunshine and a Small White Butterfly appeared as well as a Banded Demoiselle. Me and my good lady had a young Fox cub run in front of us whilst on a short evening jog - cute bugger.
5th June 2014 - Cheadle Heath, Stockport, Cheshire - A Speckled Wood in the garden and a Mint Moth (Pyrausta aurata).
5th June 2014 - River Mersey, Stockport, Cheshire - Still crappy weather but a Hoverfly (Helophilus pendulus) was seen as well as the stunning Micro Moth (Pammene aurana) on Hogweed and a lone Parent Bug (Elasmucha grisea) was on Wild Garlic leaves. I thought I had found a new gall but it was an advanced stage of Asphondylia sarothamni on Broom. Also seen was Eriosoma ulmi on Elm.
4th June 2014 - Etherow CP, Stockport, Cheshire - A dreary day, typical of June lately and as a result nothing much was seen. A Malachite Beetle, Leopard Slug, Dusky Slug, Garlic Snail, a few Mandarin Ducks, a Grey Wagtail near the weir and Hedge Woundwort in flower was about the best of it with 2 Spot, 14 Spot and Harlequin Ladybirds feeding on aphids when not coupling.

3rd June 2014 - Frodsham Marsh, Cheshire - A chippy visit and then a wander with my brother around this neglected area. 44 species of bird noted, these being:- Carrion Crow; Goldfinch; Wood Pigeon; Blackbird; House Sparrow; Red Necked Grebe; Tufted Duck; Shelduck; Cormorant; Mallard; Great Crested Grebe; Canada Goose; Coot; Black Headed Gull; Mute Swan; Starling; Avocet (with young); Lapwing (with young); Oystercatcher; Moorhen; Swift; Reed Bunting; Skylark; Linnet; Magpie; Reed Warbler; Swallow; Common Whitethroat; Meadow Pipit; Buzzard; Pied Wagtail; Lesser Scaup; Kestrel; House Martin; Robin; Dunnock; Collared Dove; Grey Heron; Pheasant + Song Thrush; Chiffchaff; Wren and Sedge Warbler on call.

A Malachite Beetle was observed on Hogweed and the butterflies noted were:- Speckled Wood (*2); Green Veined White (*1); Small Tortoiseshell (*2) and Red Admiral (*1).

3rd June 2014 - Cheadle Heath, Stockport, Cheshire - A Willow Beauty and a Buff Ermine were attracted to an overnight light.
2nd June 2014 - Abney Hall, Stockport, Cheshire - After a 3 mile jog I wandered back home through this small area. Just before the entrance a Gall on Goosegrass was noted, namely Cecidophyes rouhollahi. Once in the park I chatted with a keen photographer and noted Blue Tailed Damselfly; Azure Damselfly; Large Red Damselfly and Broad Bodied Chaser. Green Veined White (*2) and Speckled Wood (*1) were the only butterflies on the wing and 2 Common Green Shieldbugs were spotted as well as the Hoverflies Myathropa florea; Chrysogaster solstitialis and Volucella pellucens.
2nd June 2014 - Cheadle Heath, Stockport, Cheshire - Up early despite a day off, the karsi needed a few moths clearing out. 13 species were had:- Poplar Hawkmoth (*1); Heart and Dart (*2); Common Marbled Carpet (*3); Brimstone (*1); Light Brown Apple Moth (*4); Tachystola acroxantha (*2); Bright Line Brown Eye (*1); Bee Moth (*1); Plain Golden Y (*1); Marbled Minor sp. (*1); Pseudargyrotoza conwagana (*2); Tinea trinotella (*1) and Phlyctaenia coronata (*1).
1st June 2014 - Cheadle Heath, Stockport, Cheshire - Stuck in today, things to do so a good bit of tidying in the garden was done. Helophilus pendulus; Epistrophe eligans and Episyrphus balteatus were the Hoverflies noted and a pupa belonging to a Comma Butterfly was seen and photographed on a Black Currant bush.

31st May 2014 - River Dee, Cheshire - We met a fine amateur naturalist (Peter Hornby from Burnley) on a butterfly walk last year up in the mountains of Cumbria. He stated that he had never seen a Club Tailed Dragonfly and requested if we could show him a decent spot. We of course said 'yes' as he seemed of the right spirit and with a kind regard for the species around him. 9 months later Peter called, arrangements were made and we met up for a tootle at this rewarding area. The Odonata noted were:- Banded Demoiselle (*143); Common Blue Damselfly (*1); Broad Bodied Chaser (*1); Blue Tailed Damselfly (*1); Azure Damselfly (*1) and of course Club Tailed Dragonfly (*10). The Club Tails were noted down to feet with several picked up on a finger and duly released. Imagine our excitement when one flew off and a Hobby swooped down and took it in midair. Wow what a moment and outdone by the bird swooping from a tree moments earlier and attempting to get a meal less than 10 feet in front of us - a real close-up and personal fly past. The bird sat and perched for ages and let us all get stunning views - brilliant.

Butterflies were counted, but came in lowly numbers, these being:- Peacock (*5); Green Veined White (*6); Small White (*4); Orange Tip (*1); Small Copper (*4); Red Admiral (*1) and Small Tortoiseshell (*1). The Silver Y Moth (*3) was on the wing as was a single Silver Ground Carpet.

Flowers of note were:- Water Figwort; Meadow Rue; Common Mallow; Dog Rose; Pellitory of the Wall and White Bryony.

A few bugs and beasties were noted:- 2 Spot Ladybird; 7 Spot Ladybird; 14 Spot Ladybird; Scorpion Fly (Panorpa communis); Mayfly (Ephemera danica); Red Headed Cardinal Beetle (*3); Common Malachite Beetle (Malachius bipustulatus); Alder Fly (Sialis fuliginosa); Marmalade Fly (Episyrphus balteatus); Noon Fly (Mesembrina meridiana); Drone Fly (Eristalis pertinax); the Spiders (Tetragnatha extensa) and (Larinoides cornutus); Black and Red Froghopper; The Mirid Bugs (Rhabdomiris striatellus) and (Dryophilocoris flavoquadrimaculatus) plus the Snipe Flies (Rhagio scolopaceus) and (Rhagio tringarius). A Bark Beetle (Hedobia imperialis) and the Longhorn Beetle (Stenocorus meridianus) was later identified by a couple of kind dudes on a forum (cheers Tristan Bantock and Laurence Clemons)

A Sparrowhawk and a family of Mandarin Ducks were seen too with a Greater Spotted Woodpecker making numerous return journeys to its begging nest bound young.

Club Tailed Dragonfly - the day's target species

30th May 2014 - River Mersey, Stockport, Cheshire - Common Knapweed; Wild Mignonette and Horse Radish all in flower - the year is rattling on.
28th May 2014 - Cheadle Heath, Stockport, Cheshire - A gall on Privet, namely Myzus ligustri - a new one for us.

27th May 2014 - River Mersey, Stockport, Cheshire - A walk home after a long day with the galls noted being:- Dasineura fraxini; Psyllopsis fraxini; Eriophyes leiosoma; Phyllocoptes populi; Pontania proxima; Dasineura viciae and Biorhiza pallida.

The Swollen Thighed Beetle (Oedemera nobilis) was seen.

26th May 2014 - Ainsdale NE, Lancashire - A wander in warm sunny weather on tired legs with fuzzy heads. We slowly meandered with a few sweet things seen. The flower list was made up of 45 species as thus:- Procumbent Pearlwort; Yellow Rattle; Common Milkwort; Heath Speedwell; Cow Parsley; Woody Nightshade; Goosegrass; White Campion; Greater Stitchwort; Ground Ivy; Bird's Eye; Common Vetch; Ribwort Plantain; Meadow Buttercup; Portland Spurge; Bird's-Foot Trefoil; Hound's-Tongue; Daisy; Bulbous Buttercup; Wavy Bittercress; Garlic Mustard; Chickweed; Wood Speedwell; Common Stork's-Bill; Marsh Marigold; Lily of the Valley; Lesser Spearwort; Yellow-Flag Iris; Dove's Foot Crane's-Bill; Bluebell; Herb Robert; Silverweed; Common Nettle; Common Sorrel; Scarlet Pimpernel; Foxglove; Sheep's Sorrel; Common Mouse Ear; Bladder Campion; Red Campion; Lesser Trefoil; Wild Strawberry; Creeping Buttercup; Wood Avens; and Cuckooflower.

Plant galls noted were Wachtliella persicariae; Mompha sturnipennella; Chirosia betuleti; Aceria cephaloneus; Aceria pseudoplatani; Pemphigus populinigrae and Phyllocoptes goniothorax.

Butterflies noted were:- Common Blue (*7); Green Veined White (*3); Speckled Wood (*4); Wall (*2); Small Copper (*1); Orange tip (*1); Small Heath (*4) and Peacock (*1). Moths added were:- Cinnabar (*11); Yellow-Shell (*3); Gorse Moth (Cydia ulicetana) and Nemophora degeerella (*1). The larvae of an Oak Eggar Moth and Comma Butterfly was also seen.

Other bugs noted were:- St Marks Fly; the Soldier Beetle (Cantharis rustica); Common Field Grasshopper; Common Green Grasshopper; Asparagus Beetle (*6); Hairy Shieldbug; 14 Spot Ladybird (*2); the Blister Beetle (Oedemera lurida); the Leafhopper (Oncopsis subangulata) and numerous Spotted Crane-Flies (Nephrotoma appendiculata). Azure and Blue Tailed Damselflies were also observed.


21st May 2014 - River Mersey, Stockport, Cheshire - A mooch on the way home and the butterflies noted were:- Orange Tip (*2); Small White (*1) and Small Copper (*1).

The Blister Beetle (Oedemera lurida) was identified later in the day and a Hairy Shieldbug was seen.

