A set of Lifetime Species Lists for some of the wildlife I have seen and the nature reserves I have visited. As the Chinese Proverb says - "The beginning of wisdom is to call things by their proper names".
Thanks for stopping by! Would you like a cup of tea or coffee? And please, sit for a spell. If you enjoy my posts, please feel free to follow me or subscribe to my blog. This is a word verification free, family friendly blog, so everything I share here is for all ages. I am a happily married man in my late sixties who lives on the Wirral peninsula, near Liverpool, in the UK.
I'm a blogger - and nowadays that seems to be my main occupation. Rambles from My Chair is my main blog. I’m a retired local government executive - now studying how to survive a neurological disorder that gives me various problems but, hopefully, a whole new outlook on life and an increased sense of humour and perspective. There is a saying in Sweden "man måste vara frisk för att orka vara sjuk" ~ "you have to be well to cope with being ill"....
I enjoy most forms of communication and postcards are a special favourite. I used to blog as Scriptor Senex which is Latin for Old Writer but now Google only lets me post as John Edwards.
“He’s not so old. He’s just the age that he is, that’s all.” (Gerald Hammond)
Water Bugs Common Pond Skaters (Gerris sp.) River Pond Skaters (Aquarius sp. ) Water Cricket (Velia caprai)
Common Blue Holly Blue Silver-studded Blue Small Blue Small Copper Green Hairstreak Purple Hairstreak Brown Argus Gatekeeper Grayling The Wall Marbled White Meadow Brown Ringlet Scotch Argus Speckled Wood Small Heath Large Heath Large Skipper Small Skipper Dingy Skipper Comma Small Tortoiseshell Painted Lady Peacock Red Admiral White Admiral Marsh Fritillary High Brown Fritillary Dark Green Fritillary Pearl-bordered Fritillary Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary Silver-washed Fritillary Brimstone Clouded Yellow Green-veined White Large White Orange Tip Small White 39 species
+ In captivity Monarch * Swallowtail *
Butterflies at The Willows
Holly Blue, Meadow Brown, Speckled Wood, Comma, Small Tortoiseshell, Red Admiral, Peacock, Painted Lady, Orange Tip, Large White, Small White, Green-veined White.
12 species at Sept 2009
Dragonflies and Damselflies
DAMSELFLIES Azure Damselfly Banded Demoiselle Beautiful Demoiselle Blue-tailed Damselfly Common Blue Damselfly Emerald Damselfly Large Red Damselfly
DRAGONFLIES Azure Hawker Brown Hawker Common Hawker Migrant Hawker Southern Hawker Golden-ringed Dragonfly Black Darter Common Darter (Highland Darter - arguably a subsp.) Ruddy Darter Broad-bodied Chaser Four-spotted Chaser Keeled Skimmer Emperor
40 species as at Dec 2004 43 species as at Sept 2005 49 species as at June 2008 50 species as at July 2008 52 species as at Sept 2008
European Badger Western Hedgehog Rabbit Brown Hare Grey Squirrel Red Squirrel Water Vole Field Vole Common Shrew Stoat Weasel Brown Rat House Mouse Wood Mouse Red Fox Pine Marten American Mink Red Deer Fallow Deer Muntjac Grey Seal Pipistrelle Daubenton's Bat Noctule Dartmoor Pony Exmoor Pony Welsh Mountain Pony New Forest Pony Dolphin sp.
