Hainault Forest Website

Written and Designed by © Brian Ecott


December 2016






A Happy Christmas and

New Year Greetings to you all.

Special thanks to Colin Carron, Michael Rumble, Raymond Small and other Contributors for the excellent photographs submitted to the website. 

A winter's tale............
A dismal scene at 11.30am on the 1st December at the lake which is frozen in places. Black-headed gulls walk on the ice and the willows in the background are reflected. Photo © Brian Ecott..

Split porecrust Schizopora paradoxa - a common crust on fallen timber all year.  Photo © Brian Ecott 6th December 2016.

1st December 2016 at 11.30am. A frozen lake, the weak sun reflects on the ice. Most colour is gone.  Photo © Brian Ecott  
Brian Ecott writes: When the sun shone through the hazy sky, the Canada geese decided on a frenzied bath in the icy water, some laying on their backs, heads underwater, and swimming briefly underwater. I haven't noticed this behaviour before. Photos © Raymond Small 1,00pm 1st December 2016.

An Abacot Runner duck and an Aylesbury duck swim amongst the broken ice.

Photo © Brian Ecott.  1st December 2016.

Last month Jane discovered this man pollard while out on a walk in the forest. Unperturbed she stayed long enough to take his photo! Look at his biceps!

 © Jane Mcintyre

Pair of mallards on the lake edge. Photo © Raymond Small.  2nd December 2016

I'm not a bat or a rat or a cat,  I'm not a gnu or a kangaroo,  I'm not a goose or a moose on the loose, I am a mole and I live in a hole.  Recorded by the Southlanders.

Photo © Raymond Small. Molehills on Hoghill.  6th December 2016.


Liverwort Radula complanata on hawthorn scrub near the lake. 4th December 2016. Photo and scans © Brian Ecott.  With thanks to Dr. Kenneth Adams, Recorder of Botany and Bryophytes, Essex Field Club, for the identification. Although widespread in UK it is the first time that I have seen it here.

European gorse on Cabin Hill - a winter flowering shrub, and Hawthorn berries (Haws) on foggy morning. 12th December 2016 Photos © Brian Ecott.

Brian Ecott and Raymond Small represent Hainault Forest at the Annual Exhibition and Social of The Essex Field Club at Wat Tyler Country Park, Pitsea on the 3rd December 2016. The Essex Field Club has been in existence since 1880 and long before the new Hainault Forest was designated in 1906 there are records of talks and rambles in the areas of Barkingside, Lambourne and Chigwell all meticulously recorded in the Essex Naturalist and now available online. The members were very knowledgeable,  well known naturalists and campaigners and who supported us at Hainault then and continue to do so today. You can check them out online by clicking the link here  Essex Field Club

Dr Kenneth Adams (Recorder of Botany and Bryophytes) right discusses with me the problems of the Heathland in Hainault..  

Tony Boniface (Recorder of Fungi) with his wife. John Skinner (Recorder of Lichens) discusses the Hainault Display and is very supportive.

Photos © Raymond Small. 3rd December 2016  Pitsea, Essex.

Water poplar as seen from the The Oak path approaching the Lake. 17th December 2016.  Photo © Brian Ecott..

And finally..........
Photos © Colin Carron, Brian Ecott and Raymond Small.  More adventures next month.

November 2016


11th November at Fairlop Waters. Lest we forget.......

The annual Remembrance Service was held at Fairlop Waters remembering those who served at Fairlop Aerodrome during the Second World War. Many personnel  serving at Fairlop were from different countries supporting the UK and each year two countries are specially represented for their service and sacrifices. This year the flags of Norway and Argentina were flown and a member of the Anglo-Argentine Society was present. The day was organised by David Martin, Chairman of the Fairlop Heritage Group and the patron Ilford North MP Wes Sweeting with school children from John Bramston and many supporters of local organisations were present.

Photographed by Brian Ecott.
















Norwegian and Argentine flags

Colours of the British Legion

Ilford North MP Wes Sweeting

Former mayor Felicity Banks and Cllr Brian Lambert


Local police representatives.

Flight Sergeant Max Bean

Barkingside Rotary: John Bramston Primary read Poems: David Martin, Mayor of Redbridge Cllr Gurdial Bhamra and Rev Kate Lovesey: Dr Cherni Anglo Argentine Society
Super moon.......  

The sky was very cloudy over Hainault but Michael Rumble did manage a photo at 2207h on the 15th November of the moon which was at its closest to the earth since 1948. The next time a Full Moon is even closer will be on November 25, 2034.

Bordering the Redbridge Cycle Track and Hainault Lodge Local Nature Reserve is an Oak tree which will retain its leaves through the winter and shed in the spring. This is a Lucombe Oak Quercus x hispanica 'Lucombeana'. Photo © Raymond Small.

16th November 2016. 

Power cut.......

Electricity cable failure outside the café leaves forest in darkness until generators arrive. Under repair. Cafe remained open. 17th November 2016. Photo © Brian Ecott. Repair completed with restoration by the 24th November 2016.

In the Zoo.......

1. Cockatiel and lovebirds © Raymond Small 15th November 2016  2 Alpaca  © Michael Rumble 7th November 2016.

 3. Large white rooster © Raymond Small 15th November 2016 

1. White domestic geese Photo ©  Raymond Small 7th November 2016.  2.  Quail  3. Chipmunk  Photos © Michael Rumble 2nd November 2016. 

Malamute and Northern breeds group.......

The group visited Hainault on the 13th November 2016 and included Alaskan malamutes, Huskies, Akitas and Inuit dogs. Photo © Brian Ecott

Odds and Ends............

Turkey oak Quercus cerris Cup with ripe acorn. These acorns take two years to mature compared to Q.robur  which take one and also have a smooth cup.  See last month's picture.  6th November 2016.

Leaf of Norway maple showing autumn colours. 5th November 2016.

Photo © Raymond Small. 

Ivy leaf scan showing Bacterial leaf spot Xanthomonas campestris pv. hederae.

The scan has been backlit to show the yellow haloes around the spots. Uncommon. Scan © Brian Ecott 17th November 2016. Hainault Lodge Local Nature Reserve.

These pixie cup lichens Cladonia sp. were found growing on a mossy log in the horse pasture. 15th November 2016. Photo © Brian Ecott.

The importance of Ivy..........  

The ivy flowers in November, and is important to insects that avail themselves of pollen and nectar not found anywhere else. Sunny days bring out insects in large numbers. The pollinated flowers provide berries in early spring for seed eaters including the immigrant birds such as the Blackcap, The foliage of the Ivy provides shelter and nest sites for early nesters. Ivy is not parasitic on trees but use the tree to climb up. Only if the tree becomes top heavy and in a gale may the tree topple.

Pictures © Raymond Small. 16th November 2016.  Pictures 1. Common wasp Vespula vulgaris. 2. Hoverfly Syrphus ribesi  3. Bumble bee Bombus terrestris


Although very abundant in 2015 the whole forest is lacking fungus fruiting bodies this year.

Big Jim Gymnopilus junonius  in the secondary woodland near Peter's Gate. It is growing on a buried tree root and is a young developing fungus. Photo © Brian Ecott 9th November 2016.

Big Jim Gymnopilus junonius as above now with an expanding cap. Peter's gate.   22nd November 2016  Photo © Raymond Small.

 This tiny fungus on an oak log belongs to a group of fungi called Spore shooters or Ascomycetes. This is Purple jelly disc Ascoryne sarcoides.

Photo © Raymond Small. 15th November  2016

Above: two aspects of Fly agaric Amanita muscaria. Cap is 17cms diameter. Right: General view of the single specimen in its surroundings. Note the silver birch in the background. Fly agaric has a symbiotic relationship with the Silver birch passing nutrients to the roots of the birch in return for sugars. 14th November 2016.

Inset :  Pictured on 23rd November 2016  a new fruiting body is developing close to the site of the original. Photos © Raymond Small. 

Turkey tail Trametes versicolor  A variable coloured bracket fungus here with rich colours on old wood.. Photo © Brian Ecott 13th November 2016. Sulphur tuft Hypholoma fasciculare also on rotting wood. Photo © Raymond Small  22nd November 2016.

Yellow club Clavulinopsis helvola in short grassland in the horse pasture.

Picture © Raymond Small. 15th November 2016. 

Candle snuff or Stags Horn Xylaria hypoxylon on rotting wood. Photo © Brian Ecott  19th November 2016.

Parasol mushroom Macrolepiota procera in the horse pasture. The cap diameter was 18cms. Few and far between this year and smaller cap sizes.

Photo © Raymond Small. 15th November 2015. 

Butter cap Collybia butyracea. Cap feels greasy. Photo © Raymond Small.

15th November 2015. 

Jelly ear Auricularia auricula-judae on rotting wood. Commonly found on Elder. Photo © Raymond Small. 13th November 2016. 

One of several Trooping funnels Clitocybe geotropa  Photo © Raymond Small.

13th November 2016.  

Clouded funnel or Clouded agaric Clitocybe nebularis As its specific name suggests the cap is a cloudy-grey  Photos © Raymond Small 23rd November 2016.

Upper and underside of a tiny Split gill fungus Schizophyllum commune on cut oak log. Photos © Raymond Small  7th November 2016.

Water birds...........  

The Ash tree on the lake island is a favourite place for perching cormorants The bird on the right with the white breast feathers is a juvenile. 11th November 2016      Photo © Michael Rumble.

