Naturalists' News and Sightings

Revived Ponds on Barton Fields

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On Monday morning, two of the Barton Fields ponds, which had become completely overgrown with mainly vigorous Reed Sweet-grass (Glyceria maxima), were rejuvenated. We were 'loaned' a digger and driver by Fergal Construction Co Ltd, of Standlake, who have been working on the resurfacing of the Sustrans path running through Barton Fields. Ashley, the digger driver, was a delight to watch as he skilfully removed the top vegetation for stacking, then the roots and bottom mud that were delicately smoothed around the pond edges to allow any 'creatures' to return to water.

We now have two 'new' ponds that would have been lost as manually they could never have been dug out. Thanks deserved to Fergal and Ashley

from Graham Bateman: 21 October 2020


Winter thrushes and fallen apples


This week my fallen apples have attracted 2 song thrushes, 7 redwings, 2 fieldfares and up to 13 blackbirds including this one with white on the head.

from Gillian Taylor: 2 December 2021

What's been eating our roses and tomatoes?


My sharp-eyed grandson spotted this large green caterpillar with yellow ‘go faster’ stripe, eating our tomato plants. It turns out to be the larva of the Bright-line Brown-eye Moth (Lacanobia oleracea) also called the Tomato Moth.

Today I noticed some shiny boldly-spotted caterpillars with erect stance, eating the leaves of our rose. They turn out to be Large Rose Sawfly larvae. I am happy to share my plants with both of these larvae.

from  David Guyoncourt: 11 September 2021

Turkeytail fungi


I saw this remarkable cluster of Turkeytail fungi yesterday on the path along the eastern edge of Bagley Wood, at the bottom of Bagley Close gardens. More walks are called for to see how many survive and develop the colour-banding which give it the scientific name, Trametes Versicolor?

from Adrian Allsop: 31 August 2021

Potter Wasp


This Potter Wasp (Ancistrocerus nigricornis) I thought was feeding on our patch of Marjoram growing in our ‘lawn’, but on closer inspection I could see that it had a small caterpillar in its jaws, possibly a Purple & Gold moth larva which feeds on Marjoram. According to my Collins Guide to British Insects the unfortunate larva will be taken to its mud nest where it will be stung to paralyse it, and stored awaiting consumption by the wasp larva - lovely!

from David Guyoncourt: 22 August 202

Spectacular Brackets


Stretching 25 ft up an old sweet chestnut tree in Boxhill Wood..

from Tony Richmond: 12 August 202

Uncommon moths

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I've had two uncommon moths in my garden moth trap recently. First was a Scarce Ermine, which hasn't been recorded in VC22 (Berkshire) since 2011. The second was a Toadflax Brocade, which isn't as scarce, although there are only a few records per year from this area.

from  David Hastings: 29 July 2021


Here's another moth. A Red Underwing which I found at the allotment this morning.

from  David Hastings: 31 July 2021

Purple Emperor Butterfly


Jo took this photo while out for a walk adjacent to the sustrans track, to the southern end of Thrupp Lake. The butterfly was spotted at around 10.30am on Sunday morning.

from Mike and Jo Turner: 20 July 2021

Scalloped Oak Moth


We were having coffee in our garden and a Scalloped Oak Moth fluttered in.

from Mike and Jo Turner: 17 July 2021

Blueberry bandit

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Here is a short video of our chief Blueberry Bandit, our cheekiest Blackbird that we call Roger, taking a bath under the very bush from which he's been thieving. I have subsequently netted it, but he had that figured out in minutes. I'm going to need a better net, or get up before he does.

from Tam Richmond: 10 July 2021