Hainault Forest Website
Written and Designed by © Brian Ecott

Snow arrives at Hainault 10th December 2017

Trees on Cabin Hill (Left)  Lake island (Above), Holly (Below).
The snow had cleared within three days. 10th December 2017. Photos © Brian Ecott.

Essex Field Club Social and Exhibition at Wat Tyler Park, Pitsea.

Raymond Small and I represented Hainault Forest in publicising the Biodiversity of Hainault Forest to members of the Essex Field Club and members of the public at Wat Tyler Park, Pitsea, Essex on the 2nd December 2017. Photo © Patrick Smith.

December miscellany

Male Kestrel in flight 5th December 2017 Photo © Michael Rumble
Two views of a male kestrel perched near the lake. A lone male kestrel has been seen throughout the month hunting over the amenity grassland opposite the café 15th December 2017. Photos © Brian Ecott,
Jackdaw on the amenity grassland 15th December 2017. There is a large population of Jackdaws in the Country Park. Photo © Brian Ecott

Goldfinch feeding on thistle heads on by the lake 27th November 2017 Photo © Raymond Small Robins are all around us in the forest bushes and shrubs. Although mainly silent and without a territory at this time of year, a slight movement gives their position away.. Photo 1st December 2017. Photo © Raymond Small. 
Three drakes and two mallard females on a thin layer of ice on the lake. 16th December 2017. Photo © Brian Ecott

There have been a dozen or more pairs of Shoveller ducks on the lake throughout the month. These are winter visitors and can be seen usually in pairs with beaks on the water surface collecting food and insect debris from the water surface. The drake is seen on the left above, and the female on the right.

15th December 2017. Photos © Brian Ecott

Two  Black headed gulls in winter plumage with the dark head feathers replaced by a black area behind the eye. Here they are on thin ice with their reflections captured nicely by © Michael Rumble. 18th December 2017.
A small troop of Field blewits Lepista saeva in the grassland near the lake. Note the purplish stems. 4th December 2017. Photo © Brian Ecott Another picture © Michael Rumble of a Black-headed gull perched on the water gauge by the lake outflow. 6th December 2017.
Buttercaps Collybia butyracea are quite numerous in the woodland. Often the only  species present in the leaf litter especially towards the end of the month. 5th December 2017 Photo  © Brian Ecott On a rotting log in Hainault Lodge local nature reserve is this Black jelly fungus Exidia plana 19th December 2017  Photo © Brian Ecott
Common shiny woodlice Oniscus asellus under bark. 5th December 2017. Photo © Brian Ecott Hainault Lodge A Leopard and a Black slug under bark at Hainault Lodge 5th December 2017. Photo © Brian Ecott
A caterpillar of a micro moth has been living and growing in a serpentine or snake-like mine on a blackberry leaflet. It started life as an egg where the yellow arrow points, and it's growth can be traced by the thickening mine where it will eventually pupate and emerge as a tiny moth in the spring. 5th December 2017 Photo © Brian Ecott. Developing berries on ivy are a good source of food to resident and immigrant warblers like the Blackcap in the early spring before insects become numerous. 15th December 2017. Photo © Brian Ecott. 
Canada geese crop the grass on the amenity grassland and in return fertilise the soil with their droppings. 19th December 2017. Photo © Brian Ecott.
Winter is a good time to see one of two Holm oaks Quercus ilex by the second car park. With the surrounding willows leafless the evergreen oaks are plain to see. 15th December 2017. Photo © Brian Ecott.

And finally.........

Time for Santa and Helper to take refreshments at the café

With continued thanks to

Martin Bell, Colin Carron,

Michael Rumble, Raymond Small and Michael Trump for their photographs and to various specialists who give their time and support, to help with difficult identifications.

Delicious soup, fresh filled rolls, chip meals with hot drinks, children's treats and other refreshments are a welcome break for Santa and other forest visitors at this time of year.

Wishing everyone a Happy Christmastide and  New Year's Greetings.




LEST WE FORGET  Hainault Forest Country Park's Tribute 11th November 2017

Carrion Crows

This couple of Carrion Crows were pictured by Raymond, atop a hawthorn bush near the café. November 2017 Photo © Raymond Small

The Heathland

Wow! After years of neglect by previous officers of the Woodland Trust, the heathland has had a makeover, and has been cleared, leaving the European gorse, Dwarf gorse, Broom, Heather or Ling. Petty whin is still hanging on. Previously the cattle that were present to keep the vegetation down could not even enter the site due to overgrown bramble,  birch  and aspen scrub. Thanks to Nathan and Paul and the team. The site is unique together with a patch in the Chigwell Recreation Ground across the road. The sandy soil was dumped here at the last glaciation and represents the most southerly extent in this part of Essex. A few soil scrapes suggested by Dr Kenneth Adams across the road has seen the recovery of Lousewort and hopefully here which was last seen in the nineteen ninties..

Lousewort Pedicularis sylvatica 2014 Chigwell Row Rec. Heathland Area.  Photo © Brian Ecott

The Lucombe Oak - A notable tree 

The Lucombe Oak Quercus x hispanica Lucombeana at the back of Hainault Lodge Local Nature Reserve, on the edge of the Redbridge Cycling Centre. The tree retains its leaves in the winter.14th November 2017. Photo © Brian Ecott.

Leaf lengths vary from 3.5 - 7.5 cm  Mean of 20 leaves 5.3 cms




Raymond measures the girth as 3.97m   
Fallen Gooseberry galls Andricus grossulariae  ♀♂ at the foot of the Lucombe oak. Photo © Raymond Small. 14th November 2017


Snowy waxcap Cuphophylus virgineus [syn Hygrocybe virginea] Hog Hill, 9th November 2017  Photo © Brian Ecott
Butter waxcap Hygrocybe ceracea 6th November 2017. Photo © Brian Ecott

   The Deceiver Laccaria laccata on Cabin Hill 22nd November 2017

Photo © Brian Ecott

Brownedge bonnet Mycena olivaceomarginata. A common small bonnet in grassland in most areas. 22nd November 2017 Photo © Brian Ecott

Lilac bonnet Mycena pura is a large bonnet up to 5 cms across cap. The base of the stem is covered in white fibres. Found in beech litter by the golf course. 22nd November 2017. Photo © Brian Ecott.

Clouded agaric aka Clouded funnel Clitocybe nebularis in secondary woodland areas. 22nd November 2017. Photo © Brian Ecott.

Old faithful, Fly agaric Amanita muscaria appears at last at a spot on Lower Cabin Hill near a Silver birch tree with which it has a symbiotic relationship. It appears regularly at this spot although it is two months later than those seen elsewhere in September (see this page).

22nd November 2017. Photo © Brian Ecott.

Two Wood Blewits on Dog Kennel Hill. 24th November 2017.

Photo © Brian Ecott

A cup fungus Peziza sp. on rotting beech bark, Dog Kennel Hill

24th November 2017. Photo © Brian Ecott

Oyster mushroom Pleuteus ostreatus on oak, Cabin Hill. 21st November 2017. Photo © Brian Ecott


Ramalina fastigiata lichen blown down from oak tree. This is an increasing species in Hainault Forest. Photo © Brian Ecott. 19th November 2017 Lecidella elaeochroma - a crustose lichen is frequently found on ash bark. Photo © Brian Ecott. 19th November 2015.


Autumn colours of the willows marking the site of Foxburrows Farm Pond. Photo © Brian Ecott. 11th November 2017.
Oak Marble galls Andricus kollari ♀♀ on oak scrub in hedgerow. Although the oak leaves are showing their autumn colours and will fall the galls will be retained maybe for several years. Photo © Brian Ecott  19th November 2017
A view of Lower Cabin Hill from the lake. Photo © Brian Ecott. 19th November 2017.
2.15pm. 24th November 2017. The cold winter evenings begin to close in at the lake.  Photo © Brian Ecott

Invertebrates under bark


Queen hornet Vespa crabro (above) hibernating upside down under bark of oak log, and fitting snugly in  cut out chamber in the rotting log (pictured below)..

Hog hill. 26th November 2017  Photo © Brian Ecott

Common striped woodlouse Philoscia muscorum 14th November 2017

Photo © Brian Ecott

Common striped woodlouse Philoscia muscorum side view walking

14th November 2017  Photo © Brian Ecott

Common striped woodlouse Philoscia muscorum 14th November 2017

Photo © Brian Ecott

Common shiny woodlouse Oniscus asellus 14th November 2017

Photo © Brian Ecott

Common Rough woodlouse Porcellio scaber. Variable in colour. (See below left)  14th November 2017  Photo © Raymond Small

Common rough woodlouse Porcellio scaber. Two small yellow centipedes also present. 14th November 2017  Photo © Brian Ecott

Various eggs under bark. 15th November 2017 Photo © Brian Ecott
Small Spider under bark  16th November 2017 Photo © Brian Ecott Buzzing Spider Anyphaena accentuata showing the marking on the abdomen     (inset) , Photo © Raymond Small. 14th November 2017
Millipede Cylindoiulus punctatus  14th November 2017

Photo © Brian Ecott

White legged Millipede Tachypodoiulus niger 14th November 2017

Photo © Raymond Small

Flat backed millipede Polydesmus denticulata 16th November 2017

Photo © Brian Ecott

Beetle larva 14th November 2017 Photo © Brian Ecott

Underground Common Wasp nest

A Common wasp nest on a ditch bank near the Oak path has been dug out probably by a Badger. There is no honey in a wasp nest, but the wasp grubs provide a rich source of protein  The wasps feed on sugary foods, nectar or fruit. Honey is also sourced if they are able to steal it from a bee colony. As sources are depleted in autumn the wasps will turn to a ready source of sweet things at the Café. 6th November 2017 Photo © Brian Ecott

Two views of the damaged nest with some very lethargic female worker Common wasps. Only the new Queens will overwinter to create new colonies in the Spring. Poking around in this debris was my downfall - I got stung, but only once. 6th November 2017.  Photos © Brian Ecott
The wasps are standing on part of the outside wall of the nest decorated with white paper  made by the wasps chewing wood and mixing with saliva The individual tiers of honeycomb are filled with eggs and larvae and each tier is supported by well placed paper columns

 Four grubs are seen in this honeycombed layer. The grubs are fed on pieces of insect, and it is little known that a vast quantity of pests are removed by wasps. Photo © Raymond Small 6th November 2017.  Pictured right is a Common wasp feeding on a Red admiral butterfly nearby on the Oak Path to feed the grubs. and pictured last month 20th October 2017. Photo  © Raymond Small.




The wasp mimic hoverfly

Volucella zonaria

on a sycamore leaf, Hog Hill

15th September 2003

Photo © Brian Ecott


In Autumn the Hoverflies Volucella zonaria and V. inanis pass freely into the wasp nest without being challenged and lay their eggs among the wasp grubs. The larvae are voracious feeders and feed on the wasps by grasping them over the thorax and abdomen where they are safe  and are able top devour them. They overwinter in the nest and  emerge in the spring as adult Hoverflies. The grey larva in the top left corner is Volucella zonaria.  Photo © Brian Ecott 7th November 2017.

Aylsa worries about a net



is one year old

Click here

to see Raymond's refreshing site

with thanks for the above photographs to Brian Ecott, Michael Rumble, Raymond Small and Michael Trump

and finally

New Dog seen at Hainault No. 129

ALAPAHA BLUE BLOOD  BULLDOG Photo © Raymond Small 21st November 2017 CLICK HERE to view all the dogs seen in Hainault

October 2017
This great picture of a cob Mute swan in flight was taken © Michael Trump  on the 3rd October 2017

Relaxing after planting acorns hopefully to dig up later in the winter, this grey squirrel was photographed © Michael Trump on the 1st October 2017.

What do wasps eat? This Common wasp was seen eating a Red admiral butterfly along the Oak path near the New North Road entrance,

Photo © Raymond Small 20th October 2017

Red October day

This was the sky at 3pm on Monday 16th October 2017 on Hog Hill © Raymond Small. By the time children were leaving school around 4pm. Barkingside High Street was dark and gloomy and the street lamps were on. The tail end of the notorious Hurricane Ophelia brought tropical air from the Sahara carrying sand and added to by the smoke from Forest fires in Spain and Portugal. The next day the sky was back to normal,

Important: Late flowering ivy and Michaelmas daisies for insects.