21st May 2014 - Heaton Moor, Stockport, Cheshire - A check of a local Silver Birch and several specimens of the bug (Kleidocerys resedae) were observed on the green catkins.
21st May 2014 - Cheadle Heath, Stockport, Cheshire - A Common Wave and Bee Moth were attracted to an overnight light.
20th May 2014 - Heaton Moor, Stockport, Cheshire - A check of a local Wanut Tree and the gall Eriophyes erinea was observed.

19th May 2014 - Abney Hall, Stockport, Cheshire - A catch up with a fine lass and a mooch at the local ponds. Broad Bodied Chaser (*8); 4 Spotted Chaser (*9); Large Red Damselfly (*3) and numerous Azure Damselflies were good to see with one of the Broad Bodied Chasers just emerging from its exuviae.

Green Veined White (*9) and Orange Tip (*2) were the only butterflies seen.

Figwort was in flower and the plant galls Biorhiza pallida and Psyllopsis fraxini were seen.

When popping back after seeing my mate off I had a chat with a dragonfly enthusiast by the name of Tony Brathwaite - apparently he has recently become taken with these aerial masters and has a few shots on his website - a decent chap and here is the link.


19th May 2014 - River Mersey, Stockport, Cheshire - A walk in the sun to meet a friend, stunning weather with the butterflies noted being:- Comma (*1); Orange Tip (*2); Green Veined White (*1); Small Tortoiseshell (*2) and Peacock (*1). The 2 Orange Tips noted were male and female with the female landing frequently and curling up her abdomen to meet his desires. Let us hope they produce numerous offspring.

The first Banded Demoiselle of the year was noted.

18th May 2014 - Cheadle Heath, Stockport, Cheshire - 4 species of moth attracted to a lighted window:- Pale Prominent (*1); Tachystola acroxantha (*1); Light Brown Apple Moth (*1) and Common Marbled Carpet (*1).
18th May 2014 - River Mersey, Stockport, Cheshire - A run in the sun, phew it's too hot, 2 species of butterfly seen:- Orange Tip (*4) and Peacock (*1).
17th May 2014 - Greenfield Valley Heritage Park, Flintshire - To break up the journey home we had a quick pop off at this new location. Speckled Wood (*2) and Small White (*1) were the only butterflies seen; a Red Headed Cardinal Beetle was mooching in dappled light and Blue Tailed and Azure Damselflies were enjoying the late afternoon sun.

17th May 2014 - South Stack, Anglesey - Whilst close we paid a quick visit to this RSPB reserve and just had a good one hour walk without bothering to look for much. A Chough was seen and the flowers Tormentil; Sea Campion; Lousewort; Common Milkwort and Heath Spotted Orchid.

A Common Heath Moth was also seen fighting the brisk wind.


17th May 2014 - Penrhros CP, Anglesey - A wander at one of our favourite locations with a bird and flower list kept. Birds were disappointing with a list of only 37 species had, these were:- Herring Gull; Black Headed Gull; Great Black Backed Gull; Magpie; Mallard; Oystercatcher; Shelduck; Chiffchaff; Great Tit; Coot; Robin; Carrion Crow; Dunnock; Common Whitethroat; Blackbird; Wood Pigeon; Raven; Curlew; Mistle Thrush; Jackdaw; Linnet; Swallow; Pied Wagtail; Black Guillemot; Goldfinch; Wheatear; House Sparrow; Great Spotted Woodpecker; Blue Tit; Feral Pigeon + Cuckoo; Song Thrush; Blackcap; Goldcrest; Wren; Willow Warbler and Chaffinch on call.

The 57 flower species seen were:- Red Campion; Dandelion sp; Daisy; Shepherd's Purse; White Dead Nettle; Creeping Buttercup; Meadow Buttercup; Bulbous Buttercup; Cow Parsley; Broad Leaved Dock; Bluebell; Herb Robert; Wood Avens; Lesser Celandine; Yellow Flag Iris; Ribwort Plantain; Common Sorrel; Germander Speedwell; Wavy Bittercress; Smooth Sow Thistle; Silverweed; Lesser Trefoil; Thyme Leaved Speedwell; Common Mouse Ear; Common Field Speedwell; Common Vetch; Ramsons; Cowslip; Common Nettle; Yellow Rattle; Procumbent Pearlwort; Dove's Foot Crane's-Bill; Bird's Foot Trefoil; Primrose; Spring Squill; Cuckooflower; Red Clover; White Clover; Common Fumitory; Danish Scurvygrass; Alexanders; Common Stork's-Bill; Kidney Vetch; Hedge Mustard; Cut Leaved Crane's-Bill; Scarlet Pimpernel; Groundsel; Goosegrass; Red Valerian; Pineappleweed; Chickweed; Ivy Leaved Speedwell; Wood Speedwell; Lord's and Ladies; Greater Periwinkle and Navelwort in bud.

Butterflies were scarce today despite the brilliant weather with Green Veined White (*1); Small White (*1) and Large White (*1) the only ones noted. The Brown Silver Line Moth was seen as well as the Cocksfoot Moth (Glyphipterix simpliciella) as well as the larvae of the Drinker and the Yellow Tail Moth.

Hairy Dragonfly and Large Red Damselfly were on the wing; as were the Snipe Fly (Rhagio scolopaceus); Red Tailed Bumble Bee and St Mark's Fly with 7 Spot Ladybird and Pot Bellied Emerald Beetles also noted.

Sea Ivory; Crab's Eye Lichen; Edible Periwinkle; Common Periwinkle and Shore Crab were picked up whilst cutting across the beach and the galls Taphrina pruni; Eriophyes laevis; Phyllocoptes eupadi; Andricus curvator and Neuroterus quercusbaccarum (sexual stage) were nice extras.

A few micro fungi added (see Fungal Friends section) and an overall haul of 121 species wasn't bad.

16th May 2014 - Heaton Moor, Stockport, Cheshire - The Liverwort (Marchantia polymorpha) was located outside work, it's little brollies are a delight.
15th May 2014 - Cheadle Heath, Stockport, Cheshire - 2 species of moth were attracted to an overnight window, Tachystola acroxantha (*3) and Light Brown Apple Moth (*2).
14th May 2014 - River Mersey, Stockport, Cheshire - The sun was grand whilst walking home but only a lone male Brimstone Butterfly showed his wings. Later on in the day a Speckled Wood, Small Tortoiseshell and Orange Tip were knocking about with 2 larvae and eggs of the latter species noted on Cuckooflower.
14th May 2014 - Heaton Moor, Stockport, Cheshire - The Hoverfly (Epistrophe eligans) was on the wing as well as the Mining Bee (Andrena fulva), a Green Shield Bug was basking in the sun, several Harlequin Ladybirds were around and the gall Taphrina pruni was abundant whilst only a lone example of Psylla buxi was found.
14th May 2014 - Cheadle Heath, Stockport, Cheshire - An Angle Shades Moth was attracted to an overnight light and 2 Light Brown Apple Moths were in the garden.
11th May 2014 - River Mersey, Stockport, Cheshire - Another jog with the missus, a female Sparrowhawk spooked the birds, the galls Biorhiza pallida; Taphrina tosquinetii and Eriophyes leisoma were seen and Bird's Foot Trefoil was now in flower.
10th May 2014 - Drinkwater Park, G. Manchester - Clouds were building, we got caught in a downpour and took shelter and then, as if by magic, the sun dazzled and 5 species of butterfly were noted, these being:- Green Veined White (*1); Speckled Wood (*3); Peacock (*1); Brimstone (*1) and Small White (*1).
10th May 2014 - Blackley Vale, G. Manchester - A short mooch around a small area, the sun was struggling to get through and a Green Veined White appeared as did the spider (Pisaura mirablis) and the Hoverfly (Leucozona lucorum).

10th May 2014 - Boggart Clough, G. Manchester - Crappy weather today so a mooch around some local sites. Birds noted totalled 24, not great but in rainy conditions it was acceptable:- Canada Goose; Great Crested Grebe; Coot; Moorhen; Mallard; Feral Pigeon; Great Spotted Woodpecker; Carrion Crow; Mute Swan; Magpie; Robin; Dunnock; Great Tit; Blue Tit; Blackbird; Wood Pigeon and Grey Heron + Blackcap; Willow Warbler; Chiffchaff; Goldfinch; Song Thrush and Goldcrest on call.

Bistort was seen in flower for the first time this year.

9th May 2014 - River Mersey, Stockport, Cheshire - The gall Andricus curvator and Pontania proxima were seen as well as the Hoverflies Episyrphus balteatus; Helophilus pendulus and Leucozona lucorum. A Green Veined White and a pair of mating Orange Tips were observed.
9th May 2014 - Heaton Moor, Stockport, Cheshire - The galls Aceria macrochelus; Aceria pseudoplatani; Eriophyes leiosoma; Eriosoma ulmi and Eriophyes tiliae were noted on a dinner time wander with Procumbent Pearlwort in flower.
7th May 2014 - River Mersey, Stockport, Cheshire - The Hoverfly (Leucozona lucorum) was seen for the first time this year. A new gall was later identified, Aceria campestricola on Elm leaves - nifty.
6th May 2014 - River Mersey, Stockport, Cheshire - 2 Vine Weevils and the Butterflies:- Small White (*1) and Peacock (*2) plus a single Light Brown Apple Moth were the only sightings on the way home from work.

5th May 2014 - Denaby Ings NR, Doncaster, Yorkshire - The second location of the day with a general walk around to get the feel of the place and to pick up a few extra species. On the bird front a Pair of Avocets was nice and a calling Cetti's Warbler eluded our eyes.

Butterflies noted were:- Small Tortoiseshell (*3); Orange Tip (*2); Peacock (*4); Speckled Wood (*2) and Brimstone (*1). A Common Carpet Moth was added.