Tufted duck male with two females and two black-headed gulls in winter plumage.  Just the grey spot behind the eyes is indicative. 11th November 2016

Photo © Michael Rumble

 This is a male Shoveler duck. There have been up to 20 pairs feeding in small groups centrally in the lake. They feed by filtering the surface of the water in their long bills.  Photo © Raymond Small. 16th November 2016.
and finally..........
Photos © Brian Ecott and Raymond Small.  More adventures next month.

October 2016


Weather 1. Storm over the city.......

Pictured 1st October 2016  Photo ©  Michael Trump

Weather 2......Dew on the Michaelmas daisies......

The cold nights of late have seen dew on some of the plants especially Michaelmas daisy. 22nd October 2016. Photo ©  Brian Ecott


Porcelain fungi Oudemansiella mucida on fallen beech on Hog Hill.. Discovered and photographed © by Raymond Small. 17th October 2016. Cap 2-8cms across, A ring on the stem,  slimy often dripping, delicate. I have seen this in Epping Forest but this is a first for me in Hainault.

Young developing Porcelain fungi Oudemansiella mucida as above.

Photo ©  Raymond Small

Turkey tail brackets Trametes versicolor on fallen beech. 19th October 2016.

Photo ©  Raymond Small

Angel's bonnet Mycena arcangeliana on rotten trunk 22nd October 2016.

Photo ©  Brian Ecott

Artist's bracket Ganoderma applanatum on rotten trunk near Peter's gate.

9th October 2016 Photo ©  Raymond Small

Pleated inkcap Coprinus plicatilis among Millfoil in short grassland.

21st October 2016. Photo © Raymond Small.

Mature pleated inkcap Coprinus plicatilis. They have opened up and the gills are blackening. 23rd October 2016. Photo © Raymond Small

One of a genera of short lived fungi which appear, mature and dissolve in a black inky mass (deliquesce) as starting in the picture above right.

Honey fungus Armillaria mellea at the base of an old hawthorn. Also known as Bootlace fungus the fungus can spread by black bootlace like structures which can travel underground to infect other vulnerable trees in a wide area. Hoghill. 19th October 2016. Photos © Raymond Small.

Autumn colours........

 Courtney's Pirate Kite over Hoghill. 9th October 2016. Photo © Raymond Small

Bramble leaves 18th October 2016. Photo © Raymond Small.

Yellowing Field maple  18th October 2016. Photo © Raymond Small.

Leaf litter Norway maple and the smaller Silver maple on a path through the plantation. 8th October 2016. Photo ©  Brian Ecott

Water mint Mentha aquatica the lakeside. 9th October 2016.

Photo © Raymond Small

Hainault Forest firmly on the map...........

My finding and reporting of an odd pink lichen on a twig  containing Physcia tenella in January of this year and my subsequent finding of a description in an American scientific paper of Laetisaria lichenicola, a sample was sent to John Skinner - Essex Field Club lichenologist,  Mark Powell, a specialist lichenologist who examined the specimen under the microscope, and Brian Coppins of Edinburgh Botanic Gardens who confirmed the identity was indeed Laetisaria lichenicola, and that no official records existed of it in the UK until my Hainault record.

I received the following e-mail  from Mark Powell on the 3rd October 2016:

"You really started something with your discovery of Laetisaria lichenicola. It has been added to just about every county in which it has been looked for. Last week was the Autumn meeting of the British Lichen Society in the North Yorks Moors and L. lichenicola was found several times and was much discussed. I now use your discovery as an example of how organisms are often identified in reality. Rather rarely (with lichens at least) is the 'answer' arrived at by carefully working through a dichotomous key. Browsing images is a valid means of arriving at a tentative identification as long as this is followed up by appropriate validation. This is exactly what you did, had a suspicion based on morphological appearance and then took the trouble to send a specimen for validation".

A subsequent email on the 29th October from Mark stated that he had been asked to write an article on L. lichenicola for a future edition of the bimonthly British Wildlife magazine.

Photo © Michael Rumble 3rd January 2016

Dirty ducks........  

A small UK resident population of Pochard is joined by immigrants from east and central Europe during September - October. This drake Pochard arrived recently at the lake and dives and feeds on molluscs and insects in the mud. The head is normally a chestnut brown and the bluish beak tipped with black but this one has mud on his face from feeding on the silt bottom.  18th October 2016. Photo © Raymond Small.  


The acorns on English oak have been very abundant this year. Raymond Small captured this image just moments before the acorns were shed. These are a favourite amongst Jays who bury them everywhere for use later in the winter. Some they don't find again and saplings appear all over the grassland areas.

18th October 2016. Photo © Raymond Small.

Beech mast (cases) and the triangular sided nuts littering the ground beneath a beech tree on Cabin Hall. Like the oak it was a good year for Beech. 10th October 2016. Photo © Raymond Small. 

Oak Leaf galls.........

Above left: English oak leaf with Spangle galls. Close up 2.Common spangle galls Neuroterus quercusbaccarum and 3. Smooth spangle galls N. albipes.. A small gall  attached to midrib 4 is an Oyster gall N. anthracinus. Scans © Brian Ecott  16th October 2016.

Above: Three scans of underside of Turkey oak shows small galls attached to the midrib at various magnification. Scans © Brian Ecott  16th October 2016.



Scan of English oak leaf with a thickening of the leaf blade. Close up shows an exit hole in the gall Andricus curvator. Scan © Brian Ecott 20th October 2016.

Above: Three Cherry galls Cynips quercusfolii on underside of English oak. Scan © Brian Ecott 20th October 2016.  

Common cranefly Tipula paludosa female on Michaelmas daisy. 9th October 2016.  Photo © Raymond Small. Honey bee on Michaelmas Daisy 9th October 2016. Photo © Raymond Small.
An Oak leaf miner.........  

Pictured left is an English oak leaf Quercus robur. A micro-moth caterpillar has burrowed its way under the upper surface of the leaf in a snake-like manner known as serpentine. This is a species of the genera Stigmella.

Below is a scan at high magnification which shows where the egg was laid near a small leaf vein (white line) and as the caterpillar fed and grew the tunnel becomes wider and filled with frass (droppings) which can be clearly seen in the left of the picture. The frass pattern and other features help identify the particular genus and species. The moth has finally emerged from the tunnel (bottom left)  For more on mines at Hainault click here.

Scans © Brian Ecott 20th October 2016.

On the farm........  

Alpacas on the farm. Photo © Brian Ecott. 11th October 2016.

Michael Rumble captured this great photograph of a Chipmunk in the farm and Zoo area. They are with the Quails.

The Sun sets on the last day of October........

We begun the diary with a photo taken on the 1st of the month and finish with one taken on the 31st October 2016 . Photo © Michael Trump.


and now TREVOR...........  

pictured on the 11th December 2015

and October 2016 when the water level has fallen......
 Photos © Brian Ecott. More adventures next month.

September 2016


Record hottest day in UK for 105 years........


12th 13th 14th 15th 16th 17th
22° 25° 32° 28° 28° 18° 15°

                           Gravesend, Kent


Highest September temperature since 1911 as 34.4°C recorded


                      Heathrow and Kew

Insects and Invertebrates.........


Hornet Vespa crabro  -a large social wasp near the café. It is no threat to people as it feeds on insects on flowers. The actual size is 30-40mm (inset). This great photo was taken on a smart phone by Michael Trump © 14th September 2016

Buff-tip moth  caterpillar 22nd September 2016 Photo © Raymond Small.

Green shieldbug Palomena prasina on oak leaf  21st September 2016 Photo © Raymond Small.

Comma Polygonia c-album   21st September 2016 Photo © Raymond Small.

Autumn tints - changing leaf colour of elder. Photo © Raymond Small

Holly blue female Celastrina argiolus on blackberry. There are two generations a year and the autumn generation lays eggs in the flower head of ivy. The spring generation lays eggs in holly. Photo © Michael Rumble 8th September 2016. Red admiral Vanessa atalanta .Autumn generation. Eggs laid on nettle. Photo © Michael Rumble 8th September 2016.

Honey bee workers buzzing about on Common fleabane filling their pollen sacs 7th September 2016 Photos © Colin Carron

Simon Taylor reports "that it is always tricky identifying from photographs but I am quite sure this is Monacha cantiana, the Kentish Snail (though very common in Essex)."  Simon Taylor is the Essex Field Club Recorder for Molluscs. Thanks to him for the identification  Photo © Raymond Small and Brian Ecott on bramble leaf,  25 September 2016
Michaelmas........the first term in the academic and legal year......

Hoverflies on Michaelmas Daisies 1. Helophilus pendulus  2. Sphaerophoria scripta  3. Eristalis pertinax   All 6th September 2016  Brian Ecott.

Hoverfly Syrphus vitripennis. 21 Sept.© Ray Small

Hoverfly Syrphus ribesi 26th Sept © Ray Small

 Hoverfly  Eristalis pertinax 7th Sept © Colin Carron
Fruits, nuts and seeds of the forest
A portfolio of pictures © by Raymond Small  19th - 24th September

English Oak acorns on stalks.

