Hainault Forest Website
Written and Designed by Brian Ecott
NATURE DIARY
July 2017
 JUNE   JULY

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 1025% 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
 

Galls

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

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 caf.

June 2017

     JUNE   JULY

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
 
Insects
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.