Latest Sightings and Woodland and Meadow Updates

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and the Schedule of talks for 2016-2017.

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19 August 2016: Updated Flora record GO

29th August: I took the following images over the weekend: Great Green Bush-cricket (Nine Acre Wood), Long-winged Conehead (Nine Acre Wood), ‘Work in progress’ spider’s web (Causeway) Simon.

25th August: Circular trip from North Fen Drove along base of North Hill and then to Claytons Bridge. Many warblers and finches in hedgerows mainly Whitethroats but 2 Willow Warblers also. Finches mainly  Linnets but 1 Bullfinch juvenile amongst others. Juv Marsh Harrier, 2 Common Buzzards circling, Sparrowhawk (juv) , Kestrel. Adult Hobby hunting Dragonflies at Claytons Bridge. PM&ID

A fruitful year in the hedges. Sloes and Haws. Record shots of Linnet and Common Whitethroat. Lesser Water Parsnip in drain by Dambank bridge. Willow Warbler also seen Nth Fen Drove 25.8.17. PM

25th August: Fungi found under hedge in Dickersons garden. Quite common. Star Pinkgill (Entoloma conferendum). PM

21st August: Here is an image of a Speckled Wood from Nine Acre Wood.  The recent work in the wood should make it more attractive to butterflies. Simon.

18th August: As wind had risen at start of visit to fens near Aldreth we kept to Eastern section of New Cut Drain bank bottom which is protected by tall hedges and trees to see if we could see any small birds keeping shelter from wind but saw nothing until we reached treed end of Lakes and Dairyhouse droves. Only tits were seeming to forage although one warbler type did do a fly catch but was too quick to identify. So we moved out into the open and were surprised by an Oak Tree. The reason was the fact that it was covered in a mass of acorns to such an extent that neither of us had ever seen before. This was part of Bedlam Farm field and if so many acorns had been in 19th century then any pigs that would be kept in those times could exist for months on them. As we continued on along Dairyhouse Drove we did see 7-8 Common Whitethroats flitting about in a pile on debris from a cut down willow tree. They were obviously finding food in it. In the open fen little was showing itself so we ended up at Galls Farm in North Fen to find 4-5 Swifts foraging above a bean field and then as a finishing touch a juvenile Marsh Harrier male also hunted over the beans before disappearing westward low over the Hillrow fens. PM

14th August: Privet Hawk Moth caterpillar. Merricks Lane.
A nice find by Keith Millar of  a caterpillar seeking a place to pupate. This is the season to look out for more of differing species of Hawkmoth larvae walking in unlikely hard ground places wanting soft earth to metamorphose. PM

14th August: Here is an image of a Small Copper taken near Aldreth on 13th August. Simon.

14th August: Potter Wasp nest with clay "pots" containing larvae and caterpillars for food. Wendy Lanman

14th August: Slender Brittlegill (Russala gracillima) found in Bury Lane garden and open space off Lester Drive. Not rare but not a common species. Took a bit of sorting out as red on cap often gets washed off. Had an experienced mycologist Pat O'Rielly helped me out. So thanks to him. PM

12th August: Ann Biggs has reported 2 Spotted Flycatchers in Robert Normans orchard on Friday and this is the same day as 2-3 at Guppys Pond. Could possibly be from same nest but parents split with a different juvenile each. Otherwise it might mean another breeding site. PM
12th August: Three stages of Blackening Waxcap fungi in Wendy's garden lawn grass. Growing in grass. Stem and later stage gone black. Others are Ivy Broomrape found under trees by Guppys Pond track. Also Rough Chervil same place. PM

11th August: Most things rather quiet with a few Corn Buntings and Yellow Wagtail in North Fen but the a bonus of 3 Turtle Doves on electric power lines. At least 2 were juveniles so we hope the local pair/s raised something.
Then to Long Drove with 6-8 Corn Buntings but no more till a surprise near Claytons Bridge of a ringtail Hen Harrier. It went down in crop and we never saw it again after at least 10-15 mins. On to Dambank where lack of usual 4-5 pairs of Corn Buntings raised concern. We searched about for a solution and then realised that this years wheat crop there was all very short strawed. I wonder if CBs didn't like it so went somewhere else. Fears are now that if all wheat is going to be short straw like that will the species suffer even further decline. Once we had at least 50  pairs in the parish (1995) now if we have 20 we are lucky. PaulM

Here is a record shot of the Turtle Doves Paul and Ian saw out on the fens this morning.

10th August: Took these with my little camera at Guppys pond this afternoon. ID.