Honesty was in flower as was Barren Strawberry; Germander Speedwell and Pignut (with a nut being tried by one of our mates). A 14 Spot Ladybird; Red Headed Cardinal Beetle; Pot Bellied Emerald Beetle; Slender Groundhopper and Common Earwig were noted with the gall Eriophyes sorbi observed on the leaves of Rowan. The Spider (Tetragnatha extensa) was later identified, bah - I should have known this in the field. Also sussed out later was the Crane Fly (Tipula lunata agg.), a beast that is part of a tricky complex for those who like to examine the private parts of these critters - not for me though!


5th May 2014 - Potteric Carr, Doncaster, Yorkshire - Today we headed away from the cloudy west over to this reserve near Doncaster and took the opportunity to have a wander with two members of one of the finest bands I have had the pleasure to work with, namely Dave and Sean of Most Likely To Fail. Always good company these unassuming chaps and straight from the DIY pit where hope all we cling on to. Why not indeed? Arriving at 9.10am - we all met up and just over 5 hours later we had comprised the following list.

Bird wise was slow going with 36 species noted, these were:- Magpie; Mute Swan; Canada Goose; Black Headed Gull; Coot; Chaffinch; Blackcap; Marsh Harrier; Gadwall; Little Grebe; Wood Pigeon; Pheasant; Moorhen; Goldfinch; Great Crested Grebe; Lapwing; Greylag Goose; Swift; Long Tailed Tit; Kingfisher; Tufted Duck; Mallard; Starling; Lesser Black Backed Gull; Oystercatcher; Shelduck; Cormorant; Carrion Crow; Sand Martin; Pochard + Wren; Bittern; Willow Warbler; Reed Warbler; Chiffchaff and Reed Bunting on call.

Flowers in bloom were:- Common Nettle; Ground Ivy; White Dead Nettle; Daisy; Dandelion sp.; Silverweed; Chickweed; Herb Robert; Wild Strawberry; Cuckooflower; Common Stork's-Bill; Marsh Marigold; Cow Parsley; Garlic Mustard; Common Field Speedwell; Red Campion; Red Dead Nettle; Thyme Leaved Speedwell; Common Dog Violet; Colt's-Foot; 3 Nerved Sandwort; Common Vetch; Crosswort; Lesser Trefoil; Wood Sorrel; Ribwort Plantain; Groundsel; Cowslip and Yellow Archangel.

Lepidoptera seen were the butterflies:- Orange Tip (*8); Small Tortoiseshell (*1); Speckled Wood (*5); Green Veined White (*7); Comma (*1); Peacock (*7) and Brimstone (*1). Moths seen were a Ruby Tiger; Common Carpet; Ancylis badiana; several Nettle Tap Moths and a Drinker caterpillar.

Large Red Damselfly and Blue Tailed Damselfly were on the wing, a Hornet chewed on a fence, the Nursery Web Spider (Pisaura mirabilis) basked in the sun, Black and Red Froghoppers grew in numbers throughout the day, both Black Headed and Red Headed Cardinal Beetles were seen in close proximity, the Longhorn Beetle (Rhagium mordax) was found by my daughter; the Nettle Weevil (Phyllobius pomaceus) was scrutinised by all through the hand lens; a Roe Deer swam across one of the lakes; a Short Tailed Vole pottered in the undergrowth; Perch and Roach were seen in a stretch of water and several species of fungi were noted (see Fungal Friends sightings).

Not a bad day really and the sun kept with us and the company was enjoyed - better than sat around doing nowt!


3rd May 2014 - Cheadle Heath, Stockport, Cheshire - Washing done, dinner had, lawn cut - a chill in the garden before the daughter goes dancing, Green Veined White (*2) and the Hoverflies Eupeodes luniger and Epistrophe eligans were on the wing, the former species laying eggs on Aquilegia plants.

The Mirid Bug (Liocoris tripustulatus) was on a Nettle patch.

3rd May 2014 - River Mersey, Stockport, Cheshire - Things to do today, such is family life, so prior to the chores a 3 mile run was taken with only species noted being Orange Tip (*4) and Peacock (*1) butterflies.
30th April 2014 - River Mersey, Stockport, Cheshire - Walking to and from work, Green Veined White; Orange Tip and Speckled Wood on the wing, Dame's Violet and Nipplewort were in flower and the galls Protomyces macrosporus; Eriophyes crataegi; Aceria cephaloneus and Asphondylia sarothamni were seen.
29th April 2014 - River Mersey, Stockport, Cheshire - Walking home and a Green Veined White butterfly seen, the micro moth (Pseudargyrotoza conwagana) and the asexual stage of the gall Neuroterus quecusbaccarum.
29th April 2014 - Cheadle Heath, Stockport, Cheshire - 2 Light Brown Apple Moths and 2 Twenty Plume Moths were attracted to an overnight light.
28th April 2014 - Cheadle Heath, Stockport, Cheshire - Another new Hoverfly (Platychierus albimanus) in the garden, it keeps me intrigued as to what is actually on one's doorstep. The fly Ichneumon suspiciosus was on the prowl and the Red Tailed Bumble Bee (Bombus Lapidarius) flew around the few flowers in bloom.
28th April 2014 - Abney Hall, Stockport, Cheshire - After the run I wandered through Abney and met a neighbour - a chat and a lift home for me tired boiled eggs, not much about - Pignut in flower as well as Fringe Cups.
28th April 2014 - River Mersey, Stockport, Cheshire - Another run down river, Speckled Wood (*2); Comma (*1); Green Veined White (*1) and Orange Tip (*2) were on the wing with a Kingfisher whizzing by, 2 Mandarin Ducks noted and the years first St Mark's Fly seen.
27th April 2014 - Cheadle Heath, Stockport, Cheshire - Tidying the garden and a new species found for us, the hoverfly (Dasysyrphus albostriatus). A Small White Butterfly paid a brief visit to the Garlic Mustard.
27th April 2014 - River Mersey, Stockport, Cheshire - A jog with the missus and a Kingfisher, Grey Wagtail, Common Whitethroat and a few and Sand Martins were seen. The butterflies Orange Tip (*2); Green Veined White (*2) and Small Tortoiseshell (*2) were enjoyed. Bush Vetch was in flower.

26th April 2014 - Tidesdwell, Derbyshire - After saying farewell to one group of good people we met up with another fine couple whom we know and went to this alternative area. A sweet stroll was had whilst pondering a few micro fungi. Also seen were the butterflies:- Orange Tip (*2); Comma (*1) and Green Veined White (*2).

In flower, amongst many, were Soapwort; Shining Crane's-Bill and Dove's Foot Crane's-Bill. A Strawberry Snail, a Rosy Woodlouse, several Rainbow Trout and a Water Vole were also seen.

A male Redstart was spotted singing away at the top of a still bare tree.


26th April 2014 - Miller's Dale, Derbyshire - A meet up with some fine folk for a day out looking for a few bits and pieces. Even though it was still early in the year Water Avens; Moschatel; Early Purple Orchid; Sweet Cicely; Sweet Woodruff; Goldilocks Buttercup and Crosswort were nice flowers to ponder.

A Dipper hunted and duly dipped, A Treecreeper crept up a tree and the butterflies Peacock (*1); Orange Tip (*2); Green Veined White (*2) and Speckled Wood (*1) were on the wing with the Nettle Tap Moth and the Hoverfly (Rhingia campestris) was also noted with a Striped Millipede a nice extra.

A Brown Trout was spotted in the river and a few fungi were collected (See Fungal Friends section).

Hard Shield Fern and Wood Melick were later confirmed.

24th April 2014 - Heaton Moor, Stockport, Cheshire - A dinner time walk to check on a micro fungus - aagghh - the buggers have sprayed what they regard as weeds - nowt doing. Nearby, along a stretch of Bramble and Nettle, were 4 Small Tortoiseshells; a Common Green Shieldbug, the years fist Marmalade Fly (Episyrphus balteatus) and 2 Harlequin Ladybirds of the forms succinea and spectabilis.
21st April 2014 - Cheadle Heath, Stockport, Cheshire - A lounge in the sunny garden reading some short horror stories and paying heed to the Hoverflies with Melanostoma scalare duly snapped and identified.

21st April 2014 - Middlewood Way, Stockport, Cheshire - A couple of hours walk in fair weather but plants and bugs seemed a little way behind schedule here. Purple Toothwort was abundant in a certain patch and Barren Strawberry was noted for the first time in flower this year.

Butterflies seen were few, these being:- Speckled Wood (*1); Green Veined White (*2); Small Tortoiseshell (*1); Peacock (*2) and Comma (*1). The Hoverflies Helophilus pendulus and Rhinga campestris were spotted and a Pot Bellied Emerald Beetle was on Broad Leaved Dock.

21st April 2014 - An early morning jog, Orange Tip (*2); Green Veined White (*2) and Speckled Wood (*1) were up and on the wing with 1 male and 3 female Goosanders on the water.
20th April 2014 - Cheadle Heath, Stockport, Cheshire - Whilst pottering in the garden 2 specimens of the Hoverfly Epistrophe eligans were noted.

19th April 2014 - Anderton NR/Marbury CP, Cheshire - A full circuit today, in weather that was fine but not the warm treat we expected. 52 birds listed, the avian collection was as follows:- Blackcap; Black Headed Gull; Wood Pigeon; Goldfinch; Wren; Magpie; Carrion Crow; Chiffchaff; Blue Tit; Mallard; Song Thrush; Robin; Willow Warbler; Reed Bunting; Canada Goose; Gadwall; Coot; Lapwing; Great Crested Grebe; Tufted Duck; Redshank; Oystercatcher; Blackbird; Dunnock; Collared Dove; Starling; House Sparrow; Common Whitethroat; Kestrel; Grey Heron; Stock Dove; Great Tit; Shelduck; Moorhen; Grey Wagtail; Treecreeper; Chaffinch; Jackdaw; Cormorant; Greylag Goose; Nuthatch; Swallow; Sand Martin; House Martin; Mute Swan; Jay; Buzzard + Pheasant; Goldcrest; Reed Warbler; Little Grebe; Green Woodpecker on call.