Late brood of Comma butterfly Polygonum c-album on Michaelmas daisy. 8th October 2017. Photo © Brian Ecott
Late brood of Common blue butterfly Polyommatus icarus on Michaelmas daisy 24th October 2017, Photo © Raymond Small
The autumn generation of Holly blue lays eggs in the flowers of ivy where it overwinters as a pupa. The spring generation emerges to lay their eggs on holly.  Photo © Raymond Small. 27th October 2017
Three of at least eight Red admirals  nectaring at one time on the ivy near the Global Café. 25th October 2017. Photo © Brian Ecott
Two Seven spot Ladybirds Coccinella septempunctata photographed 8th and 16th October 2017 respectively. Photo © Brian Ecott
Green shield bug Palomena prasina  on Hazel, Hog Hill. 8th October 2017 Photo © Brian Ecott

Squash bug Coreus marginata on nettle 9th October 2017 Hog Hill..

Photo © Brian Ecott

Honey bee on ivy collecting pollen. Note the pollen sac on its leg.

16th October 2017. Ivy bush near Global café.  Photo © Brian Ecott.

Hoverfly Platycheirus sp. Female 6th October 2017 on Cat's Ear, Hog Hill  Photo © Brian Ecott

Hoverfly Syrphus vitripennis 17th October 2017 on Hogweed.

Photo © Brian Ecott

Hoverfly Sphaerophoria sp. female on ivy flower near Global café. Note the yellow antennae Photo © Brian Ecott. 22nd October 2017

Tachinid fly on Michaelmas Daisy. Photo © Raymond Small. 24th October 2017.

 Del Smith, Recorder of Diptera, Essex Field Club reports that this is almost certainly a Siphona geniculata female. Parasitic on Craneflies

The Tree Bumblebee Bombus hypnorum relatively new in Southern England. 22nd October 2017. On Michaelmas Daisy. Photo © Raymond Small
I saw this tiny moth flying on Hog Hill and Raymond Small gave chase and took this  lovely picture of it. It is a Vestal moth Rhodometra sacraria. It is a migrant moth from North Africa and Southern Europe. and its markings are temperature controlled by the pupa. This is a low temperature moth and the band is black with straw coloured wings. suggesting that it is from further north of Europe. 19th October 2017 © Raymond Small.

Cranefly on Global Café window

Cranefly on Global cawindow.

The picture on the right - a body close up shows two club shapes organs which are replacing the second pair of wings lost in evolution.

 In two winged flies (Diptera) the halteres provide a means of encoding body rotations of yaw, roll and pitch during flight. This enables the insect to make corrections to enable a smooth flight.

Dogfight over Hainault

A Carrion crow approaches a gliding Buzzard, flies above it and then swoops down attacking it from behind.  Photos © Michael Trump. 1st October 2017.

Crows and other birds will often try to chase a potential predator away,


Common puffballs Lycoperdon perlatum in grassland near yellow ant colonies at back of lake, They are full of fine, powder-like spores which puff from tiny holes in the tops when struck by raindrops. 29th October 2017. Photo © Brian Ecott.
Golden spindles Clavulinopsis fusiformis 29th October 2017. In the same grassland as the Puffballs above, Photo © Brian Ecott

  Charcoal burner Russula cyanoxantha 6th October 2017 Hog hill.

Photo © Bran Ecott

Pink stemmed, pink pored Bolete. In Horse pasture. Possibly damaged by a pony. Yet to be identified, Help please..

20th October 2017, Photo © Brian Ecott.

Sulphur tuft Hypholoma fasciculare. Growing on a small stump on the ridge path of Dog Kennel Hill. 27th October 2017     Photo © Brian Ecott 

Crazed cap Entaloma infula  23rd October 2017  Photo © Brian Ecott

Ivory bonnet Atheniella [Syn. Mycena] flavoalba in several grassland areas,

23rd October 2017  Photo ©  Brian Ecott

Common Earthball Scleroderma citrinum 20th October 2017 on Millennial Hill (Cabin Hill) Photo © Brian Ecott. The skin is tough, unlike the puffballs above, and the skin breaks down to reveal a mass of spores,
Pink bonnet Mycena rosella 10th October 2017. Photo © Brian Ecott.

Pleated inkcap Parasola [syn. Coprinus] plicatilis. 24th October 2017.

Photo © Brian Ecott

This large grassland species is Field blewit Lepista personata, and it has a cap diameter of 13 cms. The stem is lilac colour. Found on Lord's Pond field near the Country Park main entrance. Photo © Brian Ecott. 27th October 2017.

Waxcaps on grassland

Parrot waxcaps Gliophorus psittacinus [Syn. Hygrocybe psittacina] group on Hog Hill grassland  Photo © Brian Ecott. 16th October 2017.

Various waxcaps found in the horse pasture  Photos © Brian Ecott  20th October 2017

Waxcaps on the Acid grassland clearing,  Cabin Hill 21st October 2017  Photos © Brian Ecott

More waxcaps on Acid grassland clearing. Cabin Hill. 23rd October 2017  Photo © Brian Ecott

Cherry galls

Two Cherry Galls Cynips quercusfolii ♀♀ still attached to fallen oak leaves in the plantation 25th October 2017. Photo © Brian Ecott.

Veteran Tree - 1   Silver birch Betula pendula


Silver birch trees' Betula pendula usual life span is around 25 - 40 years before they are blown down or the tops are snapped off in gales. They may also succumb to fungal disease such as Birch bracket. Fortunately they are good recolonisers after storms and fires. There are several stands of trees that have grown following the hurricane of '84.

Along the ridge of Dog Kennel Hill are several birches where the girth measured at four foot shows them to be veterans. Here Raymond Small is measuring the girth which was 2.55 metres

Photos © Brian Ecott. 10th October 2017.


Red spot on Broad-leaved dock leaf. Causative organism - an Ascomycete, Ramularia rubella. Photo .© Brian Ecott. 6th October 2017

Long serpentine mines on Creeping thistle Cirsium arvense,

Possibly Chromatomyia 'atricornia' 8th October 2017. Photo © Brian Ecott.

In the Farm and Zoo

"Here's looking at you, kid." - Bogart, Casablanca 1942. Come to the zoo and find out who I am. Photo © Brian Ecott Toggenburg goat - see you at the zoo. Photo © Brian Ecott

and finally........the things I do for the website!



Bumblebee Bombus terrestris 

Photos © Raymond Small



September 2017
 The EXLER Family Annual Reunion 10th September
It's good to see families like the Exler family enjoying Hainault Forest on the 10th September 2017. There is ample parking, toilets, café, grassland for play and picnics, and woodland for walks and exploration. Photos © Brian Ecott.

On the Lake

This odd looking goose was photographed by Michael Trump  alongside a Canada goose on the Lake on the 12th September 2017. Photo © Michael Trump.
The beak tip [A] nostril [B] and the cream cheek patch [C] compared to the normal Canada goose markings and including  the length of the neck abruptly changing white at the base [Top picture] suggests that this is an aberrant Canada goose.  Photos © Brian Ecott.

Dogs Breeds at Hainault  126 and 127  Click HERE for webpage

Ormskirk aka Lancashire Heeler Italian Maremma


This magnificent picture of a Batman Hoverfly Myathropa florea. Female. Note the Batman logo on the lower part of the thorax, Wing length 7-12mm.

19th September 2017. Photographed on an ivy leaf, © Raymond Small.

Squash bug Coreus marginatus. Adult, on the leaf of Curled dock, Hog hill. 7th September 2017. Photo © Brian Ecott.
Caterpillar on Curled dock. Hog hill is an instar of the Knotgrass moth Acronicta rumicis.  7th September 2017. Photo © Brian Ecott.



Larva of  Squash bug Coreus marginatus on the head of Curled dock, Hog hill. Photo © Brian Ecott. 7th September 2017

This spectacular  moth caterpillar sent to me by the Galpin Family and found feeding on waterlilies in their garden pond in Lambourne End is the larva of The Elephant Hawk moth Deilephila elpenor. Common food plants include the Willowherbs and Fuchsias.  Photo © Janet Galpin. 23rd August 2017.

Common wasp Vespula vulgaris on an oak leaf. 5th September 2017. Photos © Brian Ecott.

Cardinal beetle Pyrochroa coccinea larvae (approx 2cm length) under hornbeam log in Lambourne Wood. 26th September 2017 Photo © Brian Ecott.

INSET: Adult Cardinal beetle often found on nettles.

Mines in the leaf of Lesser Burdock caused by the larva of a tiny fly Phytomyza lappae. The larvae live, feed and grow. in the mines but pupate outside the leaf to become adults. 22nd September 2017.  Photo © Brian Ecott.


Four tiny galls, 3mm, on the midrib of a Turkey oak leaf  and a more mature red one caused by Pseudoneuroterus saliens ♀♀ [syn. Neuroterus].

Photo © Brian Ecott 23rd September 2017

Two Cherry galls attached to the underside of an English oak leaf.   Photo © Brian Ecott 23rd September 2017

A plethora of Ramshorn galls Andricus aries have been seen this year at Hainault. 5th September 2017. Photo © Brian Ecott.

Yellow rust on bramble leaves

 Pale bramble rust Kuehneola uredinis occurring on Bramble leaves in the hedgerow. 10th September 2017 Photos © Brian Ecott..  

Creeping thistle, bleached tops

Creeping thistles at the back of the lake appear to have White tip disease. This is found in the South-East and also in Canada, and is caused by the fungus  Phoma macrostoma.  9th September 2017, Photos © Brian Ecott. The reference below gives an abstract of a paper on White tip disease, part of which is printed below.


Cirsium arvense (Asteraceae) is known as creeping thistle in its native range in the UK and Canada thistle in its invasive North American range. Recently, the fungus Phoma macrostoma was registered in Canada as a bioherbicide in turfgrass, where it causes severe chlorosis (White Tip disease) and death of C. arvense and other broadleaved weeds. It was hypothesised that the disease originated in the UK on its thistle host and, therefore, that fungal isolates from both countries should be biologically and genetically similar. Twenty-six strains in the genus Phoma– isolated during surveys in the UK – were compared morphologically with the type culture of P. macrostoma, tested for bioherbicidal activity using the inoculum mat bioassay and genetically screened with bioherbicide-specific primers. White tip disease was found to be restricted to the eastern and southern counties of England. Phoma macrostoma was isolated consistently from diseased bleached tissues. Bioherbicidal isolates of P. macrostoma occupy a unique clade, which is phylogenetically distinct but morphologically indistinguishable from the type culture. Most isolates from the UK had the same bioherbicidal activity and similar genetic make-up as strain SRC 94-44B, the active ingredient in the registered Canadian product. The origin of all bioherbicidal strains found to date has a clear presence in both Canada and the UK, with strong genetic similarities, supporting the view of a common ancestry. Thus, on the evidence presented, the ‘white tip’ clade of P. macrostoma evolved in southern England. Therefore, the bioherbicide based on strain SRC 94-44B should also be eligible for registration in the UK, based on the pest risk assessment data already available.                                                                                                      



Cladonia chlorophaea a cup lichen on a rotten log in the horse pasture. Each cup measures 5-6mm and around the cup edges are red projections.

14th September 2017. Photo © Brian Ecott

Slime mould

This is Dog vomit or Porridge Slime mould Mucilago crustacea on grass just inside the Oak path gate. It is a complex organism which has its own Kingdom - the Slime moulds, They are not related to fungi. 23rd September 2017. Photo © Brian Ecott.

Polypody ferns

Common Polypody fern Polypodium vulgare between the roots of a Yew tree at the front of All Saints Church, Chigwell Row

17th September 2017 Photo © Brian Ecott

Western Polypody Polypodium interjectum  a moss covered branch on Cabin Hill. Photo © Brian Ecott.

Thanks to Dr Kenneth Adams for the identification of the polypody ferns above which are identified by the annulus and a count of the viable spores.

Dwarf mallow

Dwarf mallow Malva neglecta  on path edge Chigwell Row 19th September 2017. Photo © Raymond Small.


Parasol Mushroom Macrolepiota procera in a small grassy clearing in Woodland on Cabin Hill  23rd September 2017. Photos © Martin Bell..

