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Post Info TOPIC: Out-of-county (other wildlife)


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Out-of-county (other wildlife)


An even shorter afternoon on Shemmy Moss, Newchurch Patch today. Sunny and v.hot!

Today there were at least 12 Black Darters and 10 Four-spotted Chasers, some of the latter in cop and ovipositing too. A single male Emperor was seen. At least 4 Emerald Damselflies were on the wing today.

A new moth for the year was a Beautiful Yellow Underwing. Just 1 female Clouded Buff was seen and that was a newly emerged one that flushed and flew off into the distance. A Grass Wave was seen again today. All three moth species are Cheshire Rare/Scarce species but are specialities of my patch.

At least 8 Bog Bush Cricket nymphs were noted with very few refound after they initially jumped off heather that we disturbed them off!



-- Edited by Doc Brewster on Sunday 23rd of June 2024 05:04:37 PM

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A short afternoon session on Shemmy Moss in warm sunshine.

The first highlight was the discovery of the first 8 Black Darters of the year, all newly emerged and some very teneral showing milky wings. This is 2 weeks earlier than last year, very unexpected. Also flying were 1 Hairy Dragonfly, 10 Four-spotted Chasers and 2 Emerald Damselflies still. As well as Azure, Blue-tailed and Common Blue Damselflies.

Another great find was the first 2 male Clouded Buff moths, a Cheshire rarity and a site speciality. Looking at previous years the dates are about normal for this species, it just felt a bit early, but it's not!! Lots of (25) Crambus pascualla grass moths, as well as 4 Common Heath moths, all on Shemmy Moss.

The 2 Red-banded Sand Wasps were still in the same area of Shemmy Moss.

There were at least 5 more Green Tiger Beetles too.

Another Bog Bush Cricket (female) was found, this one a bit bigger and posed well for photos! A Common Groundhopper was also seen.

A new spider a Phylloneta impressa was seen taking a non-biting midge species in her web.

Cross-leaved Heath was photographed too!



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On Newchurch Common with wildlife watcher mate Paul Hill. Sun, cloud and warm!

A few more butterflies but not significant numbers with 5 Ringlets, 2 Speckled Woods and a Small White. No odonata reports of significance. Although still 2 Emerald Damselflies.

At least 4 Hornets visited my Hornet-Tree, perfect for Paul's photography! An Early Bumblebee nest hole was found on Shemmy Moss with the bees watched going in and out frequently. A Nephrotoma scurra cranefly was seen.

Several Crambus pascuella White-banded Grass-moths were on Shemmy Moss.

The biggest news was that over 6 Bog Bush Cricket nymphs were seen on Shemmy Moss, the first of the year.

A beautiful Golden-bloomed Grey Longhorn Beetle was found as well as 5 Green Tiger Beetles, both species on Shemmy Moss.

A Philodromus praedatus running crab spider was in oaks by Shemmy Moss.



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Risley Moss 10.00-12.00

A Four-spotted Chaser dragonfly spent most of the morning around the pool below the viewing area.

Few other dragonflies were about, although a medium sized hawker, which did not pose long enough for a proper ID,

patrolled the edge of the birch trees. Despite it being sunny and warm no butterflies were seen throughout my stay.

-- Edited by John Williams on Friday 21st of June 2024 12:01:11 AM

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Hot & Sunny, on Newchurch patch am & pm.

A Grass Snake was on Shemmy Moss as was a tiny Common Froglet, aka snake food.

Again a dearth of butterflies with Ringlet, Meadow Brown, Speckled Wood and Small White seen.

Better for odonata with the first Emerald Damselfly on Shemmy Moss making it 6 damselfly species today. A male Broad-bodied Chaser was again in the Big Pool Island Cut Meadow. A Brown Hawker was over Gull Pool. A male and female Emperor were on Shemmy Moss. A total of 7 Four-spotted Chasers were made up of 3 on Shemmy Moss and 4 on Gull Pool.

Just a few, probably 4 Grass Wave moths were seen and well worn now.

There were 2 Hornets (3 yesterday) at the 'Hornet Tree' in Gull Pool Wood. There were 2 Red-banded Sand Wasps (Ammophila sabulosa) on Shemmy Moss, one female was covering her burrow up with debris after provisioning her future larvae with paralysed caterpillars as they do! A fem Long Hoverfly was seen on Shemmy Moss. An Eristalis abusiva hoverfly was new for patch.

An Oedemera lurida flower beetle was seen.

A Common Groundhopper was found in a spider web.

A tiny (2mm) jumping spider was new for patch a Euophrys frontalis, found on Shemmy Moss. A Cucumber Spider with an egg sac was photographed by the main track between the pools.

A Cospe Snail was by Shemmy Moss.

A Rust Fungus Melampsora caprearum was on sallow leaves by the main track.

Plants recorded today were Blindeyes Poppy, Wild Chamomile, and Hedge Woundwort.

 



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On Newchurch Common am and pm, hot & sunny again.

A new mammal when a medium sized Brown Rat ran across Sandy Lane.

A new reptile species was added too with the sighting of 2 Red-eared Terrapins basking on Small Pool. These haven't been seen for a few years but were obviously lurking somewhere.

No new butterflies were seen and odonata were broadly similar with the addition of a male Emperor on Small Pool.

A Black Snail Beetle (Phosphuga atrata) was seen on the Whitegate Way. This is an interesting species which pokes it's small head into snail shells and sprays digestive juices in and then slurps up the liquid snail! Also seen was the longhorn beetle Rutpela maculata, in the Island Cut Meadow, Big Pool. The rove beetle Tasgius morsitans was on the main track near the entrance barrier.



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Another afternoon in hot sunshine on Newchurch Common!

Another Grass Snake was seen, a big female basking in the Big Pool North Meadow.

Four butterfly species, Large Skipper, Ringlet, Speckled Wood and a Brimstone as extra today.

There were 2 Brown Hawkers in two widespread locations today as well as a female Broad-bodied Chaser and a Four-spotted Chaser.

A new wasp for the year was a Field Digger Wasp (Argogorytes mystaceus) by the main track. The wonderfully named Ferruginous Bee-grabber Conopid Fly was seen in Island Cut Meadow. A Bronze Furrow Bee was in the same meadow as yesterday.

 



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Spent a pleasant afternoon with 2 other folk on Newchurch Common, sunny and hot mostly.