My wife and daughter kept a flowers in bloom list, the 32 species noted being:- Dandelion sp; Daisy; Field Forget Me Not; Cowslip; Wavy Bittercress; Wood Anemone; Bluebell; Garlic Mustard; Ivy Leaved Speedwell; Red Campion; Large Bittercress; Dog's Mercury; Wild Strawberry; Herb Robert; Ribwort Plantain; Common Field Speedwell; Red Dead Nettle; Common Mouse Ear; Colt's-Foot; Groundsel; Cuckooflower; Cow Parsley; Common Dog Violet; Thyme Leaved Speedwell; Lesser Celandine; Ramsons; Lords and Ladies; Primrose; Marsh Marigold; Chickweed; Wood Sorrel and Goosegrass.

Andrena haemorrhoa and Andrena cineraria were on the wing as was the Noon Fly (Mesembrina meridiana) and the butterflies Peacock (*2) and Small Tortoiseshell (*1).

A Toad and a Smooth Newt were also added to the days tally.

18th April 2014 - Rivacre CP, Cheshire - After a mooch in a garden centre we finished the day at this average sized area. Birds were getting quiet and the only noteworthy sighting was a Treecreeper. Butterflies observed were:- Orange Tip (*2); Peacock (*3); Small Tortoiseshell (*4); Brimstone (*4) and Green Veined White (*2).

18th April 2014 - Hawarden, Flintshire - Another new area to wander around with the superb weather making it a very enjoyable mooch. The 21 birds listed were:- Jackdaw; House Sparrow; Dunnock; Mistle Thrush; Linnet; Blackbird; Wood Pigeon; Great Tit; Carrion Crow; Great Spotted Woodpecker; Chaffinch; Chiffchaff; Blackcap; Jay; Robin; Goldfinch; Blue Tit; Goldcrest; Swallow; Song Thrush + Pheasant on call.

Moschatel; Hogweed and Cuckooflower were in bloom and the butterflies:- Peacock (*8); Green Veined White (*1); Small Tortoiseshell (*4) and Comma (*1) were on the wing.

The year's first Pot Bellied Emerald Beetle was seen on the leaves of Dock.


18th April 2014 - Wepre CP, Flintshire - An early start and a lovely quiet stroll through the woods and up to the castle remains. Along the way 21 species of bird were noted:- Wood Pigeon; Mistle Thrush; Carrion Crow; Blue Tit; Wren; Goldcrest; Blackcap; Buzzard; Jay; Great Tit; Grey Wagtail; Blackbird; Coal Tit; Nuthatch; Song Thrush; Great Spotted Woodpecker; Magpie; Bullfinch + Robin; Goldfinch and Jackdaw on call.

Flowers spotted were:- Cow Parsley; Hairy Bittercress; Ramsons; 3 Nerved Sandwort; Common Field Speedwell; Wood Speedwell; Wood Sorrel; Red Campion; Opposite Leaved Golden Saxifrage; Yellow Archangel; Common Dog Violet; Bluebell; Dandelion sp; Daisy; Lesser Celandine; Dog's Mercury; Sweet Woodruff; Red Dead Nettle; Marsh Marigold; Wood Anemone; Cowslip; Greater Stitchwort; Common Mouse Ear; Garlic Mustard and Herb Robert.

Butterflies seen were:- Speckled Wood (*1); Green Veined White (*2) and Peacock (*3).


17th April 2014 - Arrowe CP, Wirral - A mooch around a new area, 28 birds noted:- Greenfinch; Wood Pigeon; Blackbird; Chaffinch; Great Tit; Magpie; Carrion Crow; Nuthatch; Blue Tit; Coal Tit; Chiffchaff; Blackcap; Robin; Grey Heron; Mistle Thrush; Swallow; Treecreeper; Buzzard; Herring Gull; Jackdaw; Mallard; Mandarin (*7); Coot; Canada Goose; Goldfinch + Willow Warbler; Wren and Great Spotted Woodpecker on call.

2 Brown Rats were seen lurking in the undergrowth.


17th April 2014 - Burton Mere RSPB, Cheshire - A birding day out, 52 species, these being:- Blackbird; Jackdaw; Grey Heron; Pied Wagtail; Blue Tit; Magpie; Canada Goose; Greylag Goose; Black Tailed Godwit; Tufted Duck; Coot; Avocet; Mallard; Shelduck; Redshank; Pintail; Black Headed Gull; Lapwing; Teal; Gadwall; Starling; Skylark; Wood Pigeon; Swallow; Little Egret; Sand Martin; Little Grebe; Peregrine Falcon; Chaffinch; Goldfinch; Great Tit; Siskin; Sedge Warbler; Shoveler; Mute Swan; Garganey (M/F); Greenshank; Oystercatcher; Long Tailed Tit; Jay; Stock Dove; House Martin; Dunlin; Common Gull; Lesser Black Backed Gull; Carrion Crow; Moorhen + Wren; Dunnock; Great Spotted Woodpecker; Blackcap; Chiffchaff and Wren on call.

4 Small Tortoiseshell Butterflies and a Green Veined White were on the wing and Green Alkanet was in flower.

16th April 2014 - River Mersey, Stockport, Cheshire - A wander to work and back, the butterflies noted were:- Peacock (*4); Small Tortoiseshell (*2); Small White (*2); Comma (*1) and Orange Tip (*1). A Kingfisher was also seen taking a rest in a sparsely leaved tree.
15th April 2014 - Cheadle Heath, Stockport, Cheshire - Whilst reading in the garden the years first Common Green Shieldbug was seen.

15th April 2014 - Tatton Park, Cheshire - Another day out with the kids from work, a full house this time. A play on the park, an ice cream, glorious sun and a few sightings, these being a Green Veined White and Small Tortoiseshell Butterflies, a Slender Groundhopper, Violet Ground Beetle and 2 Smooth Newts, a couple of Frogs and a few Toads, Dusky, Large Black and Leopard Slugs and a Short Tailed Vole.

Buzzards flew over whilst we had lunch on an old dead tree and a Grey Heron stood utterly still waiting for an unwary fish.

13th April 2014 - Cheadle Heath, Stockport, Cheshire - A mooch in the garden and a Harlequin Ladybird and the Sawfly (Abia lonicerae) were noted.

13th April 2014 - Pennington Flash, Lancashire - A birding trip, a cold start and warm to finish, 45 species noted, which were:- Lesser Black Backed Gull; Black Headed Gull; Mallard; Canada Goose; Greylag Goose; Mute Swan; Swallow; Sand Martin; Blue Tit; Tufted Duck; Blackbird; Redshank; Moorhen; Stock Dove; Cormorant; Gadwall; Common Sandpiper; Great Crested Grebe; Oystercatcher; Common Tern; Chiffchaff; Shoveler; Greenfinch; Bullfinch; Robin; Dunnock; Great Tit; Reed Bunting; Kingfisher; Grey Heron; Chaffinch; Coot; Wren; Skylark; Carrion Crow; Mistle Thrush; Wood Pigeon; Starling; Goldfinch; House Sparrow; Long Tailed Tit + Song Thrush; Willow Warbler and Blackcap on call.

7 Spot Ladybirds were frequent in the sunny spots, Eristalis pertinax appeared as the temperatures rose and a Tortoise Bug was observed. A Roe Deer was an unexpected find at the far end of the flash.

Flowers in bloom were:- Garlic Mustard; Dandelion sp. Red Dead Nettle; Groundsel; White Dead Nettle; Common Mouse Ear; Smooth Sow Thistle; Ivy Leaved Speedwell; Cow Parsley; Shepherd's Purse; Ribwort Plantain; Colt's-Foot; Butterbur; Cuckooflower; Lesser Celandine and Cowslip. Hawthorn was also in flower.


12th April 2014 - Chadkirk Chapel, Cheshire - A wander just to keep the bodily system moving, a pair of Mandarin Ducks, a Blackcap and a female Goosander were the only birds of note as we looked for some Spring blooms. The flowers noted were:- Lesser Celandine; Daisy; Cow Parsley; Marsh Marigold; Garlic Mustard; Wood Stitchwort; Smooth Sow Thistle; Wood Anemone; Common Field Speedwell; Dog's Mercury; Ivy Leaved Speedwell; Yellow Archangel; Pink Purslane; Wood Sorrel; Bluebell; Ramsons; Daffodil; Wavy Bittercress; Opposite Leaved Golden Saxifrage; Herb Robert; Butterbur; Moschatel; Red Campion; Ivy Leaved Toadflax; Shining Cranes-Bill; Thale Cress; Ribwort Plantain; Common Dog Violet; Cowslip and Ground Ivy.

A Pill Millipede was observed as well as Pygmy Woodlice and the Gall Taxomyia taxi on Yew.


9th April 2014 - Marbury CP/Anderton NR , Cheshire - A day out with the kids from work, warm and sunny, a lovely stroll and along the way a few birds seen including the first summer Swallows and a Green Woodpecker. Cream Spot, 7 Spot and 14 Spot Ladybirds were noted and Small Tortoiseshell (*4); Brimstone (*3) and Peacock (*4) butterflies were on the wing. Alder Leaf Beetles were building in numbers and Red and Buff Tailed Bumble Bees were seen.

Cuckooflower and Wood Sorrel were noted in flower for the first time this year.


7th April 2014 - River Mersey, Stockport, Cheshire - A jog into Stockport, a walk back, another jog later with the lass - weather poor but Hornbeam was noted in flower as well as Wood Forget Me Not. A Tree Bee was soaked and looked thoroughly fed up. Three Nerved Sandwort was in flower.


5th April 2014 - Chasewater CP, Staffordshire - Some quick birding prior to a gig, 17 species, which were:- Bullfinch; Goldfinch; Carrion Crow; Coot; Moorhen; Mute Swan; Magpie; Wood Pigeon; Blackbird; Song Thrush; Mistle Thrush; Great Tit; Chiffchaff + Robin; Willow Warbler and Wren on call.