Holm oak acorns in the second car park

Turkey oak acorns on Hog Hill

Hawthorn  "Haws"

Spindle berries near the boats

Hops on Cabin Hill

Guelder rose berries in Alices Hedge,

Dogwood berries near Essex boundary hedge

Woody nightshade or Bittersweet, lake edge

Crab apples

Hornbeam nuts throughout woodland

Beech mast on Cabin Hill

Ash "keys"

Rose hips Rosa rugosa Cabin Hill

Dog rose hips

Horse chestnut fruits on the farm

Horse chestnut conkers. 70 years ago twins in a case were known as CHEESERS.

 Sweet chestnut cases. The chestnuts don't always ripen as a commercial crop in the UK. Golf course.

Blackthorn "sloes" bitter. Used to flavour gin.

Sweet damsons in Hainault Lodge LNR.

Two flowers and a red fruit of Butchers Broom.

Holly in berry throughout the forest

Silver birch catkin about to shed seeds

Grey alder "cones" by the lake outfall


Silk button Galls......

 These tiny silk button galls were found on the underside of an English oak leaf. A scan of the buttons shows their silky appearance at 0,25cm  They have developed from eggs laid by a gall wasp Neuroterus numismalis. The leaf will be shed and the gall wasps will develop overwinter.
Flying in.........

An Abacot Ranger duck flies in and Colin Carron captures the moment. 7th September 2016

Abacot ranger duck with an Aylesbury on the lake Photo ©  Colin Carron  7th September 2016.

And finally...........he's back from his holiday!

Trevor, the Muscovy duck is back after a month away. Here, Oscar has been feeding him.  18th September 2016.  Photo © Brian Ecott.

August 2016


Hottest day in London........








21° 23° 27° 31° 27° 25° 25°
Butterflies and moths.........

              Wildlife meadow with Painted lady Vanessa cardui and thistles.  6th August 2016 Photo © Brian Ecott.  

Common blue Polyommatus icarus male butterfly. 12th August 2016. Photos © Colin Carron. This butterfly is uncommon in Hainault Forest due to the continual mowing of its foodplant Bird's foot trefoil.
Gatekeeper, also known as Hedge brown Pyronia tithonus female. 8th August 2016  Gatekeeper, also known as Hedge brown Pyronia tithonus male. 4th August 2016.
The eggs are laid mid July - end September, and the young caterpillars feed on grass stems during October overwintering down in the grasses where they pupate in June when after a month they emerge as adults in June - mid August. Depend on good grassland management.  Photos © Brian Ecott
Meadow brown Maniola jurtina female in the meadow. 8th August 2016. Photo © Brian Ecott. Above feeding on Creeping thistle 6th August 2016. Photo © Michael Rumble The eggs are laid on dry grass blades during July - September. The caterpillars emerge and feed during the winter months, only partially hibernating in very cold conditions. They pupate mid May to mid June and emerge and on the wing late June to late September, visiting Thistles and Knapweed.
 Silver Y moth Autographa gamma  18th August 2016 Photo © Michael Rumble.   A native species of  Britain with huge numbers of migrants coming in to the south from the continent in the summer months.  The Cinnabar moth caterpillar Tyria jacobaeae feeding on its foodplant Ragwort in the meadow. 4th August 2016. Found between July - early September when it pupates in the soil and emerges as a moth May to July. Photo ©  Brian Ecott
Other insects and allies........
Red tailed bumble bee Bombus lapidarius feeding on Knapweed in the meadow on 8th August 2016. Photo © Michael Rumble Hoverfly Volucella inanis on stone parsley in the meadow 8th August 2016. A very large hoverfly. Photo ©  Michael Rumble

Oak Bush Cricket Meconema thalassinum at Café.  23rd August 2016

Photo   Michael Rumble

Meadow grasshopper Chorthippus parallelus in meadow.11th August 2016.

Photo ©  Michael Rumble

Crab spider Misumena vatia awaiting in ambush prey visiting Spear thistle, 12th August 2016.

Photo © Brian Ecott.

Hoverfly Helophilus pendulus on Common fleabane near the lake. 5th August 2016.Photo ©  Brian Ecott

Courtney's kite 17th August 2016 © Raymond Small


Goat's-rue Galega officinalis in flower in the meadow. 7th August 2016  Photo ©  Brian Ecott


Seed head of Wild carrot Daucus carota in the meadow. A close up of the burred seeds above. 12th August 2016. Photo ©  Colin Carron

 Common fleabane  Pulicaria dysenterica by the lake. 12th August 2016.

Photo  ©  Colin Carron

Teasel Dipsacus fullonum in meadow. Originally used for carding or teasing out wool or raising the nap in cloth or baize. 4th August 2016. Photo © Brian Ecott
Hemp agrimony Eupatorium cannabinum growing in swamp at back of lake 8th August 2016  Photo ©  Michael Rumble.

Rest, tranquillity and good quality air at Hainault Forest Country Park.  Photo ©  Brian Ecott.  4th August 2016.

Following his talk with Roger in July, Trevor the Muscovy duck flew off on his August holiday.

We will keep you posted when he returns.


and finally 14th August 2016........

the meadow was cut down, despite all the plants and creatures that were living there and dependent on it. 

Ilford Recorder Billboards outside local newsagents reported "Council destroys meadow" and in the 25th August 2016 issue Reporter Rosaleen Fenton reported Michael Trump's anger that Wanton destruction has occurred to a wildflower meadow in Hainault Forest that had been cut back despite its growing back after the site was used as accommodation  for the 2012 Olympic Games. A Council spokesperson made a complete bungle of an excuse saying that the meadow had gone to seed before being cut, which in itself was a lie (see pictures above) and completely forgot that the wildlife - grasshoppers, frog and toadlets, bees and hoverflies, caterpillars of moths and butterflies were unable to complete their life cycles.


July 2016


Mini heatwave.......?



















Grey Wagtails fledge by lake outfall........

A family of Grey wagtails fledged along the stream which eventually becomes Seven Kings Water. Photos © Colin Caron and taken at the foot of the lake waterfall. A good record for the forest. They were noted as a breeding bird here by the late Mike Dennis in 2006.  7th July 2016.

The female Mallard managed to fledge 6 out of 7 of her ducklings. See previous months pictures. 14th July 2016. Photo ©  Brian Ecott

Insects and other invertebrates........

  Male emperor dragonfly Anax imperator resting on nettles. Britain's largest dragonfly. A southern species. Photos © Michael Rumble.  14th July 2016.

Black-tailed skimmer Orthetrum cancellatum often found resting on the stony edge of the lake. Male has greenish-blue eyes. Photos © Michael Rumble.13th July 2016.


 Common blue damselfly  Enallagma cyathigerum. Pair in tandem. Male on the left. Photo © Michael Rumble.  18th July 2016.

 Male azure damselfly Coenagrion puella. Male has U shaped black mark on segment 2 half visible in close up.   Photos © Michael Rumble.9th July 2016.

Dagger fly Empis sp. on thistle flower. Photo © Michael Rumble 1st July 2016.

Ladybird larvae just emerged from eggs on oak leaf.  Photo © Michael Rumble

12th July 2016.

Green-veined white Pieris napi close up showing white tipped antennae

Photo © Michael Rumble . 19th July 2016..

Painted lady Vanessa cardui. A migrant from North Africa.

May be a couple of generations a year but cannot survive our winters.

Photo © Michael Rumble . 1st July 2016..

 Green-veined white Pieris napi Female.

Photo © Michael Rumble . 13th July 2016..

Large skipper Ochlodes venata. Male pictured has a diagonal scent line on the upper wing. 

Photo © Brian Ecott. 5th July 2016.

Small skipper Thymelicus sylvestris female on stone parsley. Photo © Michael Rumble . 13th July 2016..

 Ringlet in flight Aphantopus hyperantus. Found in grassland and hedges in Hainault.

Photo © Colin Carron 7th July 2016.

 Ringlet Aphantopus hyperantus. Photo © Michael Rumble . 9th July 2016..

Speckled wood Pararge aegeria. Likes dappled sunlight. Photo © Colin Carron. 7th July 2016.

Comma Polygonia c-album  Photo © Colin Carron. 7th July 2016

 Small white Pieris rapae. Male.

Photo © Colin Carron. 7th July 2016

Red admiral Vanessa atalanta. May overwinter but migrates from southern Europe. 

Photo © Colin Carron. 7th July 2016

 Small tortoiseshell Aglais urticae. On the farm.  Photo © Brian Ecott. 5th July 2016.

Gatekeeper Pyronia tithonus. Two white spots in black roundel on inner and outer wings.

Photo © Brian Ecott. 22nd July 2016. 

Hoverfly Eupeodes corollae on ox-eye daisy.

Photo © Brian Ecott. 6th July 2016.

Fly Tachina fera on ragwort Photos © Michael Rumble . 13th July 2016

 Hemipteran bug on Rosa rugosa bud.

Photo © Michael Rumble . 14th July 2016

Common Field Grasshopper Chorthippus brunneus  Photos © Michael Rumble . 25th July 2016..

Tiny willow leaf beetle, metallic blue. Common on the willows around the lake.

Photo © Michael Rumble . 9th July 2016..

Hoverfly Volucella pellucens 14th July 2016. 

Photo © Brian Ecott

Forest shield bug  26th July 2016.  Photo © Brian Ecott

White lipped snail Cephaea hortensis.- light brown form. A very variable colour or marked shell. but the leading edge of the shell is white.

Photo © Colin Carron. 7th July 2016.

Brown lipped snail Cephaea nemoralis. A very variable marked shell. but the leading edge of the shell is brown Photo © Colin Carron. 7th July 2016.