I thought Haddenham had missed out on Spotflys but this afternoon we found two adults with at least one young not at usual place but by Guppys pond. I think they may well have nested there somewhere so next year we shall look there earlier in season. PM

9th August: A probable Roesels Bush Cricket  found in our porch a few days ago.Sheila and Ian D.

7th August: After  much heartache and research I am now convinced with the help of a fungi expert that we have Agaricus phaeolepidotus which was only identified as recently as 1952. There aren't many reports of it by others so do we have another rare species. I don't know but a Philip Moeller was the finder then so it carries two possible names. Trust me to have it in my garden, aren't fungi wonderful????? PM

6th August: Many different fungi appearing at the moment. 1 & 2 now confirmed as Bearded Fieldcap (Agrocybe molesta) in a Lode Way garden 5.8.17. 3 & 4 now confirmed as  Stinking Dapperling (Lapiota cristata) my garden 5.2.17. PM

5th August: Thought to be Stinking Dapperling (Lepiola cristata) not confirmed. Aldreth Road garden. PM

4th August:
Brown Puffball (Bovista  nigrascens) Bury Lane garden.

1st August: Red Bartsia (Odontites vernus) along Guppy's track.

1st August: Found yesterday by Wendy Lanman. Photographed 2.8.17 by me PM. Pluteus aurantiorugosus (Orange Shield Cap). Striking orange. Group of fungi known as "shield" mushrooms. On rotting wood.

30th July: Fungus in Old Burial Ground 26/7/17 identified now as Common Rustgill (Gymnopilus penetrum)

28th July: There was a flock of 20 swifts flying over Aldreth on Tuesday, I guess this is this years brood, good to see they are still breeding in the village. John Burgess
28th July: Fungi now identified: Pleated Inkcap (Coprinis capatilis)

25th July: Found in private field off Lode Way by Wendy Lanman.

25th July: Some small fungi found on woodchip pile (Lime) in Old Burial Ground. Help with identification needed. Guppy's Pond, Great Crested Grebe and Guppys pond. Rough Chervil by Guppys Pond track. PM

23rd July: Old Burial Ground.  Red Kite circling over while volunteers working.
20th July: Hummingbird Hawk moths regularly feeding on Buddleia 2 or 3 at a time on occasions. PM
16th July: Grass Snake alternately lurking under vegetation on the edge of our water feature and slithering in to swim around it hunting frogs. No sign now of frogs in either top or bottom pool, alas! Sally

15th July: In garden, Aldreth Road: Red Admiral butterfly. Shaggy Parasol fungi. PM

14th July: Aldreth Road orchard. An evening watch for owls produced only 1 Tawny Owl seen. 2 Green Woodpeckers, 2-3 Common Whitethroats in fruit trees. PM S&ID.  

6th July: Interesting ride round Haddenham/Aldreth Fens today.

Starting in North Fen. New Cut Drain by Woolden Farm fields. Marsh Bedstraw. (This is a very good year for all three Bedstraws). Many Small Heath butterflies, also a very small Gatekeeper seen. No Brown Argus yet. Yellowhammers singing.

Back Drove. 2-3 families of Yellow Wagtails, Small flock of Linnets. Corn and Reed Buntings in good numbers. Common Whitethroat, Skylarks families. Many butterflies on thistles including Red Admirals, Small Tortoiseshells, Peacocks and Green-veined Whites.

Long Drove. Long clump of Toadflax plus more in another place. Claytons Bridge. Only one Emperor Dragonfly, several Red-eyed Damselflies still and some sort of large orange coloured spider that walks on water to lily pads, carrying what looked like egg sack on its back*.

Unusually several specimens of tall White Melilot along the roadside of The Boot. Never seen there before. Unusual plant in that it must have been as seeds in the soil and the weather germinated it.

Near Aldreth ponds on road 10-15 mainly House Martins but maybe 4 Swallows on the road probably gathering soil for nest making. No water to mix to mud though.

All in all a good outing. S&ID, PM

*The spider on the lily pads at Claytons Bridge is likely to be Araneus marmoreus please look up to verify. General habitat includes by streams and water.

6th July: Creeping Jenny en masse. Juvenile Green Woodpecker. Meadowsweet - all in Fairchilds Meadows 4.7.17 all ID

6th July: "6cm moth on door this morning". These photos from a Station Road resident Keith Miller. Privet Hawk Moth. A typical find on a doorpost or similar. PM

6th July RE PRESS STATEMENT: The work is now going on to pump out the affected parts of New Cut Drain and flow towards the river is already clearer and fish returning. Co-operation by all sides worked wonders we hope. Good outcome.


An important local NEW CUT DRAIN near Aldreth is being badly polluted by runoff from rotting sugar beet under white plastic sheets and intended for anaerobic digestion.