The first hoverfly of the year was identified - Eristalis pertinax.

3rd April 2014 - Heaton Moor, Stockport, Cheshire - Small Tortoiseshell on the wing on a dinner time stroll and a Nomada species burrowing into the nest of a Mining Bee colony - little bugger.
1st April 2014 - River Mersey, Stockport, Cheshire - A Comma and a Peacock were the only butterflies enjoying the sun and a Red Tailed Bumble Bee mooched about. Spot of the day was at least 40 spikes of the parasitic Toothwort, right along the river's edge - excellent.

30th March 2014 - Old Moor RSPB, South Yorkshire - The gig done the previous day and a boozing session til' 3.30am saw me make a later start than normal to get to this established reserve. 42 species were clocked up before heading home, these were:- Magpie; Goldfinch; Blackbird; Wood Pigeon; Dunnock; Blue Tit; Mallard; Chaffinch; Greenfinch; Greylag Goose; Chiffchaff; Mute Swan; Teal; Pheasant; Little Grebe; Oystercatcher; Great Crested Grebe; Linnet; Starling; Redshank; Coot; Gadwall; Collared Dove; Tree Sparrow; Moorhen; Pochard; Tufted Duck; Canada Goose; Cormorant; Black Headed Gull; Lesser Black Backed Gull; Wigeon; Shoveler; Ruff; Jackdaw; Bullfinch; Stock Dove Reed Bunting; Long Tailed Tit; Robin; Great Tit + Wren on call.

On my way to the reserve a nearby roadside had Garlic Mustard in flower as well as the fast spreading Danish Scurvy Grass.

A female specimen of Anthophora plumipes was later identified.


30th March 2014 - Gypsy Marsh RSPB/Pennine Way, South Yorkshire - A gig in Wombwell saw me arrive with a few hours to spare so why not have a wander. This small area produced 26 bird species, these were:- Coot; Gadwall; Tufted Duck; Mallard; Mute Swan; Bullfinch; Chiffchaff; Wren; Wood Pigeon; Robin; Song Thrush; Blackbird; Pochard; Teal; Black Headed Gull; Moorhen; Red legged Partridge; Magpie; Starling; Carrion Crow; Pheasant; Great Tit; Blue Tit + Dunnock and Reed Bunting on call.

3 Peacock Butterflies were on the wing and Common Whitlow Grass; Colt's Foot; Greater Periwinkle and White Dead Nettle were in flower.


29th March 2014 - Blackleach CP, Salford, G. Manchester - More birding at our 440th different location visited in Britain, we do potter about a bit. 26 species today, nothing outrageous, the list was:- Robin; Magpie; Goldfinch; Chiffchaff; Woodpigeon; Coot; Canada Goose; Black Headed Gull; Tufted Duck; Cormorant; Mute Swan; Lesser Black Backed Gull; Moorhen; Blackbird; Wren; Chaffinch; Great Crested Grebe; Song Thrush; Great Tit; Goosander (2*F); Jay; Mallard; Collared Dove; Blue Tit; Greenfinch + Dunnock on call.

Marsh Marigold was in stonking bloom and 3 Peacock Butterflies were seen.

29th March 2014 - Burrs CP, Ramsbottom, Lancashire - A bit of birding in half decent weather. Despite being distracted by the double chug pass of a fine historical train engine we clocked up a small list of 25 species, these being:- Blackbird; Magpie; Lesser Black Backed Gull; Robin; Wood Pigeon; Great Tit; Mallard; Canada Goose; Moorhen; Chaffinch; Goldfinch; Dunnock; Goosander (2*F, 1*M); Carrion Crow; Chiffchaff; Feral Pigeon; Black Headed Gull; Bullfinch; Cormorant; Jackdaw; Grey Wagtail; Blue Tit; Lapwing + Wren and Greenfinch on call.
24th March 2014 - River Mersey, Stockport, Cheshire - A walk into Stockport in a cool sun, 3 Sand Martins, 4 Goosanders - a few flies were knocking about - things are on the cusp. Wood Stitchwort was in flower.
23rd March 2014 - Clifton CP, G. Manchester - A second stroll of the day, the weather was still holding up, 25 species of bird this time:- Wood Pigeon; Magpie; Blackbird; Goldfinch; Robin; Coal Tit; Jay; Bullfinch; Long Tailed Tit; Great Tit; Wren; Mallard; Carrion Crow; Canada Goose; Coot; Black Headed Gull; Mute Swan; Blue Tit; Great Crested Grebe; Tufted Duck; Dunnock + Pheasant; Chiffchaff and Nuthatch on call.
23rd March 2014 - Wayoh Reservoir, Lancashire - An early morning wander in decent weather, the sun shone, the temperature was fine, 28 bird species the result:- Dunnock; Robin; Grey Heron; Magpie; Mallard; Canada Goose; Blue Tit; Pied Wagtail; House Sparrow; Pheasant; Goldeneye; Tufted Duck; Carrion Crow; Black Headed Gull; Long Tailed Tit; Lesser Black Backed Gull; Sparrowhawk; Greylag Goose; Coal Tit; Grey Wagtail; Great Crested Grebe; Mistle Thrush; Fieldfare + Great Tit; Chaffinch; Goldfinch; Goldcrest; Nuthatch and Wren on call.
19th March 2014 - River Mersey/Heaton Moor, Stockport, Cheshire - 2 butterflies noted, A Small Tortoiseshell along the riverside and a Peacock in a park near work - the sun was out and a Cherry tree was covered in Honey Bees (Apis sp.) - yeah. Black Medick was seen in flower.

17th March 2013 - Leighton Moss area, Lancashire - A day out birding with some nice extras, the bird list was made up of 67 species, which were:- Mallard; Collared Dove; Greenfinch; Blue Tit; Robin; Pheasant; Magpie; Great Tit; Chaffinch; Coal Tit; Moorhen; Teal; Coot; Black Headed Gull; Greylag Goose; Tufted Duck; Goldeneye; Canada Goose; Wren; Song Thrush; Dunnock; Nuthatch; Redwing; Lapwing; Carrion Crow; Wigeon; Black Tailed Godwit; Shoveler; Gadwall; Mute Swan; Lesser Black Backed Gull; Buzzard; Wood Pigeon; Goldcrest; Marsh Tit; Bullfinch; Cormorant; Oystercatcher; Pochard; Great Crested Grebe; Chiffchaff; Blackbird; Long Tailed Tit; Great Black Backed Gull; Pied Wagtail; Treecreeper; Common Snipe; Long Tailed Duck; Mistle Thrush; Curlew; Pintail; Redshank; Avocet; Spotted Redshank; Herring Gull; Little Egret; Reed Bunting; Goldfinch; Kingfisher (*2); House Sparrow; Jackdaw; Eider + Great Spotted Woodpecker; Tawny Owl; Cetti's Warbler and Little Grebe on call.

A Zebra Spider was seen in one of the hides, a Buff Tailed Bumble Bee mooching about and a 7 Spot Ladybird trying to absorb a few rays. 3 Red Deer were seen and 20 minutes was had watching a pair of Otters swimming around and indulge in the odd play.

Hart's Tongue Fern was plentiful and Moschatel had one open flower.

16th March 2013 - Fletcher Moss, G. Manchester - A wander after a run, not so bright today, 18 birds seen, these being:- Ring Necked Parakeet; Long Tailed Tit; Robin; Redwing; Great Tit; Blackbird; Magpie; Canada Goose; Black Headed Gull; Mallard; Carrion Crow; Sparrowhawk (M); Chiffchaff; Goldfinch; Song Thrush; Chaffinch + Wren and Nuthatch on call.
16th March 2014 - River Mersey, Stockport, Cheshire - A run with my daughter, a walk back - Wood Anemone; Butterbur and Cowslip all in flower.

15th March 2014 - Frodsham Park, Cheshire - After sharing a bag of chips a quick mooch around this local park was had. 16 species only, these were:- Great Tit; Wood Pigeon; Long Tailed Tit; Carrion Crow; Nuthatch; Blackbird; Robin; Blue Tit; Coal Tit; Jackdaw; Magpie; Black Headed Gull; Greenfinch; Wren + Goldfinch; Dunnock and House Sparrow on call.

We admired a few trees still in a state of winter nudity, Holm Oak was of course fully attired.

15th March 2014 - Frodsham Marsh, Cheshire - A localish walk due to gigging the night before and a desire to have a sleep in. Only 35 birds in sunny, windy weather, these were:- Teal; House Sparrow; Jackdaw; Magpie; Wood Pigeon; Goldfinch; Blue Tit; Great Tit; Black Headed Gull; Chaffinch; Blackbird; Lapwing; Mallard; Canada Goose; Tufted Duck; Goldeneye; Oystercatcher; Coot; Shoveler; Redshank; Skylark; Lesser Black Backed Gull; Starling; Buzzard; Shelduck; Carrion Crow; Pied Wagtail; Reed Bunting; Grey Heron; Herring Gull; Feral Pigeon + Chiffchaff; Curlew and Wren on call.

Small Tortoiseshell (*2); Buff Tailed Bumble Bee (*3) and 7 Spot Ladybird (*3) were the only insects noted.

Rape; Hairy Bittercress; Cow Parsley; Greater Periwinkle; Groundsel; Red Dead Nettle; Colt's-Foot; Smooth Sow Thistle; Chickweed; Green Field Speedwell and Lesser Celandine were all in flower.


14th March 2014 - Cheadle Heath to Heaton Moor, Stockport, Cheshire - More urban birding, 22 species, my mind is taking it all in:- Carrion Crow; Blackbird; Goosander; Blue Tit; House Sparrow; Collared Dove; Feral Pigeon; Wood Pigeon; Goldfinch; Starling; Wren; Robin; Chiffchaff; Long Tailed Tit; Mallard; Dunnock; Grey Wagtail; Lapwing + Greenfinch on call.

