December 2014

10th Oct 2014 (cont) - Welcome to Boredom

Leaving Gandalf (aka Bill Uwin) and my van behind at the delightful Shapwick Heath, Dan drove us all onwards towards the mighty Forest of Dean where we were meeting Craig for the next stage in our adventure. Everyone was running on a high after our incredible water beetle experience and with thoughts of what we hoped tonight would bring...

Some while later we arrived at Cinderford and eventually managed to find Craig who was waiting for us in a secluded car park. Graeme had never met Craig before, Dan and I hadn't seen him for almost a year, so it was handshakes all around again...

10 (mostly Norfolkian) nature highlights of 2014

My 10 species highlights of 2014

 

1 - Winter Stalkball (Tulostoma brumale) – This fungus looks rather like a bleached rabbit dropping on a stalk, so what’s not to like? After getting some directions from Rob Smith I saw lots of these at Holme Dunes, and then went back in October when Rob showed me the closely related Scaly Stalkball (Tulostoma melanocyclum).

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10th Oct 2014 - Gandalf's Beetles

After coffees, stretches and yawns we were finally ready to hit the road again. Today's first port of call was Shapwick Heath NNR in Somerset. Bill Urwin was there and patiently awaiting our arrival. He promised a mixed bag of tricks and we were all excited at the prospect of getting to grips with this deservedly famous reserve.

I really like Bill, this would be the third time I'd met him this year. First occasion was to twitch a Yellow-rumped Warbler in Northumberland along with moth maestro and Ginger Baker lookalike wannabe, Billy Dykes. We saw the warbler and Bill treated us to...

9th Oct 2014 - THE ADVENTURE STARTS!!!

Jeez I was looking forward to this! Like you have no idea!

A few years back there were a gang of us started up Widerscope, the main men nowadays being Danny Cooper and myself. A few others have come and gone but we're pretty much it now (although the Facebook Group is still going strong). At least once a year we embark on some mad hair-brained escapade around the country finding as much weird and wonderful wildlife as we possibly can and all with plenty of beer chucked in on...

30th Sep 2014 - I nearly died...for THIS???

Rewind a coupla weeks or so, I was having a blast in the New Forest with Tony Davis and Dave Gibbs seeing all manner of weird and wonderful plants and inverts. We went to a carpark named Goatpen. I'd never been there before, a couple of hours later and I wished I'd never been there at all. We were on a wild goose chase for a plant called Bayberry (essentially America's chunky version of our Bog Myrtle). Dave Gibbs had gen (duff gen as it turned out) that a clump of the stuff was growing down in the valley mire below us. All we knew was that it was a big version of Bog Myrtle and about four...

29th Sep 2014 - Aahh, Gwasshoppaahh...

Had a day off and figured it was high time I plugged a gap in my Orthoptera list, one that I only realised was there a few weeks earlier. Tony Davis and Graeme Lyons had mentioned that neither of them had seen Heath Grasshopper before. I quickly poured scorn and mockery in their low-listing direction before realising that I hadn't seen one either. Oops, humble pie much? So I did a quick bit of internet trawling and discovered that Alder Hills NR in the middle of Poole had Heath Grasshoppers as one of its flagship species. How difficult could this be...?

Within an hour or so I was...

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