Wolf spider carrying egg sac under abdomen

. 8th July 2016.  Photo © Brian Ecott

Egg shells........


Egg shells of Song Thrush (far left) and Starling (left) .

 After the young hatch the parent bird drops the eggshells well away from the nest. 

26th July 2016 Photo ©  Brian Ecott

Sputnik galls on dog rose.......

Five sputnik galls Diplolepis nervosa on the underside of a dog-rose leaf. Each contain one gall wasp.

Said to resemble the early Russian communication satellites or Sputniks. Scan © Brian Ecott 16th July 2016

Meadow flowers.........

Lady's bedstraw Galium verum  Smells of honey and when dried was used with hay in mattresses, especially of those in childbirth

Photo © Brian Ecott  6th July 2016.  

Upright hedge bedstraw Galium album Found together with the Lady's bedstraw.

Photo © Brian Ecott  6th July 2016.  

Agrimony  Agrimonia eupatoria. A plant of path edges. Photo © Brian Ecott  6th July 2016.

 Wild carrot Daucus carota. An Umbelliferae or Umbrella family plant. The "umbrellas" turn inside out after flowering. A close up of the flowering head show a pink or purple single flower in the centre. Photos © Brian Ecott and Michael Rumble  26th July 2016.


Perennial Sow-thistle Sonchus arvensis. A tall composite - a metre or more. Hairy flower heads. By the toilets. 14th July 2016 Photos ©  Brian Ecott

Thanks to Ken Adams, Botany Recorder, Essex Field Club for the identification.

White bryony Bryonia dioica climbing the maple hedgerow by the farm. Note the spiral tendrils that give it support.   Photo © Brian Ecott  26th July 2016.

Enchanter's nightshade Circaea lutetiana in shaded woodland.

Photo © Brian Ecott  26th July 2016.


Grey squirrel.   Photo © Michael Rumble 14th July 2016.

A Fox slinks away in the distance.   Photo © Colin Carron. 1st July 2016.

On the Farm.......

Alpaca in March 2016

Alpacas shorn 2nd July 2016 Photo ©  Michael Rumble

Toggenberg goat 2nd July 2016  Photo ©  Michael Rumble

Alpaca shorn 2nd July 2016  Photo ©  Michael Rumble

 And finally..........

Fishing legal for Cormorants!  8th July 2016. Photo ©  Brian Ecott

Trevor the Muscovy duck talks to Roger. Photo ©  Jennifer Heywood

 Courtney's kites Photo © Raymond Small

Trevor  Photo © Michael Rumble


June 2016


Storm in early hours of Thursday 23rd June 2016......

Thunder and lightning with a record rainfall fell at Romford and Collier Row in the early hours of Thursday 23rd June 2016. A second thunder storm came at 5pm on the same day. Much of these effects were felt at Hainault when an unprecedented rainfall of 4 cm fell. The feeder stream to the lake flooded the lake area and the lake rose and flowed over its banks all round leaving many of the paths washed away. The waterfall couldn't cope and the water came over the top of the lake causing damage to the Oak path which gives pedestrian access from New North Road. The sound of the waterfall could be heard at the café

The water gauge at noon showed the water at 34 cms (13½ inches) above its normal level although the level would have been higher earlier in the day. At noon Friday 24th  June the water level had fallen to 9 cm above average.




Depth gauge

from left to right

in cms


8th October 2015:


23rd June 2016 midday


Height change

34 cms 

(13½ inch)

24th June 2016 midday


  The whole area was under water, but by noon 23rd June it had receded but it still left the feeding platform beyond reach. Photo © Brian Ecott.
Water thunders over the waterfall taking the water to Fairlop Waters and beyond along Seven Kings Water. Noon 23rd June. Photo ©  Claire Oliverio. Where the lake first overflowed its banks,  the water carried hoggin from the perimeter path and a long way down the Oak Path. Photo ©  Claire Oliverio.
Two spikes of the Common Spotted orchid Dactylorhiza fuchsii ssp. fuchsii was found at its usual site on the 7th June 2016. Photo ©  Brian Ecott A record of 31 spikes of the Bee orchid Orchis apifera were counted this year. Photo © Brian Ecott. 7th June 2016. A further 7 spikes were found at a new site which is very encouraging.
Left: An individual flower of the Common spotted orchid. The lower petal is divided into three lobes.


Right: A close up of the bee orchid flower showing the two yellow pollinia containing pollen.

The flower resembles a female bee resting on it and  the petals smell like female bees by emitting chemical signals and are a deception to lure a real bee to come and mate. The excited male insect becomes covered in pollen and transfers it to the next bee orchid that it visits.

Patterns and Spirals.........
The Ox-eye Daisies like other Composite flowers are not single flowers but an inflorescence containing many flowers arranged on a capitulum. Pictured here are many individual flowers with the older flowers on the outside. Developing flowers are by degrees smaller and the effect is to show spiral patterns. The first two pictures show mature flowers around the edges and the third picture shows about 50% of the flowers in bloom. These flowers are known as disc florets and the white petals are individual flowers known as ray florets.  9th June 2016  Scans © Brian Ecott

Insect portfolio.......

 Photos ©  Brian Ecott unless stated otherwise.

Green-veined white butterfly Pieris napi  on watercress by lake waterfall. 4th June 2016.

Mother Shipton moth Callistege mi on buttercup in meadow 5th June 2016. Longhorn moth Nemophora degeerella. Female, with antennae no longer than wings. 4th June 2016.
Small heath butterfly Coenonympha pamphilus  27th June 2016 on the meadow.

Speckled wood butterfly Parage aegeria

6th June 2016. Photo ©  Colin Carron

Dot moth caterpillar Melanchra persicariae  ox-eye  19th June 2016.

The Lackey moth Malacosoma neustria caterpillar. On bramble but may have fallen from blackthorn or hawthorn. Thanks to Colin Plant, Moth Recorder, London Natural History Society. for the ID. 6th June

Sloe shield bug Dolycoris baccarum

15th June 2016 on nettle.

Forest shield bug Acanthosoma haemorrhoidale

3rd June 2016 on Ash

Sawfly Tenthredo sp. on nettle. 

Photo © Colin Carron 13th June 2016

Ichneumon fly Lissonata sp. on ox-eye daisy.

5th June 2016.

Mining bee Adrena flavipes on Cat's ear.

 Note the orange pollen combs on the hind legs.

15th June 2016.

Hoverfly Sphaerophoria scripta  6th June 2016.

Batman hoverfly Myothropa florea  9th June 2016.

Hoverfly Eupeodes luniger 18th June 2016.

Hoverfly Volucella pellucens 9th June 2016.

Hoverfly Leucozona lucorum ♂  21st June 2016

Hoverfly Eristalis pertinax  21st June 2016.

Hoverfly Eristalis tenax on ox-eye daisy.

21st June 2016

Hoverfly Syrphus ribesi 21st June 2016

Hornet Vespa crabro 21st June 2016.

Thick thighed beetle Oedemera nobilis male

15th June 2016.

Thick thighed beetle Oedemera nobilis.  

Female lacks the swollen thighs   15th June 2016.

Pollen beetle Oedemera sp. 15th June 2016.

Cardinal beetle Pyrochroa coccinea  7th June 2016 on Ox-eye daisy head.

 Tiny 16 spot ladybird Tytthaspis 16-punctata  on ox-eye daisy. Common here. 27th June 2016 

Seven spot ladybird Coccinella 7-punctata

9th June 2016 

Rove beetle aka Devil's coach-horse Ocypus olens 6th June 2016.

Black-tipped soldier beetle Rhagonycha fulva .

28th June 2016

Common Crab spider  Xysticus cristatus. On ox-eye daisy awaiting prey items. 5th June 2016

Nymph of a Bush Cricket (Tettigonidae)

on Cat's ear. Tips of antennae marked with an 'o'  22nd June 2016.

Green lacewing Chrysoperla carnea 

28th June 2016

Dagger fly Empis sp. 10th June 2016

  Black-tailed Skimmer Orthetrum cancellatum. Immature male.. On lake edge 22nd June 2016.  Photo ©  Michael Rumble

Blue-tailed damselfly Ischnura elegans. Vegetation near lake. 28th June 2016.

The meadow...........  

Meadow buttercup Ranunculus acris 7th June 2016. Photo ©  Brian Ecott

Ox-eye daisy Leucanthemum vulgare. 7th June 2016 Photo ©  Brian Ecott

Cat's-ear Hypochaeris radicata on Hog Hill  26th June 2016.  Photo ©  Brian Ecott

Self-heal Prunella vulgaris 25th June 2016  Photo ©  Brian Ecott

Yellow rattle Rhinanthus minor. 7th June 2016  Photo ©  Brian Ecott.

Common knapweed. Centaurea nigra ssp nigra  27th June 2016. Photo ©  Brian Ecott.