Cap 28cm diameter  Note the very large white ring on the stem.

The first sighting of a Fly agaric Amanita muscaria was on the 25th September 2017. Up the footpath beyond the cottages, the fly agaric is associated with the roots of silver birch. It has not yet appeared at other known sites. © Brian Ecott Meadow puffball Lycoperdon pratense in the rough grassland at the back of lake. 25th September 2017. Photo © Brian Ecott
Porcelain fungi Oudemansiella mucida on fallen beech on Hog Hill. 9th September 2017. Photo © Brian Ecott Beech woodwart Hypoxylon fragiforme  on fallen beech on Hog Hill 9th September 2017 Photo © Brian Ecott

Autumn Fruits


Woody nightshade aka Bittersweet Solanum dulcamara berries by the lakeside 2nd September 2017 Photo © Raymond Small  

Black nightshade  Solanum nigrum berries (unripe are green)  Waste ground along Retreat Path, Chigwell Row. 19th September 2017 Photo © Raymond Small.

Yew berry or Aril near Sheepwater  19th September 2017 

Photo © Raymond Small,

Sweet chestnut fruits opening to show the edible sweet chestnuts. Several trees in the secondary woodland and on the Golf course. 23rd September 2017.   Photo © Brian Ecott.

And finally........


How many octogenarians, I wonder, have a cake decorated with a grass snake, several stag beetles and a couple of dragonflies (wings made of gelatine).

My birthday celebrations were held on the 17th September 2017. Thankyou to cousin Lynda Hunt for making and decorating the cake..  

Photos ©  Raymond Small.

August 2017

Lambourne Well

Lambourne Well, North Lambourne Wood,  3rd August 2017.  Photo © Brian Ecott

Early Autumn Fungi

Beef steak fungus Fistulina hepatica on oak tree base. 15th August 2017  Photo © Brian Ecott
Red Cracking bolete Xerocomellus chrysenteron 3rd August 2017 Young Cep aka Penny Bun Boletus edulis 3rd August 2017

 Tawny Grisette Amanita fulva  Cabin Hill, 22nd August 2017

Photo © Brian Ecott

Zoned rosette Podoscypha multizonata. Path on Dog Kennel Hill.

8th August 2017  Photo © Brian Ecott.

Sulphur tuft Hypholoma fasciculare  15th August 2017. Lambourne Wood,  Photo © Brian Ecott Common earthball Scleroderma citrinum in Lambourne Wood 12th August 2017  Photo © Brian Ecott
Shaggy parasol  Macrolepiota rhacodes Hainault Lodge Local Nature Reserve 15th August 2017. Photo © Brian Ecott False death cap Amanita citrina 18th August 2017. Photo © Brian Ecott Hainault Lodge Local Nature Reserve,
Artist bracket fungi  Ganoderma applanatum on dead base of tree. Lambourne Wood. 4th August 2017. Photo © Brian Ecott.
 Turkey tail brackets Trametes versicolor on fallen stump  8th August 2017  Photo © Brian Ecott
Yellow cracking bolete Boletus submentosus. Common in the woodland areas. 9th August 2017. Photo © Brian Ecott

Hare's Ear fungus Otidia onotica. Notice the pink flush inside. In secondary woodland  behind the aerial play area. 12th August 2017. Photo © Brian Ecott


The Woodland Trusts'- Havering Park Farm Fields

One of two cattle ponds dug for cattle on the Trusts' land. Visited 15th August 2017. 
 Short, fat bodied, dragonfly nymphs of the Libellulid  type which include the Darters. Ruddy Darter dragonfly Sympetrum sanguineum
Wandering snail Lymnaea sp. Pond snail Physella sp.
Newtpole, feathery gills and four limbs Diving beetle Dytiscus sp.
Common centaury Centaurium erythraea Scarlet pimpernel Anagallis  arvensis
Photos for this feature © Brian Ecott 15th August 2017

Who likes eating the blackberries? 

Blackberry fruits

 Wasps have cutting mouthparts to cut the tough fruit skins and enable other insects to feed on the juices.


Green bottle fly sucking up fruit juice.

Flesh fly sucking up fruit juice.

 Hoverfly sucking up fruit juice.

 Silver Y moth feeding on fruit juice.

Comma butterflies  feeding on blackberry juice. The feeding tube or proboscis is seen probing the fruit in the picture, above left.

 But what is this? Is the poo a clue to who also likes blackberries?


It's been a good year for blackberries.


The poo (above) is in a scrape alongside the bushes, and there is only one animal that is particular about its toilet arrangements and that's the BADGER.


The poo (right) has visible pips in it. I suppose that if you've eaten a stomach full of berries you might be caught short and don't have time to get back to your sett, which can be a long distance away, to use the toilet! 


Below separate poo areas (12 in all) are marked along a hedgerow in Lord's Pond Field.

Pictures for this feature © Michael Rumble, Raymond Small and Brian Ecott

Line drawing Brian Ecott.


Heather aka Ling Calluna vulgaris on the Heathland. Nathan Fall of The Woodland Trust is attempting to restore a much neglected site. 17th August 2017. Perhaps a scrape or two might see the return of the Lousewort. Photo © Brian Ecott.

Water mint Mentha aquatica  Around the lake and pond edges throughout.

11th August 2017. Photo © Brian Ecott

Trailing St. John's-wort Hypericum humifusum 15th August 2017. A few scattered plants on Cabin Hill acid grassland. Photo © Brian Ecott
Yarrow aka Millfoil Achillea millefolium 11th August 2017. Even in dry conditions the Yarrow  forms green patches. The name Millfoil refers to the thousands of feathery leaves. The flowers can be white or pink. A close up (right) shows that each flower is in fact composite, and therefore in the Dandelion / Daisy family. 11th August 2017. In the grassland areas. Phoo © Brian Ecott. 
Common Bird's-foot trefoil Lotus corniculatus over much of the short grassland areas. 12th August 2017. (Right above) shows the seed pods which look like Birds Feet giving rise to the Common name.

Red Bartsia Odontites vernus serotinus  13th August 2017. Photo © Brian Ecott. Close up picture © Raymond Small. Found in tall vegetation at end of lake.

Marsh cudweed Gnaphalium uliginosum Horse field. 8th August 2017.

 Photo © Brian Ecott

Fyfield pea Lathyrus tuberosus along Spurgate Brook footpath.

15th August 2017.  Photo.© Raymond Small


Footballer hoverfly Helophilus pendulus  13th August 2017 on Common Fleabane, back of Lake. Photo © Brian Ecott.
  Hoverfly  Eristalis pertinax on Michaelmas Daisy at back of lake. 12th August 2017. Photo © Brian Ecott
Hoverfly Syrphus ribesi on Cat's-ear 11th August 2017. Photo © Brian Ecott

Forest shieldbug Pentatoma rufipes on Poplar leaf  11th August 2017.

Photo © Brian Ecott

Holly Blue butterfly Celastrina argiolus on Creeping thistle 12th August 2017.  Photo © Brian Ecott

Pupa or Chrysalis wrapped in the head of Ragwort. Identity unknown.

12th August 2017 Photo © Brian Ecott

Walnut tree

Above: A three year old Walnut tree grown by Bob Cable and donated to the Country Park  was planted behind the visitor centre near the horse paddock on the 24th August 2009.   Photo © Brian Ecott..

Right: Now aged 11 years old the tree has grown into a tall, healthy specimen, when I inspected it on 10th August 2017.

Photo © Raymond Small.


Feathers of Greater spotted woodpecker (top)  and Green woodpecker (below)

See also Feathers page

Flowers of Tan slime mould Fuligo septica on Lambourne Woods. 

15th August 2017. Photo © Brian Ecott.

 A Pointer dog retrieves a stick from the lake. 11th August 2017.

See also Dogs at Hainault

A Rout of slugs Arion ater rufus on the 11th August 2017 during all day rainfall, on the footpath at the back of Sunnymede, Chigwell Row,

Autumn fruits

Dogwood berries,  Alice's hedge  2nd August 2017 Photo © Brian Ecott Bramble in Fruit  Alice's hedge  2nd August 2017 Photo © Brian Ecott

Sweet chestnut developing fruits, Cabin Hill 2nd August 2017

Photo © Brian Ecott

Elderberry fruits in Lambourne Woods 15th August 2017.Photo © Brian Ecott


Reddish pustules on white willow by the lakeside. A gall caused by a mite Aceria tetanothrix, 8th August 2017. Photo © Brian Ecott.

This strange arrangement of leaves on the tip of a Crack willow is known as a Camellia gall is caused by a midge Rabdophaga rosaria. By the Lake edge. 8th August 2017.  Photo © Brian Ecott. It is found on other willows and sallows.

This strange looking gall is a chimera. Jerry Bowdrey writes "The picture with A. aries [Ramshorn) protruding through A. kollari [Oak marble] is most likely to be a result of multiple oviposition in the same bud, I guess each wasp cannot tell if another has already laid and both galls develop simultaneously and grow into each other. 12th August 2018, back of lake.  Photo © Brian Ecott.

Pictured above is a Robin's pincushion gall on a Dog rose bud and a smaller one on a leaflet. . These are the result of an egg laid by a very tiny gall wasp Diplolepis rosae. Hedgerow, Lord's Pond Fields. 8th August 2017. 

Photo © Brian Ecott

A  new gall for Hainault. Found on a Turkey oak on Hogg Hill  A blister on the upper surface and an erineum (formed by mites) on the underside is shown above. Jerry Bowdrey gall recorder for The Essex Field Club, and Chairman of The British Plant Gall Society comments "The Quercus cerris gall is, I think, good for Aceria ilicis (a mite). There is sometimes no discernible bulge on the upper surface which has led some to suggest that there may be two species involved, but this hasn't been established definitely as far as I know."  Thanks Jerry for your help with this and the chimera .

And finally......












Courtney remembers


Independence Day

6th August 1963


Photos © Brian Ecott  6th August 2017



July 2017

Marbled white female butterfly Melanargia galathea butterfly found by Sarah White and photographed © Simon Taylor 29th June 2017 on the Woodland Trust's farmland near Lambourne End. On the 2nd July Raymond Small and I saw them flying on the wild flower area on Hog Hill. This I believe to be their first appearance in this area. Simon Taylor is Vice President, and Sarah White is General Secretary of The Essex Field Club

Captive butterfly is a Brown argus flying amongst the Common blues. A missing dot on the upper wing (1) and a figure eight (2) on the lower wing. Hog Hill.

Photo © Brian Ecott    18th July 2017.

Here the figure 8 is present on the lower wing.

Hog Hill

Photo © Raymond Small. 21st July 2017.

Here is the open wings of a Brown Argus.

Hog Hill

Photo © Raymond Small. 21st July 2017.

Another first for Hainault Forest Country Park.  Brown Argus butterflies Aricia agestis. Found on Hog Hill and the long grassland behind the lake. The usual foodplants like Rockrose are not present, but the Brown Argus is expanding its range feeding on Cut leaved cranesbill and Meadow cranesbill which we have in plenty.

Male Gatekeeper butterfly Pyronia tithonus on blackberry leaf. The male has large diagonal brown scent glands on the upper wings.

Photo © Michael Rumble  1st July 2017.

Female Gatekeeper Pyronia tithonus on grassland. Notice the absence of the scent glands in the female. Photo © Brian Ecott. 14th July 2017  
 Small tortoiseshell butterfly Aglais urticae. A magnificent detailed picture, the butterfly has settled on Creeping thistle. Photo © Raymond Small 29th July 2017

   Small tortoiseshell butterfly caterpillars Aglais urticae on nettles near Sunnymede, Chigwell Row. 13th July 2017. Photos © Brian Ecott.

Small skipper butterflies Thymelicus sylvestris on Common Knapweed. The undersides of the antennae are orange tipped. 6th July 2017 Photos © Brian Ecott.

Dragons and Damsels

On the 14th July 2017 Southern Hawker dragonflies Aeshna cyanea were emerging from one of the ponds on Hainault Lodge Local Nature Reserve. It was an overcast day and the top picture shows a newly emerged dragonfly resting on its nymphal cast (exuvia). They can easily be handled as the wings have to be pumped up, dried and the colours enhanced.  They also need to warm up to fly. Above right shows an exuvia from which the dragonfly has emerged. These can be collected and identified by experts. Photos © Brian Ecott.