A Stoat was a surprise given the heat. It ran across the path in front of us as we were heading out of North Meadow towards the NE corner of Big Pool.

A few more butterflies flying but not more species! In the Big Pool Meadows 3 Large Skippers and 3 Ringlets were seen but the most abundant species was at least 7 Speckled Woods in glades and woody edges.

The first Brown Hawker was seen near Big Pool Island Cut and in the same area a beautiful blue male Broad-bodied Chaser was flying as well as a Four-spotted Chaser. A surprise as I thought that they'd finished was a Downy Emerald in the aforementioned private area. Nothing new in the damselfly line!

A new moth was Common Wave in the east meadow area on bramble.

A Hornet flew over near Big Pool Island Cut. A new bee for patch was in these meadows, the tiny (4mm long) Bronze Furrow Bee (Halictus tumulorum).  Very close by a Sand Wasp species Lindenius albilabris was seen, another new species for patch. In the same area both Helophilus hybridus and Helophilus pendulus hoverflies were seen.

A Common Froghopper was in the North Meadow and a Gorse Shieldbug was in Big Pool Island Cut Meadow on gorse.

 



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Woolston Eyes-No3 Bed

1 Brown Hawker dragonfly seen near the John Morgan hide around 6.30pm.

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Newchurch Common pm, hot & sunny.

The first 2 Ringlets of the year were seen, both in meadows by Big Pool. A Large Skipper was finally photographed. Also seen were Green-veined White and Speckled Wood.

The first Blackneck Moth was in the Big Pool North Meadow.

A Roesel's Bush Cricket Nymph was again found in the North Meadow.

A new species for patch was a Fan-bristled Robberfly (Dysmachus trigonus) east of Big Pool.



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Clockface nr St Helens

Grassy bank in front of Swinton Commercial Hire 'On main road.

Great year for the Bee Orchids here, with twenty plus well out spikes flowering nicely. The graded grasscutting seems to be much to the plants' liking.
Several Marsh Orchids out too, some seeming to be Northern Marsh type.
Less pleasing, only one Burnet moth feeding on the various wild flowers Usually there are scores . This is a terrible year for butterflies and moths, as far as I have seen.


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Another afternoon on Newchurch Common, a longer walk, mainly sun but some cloud.

A few more butterflies were seen with 3 Large Skippers, a male Meadow Brown, a Large White and 3 Speckled Woods.

A Four-spotted Chaser was the only dragonfly, the 5 common damselflies were all still on the wing.

The first adult Six-spot Burnet moth of the year was seen, in the Big Pool north meadow. Also a first was a Common White Wave in Big Pool Island Cut meadow where a Common Carpet was seen. At least 3 Celypha lacunana micromoths were seen as well as 3 Straw Dots and a Silver Y. Two Green Oak Tortrix moths were by the main track SW of Big Pool.

A German Wasp was on brambles behind Beach Peg, Big Pool. There were still 5 Hornets at the same tree as yesterday in Gull Pool Wood.

A Carabus problematicus Violet Ground Beetle NE of Big Pool was a first for 2024.

A Dryomyza anilis fly was by the track south of Big Pool.

A slightly larger Roesel's Bush Cricket nymph was in the Big Pool North Meadow

A Nursery Web Spider was seen carrying a huge egg sac in one of the nettle beds on the meadows.



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This is a reminder for me as I use these threads to compile the end of year Annual Report for my Newchurch Patch:

The mining bee from 8th April IDed as a Painted Mining Bee has had a long & detailed examination by an expert and has come back as Andrena apicata Large Sallow Mining Bee. This was by the main track bewteen the two pools and stood out as a species that I'd never seen before. This was all done from pictures hence the delay, but I refuse to kill specimens just to get an ID. This species is actually rarer than the one I thought that it was originally so that's a great result smile

A massive thanks for the work done by the expert who sent me the final ID yesterday.



-- Edited by Doc Brewster on Wednesday 12th of June 2024 10:16:30 AM

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An afternoon on Newchurch again, dull and not very warm!

A day of several highlights the first of which was my first Meadow Brown of the year, in Big Pool Island Cut meadow. The only other butterfly was Speckled Wood.

The first Shaded Broad-bar moth was in the north meadow. Also seen here were 2 Timothy Tortrix moths. A lone Nemophora degeerella longhorn moth was near the entrance barrier.

A Marmalade Hoverfly was photographed in the Big Pool SW glade.

By Gull Pool a tree exuding sap attracted 10 Hornets feeding on the sugary excretion. I managed lots of really nice phone pictures with the hornets flying round me totally unconcerned by my attention. Coincidentally I missed off that I had 2 Hornets near Big Pool on my last walk (8th June).

I had an Abax parallelepipedus beetle in Gull Pool Wood which gave me a sharp nip as I relocated it so it didn't get squashed as I lowered the log back down! An Athous haemorrhoidalis Click Beetle was by the main track. A tiny Rust Fly species (Psila species) was near the entrance barrier by the main track.

There were 2 Common Green Grasshopper nymphs in Big Pool north meadow.

The first Common Spotted Orchid was found on the NE side of Big Pool. A few Common Twayblade leaves were found but the flowering spikes were all gone. Honeysuckle was also photographed.



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Another afternoon on Newchurch, again changeable weather, sun & cloud, breezy so warm & cool too!

A Lassioglossum sp. Sweat Bee was seen as well a Sawfly Athalia Sp., both not able to be taken to species level without dissection.

A Common Green Grasshopper nymph was seen in the north meadow as well as 4 Roesel's Bush Cricket nymphs still.

A Green Shieldbug was seen along with 2 Dock Bugs, all in the north meadows.

Meadow Vetchling was a new plant for patch, in flower near north meadow and nearby a white Foxglove was found.



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Another afternoon on Newchurch but overcast and dull, not cold though.

A female Emperor dragonfly was in the Big Pool Island Cut meadow.

A new moth was found, the micromoth Lathronympha strigana, in the north meadow. A Silver-ground Carpet was in the Island Cut meadow. By the track near the entrance barrier a Green Oak Tortrix moth was new for the year.

A Grey-patched Mining Bee was seen as was a Volucella bombylans hoverfly again.

In north meadow I found 4 Roesel's Bush Cricket nymphs today and finally got a decent photo (attached) with my phone!

A Garden Snail was recorded.



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An afternoon on my Newchurch Patch, all by Big Pool. Warm when sunny and cool when cloudy.

