News of wildlife and other issues
Mammal Survey in Aldersbrook Exchange Lands
On Friday 29th August 2014, Darren Tansley, Water for Wildlife Officer for the Essex Wildlife Trust, and Tim Harris, from the Wren Wildlife and Conservation Group, set out 30 small mammal traps in the Aldersbrook Exchange Lands. This is the site of the old Redbridge Southern Sewage Works and now is mostly part of Epping Forest, with a central area belonging to Thames Water Authority. (for more information on the site, click here)
The traps used were Longworth Traps, which are designed to trap small mammals live so that they may be examined. Even when the trap is sprung there is a small hole for very small mammals to escape; Shrews need to eat continually, or they will die.
This operation was on behalf of our local Wren Wildlife and Conservation Group, and the following morning Darren gave ten Wren Group members some fascinating insights into the behaviour of voles, mice and shrews. The catch was four Wood Mice (2 males, 1 female and 1 that escaped before being sexed!) and a single Field Vole. There was also plenty of evidence of shrew activity, with both Common Shrew and Pygmy Shrew likely to be on site.
Darren raised a number of possibilities regarding the Exchange Lands. He thought there was a reasonable chance of Harvest Mice being present on the site. Apparently this species can colonise in only a few years of changed habitat status, and the site has been changing since it was closed as a sewage works in 1978 and later redeveloped to become part of Epping Forest in the 1990s. He also thought the Roding margins were worth checking for Water Shrews. And then, of course, there are Water Voles and Otters to look out for. Water Voles used to be a common inhabitant of the Roding adjacent to this site as well as through Wanstead Park. They became scarce by the early 1990s, although one was seen in 1998 and again in mid July, 2004. Since then, I have not heard of any being present. This may well be due to the presence of American Mink. Otters, however, are now not far upstream, and there have been one or two unconfirmed reports of sighting in the Roding by Wanstead Park, so surely it is only a matter of time?
Information supplied by Tim Harris - Photos by Rose Stephens
Paul Ferris, 1st September 2014
Ringlets in Wanstead Park – and in Aldersbrook Exchange Lands
Last year (2013) the first Ringlet butterfly to be recorded in the area was spotted by Kathy Hartnett and myself just to the east of the Shoulder of Mutton Pond in Wanstead Park. (see article here)
This year, on July 9th, Jennifer Charter was walking her dog when she saw what she thought may have been a Ringlet in exactly the same location, on the same patch of Rosebay Willowherb. She told me of this, but said that she couldn't be positive about the identification.
Today, though (11th July), again while walking Grace, a butterfly unexpectedly flew past her in dullish weather, landed on a small oak and waited while she photographed it. It was most certainly a Ringlet, and a little further east than the other sightings, but it seems that they are in that area.
Another local wildlife-enthusiast – Rose Stephens – saw what she thought may have been a Ringlet on Wanstead Flats yesterday (10th). It seems she posted the information on Facebook, but I don't use that, so received the information second-hand. I looked at her photograph, but am not convinced it is other than the much more likely Meadow Brown. It would have been lovely if it were a Ringlet, but the butterfly is not typically found in open areas such as grassland or heathland, preferring damp and sheltered places.
This damp and sheltered habitat is more in line with where it was seen in Wanstead Park last year and this, and on 13th July during a Wren Group walk in the Aldersbrook Exchange Lands (the Old Sewage Works site) Mark Thomas, spotted a Ringlet amongst vegetation near the pylon towards the cemetery end. Then Kathy Hartnett found another on the lower path beside the Roding.
It was great news that we have Ringlets in the Park, and it seems that they are present further afield in our area too. This brings the total number of butterfly species in our area to 28.
Paul Ferris, 11th July 2014
for 2015 additions, click HERE
for 2016 additions, click HERE
for 2017 additions, click HERE
for 2018 additions, click HERE
* in some cases the entry was made some time after the species was found. This may be due to a new identification or a previous mis-identification. Original date of find in brackets.
