James Lowen 

Finally, some Saharan winds in mid-Feb got us moth-ers all excited about the prospect of North African waifs making their way to our traps. That transpired to be a decent plan if you lived from Hampshire west, but not for those in Norfolk. No migrants! However, we were boosted by quite some decent numbers and variety of early-spring moths: Early Moths, Clouded Drabs, Common Quakers, a site-record of six Beautiful Plume, and my earliest-ever Pine Beauty, Early Grey and Oak Beauty by a long way. But the biggest surprise was this grey-form Apple Leaf Miner, a species that Norfolk Moths website suggests flies essentially June-September. The new Micromoth guide notes, however, that it can fly in 'any month of the year', something borne out by a couple of mothing friends who live further south - and who occasionally catch grey-phase (always grey-phase) ALMs during winter. Mine was Norfolk's second February record.


2 March 2024 Archie

Although work has prevented me from venturing out too much recently (other than to survey farmland birds in south Norfolk), a couple of things have nevertheless caught my eye over recent weeks. 

Near Intwood, south of Norwich, I marvelled at 16 Arched Earthstars sprouting below some yews. All earthstars are good, but this uncommon species is particularly fine because it stands proud on its tips. Quite the sight (even if I turned up after their best).

At Cley, I was sad to see a young Grey Seal trapped in a channel, having presumably floated in on an unusually high tide - and not been able (or attempted) to climb the shingle ridge and head back out to sea. 

I have spent fewer days enjoying geese than normal, due to a saturated workload. Nevertheless, a few encounters with Pink-footed Geese have been splendid - as they always are. If you don't believe me, read Nick Acheson's The Meaning of Geese, and you'll be converted. A lovely book by a lovely man.