Otters, Water Voles and Kingfishers are in danger of having their fur and feathers tarnished and damaged from a thick treacly sediment making its way from a farm to the Old West River (part of the Great Ouse) a distance of about two miles. Fish, especially small species like Spined Loach, a species of conservation concern are being threatened along with larger species caught by anglers etc.

This pollution material is making the waterway dead and it is likely to remain so for years as invertebrates are killed off and thus affecting the wildlife chain above them. Dragonflies, Damselflies and Mayflies will all be affected. Reeds and other herbage eaten by Water Voles will be poisoned.

Apart from all that residents of Aldreth have to put up with the stench especially on hot windless days.

In addition to the perpetrator the Environment Agency whose drain this is (not the Haddenham Drainage Commissioners) must be urged to clean up the water course without delay and restore the wildlife balance asks the Haddenham Conservation Society. 

4th July: 1. Lesser Stag Beetle greeted me in my bathroom last night. Well actually a Wet Room (posh name for a shower but I don't think the beetle dropped in for one. 2. Pineapple Mayweed. Bury Lane. PM

3rd July: A Siskin over Aldreth this afternoon. Sadly, no Turtle Doves in Aldreth for the first year since we moved here 11 years ago. Our resident male was last seen in September.

Volucella zonaria which is a hornet mimic in Fairchilds Meadows yesterday. photo coming and a male Marsh Harrier heading west towards our parish over Twentypence Road this morning. Simon Stirrup

Volucella zonaria which is a hornet mimic. Still a nice spot. Not long ago considered quite scarce and confined to south coast/Greater London but has spread north and east in recent years and is no longer that unusual in eastern counties. Found in Fairchild's Meadows last Saturday (1st July). PM

More from Simon: In Great Britain, it was only known from two specimens prior to 1940, so was regarded as rare. Since then, it has become increasingly widespread in many parts of the South and South East England, often in association with parks and gardens, where adults are usually seen visiting flowers. Elsewhere in England, only a few scattered records exist.

Photograph taken by Simon Sturrup of a Ringlet taken on 2nd July in Fairchild’s Meadow.

2nd July: This image of a White-letter Hairstreak was taken at Fairchild’s Meadow yesterday.  It was one of at least 3 there. Simon.

1st July: Greenfinch in  the garden feeding on Borage - can you count how many young there are?? Sheila and Ian D.

25th June: We've just come back from a walk along the public right of way from Aldreth to the West River and was delighted to see a little fluffy head tucked in next to mum on the swan's nest to the left of the path. We know she had five eggs, as the nest was unguarded when we walked by about a week ago. Sally Mc
25th June: 3 nice pics from ID for 23rd June North Fen Drove. 1 Hedge Bedstraw. 2 Ringlet butterfly underside. 3 Ringlet butterfly topside. 14th June: 4 Church Fen Drove showing many patches of Common Water Crowfoot. 5. Many Seeded Goosefoot. Lakes drove.

23rd June: North Fen drove. Many Wild Flowers on show. Hedge Bedstraw much wider spread than 2016. Tufted Vetch, Lady’s Bedstraw, Bristly Oxtongue, Wild Carrot, Heartsease, Oxeye Daisy, Hoary Ragwort, Wild Privet and many more.
Turtle Dove heard, Garden Warbler, Common Whitethroat, Bullfinch, Sparrowhawk,
Comma Butterfly and many Meadow Browns, Small Skipper.
Old Sutton Railway line.  Creeping Cinquefoil, Rosebay Willowherb. Green Woodpecker family group.


21st June: This wildflower has turned up in the garden whilst we were away, and after asking around, it could be salvia/sage family, or Meadow Clary, which I and Paul M thought it could be, but not usual around here.  So any ideas, please?' Sheila D. Station Road

16th June:
I have just seen a Kingfisher on Guppy's Pond - it flew out from under our balcony where it was probably perched on the shuttering. Also yesterday I saw a Red Kite in the same place exactly as the one I saw two years ago: just coming out of Wilberton towards Haddenham, above the 40 miles/hour sign. Wendy

Two turtle Doves singing Northfen Drove per Will Birkin.
10th June: Here are a couple of Bee Orchid images taken near Haddenham earlier today. Plus some images of Little Owls taken a couple of weeks ago. Simon.

9th June: A look round the droves today found two nice plants coming into bloom. 1. Hedge Woundwort. 2. Common Spotted Orchids. PM

1st June:   Aldreth Road. 2 Painted Lady butterflies and a Speckled Wood.  PM

I thought you might like to know that the Great Crested Grebes now have four babies, first seen yesterday.
And the Reed Warblers are just as noisy as always right in front of our balcony. Wendy Lanman
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