|Species||Common Name||Type of Organism||Date of find or entry*||Found by:|
|Andricus testaceipes||Barnacle Gall||a gall||17/12/2014||Paul Ferris/Rose Stephens|
|Physa sp.||a bladder snail||Mollusc||15/12/2014 (19/06/2010)||Paul Ferris|
|Ophyiulus pilosus||Black Millipede||Millipede||15/12/2014 (24/03/2014)||Paul Ferris|
|Glomeris marginata||Pill Millipede||Millipede||14/12/2014 (24/03/2014)||Paul Ferris|
|Oniscus asellus||Common Shiny Woodlouse||Crustacean||14/12/2014 (24/03/2014)||Paul Ferris|
|Chrysopa perla?||a green lacewing||Lacewing||13/12/2014 (14/05/2014)||Rose Stephens|
|unknown species||a thrip||Thrip||13/12/2014 (23/07/2013)||Paul Ferris|
|unknown species||a scale insect||Bug||13/12/2014 (05/05/2001)||Paul Ferris|
|unknown species||a mealybug||Bug||13/12/2014 (04/06/2011)||Paul Ferris|
|unknown species||a mayfly||Mayfly||13/12/2014 (27/08/2005)||Paul Ferris|
|Blaps mucronata||Cellar Beetle||Beetle||11/12/2014 (17/08/2014)||Rose Stephens|
|Dusona sp.||an ichneumon wasp||Wasp||11/12/2014 (13/05/2014)||Rose Stephens|
|Monomorius pharaonis||Pharaoh Ant ?||Ant||11/12/2014 (29/11/2014)||Roger Snook|
|Labulla thoracica||a spider||Spider||01/12/2014||Rose Stephens|
|Trichocera sp.||a winter gnat||Fly||01/12/2014||Rose Stephens|
|Orchesella cincta||a springtail||Collembola||29/11/2014||Rose Stephens|
|Pseudeuophrys lanigera||a jumping spider||Spider||29/11/2014||Rose Stephens|
|Culiseta annulata||a mosquito||Fly||29/11/2014||Rose Stephens|
|Lepthyphantes minutus||a sheet-web spider||Spider||28/11/2014||Paul Ferris|
|Corizus hyoscyamiyami||a bug||Bug||28/11/2014||Rose Stephens|
|Niptus hololeucus||Golden Spider Beetle||Beetle||28/11/2014||Rose Stephens|
|Sitona regensteinensis||a weevil||Beetle||16/11/2014||Rose Stephens|
|Udea ferrugalis||Rusty-dot Pearl||Micro Moth||15/11/2014||Tim Harris|
|Macrolophus rubi||a mirid bug||Bug||14/11/2014||Rose Stephens|
|Haplophilus subterraneus||a centipede||Centipede||13/11/2014||Rose Stephens|
|Strophosoma melanogrammum||Nut Leaf Weevil||Beetle||13/11/2014||Rose Stephens|
|Kleidocerys resedae||Birch Catkin Bug||Bug||10/11/2014||Rose Stephens|
|Mutilla europaea||Large Velvet Ant||Wasp||30/10/2014 (13/09/2008)||Paul Ferris|
|Anyphaena accentuata||Buzzing Spider||Spider||30/10/2014||Paul Ferris|
|Gibbium sp.||a spider beetle||Beetle||30/10/2014 (05/10/2013)||Paul Ferris|
|Adonia variegata||Adonis Ladybird||Beetle||28?/10/2014||Rose Stephens|
|Orchesella villosa||a springtail||Collembola||25/10/2014||Rose Stephens|
|Ophion obscura||an ichneumon||Fly||25/10/2015||Rose Stephens|
|Griposia aprilina||Merveille du Jour||Moth||25/10/2014||Tim Harris|
|Palloptera (Toxoneura) muliebris||Womanly Bow-wing||Fly||25/10.2014||Rose Stephens|
|Dicranopalpus ramosus||a harvestman||Harvestman||24/10/2014||Rose Stephens|
|Odiellus spinosus||a harvestman||Harvestman||23/10/2014||Rose Stephens|
|Dicyrtomina sp. ?||a springtail||Collembola||20/10/2014||Paul Ferris|
|Valenzuela flavidus||a barklouse||Arthropod||14/10/2014||Rose Stephens|
|Family Psychodidae||an owl midge||Fly||10/10/2014||Paul Ferris|
|Paroligolophus agrestis ?||a harvestman||Harvestman||08/10/2014||Paul Ferris|
|Oonops pulcher||a spider||Spider||07/10/2014||Rose Stephens/Paul Ferris|
|Nephrotoma quadrifaria||a crane-fly||Fly||07/10/2014||Paul Ferris|
|Tipula (confusa)||a crane-fly||Fly||05/10/2014||Paul Ferris|
|Hesperocorixa sahlbergi||a water boatman||Bug||05/10/2014||bio-blitz|
|Sigara dorsalis||a water boatman||Bug||05/10/2014||bio-blitz|
|Sigara falleni||a water boatman||Bug||05/10/2014||bio-blitz|
|Ilyocoris cimicoides||Saucer Bug||Bug||05/10/2014||bio-blitz|
|Notonecta glauca||Greater Water Boatman||Bug||05/10/2014||bio-blitz|
|Plea minutissima||a water bug||Bug||05/10/2014||bio-blitz|
|Aquarius najas||a pond skater||Bug||05/10/2014||bio-blitz|