Pictured above are two views of a female Black-tailed Skimmer dragonfly Orthetrum cancellatum and close ups of their heads.

Photos © Colin Carron 9th July 2017

I found this pair of Dragonflies by the Lake edge on the 17th July 2017. Having difficulty in identification, I sent the photograph to NaturePlus at The Natural History Museum and received the following reply from member Mulberoo who wrote "This is definitely a Black-tailed Skimmer pair", and referred me to the webpage  http://www.surfbirds.com/gallery/search2.cgi?species=black-tailed+skimmer which contains a similar picture by Chris Baines.



Above: Blue-tailed damselflies Ischnura elegans in wheel. The female is green They are a small and elegant species. 


Left: Close up of the delicate wing structure and the blue/black  pterostigma cells on the wing tips. These structures on the wings of damselflies, dragonflies  and other insects aids in gliding.


To quote Wikipedia:

The purpose of the pterostigma, being a heavier section of the wing in comparison to nearby sections, is to assist in gliding. Without the pterostigma, self-exciting vibrations would set in on the wing after a certain critical speed, making gliding impossible. Tests show that with the pterostigma, the critical gliding speed is increased 10–25% on one species of dragonfly.

13th July 2017 in Ted's Field by the lake. Photo © Brian Ecott


Ninja turtles

At one time tiny Red eared terrapins were available at pet shops and aquaria and sought after as pets for children. Unfortunately they get too big for their tanks and get thrown into ponds and lakes where they get even bigger. Here are a couple resting on a log by the lakes island  Photo © Brian Ecott 18th July 2017.

Roe's Well

This is Roe's Well, a small spring fed pond in the Ash woodland towards Chigwell Row. It is formed in an area of Chalky Boulder clay which was deposited here during the last glaciation, and is the most southerly deposit in Essex. Glacial drift (sand) on the edge of the glacier forms the small patch of heathland near Chigwell Row Church and across the Romford Road in the Chigwell Row Recreation Ground. This heathland is unique and a valuable asset. Where else can you find Petty whin, Dwarf gorse, Heather and Lousewort? The Woodland Trust has a duty of care to maintain it.15th July 2017 Photo © Brian Ecott


Often in summer at Roe's Well the water will turn blood red due to a tiny microscopic green single celled alga Haematococcus sp. (Pictured left).

While sitting on the nearby seat we were surprised to see a small bat flying over the pond and around the oak and ash trees - it was 4pm. It is not unusual for some bats to fly in the long summer daylight hours.

Many thanks to Raymond Small for capturing a couple of stills of the Bat from a video taken at the time


I took the first photograph of Ramshorn gall Andricus aries in early August 2000 in Hainault Forest, three years after it was first recorded in this country. It is now very common in Hainault especially this year. 22nd July 2017. Photograph © Brian Ecott.

Robin's pincushion on Dog rose leaflets 1st July 2017 Photo © Brian Ecott Sputnik galls Diplolepis nervosa  a gall wasp on the underside of rose leaflets Photo © Brian Ecott  6th July 2017

Stem gall on Creeping thistle 15th July 2017. Photo © Brian Ecott

Right above: Turkey oak leaf with blister gall. Right below: Underside of leaf showing erineum.  Above left: Enlargement of erineum. Scans 29th July 2017. © Brian Ecott. Identified by Jerry Bowdrey, Chair of The British Plant Society, as caused by Mite  Aceria ilicis.

More insects

Six-spot Burnet moth on Common  knapweed Zygaena filipendulae. Insets are pupal cases before emergence of the moths.13th July 2017.

Photos © Brian Ecott.

Web spinning Sawfly larvae Neurotoma fasciata on hawthorn bush near the rough grassland Yellow Ant colonies. 5th July 2017. Photo © Brian Ecott.

Striped caterpillars of Cinnabar moth feeding on Common Ragwort. 5th July 2017. They will strip the plant to a few stems close to the ground and move on to another Ragwort plant.29th July 2017  on Hog Hill. Photo © Brian Ecott.

 Speckled bush cricket male Leptophyes punctatissima on yellow iris leaf. 13th July 2017  Photo © Brian Ecott.

Meadow Grasshopper Chorthippus parallelus and Lesser Marsh Grasshopper C. albomarginatus captured on Cabin Hill 6th July 2017 Photos © Brian Ecott.

Green shieldbug Palomena prasina egg laying on Sallow 14th July 2017  Photo © Brian Ecott.
Unidentified Froghopper on Timothy grass head. Photo © Raymond Small  24th July 2017

This large hoverfly alongside the Greenbottle is Volucella inflata male. A woodland species. Photo © Michael Rumble 1st July 2017        

Batman hoverfly Myathropa florea on willow leaf  22nd July 2017. The Batman logo can be seen on its thorax. Photo © Brian Ecott.
Male Hoverfly Epistrophe eligans on Ragwort. The last two segments are triangular in the male.  23rd July 2017 Photo © Brian Ecott
Male Marmalade Hoverfly Episyrphus balteatus in bindweed flower. Harlequin ladybird pupa on white poplar. 7th July 2017 Photo © Brian Ecott.

This tiny (3mm.) ball of fluff was seen walking on an ash leaflet on the 13th July 2017 at Roe's Well. I sent the photograph to the Natural History Museum web site NaturePlus and was told it was the larva of a Lacewing which has eaten its prey and stuck the remains on itself as a disguise. Photo © 13th July 2017.

Discarded wings of an Oak Eggar moth Lasiocampa quercus following predation, possibly by a bird. 1st July 2017. Photo © Brian Ecott

Thistle head Weevil Rhinocyllus conicus 14th July 2017 Photo © Brian Ecott. Longhorn beetle Strangalia maculata on Knapweed Photo © Brian Ecott.

Slime mould - Wolf's milk

Above and left are Slime moulds. They have been common this year on fallen rotten logs. They measure 15mm or less across. There are several species and they often appear after rain.

Pictured is Wolf's blood Lycogala epidendrum. Notice the large one in the group on the right of the picture above. This has been squeezed and a pink fluid has  exuded (see left) and contains millions upon millions of tiny unicellular organisms.

During my time at school we were taught that there were two Kingdoms of living things - Plants and Animals. Now we know that many things do not fit these categories. Now there is the Fungi Kingdom and the Slime moulds belong to the Kingdom Myxomycetes. Other Kingdoms exist.

4tb July 2017.  Photos © Brian Ecott


Summer fungi

Scaly Earthball Scleroderma verrucosum in woodland. Photo © Brian Ecott.

Jelly Ear Auricularia auricula-judae  on rotting timber 23rd July 2017.

Photo © Brian Ecott

Summer fruits

Hazel nuts in Romford Road hedgerow. 7th July 2017 Photo © Brian Ecott Rowan berries on the heathland. 10th July 2017. Photo © Brian Ecott

Wild flowers

 Rosebay willow herb aka Fireweed. Chamaenerion angustifolium. Once an uncommon garden flower in Victorian times but spread on waste burnt ground during WW2. Common in the forest. 1st July 2017.  Photo © Brian Ecott

Wild celery Apium graveolens and a small piece of Gypsywort (see below) on the outfall lake edge. Photo © Brian Ecott. 20th July 2017.

Meadow cranesbill Geranium pratense. Gets its name from the seed pods in the picture.  1st July 2017.  Photo © Brian Ecott

Gypsywort Lycopus europaeus by the lake Deadnettle family.

Photo © Brian Ecott. 26th July 2017.

Selfheal Prunella vulgaris in short grassland areas Deadnettle family. 

8th July 2017.  Photo © Brian Ecott

Skullcap  Scutellaria galericulata in an Hainault Lodge Local Nature Reserve pond. Introduced when pond created.. 14th July 2017.  Photo © Brian Ecott

Normal mauve Common Knapweed Centaurea nigra nigra and a white aberrant form on Hog Hill 18th July 2017.  Photo © Brian Ecott

Hoary ragwort Senecio erucifolius Common throughout the forest. Flowers later than the Common ragwort. 18th July 2017.  Photo © Brian Ecott 

Field bindweed  Convolvulus arvensis on wasteland back of Sunnymede, and central reservations along Romford Road. 13th July 2017.  Photo © Brian Ecott

Large bindweed Calystegia silvatica var quinquepartita. Normally trumpet shaped, but this is a rare and unusual variety found near Woodhenge.

4th  July 2017.  Photo © Brian Ecott 

Greater burdock Arctium lappa on the roadside near the Cycling Centre. Rare in the forest. Our burdock around the lake and elsewhere is Lesser Burdock Arctium minor minor 13th July 2017.  Photo © Brian Ecott The Burdocks have these tiny barbs which attach themselves to clothing and dogs to aid seed dispersal.13th July 2017.  Photo © Brian Ecott
Field scabious Knautia arvensis. A Gatekeeper butterfly is nectaring on it.. Found on the wild flower meadow.8th July 2017.  Photo © Brian Ecott Fox and Cubs aka Orange hawkweed Pilosella aurantiaca  on the heathland. 8th July 2017.  Photo © Brian Ecott
Yellow Chamomile Anthemis tinctoria on the farm. A casual.  9th July 2017.  Photo © Brian Ecott

White Melilot Melilotus alba 27th July 2017 in the grassland. 

Photo © Brian Ecott

Broad-leaved Helleborine Epipactis helleborine. Five sites for this orchid have been found this year along woodland rides especially where there is ivy cover. 10th July 2017.  Photo © Brian Ecott

and finally......The First Friday in July!

Around 1725 Daniel Day from Wapping came to Fairlop to collect rents for properties he owned. He brought friends with him and they feasted under the Fairlop Oak tree. This became an annual event on the First Friday in July. The food "Bacon and Beans" was provided by The Maypole Pub at Barkingside where the Fullwell Cross Health Centre now stands. This event was the start of the Fairlop Fair and the word BEANFEAST was coined.. Surely the beans weren't Heinz and the Bacon not as appetising but Raymond Small and I celebrated the 292nd anniversary on Friday 7th July 2017 at the Global café.

June 2017


Weather news

About 30mm of rain fell in 15 minutes, a deluge catching many people unawares as they were enjoying a walk in the forest. Parents with families screamed  as there was nowhere to shelter. Barkingside was flooded, buses were stranded and the underground was affected. Photo © Brian Ecott. 2nd June 2017.

June temperatures °C
11th 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23rd
23 19 23 26 23 23 29 31 32 31 34.5 22 23
Grass snakes

Martin Bell photographed this harmless grass snake near the farmyard. They have been swimming in the lake. Their food is plentiful at this time as many young froglets are beginning to leave the water to spend 4 or 5 years growing and reaching maturity before returning to the water. Few of the masses of tadpoles survive predation, particularly in the early stages. Photo © Martin Bell    2nd June 2017.


Fallow deer herd

Louise Waters kindly sent me this photograph of a small herd of Fallow deer seen recently from her cottage in Lambourne End on the edge of the Forest.  Two bucks with antlers are present. On the left is a dark form normally associated with the Epping Forest herd..
The Queen's 91st Birthday Flypast over the Forest
As always, on such occasions the Flypast passes directly over Hainault Forest. For the complete flypast photographed by Michael Rumble  CLICK HERE
Raymond Small spotted this 1cm bug on a Hawthorn leaf in a hedgerow along Romford Road. This proved difficult to identify to genus and species so he sent it to britishbugs.org.uk where Joseph Botting and Dr Tristan Bantock identified it as Deraeocoris olivaceus a bug first seen in Surrey in 1951. It is more common in France. Photo © Raymond Small 3rd June 2017.  It is another  first for Hainault. Well done Raymond.

The Lackey moth caterpillar Malacosoma neustria  on Aspen on Hog hill. 1st June 2017. Photo © Brian Ecott

Cinnabar moth Tyria jacobaeae 8th June 2017 on Hog Hill.

Photo © Brian Ecott

Small Fan-foot moth Herminia grisealis on bramble leaf. 22nd June 2017. 

Photo © Brian Ecott

Cream Wave moth in hand, Scopula floslactata 30th June 2017.

Photo © Brian Ecott.