28 species in the wild as at Sept 2008 + the following in captivity*
Sika Deer* Wild Cat* Bank Vole * Edible Dormouse * Black Rat* Harvest Mouse * Eurasian Otter * European Polecat *
Ghost Moth Orange Swift Common Swift Map-winged Swift
The Lackey (larva only) Grass Eggar Oak Eggar Fox Moth The Drinker
Pebble Hook-tip Chinese Character
Peach Blossom Buff Arches
Grass Emerald Large Emerald Common Emerald Small emerald Blood-vein Small Blood-vein Cream Wave Small Fan-footed Wave Dwarf Cream Wave Small Dusty Wave Single-dotted Wave Riband Wave Plain Wave Flame Carpet Red Carpet Dark-barred Twin-spot Carpet Silver-ground Carpet Garden Carpet Shaded Broad-bar Lead Belle July Belle Common Carpet Wood Carpet Galium Carpet Yellow Shell Dark spinach Purple Bar The Phoenix The Chevron Northern Spinach Barred Straw Small Phoenix Dark Marbled Carpet Common Marbled Carpet Barred Yellow Spruce Carpet Green Carpet July Highflyer Argent and Sable Scallop Shell Cloaked Carpet November Moth Winter Moth The Rivulet Small Rivulet Barred Rivulet Twin-spot Carpet Foxglove Pug Mottled Pug Netted Pug Lime-speck Pug Triple-spotted Pug Wormwood Pug Currant Pug Common Pug White-spotted Pug Grey Pug Tawny Speckled Pug Bordered Pug Narrow-winged Pug Double-striped Pug Treble-bar Chimney Sweeper Yellow-barred Brindle The Magpie Clouded Magpie Clouded Border Latticed Heath The V-Moth Brown Silver-line Scorched Wing Brimstone Moth Bordered Beauty Speckled Yellow Canary-shouldered Thorn Early Thorn Lunar Thorn Purple Thorn Scalloped Hazel Scalloped Oak Swallow-tailed Moth Small Brindled Beauty Pale Brindled Beauty Peppered Moth Dotted Border Mottled Umber Willow Beauty Mottled Beauty Pale Oak Beauty Brussels Lace The Engrailed Small Engrailed Grey Birch Common Heath Bordered White Common White Wave Common Wave Clouded Silver Light Emerald Barred Red
The postings will be introductions to each of my life lists. The lists themselves will appear in the side margin. I shall do some postings about particular localities and there will also be postings to provide updates every time I add a new species. Please note that I am not qualified in any aspect of natural history - there will therefore be occasional (or, apparently, in the case of the hoverflies, a lot of) errors.
I have been lamenting the paucity of butterflies - both in numbers and variety - this summer. However, when I looked down the lists at the side of this blog I realised that the eleven species seen at The Willows didn't include the Painted Lady, a migrant which has been in the garden this summer. So the number of species seen in the garden since we moved in five years ago has risen to twelve.
This bee appeared in the garden the other day. For a moment I thought it was a Carder Bee but then I realised it looked quite different. Much brighter and bigger. I think, repeat, think, it is Bombus distinguendus, the Great Yellow Bumble Bee. But I wouldn't bet on it. Comments welcome!
P.. S. (If anyone commenting is well qualified to say what it is can they please indicate their qualifications. Not that I am 'knocking' those who have commented so far like Louise and Anon - all comments welcome!)
Also known as Ichneumon flies these are relatives of the Bees and Wasps. I haven’t seen this species before. Unfortunately I cannot identify it as there is no comprehensive guide to British Ichneumons. This species has a distinctive hind leg.
As Friend-who-loves-Otters was driving away from the house to take Daughter-who-takes-Photos on holiday my mind was only half on waving them goodbye. The other half was focussing the camera on a moth which was sat upon the wall of Frog End.
For me, a moth-lover, there is nothing more infuriating than a moth I cannot identify. I don't mind having to look it up if it's a new species for me but I really get worked up if I cannot find it. I think that's a sign of a happy retirement when it's just things like this that get to you.
Unfortunately I only managed to take it from the one angle before it flew off and its wing scales were so new and shiny that the pattern was not as clear as it could be in a duller light or from a different angle. Not having my moth books with me I turned to the UK moths site. This is a brilliant site from which to identify species so long as you have a basic knowledge of the subject.
My immediate reaction was to hope it was some form of Small Seraphim - if only because I love its scientific name of Pterapherapteryx sexalata.
It turned out to be the Yellow-barred Brindle (Acasis viretata).
This is a new species for me and brings my total number of macro-moths to 263.
The name refers to the colour form normally found in the wild but when freshly emerged - as this so obviously was - it usually has a greenish colour that fades rapidly. The adult moth is found in May and June and, in the southern part of its range, again in August and September.
The Yellow-barred Brindle is widely distributed but rarely common in woodland, suburban habitats and scrubland, and in northern England and southern Scotland it is scarce. The caterpillars feed on the flowers and leaves of a variety of foodplants, including holly and Ivy.
It is fairly rare nowadays for me to add a new flower to my species list. With a few exceptions anything new I see is likely to be one of a group of difficult to distinguish species (which I am too lazy to identify). There are, however, a number of species of which I do not have decent photos. Some of these are very common and have simply been ignored because I've assumed I have already taken them. This was the case with Annual Knawel (Scleranthus annuus) until Daughter-who-takes-photos asked me to identify it in her garden. Reaching up to 10cm high, it is common on dry, bare places throughout Britain and Ireland and can be an abundant garden weed. The narrow, pointed leaves are borne in opposite pairs along the stems. The flowers comprise close-knit heads of greenish white sepals with no petals and appear from May to August.