Buff Tailed (Bombus terrestris), White Tailed (Bombus lucorum) and the years first Red Tailed (Bombus lapidarius) Bumblee Bees were on the wing in chilly conditions.

13th March 2014 - Heaton Mersey Common NR and area, Stockport, Cheshire - Some urban birding again with a small nature reserve taken in during a dinner break, the result was 22 species, these being:- House Sparrow; Dunnock; Greenfinch; Blue Tit; Carrion Crow; Robin; Goldfinch; Mistle Thrush; Starling; Canada Goose; Redwing; Great Tit; Wood Pigeon; Magpie; Nuthatch; Blackbird; Coot; Mallard; Moorhen; Wren; Grey Heron and Feral Pigeon.
13th March 2014 - River Mersey, Stockport, Cheshire - A very foggy morn revealed a male Goosander and...drum roll...the first Chiffchaff of the year - welcome back sir!
12th March 2014 - Heaton Mersey, Stockport, Cheshire - A 3 mile walk through Stockport, nowt to report only another Small Tortoiseshell.
11th March 2014 - Heaton Moor, Stockport, Cheshire - A dinner time stroll in the sun, another Small Tortoiseshell and the years first Tree Bumble Bee.
10th March 2014 - Cheadle Heath, Stockport, Cheshire - A spot of gardening, the first 2 Spot Ladybird of the annual year was noted.
10th March 2014 - River Mersey, Stockport, Cheshire - After a morning of birding the walk home along the river provided a pair of Goosander and the first Comma Butterfly of the year - by heck that's 5 species ticked off already. Here's to a great year for these majestic insects. A White Tailed Bumble Bee was seen later in the day along the same stretch whilst jogging with my daughter.

10th March 2014 - Vernon Park/Woodbank Park, Cheshire - A sunny morn, what is the point of stopping in on a day off from work? Up and out and a fine relaxing walk with 32 birds noted, the list being:- Dunnock; Magpie; Collared Dove; Wood Pigeon; Coal Tit; Song Thrush; Blue Tit; Greenfinch; Robin; Nuthatch; Goldfinch; Blackbird; Great Tit; Chaffinch; Mallard; Carrion Crow; Long Tailed Tit; Wren; Treecreeper; Mandarin (M/F); Mistle Thrush; Great Spotted Woodpecker; Goosander (M/F); Redwing; Jay; Grey Wagtail; House Sparrow; Canada Goose; Jackdaw; Moorhen; Black Headed Gull; Goldcrest and Bullfinch.

4 Buff Tailed Bumble Bees were seen, a lone 7 Spot Ladybird and the first Peacock Butterfly of the year.

Wood Anemone; Ivy Leaved Speedwell; Nipplewort and Red Campion were in flower.


9th March 2014 - Wigan Flashes, Lancashire - To finish the day, a wander at a place that was my old stomping ground. What improvements have been made, all fine and dandy but more busier with folk than I remember, hey ho, one shouldn't gripe as long as the wildlife is getting a better deal. Birds noted totalled 27, these being:- Mallard; Black Headed Gull; Blue Tit; Greenfinch; Wood Pigeon; Mute Swan; Robin; Great Tit; Gadwall; Pochard; Cormorant; Goldeneye; Canada Goose; Tufted Duck; Lesser Black Backed Gull; Great Crested Grebe; Magpie; Long Tailed Tit; Common Gull; Moorhen; Mistle Thrush; Collared Dove; Chaffinch + Goldfinch; Wren; Dunnock and Cetti's Warbler on call.

The first 3 butterflies of the year were noted, these being singletons of Brimstone; Red Admiral and Small Tortoiseshell. Also seen was the early flying moth Orange Underwing, 1 for definite and 2 maybes.

A Toad was noted at the pathside and looked a bit worse for wear - hope ye be fine me old amphibious delight!

Oh and a Buff Tailed Bumble Bee was also seen.


9th March 2014 - Pleasington Old Hall, Lancashire - A potter around this small area to keep the day rolling. 19 birds, which were:- Dunnock; Redwing; Magpie; Carrion Crow; Nuthatch; Blue Tit; Chaffinch; Black Headed Gull; Blackbird; Great Tit; Mallard; Wood Pigeon; Greenfinch; Robin; Long Tailed Tit; Pied Wagtail; Brambling (M); Feral Pigeon + Wren on call.

Purple Toothwort was in fine flower and Common Polypody agg. was abundant.


9th March 2014 - Brockholes, Lancashire - A trip for some more birding and note taken of the car park prices that seemed to have snuck up and the increasing amount of bikers, mmm - some polite, some not - hey ho! The resulting bird list was 42 species, these were:- Carrion Crow; Pheasant; Meadow Pipit; Grey Heron; Magpie; Lapwing; Kestrel; Canada Goose; Mute Swan; Tufted Duck; Gadwall; Coot; Reed Bunting; Wood Pigeon; Teal; Mallard; Wren; Black Headed Gull; Lesser Black Backed Gull; Pied Wagtail; Shoveler; Cormorant; Moorhen; Great Crested Grebe; Blue Tit; Chaffinch; Oystercatcher; Redshank; Ringed Plover; Dunlin; Goldeneye; Herring Gull; Robin; Dunnock; Blackbird; Great Tit; Long Tailed Tit; Tree Sparrow, Mediterranean Gull (*2) + Song Thrush; Goldfinch and Nuthatch on call.

5 Roe Deer showed well and a Frog amidst its spawn gave hints of Spring.

7th March 2014 - River Mersey, Stockport, Cheshire - Another Buff Tailed Bumble Bee and a new patch of Colt's-Foot in flower were noted whilst I was picking up some litter.
6th March 2014 - Heaton Moor, Stockport, Cheshire - The first Buff Tailed Bumble Bee of the year whilst wandering in my dinner break and a 7 Spot Ladybird on the way home down the River Mersey.
5th March 2014 - Heaton Moor, Stockport, Cheshire - The first spikes of Field Wood Rush were noted today, still no Bee, Butterfly or Chiffchaff - watch this space!

4th March 2014 - Heaton Mersey NR and area , Stockport, Cheshire - A dinner time stroll, 23 species of bird, these were:- Wood Pigeon; Wren; House Sparrow; Blackbird; Carrion Crow; Long Tailed Tit; Magpie; Nuthatch; Blue Tit; Coot; Moorhen; Canada Goose; Mallard; Goldfinch; Redwing; Dunnock; Great Tit; Mistle Thrush; Black Headed Gull; Feral Pigeon + Robin; Goldcrest and Greenfinch on call.

3rd March 2014 - River Mersey/Abney Hall, Stockport, Cheshire - A 2 mile run into Stockport, a pop in the book shop, hair shop, pasty shop and a walk home via Abney Hall - about 6 miles in total - ooh me legs but hey, what glorious sunshine! I wandered slowly and did a bird list, 28 species seen. The birds noted were:- Feral Pigeon; Dunnock; Kingfisher; Wren; Blackbird; Goldfinch; Long Tailed Tit; Blue Tit; Robin; Wood Pigeon; Magpie; Great Tit; Goosander (*5); Bullfinch; Carrion Crow; Canada Goose; Mallard; Mistle Thrush; Black Headed Gull; Grey Wagtail; Moorhen; Great Spotted Woodpecker; Nuthatch; Chaffinch; Goldcrest; Mute Swan; Coot and Grey Heron.

2nd March 2014 - Chorlton WP, G. Manchester - A quick wander in drab conditions and a few birds listed, 34 in fact, which were:- Great Tit; Starling; Magpie; House Sparrow; Blue Tit; Mute Swan; Goosander; Mallard; Canada Goose; Feral Pigeon; Tufted Duck; Coot; Pochard; Black Headed Gull; Lesser Black Backed Gull; Greenfinch; Chaffinch; Goldcrest; Wood Pigeon; Blackbird; Redwing; Wren; Long Tailed Tit; Robin; Great Spotted Woodpecker; Song Thrush; Jay; Common Gull; Goldeneye; Nuthatch; Grey Heron; Collared Dove + Dunnock and Goldfinch on call.

Blackthorn is flowering well here as well as Common Gorse. A few Leopard Slugs were noted along with a brace of Large Yellow Slugs.

1st March 2014 - Ellesmere CP, Shropshire - Final destination of the day and a visit to a place we haven't been to for quite a few years. Last time we came it was a weekday I believe, today on a Saturday too many people were spoiling the natural broth. Hey ho, we cracked on, only 26 species of bird, two of course were dubious devils but we count what we see and are in no competition. The birds were:- Canada Goose; Feral Greylag Goose; Chinese Domestic Goose; Wigeon; Moorhen; Pochard; Tufted Duck; Goosander; Goldeneye; Black Headed Gull; Mallard; Shoveler; Coot; Wigeon; Feral Pigeon; Common Gull; Jackdaw; Wren; Blackbird; Blue Tit; Great Crested Grebe; Robin; Dunnock; + Nuthatch; Carrion Crow; Goldcrest and Chaffinch on call.

1st March 2014 - Wood Lane NR, Shropshire - A small but nicely laid out nature reserve with 26 species of bird seen, these being:- Chaffinch; Jackdaw; Coal Tit; Canada Goose; Blackbird; Black Headed Gull; Coot; Buzzard; Shelduck; Lesser Black Backed Gull; Goldfinch; Great Crested Grebe; Dunnock; Blue Tit; Great Tit; Tufted Duck; Mallard; Lapwing; Oystercatcher; Moorhen; Carrion Crow; Magpie; Mistle Thrush; Kestrel; Song Thrush and Robin.

Dog's Mercury; Colt's-Foot and Red Dead Nettle were in flower.