This small bundle of sticks on an hawthorn leaf contains a small female flightless moth called a Bagworm. Family Psychidae. The male is an active flier. 7th June 2017. Photo © Brian Ecott

Male and female Large skipper butterflies Ochlodes venata. Found throughout June 2017. The male has a dark brown  oblique scent gland on the upper wings. Photos © Brian Ecott

Painted lady Vanessa cardui on path by Lake. 8th June 2017. An immigrant species - may have just arrived from North Africa. Photo © Brian Ecott Ringlet butterfly Aphantopus hyperantus. Plentiful throughout June in tall grassland areas. Photo © Brian Ecott

Comma butterfly Polygonia c-album  on bramble 30th June 2017.

 Photo © Brian Ecott

The underwing of a Comma butterfly showing the capital C. 21st June 2017.. Photo © Michael Rumble.

Red admiral  Vanessa atalanta 1st June 2017. Photo © Michael Rumble.

Harlequin ladybird larva Harmonia axyridis on white poplar leaf. 4th June 2017.
 Cranefly aka Daddy longlegs Tipula paludosa on rush stems by the Lake. Photo © Brian Ecott  16th June 2017 A male Common Greenbottle fly Lucilia sp. (top) eyes up a female on a reed. 17th June 2017. Photo © Brian Ecott

Common Blue Damselflies in wheel position.  Enallagma cyathigerum by pond on golf course. 14th June 2017. Photo © Michael Rumble..

The male is grasping the light coloured (light brown/green) female by the neck. Meanwhile the female is removing sperm from the male's thorax

which he has placed there.

This medium sized Azure Damselfly Coenagrion puella is one of the blues seen on the edges of ponds, streams and the Lake.. 3rd June 2017.

Photograph © Raymond Small.

The importance of  old standing timber is seen in this picture. Hundreds of grubs and insects live within the dead tree. When they complete their life cycle the insects drill their way out leaving heaps of sawdust around the base of the tree. The grubs are sought after by woodpeckers and other birds. © Brian Ecott.
Microscopic investigations - 1
To identify  a midrib gall on Water poplar it is necessary to see what is inside. Poplar galls are caused by waxy woolly aphids. Opening the gall up revealed a dark green winged adult (right) and several grey nymphs. This suggests that the identification is Pemphigus populinigrae. Photo and scan © Brian Ecott.
Microscopic investigations - 2

Several large black spots 1cm across were seen on the yellow iris leaves lining the lake on the 6th June 2017. First thoughts were that it was something to do with the Iris Sawfly larvae which are often seen eating the iris leaves in the summer months.. On examination eggs were found  (arrowed) and the whole was covered with black and white gossamer. I Googled "black spots on iris leaves" whose images gave two references to a Rush spider. Searching my own pictures revealed that I had photographed a Rush spider Tetragnatha sp. on an iris leaf by Hainault Lake which appeared to be egg laying on the  5th September  2005! So puzzle answered. Photo and scans © Brian Ecott.

Wild flowers

Lady's bedstraw Galium verum in the wildflower meadow. Used in times past in Hay mattresses for women especially during childbirth. Smells of honey.       27th June 2017. Photo © Brian Ecott.

Bee orchid  Ophrys apifera. near the Lake, This year we have discovered another three sites in the forest. 3rd June 2017. Photo © Brian Ecott.

Inset © Michael Rumble

Sea club rush.  Scirpus maritimus. A large flowered sedge up to 1m. tall. Despite its name it is found around the north and western margins of the lake. It is a rare plant inland.  Photo © Brian Ecott  6th June 2017.

Field rose Rosa arvensis in the hedgerows where it scrambles over other bushes. Differs from other roses by the combined styles that are in the centre of the flower above the anthers. Photo © Brian Ecott  12th June 2017. Greater willow herb aka Codlins and cream Epilobium hirsutum in wet areas. 30th June 2017. Photo © Brian Ecott. (Codlins were pinkish cooking apples).



Smooth Tare Vicia tetrasperma  is a small pea flower which grows amongst other flowers in the wildflower meadow. Its specific name tetrasperma refers to the four seeds in the pod as seen left..

Photo © Brian Ecott June 17th 2017.

Wild celery Apium graveolens near the lake outfall. 17th June 2017. Normally coastal, it occurs in base rich brackish water. Photo © Brian Ecott. Pendulous sedge Carex pendula. One or two male spikes are on the tip of the inflorescence, with up to 5 female spikes behind. Spikes about 15cm. long. Around the lake and in wet areas. Photo © Brian Ecott  30th June 2017.

Common mallow Malva sylvestris 22nd June 2017, Photo © Brian Ecott

Musk mallow Malva moschata on Hog hill. 16th June 2017. © Brian Ecott.

Teasel Dipsacus fullonum, Once used for carding wool. Now used in winter flower arrangements. 30th June 2017. Photo © Brian Ecott

 Perforate St. John's-wort Hypericum perforatum edge of Roes well. The leaf appears perforated when held up to the light using a lens. The pinpoints of light are in fact translucent cells. 30th June 2017. Photo and Scan © Brian Ecott.
White or Dutch clover Trifolium repens. 18th June 2017. Photo © Brian Ecott   A great source of nectar for honeybees when it is allowed to escape the mowers. Creeping thistle Cirsium arvense. Along field edges. A favourite of the Soldier beetles. 18th June 2017. Photo © Brian Ecott.

Wild carrot  Daucus carota. An umbellifer. The centre flower is purple and in early pictures the large number of bracts around the inflorescence can be seen.

Photo © Brian Ecott

27th June 2017 in the wildflower meadow..

Bristly ox-tongue Picris echioides.  27th June 2017. Photo © Brian Ecott, In the wildflower meadow,

Other fauna

Grey squirrel 16th June 2017 Photo © Michael Rumble

The Great crested grebe failed to breed on both sites on the lake.

1st June 2017, Photo © Michael Rumble.

Aquatic creatures


During mid June Raymond Small and myself visited all the ponds and streams in the forest, with a net,  to see what we could find there.

Raymond photographed all of our finds  and some are included here. We hope to do more as the summer progresses.

At the end of June there had begun a migration of toadlets and froglets from the Lake.

One of the best areas was the small stream which starts at the second car park and originally drained the Farm pond adjacent.


Tadpoles in various stages of development  (above and top)

  A newt tadpole with four legs and feathery gills (above)

Water fleas Daphnia pulex  were found in the Lake in astronomical numbers during June. Each dip of the net produced a large handful. These form the base of a dynamic food web.

Damselfly nymph. Spends a year in the water before becoming a damselfly.

Horse leech Haemopsis sp. Not a blood sucker but feeds on small creatures and dead fish. Head is the narrow end.

Water Hog louse aka Water Slater Asellus sp. Abundant in stagnant ponds

Freshwater shrimp Gammarus sp. Abundant in stagnant ponds

Back swimmer or Water Boatman Notonecta glauca. Third pair of legs have fringes of hairs to aid swimming. Take air from the surface through their elytra or wing cases which they push up through the meniscus.

Blood worm larva of the Chironomid midge Chironomus sp. Lives in polluted water and contains a form of haemoglobin to help with oxygen transfer.

Rat-tailed maggot, larva of a hoverfly Eristalis sp. Lives in murky water.Its extendable "tail" is a breathing tube, used to reach to the water surface to take in air.



Summer Fungi

Dryad's saddle Polyporus squamosus on willow stump by the Lake.
 5th June 2017  Photo © Brian Ecott.

Wood mushroom growing in a woodland area near the lake. 6th June 2017. Photo © Brian Ecott

and finally.....

Raymond Small and Brian Ecott represented Hainault Forest at the Chigwell Row, All Saints Church, 150th Anniversary Fayre. 24th June 2017.

May 2017


May weather - Maximum London temperatures °C

17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31
18 17 16 17 21 25 21 25 26 27 28 28 23 20 23

The Green Man

A Green Man Boss, one of many in Norwich Cathedral. Incorporating a Green Man into the design of a medieval church or cathedral was regarded as a small act of faith by the carver, believing that life and fresh crops would return to the soil each spring to produce a plentiful harvest. New Life 2017. Young ducklings looking at a new world before them. 3rd May 2017. Photo © Raymond Small.


Up to five Egyptian geese have visited the lake and grassland from time to time during the month. Photo ©  Michael Rumble 11th May 2017.
 A Barnacle goose which is smaller and differently patterned to the larger Canada geese appeared for one day. Photo © Raymond Small. 10th May 2017.
This crèche of Canada geese goslings is watched over by three aunties, although two appear asleep. Photo © Brian Ecott 19th May 2017

The Jackdaw was photographed © Michael Rumble by the café on the

11th May 2017  

The male Chaffinch was calling from a willow tree. Photo.© Raymond Small
 A Blue tit successfully fledged young by the lake inside a hollow tube carrying a notice. Photos © Michael Rumble. 21st May 2017
 A Great crested grebe nested on submerged branches in the lake. Photo © Brian Ecott. 12th May 2017


 Tiny red pustules on field maple, often numerous,  Aceria myriadeum = Artacris aceriscampestris. A mite  Photo © Raymond Small  Upward bulges on Water poplar leaves, underside yellow. Taphrina populi. A fungus.  Nail galls on common lime leaves Eriophyes tiliae.      A mite.

 1         3     4     5
   6                      7                               8          9 



Photos © Brian Ecott unless stated.  


1. Bean gall on white willow Pontania proxima

2. Feint round blister on English oak Neuroterus numismalis ♀♂ Gall wasp.

3.Blackthorn leaf edge galls Eriophyes similis. A mite

4, Gooseberry galls on Turkey oak catkins Andricus grossulariae ♀♂ Gall wasp.

5.Currant gall on oak leaf Andricus quercusbaccarum ♀♂ Gall wasp. Also occurs on catkins.

6.Chambered gall which distorts midrib and leaf.of English oak Andricus curvator ♀♂ . Gall wasp.  The photograph shows two chambers.

7. Galls on young oak at ground level or below. Barnacle gall Andricus sieboldi ♀♀ = A. testaceipes Gall wasp. © Raymond Small

8. Galls on catkins of English oak Andricus quadrilineatus ♀♀ Gall wasp

9. English oak leaf lobes folded under. Macrodiplosis pustularis = M. dryobia  ©  Raymond Small

10. Swollen flower head containing black fungal spores on Goat's beard,             Bauhinus tragopogonis-pratensis.


Raymond Small tracked down a continual barking sound in Hainault Lodge on 5th May 2017 which turned out to be a Muntjac aka Barking deer. He found it hiding in a holly bush. Photo © Raymond Small.

A Rabbit appears to have been in a fight. Photo © Colin Carron 11th May 2017.  

Wot no squirrels?  Photo © Jennifer Heywood   29th May 2017

Insects and other invertebrates

The Harvestman Opilio sp. also known as Daddy longlegs, is related to the spiders.  This one was found in the White willow. They are harmless.  8th May 2017 Photo © Brian Ecott
Timothy Tortrix moth caterpillar Aphelia paleana found under a folded leaf of Garlic mustard 2nd May 2017 Photo © Brian Ecott Blood-vein moth Timandra comae Photo © Raymond Small. 28th May 2017 
Small heath butterfly Coenonympha pamphilus 11th May 2017 on Hoghill. Photo © Brian Ecott

Holly blue butterfly Celastrina argiolus on Goat's rue 27th May 2017

Photo © Raymond Small.

Caterpillar of Purple hairstreak Quercusia quercus on oak leaf. Previously shown to me by Iris Newberry "The Butterfly Lady"  in 2001  Photographed on the oaks on Millennium Hill where the butterfly is generally seen.

© Brian Ecott  21st May 2017.

Common Quaker moth caterpillar Orthosia cerasi  on oak leaf.

Photo © Brian Ecott 8th May 2017.


Rufous shouldered longhorn beetle Anaglyptus mysticus on Elderberry leaflet 24th May 2017. Photo © Brian Ecott.

Male (above) and female (right) metallic green flower beetles aka Thick thighed beetles Oedemera nobilis  on buttercups 28th May 2017.