Boots and Shoes aka Bird's-foot-trefoil  Lotus corniculatus 27th June 2016 Photo ©  Brian Ecott

Greater bird's-foot-trefoil Lotus uliginosus 27th June 2016

Photo ©  Brian Ecott

Heath speedwell Veronica officinalis on Millennium Hill giving a blue mist on the grassland 15th June 2016. Photos ©  Brian Ecott

Dog rose Rosa canina 8th June 2016  Photo © Michael Rumble

Dog rose Rosa canina in the rain. 8th June 2016  Photo © Colin Carron

Field rose Rosa arvensis 25th June 2016 . The female styles are fused into a column in the centre. Photo ©  Brian Ecott Honeysuckle Lonicera periclymenum  21st June 2016 Photo ©  Brian Ecott

Mallard duck with seven ducklings. 6th June 2016 Photo © Colin Carron

Mallard duck with seven ducklings. 14th June 2016 Photo ©  Brian Ecott

Cormorant in flight.  6th June 2016  Photos ©  Colin Carron

Common whitethroat with a moth. (Angle shades) 15th June 2016. Photos ©  Colin Carron

22nd Ultimo..........  

Jan Peck writes: Young people from St, Paul's, Goodmayes, did a sponsored walk for Christian Aid walking from the Foxburrows Farm to the Camelot, Lambourne End and back through the forest via the lake on 22nd May 2016. Their youth leader arranged a series of games en route. Photo © Jan Peck.

I would welcome photos of activities of youth and adult groups, dog groups ramblers etc with a brief report for the monthly diary provided parental permission is sought.

And finally.........a tiding of Magpies
a Charm, a Murder, a Congregation, a Mischief, a Gulp, or a Tittering of Magpies!  Photo ©  Michael Rumble   21st June 2016.

May 2016


Plant galls........
Large pointed tip nail galls on a large leaf lime are < 8mm in length. They are caused by a mite Eriophyes tiliae. Found on hedge on Hoghill. 22nd May 2016  Photo © Brian Ecott.
Strange "fruits" on a sloe bush along the front fence of the farm, are in fact galls caused by the fungus Taphrina pruni.26th May 2016. They are not edible and have replaced the normal sloes. Photo © Brian Ecott.

Spring fungus on wood on ride. Awaiting identification.

24th May 2016  Photo © Brian Ecott.

Butterflies and other insects.......

Orange tip butterfly Anthocharis cardamines female nectaring on cow parsley. The eggs are laid on Lady's smock and Jack-by-the-hedge. Although superficially like a small white butterfly in flight, the mottled underwing seen in the first two pictures actually shows through the hind wings in photo 3. 22nd May 2016.  Photos © Brian Ecott. Along the Romford Road Hedge path.

Comma butterfly Polygonia c-album Just visible in the picture are the antennae with white tips.  3rd May 2016. Photo © Brian Ecott. Peacock butterfly Inachis io. The left forewing has been damaged but the butterfly can still fly well. Butterflies often rest on the ground for warmth or for getting mineral supplements. 23rd May 2016. Photo © Brian Ecott.

Cardinal beetle Pyrochroa coccinea on nettle. The beetle larvae live in rotting tree stumps. Two similar species found at Hainault, the other having a red head. 24th May 2016. Photo © Brian Ecott.

A tiny Mirid bug Calocoris quadripunctatus (Striped oak bug)  approx 6mm. found on a café table on the 25th May 2016. Photo © Brian Ecott.

Long horned moth Adela reaumurella. On warm, windless days the males swarm. As soon as there is a slight breeze they come to rest on a leaf. The males antennae is is about 3-4 times the length of the body. I have marked the tips with a red dot.3rd May 2016.   Photo © Brian Ecott.

Bee fly Bombylius major. Despite its appearance it is a harmless fly. Often one of the earliest flies to appear in the spring it seeks a piece of bare ground or a dead leaf on which to sun itself. Feeds on pollen and nectar.

13th May 2016. Photo © Colin Carron.

Two probable larval cases of a micro moth on the underside of an alder leaf. About 7mm long. They appear to be attached and make circular waving movements when disturbed.   26th May 2016.  Photo © Brian Ecott.

Caterpillar of the Lackey moth Malacosoma neustria 29th May 2016.

Photo © Brian Ecott. Normally found on hawthorn or blackthorn. May have fallen onto the bramble leaf from from the hedge. With thanks to Colin Plant, Moth recorder, The London Natural History Society.

Nursery web spider Pisaura mirabilis (Pisauridae), A common woodland and grassland species. Photo © Brian Ecott 29th May 2016. With thanks to Peter Harvey Spider recorder of The Essex Field Club for the identification.

Saint Mark's fly Bibio marci. On still days these black long legged flies swarm around the young oaks. They were named after St.Mark's feast day 25th April when the flies were said to appear. A variable date - 13th May 2016 this year. Photo © Colin Carron.

Large black slug Arion (Arion) ater. On the cut grassland on Hog Hill. Not such a pest as other slugs as it prefers dead foliage, and is useful in clearing up grass cuttings on the field. 28th May 2016. Photo © Brian Ecott.

Two shots of a Hoverfly. It beats its wings 120 times per second. 

Photos © Colin Carron. 13th May 2016.

Maytime flowers........
Bird cherry Prunus padus On Hoghill and a few other places throughout the forest.  27th May 2016. Photo © Brian Ecott.

Bird cherry close up of the flowering spikes.17th May 2016.

Photo © Raymond Small

Right of the path is Alice's Hedge, now mature. Contains hawthorn, Hazel, Blackthorn, Guelder Rose, Field maple, Spindle, Dogwood and others.  The path runs alongside the golf course (left). 28th May 2016. Photo © Brian Ecott.

Guelder rose Viburnum opulus flowering in Alice's Hedge. The large showy flowers around the edge of the inflorescence are sterile. The fertile flowers are in the centre.  28th May 2016. Photo © Brian Ecott.

Elderflowers Sambucus niger  Closely related to the Guelder Rose above.  29th May 2016. Photo © Brian Ecott.

Seed cases of Wych elm Ulmus glabra 17th May 2016.

Photo © Raymond Small

Three cornered leek Allium  triquetrum. on Hog Hill near summit entrance. 25th May 2016. Photo © Brian Ecott.

Red campion Silene dioica  throughout the forest. Five deeply divided petals.

23 May 2016. Photo © Brian Ecott.

Yellow rattle Rhinanthus minor. A semi parasite on grasses. Left of the main entrance and possibly sown there several years ago. Doing well.

25th May 2016. Scan © Brian Ecott.

Thyme-leaved speedwell Veronica serpyllifolia. A tiny upright plant in short grassland and woodland edges. 3rd May 2016. Scan © Brian Ecott.3/5











Ragged robin Lychnis flos-cuculi. Closely related to the Red campion above, found  by the lake edge. It has five petals each divided into four fingers. Found locally in damp areas and in Roding Valley. Nationally a declining species.

25th May 2016. Photos © Brian Ecott.


Cow parsley Anthriscus sylvestris along hedges and path edges.23 May 2016. Photo © Brian Ecott. Tormentil Potentilla erecta in heathy grassland areas. Flowers with 4 petals. 23rd May 2016  Photo © Brian Ecott.


Tiny flowers of Field madder Sherardia arvensis 2mm across Found on the kerb edges. Its one of the plants that needs a closer look at. 23rd May 2016.  This plants rarity is due to the vagarious actions of STUB - the Spray and Tidy Up Brigade. Photos © Brian Ecott.

Germander speedwell Veronica chamaedrys in short tuft. Close up shows the two pollen laden anthers and the single female stigma. 24th May 2016.

Photo © Brian Ecott.  

Hemlock water dropwort Oenanthe crocata and Yellow iris Iris pseudacorus by the lake margin 22nd May 2016.  Photos © Brian Ecott.

Yellow iris. A pair of Greylag geese on the left.. 24th May 2016. Photo © Brian Ecott.

D-Day landings? Flotillas of Canadians cross the lake....

28th May 2016. Photo © Brian Ecott.

A crèche of Canada goslings with their minders  24th May 2016. Photo © Raymond Small..

Kites over Hainault.......  

Two of Courtney's kites captured by Raymond Small 23rd May 2016.

And finally...... Colin thought he saur a Branchosaurus

Photo © Colin Carron


April 2016


Oak before Ash, in for a splash!

One of several English oaks in leaf and flower on Millennium hill 10th April 2016.  Photo © Brian Ecott

Flower buds opening on the Ash 26th April 2016. The black leaf buds have yet to open. Photo © Brian Ecott

Hawthorn (May) blossom is flowering early 14th April 2016.

Photo © Brian Ecott

The flowers.......  
 The Cowslips Primula veris have gradually spread over the past five years in the grassland near the main gate. 12th April 2016. Photo © Brian Ecott

Cowslips Primula veris 12th April 2016.  Photo © Raymond Small.

Red deadnettle Lamium purpureum. 12th April 2016. Photo © Brian Ecott

Common Dog violet Viola riviniana, The spur is lighter than the petals. There are a couple of notable woodland patches. 27th April 2016

Photo © Brian Ecott

Early Dog violet Viola reichenbachiana. The spur is as dark as the petals Occasionally found on path edges. 14th April 2016,  Photo © Brian Ecott.

Daisies Bellis perennis in short grassland near Woodhenge. 26th April 2016. Photo © Brian Ecott

Lady's smock aka Cuckoo flower Cardamine pratensis around the lake, and damp grassland. 26th April 2016. Photo  ©  Raymond Small.

Common stork's-bill  Erodium cicutarium. Kerb edges.12th April 2016. Photo © Brian Ecott 

Dove's-foot crane's-bill Geranium molle. Kerb edges. 19th April 2016.  Photo © Brian Ecott Pear blossom Pyrus in hedgerow visited by honey bee. 26th April 2016. Photo © Brian Ecott

Silver-leaved Yellow archangel

Lamiastrum galeobdolon ssp argentatum. 