A new butterfly for the year was a major highlight with 2 Large Skippers seen in the north meadow Just a  Red Admiral and a Speckled Wood to add for all the butterflies today.

Another immature male Emperor dragonfly was seen, this time in north meadow where a male Broad-bodied Chaser whizzed past too. The usual damsels were seen.

Another 6-Spot Burnet Moth caterpillar was found, again in north meadow. Also here were 3 Straw Dots, 2 Silver Ys and 7 Celypha lacunana moths. Up to 6 Cinnabar moths were flushed as I walked through the meadows.

A difficult to ID hoverfly was tentatively IDed as Parhelophilus versicolor, new for the year, in Island Cut meadow. All other hoverflies were all ones seen before and included Sericomyia silentis, Helophilus pendulus, Volucella pellucens, Eristalis pertinax, Eristalis nemorum, Cheilosia illustrata and Myathropa florea.

A painstaking searched revealed 5 Roesel's Bush Cricket nymphs (tiny at 2mm long) in north meadow as well as a Meadow Grasshopper nymph, the latter new for the year.

Bittersweet was in flower right by the pool near Island Cut.

 

 



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An afternoon on my Newchurch Patch, sun but a stiff breeze so 'cold' at times and 'warm' in sheltered areas!!

A Bank Vole ran across the path by Shemmy Moss.

There were 2 Common Lizards on Shemmy Moss.

Still a dearth of butterflies with just a male Brimstone and 2 Speckled Woods seen in the Big Pool meadows.

The five common damselflies were seen but no significant counts. Just 2 Four-spotted Chasers on Shemmy Moss.

On Shemmy Moss 4 Grass Waves were noted. A micromoth species noted previously was seen again with 2 Celypha lacunana seen, 1 on Shemmy Moss and 1 on Big Pool meadows.

A Hornet was photographed in Gull Pool Wood as was a Common Wasp.

A Common Dronefly on Shemmy Moss was interesting as this has been quite scarce this year.

The flower Trailing Tormentil (or a hybrid) was by Shemmy Moss, further investigation is needed to nail its ID for certain!



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Spent time am and pm today on Newchurch and the mosses. Very sunny, very warm!

Again not many butterflies but again 9 species of odonata, but a slightly different mix. A male Downy Emerald was perched up in the private area. At least 5 Four-spotted Chasers were seen, 4 on Newchurch meadows and 1 on the mosses, as well as 2 Broad-bodied Chasers, 1 on Newchurch. meadows and 1 in the Big Pool SW corner glade. A Hairy Dragonfly was by Shemmy Moss. The five common damselflies were seen, with at least 75 Azure Damselflies, 70 Common Blue Damselflies and 55 Large Red Damselflies.

A Yellow Shell Moth was in the Big Pool North Meadow as well as 3 Silver Y moths and 5 Cinnabars.

A Sericomyia silentis hoverfly was by Gull Pool and a Volucella bombylans hoverfly was north of Big Pool. up to 12 Eristalis nemorum hoverflies were seen, 4 by Shemmy Moss and a further 8 by Finch Hedge.

One of the highlights of the day was a tiny Roesel's Bush Cricket nymph in the meadow where I had them last year.

Another highlight was the amazing looking Phasia hemiptera fly found by Shemmy Moss. Equally weird looking at least 6 Tachina fera flies were near finch hedge on umbellifers.

Dog Rose and Dotted Loosestrife were new plants officially identified today!



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A morning walk on my Newchurch Patch with fellow naturalist Paul Hill was full of species and warm and sunny, a cracker.

A small Grass Snake was again seen and with my help Paul managed photos with his DSLR set-up before it headed off into the vegetation. It needed two of us so no pics if we'd have both tried and with him having the better camera set up I was happy to be the helper!

The biggest news was that a patch speciality moth was out for the first time this year on Shemmy Moss, with at least 6 Grass Waves seen. Another first for the year were 5 Yellow-barred Longhorn Moths dancing in a sunny spot by Shemmy Moss.

Not surprisingly it was a good hoverfly day with expert Paul along. New species for the year were Volucella pellucens, Cheilosia illustrata and Pipizella viduata, all by Shemmy Moss, and Chrysogaster solstitialis and Eristalis nemorum by Finch Hedge.

A stunning Golden-bloomed Grey Longhorn Beetle was by Shemmy Moss. In contrast to this large beetle one of the smallest longhorn species Grammoptera ruficornis was found mating on umbellifers near Finch Hedge. The Soldier Beetle Cantharus livida was on the edge of Gull Pool Wood. Two species seen before were photographed, a Garden Chafer and an Athous haemorrhoidalis Click Beetle, both on Shemmy Moss.

A Panzer's Nomad Bee was by Shemmy Moss and IDed as a possible. A Sweat Bee species could not be IDed in any greater detail and left as a species agg. A Forest Cuckoo Bumblebee Bombus sylestris was on brambles on Shemmy Moss.

Again huge numbers of Scorpion Flies were seen and detailed genital capsule examination of males confirmed as always that they were Panorpa communis, the species I always find here. A new fly for patch was the minute Dance Fly Rhamphomyia nigripennis, by Finch Hedge on an umbellifer. A new Tachinid Fly Thelaira nigripes was by Shemmy Moss. The larval leafmines of the fly Phytomyza spondylii were on hogweed leaves by the track near Finch Hedge. The stiletto fly Thereva nobilitata was seen again, by the main track between the Newchurch Pools.

Three spiders seen were all repeat sightings but it was especially nice to refind the Gorse Orb-Weaver Agalentea redii on Shemmy Moss. Also seen on Shemmy Moss were Cucumber Spider and Long-jawed Orb-Weaver (prob. Tetragnatha montana).

 



-- Edited by Doc Brewster on Saturday 1st of June 2024 05:06:51 PM

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Looking at the forecast I decided on a morning visit to my Newchurch Patch, concentrating mainly on the mosslands area. Sunny and warm for my troubles!

A Grass Snake and 3 Common Lizards were seen, all basking as the temperature increased with the sunshine. A Common Frog was in Gull Pool Wood.

Over Gull Pool, best viewed from the bench on the Whitegate Way, 2 Downy Emeralds were seen in flight.

A micromoth previously seen elsewhere, Orthotaenia undulana, was in Gull Pool Wood.

Two good hoverflies were seen. First a lifer on Shemmy Moss, a male Eristalinus sepulchralis. Also on the edge of Gull Pool Wood my first Eupodes corollae of the year was seen.