1st March 2014 - Colemere CP, Shropshire - A day birding in this fine county with the first port of call producing 33 species. These were:- Jackdaw; Blackbird; Black Headed Gull; Mallard; Robin; Canada Goose; Tufted Duck; Carrion Crow; Great Crested Grebe; Coot; Goldeneye; Wood Pigeon; Starling; Wren; Grey Heron; Blue Tit; Cormorant; Great Spotted Woodpecker (at least 4 drumming); Treecreeper; Great Tit; Song Thrush; Nuthatch; Buzzard; Goldcrest; Gadwall; Raven; Goldfinch; Greenfinch; Long Tailed Tit; Dunnock; Coal Tit; Rook + Chaffinch on call.

A good patch of Mistletoe was a joy to see in what was glorious weather.


28th February 2014 - Cheadle Heath to Heaton Moor, Stockport, Cheshire - Some more urban birding continuing the 'once a week watch' whilst on the way to and from work.  Today's total, 19 species, which were:- Starling; Feral Pigeon; House Sparrow; Goldfinch; Wood Pigeon; Magpie; Robin; Blackbird; Collared Dove; Great Tit; Carrion Crow; Wren; Dunnock; Bullfinch; Mallard; Long Tailed Tit; Greenfinch; Jackdaw and Song Thrush.


26th February 2014 - Bramhall Park Area/Ladybrook Valley, Cheshire - After an appointment at the hospital I decided to take a circuitous route home via a place I used to work at and me and my good lady saw our first Kingfisher. 25 birds were noted, these were:- Moorhen; Magpie; Carrion Crow; Jackdaw; Bullfinch; Grey Wagtail; Redwing; Fieldfare; Blue Tit; Great Tit; Wood Pigeon; Robin; Blackbird; Goldcrest; Long Tailed Tit; Black Headed Gull; Mandarin Duck; Canada Goose; Mallard; Mistle Thrush; Kingfisher + Greenfinch; Dunnock; Wren and Goldfinch on call.

Shepherd's Purse; Lesser Celandine; Daisy; Dandelion sp; Snowdrop; Common Field Speedwell and Opposite Leaved Saxifrage were all in flower.

Phytomyza ilicis; Agrobacterium tumefaciens and Taxomyia taxi were the only galls seen.

24th February 2014 - Carsington Water, Derbyshire - The day after a gig, I should do the review, sod that, the birds and sunny weather are calling. 8.5 miles walked with my fine lasses with a 2.5 stone rucksack on my back - a long haul but the conditions were bang on so no complaints. The list comprised of 56 species, which were:- Blackbird; Robin; Dunnock; Canada Goose; House Sparrow; Black Headed gull; Magpie; Wood Pigeon; Greenfinch; Chaffinch; Carrion Crow; Jackdaw; Coot; Tufted Duck; Wren; Coal Tit; Mallard; Lapwing; Oystercatcher; Barnacle Goose; Moorhen; Teal; Willow Tit; Reed Bunting; Blue Tit; Starling; Great Crested Grebe; Pochard; Common Snipe; Tree Sparrow; Redshank; Great Tit; Skylark; Goldfinch; Wigeon; Little Grebe; Bullfinch; Cormorant; Great Northern Diver; Goldeneye; Redwing; Long Tailed Tit; Collared Dove; Pheasant; Lesser Black Backed Gull; Common Gull; Mistle Thrush; Mute Swan; Goldcrest; Treecreeper; Pied Wagtail; Rook + Buzzard; Tawny owl and Nuthatch on call.

22nd February 2014 - Mere Sands Wood, Lancashire - Lunch and to close the day a tootle around the quiet woodlands of Mere Sands. 38 birds, there were:- Robin; Jackdaw; Wood Pigeon; Pheasant; Bullfinch; Shelduck; Mallard; Teal; Moorhen; Little Grebe; Blue Tit; Reed Bunting; Dunnock; Chaffinch; Collared Dove; Great Tit; Goldfinch; Blackbird; Black Headed Gull; Magpie; Coot; Great Crested Grebe; Gadwall; Long Tailed Tit; Buzzard; Stock Dove; Pink Footed Goose; Canada Goose; Lesser Black Backed Gull; Moorhen; Oystercatcher; Shoveler; Cormorant; Carrion Crow; Nuthatch; Goosander + Great Spotted Woodpecker and Greenfinch on call.

A Common Wasp was seen in one of the hides.


22nd February 2014 - Marshside RSPB, Lancashire - A birding day, I expected more than 48 species, hey ho, the list was:- Skylark; Goldfinch; Meadow Pipit; Shelduck; Wood Pigeon; Magpie; Black Headed Gull; Black Tailed Godwit; Lapwing; Cormorant; Blackbird; Pink Footed Goose; Starling; Coot; Peregrine Falcon; Wigeon; Teal; Shoveler; Great Black Backed Gull; Tufted Duck; Carrion Crow; Mallard; Jackdaw; Redshank; Herring Gull; House Sparrow; Oystercatcher; Lesser Black Backed Gull; Great Tit; Curlew; Pintail; Ruff; Pied Wagtail; Song Thrush; Common Gull; Greenfinch; Chaffinch; Canada Goose; Moorhen; Pheasant; Mute Swan; Pochard; Greylag Goose; Golden Plover; Little Egret; Little Grebe + Robin and Blue Tit on call.

Find of the day however was by my recently shaven headed daughter (all done for charity tha' knows) - a Mole scurrying about on some roadside grass trying its best to burrow beneath a bird viewing point. We watch the little wonder waggle like mad and then suddenly disappear beneath some grass and soft, welcoming soil. Happy worm hunting mate - ye be a wonderful gem! That fur looked so soft and so clean - I must take note - hanging about in mud doesn't mean you have to go home crummy!

20th February 2014 - River Mersey, Stockport, Cheshire - An important event of the year - the first Blackthorn flowers seen. Things gently move onwards.

19th February 2014 - Tatton Park, Cheshire - A day off work and the train to Tatton for a bit of birding. Only 39 species in fine weather, the list was:- Jackdaw; Mistle Thrush; Carrion Crow; Wood Pigeon; Magpie; Chaffinch; Blue Tit; Great Tit; Buzzard; Blackbird; Great Crested Grebe; Tufted Duck; Black Headed Gull; Lesser Black Backed Gull; Coot; Mallard; Goldeneye; Cormorant; Mute Swan; Jay; Brambling (*3); Coal Tit; Nuthatch; Great Spotted Woodpecker (*4); Wren; Robin; Raven; Green Woodpecker; Starling; Goldcrest; Long Tailed Tit; Song Thrush; Canada Goose; Goldfinch; Treecreeper; Redwing; Pochard; Moorhen + Dunnock on call.

The lichens Lecidella elaeochroma and Cladonia coniocraea were noted.

18th February 2014 - Cheadle Heath to Heaton Moor, Stockport, Cheshire - Some urban birding whilst wandering along the 2 mile stretch to work, birds counted were:- Bullfinch; Goldfinch; Greenfinch; Dunnock; Wren; Robin; Blue Tit; Long Tailed Tit; Great Tit; Blackbird; Black Headed Gull; Goosander; Carrion Crow; Magpie; Feral Pigeon; Wood Pigeon; Collared Dove; House Sparrow and Robin. 19 species, record set - I may do this once a week and see what variation and consistency shows.
17th February 2014 - River Mersey, Stockport, Cheshire - A jog into Stockport to get some theatre tickets, on the way home Ox-Eye Daisy was seen in flower and a Budapest Slug was noted whilst doing a bit of litter picking.

16th February 2014 - Risley Moss, Warrington, Cheshire - A quick mooch around this smallish reserve after our wander a Rixton. Only 11 species of bird seen, shocking! The species noted were:- Blackbird; Wood Pigeon; Great Tit; Robin; Magpie; Coal Tit; Great Spotted Woodpecker; Chaffinch; Nuthatch; Blue Tit and Bullfinch.

A Smooth Newt was an added extra.


16th February 2014 - Rixton Clay Pits, Warrington, Cheshire - We are still trying to get back on track and with money tight we stayed close to home and had a mooch in gloriously sunny weather. 26 bird species were seen, these were:- Carrion Crow; Long Tailed Tit; Blue Tit; Great Tit; Robin; Bullfinch; Tufted Duck; Coot; Mallard; Grey Heron; Canada Goose; Song Thrush; Mute Swan; Blackbird; Wood Pigeon; Jackdaw; Gadwall; Cormorant; Pheasant; Kestrel; Magpie; Stock Dove; Lesser Black Backed Gull; Chaffinch; Dunnock and House Sparrow.

Colts-Foot was seen in flower for the first time this year and a Devil's Coach Horse was also spotted.

14th February 2014 - Heaton Moor, Stockport, Cheshire - Wandering to work, a flurry of bird activity - a sign that can only signify one thing - Sparrowhawk floating by, looking for an easy meal - ooh the tinker. Great birds though. Nice to hear the fruity calls of the Blackbird on the way to work as well - another lovely bird. Tony Soper used to use the term 'fruity' to describe their bird calls - very apt it is too.
13th February 2014 - Cheadle Heath, Stockport, Cheshire - Just leaving the house and a Goosander was flying over - I am having that as a garden tick - yeah!

9th February 2014 - Pennington Flash, Lancashire - A cobweb blowing day with a winter wind bringing in some clearer skies. Bird wise and 40 species seen, these being:- Mute Swan; Canada Goose; Coot; Black Headed Gull; Mallard; Goldeneye; Pied Wagtail; Wood Pigeon; Magpie; Moorhen; Lesser Black Backed Gull; Common Gull; Oystercatcher; Grey Heron; Robin; Bullfinch; Chaffinch; Reed Bunting; Blue Tit; Great Tit; Nuthatch; Blackbird; Teal; Stock Dove; Willow Tit; Great Spotted Woodpecker; Little Grebe; Common Snipe; Carrion Crow; Lapwing; Pochard; Cormorant; Great Crested Grebe; Gadwall; Shoveler; Tufted Duck; Long tailed Tit; Goosander (*46); Greenfinch and Dunnock.

Sweet Violet and White Dead Nettle were in flower.