Photo © Brian Ecott

Malachius bipustulatus A flower beetle which has a malachite metallic colour with two red spots on the tip of the abdomen. Male. Photo © Raymond Small. 10th May 2017    Malachius bipustulatus A flower beetle (as above left) Female is egg laying. Photo © Michael Rumble.18th May 2017.      
Common Green Shield Bug  Palomena prasina 8th May 2017  © Brian Ecott Small red leaf beetle on oak leaf is Chrysolina polita. With thanks to Tony at the Natural History Museum's NaturePlus for the identification.. 11/5
Dock Squash bug Coreus marginatus (about 2.5 cms)  10th May 2017.  Photo © Michael Rumble
Tiny blue metallic willow leaf beetle. Very common. Photo © Brian Ecott.        9th May 2017.

Leaf bugs Dryophilocoris flavoquadrimaculatus on oak leaf.

Photo © Brian Ecott.

Nymph of flower bug Miris striatus  on oak leaf. 4th May 2017. © Brian Ecott.

Thanks to Tony of NaturePlus at the Natural History Museum, London for kindly identifying the nymph.

Beetle on nettle Byrrhus pilula. 1cm oval, near Sheepwater.

Photo © Brian Ecott 22nd May 2017.

Hoverfly Episyrphus balteatus on meadow buttercup. 27th May 2017.

Photo © Brian Ecott

Hoverfly Helophilus pendulus on  Elder flowers. Photo © Brian Ecott.


Left: Tetragnatha extensa spider by the lake Photo © Brian Ecott.

Monacha cantiana, the Kentish Snail. Photo © Brian Ecott. Green lacewing Chrysopa carnea on oak leaf. 20th May 2017 © Brian Ecott

 I am holding a newly emerged dragonfly at Sheepwater. A Broad-bodied chaser Libellula depressa. It is still pumping up its wings and drying them. The colours of immature and adult females are very similar, but there is time for it to develop the blue abdomen of the male.

Photo © Brian Ecott.  22nd May 2017.

Oak Sawfly larva Periclista lineolata on oak leaf.( about 2 cms)  9th May 2017. Photo © Brian Ecott

Broad buckler fern 

Magnificent Broad buckler fern Dryopteris dilatata on Dog Kennel Hill. Fronds 70cms.  Photo © Brian Ecott. 5th May 2017

Wild flowers

As there were so few flowers at Hainault, I looked elsewhere in the Borough and Chigwell to find some other interesting ones.

Yellow rattle Rhinanthus minor near the entrance. 8th May 2017

Photo © Brian Ecott

Field madder Sherardia arvensis. Very rare in Hainault Forest.  Found by the Tidy up Brigade.16th May 2017. Photo © Brian Ecott.
Yellow iris Iris pseudacorus in a pond at Hainault Lodge Local Nature Reserve 12th May 2017. Photo © Brian Ecott. Silverweed Potentilla anserina on the Common, Chigwell Row. 22nd May 2017 Photo © Brian Ecott
Small copper butterfly  Lycaena phlaeas on Creeping cinquefoil as below.. Photo © Brian Ecott. 22nd May 2017. Dame's violet  Hesperis matronalis  on the old reservoir site  12th May 2017. Photo © Brian Ecott.   
Gallant soldier Galinsoga parviflora on pavement somewhere in Clayhall,  Photo © Brian Ecott. 30th May 2017 Knotted hedge parsley Torilis nodosa, Yellowpine Way, Chigwell. Photo © Raymond Small. 30th May 2017.
Not a wild flower but a Liverwort Marchantia sp. on steps in Yellowpine Way, Hainault. 22nd May 2017. Photo © Brian Ecott

Creeping cinquefoil  Potentilla reptans on a grave in All Saints Church graveyard, God's acre. Chigwell Row.. Photo © Brian Ecott. 22nd May 2017.

New Lambs
I recently presented three lamb wethers for the farm and zoo. Here they are Sameh (Sammy) Gansey and Jiggle.  Photos © Raymond Small

Sameh - acronym (trees with opposite leaves).

Gansey - a woolly jumper in Norfolk dialect

Jiggle - a fidget in Norfolk dialect

Celebrating the Blues

Not Chelsea but Common Blue butterflies!  On the Common, Chigwell Row conditions were right for a mass display of Common blue butterflies. Sunshine and food plants - Bird's foot trefoil, Lesser yellow trefoil. and white and red clovers. Hundreds of Blues were on the wing, chasing, fighting and seeking mates. Even the females were a blue form.  It is a sight that I have not witnessed before in such numbers. It shows good management practices by the Woodland Trust  Photo © Brian Ecott. 31st May 2017.

and finally - the relief of MAFEKING!

Enlarged from a sepia photograph. With thanks to Raymond Small for its use.

I would be very interested to know where this photograph was taken. Any suggestions?


April 2017

Palm Sunday temperature 22°C and Sunshine brings families out

Palm Sunday the 9th April 2017 was the first day of Holy Week and produced the highest temperature of the month at 22°C. Photographed at 1215h. The car park was already using the overspill area. Photo © Brian Ecott.

Speckled wood butterfly

Speckled wood butterfly  Pararge aegeria. 10th April 2017. Photo © Raymond Small. Speckled Woods are particularly common this month and like the dappled shade found in rides.

Greylag and Canada geese

Greylag goose on nest in pond edge on Golf course. 9th April 2017. Photo © Michael Rumble
First brood on the lake on 16th April 2017.  Photo © Brian Ecott.
First brood of Canada geese  on the lake, 24th April 2017.The Canada Geese show altruism where the adult birds gather round the goslings, and later on will form crèches..  Photo © Brian Ecott.
A new brood (left) of Greylag geese with 7 goslings 28th April 2017 as photographed © Michael Trump. The new goslings are very vulnerable to predation by Pike.  Crows will await an opportunity and fly over and pluck them off the water. This also applies to ducklings. The first brood of goslings on the 16th April were reduced to three in a week, but are now growing well .


Tadpoles grazing algae - a green film on a piece of wood in the lake. Tadpoles become carnivores later when they start to grow their limbs. 30th April 2017. Photo © Martin Bell.

Slime mould

Slime mould  Reticularia lycoperdon among moss on a fallen log. 19th April 2017.  Photo © Brian Ecott. This is one of those curiosities which has its own Kingdom in world classification. - The Myxomycetes. 

Early Spring flora 

Bluebells are appearing much earlier than times past.

Photo © Michael Rumble 9th April 2017.


White deadnettle Lamium album  flowers for much of the year. It belongs to a plant family the Deadnettles which characteristically have a square stem and flowers in whorls. 14th April 2017. Photo © Brian Ecott

Like the deadnettle above the Ground Ivy Glechoma hederacea belongs to the Deadnettle family 15th April 2017 on the grassland near the lake.

Photo © Brian Ecott

Kingcup aka Marsh marigold Caltha palustris Sheepwater. 10th April 2017  Photo © Brian Ecott. Ivy leaved speedwell Veronica hederifolia  Along the back of Woolhampton Way. 10th April 2017.  Photo © Brian Ecott
Oxford ragwort Senecio squalidus  Along the Romford Road hedge. 13th April 2017. Photo © Brian Ecott Cowslip Primula veris  in the Wildlife garden and around the Forest entrance. 13th April 2017. Photo © Brian Ecott
Commonly seen along the hedgerows is Cow Parsley Anthriscus sylvestris also known as Queen Anne's Lace and many other vernacular names. . This plant belongs to the Umbelliferae family. The close up shows each flower in the umbel has an enlarged outer petal giving the inflorescence a larger appearance for night flying insects and moths. 13th April 2017.  Photo © Brian Ecott
Red campion Silene dioica by the lake and path edges. 15th April 2017. Photo © Brian Ecott Thyme-leaved speedwell Veronica serpyllifolia along grassland edges. 15 April 2017. Photo © Brian Ecott Winter cress Barbarea vulgaris along ditches. 15th April 2017. Photo © Brian EcottPhoto © Brian Ecott
Greater stitchwort Stellaria holostea Woodland edges. 11th April 2017. Photo © Raymond Small. Common dog violet Viola riviniana along wood edges 18th April 2017. Photo © Raymond Small. Hoary cress Cardaria draba on waste ground. 24th April 2017. Photo © Brian Ecott.

Wood avens  aka Herb Bennett Geum urbanum

19th April 2017 Photo © Brian Ecott

Wood speedwell Veronica montana in the woodland 19th April 2017. Photo © Brian Ecott Common vetch Vicia sativa sativa in the grassland  21st April 2017 Photo © Brian Ecott
Yellow archangel Lamiastrum galeobdolon argentium along back of Woolhampton Way. 4th April 2017. Photo © Raymond Small Three cornered leek Allium triquetrum around the Old Reservoir site. 13th April 2017. Photo © Michael Rumble  Tormentil Potentilla erecta in the grassland and heathland 22nd April 2017. Photo © Brian Ecott

Petty whin Genista anglica. It has declined rapidly since The Woodland Trust took over the management of the heathland. in 1998

22nd April 2017.  Photo © Brian Ecott.

 Lousewort Pedicularis sylvatica. Another loss by the Woodland Trust, but happily found in the heathland area of Chigwell Row Recreation Ground, thanks to the management of Epping Forest Country Care. Wood spurge Euphorbia amygdaloides along ditches in the secondary woodland 10th April 2017 Photo © Brian Ecott

 Ubiquitous dandelions - Food for wildlife, Weeds for gardeners



Dandelions flower early in the year and provide early insects with pollen and nectar. They are a thing of beauty. Unfortunately after a couple of days the flower closes and reopens as the familiar clock we all know as children. Kids like to pick and blow the clock which disintegrates into a mass of seed each with its own parachute of pappus. These fly away long distances to fall into garden lawns, flower beds and paving where a new plant grows. Meanwhile the original plant continues to grow, flower, seed many times during the rest of the year. Ad infinitum. Very successful!

Photos and scans © Brian Ecott


Hoverfly Sphaerophoria sp. on dandelion 14th April 2017.

Photo  ©  Raymond Small

Honey bee worker collects pollen in baskets on its hind legs. 19th April 2017 Photo © Raymond Small.

Plant galls

 Hawthorn leaf with small tight downward folds, red, caused by a mite Phyllocoptes goniothorax. Scan 19th April 2017   ©  Brian Ecott Currant galls on English oak catkins caused by  a tiny wasp Neuroterus quercusbaccarum ♀♂.sexual generation. 19th April 2017. Photo  ©  Brian Ecott Anemone galls on Turkey oak caused by a tiny wasp Neuroterus saliens ♀♂ sexual generation.21st April 2017. Photo © Brian Ecott
Oak apples on English Oak caused by a tiny wasp Biorhiza pallida ♀♂ sexual generation. 10th April 2017.Photo  ©  Raymond Small. Tiny galls on stalks on Silver maple caused by a mite Vasates quadripedes. First described in 2002 in a Waltham Abbey GLC tree nursery and found in the plantation at Hainault in the same year after the closure following Foot and Mouth disease. 29th April 2017.  Photo  ©  Raymond Small.  
NEW record for Hainault. Large red leaf curling gall on Crab Apple. Photo © Brian Ecott. Close up pictures of unrolled leaf show grey aphids Dysaphis devecta.  Pictured © Raymond Small  29th April 2017.

Insects, butterflies, snails and millipedes

Alderfly Sialis lutaria on rushes by the lakeside. 24th April 2017. Photo © Michael Rumble
Mottled umber moth caterpillar Erannis defoliaria on hawthorn, one of its food plants which also include oak, blackthorn and birch. It can be in some years a serious defoliator of trees. 24th April 2017. Photo © Michael Rumble.
Hoverfly Syrphus ribesii  7th April 2017.Photo © Raymond Small. Bee-fly Bombylius major. A harmless fly which enjoys the sunny days in early April, usually resting on dead leaves. Common in the South.3rd April 2017.  Photo © Raymond Small.
Yellow Tail moth caterpillar Euproctis similis on hawthorn. Feed in the autumn on deciduous trees where they overwinter and resume feeding in early April. 19th April 2017. Photo © Brian Ecott. 

Common earwig Forficula auricularia on nettle 10th April 2017.

Photo © Brian Ecott

Orange tip pair Anthocharis cardamines 19th April 2017.

Photo © Michael Rumble

Green veined white butterfly Pieris napi 18th April 2017.

Photo © Michael Rumble.

Flat grey millipede Polydesmus angustus 24th April 2017. under log.

Photo © Raymond Small.

Brown lipped snails. Cepaea nemoralis under log 24th April 2017.