A hatch of at least 4 Black-headed Cardinal Beetles was seen by the bench on the Whitegate Way overlooking Gull Pool.

A new Horsefly, Hybomitra bimaculata, was by Shemmy Moss. Another Tenthredo temula sawfly was found, this time on Shemmy Moss. The leafmine of the larva of the fly Phytomyza lappae was on burdock near the entrance barrier.

A cracking Leopard Slug was under a log in Gull Pool Wood.

 

 



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An afternoon on my Newchurch Patch again paid off as the sun came out and it was warm, not exactly as per the forecast thank goodness.

The best butterfly day for ages with Red Admiral, Speckled Wood, Brimstone, Large White and Green-veined White all seen by Big Pool. There were 3 Silver Y and 3 Cinnabar moths on the wing here too. A Timothy Tortrix was in the north Big Pool meadow. The best find was a Six-spot Burnet caterpillar in the north meadow.

It was the best odonata day of the year for number of species with 9 species seen. There were 2 Downy Emeralds in the private area and near Big Pool were a newly emerged male Emperor and a male Hairy Dragonfly. More usual for this year were 6(1m) Broad-bodied Chasers and 3 Four-spotted Chasers in the meadows. Also seen were good numbers of Common Blue Damselflies and Large Red-eyed Damselflies, and small numbers of Blue-tailed Damselflies and Azure Damselflies.

The hoverfly Parhelophilus frutetorum was added for the year, in vegetation near Big Pool.



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Weather rubbish again, an afternoon on my Newchurch Patch but on the mosslands this time, more in hope than expectation again!

One Common Lizard was seen.

A few odonata, namely 2 Four-spotted Chasers, 2 Large Red Damselflies, 3 Blue-tailed Damselflies, 2 Azure Damselflies and 5 Common Blue Damselflies.

Much of the same species as usual, but Green Tiger beetles were nice to see still.

Spider-wise 2 Tetragnatha extensa were seen as well as my first Nursery Web Spider of the year on the mosses, with a Philodromus sp. and a Cucumber Spider here too.



-- Edited by Doc Brewster on Wednesday 29th of May 2024 10:07:59 PM

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A morning on my Newchurch Patch, all in the Big Pool area, sun, rain, the kitchen sink.................

A large female Grass Snake was seen and photographed basking in nettles near where I had a similar looking individual on 25th May.

A male Broad-bodied Chaser and 2 male Four-spotted Chasers were seen. Numbers of damselflies were very high with 340 Common Blues, 75 Blue-taileds, 45 Large Red-eyeds and 11 Azures.

A totally new moth was seen in the shape of 3 Dusky Marbles (Orthotaenia undulana), a distinctive micromoth. Also new, but just for the year, was Straw Dot. Another Cinnabar Moth was seen.

New for the year were 3 Batman Hoverflies (Myathropa florea). Also on the wing at least 7 Footballer Hoverflies (Helophilus pendulus).

A new stiletto fly was found, Thereva nobilitata. Also noted were at least 75 Scorpion Flies (Panorpa communis) and another Tenthredo mesomela sawfly. Another Cantharis nigricans soldier beetle was noted. Of the 2 Harlequin Ladybirds seen one had a suspected Hesperomyces harmoniae fungal infection.

Lesser Trefoil was noted for the first time and Common Vetch was photographed.

Jelly Ear Fungus was in profusion on dead trees in a small woodland where Wolf's Milk Slime Mould was also found.





-- Edited by Doc Brewster on Monday 27th of May 2024 10:30:49 PM

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Otter seen on Mersey near Fiddlers Ferry today an 26/04/2024



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Another morning on my Newchurch Common patch, dull at times, then sunny and warm, changeable is the best description.

Another Grass Snake was seen, in a third location this year, a large one, probably female, basking under a stand of gorse.

A couple of butterflies were seen including another Red Admiral.

A new dragonfly was added with an immature male Emperor seen east of Big Pool. Also here were 2(m+f) Broad-bodied Chasers. A male Downy Emerald was again in the private area. The five usual damselflies were recorded. Of note was a good count of at least 20 Large Red-eyed Damselflies.

Early Bumblebee was seen near Big Pool as were 2 Green Dock Beetles. A new sawfly was by Finch Hedge, Tenthredo temula (also known as the Small Yellow-girdled Tenthredo). Also here were 9 Empis tessellata dagger flies.

A Long-jawed Orb-weaver Spider (prob Tetragnatha montana) was seen east of Big Pool dispatching a Common Blue Damselfly which it had caught in its web, another damsel already waiting for it to consume later that it had caught earlier, rich pickings indeed!

Plants identified were Gipsywort, not yet in flower, and the invasive Japanese Rose which was flowering allowing positive ID.

 



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Morning on Newchurch Common, warm & sunny.

A small Grass Snake was on Shemmy Moss, just my second of the year.

A first odonatan of the year in the shape of a male Banded Demoiselle on Shemmy Moss, my first ever in this location. Another highlight were 9 Downy Emeralds, 8 flying over Gull Pool with one found emerging in rushes at the edge of e pool, a first for me to see an actual emergence. Not a single Downy was seen on Shemmy Moss where folk have been visiting to photograph them recently. At least 26 Four-spotted Chasers were seen, 22 on Shemmy Moss with a further 4 over Gull Pool. A few on Shemmy Moss were ovipositing, There was a huge count of 80 Azure Damselflies on Shemmy Moss, most ovipositing. Good numbers of other Damselflies included c.24 Large Red Damselflies, many in copulo, and smaller numbers of Common Blue Damselflies, just 4 Blue-tailed Damselflies on Newchurch Common and 1 Large Red-eyed Damselfly on Gull Pool.

Out on Shemmy Moss a big count of 44 Heath Streak (Pleurota bicostella) moths was made. Also seen were 6 Silver Y moths, a relatively big influx of this migrant.

A hatch meant that 12 Garden Chafers were seen. Another new beetle was my second soldier of the year, with 2 Cantharis rustica noted. Plenty of Green Tiger Beetles today on Shemmy Moss including a mating pair, photographed, a first for me to capture this behaviour in this hard to approach species!

Tree Bumblebee was in the Big Pool SW corner glade on Comfrey flowers.

Another Tenthredo mesomela sawfly was found, this time on Shemmy Moss.

Prickly Sow Thistle was in flower.