|Hygrobia hermanni||Screech Beetle||Beetle||05/10/2014||bio-blitz|
|Laccophilus minutus||a diving beetle||Beetle||05/10/2014||bio-blitz|
|Hyphydrus ovatus||a diving beetle||Beetle||05/10/2014||bio-blitz|
|Hydroporos planus||a diving beetle||Beetle||05/10/2014||bio-blitz|
|Acilius sulcatus||a diving beetle||Beetle||05/10/2014||bio-blitz|
|Anacaena globulus||a water beetle||Beetle||05/10/2014||bio-blitz|
|Pisidium sp.||Pea Shell Cockle||Mollusc||05/10/2014||bio-blitz|
|Eupteryx (melissae)||Sage Leafhopper||Bug||03/10/2014||Rose Stephens|
|Alebra albostriella||a leafhopper||Bug||30/09/2014||Rose Stephens|
|Aporophyla lutulentata||Deep-brown Dart||Moth||28/09/2014||Tim Harris|
|Pterostichus madidus||a ground beetle||Beetle||23/09/2014||Rose Stephens|
|Mythimna l-album||L-album Wainscot||Moth||18/09/2014||Tim Harris|
|Agrotis trux ssp. trux||Crescent Dart||Moth||12/09/2014||Tim Harris|
|Psylliodes sp.||a leaf beetle||Beetle||11/09/2014||Rose Stephens|
|Rhyparochromus vulgaris||a bug||Bug||04/09/2014 (03/04/2008)||Rose Stephens/Paul Ferris|
|Phycita roborella||Dotted Oak Knot-horn||Micro Moth||22/08/2014||Tim Harris|
|Apotomis betuletana||Birch Marble||Micro Moth||13/08/2014||Tim Harris|
|Ennomos erosaria||September Thorn||Moth||26/07/2014||Tim Harris|
|Dichrorampha petiverella||Common Drill||Micro Moth||23/07/2014||Tim Harris|
|Grapholita orobama||Crescent Piercer||Micro Moth||16/07/2014||Tim Harris/Kathy Hartnett|
|Rhyacionia pinicolana||Orange-spotted Shoot||Micro Moth||13/07/2014||Tim Harris|
|Idaea biselata||Small Fan-footed Wave||Moth||11/07/2014||Tim Harris|
|Diarsia rubi||Small Square-spot||Moth||11/06/2014||Tim Harris|
|Plemyria rubiginata||Blue-bordered Carpet||Moth||13/06/2014||Tim Harris|
|Herminia tarsipennalis||Fan-foot||Moth||31/05/2014||Tim Harris|
|Synanthedon myopaeformis||Red-belted Clearwing||Moth||31/05/2014||Rose Stephens|
|Donacia simplex ?||a leaf beetle||Beetle||20/05/2014||Paul Ferris|
|Apamea sordens||Rustic Shoulder-knot||Moth||19/05/2014||Tim Harris|
|Charanyca trigrammica||Treble Lines||Moth||19/05/2014||Tim Harris|
|Argyresthia trifasciata||Triple-barred Argent||Micro Moth||19/05/2014||Paul Ferris|
|Eupithecia absinthiata||Wormwood Pug||Moth||19/05/2014||Tim Harris|
|Cionus sp. (poss. scrophulariae)||a weevil||Beetle||18/05/2014||Paul Ferris|
|Agnopterix ocellana||Red-letter Flat-body||Micro Moth||18/05/2014||Tim Harris|
|Emmetia marginea||Bordered Carl||Micro Moth||17/05/2014||Paul Ferris|
|Phyllonorycter harrisella||White Oak Midget||Micro Moth||17/05/2014||Paul Ferris|
|Panemeria tenebrata||Small Yellow-underwing||Moth||12/05/2014||Paul Ferris|
|Incurvaria masculella||Early Purple||Micro Moth||25/04/2014||Paul Ferris|
|Saturnia pavonia||Emperor||Moth||24/04/2014||Paul Ferris|
|Polyploca ridens||Frosted Green||Moth||13/04/2014||Tim Harris|
|Ecliptopera silaceata||Small Phoenix||Moth||04/04/2014||Paul Ferris|
|Limax flavus||Yellow Slug||Mollusc||20/03/2014||Paul Ferris|
|Enteridium lycoperdon||a slime mould||Slime Mould||17/03/2014||Paul Ferris|
|Conistra ligula||Dark Chestnut||Moth||15/03/2014||Tim Harris|
|Deroceras reticulatum||Grey Garden Slug||Mollusc||14/03/2014||Paul Ferris|
|Agnopterix heracliana||Common Flat-body||Micro Moth||12/03/2014||Paul Ferris|
|Lehmannia valentiana||Three-band Garden Slug||Mollusc||09/03/2013||Paul Ferris|
|Metatricha filiformis||a slime mould||Slime Mould||06/03/2014||Roger Snook/Paul Ferris|
Annual destruction of wild flowers in Wanstead Park
Once again, the emerging wildfowers by the east end of Perch Pond have been strimmed to ground level. In mid-May, just as some were flowering and some were ready to come into flower. Just as the damselflies that use them as perches were hatching a few feet away. Just as people visiting Wanstead Park because they think it is a nice place could have walked past and thought how pretty it looked.