Photo © Raymond Small


Food plants for caterpillar of Orange tip butterfly

Cuckoo flower aka Lady's smock Cardamine pratensis 13th April 2017. Photo © Brian Ecott

These two plants are food plants of the Orange tip butterfly. Pictured here is an egg on Lady's smock laid on the flower stems. 10th April 2017. 

Photo © Raymond Small.

Garlic mustard Alliaria petiolata 13th April 2017. Photo © Brian Ecott



Great Crested Grebe. 21st April 2017. Photo © Michael Rumble
Trevor the Muscovy duck presents a fish to Raymond Small. 12th April 2017. Photo © Raymond Small
Three Egyptian geese appeared on the 16th April 2017. Photo © Brian Ecott
More Egyptian geese pictures 19th April 2017.  Photo © Michael Rumble
Robin. 17th April 2017  Photo © Michael Rumble Chiff-chaff identified by song. 9th April 2017.Photo © Brian Ecott

and finally, Courtney's Octopus

This Octopus was launched to the public gaze late in March . It was slow to take off but with Courtney in charge it rose steadily on 27th March and was photographed © Raymond Small.
March 2017

First signs of Spring

 Cherry plum Prunus cerasifera  blossom on Hoghill, 1st March 2017. Photo © Raymond Small.
Horse chestnut sticky buds opening showing developing leaves and flowers. Hainault Lodge,  10th March 2017  Photo © Brian Ecott.
Frogspawn present in Bomb crater pond 11th March 2017. Photo © Brian Ecott. Unfortunately the bomb crater normally dries up before development is complete. Frogspawn was found earlier in the week at Roes Well..
Our only patch of anemones Anemone nemorosa  in flower 19th March 2017. Photo © Brian Ecott
Lichens present in the forest indicate Low level SO2 pollution
Since the 1970's and the reduction in pollution levels Usnea subfloridana (pictured above) is gradually returning to London. Storm Doris brought this branch down from the treetops. Several low level SO2 lichen indicator species like Usnea subfloridana, Flavoparmelia caperata, Physcia aipolia and Ramalina fastigiata  are now present in Hainault Forest, with the mean winter SO2 at about 40µg/m3  Photo © Brian Ecott. 8th March 2017.

Flavoparmelia caperata on twig near Oak path. Photo © Raymond Small.

8th March 2017.

Parmelia fastigiata high up on hawthorn near the oak path. 8th March 2017. Photo © Raymond Small.
Physcia aipolia on hawthorn twig, hedge 2nd car park. Blue-grey lobes. Fruiting bodies black with blue-grey edge. (Width of this lichen 1.3cms) Rare in the forest. 27th February 2017. Photo © Brian Ecott


The Treecreeper on oak. It jerks up or spirally around a tree foraging for spiders and insects under and in the bark crevices. It can be seen walking upside-down along a branch, or it may fly to the base of another tree, and almost mouse-like, climb up again. It has large feet and a stiff tail for support, and a large beak for probing. 6th March 2017. Photos © Colin Carron.
Common gull with juvenile plumage on grassland near the lake.2nd March 2017. Photo ©  Raymond Small.
Coot first appearance this year, but not seen for several years. 14th March 2017. Photo ©  Brian Ecott
"From ya ankle up you're charming, yeh, but your feet's too big"  Fats Waller. Moorhen by the feeding station. Photo © Raymond Small.  2nd March 2017. Coot on lakeside showing webbed toes. Underwater the feet move together with the webs out offering greater movement forward, they fold up giving least resistance on the return stroke. Photo © Brian Ecott 17th March 2017.

Mandarin drake first appearance this year 14th March 2017.

Photo © Brian Ecott.

Male Pochard, a diving duck, on the lake.15th March 2017.

 Photo © Raymond Small.

One of a pair of Great Crested grebes on the lake, hopefully a breeding pair. 12th March 2017. Photo © Raymond Small

Sharing. Robin and Grey squirrel at Sheepwater. 7th March 2017.

Photo © Raymond Small

Tiny liverworts under the lens

Tiny liverwort Lophocolea bidentata above growing on rotting log along Cavill's walk. Below is a small sample on a piece of wood measuring 2 cms. Each of the leaves  along the stem have two teeth, hence "bidentata". Photo and scan © Brian Ecott  5th March 2017

Tiny liverwort Metzgeria furcata on hawthorn (above). The lobe ends divide into two. Shows quite well in top right of this picture.

Photo © Brian Ecott. 2nd March 2017.

Tiny liverwort Radula complanata on hawthorn. Above  close up showing tiny yellow-green gemmae which line the edges of the fronds. These break off to form new plants. Photo and scan © Brian Ecott 5th March 2017.

The light green liverwort growing at the water's edge of  the lake inflow stream  (above left) is shown in close up (above right). In the middle of some of the lobes is a half moon shape called a gemmae cup which is moon shape giving the liverwort the name Crescent cup Lunularia cruciata.

14th March 2017  Photos © Brian Ecott and Raymond Small.


Early Red admiral basking in the sun on oak tree along Headland path near Romford Road. 6th March 2017. Photo © Brian Ecott.

Brimstone (male), Peacock and Comma were all seen on the 16th March 2017.

Bumblebee Bombus terrestris Queen 10th March 2017.

Photo © Raymond Small

Bumblebee  Bombus lapidarius Queen collecting pollen from Ground Ivy

 25th March 2017   Photo © Raymond Small

The Hidden Community under logs.
Slugs, woodlice and centipedes. 20th March 2017 in the plantation. Thanks to Simon Taylor, Recorder for Molluscs, Essex Field Club for the identification and who states "Although the yellow slugs are indeed very yellow, the size of the tubercles (the texture of the skin) suggests to me that they are Limacus maculatus."
This Leopard slug Limax maximus was found under a log on Dog Kennel Hill woodland. Not normally active during the day it moved to avoid the bright sunshine.  Photos © Brian Ecott  13th March 2017
Two Arion sp. slugs under a log. Photo © Brian Ecott  23rd March 2017.

Slug Arion sp. under log with two Common shiny woodlice.

Photo © Brian Ecott on D

og Kennel Hill

 Woodland. 13th March 2017

Simon Taylor further reports, "Since the publication of the FSC Aidgap guide and the work that led up to it, the position with the British Arionids has become rather more complicated. The slugs you photographed (above) are certainly Arionids but beyond that it is impossible to say just from a photograph. Even with the specimens in hand it is far from easy these days!"

There are five common Woodlice known collectively as "The Famous Five". Here are two of them above left  is the Common shiny woodlouse Oniscus asellus at 17mm is the largest and (right) Common striped woodlouse  Philoscia muscorum - at 11mm is one of the smallest of the five. It has a black head which is just visible at the top of the picture. Photos © Brian Ecott on Dog Kennel Hill Woodland. 13th March 2017.
Black Ground beetle and a Pill Millipede Glomeris marginata rolled up under a log. Photo © Brian Ecott  20th March 2017.
Two  immature Common frogs found under log in plantation. Frogs normally mature at about 4-5 years old.  Photo © Brian Ecott.24th March 2017 Young smooth newt under log. Photo © Raymond Small,  14th March 2017
Small Ground beetle (1.2cm) possibly Pterostichus madidus,  disturbed under log, seeking shelter in leaf litter. Photo © Raymond Small, 14th March 2017. Another small ground beetle possibly  Pterostichus niger.   Photo © Raymond Small  20th March 2017.
Both of these beetles above are predators of slugs and caterpillars.
White-legged snake millipede. 14th March 2017  Photo © Brian Ecott Centipede Lithobius forficatus. 20th March 2017. Photo © Raymond Small

Nature Detective

Conker on a table in The Nature Reserve eaten by a grey squirrel. There was a good crop this year to last throughout the winter months. 9th March 2017. Photo © Brian Ecott.

Muntjac track crossing and scrambling up a deep ditch in the plantation. Photo © Brian Ecott. 24th March 2017.

Grey squirrels often strip bark from small branches to supplement their food requirements and for use to line their dreys. 

Photo © Brian Ecott.9th March 2017 on The Nature Reserve.






Above: A line of eyelash fungi Scutellinia scutellata growing on a rotting hornbeam log. It is reported as present in the forest although this is a first for me. Found Lambourne wood, near Spurgate.

28th March 2017. Photo © Brian Ecott


Left: Lovely close up of the Eyelash fungus showing the brown hairs or lashes. 28th March 2017. Photo © Raymond Small.

Oyster mushrooms on fallen beech on Hoghill.  3rd March 2017. Photo © Raymond Small.

Glistening inkcap Coprinellus micaceus at Roes Well on rotting stump.

11th March 2017. Photo © Brian Ecott

Beef steak fungus Fistulina hepatica on rotting oak on the Mile plantation. Photo © Brian Ecott. 4th March 2017.

Early Spring Flowers

Danish Scurvy Grass Cochlearia danica growing on the central reservation of the Romford Road outside the forest. Danish Scurvy grass is a plant of coastal habitats, but during the past 50 years has gradually spread from the coast along Motorways and now B roads due to the heavy use of salt in icy conditions  and now faster speeds of traffic help spread its seed. It is a Crucifer (a member of the cabbage family). 16th March 2017. Photo © Brian Ecott.
Two above: Wood sorrel Oxalis acetosella in wooded areas . The beauty of the enlarged flower is self evident.  25th March 2017. Photo © Brian Ecott.

Two above: Lesser celandine Ranunculus ficaria by streams and damp areas. The close up shows that the flower is related to the Buttercups family.       

25th March 2017. Photo © Brian Ecott.

Above and below: Common chickweed Stellaria media and enlarged flower. Found waste places and path edges. 11th March 2017. Photo © Brian Ecott The flower has five deeply divided petals giving the appearance of 10 petals. Above and below right: Red dead-nettle Lamium purpureum a plant of waste places. Dead-nettles have square stemsThe flowers are irregular and  designed  for insect pollination 23rd March 2017.  Photo © Brian Ecott.
  The Dandelion Taraxacum officinale agg. with flower beetles. 25th March 2017. Photo © Brian Ecott.  

Common daisy a plant of short grassland.

13th March 2017. Photo © Brian Ecott.

Close up of one of our Wood anemones.

19th March 2017. Photo © Brian Ecott.

Barren strawberry Potentilla sterilis. Several patches in the plantation and grassland edges.

 27th March 2017. Photo © Brian Ecott.

 Common field speedwell Veronica persica

27th March 2017. Photo © Brian Ecott.

 Coltsfoot Tussilago farfara. The flowers appear before the leaves. Around the lake edge.

27th March 2017. Photo © Brian Ecott.

Common stork's-bill Erodium cicutarium. In short grassland and kerb edges. The "stork's-bill" is the seed pod which can be seen pointing to the top left hand corner. 

27th March 2017. Photo © Brian Ecott.


Moss Brachythecium rutabulum forms large patches in the grassland on Hoghill, especially near the top. Photo © Brian Ecott  10th March 2017

And finally..........

This happy pair of ghosts are two of many kites flown over Hainault by Courtney which are a popular talking point bringing much pleasure to visitors. 

 Photo © Raymond Small

 February 2017

Looking for a sunny day 

Early Peacock butterfly 8th February 2017 Photo © Martin Bell at Foxburrows Farm Cottages.

Jewels on a Spiders web

This lovely picture was taken on 1st February 2017. © Colin Carron


Willow bracket Phellinus igniarius on old willow on former farm pond,  alongside 2nd car park, 6th February 2017. Photo © Brian Ecott. This old gnarled willow near the 2nd car park is one of several in a slight depression which marks the position of the former Foxburrows Farm Pond.6th February 2017. Photo © Raymond Small.
Velvet shank Flammulina velutipes on old willow on former farm pond,  alongside 2nd car park, 6th February 2017. Photo © Raymond Small Common Jellyspot Dacrymyces stillatus on rotting stump, back of lake,  Photo © Raymond Small. 2nd February 2017.

Raymond Small has captured the hairy surface of this fungus known as the Hairy Curtain Crust Stereum hirsutum on an old log.

1st February 2017. Photo © Raymond Small.

Left: Beech Barkspot Diatrype disciformis. on beech twig, roughly normal size. The enlargement above show the fungus bursting through the thin bark leaving flaps of tissue. 13th February 2017. Woodland on  the  golf course, Hoghill. Photo © Brian Ecott.