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Another morning visit but this time overcast but still warm.

It was warm enough to see another Red Admiral along with a few of the other regular butterflies.

An estimated 5 Broad-bodied Chasers included one blue male.

A new micromoth was found on the main track by Finch Hedge, a tortrix known as the Thistle Root-borer (Epiblema scutulana). Cinnabar and Silver Y moths were seen again.

The soldier beetle Cantharis nigricans was also near Finch Hedge. Repeat sightings of 2-Spot Ladybird, 14-Spot Ladybird and Harlequin Ladybird included the last two species mating. A sawfly Tenthredo mesomela was in the Big Pool east meadow,



-- Edited by Doc Brewster on Monday 20th of May 2024 09:47:53 PM

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Morning in the warm sunshine at Newchurch Common, all Big Pool area.

The best sighting of the day was a large female Grass Snake basking and then slithering off in a secluded gorse glade north of Big Pool, my first of the year.

A new butterfly for the year was added today, a Red Admiral in the SW corner glade by Big Pool. Other butterflies were Speckled Wood, Small White, Green-veined White, Orange-tip and 3(1m) Brimstones.

The usual dragonflies were seen, 6(2 blue male) Broad-bodied Chasers, 2 Four-spotted Chasers and the same Downy Emerald in a private area. The only damselflies seen were Common Blue, Azure, Large Red-eyed and Blue-tailed.

A good haul of moths with another 3 Silver Y moths seen as well as numerous Brown Silver-lines. New moth species added were a nice Sandy Carpet and a Cinnabar. Another new species was Timothy Tortrix, and as with all the other moths this was in the north meadow above Big Pool.

A Cockchafer Beetle looked huge in flight north of Big Pool. Another new addition was Swollen-thighed Beetle, a male and female being seen. The final new beetle species was a smart Red-headed Cardinal Beetle, near the NE corner of Big Pool.

A Tachina fera fly was photographed by the main track after I am sure that I glimpsed one the other day close by. A Bramble Sawfly was also seen and was new for the year. Finally a probable Elder Sawfly (Macrophya alboannulata) was seen and photograhed. The ID between it and an identical species is based on the fact that my patch is full of elder but has no valerian which is the other species' larval foodplant!

The plants Field Pansy and Wall Speedwell were both in flower and were recorded for the first time in 2024.



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Onto Newchurch Common am today and again warm & sunny and again I was in Big Pool Meadows.

In Big Pool Island Cut hundreds of tadpoles, probably Common Toad given the previous strings of Toadspawn here, were gasping at the surface for air in the hot conditions and it didn't help that the water surface was covered in feathery seed heads and plant pollen forming a type of barrier here.

Same mix of butterflies and odonata as recently but a couple of noteworthy records. Today I had 6 Broad-bodied Chasers including one turning blue from the tail-end up, my first 'blue' male of the season rather than an immature specimen. Also seen were 2 Four-spotted Chasers and the same Downy Emerald as yesterday.

A great addition to my yearlist was a queen Hornet, I got pretty close to this huge beast but just failed to get a picture, she flew off ignoring me! Another addition was the Narcissus Bulb Fly (Merodon equestris), a bumblebee-mimic hoverfly.

A probable Tetragnatha montana Long-jawed Orb-weaver Spider was photographed and examined closely to give the most probable ID.

 



-- Edited by Doc Brewster on Saturday 18th of May 2024 06:15:55 PM

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A very short afternoon stroll in the Big Pool area of Newchurch Common. Sunny and hot! The length of the walk and its limited scope probably reduced species seen.

Butterflies seen were Brimstone, Large White, Small White, Green-veined White and Orange-tip.

At least 2 Broad-bodied Chasers showed very well as well as a Four-spotted Chaser. I did just have time to check another area for a speciality here and saw 1 Downy Emerald for my efforts! Four damselfly specs were seen, and in good numbers for one! At least 520 Common Blue Damselflies were seen plus 1 Azure Damselfly, 1 Large Red Damselfly and 10 Blue-tailed Damselflies!

 A probable Pardosa armentata Wolf Spider was seen carrying an egg sac, but these are hard to ID to species in the field.

My first White Campion plants were in flower. The Nettle Rust fungus Puccinia urticata was seen.



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Full of cold so not out for 2 days but a short walk on my Newchurch Patch around Big Pool was in order today, early pm with warm weather, a wee glimpse of sun but a smattering of rain too.

Just 4 butterfly species, Large White, Small White, Green-veined White and Brimstone.

Another good odonata day with my first emerging 8 Large Red-eyed Damselflies, at this stage almost unrecognisable from the final adults but weirdly obvious in flight! Also 2 fem/imm Broad-bodied Chasers, this time settling and allowing me to get photos. Also seen were 44 Blue-tailed Damselflies, my max. count so far this year for the species, plus 250 Common Blue Damselflies.

A cracking Wasp Beetle was found near Big Pool, always a spectacular species to photograph (pic attached)

A Cucumber Spider (Araniella cucurbitina) was found on an oak, and the difficult ID clinched by looking at its short, fat, hairy legs (as Eric would say!!). The lack of spines on one section of its tibia meaning it was A.cucurbitina for certain! The Long-jawed Orb-weaver Tetragnatha extensa was again seen.





-- Edited by Doc Brewster on Thursday 16th of May 2024 08:55:51 AM

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Had a week of warm, sunny weather so I've been out on my Newchurch Patch daily, mainly on the mosslands as it's the warm weather hotspot.

A Common Lizard (11th) was seen on Shemmy Moss, hard to see at present as they are supercharged with the heat!

Green Hairstreaks are just hanging on with a single seen twice on Shemmy Moss, The last one was on Sunday 12th May, wonder whether that will be my last?! All other species were as expected.

A Really good period for odonata in particular. My first Broad-bodied Chaser (11th) appeared on the mosslands, not usually a hotspot for them. Not new but a nice male Hairy Dragonfly (10th) was quartering the mossland pools. An amazing count of 12 Downy Emeralds (13th) was made on Shemmy Moss, spread across several locations, my co-patch worker and I have never seen them in such good numbers. At last the emergences are being seen with odonata out over the pools on Shemmy Moss, attracting the Hobbies in to hunt them, 10 Four-spotted Chasers (10th) being noted on the best day. Damselflies were also doing well with 55 Azure Damselflies (13th) seen alongside the north edge of Shemmy Moss.