This is the annual strim – or one of them. It is because of the Reservoirs Act: “No herbal vegetation that would do serious harm to the dam that retains the waters of the Perch Pond may be allowed to come into flower. Any such delicate vegetation must be cut down just as it is flowering or - alternatively or as well – it is seeding”.
Is that what the Act states? Or is that the interpretation of the Conservators of Epping Forest in their wisdom and within their remit to “preserve the natural aspect” of the Forest? Wanstead Park is not – of course – a “natural” part of the Forest. It is a man-made and managed environment and the management of the Park relating to the wildflowers at the east end of the Perch Pond means that each year we loose the full beauty of them, and the wildlife looses an important part of its habitat.
I have been going on about this for years. Why is it not possible to do this strimming, which I believe is required so that woody shrubs and trees don't grow up so that their roots undermine the embankment, at a different time? For example, what about earlier in the year before the flowering has begun, say early March, and/or later in the year after the flowers and seeds are over, say late September?
It is possibly to do with manpower. The Epping Forest arm of the City of London Corporation, the Conservators of Epping Forest, has much more to manage than just Wanstead Park; and on the whole they do a good job of it. It's just that in this little part that I know and particularly care about, it has not been found possible, even after pointing out the problem to the Ecology People and to discussing on-site the issue with the Head of Operations for Epping Forest earlier this year (see here), provisions can't be made to adjust things slightly.
Show me to the nearest brick wall.
Paul Ferris, 21st May, 2014
Daffodils on Lincoln Island
The daffodils are in flower on Lincoln Island. There are numerous clumps of daffodils scattered around Wanstead Park, but few in any profusion. Many of those that are to be found may have arrived either by deliberate introduction to brighten things up, maybe as an unofficialy introduced commemoration, by throw-outs from nearby gardens or by some other chance.
Narcissus pseudonarcissus. I think now that may have been a mistake. Even so, I suggested to the group that perhaps we ought to try to preserve whatever was there.Only on Lincoln Island at the north end of the Ornamental Waters are there any to be seen in number. It was years ago when I first became interested in wildlflowers that I first was aware of them. I used the Wren Group's dingy to go over there to have a closer look, and at the time - and perhaps in my early enthusiasm and lack of experience - reported that amongs the variety of what may be called "garden" types, there were one or two "wild" daffodils
Since then I have been over to the island a number of times, although only a few times when the plants are in flower. Most of the time there has been no sign of them, for it is once a year in the winter that the Wren Group have been making expeditions to the island on one of their Winter practical work sessions. The idea of this has been to keep the site clear of bramble, saplings and fallen tree-litter, so that the daffs have a chance to be seen and possibly even to spread.
This must have been successful, although I wonder how much they have actually spread. They have certainly multiplied, but I feel that perhaps we ought to do a post-flowering session, dig some of the clumps up, divide them and replant them - thus spreading them as one might in a garden. They are not wild; they have evidently been planted at some time - but who knows when?
I like to think that they may be relics of an old planting when the house was still on the high ground where the golf-course stiil is. They are probably not that old; probably an expert on daffodil varieties might be able to offer some clues based on when the varieties were created or fashionable. Whatever the case, they do make a colourful display and must give pleasure to some as they walk around the Ornamental Waters. I suspect that few would think of the effort spent by a gallant few, rowing and being rowed across there every year, in winter, in a grand variety of weathers!
Paul Ferris, 26th March 2014
Page 6 of 35