A naturalised garden escape in woodland near Woolhampton Way. 14th April 2016.

 Photo © Brian Ecott  

White deadnettle Lamium album. Often found amongst Stinging nettles, but harmless 19th April 2016.

 Photo © Brian Ecott

Greater stitchwort Stellaria holostea. Woodland edges  and path edges. Five petals deeply divided. 14th April 2016, Photo © Brian Ecott

Water forget-me-not  Myosotis scorpioides on boulder clay near Sheepwater 20th April 2016

Photo © Brian Ecott 20/4

Coltsfoot Tussilago farfara showing a "clock" from which tiny parachute seeds will blow away in a strong wind. 20th April 2016. Photo © Brian Ecott.

English bluebell Hyacinthoides non-scripta. The only true English bluebell, the flowers hang only from one side, and the anthers are blue. Others are hybrids of the Spanish bluebell which is a weed and widespread garden escape. 20th April 2016. Photo © Michael Rumble

English bluebell. There are patches of our native species on the golf course (above)  and in Lambourne wood.20th April 2016  Photo  © Michael Rumble

A recently opened up ride and ditch off the Oak Path from New North Road is showing some plants of Wood spurge Euphorbia amygdaloides and young ferns. 20th April 2016     Photo © Brian Ecott.

Close up of a flower head of Wood spurge. Wood spurge is a remnant of an ancient woodland once present in this area and now secondary woodland. The strange looking flowers are dealt with below.  Photo © Brian Ecott 20th April '16

The tiny ferns have a grooved midrib and are probably Broad buckler ferns. Photo © Brian Ecott  20th April 2016.





Flowers within a Cyathium (ladle shape). A cross of 4 horseshoes is a nectary. An aphid is standing on it. Two developing cyathia are also seen. Flower parts are much reduced to a minimum. Here a female flower is composed of only stigma, style and ovary. Here is a male flower. Several filaments have two anthers each with pollen. Here is a later stage where the male flower has died back and the two cyathia have opened with the right one showing a female flower.

Scans of four cyathia above showing stages in development of Wood spurge © Brian Ecott  20th April 2016

Male fern Dryopteris felix-mas 27th April 2016. Photo © Brian Ecott.

Pendulous sedge  Carex pendula. A large tufted sedge in waterlogged areas in the woods behind Latchford meadow. 27th April 2016. Photo © Brian Ecott.

Marsh marigold aka Kingcup Caltha palustris 24th April 2016 on edges of Sheepwater. Photo © Michael Rumble.

The Birds......  

Three pictures of a Long-tailed tit searching for nesting material in the branches. The picture immediately above shows a beak full of gossamer.    Photo  ©  Michael Rumble

Goldfinch 10th April 2016. Photo © Michael Rumble

Colin photographed one of our smallest birds -  the Wren. It flits about low in the shrubs and brambles perching typically with its tail raised. 4th April 2016. Photo © Colin Caron

Three images of a male kestrel showing the steel grey head and the grey tail with the black bars 4th April 2016. Photo © Colin Carron 

The first Greylag goose family had seven goslings. Hatched 14th April 2016 they lost two and only three were surviving on the 27th April 2016. They are predated by crows and pike. Photo © Brian Ecott.

Brimstone butterfly males have been seen during  the the most of April.

Pictured left is one taken by Michael Rumble on 24th April last year.

Females are large but paler, creamy-white and appear later.

There have also been several Commas seen

The Mallard variety that was problematic last month was solved on the 21st April 2016. when I approached them on the lake side, they got up and ran away showing that they were Indian Runner ducks!   Photo © Brian Ecott.


No comment! 15th April 2016 Photo © Michael Rumble









Postman Pat and his black and white cat

                              A farm cat posing against a patch of gorse 7th April 2016. Photo © Colin Carron

Tiny pollen beetles Meligethes sp. on dandelion flower 12th April 2016.

 Photo © Brian Ecott

Bumblebee Bombus terrestris on blossom. 14th April 2016.  

Photo © Colin Carron

Above: Dusky slug Arion (Mesarion) subfuscus near the café,

23rd April 2016. Photo © Brian Ecott

Right: Netted field slug Deroceras reticulatum on dandelion. Note the position of the respiratory pore arrowed. Note the thick yellow mucus on the top of the dandelion. 12th April 2016. Photo © Brian Ecott

 With thanks to Simon Taylor, (Recorder of Molluscs in Essex for The Essex Field Club)  for his help with the identification of the slugs.

Slime mould Reticularia lycoperdon. Judging by the number of letters going to NaturePlus at the Natural History Museum this must be appearing all over the place this spring. 7th April 2016. Photo © Colin Carron. For more information see here.

Very little frogspawn was seen in the forest this year. A couple of clutches were seen in the lake. None in Roes well which most years has over 100. Sarah White of the Woodland Trust has also noticed this, although see did note Toad activity in the Woodland Trust cattle ponds near Lambourne.

10th April 2016  Photo © Brian Ecott


Above: Water was cascading over the lake outflow after some previous heavy rainfall. 17th April 2016.  Photo © Brian Ecott.

Left: The newly cleared ditches are now very efficient in carrying away excess water from the forest. Here a stream is starting to green up with mosses.

14th April 2016. Photo © Colin Carron

And finally...... Farewell to Sidney Parker



Sid passed peacefully away on the 14th April 2016, aged 88.

Sidney Parker was born in Ballyragget in southern Eire and he claimed that Saint Patrick told him to go forth, multiply, and Educate the English and  feed The Queen's swans.

Pictured above and left is how most  people walking in the forest will remember Sid, sitting on the memorial seat of his friend John Dick where they formerly used to engage in banter. John was Captain of West Ham just before Bobby Moore's captaincy in the early sixties.

Sid would sit on the seat in all weathers with a thin jacket over a shirt, a pair of shorts and a pair of sandals  In severe winter weather his daughters would deal with his cantankerous behaviour by hiding  his shorts so that he could only wear trousers. He walked with a stick following a couple of road accidents and used the 247 bus to come to the forest clutching his Sainsbury bag with bread for the swans and the other ducks which he loudly called "Quack, quack, quack" to the amusement of  passers by. He talked to everyone going past with their dogs and the seat always caught the morning sun making it the warmest place to be..

After an hour or so he would walk to the café and talk about his meeting with Emperor Haile Selassie of Abyssinia (Ethiopia). His route marches in the army, 4 minute miles, his friend Paddy Finucane ace Irish pilot and very hard times as a child in Ireland. Before you could see him his loud raucous call of "three sugars please" would echo through the forest. We never discovered whether anything was true or a very embellished story.

Because his seat was one side of the lake and the large army camp for the Olympics was between it and the café he found the Camp Commandant and negotiated a  buggy to collect him. His last few years were difficult for him to walk and he was collected and brought to the forest by his friend Roy but his determination to remain  independent, he got a disabled scooter to drive to the forest, often going home in the pouring rain. He will be missed by many regular visitors, passer's by and all who knew him. Our condolences go to his daughters Linda and Theresa their families and Sid's grandchildren.

2012 2014

March 2016


Early one spring,
purely by chance,
I happened to witness
the daffodils dance.

They stopped as I neared them,
and stole me a glance,
But soon carried on
with their daffodil dance.

In bright yellow tophats
and splendid green pants,
They all knew the steps
of the daffodil dance.

Deborah Diesen

bbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbPhotos © Colin Carron 11th and 20th March 2016

Birds and feather

Beautiful picture of a Robin,  Photo © Michael Rumble.  3rd March 2016.

Nuthatch foraging on the ground.  7th March 2016. Photos © Colin Carron

Shoveler duck (male) on the Lake. Its spoon shaped bill is designed to filter the water to collect surface plankton which it feeds on, although if an insect comes nearby it will grab it for food. Its yellow eye is noticeable among ducks. Also pictured is the same bird taking off - heavy and unwieldy.

Photos © Michael Rumble.  3rd March 2016.

Mandarin ducks are returning to the lake. 26th March 2016. Photo ©  Brian Ecott

Mandarin pair perched high up a poplar tree near the lake outfall.

28th March 2016. Photo © Brian Ecott.

Male Tufted duck  3rd March 2016.  Photo ©  Michael Rumble




◄Two large ducks about 50% larger than mallards on the Lake.

    22nd March 2016. Photo ©  Brian Ecott


Thanks to Roy Woodward, Bird Recorder for Essex, London Natural History Society who observes:


Believe it or not, these are both Mallards, and both may be male.


Domesticated Mallards come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes ranging from about half the size of a typical Mallard (Call Ducks) to roughly twice the size (meat breeds such as Aylesbury Ducks).


Their plumage can be just as variable, from all white, to a dark iridescent green all over, and with all sorts of intermediate patterns including pied, brown with white bibs, etc. There are also a number of other odd 'defects' that are selected for in some breeds, including pom-pom like head crests, drooping bills, and the curious upright stance of Indian Runner Ducks.


The one in the front of the photo looks like it is close to the breed known as 'Silver Appleyard'. I'm not sure about the other one, but many domestic Mallards are 'mongrels' and can't be assigned to a particular breed. The forward curved central tail feathers are an indication that both are males, although ducks do sometimes show a form referred to as 'intersex' which are usually thought of as females that have started to acquire plumage more typical of males.



Heads of Canada and Greylag geese. Photos © Michael Rumble. 3rd March 2016.