A Cheshire scarce moth was found on Shemmy Moss, Pleurota bicostella (10th), a micromoth and a heather specialist hence its scarity. The next day a moth seen on Newchurch was also seen on Shemmy Moss, but this time photographed, another county scarcity it was Small Yellow Underwing (11th). The final moth of no was one I've had before Cydia ulicetana (12th) also known as the Gorse Piercer, which the mosses are full of!

A parasitic braconid wasp was identifield from a previous walk, it being Zele deceptor (7th), seen in the Big Pool east meadow. Similar beetles to before but one nice new addition was a Malachite Beetle (Malachius bipustulatus (12th)). Also a stunning purple form of Plateumaris sericea (12th) was found rather than the usual bronzy-red form. A strikingly patterned caddisfly Limnephilus elegans (11th) was a new species for me.

The first orthopteran was a Common Ground Hopper (12th) on Shemmy Moss, roll on grasshopper and 'cricket' season!

Another new spider was added, one I've seen in past years though, a large female Furrow Orb-weaver (10th) out on Shemmy Moss.

Plants seen included swathes of Soft-brome grass bursting with seeds along the track up between the Nursery field and Shemmy Moss.

 



-- Edited by Doc Brewster on Tuesday 14th of May 2024 08:21:23 PM

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On Newchurch Patch in the morning with a guest who wanted a guided tour biggrin Warm but sunny intervals rather than constant sunshine but we found what he came for so he left happy

Amongst the usual butterflies a Large White lingered long enough for a photo.

His target eventually performed well with at least 5 Downy Emeralds see, including a mating pair in cop. Even better for me was a fem/imm Hairy Dragonfly on Shemmy Moss which was new for this year. Also new was my first Azure Damselfly, close to the Hairy spot. A few Common Blue Damselflies were also on Shemmy Moss as well as 20+Large Red Damselflies.

It was quite a beetle-y day with the first Minator and Black-headed Cardinal Beetles found on Shemmy Moss. Another first was a 10-Spot Ladybird on the mosses along with Harlequin Ladybirds of the forms succinea and conspicua, 14-Spot Ladybirds and 7-Spot Ladybirds.

Most other species were as before but nice to show them to Richard, my guest smile



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An afternoon on my Newchurch patch, around Big Pool in sweltering sunshine.

A new butterfly for the year was added, namely a single Large White. Five other common species were seen.

A single Blue-tailed Damselfly and 2 Large Red Damselflies were seen but these were eclipsed by a rough estimate of 420 Common Blue Damselflies. The latter were coming up at my feet on every step through the meadows that I took.

A new moth, Small Yellow Underwing, was seen and chased in the north meadows but got away before I could grab a photo, a shame as I've never seen one anywhere before. The first Silver Y of the year was in the same meadows. At least 4 Common Carpets were seen, in the Big Pool Island Cut meadow. Several micromoths were flying, many chased by Common Blue Damselflies, and I managed pictures of two of these, both new for patch. One very distinctive species was Grapholita lunulana, in the north meadows, whilst a much more difficult beast was in the Big Pool Island Cut Meadow and I have plumped for Glyphipterix fuscoviridella but will ask the top micro guys what they think! Two caterpillars were found, the first in Big Pool Island Cut Meadow on bramble was a Winter Moth larva. The second near the North Meadows was a Snout Moth larva on its foodplant nettles. Both were new for patch.

A new hoverfly for the year was seen today Syrphus torvus, on an oak between the meadows. At least 4 Chocolate Mining Bees (Andrena scotica) were in the North Meadows, new for the year. The sawfly Macrophya montana was close by between the meadows. The sawfly Tenthredo livida was seen again, this time in the North Meadows

My first 2-spot Ladybird of 2024 was by the main track by Finch Hedge. At least 20 x 14-spot Ladybirds were seen today. Another new species was my first Athous haemorrhoidalis click beetle, a common patch species in previous years. In the nettle beds 30 Red-and-Black Froghoppers were seen. At least 9 Dock Bugs were seen.

The Scorpion Fly Panorpa germanica was seen in Big Pool Island Cut Meadow. The colourful Cranefly Tipula lunata was nearby.

The Wolf Spider Pardosa armentata was in the nettle beds by Big Pool Island Cut.

 



-- Edited by Doc Brewster on Tuesday 7th of May 2024 08:53:35 PM

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An early morning and an afternoon walk on Newchurch Common.

A Stoat was seen on Shemmy Moss heading off into cover from one of the paths through the birch scrub.

A single Green Hairstreak was on Shemmy Moss but no new butterfly species were seen.

My first Blue-tailed Damselfly was seen on Shemmy Moss but not photographed, as well as a 2 Common Blue Damselflies, one of which I did get a picture of this time! Another 2 Four-spotted Chasers were seen as well as 2 Downy Emeralds.

The small Click Beetle Agriotes pallidulus was on the mosses and was new. A repeat record was the beetle Plateumaris sericea.

The Mirid Bug Harpocera thoracica was a new species, on the edge of Shemmy Moss.

A Macrophya sp. Sawfly was also new.

A new running crab spider Philodromus cespitum was on Shemmy Moss as was a repeat sighting of the harvestman Rilaena triangularis.

Hairy Snail was photographed again by Shemmy Moss.

The first Silverweed flowers were found today.





-- Edited by Doc Brewster on Tuesday 7th of May 2024 11:17:45 AM

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With fewer things to report I have combined the last 2 days walks.

The usual butterflies were seen with 2 Small Whites being the best since these have been the scarcest of the usual six!

Today (5th) I had the first 6 Four-spotted Chaser dragonflies, many having just emerged and being in a teneral state. My star dragonflies are now flying more than perching but 2 Downy Emeralds were still seen today.

A Common Carpet moth was the first of that species this year for me (5th).

A Tetragnatha montana long-jawed orb-weaver spider (4th) was on Shemmy Moss as was the wolf spider Trochosa terricola (5th).

Brown-lipped Snail was seen in nettle beds by Shemmy Moss, the first record this year (4th).

The first Common Cotton-grass is now out to add to the swathes of Hares's-tail Cotton-grass.



-- Edited by Doc Brewster on Sunday 5th of May 2024 11:03:22 PM

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A morning in the sun on Newchurch again today. All sightings were on Shemmy Moss unless otherwise stated.

A Common Lizard was seen basking.

Again no new butterflies but plenty of the wing.