It is also known as German Moss or German Knotgrass and few of the photos on the web look like mine but I reckon I’ve identified it correctly. One that does look like mine is at Wild Plants in Netherlands and Belgium.
This very active little bug ran up and down my hand and arm, refusing to slow for its portrait. As a result the photo is poor. This, combined with the difficulty of identifying many closely related species of Mirid Bug, makes me hesitate to be categorical but it does seem to be Calocoris quadripunctatus. If so, it is a new species for me.
I'm sure some of my readers think it sad when I get excited by things like snails but that's what happened in Otter Nurseries. I do not claim to be a molluscologist (or whatever the appropriate word may be) but I decided this was a Pfeiffer's Amber Snail (Oxyloma elegans ).
I have photographed an Amber Snail before but I've never seen a Pfeiffer's Amber Snail even though they are equally common and found throughout Europe. I am assured it is pronounced Fifer's - something I should apparently have known if I watched films! Perhaps I should call this little specimen Michelle.
So, it has been added to my list of species seen. Small things (literally - it’s tiny) amuse small minds.
I haven't kept my life list of spiders very up to date so I'm not sure this is complete but I have seen and photographed the following:- Araneus diadematus Garden Spider Araniella cucurbitina Arctosa perita Argiope bruennichi Wasp Spider Clubonia corticalis Clubonia Sp. Enoplagnatha ovata Hyposinga albovittata Larinoides cornutus Lepthyphantes minutus Meta sp. Misumena vatia Nuctenea umbratica Pachygnatha degeeri Pardosa amentata Pardosa pullata Philodromus sp. Pirata latitans Pisaura mirabilis Salticus senicus Zebra Spider Scotophaeus blackwalli Segestria senoculata Steatoda bipunctata Tegenaria domestica House Spider Tegenaria duellica Theridion pallens Theridion sisyphium Theridion varians Xysticus cristatus Zelotes Sp. Zygiella x-notata
At Chudleigh Knighton Heath on 2nd May 2009 I added the Raft Spider Dolomedes fimriatus. This is the same place I saw Argiope bruennichi - the Wasp Spider - in 2007 so it has proved a good spot for spiders.
The total number of birds seen in the garden is a bit of a grey area since I have never recorded them until today. I sat down and did a list from memory but there may be species I have missed. One thing for certain is that the male Siskin that was on the Niger seed feeder today was a first. Well spotted, Jo. We saw plenty of them at the caravan but we have not seen one here before.
Ainsdale Sand Dunes NNR forms part of the Sefton Coast - the finest dune system on the north-west coast of England. The area is part of a Ramsar site and part of the Sefton Coast Special Area of Conservation (SAC). The dunes are home to over 450 plant species including 33 that are locally or regionally rare like petalwort, seaside centaury, yellow bartsia, round-leaved wintergreen, dune helleborine and pendulous flowered helleborine. Sand lizards and great-crested newts are found here together with a large population of natterjack toads. Inland, areas of pine woodland are home to red squirrels.
In the early 1980s I was fortunate enough to be a voluntary warden at Ainsdale National Nature Reserve. The job entailed wandering the Reserve for a day each fortnight (or more frequently for those who could spare the time) and making sure that the public kept to the pathways and anyone off the beaten track was in possession of a valid licence to study there. We also kept our eyes open for fire hazards and other problems. The volunteer wardens were in touch with the full-time warden by means of a short wave radio but it only worked sporadically as there were a number of dead spots on the reserve.
The job occasionally proved hazardous; a couple of times I was a lone volunteer telling a gang of poachers with lurchers and guns to go away - not an enviable task but I survived OK and the compensations were enormous.
To have a whole nature reserve virtually to oneself is a wonderful experience - whatever the weather.
The sand is bound together by the long-rooted Marram Grass.
Occasionally a storm would bring a whole dune flowing inland, burying everything in its track. When a ‘blow-out’ like that occurred is was as well to be nowhere near it.
There is also woodland - mainly pines but also some Birch and mixed woodland.
As one goes inland the dunes give way to slacks and areas of standing water.
The opportunity to be there all year round gave me scope for pictures in the snow and ice. (The tracks are those of my friend the fox.)
And in the summer sun.
There were, of course, days when I got soaked through but even those were something special and a joy to be remembered (in hindsight).
The flora of the area is very varied as is the wildlife. I have already blogged about a Fox which befriended me. One day I’ll show some more of the wildlife I found there.