Beech tarcrust Biscogniauxia nummularia on dead beech. Dog kennel hill,

13th February 2017. Photo © Brian Ecott.

Beech woodwart Hypoxylon fragiforme on dead beech. Dog Kennel hill.    

13th February 2017. Photo © Brian Ecott

This amazing photo shows Boot lace aka Honey fungus Armillaria mellea (inset). The fungus spreads by long black cords, resembling boot-laces. These spread under bark, in roots and underground large distances to infect other trees. The width of the larger "laces" is 1 cm. and with the interconnecting laces gives the appearance of a major communications centre. Honey fungus is the scourge of foresters. 13th February 2017. Photo © Brian Ecott

On cleared woodland near Sheepwater and growing on old bramble stems.17th is Scarlet Elfcap Sarcoscypha austriaca, February 2017.Photo © Brian Ecott
Cramp balls aka King Alfred's cakes aka Coal fungus Daldinia concentrica on Ash logs near Sheepwater. Cut open they show concentric rings of silver and black. Cramp balls are exclusive to Ash trees. It is said that at one time men used to carry one in their pocket to prevent cramp. I might try one in my pyjamas to see if it cures night cramp! 17th February 2017. Photo © Brian Ecott




Grey poplars Populus x canescens. A hybrid of White poplar and Aspen, by the café has a rough bark at the base but changes to a smooth silver bark with diamond shaped fissures.

21st February 2017. Photo © Brian Ecott

Common alder catkins shedding pollen. The red flowers above are the female flowers which receive the pollen and will form the cone-like structures and will release the seeds in the autumn. 21st February 2017. Photo © Brian Ecott

Douglas Fir Pseudotsuga menziesii Cones 20th February 2017.

Photo © Brian Ecott. The three pronged bracts on the cone distinguish

 this tree from all other conifers.

Only one tree amongst a stand of Black pines Pinus nigra

on the old reservoir site

Black pine Pinus nigra cones on the old reservoir site.. The cones appear to have a flat side and a rounded side. 27th February 2017. Scan © Brian Ecott

Above - Part of a stand of Black pines. The tree in the centre is a single Douglas Fir Pseudotsuga menziesii Photo © Raymond Small. 20th February 2017. Most of the trees here are covered in ivy which gives a good cover for wintering and early nesting birds.

Small branch tip of Douglas fir above. Lower are two needles 1.5 cms long, slightly silvery underneath. When removed from the branch the needle shows only a small  point of attachment - right.

Scans © Brian Ecott 27th February 2017




Soredia are common  reproductive structures of lichens. Lichens reproduce asexually by employing simple fragmentation and production of soredia and isidia. Soredia are powdery propagules composed of fungal hyphae wrapped around cyanobacteria or green algae. Fungal hyphae make up the basic body structure of lichen. - Wikipedia.

Many of the lichen photos shown below have soredia.

Parmelia sulcata on a hawthorn branch. (8 cms width) The whole lichen is covered in a fine white network on which soredia develop. Photo © Raymond Small. 6th February 2017. 
Parmelia perlata on a hawthorn branch (5 cms width). The lobe edges at the top left of the picture and elsewhere are covered in a fine dust. These microscopic structures are known as soredia.  Photo © Brian Ecott. 25th February 2017.
Physcia tenella on hawthorn twig. (2 cms width) Tips of lobes split and fold back to reveal soredia. Scan © Brian Ecott 25th February 2017. 

Physcia adscendens on hawthorn twig. (2 cms width) Tips of lobes are hooded then split to reveal soredia. Scan © Brian Ecott 25th February 2017.   

Physcia tenella and Physcia adscendens cover much of the hawthorn bushes and are easily visible before the leaves appear.

Physcia aipolia on hawthorn twig, hedge 2nd car park. Blue-grey lobes. Fruiting bodies black with blue-grey edge. (Width of this lichen 1.3cms) Rare in the forest. Requires a lower level of pollution compared to the two Physcia sp. pictured above.  27th February 2017. Photo © Brian Ecott

Ramalina farinacea on hawthorn twig (4 cms in width) Oval structures along the edges of the branches contain soredia. Photo © Brian Ecott.

25th February 2017.

Punctelia subrudecta [=Parmelia subrudecta] with rounded lobes at the edge. Lobes at centre have soredia.  15th February 2017. Photo © Brian Ecott. Ramalina fastigata on hawthorn bush. One prominent round fruiting body is showing. Photo © Brian Ecott. 25th February 2017.

 February flowers

Spurge laurel Daphne laureola in woodland near Chigwell Row Common.17th February 2017. Photo © Brian Ecott



Snowdrops Galanthus nivalis.  Old Reservoir site woodland, Hoghill.

17th February 2017. Photos © Michael Rumble


Nature detective

Grey squirrel poo on a metre high tree stump near the lake, 1st February 2017 Photo © Brian Ecott Muntjac poo in woodland near Chigwell Row Common. 17th February 2017. Photo © Brian Ecott


Above: Cherry stones under a log and opened by a Woodmouse.

1st February 2017. Photo © Raymond Small.

Right: Slot of Right hind leg of Muntjac deer. 13th February 2017 

Photo © Brian Ecott

Holly miner


Holly miner grubs are a food sought after in the winter months by the Goldcrest (right), blue and long-tailed tits.  A substantial amount of holly is being removed from the woodland in Chigwell Row. A similar interference by the Woodland Trust who leased the site  in 1999 saw the disappearance of the Nightingale. Does anyone know what species of plant and birdlife is present in the woodland. Does anyone from the Woodland Trust care?

And finally

. Mute swan cob 17th February 2017  Photo © Brian Ecott

Mute swan pen still in her first year plumage.  25th February 2017.

 Photo © Brian Ecott

Batchelor group of mute swans 20th February 2017 Photo © Raymond Small.
January 2017


 “Once-in-a-lifetime” lottery grant to preserve

Hainault Forest Country Park.

Hainault Forest Country Park has been awarded £4.5million by the Heritage Lottery Fund. A further £1.25m will be invested by Redbridge Council, with a further £250,000 from Vision Redbridge Culture and Leisure. The funding will improve the overall condition of the much-loved woodland, protecting threatened species and habitats and creating a range of new activities, including conservation management, animal husbandry and fruit-harvesting. This is great news - a glance at the following pictures will show what a great place this is, and it's rich biodiversity.

Last sunshine of the old year........

Colin Caron captures the final sunshine of the old year

January Moods............

Grey day at the Lake 1st January 2017. Photo © Brian Ecott Willows in fog with frozen lake. 23rd January 2017. Photo © Brian Ecott
January 3rd 2017 and the lake has a thin covering of ice, as the temperatures fall below zero. Pictured here are Canada geese, and Mallard pairs (the drakes have green heads). Photo © Raymond Small.
Crystalline, hoar frost on vegetation. Photo © Michael Trump  22nd January 2017

Full Moon over Romford Road, from New North Road towards Chigwell Row. Photographed from Foxburrow Road. 0625am GMT. 13th January 2017.

Photo © Raymond Small

Full Moon reflection over the Lake. 0714am GMT. 13th January 2017. Photo © Raymond Small.
Light snowfall on the Golf course 13th January 2017. Photo © Colin Carron
Moon falling down behind Lake at 0730am.GMT. on 13th January 2017 which also shows a light covering of snow which fell the previous evening.
Photo © Raymond Small.

On a cold crisp night the crescent Moon and the planet Venus were close together at 5.29pm GMT 2nd January 2017 in the SW sky. 

Photo © Brian Ecott.

Frozen grassland with the Lake in the distance.  23rd January 2017. Photo © Brian Ecott.

Lengthening days...........

Catkins (male flowers) of Hazel - 12 cm in length, and female flowers - 6 mm. Right are the female flowers enlarged, nd on which the pollen from the catkins will alight. The pollen is dispersed by the wind, and will develop  into Hazelnuts in the autumn. 25th January 2017 in the Hazel copse. Scan © Brian Ecott.


Bracket fungus Chondostereum purpureum on hawthorn behind the café 30th December 2016 and on rotting log near lake 9th Jan '17 Photos © Brian Ecott
Poplar bells Schizophyllum amplum 9th January 2017 on the underside of a rotting branch of Grey poplar near the lake.
Raymond Small made this unusual discovery of Poplar Bells growing on Willow 17th January 2017 by the Lake. Photo © Brian Ecott Yellow brain fungus Tremella mesenterica on old rose stem. 23rd January '17. Photo © Brian Ecott
Lumpy bracket Trametes gibbosa on cut Hornbeam stump. Cavills walk, Lambourne Wood. 24th January 2017. Photo © Brian Ecott.

Flat oysterling Crepidotus applanatus on rotting elder log. 1-2cms across. Underside reveals split gills and a rudimentary stem. 3rd January 2017

 Photos © Brian Ecott

Witches butter Exidia glandulosa on oak branch, Hainault Lodge Local Nature Reserve.  27th January 2017. Photo © Brian Ecott. White  brain Exidia thuretiana is a tiny (1 cm) jelly-like fungus on rotten beech in the woodland behind the café 31st December 2016 © Brian Ecott
White rot Phellinus contiguus spotted on an oak branch by Raymond Small on 19th January 2017. The larger patch was 3cm across.  Thanks  to Tony of NaturePlus at the Natural History Museum for the ID..  Scan © Brian Ecott. The Deceiver Laccaria laccata. In the secondary woodland near the lake. The fibrous stem and the unequal gills help identify this species. 30th January '17. Photo © Brian Ecott.

Bleeding oak crust fungus Stereum gausapatum on oak log. The lower picture shows "blood" exuding from the fungus when cut with a penknife.

Photos © Raymond Small  7th January 2017..


Springy Turf moss Rhytidiadelphus squarrosus forms large swathes in short grassland on the top and slopes of Hoghill.14th Jan 2017. Photo © Brian Ecott
Grey cushion moss Grimmia pulvinata on rotting trunk. The spore capsules bend in to the plant. The leaf blade is drawn out into a long hair giving the plant a grey appearance. 6th January 2017.  Photo © Brian Ecott Wood bristle moss Orthotrichium affine on tree branch. 16th January 2017. Photo © Brian Ecott


 Scan of thin oak branch showing black fruiting bodies of  Lecidella elaeochroma. The light brown fruiting bodies are  Lecanora chlarotera..
 Raymond has captured the texture and colour of this leafy lichen perfectly. Melanelixia subaurifera [synonym Parmelia subaurifera] is growing with other lichens on an oak branch. 21st January 2017. Photo © Raymond Small. Lichen Hypogymnia physodes on oak branch in plantation area, near the Lake. 25th January 2017. Photo © Brian Ecott

The story of Laetisaria unfolds................

My chance discovery of the pink coloured Laetisaria on the lichen Physcia tenella reported in last January 2016 Diary page and the discovery of a report in an American Journal led to it's confirmation as the first report of it in the UK., thus "Putting Hainault on the Map" .

The story is in Academia  under Powell M (2016) British Wildlife.

Nature Detective..........

One of six piles of rose hips hidden under a dog rose bush near the lake. The fact that there is small mammal poo present, the rose hip seeds are open and little of the flesh has been eaten indicates this is a feeding site for a Wood mouse. 14th January 2017. Photo © Brian Ecott.

This is a Song thrushes anvil. The thrush brings the snails and smashes the shells on an old green bottle releasing a tasty morsel. This thrush has been collecting Brown-lipped Banded snails. Cepaea nemoralis. The two shells centre and top centre are showing the brown lip. 30th January 2017.             

Photo © Brian Ecott

Water fowl................

Tufted ducks, male and female, Several pairs have been present on the lake for a few months now. These are diving ducks. Photos © Colin Caron

Trevor has his own web page now.


What's going on here?


To follow Trevor's adventures  

click here

Three Huskies and one Malamute cross (left) with a Shih-Tzu. Part of a group of Northern breeds which visited on 31st December 2016. © Brian Ecott.  

And finally...............

This old gilled fungus face on decaying oak reminded Lynda Johnson of someone. Thanks to her for the location on Cabin Hill.  Possibly old Oak Maze gill Daedalea quercina. Who does it remind you of? 10th Jan 2017. Photo © Brian Ecott.