A single Downy Emerald was again seen, in flight only today. Lots of Large Red Damselflies as usual too.

A new beetle for the year was Byturus ochraceus in abundance on buttercups and dandelions near Gull Pool by the Whitegate Way. Several Green Tiger Beetles were showing well again.

The best invertebrate find was a new spider species for patch and one that may be only the 4th record for Cheshire (according to the UK Spider Site), namely Agalentea redii, a reasonable sized, very hairy orb-weaver.

The large non-biting midge Chironomus plumosus was seen and recorded for the first time in 2024. Silky Ants (Formica fusca) were on Shemmy Moss in good numbers.

Hairy Snail was recorded in the NW corner glade by Big Pool.



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A 5.30-7am visit and an afternoon visit to Newchurch Common today.

No new butterflies but 5 species seen. Today 1 Downy Emerald was seen in a totally different area of Shemmy Moss a long way from yesterdays two. Amazingly a new damselfly was recorded in the shape of a teneral Common Blue Damselfly, again on Shemmy Moss where 50+ Large Red Damselflies were seen.

The beetle Plateumaris sericea was recorded on Shemmy Moss. Bugs were well represented with the spectacular red and black Cinnamon Bug on Shemmy along with 82 Hairy Shieldbugs in one smallish area on dandelion flowers, seedheads, stems and leaves! Also here were 6 Dock Bugs.

A minute Frit Fly (that's the correct spelling!) was on a speedwell flower and could only be taken down to family, a Chlorops species.

Two Kentish Snails were on the mosses too.

Flowering pants included Common Field Speedwell, Germander Speedwell, Shining Cranesbill, Field Forget-me-Not, and Dove's-foot Cranesbill.



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Another morning stroll on Newchurch Common, warm and sunny intervals, followed by a return pm when the sun came out and it was pretty warm!

A day of six butterfly species again, the majority on Shemmy Moss. Nothing new but good numbers with 12 Green-veined Whites, 8m Orange-tips, 6 Peacocks, 4 Commas, a male Brimstone and a Speckled Wood.

The headline invertebrates were 2 Downy Emerald dragonflies, both on Shemmy Moss. One showed exceptionally well, initially landing briefly on my and the right next to me as I sat watching. Later I was even able to coax it onto my finger to help it warm up before it flew off - magical! Also seen were 60 Large Red Damselflies in the same area.

After several days with none, today saw 2 Scarlet Tiger Caterpillars in the SW corner glade on Big Pool.

Two new hoverfly species were added on Shemmy Moss, the nationally declining Sericomyia lappona (2), and Dasysyrphus tricinctus (2). Also seen was a female Epistrophe eligans on Newchurch Common, previously only males had been seen.

Flavous Nomad Bees were abundant on Shemmy Moss, with at least 12 seen.

A tiny Woundwort Shieldbug was a new species for patch ever, on the edge of Shemmy Moss. Also new was the weevil Phyllobius argentatus, again on Shemmy Moss.

The plant Wood Sage was recorded by the Whitegate Way near the Gull Pool bench.



-- Edited by Doc Brewster on Tuesday 30th of April 2024 09:34:12 PM

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A morning on Newchurch again, cold, windy and totally un-spring-like!

But, a hoverfly only seen once before this year, Epistrophe eligans, was seen near Small Pool.

Species seen before but photographed again were St.Mark's Fly, Alder Leaf Beetle and Common Carder Bee. But slim picking in the cool conditions.

A largish new patch of Wood-sorrel was found near Small Pool, encouraging as the old stronghold is now choked with bramble and other ground cover plants. Huge swathes of Wood Forget-me-Not were seen, again near Small Pool. The single Large-leaved Avens plant now has c.3 flowers whereas the hundreds of Wood Avens plants across the patch are all in pre-flowering stage.



-- Edited by Doc Brewster on Monday 29th of April 2024 09:35:11 PM

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Newchurch am, dull and dry. A good invertebrate day with a really nice plant 'rediscovery'!

The distinctive white-antennae tipped Sawfly Tenthredo livida was near the main track towards the SW corner of Big Pool.

A Green Dock Beetle was near Big Pool Island Cut in a nettle bed. Also in the same area Green Nettle Weevil (Phyllobius pomaceus), a Broad-nosed Weevil Tanymecus palliatus, and Red-and-Black Froghopper (Cercopis vulnerata), were found. Pterostichus niger, a ground beetle was in woodland south of Big Pool.

White-legged Snake Millipede (Tachypodoiulus niger) was also in woodland south of Big Pool.

Cucumber Orb Spider (Araniella cucurbitina), a Crab Spider Xysticus cristatus, and Spring Harvestman (Rilaena triangularis) were all found in the nettle bed near Big Pool Island Cut.

Old dessicated Jelly Ear Fungus was found in a small area of woodland near Big Pool Island Cut.

A once common, but noteworthy plant, that was lost due to flooding was re-found not far from its previous site in the bigger woodland near Big Pool Island Cut, namely the 'lesser' Orchid Common Twayblade. About 20 plants were found and so far these are only just emerging but showing signs of the flower spikes already in some specimens.



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Newchurch am, dull and cool.

Still 2 Large Red Damselflies even in cool weather.

Wood Sorrel was in flower near Small Pool and Common Dog Violets were found by the path on the extreme west edge of Gull Pool Woods.



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A Newchurch Common walk am in the sun but still quite cool after a frost last night.

On Shemmy Moss 2 Green Hairstreaks were seen as well as 4 Peacocks.

The first Hairy Shieldbug of the year was near Big Pool Island Cut. Another 2 Green Tiger Beetles were on Shemmy Moss. An Ashy Mining Bee was on Shemmy Moss and was the most unusual amongst all the commoner bee species seen, and was on Shemmy Moss.

The Large-leaved Avens on Shemmy Moss was examined closely and we are 99% certain that the ID is correct. To help in this we also found huge swathes of Wood Avens, in a more wooded situation, along the Whitegate Way opposite Gull Pool and it did look significantly different. Also seen was Greater Celandine on Novia Scotia Lane.



-- Edited by Doc Brewster on Friday 26th of April 2024 05:53:57 PM

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Newchurch Common Patch am in the warm sunshine.

A good butterfly day with six species on the wing. I had my first Holly Blue, a female on Shemmy Moss where 1 Green Hairstreak was seen. Another patch first for the year were 2 Green-veined Whites on Shemmy Moss. Also here were 2(1m) Orange-tips, 2m Brimstones, and a Peacock.