Flight of the Heron.  Composite picture © Michael Rumble. 11th March 2016,

Three swans. The centre one still has juvenile plumage.  Photo ©  Michael Rumble  7th March 2016.

Aylesbury ducks on the lake.  7th March 2016  Photo © Colin Carron


TAWNY OWL primary wing feather 6 or 7. Woodland behind farm zoo field.

23 cms length.

For more feather pictures click here


Two pictures of the Western polypody fern Polypodium interjectum in Hainault Forest and very rare species in Essex. 8th March 2016. Photo © Martin Bell.

Thanks to Dr Kenneth Adams for a positive identification viewing spore structure under the microscope        

Slime mould Reticularia lycoperdon on rotting birch trunk, Dog Kennel Hill appeared after the heavy rain. 25th March 2016. Photo ©  Brian Ecott

Yellow Brain fungus Tremella mesenterica  on dead branch near the lake. The lobes are yellow-orange,  soft and jelly-like. 4th January 2015. By contrast to the previous picture taken last year, here is the same species which has dried, aged, become wrinkled and turned a deeper orange. Thanks to Mary Smith, Sec. Essex Field Club for her identification and comments. Photo © Brian Ecott 13th March 2016.

Metzgeria furcata on Ash tree at Sheepwater. The small patch of Forked veilwort liverwort on the Ash found last year is still looking healthy.

13th March 2016. Photo © Brian Ecott.

This fallen hornbeam has  finally succumbed the the axeman but shows how these old pollards can be very ancient. Their heartwood has gone and the tree starts to split in half. The living part of the tree is the bark on the outside carrying water and nutrients to the leaves, so  they can live for hundreds of years. 20th March 2016. Photo © Colin Carron.

The Alpacas are back on the farm and zoo. 22nd March 2016.

Photo   ©  Brian Ecott

Pea fowl on roof keeping a watchful eye on a passing cat, 30th March 2016.

Photo   ©  Brian Ecott

FOOTPRINTS - deer slots

Tiny slots of Muntjac deer. The Muntjac is everywhere in the woodland and thickets but rarely seen. Compare the size with the oak leaf . 20th March 2016. Photo © Brian Ecott.

Larger slots of Fallow deer. When the deer treads in deep mud the dew claws may make a mark as arrowed in the photograph. 1st March 2016. Photo © Colin Carron.


Coltsfoot Tussilago farfara  22nd March 2016 around the edge of the lake. The flowers come out before the leaves which are said  to resemble a Colts foot appear.  Photo © Brian Ecott

Snowdrops possibly escapees from the cottages which were demolished here when the reservoir was infilled. Hog Hill, 6th March 2016.

Photo © Michael Rumble

Barren strawberry Potentilla sterilis 22nd March 2016 by Roes well.

Photo © Brian Ecott.

Blackthorn Prunus spinosa  26th March 2016  Photo © Brian Ecott

Cherry Plum Prunus cerasifera. Small white blossom appearing before the leaves. Occurs on woodland edges.  In flower before the Blackthorn and Hawthorn.

22nd March 2016. Photo © Brian Ecott




Michael Rumble found this large pebble in a copse on the golf course. Broken in half it showed a red and white jagged edges.



Dr T. at the Natural History Museum wrote:

" I suggest it is a flint or chert pebble that has been subjected to heat - by man or a forest fire? It was either transported by glaciers or rivers draining the Chalk area to the NW.  Flint pebbles are widespread due to extensive river systems south of the southern glaciation limit. Great colour! "

Photo © Brian Ecott  20th March 2016.







▲Tip of the antenna

has three segments in

this species.

Common shiny woodlouse Oniscus asellus. Found under damp logs. Identifying points are smooth edge to sides of body, three segments to the tip of antennae and a small pointed "tail" or telson arrowed. 25th March 2016. Photos ©  Brian Ecott

Brown Centipede Lithobius forficatus  24th March 2016.

Photo © Michael Rumble

Rove beetle larva (head and jaws, right) 24th March 2016.

Photo © Michael Rumble


Storm Katie brought high winds and heavy rainfall on the night of 27/28th March. A few branches down but little damage. The drainage work carried out during the winter proved very effective, carrying away the floodwater quickly and efficiently. One sighting which may have resulted from the high winds from the west was  a lone House Martin. A few have been seen in the south west recently.  View of Docklands from Hainault lake.  28th March 2016, Photo ©  Brian Ecott.


and finally..........Farewell and Best Wishes to Paul Browne.

The post of Senior manager in charge of Hainault Forest has been withdrawn, and Paul Browne after 18 years in the post has been made redundant. This decision is made by Vision Redbridge   who are being savaged by huge cuts imposed by Redbridge Council. Paul once led a staff who understood how to manage a Country Park, and had to fight against the myth held by the Council Officers that Country Parks should be managed in the same way as Urban Parks like Valentines, South Park etc. Fortunately times are much more enlightened


Paul took over the Senior Management Post from Rory Sidwell in 1998 when the Essex portion of the forest was lost to The Woodland Trust. Several events during Paul's stewardship in the early years were  the Millennium celebrations, and 2002 saw the first Wildflower meadow established and the Christmas decoration workshops and the Walk to Health were pioneered by Linda Herbert. Also  a programme of educational walks in Hainault were about 8 a year and included fungi, galls, lichens, birds and general family walks. These were very successful and often between 30 - 80 attended particularly the Fungi walks. Talks were also given on Birds of Prey, Badgers and Local History and Wildlife.  In 2005 saw the Horse chestnut leaf miner disease  rapidly spread throughout all Redbridge. In 2006 we celebrated the Hainault Forest Centenery  Lord Carrington and John Buxton officiated as did their grandfathers Earl Carrington and Edward North Buxton in 1906. The hard work by staff was rewarded by The first ever Green Flag award.


A Nature Trail was established in 2007 with guided walks, and the following year saw the installation of play areas in the Farm and Zoo and aerial tree climbing area for older youth near the lake. Completion of Woodhenge was in 2008 and a Maypole was set up for dancing and Morris dancers. The Global café opened in July 2009 and the Essex Kite Group ran a kite workshop which was very popular. 2011 saw the Meercats come to the zoo and the Council handed over the Management of Parks (despite a petition of signatories) to Vision Leisure, Redbridge. Despite assurances that nothing would change and we wouldn't notice any differences the Council started imposing heavy cuts of funding which led to cuts in staff and services. The golden years were over.


Hainault Forest has three Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI's) two in the Woodland Trust area and one in the Country Park. Natural England has a statutory duty to monitor these sites and also has a set of desirable criteria for Country Parks and the Green Flag award has high standards expected for their participants. Management walks a fine line.

Paul Browne and Linda Herbert display the Green Flag Award

for Hainault,  6th Sept. 2006. This was the first Green Flag award

for Redbridge out of 87 for the whole of Greater London..

February 2016


The Moss Bryum capillare growing on a tree branch.  16th February 2016  Photo © Michael Rumble

▲►Golden willow Salix alba var 'Vitellina' coppiced stool. One of the original trees planted around the lake in 1910. Their colourful stems are pleasing to look at, at this time of year. Photos © Michael Rumble. 14th February 2016.

A Nuthatch searches for insects and grubs in crevices in the bark of trees. Photos © Colin Carron   18th February 2016

This little acrobat  the Goldcrest searches for small insects. Together with the Wren and the Firecrest the Goldcrest is the smallest of our birds.  Photos © Colin Carron  18th February 2016.

  The three families of Greylag geese have remained together during the harsh winter months. Photo © Brian Ecott 4th February 2016

The Mistle thrush is a resident bird but might migrate within the country.

It sings early, and often nests in February. 18th February 2016.

Photo © Colin Carron

This photograph of oak buds shows the tightly overlapping scales which protect the developing leaves. The old leaf scars are triangular and show beneath the buds. 18th February 2016.  Photo © Colin Carron


Last month's Mystery Photograph

Following lots of searches in books and internet, help from friends and the Natural History Museum, I finally wrote to Professor Bruce Ing, a world authority on slime moulds, living in Scotland. As a boy in the 1950's he lived in East London and although he knew Hainault, he did most of his early natural history studies in Epping Forest. I remember going, as a youngster, and looking at the small exhibit of Myxomycetes (Slime moulds) at the museum in the Queen Elizabeth Hunting Lodge. They fascinated me then!

Professor Bruce readily identified last months mystery photograph as a stage in the life cycle of the slime mould Dictydiathalium plumbeum and reports that there are only a handful of records for Essex. He also spotted  the Slime Mould  Arcyria stipata on the website  found in 2007 which is uncommon and another good record for Hainault Forest.

Dictydiathalium plumbeum on beech  23rd January 2016

Arcyria stipata on rotting wood October 2007

Essex Field▲ Left  a scan of some tiny gilled fungi (approx 1cm across) on a log. Alongside two close up photographs taken by Michael Rumble on 4th January 2016. Thanks to Mary Smith Secretary and Mycologist,  Club who kindly  identified it as Smoked oysterling or Black jelly oyster  Resupinatus applicatus.