8th February 2014 - Poise Brook, Stockport, Cheshire - A wander around a new nook for us with 19 bird species seen, these being:- Goldfinch; Redwing; Blackbird; Magpie; Wood Pigeon; Carrion Crow; Robin; Long Tailed Tit; Coal Tit; Jay; Siskin; Mistle Thrush; Great Tit; Nuthatch; Chaffinch; Jackdaw; Pied Wagtail; Grey Wagtail and Rook.

6th February 2014 - Abney Hall/River Mersey, Stockport, Cheshire - A walk to recover the senses after a week long bout of gut fever. The weather was fair, the pace gentle, a few logs were rolled along the way. Things of note were - an Alder Leaf Beatle, a Common Earwig, a Harlequin Ladybird and the molluscs Garden Snail (Helix aspersa); Garlic Snail (Oxychilus alliarius); Large Yellow Slug (Limax flavus); Leopard Slug (Limax maximus); Budapest Slug (Milax budapestensis); Dusky Slug (Arion subfuscus) and the Garden Slug (Arion hortensis agg). A Smooth Newt was also found. A couple of Flat Backed Millipedes were taken for ID but it seems there are no keys available so Polydesmus sp. it will have to remain. The critters were duly released in the garden.

A Grey Wagtail was on the river and Mistle Thrush; Song Thrush; Redwing and Blackbird were observed as well as a Jay.


2nd February 2014 - Etherow CP, Stockport, Cheshire - Still suffering with the latter stages of gastroenteritis and my body was a wreck. We had a slow stroll, I felt icky and weak - what a slow start to the year. Mandarins were plentiful, Goosander were on Keg Pool as were a flock of Tufted Duck. The year's first blooms of Lesser Celandine were seen.

It was nice to bump into a gent today who stated that he and his good lady had attended a few of my Fungal walks in the past and that I was to blame for his wife being so enthusiastic about them to date. Very pleasing to hear that my humble message about the beauty and value of these precious structures does indeed make a mark with some people. It picked my spirits up no end.


25th January 2014 - Abney Hall/River Mersey, Stockport, Cheshire - Still struggling so a local walk was had, Hazel was with catkins and those cute pinkish red flowers, a Harlequin Ladybird braved the cold and a flock of Fieldfare darted around with the odd Redwing in tow. 2 Goosanders, as per, were on stream. Pygmy, Rough and Shiny Woodlice were seen along with the Variegated Centipede (Lithobius variegatus).

Winter Aconite was in flower.


23rd January 2014 - Burton Mere RSPB, Cheshire - After a successful twitch in whipping winds we decided to call in at this nice reserve and do some easier birding. A cup of cha' in the confines of the main hide and then a wander on both sides. The result was only 32 birds, which were:- Moorhen; Coot; Goldfinch; Robin; Great Tit; Chaffinch; Gadwall; Teal; Black Headed Gull; Black Tailed Godwit; Blue Tit; Shelduck; Lesser Black Backed Gull; Common Gull; Shoveler; Curlew; Mute Swan; Black Swan; Magpie; Golden Plover; Lapwing; Starling; Hen Harrier (Ring Tail); Great White Egret; Little Egret; Grey Heron; Wren; Mallard; Coal Tit; Jay and Jackdaw.

A Stoat ran across the front of the hide and gave great views - cheeky bugger.

23rd January 2014 - Burton Marsh, Cheshire - A day off so a rare twitch for us with a local reserve nearby in case of a dip. Arriving at the site there was no sign of the target bird and the wind was more spiteful. By heck. A wander and then back, a few pipits and then my bins were on the target species - Buff Bellied Pipit - a nice bird indeed and one that could be easily overlooked. The nearby birders were called over, good views had, a move along and more views and then, as if by magic, all buggered off - the wind was just a little too much it seems. Other birds noted were:- Blue Tit; Robin; Stonechat (*2); Carrion Crow; Linnet; Meadow Pipit; Mallard; Starling; Blackbird; Pied Wagtail; Kestrel; Dunnock and Magpie.

19th January 2014 - Moore NR, Cheshire - A wander in wonderful conditions, only 42 birds but hey it is better than nowt. The list was:- Great Crested Grebe; Feral Pigeon; Moorhen; Buzzard; Pochard; Coot; Goldeneye; Shoveler; Little Grebe; Gadwall; Tree Sparrow; Wren; Lapwing; Magpie; Lesser Black Backed Gull; Herring Gull; Black Headed Gull; Wood Pigeon; Curlew; Siskin; Long Tailed Tit; Nuthatch; Coal Tit; Great Tit; Willow Tit; Jackdaw; Dunnock; Golden Plover; Grey Heron; Shelduck; Blackbird; Great Spotted Woodpecker; Chaffinch; Robin; Mallard; Mute Swan; Wigeon; Teal; Blue Tit; Carrion Crow; Tufted Duck and Jay.

2 Short Tailed Voles mooched about at the front of the feeding station - I love these little chaps.

12th January 2014 - Anderton NR/Marbury CP, Cheshire - A circular walk that took over 3 hours and not many birds were about. Bleak skies and still suffering from those darn heart palpitations (now with added arm and leg weakness, nausea, dizziness) and the stress levels were far from relieved - hey ho. 41 feathered friends were observed, these being:- Blackbird; Wood Pigeon; Buzzard; Robin; Carrion Crow; Feral Pigeon; Grey Heron; Long Tailed Tit; Blue Tit; Moorhen; Nuthatch; Great Black Backed Gull; Canada Goose; Cormorant; Curlew; Magpie; Great Tit; Black Headed Gull; Herring Gull; Common Gull; Coot; Lesser Black Backed Gull; Wren; Mallard; Great Crested Grebe; Greylag Goose; Coal Tit; Kingfisher; Shoveler; Gadwall; Wigeon; Mute Swan; Tufted Duck; Teal; Shelduck; Jay; Collared Dove; Chaffinch; Greenfinch and Goldfinch.

6th January 2014 - Alexander Park, Stockport, Cheshire - After a walk in to Stockport and a call off one the way back to see what birdies were about, the result was 19 species, these were:- Canada Goose; Feral Pigeon; Carrion Crow; Moorhen; Mallard; Magpie; Long Tailed Tit; Starling; Wood Pigeon; Goldfinch; Blue Tit; Collared Dove; House Sparrow; Robin; Redwing; Black Headed Gull; Blackbird and Feral Greylag Goose.

Nipplewort was in flower.


6th January 2014 - River Mersey, Stockport, Cheshire - After a jog down river Chickweed and Shaggy Soldier (Galinsoga quadriradiata) were both noted in flower.

The mosses Grimmia pulvinata and Bryum capillare were observed.


5th January 2014 - Chorlton WP, G. Manchester - A cancelled fungi mooch due to impending crap weather so we got up and did a swift 2 hour wander before the clouds burst. 38 birds seen and 2 heard, the list was:- Starling; Ring Necked Parakeet (*2); Blackbird; Magpie; House Sparrow; Dunnock; Great Tit; Feral Pigeon; Canada Goose; Mute Swan; Mallard; Black Headed Gull; Wren; Coot; Tufted Duck; Pied Wagtail; Pochard; Gadwall; Moorhen; Siskin (*2); Lesser Redpoll (*3); Grey Heron; Cormorant; Carrion Crow; Common Gull; Kestrel; Chaffinch; Goldeneye; Blue Tit; Long Tailed Tit; Wood Pigeon; Redwing; Goldfinch; Mistle Thrush; Robin; Grey Wagtail; Jay and Collared Dove + Bullfinch and Greenfinch on call.

Pineappleweed; Rape; Scentless Mayweed and Common Ragwort were all in flower.

3rd January 2014 - Heaton Mersey Common NR, Stockport, Cheshire - A wander looking for fungi, not much else about. Plenty of Redwing, a Coal Tit, the moss Tortula muralis and Hairy Bittercress was in flower.
2nd January 2014 - River Mersey, Stockport, Cheshire - Black Medick and Hairy Tare both still with flowers on.
2nd January 2014 - Heaton Moor, Stockport, Cheshire - Common Daisy; Dandelion sp; Herb Robert and Lesser Periwinkle in flower. A male House Sparrow said hello whilst I was walking to work - more civil than half the people I know - good chap!

1st January 2014 - Abney Hall/River Mersey, Stockport, Cheshire - Last year, on the 1st day of the year, we had to stay local due to the car being off the road - today was still the same although the car is working but prone to arsing about if any distance is travelled. The weather was awful too but we still had a 3 hour wander and saw a few bits and pieces and got the old body moving on the start of another 12 month campaign. Birds seen were few as we couldn't be mithered carrying the bins in the rank conditions. The 23 species seen were:- Feral Pigeon; Starling; Magpie; Long Tailed Tit; Black Headed Gull; Dunnock; Goosander; Grey Wagtail; Moorhen; Redwing; Wren; Mallard; Robin; Carrion Crow; Canada Goose; Blackbird; Grey Heron; Wood Pigeon; Mute Swan; Coot; Goldcrest; Goldfinch and Treecreeper.

Common Field Speedwell; Groundsel and Shepherds Purse were all in flower and the Ash Key Gall (Aceria fraxinivorus) was noted. Wall Rue was growing from a railway bridge wall.

Also to add - following on from the suggestion I made on this website and a popular wildlife forum regarding picking up discarding drinks cans/bottles/containers (and having no response) we are still having a go whilst out and about anyway. There is no target in mind, just an attempt to do a small bit to clear the country side of the trash left by unthinking pigs. I will keep tally though and so far the count is at 92. The running total will be kept in the main news page of the wild side. Shame no others wanted to get involved - it would be good to know that much clearing is being done whilst we are out there mooching. Remember the countryside is ours - if people dropped litter in yer house you wouldn't like it, so why not do a little bit for our expansive nature reserve and the critters found therein. We can't do it everyday but here and there and the job will be positive. Anyway - Happy New Year and keep it enjoyable and productive for the wildlife!