A total of 31 Large Red Damselflies were seen, 29 on Shemmy Moss and 2 on Newchurch Common itself.

A new moth for 2024 was 1 Brown Silver-line on Shemmy Moss, a very early record. Also on Shemmy Moss were 20 Green Longhorn moths in dance display and the top of a silver birch.

All bees recorded were as before but included a nice Grey-patched Mining Bee. The hoverfly Dasysyrphus albostriatus was recorded again. A new fly species was the Dancefly Empis tessellata on Newchurch Common in the NW glade by Big Pool.

A 14-spot Ladybird was on Shemmy Moss, the first away from Newchurch Common proper. A Green Tiger Beetle was watched hunting and devouring ants on Shemmy Moss.

A nice patch of Sulphur Tuft fungus was in Gull Pool Wood.

Recorded for the first time this year were Pendulous Sedge and Cuckoo Flower.



-- Edited by Doc Brewster on Thursday 25th of April 2024 02:17:13 PM

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A morning walk on Newchurch Common in sunny but cool conditions.

Another Large Red Damselfly was on Shemmy Moss.

Just 2 Common Heath Moths were seen on Shemmy Moss.

A new bee Vestal Cuckoo Bee (Bombus vestalis) was on Shemmy Moss with a striking tri-coloured tail-end. Another new bee for the year was Ashy Mining Bee (Andrena cineraria) again by Shemmy Moss and also on dandelions. Other bees seen were Early Bumblebee, Buff-tailed Bumblebee and Orange-tailed Mining Bee.

The hoverfly Leucozona lucorum was again photographed. Also seen again were Dock Bug and Green Shieldbug.
 
Large-leaved Avens was seen and IDed by Shemmy Moss but on checking when home it is a rare invasive plant from the USA and would be a first for the region. This means further ID checks will be done! Also in flower on the mosses were Doves-foot Crane's-bill and Common Stork's-bill (although I'd have rather seen a Crane and a Stork!!).


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Another afternoon walk, in the Big Pool area only. Sunny and warm.

The first Speckled Wood of the year was in the NW corner of Big Pool. A female Orange-tip and a Peacock were east of Big Pool in the meadows. Today 2 Scarlet Tiger caterpillars were found. In a nettle patch near the NW corner of Big Pool at least 20 Green Longhorn Moths danced in display in the sunshine.

A single Large Red Damselfly was by the parking area.

A Pine Ladybird was a great find by the main track as was the first Green Nettle Weevil. Three Shieldbugs were found, a Gorse Shieldbug by the main track, a Dock Bug in the NW corner glade and a Green Shieldbug east of Big Pool in the meadows. An Oulema melanopus beetle was again by the track between the pools.

Lots of (at least 15) Gwynne's Mining Bees were at a newly found 'colony' today with at least 5 Flavous Nomad Bees close by, all near the NW corner glade again.

The first 2 St.Mark's Flies were seen mating by the main track.

A Tetragnatha extensa spider was in the NW corner glade.

There were 3 White-lipped Snails on the nettles, the first of the year.

Nettle Rust was found by the main track and Wolf's Milk Slime Mould was near the Pine Belt on a tree stump. A Broom was in flower in the Big Pool north meadow.



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An afternoon visit to Newchurch but only to the NW corner of Big Pool for inverts.

I had 1 Large Red Damselfly, recorded for Newchurch Common rather than Shemmy Moss (like on 17th) so a different data submission for the County Recorder.

One of the main reasons for going was to check my large patch of Alkanet and Comfrey and it proved successful as I found 5 Scarlet Tiger caterpillars. I also found another Green Longhorn moth, this one to be recorded for Newchurch Common as well.

A few other inverts were photographed that were new for the year, all in the NW corner area again. These were the Stonefly Nemoura cinerea, the Dungfly Scathophaga inquinata and the Common Flowerbug (Anthocoris nemorum).

The first Creeping Buttercup was photographed as well as the first Common Comfrey, the former in flower, the latter not yet.

The fungus Pale Bramble Rust (Kuehneola uredinis) was also found for the first time.



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An early morning on my Newchurch patch given a sunny forecast again. It was sunny, warm in sheltered spots but a brisk cool wind blew too.

Only one species of butterfly, 2 Green Hairstreaks, both sluggish in the cold and one using my hand to warm up!

A successful day given that one target was to add my first odonata, and I did, finding 4 Large Red Damselflies on the edge of Shemmy Moss.

A new moth was also added, I saw 3 Green Longhorns (Adela reaumurella). Also on the wing were 3 Common Heath Moths.

Hoverflies were as usual with at least one Dasysyrphus albostriatus and several Syrphus ribesii the best.

A White-tailed Bumblebee was photographed for the first time this year, on Shemmy Moss. At least 8 Common Carder Bees were on the Yellow Archangel flowers by Shemmy Moss.

Honesty was in flower, a garden escape but a pollen source in April. Hare's-tail Cotton Grass is everywhere on Shemmy Moss but no other species yet.



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Another late morning on Newchurch Common and despite it being overcast the warmth helped make it a good invert day.

The headline species was a patch lifer moth in the form of a well grown Scarlet Tiger caterpillar, found on nettles at the SW corner of Big Pool. This was, up until last year's glut of records, a Cheshire rarity and is well away from the county stronghold of the south Wirral.

Two new hoverflies for the year were Epistrophe eligans and White-footed Hoverfly (Platycheirus albimanus), both on the west side of Big Pool. A great number now of Helophilus pendulus in the same area.

A new beetle was on the main track between Big Pool and the former Leek Field, namely Oulema melanopus. At least 3 Alder Flies were seen by Big Pool, another new for year species. Green Dock Beetle and 14-spot Ladybird were recorded again whilst an estimated 120 7-Spot Ladybirds were seen including mating pairs. Two Common Green Sheldbugs were also by the main track, between the two pools.

A Gwynne's Mining Bee was a nice find, only the second this year here.

A new cranefly Tipula oleracea was west of Big Pool too, and NW of Big Pool another new fly for the year Eudasyphora cyanella was found.

A new spider was Linyphia hortensis whilst another 2 Nursery Web Spiders were seen.

Red Campion, Hawthorn and Garden Star-of-Bethlehem were all seen in flower for the first time, the latter is an invasive garden escape but a useful pollen plant.



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