▲ Turkey tail bracket fungus on log. Trametes versicolor. A variable coloured series of concentric rings are said to resemble a turkey tail as demonstrated by the late Paxo (photo 2005) who was a favourite on the farm. Photo © Brian Ecott 4th February 2016.
The 28th February 2016 was very cold and windy. This brought out Courtney of the Essex Kite Group with his Christmas presents - a giant ladybird and a fossil trilobite. Photos © Brian Ecott

This tiny Muntjac deer is seen feeding in a newly cleared ride through the scrub between the Lake and the Romford Road. Both Muntjac and Fallow are regularly seen in this area.  11th February 2016  Photos ©  Brian Ecott.

Rabbits come out through the blackberry bushes to feed on the grass.  Photo © Colin Carron.  18th February 2016.

And finally.........

I found this half pint pewter tankard on EBay. It has a Victorian stamp embossed on it.  Etched on the front is G. Raven, Two Brewers, Chigwell Row.

George Raven was the licensee of The Two Brewers in1898  -  CHEERS!



January 2016 extra  

Putting HAINAULT FOREST,  on the map


On Sunday 3rd January with Mick Rumble in tow, I was searching the abundant lichens that we have in Hainault noticeable at this time of year. I came across some Physcia tenella which was pink. I asked Mick to take some pictures for me.

I searched my copy of "Lichens, Illustrated Guide to British and Irish Species" (2000) by Frank S. Dobson, and the web for an answer eventually finding a paper published in America in 2011 showing a pink portion of lichen as in my photo..

Laetisaria lichenicola  Photos © Michael Rumble 3rd January 2016.


Armed with this information, I sent an email to John Skinner, Lichenologist for the Essex Field Club and London Natural History Society. John asked me to keep the specimens dry and send them to him for forwarding to Mark Powell a specialist lichenologist who would examine the specimen under the microscope to compare the details with that of Paul Diederich et al 2011 paper. The details were forwarded to Dr Brian Coppins, Lichenologist of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Edinburgh who hadn't seen the paper but agreed that this was indeed Laetisaria lichenicola.

It is good to know that Hainault Forest although small in area but varied in soil types has a wealth of Natural History on London's doorstep.

My thanks to John Skinner, Mark Powell and Brian Coppins for their help and encouragement

January 2016


Challenge January...........

what is there to find at Hainault in this bleak month?

An Oak tree on the golf course on top of Dog Kennel Hill, 28th January 2016. Photo © Brian Ecott. The characteristic shape and twisting branches provided wood that could be easily shaped for use in ship building. Timber had been taken from Hainault Forest since Henry VIII and James I when the Kings Wood  was over 2,900 acres. Oaks and other timber were taken from time to time from Hainault from the 16th to 18th centuries, overseen by Samuel Pepys who in his time was an important figure in the Navy.

It has been claimed that in 1798 the Navy's flagship Temeraire was built from Hainault Forest oaks, but at 4 oaks per acre this would not have been possible, as even if all the timber was taken out it would only have provided four days work for the dockyard.

The 98-gun ship played an important role in Nelson's victory at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805 after which she was known as The Fighting Temeraire and she remained in service until 1838 when she was decommissions and towed from Sheerness to Rotherhithe to be broken up.

◄In 1839 Joseph M.W. Turner painted The Fighting Temeraire towed by tug on its final voyage marking the end of the sailing ship era and the beginning of steamships.

                                    Thanks to The National Gallery for use of the picture.

16th January 2016  This mysterious thing was found growing on a fallen beech tree. It had moved through a several black/brown fungi identified as Beech woodwart Hypoxylon fragiforme. It remained here until it changed appearance and appeared to be moving on the 24th January and by the 28th January it had gone. Mary Smith of The Essex Field Club examined a portion under the microscope and stated that it showed little and suggested what about a slime mould. I had seen several slime moulds in the forest in the sporing stage so I  searched Bruce Ing's 1999 book  "The Myxomycetes of Britain and Ireland" for each species found here at Hainault. One possible clue is the slime mould Lycogala epidendrum which has a carmine coloured plasmodium (like a giant amoeba). Could it be this? The Natural History Museum think it's possible. More news when I get an identity or confirmation.

 GOING  GOING.......     24th January 2016 GONE !!   28th January 2016  Photos ©  Brian Ecott


Beech woodwart Hypoxylon fragiforme a common fungus on fallen and dying beech trees, Plentiful on Dog Kennel Hill. They belong to a group of fungi don't have gills and are known as spore shooters.

Enlarged right is the same is the same fungus Hypoxylon fragiforme  which has tiny red dots on it. This is another spore shooter known as Nectria episphaeria. This is fairly common but not as common as the closely related Coral spot Nectria cinnabarina (below) but found a few times in recent years in  Essex

With thanks to Mary Smith, Secretary of The Essex Field Club, a very keen mycologist and botanist,

 Photo © Brian Ecott.  16th January 2016.


Sycamore twig with Orange Coral spot fungus Nectria cinnabarina and the foliose lichen Physcia tenella.


Jelly ear Auricularia auricula-judae. Commonly found on Elder in the forest. Photo  ©  Brian Ecott  8th January 2016.

January has been a mixture of highs and lows bringing cold crisp and sunny contrasted with damp dull weather and with very strong, sometimes gale force winds. I decided to take a close look at the many twigs and branches that had broken off the trees, especially oaks beeches and poplar. I have used my Epson Perfection 1660 photo scanner to present the twigs at life size, which can be read from a centimetre rule to allow for screen size and at the same time to scan the twigs at a  high magnification  to show the beauty of the lichens, fungi and mosses. A hand lens is always useful.  A x10 will show the details below, and some SILVA compasses incorporate a magnifier. All are scans unless stated. The above scan shows the underside of the Jelly ear.

                                                   ▲1                   ▲2                               ▲3         ▲4  ▲5                               ▲6
Above is a typical oak twig 17 cms in length and it has a covering of lichens. The numbers 1 - 6 represent areas of the twig that have been magnified and are shown below.  Some of the lichens show disc-like fruiting bodies. December to March is a good time to look for these. I hope to produce a lichen page with more biological information later. But for now just enjoy!
1. Crustose lichen Lecanora chlarotera 2. Foliose lichen Xanthoria parietina 3. Foliose lichen Physcia tenella
4. Crustose lichen Lecidella elaeochroma 5. Foliose lichen  Melanelixia subaurifera 6. Foliose lichen Physcia adscendens


Crustose lichens Lecidella elaeochroma (black fruiting bodies) and Lecanora albella (white fruiting bodies) on bark of young ash tree. A black line from the L. elaeochroma separates the colonies. Photos © Michael Rumble  5th January 2016.

          ▲1       ▲2                                        ▲3


Lichen covered twig with foliose lichens 1. Parmelia sulcata and

2. Melanelixia subaurifera. The black jelly fungus 3. is Witches Butter Exidia glandulosa.


Pictured right shows the Witches Butter fungus with lichen Parmelia sulcata.


Beech twig with the fungus Beech barkspot Diatrype disciformis.

The fungus lives under the thin bark and pushes its way through, showing the flaps of bark surrounding it.


Grey poplar twig with Poplar bells fungus Schizophyllum amplum. This is the first time that I have seen this.  On Water poplar and Grey poplar twigs.



Crustose lichen Arthonia radiata on ash twig. The fruiting bodies are star shaped


Foliose lichen Phaeophyscia orbicularis A small lichen with the light green outer lobes hand like or palmate



Wood Bristle moss Orthotrichum affine forms tiny cushions on twigs. The grey lichen Physcia adscendens is also present.

Feather moss Eurhynchium praelongum common on fallen branches and dead hedging in the forest.


►  Grey Cushion moss Grimmia pulvinata hemispherical cushion on a fence post. The leaves have a long hair at their tips which is about the same length and gives the moss a grey appearance. The capsules are turned into the cushion.  Photos ©  Brian Ecott.  25th January 2016.
Nature detective.......
Signs of Badger activity, and Muntjac poo.   Photos ©  Brian Ecott  28th January 2016.  See also Nature Detectives pages here.

Lake reflections with gulls and waterfowl standing on thin ice. Photo © Colin Carron  21st January 2016.

 Holly buds and flowers. The picture right shows male flowers. Each holly bush will carry either male or female flowers. Photos © Colin Carron 18th Jan. 2016.

Complaints of the state of paths in the winter months occur every year. The path featured here is a hard path but is covered in leaf mulch from leaf-fall. Other paths reflect the use to which the paths are put. Horses in some parts, Mountain bikes in another, Walkers, Athletes but also heavy machinery is used to keep the waterways open. Most work carried out in woodlands is done November to March. Even the branches that fall into streams during high winds will block streams which may overflow and wash away paths. More importantly Chigwell Row Common, Dog Kennel Hill and Hog Hill mark the boundary of the Metropolitan Water Catchment area. Water from these areas all collects and drains to the lower areas of the forest on to the London clay and drains through the lake to Seven Kings Water on Fairlop Plain. The best advice is to avoid these areas at this time of year, visit the farm and café instead. Many people like the forest in the winter but are suitably clad with wellies, warm clothing and a fold-up brolly. Don't moan - enjoy.  Photos © Colin Carron  11th and 27th January 2016. 


A deep hole has been cut by a stream originating at the back of Woolhampton Way. The sides of the stream are falling in and there is a danger to children, dog walkers and to the cattle.

The hole is about 5 foot deep. The Woodland Trust officer Tony Chadwick was  notified about it in early December.


Photo © Brian Ecott.  25th January 2016
And finally.............



The Woodland Trust resurface the car park opposite "The Camelot",

Lambourne End.


Pictures © Colin Carron